KarinK

Workplace problems

19 posts in this topic

I am having a few issues at my (most likely) temporary place of employment-is it permissible to discuss them in this forum?

Thank you.

K.

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Certainly. Please feel free to do so.

Thank you.

I am currently working in retail as I am between jobs (actually careers to be specific) and attending school.

There are a large number of teenagers who also work where I do. The manager (a woman-my own age-an adult) favors the younger boys (i.e. looks the other way when they do nothing, gives them the best hours, schedules and promotions, and flirts with them outrageously but that is immaterial).

The older women (over 30) at my place of work are scrutinized. e.g. breaks timed to the last minute, 2 or 3 minutes late (which should not happen I do agree with this) they are marked as late and warned, told to do busywork when there is nothing else to do-the younger boys are completely exempt from these situations.

Additionally, when I have to work as a cashier-the younger people all help each other with bagging the goods while another runs the cash register-while the older people are left with no assistance when they run the register.

Some of this I find possibly unfair and it is also a negative environment. Working with the public is also stressful. I do a good job there but it makes no difference-I am a woman over 30 therefor I do not exist. I do not want to sound whiney-I do not feel sorry for myself and I know I can change my place of employment if necessary. Pluses are the hours are flexible while I attend school and it is a 10 minute drive from my home.

btw it is a union organization (yes I know all about the objectivist opinion on that one!)

Co-workers say 'hey life is not fair' - ala 'who is john galt', but I think in a workplace everyone should be treated equally if they do the work equally well and punished if doing poorly in an equal way.

I know alot of work is 'who you know' and ' who you flatter brownnose' that does not seem to change whatever type of employment I have had (and I have had many diverse types! :D )

I am looking for advice on what an student of Objectivism would do in my situation.

TIA

KarinK

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I am looking for advice on what an student of Objectivism would do in my situation.

I do not know "officially" what a "student of Objectivism" would do, but my advice to you would be to mentally slough off this institutionalized insanity and just make the best that you can of your work. If this job were something other than a convenient stopgap measure towards your greater goals, then I would say stand and fight. Of course, if you can easily find another job with the same or similar benefits as your current one, minus the nuttiness, then I would say go for that. Let me tell you a story with certain similarities to your own.

When I was of age I ran, not walked, from my home, and I worked the midnight to 8am shift at the post office while going to school during the day. The mail packages section was broken down into several functions: loading the conveyor belt with packages; sorting the packages on the belt into bins for each state; separating the packages from the bins and loading them into bags for cities; loading the bags onto other conveyor belts; etc. Everything worked on a ticket basis; you would get a ticket for completing one task in each of the functions, and a given person would work one function on each shift.

Some of the workers were relatives or friends of the supervisor who dispensed the tickets, and these people magically accumulated the required tickets after just a couple of hours of work, and just sat around contemplating their navels for the remaining hours. Me, I figured that if I was going to be there, I was going to work, so when I finished one task I moved onto another section. It was not unusual for me to first load up the conveyor belt, sort out and throw the packages into bins, push the bins to the different areas for each state, and then sort out the cities into separate bags. A one-man show, all performed with a dozen lazy characters just lying around.

Truth is, after the first day or two I no longer noticed these other "workers," and just went about doing my jobs. It became a challenge for me to see how quickly I could perform each task; how well I could learn to toss the packages into the right bins; how well I could remember the order of the cities within the bags for the states, etc. I made up my own challenges and enjoyed this otherwise relatively mindless work. This work was a stopgap measure, and I made the most of it.

So, I say forget about your silly supervisor, and forget about the younger people who take advantage of the situation, and forget about the little cliques that are formed. Come to work, do your job, make the most of it that you can, and realize that for you, at least, this is some convenient temporary work as you are seeking your real goal. These other people, and their problems and attitudes, are hardly worth your attention.

I wish you the best with your schooling.

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What wonderful advice-I thank you!

I hope to reply further asap to your excellent post...but just think I have to add at this point that this "stopgap" may be for another few years-possibly 3 or 4

I am trying to go back to school to study paralegalism (2 yr degree-should take me 1 with old credits) and if I like it onward to law school...I am not going to worry about my age-it doesn't matter to me-it is a challenge and I like it so far...

With the length of time in mind-perhaps you are right and I should look for another less obnoxious stopgap job.

But your advice about doing my best in this job now is appreciated-I will take that approach more fully-having tried it a bit already to make work tolerable.

Again many thanks

KarinK

I do not know "officially" what a "student of Objectivism" would do, but my advice to you would be to mentally slough off this institutionalized insanity and just make the best that you can of your work. If this job were something other than a convenient stopgap measure towards your greater goals, then I would say stand and fight. Of course, if you can easily find another job with the same or similar benefits as your current one, minus the nuttiness, then I would say go for that. Let me tell you a story with certain similarities to your own.

When I was of age I ran, not walked, from my home, and I worked the midnight to 8am shift at the post office while going to school during the day. The mail packages section was broken down into several functions: loading the conveyor belt with packages; sorting the packages on the belt into bins for each state; separating the packages from the bins and loading them into bags for cities; loading the bags onto other conveyor belts; etc. Everything worked on a ticket basis; you would get a ticket for completing one task in each of the functions, and a given person would work one function on each shift.

Some of the workers were relatives or friends of the supervisor who dispensed the tickets, and these people magically accumulated the required tickets after just a couple of hours of work, and just sat around contemplating their navels for the remaining hours. Me, I figured that if I was going to be there, I was going to work, so when I finished one task I moved onto another section. It was not unusual for me to first load up the conveyor belt, sort out and throw the packages into bins, push the bins to the different areas for each state, and then sort out the cities into separate bags. A one-man show, all performed with a dozen lazy characters just lying around.

Truth is, after the first day or two I no longer noticed these other "workers," and just went about doing my jobs. It became a challenge for me to see how quickly I could perform each task; how well I could learn to toss the packages into the right bins; how well I could remember the order of the cities within the bags for the states, etc. I made up my own challenges and enjoyed this otherwise relatively mindless work. This work was a stopgap measure, and I made the most of it.

So, I say forget about your silly supervisor, and forget about the younger people who take advantage of the situation, and forget about the little cliques that are formed. Come to work, do your job, make the most of it that you can, and realize that for you, at least, this is some convenient temporary work as you are seeking your real goal. These other people, and their problems and attitudes, are hardly worth your attention.

I wish you the best with your schooling.

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I have been treated unfairly or inconsistently at jobs previously, over matters that had nothing to do with the quality of my work -- office politicking, primarily. The last time this happened, I simply decided I would not tolerate it. I found another, better job, and left.

I enjoyed the exit interview immensely.

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I am trying to go back to school to study paralegalism (2 yr degree-should take me 1 with old credits) and if I like it onward to law school...I am not going to worry about my age-it doesn't matter to me-it is a challenge and I like it so far...

Good for you! Go for it.

This reminds me of what happened when I met up with a high school friend at our 25th reunion. Her children were off to college and now she had time to do something for herself. She had always dreamed of being a lawyer, but worried that she was too old.

"Do you realize that when I graduate law school, I'll be forty-five?" Her husband asked "How old will you be if you don't go to law school?" She enrolled immediately. :D

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It seems like there's a return-to-school trend going on right now. I know several people (myself included) who are now returning to college or attending for the first time after several years out in the "real world." No age is too old to pursue values!

Just think about all of the advantages we older students will have over most of the younger traditional-age students after graduation. We've already been "out there" and know what's-what, whereas they still have to figure it out; and, that's a HUGE deal, IMO.

Has anybody else observed that more older people are enrolling in college recently?

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Has anybody else observed that more older people are enrolling in college recently?

Yup. Me. Sort of. I'm 39.

Back in '02 I left one career -- or so I thought -- to drive from LA to Maine to go to film school to study cinematography. It was a seven week short course from which I learned volumes by drinking from a fire hose. After walking away from a six figure salary, I was mowing lawns as a work study in Maine and loving every minute of it.

I returned to LA, worked on a bunch of film projects as a volunteer (how does one get a paid gig in the movie business? :D), and eventually ran out of money. So I got my current day job, never realizing that it would rekindle my long dying interest in spaceflight engineering.

These days I openly entertain the notion of going back to school for a Ph.D. in non-linear dynamics. Cal Tech if they'd have me. Or maybe an MFA in cinematography. AFI if they'd have me. Both? Or maybe stop daydreaming and get back to work!

Somewhere in all of this I am to discover my central purpose in life! That, for me, is truly a difficult question ...

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I simply decided I would not tolerate it.  I found another, better job, and left.

I enjoyed the exit interview immensely.

If I have to stay at this job longer than another few months I will start looking again.

I BET you loved that exit interview! :D

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Good for you!  Go for it.

This reminds me of what happened when I met up with a high school friend at our 25th reunion.  Her children were off to college and now she had time to do something for herself.  She had always dreamed of being a lawyer, but worried that she was too old.

"Do you realize that when I graduate law school, I'll be forty-five?" Her husband asked "How old will you be if you don't go to law school?"  She enrolled immediately. :D

Betsy THANK YOU so MUCH for this story-it is PERFECT! Good for her-good for all of us it is NEVER too late.

K.

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These days I openly entertain the notion of going back to school for a Ph.D. in non-linear dynamics. Cal Tech if they'd have me. Or maybe an MFA in cinematography. AFI if they'd have me. Both? Or maybe stop daydreaming and get back to work!

Somewhere in all of this I am to discover my central purpose in life! That, for me, is truly a difficult question ...

I think you should move back to LA and make movies. But that's just me.

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Sounds to me that you are destined to make a great film about spaceflights!  :D

I had the same exact thought.

When I was trying to decide on a career, my Dad, a very wise and successful man who loved his work, gave me this advice:

Go for what you love to do the most and THEN go looking for someone who will pay you to do it.  There is always someone who will pay if you know where to look.  If you like to sleep, you can test mattresses.

Applying my Dad's advice, I'd suggest contacting aerospace companies or their advertising agencies. Somebody's getting paid to make their in-house training films, educational films, and commercials.

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Has anybody else observed that more older people are enrolling in college recently?

I'm SO glad to see this thread about some of us "older" folks going back to school. I will be heading back this fall too. It's scary! :D But I am SO excited!!! The timing is my life is perfect!

After working on a site for a friend of a friend a few months ago, trying to work on animation, CSS and other new technical goodies, as well as being inspired beyond words by viewing works in progress by the artists at Quent Cordair - I am going to continue to pursue my greatest passion in life! Maybe someday I will have some of my own paintings in a gallery.

I love the story Betsy posted about her friend going to law school! :D

Karin, it sounds like you have a good attitude and recognize this work situation is temporary. :D

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Working for other people can be a challenge. One has to assume though, that there are other rational people out there who are looking for competent, qualified, and responsible people to work for them. They want their businesses or services to survive and thrive, and they need other good people to help them. If you keep looking you can find a good boss.

Even when I am employed by others, I still think of myself as being self-employed. I will work for someone else as long is there is a rational atmosphere to work in, the work is interesting, and the pay is reasonable. Otherwise, I find another job. Occasionally, I have also had to take a temporary, stop-gap job to keep the money coming in.

I recently was “let go” from a position, although the decision as to who was let go and who was not, was very arbitrary. Although I was very irritated by the situation, I immediately sent out resume packets to other institutions in my area and within thirty days, found a better, higher paying job with a more pleasant working atmosphere.

In pursuing good work one has to be aggressive and keep plugging away at it. No one is going to come along and discover you. Make a prioritized list of what you enjoy doing and are most qualified for. Then go after it. Eventually you will find someone who will appreciate your competency.

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Working for other people can be a challenge.  One has to assume though, that there are other rational people out there who are looking for competent, qualified, and responsible people to work for them.  They want their businesses or services to survive and thrive, and they need other good people to help them.  If you keep looking you can find a good boss.

Very true.

My Dad gave me some good advice when I was a young girl having a hard time getting hired for a "man's job." He had once had similar problems because he belonged to a despised minority. "There are only two kinds of people you can work for" he told me, "those who only care about what you can do for them and those who care about something else," and he advised me to look for the former.

My Dad chose to be an entrepreneur and always worked for himself, but he realized "people problems" were everywhere. "When you work for somebody else, you kvetch (complain) about your boss. When you work for yourself, you kvetch about your employees and your customers."

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I'm SO glad to see this thread about some of us "older" folks going back to school.  I will be heading back this fall too.  It's scary!  :D  But I am SO excited!!! 

Karin, it sounds like you have a good attitude and recognize this work situation is temporary.  :D

I am excited too! Thanks for the encouragement and have a great time back at school!

:D

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They want their businesses or services to survive and thrive, and they need other good people to help them.  If you keep looking you can find a good boss.

In pursuing good work one has to be aggressive and keep plugging away at it.  No one is going to come along and discover you.  Make a prioritized list of what you enjoy doing and are most qualified for. Then go after it.  Eventually you will find someone who will appreciate your competency.

What excellent advice!-I have stayed in positions for too long which were fruitless-good bosses and jobs are few and far between but to remember to keep looking is very important that is where you have the control. I have made the mistake of putting up with the "average" workplace where boss bunnies got all the perks while those doing a good job were either ignore or at the worst mistreated for longer than I want to think about.

And also Betsy makes a great point too-there are people problems wherever you go but there is a difference between those issues and a bad workplace/boss-another thing to remember...

I am NOT going to let what is happening in my current job get to me. I have to stay focused-it isnt always easy when the favoritism is so glaringly obvious (if I was male and gave the boss lotsa hugs and followed her like a puppy dog I would have it made, LOL) but in my case right now I have to remember

it doesn't matter and press on.

Thanks again for all the great feedback. It is appreciated.

k.

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