Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Four of the Worst Jobs You Will Never Work

I'm sooo tired of hearing the faux liberal Bourgeoisie expound on stuff they know nada about. 

They think $10 an hour is a living wage. Go get a job that pays $10 an hour and work it for a couple of months ... if you can find one. Make your house payment/rent and your car payments with it. Pay the sitter/daycare that watches your kid while you work this supposed living wage. Buy gas, buy food and watch your paycheck disappear literally overnight, a day after it deposits into your checking. Forget internet service, your phone, car insurance, etc. -- you can't afford that on $10 an hour.

Take the eternal We Hate Walmart gang. Listen, Walmart ain't that bad. If you tell me it is, you're implying that working for Bed, Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Chili's or CVS is heaven on earth. It's not, it's just as shitty. Ninety percent of retail work pays less than $10 an hour and raises are fairy tales.

Before you get your bought online, hipster panties in a twist I'll enlighten you. There are much, MUCH worse places to work than Walmart. Day jobs that beat you psychologically so badly you have to go on antidepressants or you start engaging in Mad Max road rage, temp gigs so dehumanizing they make wiggling your tits in some slob's face at Hooters seem entrepreneurial. Jobs so fucking awful, office shooting fantasies are the norm.

Some of the worst places to work in America are right here in Reno. Not surprising, since Nee-va-Duh is one of those Bend-Over-For-Corporations stupid Libertarian states.

Take this place for example. On the surface, their website seems legit and they're an affiliate of Microsoft so what could possibly be wrong with working there? First of all, the entire reason this creepy German temp agency was appropriated by Microsoft is because of Enron and corporate accounting scandals which led to the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002. Basically, Microsoft might not have been telling their shareholders how many millions they rake in every fiscal quarter in software licensing agreements, so Arvato-Bertelsmann was created as a way to "process" all licenses. The software and database the company uses is draconian, there are redundancies on top of redundancies, unreadable pull-down menus, etc. because it was created over a decade ago and has never been updated. While temping there I was 1) required to sit and take notes for 9 hours a day, 2) my notes could never leave the office, 3) if I went to the bathroom, I had to put my notes in a drawer or risk termination and 4) I wasn't supposed to "ask too many questions" about the archaic business process. I got reprimanded for trying to type my notes up, this was seen as a waste of time. This place has about a 50% turn-over rate in the first three months. I saw people get fired for refusing to work 16-hour days, failing to punch in and out for breaks and taking more than 28 minutes for lunch.

This place is one of the shining jewels in Reno's light industry crown. It's an example of how well things can work out for a tax-revenue bankrupt state with zero social infrastructure when they fling the gate wide and let any old corporation slink in during the night when OSHA isn't looking. It's a massive refrigerated food processing facility that, until January, paid it's employees $8.75 an hour. They work in a 37F (2.7C) environment for 10 to 12 hour shift while wearing many, many layers of  safe food handling gear. Here's an abbreviated list of the Dos and Donts at SK Foods:
No earrings
No jewelry
No wedding rings
No gum
No hard candy
No water
No drinks of any kind
No piercings of any kind (including earrings)
No iPods
No radios
No talking

If you sneeze, even while you're wearing your "beard net", you have to leave the food assembly line. If you fail to remove the right gear when you go to the bathroom, you're fired. Although they don't pay you, all employees are required to show up 30 minutes prior to their shift. That means if your shift starts at 5:30am, you have to be there at five or they fire you. They have conservatively, a 70% turnover rate within the first week. There are labor temp offices that do nothing but advertise for them. Constantly. One former employee described it as "like prison". Anyway, it's something to think about while you're eating your low-fat egg sandwich at Starbucks which was made by this place.

Yes, this is what a call center looks like ... one that
has clean cubicles and chairs that aren't broken.

This place has been up and running since the 1990s. Everybody in Nevada was jazzed when it opened. I've met people who were fired because they were late for work due to a car accident. I knew one person who worked on one of the loading docks during Xmas. He got pneumonia, probably from breathing the frigid desert air mixed with diesel exhaust. They fired him for being sick. I met a young woman who worked there for six months. She was tough-as-nails, a real company person and even she described Amazon's fulfillment center as horrible. She worked 10-hour shifts and got two 15-minute breaks and one 30-minute lunch. If it took her 14 minutes to walk from her picking station on the lower level to the break room and back, guess how long her lunch was? Whatever your quota is at Amazon, it doesn't matter. You will be pushed to always do better. There is no acceptable quota. Everyone is in a constant state of 'not good enough'. Oh, and they strip search people. At random. All the time.

In the rush to condemn Walmart most upper-middle class people are unaware that some of the worst job environments are call centers. They're stressful by design. You're dealing with pissed off customers because their phone, TV, car, internet service, etc. doesn't work right. AT&T runs some of the worst in the country. They have chronic turnover, won't provide references for their former employees even if they leave on good terms, and their pay and raises are laughable.

This place is -- hand's down -- one of the worst I've ever worked for. They psychologically abuse their new hires starting on day one. As a long-time call center employee put it: "The whole thing is a hostile work environment." We were told not to wear jeans or tennis shoes ... by supervisors wearing T-shirts and flipflops. We were given a giddy rundown of who had been fired that day by our trainer at the beginning of every shift. And they fired people every single day I was there. If they fired someone who had been there "a long time" (more than five months) they high-fived each other. Supervisors regularly cruised the break area (a sort of pen with a tiny awning in the parking lot) to eavesdrop on new hires' conversations. People were fired for saying "crap" during break while they weren't anywhere near a phone line or an incoming call. People were fired for using their personal cell phones ... in the bathroom while on break. People were fired for "having a bad attitude" or "asking too many questions" about AT&T's absurd 20-some different databases and software we were required to use to answer dead-simple questions like "how can I order a new phone?" The call center insists that they "want you to succeed and become long-term employees." This is a lie. They only really make money if their workforce is in constant turnover. 

This corporation makes money by billing AT&T every quarter so many thousands of dollars because they "have to train more new hires". It's this silly pyramid scheme where new hires lose every time. The whole thing from start to finish is designed to either get you fired or make you quit. When I was actively encouraged to rat out my fellow workers by telling supervisors if someone was "using their mute button too much" I quit.
Actual note forbidding personal cell phone use in the restrooms.

This company mismanages its workforce so badly that one of their call centers in the Philippines filed a labor suit against them. The Philippines! A part of the world where teenagers are regularly chained to sewing machines to work for pennies a day making clothes for rich Westerners.

I'd like all the people Thom Hartmann calls the "Bourgeoisie petty rich" to please shut the fuck up. If you and your spouses' combined income is $75,000 to $250,000 annually, just shut up about Walmart. You don't know what it's like to work at one of these places day after day, month after month, to have to choose between worse and much worser, to have to choose between crashing at a relatives indefinitely until this Recession (read: Depression) subsides, if ever, or checking into a homeless shelter (if they aren't already full). 

If your annual gross income is between $75,000 and $250,000 you have no idea what life for the working poor is about. Poor is something you drove by in 1989 on the way to your graduate classes at a prestigious university your rich uncle or generous grandma paid for so you would never have to endure this kind of slow spiritual death. If your dotcom startup has finally taken off, if your career as an anesthesiologist or a real estate agent or software engineer is stable, you have no idea what I'm talking about. Poor is just a bad rumor to you. Poor is somewhere you went slumming in 1992 when you worked for Cinnabon for a month between semesters at that nice private college I never so much as toured. Poor is something you contemplated when you pulled $15,000 out of your $300,000 trust to get yourself through that "rough patch" between 2009 and 2011 when you were trying to find gallery space for your performance art.

P.S. I hate the Waltons and everything their grasping, despot family stands for but they are not the only monsters in this new Gilded Age. The real Godzilla is what it has always been, apathy.

1 comment:

nolab said...

I especially love the 'poor people have it easy' crowd. I can't even...