Expressing your power? No, you're being petty (work related)

Jesus wept. How shallow is your life that you somehow find pleasure in being an insignificant prick that finds amusement in making others miserable simply because you can? I honestly think Tuckerfan’s tormentors, having driven him out, moved on to a bigger prize. Me.

Let me set this up.

I work tech support for a company that provides proprietary software to a minor little multi-national corporation. This isn’t the kind of job where a Dell buyer calls in because the computer doesn’t work. Only to be told to turn the monitor on. At which point the caller falls over themselves thanking the tech guy for “fixing” the computer.

This is the kind of job where you need to know your shit. It’s not a position that can be filled with any non-drooler off the street.

But these ass-monkeys seem to think job-security involves driving us underlings insane to the point of quitting. Ain’t happening with this Doper. I’m fighting back.

So last week I was jockeying the 'puter and phone, looking forward to my weekend which happened to be the next two days. I’m taking calls, doing co-worker’s follow-ups that weren’t there that day, having a grand ole time. I was cruising. Hell, my shift started at 2:30 pm, I was logged in at 2:00. I was ready to kick some ass.

4:00 rolls around and I take a break. Thank you ever so much for approving it. May my smoke taxes pay for your roads.

Now we get to the fun part. With x number of techs manning the phones to handle the horde of callers, there can only be so many people away from their computer at any given time. If too many are out, you take another call or two to allow some others to return so there isn’t a sea of empty seats. I get that. Here’s what I don’t get.

Why is it that when I ask for a break or lunch, it’s becomming common for you to tell me to take one more call, when others, even in the same area as me, get breaks withing just minutes of my denied request? Don’t give me that shit about the number of people out when I ask. If I ask at 6:01 and you tell me to take one more call, fine. But goddammit, if I’m still sitting idle and another asks and receives a break at 6:03, you’re being a) a prick or b) an idiot.

But, lo Dopers, it gets even better. The above I can forgive for being poor management. The following is cause for …uh…the “V” word. You know that of which I speak.

Last week I show up and sign in at 2pm. Shift starts at 2:30. (Hey, I like my job).
Now, I’m on Concerta. I kinda sorta should eat something somtime during my shift. Flying high on speed can happen on an empty stomach, no? (For those unaware, Concerta is, in effect, meth. Not a good drug to be on without food to buffer ir) At least in my experience.

So starting at about 6pm I start asking for lunch assuming I’ll get the ole “Too many out, please take one more [call]” Sure enough, asked to take one more (waiting for some people to come back)







(Guess how many times I asked?)

By 7:35 I’m begging the guy to let me go for at least 15 so I can get food in me. Without mentioning the drug, I mention that my med requires I eat something. He says to ask after the next call, he’ll be able to do something.

At 8:10 I ask again for lunch. Too many out, he swears I’m getting lunch after the next call.

8:25 I ask again. Take a guess. Yup. Too many out, please take another. I tell him I’ll take my 2nd 15 min instead. He says no, too many out. I tell him, “It wasn’t a question.” I leave for a smoke.

Now they’re bitching from Fargo that I left, the Supervisor up here smoothes it over explaining the deal. (god bless him for trying) Still not enough time to get something to eat.

Finally at 9 O FUCKING CLOCK I get my lunch break. Ahem, 7 hours after the start of my shift I get lunch. After every fucking other person on the shift has gotten both 15’s and lunch. Meanwhile I’m flying high.

So high that I go get a club sandwich and promptly puke it up all over the sidewalk on the way back to the office. I guess that whole rule of a 30 minute break after 5 hours worked doesn’t count?

OK, so maybe I misheard the Federal labor laws.

Last night. Last night you took it too far. Last night you admitted you were messing with me. Big fucking mistack. Big…fucking…mistake.

So there I am, asking for lunch at 7 pm, 5 hours into my shift. Doesn’t seem too unreasonable. I took a call at 7 about an inventory recorder that took a shit. I spent 30 mins troubleshooting the piece of shit (all these fucking things are shit as we all know). I was dialed into the store’s computer following proper procedure in changing ports, when it became apparent the user would need to take the equipment to another store to make sure the equipment was bad and not the computer itself. Now follow along before you donkey-punch your mother again.

You want all 50,000+ stores to receive the same quality service. This poor woman was going on her 13th hour on the clock and just wanted to go home. But no, she now had to drive to another store and fuck around hooking up this eq to see if the problem was the unit or the cable. Meanwhile, it was going to take me another 20 minutes to get the port assignments changed back to the original settings so the store could operate normally.

Hmmmm. Set my phone to “not avail” and continue working on the store’s computer, or keep her on the line so it looks like I’m not slacking? I like to think of myself as a professional, so I extended a professional courtesy, TO OUR CONTRACTED SITE, so she could finish up as soon as possible so she could get home. Keeping her on the line would have done NOTHING but waste her time.

So while I’m configuring the settings back to what they were, rebooting the computer and dialing back in to check the status (which we’re required to do lest the cashless fails to come up and the store lose hundreds of dollars per hour) my phone is set to not available. True, I can take a call, but if it involves dialing into a store, the other store is sitting on hold (a big no-no) while I finish up the first store. I’m doing everything the way we’re supposed to.

I finish up that call and ask for lunch. This is now 1.5 hours after the first request. I have the call queue on the desktop. I can see how many people are out. I can see there are 8 idle people at the slowest time of the day. I can see they’re fucking with me.

How do I know? They (indirectly) told me so. After being told to take one more call (there are no calls! We’re fucking idle!) the supervisor comes over to tell me they told him they denied my break because I was sitting “not avail” for too long after the call ended. Even though I was still working the call. Even though taking another call would mean putting that store on hold until I was done. They didn’t fucking understand I couldn’t take a new call until the previous one was done. Just because I’m not listening to someone breath in my ear doesn’t mean I’m not working.

So, to you fucks in Fargo that have never met me, let me say this.

Pray you never meet me. See, I’m kind of a big guy, and I have a real bad temper towards people that want to arbitrarily fuck with me because they think they have some sort of control over me. 6’4" and 250 pounds of pissed-off is something you do not want knocking at your door. And I have a loooooonngg memory.

If you made it this far, maybe you can give some advice.

  1. Isn’t there some law about breaks being offered/refused based on hours in a shift?

  2. If a break is required (especially when related to medications) is there any recourse for the break being refused?

I’m not looking to sue, but it would be nice to shove something in these douchebag’s faces other than my fist. I’m sure it would be cheaper when posting bond. :mad:

Hie thee to HR instanter! Lay it out calmly and clearly. I dunno if you have to specify what meds you’re on or why, but state plainly you need food breaks within certain intervals or you’ll be made ill. Get a letter from your doctor backing you up. Ask that you be accommodated – the magic word!

Good luck.

Thanks ETF. I know the meds nor medical condition can be asked, and I certainly don’t want it to be common knowledge. Somehow I forgot about the HR dept. I’ll contact them today.

I wish I could say I felt better about the rant, but today, like one of my two days off, will be spent trying to recoup from demon speeding. It’s to the point I feel that I have to take my pills, or work.

Ever try to speed all day at work and make it in the next day? I ain’t 25 anymore. :frowning:

Getting old sucks

What ETF said.

But wait…

You’re 6’4", 250#, hungry like da woof, high on speed, and having a nicotine fit? And these people are fucking with you? Are they high?

Here’s a page from the federal Department of Labor of the seven states (California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) that have “minimum paid rest requirements.” The basic standard seems to be a 10 minute, paid, break per four hours of work, not to include the meal break; specific variables are noted on the table provided. “1/ States not listed do not require paid rest periods. All of the seven States with paid rest period requirements, also have meal period requirements. 2/ Not displayed in table are exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees, and for outside salespersons.”

Is it possible to keep some food at your workstation, or is that forbidden? Nothing messy, an energy bar or some such? Maybe some sort of ginned-up shake that would get enough calories into you to at least tone down the effects of going without a real food break for too long?

Just to make sure, the speed you’re taking is a prescription med, not a recreational drug, right? Because that makes a big difference in whether I have sympathy.

But I’m assuming the former. In which case, feel free to tell your HR department. If they break that confidentiality, you have one sweet lawsuit on your hands.

HR might well require a letter from your doctor before acting on your complaint. They might well require that s/he spell out what your condition is and what medicine you’re on for it.

But what they can’t do, as tdn says, is blab it outside of HR. You’re the only one who has a right to do that (or not, as you choose). HR is legally bound to keep that info confidential.

Yes, we’re allowed to eat our desk. However, it becomes a problem when you have to (here’s the list)

  1. Eat at a semi-reasonable pace so you don’t paint the carpet a new color

  2. Need more than 15 minutes to cook it or go get it or set up a time for it to be delivered

  3. Not eat it in a way the person on the other end of the line hears you smack away at it.

Look, I know it’s unreasonable to expect to eat a 3 course meal every day in my line of work, but damnit there is no excuse for making a guy wait until 7 hours into his shift to eat when you know that guy has to eat. Furthermore, when you know a guy is on meds that he told you requires him to eat at a certain time, I don’t see how it’s excusable.

(It happened again last night as I said, so I may be way off in lala-land)

Yeah? What if it’s HIV? Not that I’m saying that’s what’s wrong with duffer, just that that’s a situation where all sorts of confidentiality and other legal sticky wickets might come into play.

Um, Concerta. It was a rather lengthy OP so I suspect many will miss it. It’s prescribed. Fuck, I need to get my Straterra thread going

It’s a valid disorder that I’ve been treated for over the past year. Whether it’s HIV, cancer or ADD is all the same, from what I know of medical info. FWIW
And as long as we’re going FWIW, it’s bipolar with ADD. God was “in a mood” when my brain was wired. :smack:

I’m a little surprised that they only give you 15 minutes to eat. What kind of person can eat a full meal in 15 minutes?

Also, do they have some sort of rule for how many people must be on and/or in idle mode when they allow a break? Or do they just go by gut instinct?

Do you get the feeling that they’re messing with you just for a power trip, or do you think someone is trying to get you to quit? Or fired?

Ah. I read “Concerta” but was too lazy to look up what it is. My bad.

I still question whether your HR needs to know even that much. I guess it depends on the laws in your state.

What’s it made of, slabs of pemmican?

Oh boy, I really wouldn’t like to have your job, and I hope you get something sorted out with HR, duffer.

Supervisor really does sound like a real prick who’s obsessed with some kind of metric about calls per hour, and has an axe to grind with you too. Myself, I think that it would be fairer to have a ‘queue’ system whereby if you’ve been refused to take a break because they’re too busy, then you get to take a break before anyone else gets let off. (Even if everyone else has to wait for you to get off a call first… well, maybe not that bad. Other people could be let off on break, maybe, as long as it’s clear that anyone on queue would be able to take off as soon as the call/job they’re currently working is finished.)

And if your break is refused because they don’t think you’ve been working hard enough or you took a break not that long ago, they should tell you that flat out, at the very least.

Seems to me as though your supervisor is playing favorites, and everybody but you is the favorite. Perhaps they are trying to get you to quit.

Has the medication issue ever come up before? Is management quietly implementing a plan to kick out employees too likely to draw on health benefits? Maybe your supervisor’s just old-school and wants to crack down on anybody Too Special. It would depend on how long this has been going on (which you don’t divulge).

You are (you say) in a valued position, doing a prestige job (and presumably getting paid appropriately for it). But because you do it over the phone, but you’re subjected to capricious, top-down, by-the-numbers discipline more appropriate for a telemarketing bullpen.

Somethin’ don’t add up here.

“But because you do it over the phone, but you’re subjected to capricious, top-down, by-the-numbers discipline[…]”

Disregard second but.

It’s bad karma for smoking, voting Republican, and rooting for the Packers. You reap what you sew.

JK, duff. Find another job and tell them to fuck off. Everybody deserves a job where they can watch their health and don’t have to fantasize about physically assaulting their bosses… you should be fantasizing about physically assaulting the customers, like most (normal) tech support people. :wink:

If Concerta’s anything like Ritalin, I sympathize. I used to have to deal with not getting lunch until an hour before my shift was over, meanwhile I can hardly pay attention because I haven’t eaten since breakfast 8+ hours ago, and my stomach is feasting on itself.