Why ask my schedule preference if you going to ignore it?

Alright, this is really pissing me off. For the most part I shouldn’t bitch about anything concerning work. First, I have a good paying job with outstanding benefits and awesome side bennies. (Stock options, bonuses, non-required O/T but as much as I ever want). Second, it’s a job I absolutely love. It’s tech support, but not like what you’d expect working for DirectTV or Compaq or the like. THis is all proprietary Unix-based software and in-house harware configs for a global company. And we just picked up 5 more pilot stores of national (US) chains. I have the job security of a funeral director or cop. Also, Even the “dumbest” person I’ll ever deal with is at least a manager. (I won’t be getting calls wondering why the computer doesn’t work if the monitor is unplugged.)

So on to what is infuriating. 3 weeks ago we were to fill out a form listing shift preference in order of best to worst. We run 24 hours 7 days a week. So I listed and told (3x to the woman) I wanted a start time of 9a-12p so I’d leave no later than 8:30 pm. If that wasn’t avail I wanted anything that started after 10pm. I added one qualifier, but that’s in a sec. We also could choose to have one perm day off with alt weekends off, or just take whatever 2 days off they wanted to give you. Here was the qualifier:

If I had a shift that was overnight I* needed* Saturday off, and whatever other day they wanted to throw me. The reason, that I wrote on the form and told her many times the same day, is that with my wife’s sched, working overnights would leave me only Saturday to spend more than an hour with my wife.

If I could have a sched that ended before 8pm I could spend some real time with her on the weekends, though the week would still be out. But it wouldn’t matter if they wanted me to work Fri Sat and Sun as I’d have the evenings at home.

The schedules (starting next week) were listed today.

I’m scheduled from 2:30 pm to 11 pm. With Mondays and alt weekends off. Exactly the combination I said was NOT going to be feasable. If I ever want to spend more than 2 hours with my wife where we’re both awake and lucid and the rest of the world is the same, we get 26 days a year. Every other Saturday.

Every other fucking Saturday only to go out to dinner, have friends and family over, go to a movie, anything that involves people other than only us at home. We have 26 days to do what keeps a marriage together and healthy and close to other family members. That also means we have 26 days a year to have unrushed, long-lasting sensual love-making. Minus the inevitable days she’s being visited. Man cannot live by quickies alone, and wives really hate that shit if it’s all they get.

Now, this isn’t because I’m some sort of fuck-up or that I’m not keeping up with the others. We test often. This training is very involved and intense. And the testing is often to make sure nobody’s falling behind. I’m currently 3% behind the leader and safely in 2nd place. Who are the people getting the better shifts?

4 single early-20’s kids. With no formal or work-related training in this field. All got the overnight shifts. One has every Sat/Sun off, one has every Sat/Wed off, and the others are mixed days off.

Even though I explicitly stated there were about 5 hours out of the entire fucking week’s 168 hours I need to have off no matter what.
I love my job. I love what I do. I love the people I work with. I love that I can wear a t-shirt, shorts and sandals to work. I love that I can have food and drink at my desk. I love that my desk is an actual semi-private desk that is huge. I love that I can have little toys to play with while working. I love that I have a private parking spot and private access to corridors that keep me warm and dry if I want to avoid going outside from car to office. I love that the atmosphere is so relaxed you can do what you want as long as it’s legal and doesn’t interfere with phone time. I love that the CEO has installed a free foosball table and dart board and encourages leagues and gambling clubs. I love the free booze provided at staff get-togethers.

But I love my wife more.

I reckon it’s like the military’s “wish list”.

They ask you for three places you’d like to be stationed at.

Then they send you as far away from those as they can.

Out of curiosity, what was the criteria used to guage whose preferences were taken first?

Should be “gauge”.

I’m very sorry to hear about your plight, but just wanted to suggest that if you haven’t shown this part to your wife, you should. It does the heart good. :slight_smile:

What shift were the graveyard workers manning before the overhaul? Same shift? I’ll bet they’re students or moonlighters whose choices are graveyard or quit.

Of course, I could be all wrong, but that’s my first guess.

I know it seems unfair, but without knowing precisely which shift each and every one of your coworkers requested and WHY, you really don’t know whether you ever had a chance of getting your choice or not. You don’t know if the schedulers were dumbasses or were backed into a corner.

Also bear in mind, they are paying you to work the calls, not to love your wife. They really don’t care anything about you once you clock out.

But still, sucks, doesn’t it. Any chance of your wife changing her schedule? I’m sure you’ve already thought of that, though, if it were an option.

Even without the wife factor, 2pm to 11pm is a terrible shift. The worst shift imaginable. I have it in writing at my temp agency that I will never work that shift. There is no way to live a normal life while on that shift–when everyone else is out and about, you’re stuck at a desk. If you’re the kind that stays awake after work, everything’s closed, and there’s that whole seasonal affective thing to worry about. If you sleep after work and get up in the early morning, that’s a little better, but you still won’t have any friends to hang out with. It is an isolating, draining, life-destroying time to work and I don’t think either you or the twentysomething should have to work it.

I know everyone says this in job related threads, but I’d quit if I were you. A “fun” work environment isn’t worth that kind of crazy-making schedule.

It’s not that there was an overhaul, it’s that there has been such an explosion in restaurants coming on-line because corporate wants them all using the same equipment. This is for McDonald’s. My company is the only one that handles support for the store systems. There are right now about 1800 stores not under contract with us. There are over 50,000 stores in the US.

All of them are to be enabled and upgraded to accept the new gift cards they’re making mandatory nationwide. Imagine 50,000 stores upgrading both hardware and software over 6 months. Workers are needed.

We’ve been 24 hours for almost 3 years now. It’s not like they’re scrambling to fill the overnight. As continuity error pointed out, there is no life working this shift until the weekend. Add to that your weekends have just been cut in half for the year. You can bet your ass I’m begging for graveyard.

I’m not quitting yet. This is a dream job for me and the fringe bennies are incredible. But dammit, I’d rather live working a job I hate than be a single, non-social hermit doing something I love. My personal life is more important than any size paycheck. What’s the point of a good salary if you never get to enjoy it?

I forgot to mention there are many, many, mmmaaaannnnnyyyyy stores still using eq from the early '80’s. The CPU, the CMU, the registers, the connections (some are still using coax) the modems, ad nauseum. There are literally thousands of stores that will have to perform 4 or more upgrades as each upgrade is dependant on the previous. (Same as how you can’t upgrade Windows 3.11 to XP directly) Short of that the owner will have to pony up $7k for current hardware. If anyone knows McD’s owners, they are notoriously cheap.
Just trust me, there is a shitload need for workers on every shift. There is no excuse for fucking me with this shift and weekend schedule.

I work in a 24/7/365 call center as well, and I’ve often asked the same question. I think that my tour card, which I filled out when I got hired, says that I want to be off by 5 p.m. Have I ever gotten that shift? Why, yes, I have…on Christmas Day 2003. That’s why I call the tour card my “letter to Santa Claus” :slight_smile:

Are your shifts assigned by seniority? That’s how ours are done, so I know where I fall. Actually, my schedule changes day to day and week to week…I’d love to know that I have every other weekend off, but I don’t. I can’t even have, say, every Monday off–I have to go through the hassle of trading shifts with co-workers. Even the people with high seniorty are pretty screwed when it comes to specific days off. That permanent weekday with alternate weekends sounds pretty sweet to me!

I’d say that it’s much worse to work 2:30-11 when you are single than when you are married! You can at least spend little snippets of time with your spouse…breakfast, snoozing next to her, weekend mornings (even if you’re scheduled to work later), the evening of your weekdays off…but can you imagine trying to date or even hang out with friends who do not live in your house? But, yeah…not having evenings off or weekends off is bad enough…but it’s really bad to not have both.

I hated overnights much more than a schedule like 2:30-11. Your days off, especially if you just have one before going back to work, are pretty much wasted because you have to sleep all day (when your family is awake) and then you get the late afternoon/evening with them, and then you feel the need to stay up all night (reading the SDMB…you think there’s nothing to do during the day? At least you can go shopping and stuff) so that you can stay on your work schedule, and then you sleep all day and then it’s back to work. Ugh.

Does your wife work on Sundays or something, or am I misunderstanding the alternate weekends off thing?

I’m just saying that it could be worse. You might want to ask those guys who got the overnights if that’s what they really wanted (maybe they were ignored, too) and see if you can make some sort of trade.

At the tutroing center I work at (and hope to manage soon), part-time employees are given a blank calendar of the upcoming month and instructed to fill out their availability. The flexibility is a tremendous boon for me, and one of the reasons I am still working at such a low-paying job. For the past two years, I have used this flexibility to work the job around my other two part-time jobs. The upside is that I can plan out my month far in advance, and have a good idea of when I will be going in to work. The downside is that because the employees dictate their availability, there are some days when almost nobody can come in, and if I am unlucky enough to be available that day, it means the day will be excruciatingly busy.

There were several months where I expressly indicated I was unavailable for particular days, and got scheduled those days anyway. After the schedule is made, it is the employee’s responsibility to find a replacement if they cannot come in that day. However, when the employee indicated he/she couldn’t come in that day in the first place, it is really unfair that they get put on the spot to cover a mistake management made :mad: I had to do this several times. The worst part was during Spring Break. I’m done with school, though I wanted to use spring break as an opportunity to spend several days with my girlfriend, because my other 2 jobs gave me the week off by default anyway. So I scheuled that week off at the tutoring center, but they had me work a few days during the week anyway. I couldn’t get anyone to cover for me, because the staff are all High School/College students and they were going away. Since the days precluded me from being able to leave town, I grudgingly volunteered to work the whole damn week since I wouldn’t be doing anything else that week anyway :mad:

Scheduling 24x7 shifts is really a bear, I had to do it one time at a company quite like the OP described. If you aren’t getting the shifts you wanted, it’s because there aren’t enough people to cover everything adequately, or someone else had a more compelling reason than you (child-care reasons for example). Or someone just made a mistake, in which case maybe you can call the scheduling people and find out.

Once I had to cover it for 3 people including myself… solely for religious reasons, one worker refused to work Saturdays, and the other refused to work Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Furthermore, the second guy refused to split Saturdays with me because he didn’t recognize the other guy’s religious right to refuse them. Thus, out of 3 people, I ended up working half the shifts and always a weekend day. Keep in mind this was on-call support duty, on top of the 40-hour workweek.

About 6 months and many frazzled nerves later, I told them that I’d accomodate their religious observances the best I could, but as I am human too, they will work the shifts they’re given or they will find another job. Thus I became rather unpopular for a time. As luck would have it, it turned out that God didn’t want them to quit their jobs or force me to suffer, so he was willing to give them a little wiggle room on their unflinching church and synagogue commitments. Thus we were able to work out alternative arrangements with flex time.

Scheduling is really, really hard when you have some unattractive shifts and not enough people to cover them. Next time I hire support people, I will ask them: “Without disclosing the reasons, can you tell me what parts of the 168-hour work week you are unable or unwilling to work?” If their proposed schedules don’t work, they’re not getting the job.

This may be totally irrelevant to the op, which I haven’t read, because I am in no condition to. But the title of the OP made me think of this… and it might turn out to be relevant in some way, by probable co-incidence…

Whenever I do a rota I make sure to ask or know all parties preferences concerning days off an shift preference (morning, evening, or night) more often than not I manage to accomodate everyone’s preferences, but whenever I can’t I weigh up everyone’s preferences against everyone else’s and do the rota accordingly. I then inform those who’s preferences I was unable to accomodate and ask if they accept the situation. If I can sacrafice my own preferences in favour of anothers I will (I don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of my position as he-who-does-the-rota)

In other words. If I asked someone what there preference was, and then seemed to ignore it… it’s because I weighed it up against all other gathered preferences and it lost.

Not only does my work ask me to fill in my preferences, they also call it “self-scheduling”. I work 7am-7pm.


Not only do I work every other weekend, 12+ hours/day-so no weekend when I get home-the day of the week that I work changes every week.

It is almost impossible to plan anything with the school, church, socially etc when I do not know what day I will not be available (the weekends are set in stone-I have worked every mother’s day the last 4 years-I work the first weekend in May).
Fine, mother’s day is not a legally recognized holiday–tell that to my kids who want to make me breakfast in bed etc. Yes, a whine, but the point is that alot of living is missed in this 24hr/week job–because it’s 12 hours/shift and there is no predictability as to when I work. One week it’s a Tuesday, the next it’s Monday etc. No pattern.

This wouldn’t irk me so much, except that I PUT in my availability, as requested, each time–we do schedules 8 weeks in advance-we are working on July at present. So, like 5/16-I put in to work 5/18 because my wedding anniversary is 5/16. Guess what day I’m working?


Either make it self scheduling or don’t–don’t call it self scheduling and then randomly assign me days.

Should be “were”. :slight_smile:

I’ve fielded the OP’s question several times (as a supervisor in a call center). It all depends on how the preferences were used, and what determined whose preferences were more or less important. We use a ranking system based on performance. Employees get monthly objective scores, these are wrapped up into a general numerical score, and then the three-month average is used to determine an overall ranking. Each preference is run by the software we use one by one and the software assigns the closest possible schedule to your preference. Each time a schedule is selected for someone, it is removed from the pool. Hence, if you are in the top ten, chances are you’ll get what you want or very close; if in the bottom ten, you’ll likely get a schedule nowhere near what you requested, unless what you requested is very undesirable.

The schedule you mentioned is the least attractive one in our center. We have no problem scheduling graveyard, but finding people who like 2pm starts is pretty much impossible.

If you don’t know why the shifts are assigned the way they are, then you should ask. I can’t understand why they wouldn’t tell you; are they actually trying to make people unhappy?

If your schedule is making you want to switch jobs, you should probably see management about making a change for you (depending on the size of your center, sometimes they can, right away). But, if you’re not comfortable trying to change your current one, focus on next time. Say, “I got a schedule that I’n unhappy with. I really want to make sure I’m in a position to get a good schedule next time. What can I do to achieve this?”


In the most non-confrontational way I knew how, I brought up the situation to the powers that be. It was played off as a misunderstanding, and they say they’ll look in to it over the next day or two.

This has nothing to do with performance or senority, we all started the same day. I guess it’s possible that it was a mistake as I know they keep mentioning how understaffed the overnight is, so maybe it was just bad communication.

I’ll give it a few weeks and see if anything changes. I know this, if I get stuck on this shift and those hired after me get days or graveyard, I’ll have to seriously reconsider my carreer choices.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

How bizarre. I just read your OP and was about to post a suggestion that you speak with the PTB. In my experience at call centres, about 90% of the time when the schedule posting seemed completely off the wall, it was due to a misunderstanding of preferences, a mistake by the workflow department or a system glitch. I hope your employer is willing to make the situation right. Good luck.

Glad to hear it. For what it’s worth, I’ve been in the same position a few times when I was an agent myself. In one case, I had a completely bizarre schedule that was 12 hours a week for some reason (lower than the company minimum). It got fixed pretty quickly.