February 15, 2010
A Familiar Foreign Land
My Winter Wonderland Metfield Bella Vista AR
I am now into my third week on my job. In many ways things are going very well. I love my hours and the work is not the most difficult I have ever done...In fact the job at Walmart.com perhaps was more difficult, the pressure of the quota, the thought that peoples lives were about to be turned upside down when I would have to tell them that there identity had been stolen bore down heavy on me.
What I do now night after night is to comfort, console and direct over the road drivers, many of whom have been out away from home for weeks at a time. I am using a computer program that is based on AS400, so it looks like hieroglyphics on screen after screen and makes no sense at the first glance. I need an interpreter, and the men I am working with have been charged with that role...
Working with drivers and trucking is in my blood and bones. Since I was 11 years old as I told in this post Peaches To Winnepeg
. I have heard the siren song of the 4 lane highway for as long as I can remember...the road trip is my idea of royal progress. And for those of my readers who dont get it, just stop into any big box store that had incresed your standard of living. Thank Joe and Jane Trucker for all of that stuff you buy. This is well known familiar place. I speak the language, and when I see the drivers here in NW Arkansas to go to our Driving School, or just pulled in for a load of Chicken from Tyson, or to get a tractor repaired or upgraded... I smile understanding the difficulty of their lot, thankful that they choose to do this work, and I do what I can to assist them. The problems hastles and considerations of this life are well known to me.
But the structure of the company, how they divide the duties and what are the priorities and corporate culture, this is new. I have never worked in a situation where they divide the duties the way this place does, and a lot of it I dont get yet...
The training has been spotty, and its been peppered with "Hey I dont have time for you to write notes down on this either you get it or you dont..." Which of course is a crock. I finally had them assign me some boards to watch which generate driver activity, I answer emails mostly, and ask a lot of questions. Sometimes I get answers... sometimes I try to wing it and it works out or it doesnt. It is a problem and as the week went on I found it harder and harder to swallow... They want me to fail and the smirk on one face when I told my supervisor out loud that after two weeks I hardly know how to sign on to the system told me this.
The truth is that the "tribe" doesnt want "Wendy" in the treehouse. She is like Mom, her presence spoils their fun, that cant cuss talk trash about women, goof off and not look at me and feel like guilty morons. I say nothing about this stuff, I dont comment or react. I cant afford to lose this job. I press on feeling like the enviroment is growing more and more hostile.
Finally it came to a head the other night when the pressure was on and things went going very well. We all had issues to deal with. I was getting very little help...The guy in front of me kept slamming his chair into the partition and my desk so hard that coffee was spilling not once but at least a dozen times, much cursing and muttering about how stupid drivers customers, the day shift...
Then I heard a comment about a "stupid bitch" and another guy said something about the cusser having sex with her...They went back and forth louder and louder with the most horrible violent statements against women I have heard in public in a long time... I was shocked. None of them looked at me as they were doing this but I was sitting right there. One of the two supervisors came running in and Shouted "Enough" and asked if I was alright. I guess I looked pretty bad,and shook my head. I was taken out of the room to a private office.
I was asked if I wanted to report the incedent..."I need this job," I told this man. "I cannot afford to make waves that might go against me, but this was intentional sexual harrassment, and I wont tolerate it. I need it understood that I am allowing you to deal with it tonight but the next time I will go over your head on this. I wont take the "Boys will be Boys nonesense..." "Nor will I accept the "We arent running a Sunday School in here line" He said he understood that... I also told him that should any of these guys decide that I am fair game for any of the things they ranted about tonight that I am not responsible for how I will choose to react or defend myself. I shouldnt have to even say this but since you have a bunch of animals in there I have a right to use a stick on them... He said he understood.But he didt promise that it wouldnt happen again...
I understand that the guys got a dressing down that was composed of... "You sorry bags of trash are lucky you still have a job, if it ever happens again you will lose your jobs... I know that the next evening was pretty quiet...Fine with me
I dont need to be accepted, I just need this job. The manager that talked to me has taken over the training and I have been told that my expectations are a lot higher than the company's...To relax and suit up show up and dont let the jerks ruin a good opportunity. I have been here before. in the late 80's when they could still hang nude photos up in warehouse offices and called it freedom of expression When I had to take the ladies room key that was attached to a 2 foot peice of pipe with a chain, not to keep it from getting lost but to use as a weapon against an attacker that might be hiding in the bathroom on the dock. It is a familiar foreign land that I thought never to visit again. But I am determined to settle there to thrive and improve the situation. It seems to be what God has called me to do and I am content in doing it.
Labels: Scenic Arkansas, weather, working