The state of my job

Bold text is mine to emphasise where I have problems with this job.

Organizer: HR
To: me and the rest of the group scheduled to go on a certain day and time
Subject: [name omitted] Volunteer Event
Sent: Tue 3/20/2007 5:14 PM

Hi everyone,
We are partnering up with [name omitted] for our mandatory, companywide community service event.
…As volunteers we might be doing some of the following activities: compost making, mulching, planting, and irrigation work. This is an outdoor volunteer event, so you should wear clothes and shoes that can get dirty! It has been muddy on their grounds because of the recent rains too. Please wear closed-toe shoes, and I recommend dressing in layers. If it’s warm, you should also bring sunscreen and a hat.

…I hope you all enjoy this volunteer event!

I went on the outing and worked in the sun for two hours, coated in sunblock. After this event, I called the state and federal job boards to see if this is legal. It’s legal to send employees on company time to a charity event and it’s legal to fire them if they don’t comply, because the job and the state I live in are classified as “at-will” employment, which I’ve described before.
What isn’t legal is not paying me for mileage reimbursement, since I had to drive my own car to and from the event.

From: HR
Sent: Mon 4/2/2007 9:53 AM
To: the crew including myself designated to attend
Subject: [place omitted] Details!

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to remind you that you are signed up for tomorrow’s Hidden Villa event from 2pm – 4:30pm. As I mentioned before, this is an outdoor volunteer event, so you should wear clothes and shoes that can get dirty! Please wear closed-toe shoes, and I recommend dressing in layers. You should consider bringing sunscreen and a hat. The event will happen rain or shine.

…Don’t forget to bring the volunteer release form with you tomorrow too.

The release form stated that the company I work for is not responsible should I become harmed on this mandatory “volunteer” outing.

From: me
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:58 AM
To: senior management guy
Subject: Mileage reimbursement form

Hello [name omitted],

[HR] referred me to you – I’m looking for a mileage reimbursement form so I can turn in my mileage to and from [mandatory “volunteer” event].

From: senior management guy
Sent: Friday, April 13, 2007 9:45 AM
To: me
Subject: RE: Mileage reimbursement form

I checked it out and we don’t re-imburse mileage for this.

I wrote my boss and said that next time we have a mandatory “volunteer” event, I will want to drive the company car to and from the event.

In reality, I may be fired for non-compliance because I don’t want to attend another mandatory “volunteer” event.

From: my boss
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 10:18 AM
To: me
Subject: Dedicated Email Time

As we are in Code Red Status again with SLAs, we are going to need everyone on taking calls all day.

So, for the time being, we are going to be cancelling dedicated offline times for emails.

Once the new temp hires get ramped up, things should be back to normal. Though, eventually, I would like for your to be able to handle phones/emails at the same time.

Do you feel that you can handle phones and the email volume without dedicated time? I feel that you are fairly knowledgable with the programs now, that you can fit in emails during/between calls. Otherwise, OT on emails, is always available.

If you think you need help/tips, I would be glad to ridealong with you for a couple of hours and give you some pointers on how to get through emails/phones at once.

I have known this is expected of me since week one on the job, but I do not have the type of brain they are asking for – that is, I cannot be listening to a customer describe their problem on the phone and troubleshoot it while also researching another customer’s issue who has written in via email. This, if not my eventual attitude, will be the cause of my firing.

From: my boss
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 4:11 PM
To: the team I’m on
Subject: Code Red Meeting Notes

[one of the points taken from this email is]:

NO MORE “My manager is telling me to get off the phone.”

They used to be big on having us get customers off the phone by pushing them to email support. If a call lasted more than six minutes, the timer on the call turned red and after ten minutes, we’d have a manager messaging us to see if we needed help with the call.
So ok, I’m all about giving the customer the phone time they need to resolve their issue – some are better listeners than they would be following email instructions.

BUT, this was the same week that the company cut over from one customer service ticketing system to another, and the emails from the old system got duplicated – existing AND closed tickets. This flooded the new system with over 2000 emails. So the same week we’re encouraged to give the customers the phone time they need, we’re being told again that we need to push them to email.

From: my boss
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 10:17 AM
To: the team I’m on
Subject: Code-Red: Mandatory Overtime

Hi all –

We are still in a huge hole with the our current volume. We are fully staffed – 35 people – so we should be able to knock out the volume if everyone works at least 1 hour of OT each day.

We appreciate all of those who have been working OT these past few weeks, but now we need everyone’s help.

We have over 2000 unanswered tickets that need to be cleared. Our Queues should be zeroed out daily.

Our SLAs were at 33% yesterday.

Overtime can be done during lunch or before/after normal work hours.

I opted to work overtime on my lunch hour.

From: my boss
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 9:53 AM
To: the team I’m on
Subject: Mandatory OT: Can’t be Lunch

Hi guys –

Mandatory OT cannot be during lunch anymore since we are required by law to give everyone a 1/2 hour lunch.

From now on, all OT must be done before or after normal work hours.

That same day, I began seriously looking for a new job again, rather than every now and then looking at job leads. I signed back up on the job boards.

From: my boss
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 10:35 AM
To: the team I’m on
Subject: Work From Home – this weekend

Hello Guys –

We need to clear out our ticket backlog asap, so we are looking for volunteers to work on Tickets from home this weekend.

…Please let me know if you’re interested!!

I wasn’t interested. However, two hours later…and notice this falls on FRIDAY AFTERNOON…

From: my boss
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2007 12:54 PM
To: the team I’m on
Subject: RE: Work From Home – this weekend

Hi guys –

This is actually mandatory for everyone this weekend.

Please complete at least 25 tickets this weekend from home.

…If you have any conflicts, please let me know, so we can work something out.

Included in that mail were instructions on programs to download on one’s home machine. I noticed they were Microsoft Windows applications. I wrote back to say I have a windowless household – that is to say, I only use Macintosh and Linux at home. I got out of working the weekend from home, but it didn’t stop me from nearly having a panic attack from the job stress. I had to take a Lorazepam and walk away from my desk for several minutes to calm down and breathe.

When I got back to my desk, the managers began popping my screen. In case I didn’t explain that well enough before, popping one’s screen means that they are using remote viewing software to log into my machine and see every action on my desktop. I know when they are logging in because the WinVNC.exe application becomes active in the Task Manager, which I keep open in my system tray. This boiled my blood. I say no and they think I’m slacking off? I work on average 96 hours in my two-week pay period, every week. SO SCREW THEM!

So I typed what. into the ticketing system window instead of documenting a call, and let it sit there like that for about ten seconds. The manager who was popping my screen then left my computer. I’m sure a screenshot was taken and sent to my manager. That’s what they do to prove you were fecking off instead of working, in order to fire you.

So this coming week, I may be fired.

Instead of working from home, I opted to add another hour of overtime, on a Friday evening, to get through as many emails as I could. I got through 20, just five short of what they wanted. Hopefully this will appease them.

I’m about to have another panic attack, I swear. This place is now ranked as WORSE than Excite@Home. I had previously ranked that as the worst place I’d ever worked for. Now this job has the title.

Comments are closed.