Sigh...I know I complain about work a fair bit but this is bothering me and kinda ruining my weekend. So maybe, just maybe, if I type it out I can purge it from my brain for the rest of my weekend. It's long and I won't be offended if you don't want to read it, but here we go:
Inventory is coming up at work, actually on Wed 01Sept. Every year I've looked forward to inventory as I love to count, categorize, organize, sort, track and label things. For the past four years I have skipped the seniority queue and been asked to participate in inventory. Partly because I am the only scaler (there used to be two), I know the department, and I really like doing inventory.
This year, I've decided, I just can't be bothered with the whole process. At the moment I care so little about the company that I'd rather someone else went through the tedious task of recording every item's weight. I don't even care if I have to rearrange things because they were put back in the wrong location. Normally, this would bother me a lot. I like control. I like order. But I hate my job, so if I can't immediately find the nutmeg after inventory I know my world won't stop turning. I'll just find it when I need it.
Owner has created such a horrible environment to be in that I really need to limit my exposure to it in order to avoid a meltdown. Owner doesn't know it, but she's very lucky that I'm not the kind of person to call in sick when I don't feel like working. I show up every day. I do my job. Every day I fight the urge to tell someone to F*CK OFF. Every day it's a struggle not to start a fight (passive-aggressive or otherwise) with Owner over petty crap. Every day I resist the sneer on my lips when I need to address my bosses. I am able to do this because 80% of my day is spent without contact with others. With inventory I'd be working right next to someone I despise for six+ hours.
As inventory day got closer I noticed Owner had not asked me if I could work it. Big Boss used to confirm with me that I would work it before creating the schedule. We are a union shop, seniority has to be taken into account but because scaling is my area I'm given preference. Luckily nobody has complained over the years that I've skipped the queue. This year, Owner has not even brought up the subject of inventory. Owner has also not been on the production floor much over the last week either. Since there is nobody in Big Boss's place to run the plant, there is nobody in charge of personnel, there is nobody to go to for schedule conflicts or vacation days...there is nobody for me to tell that I don't want to work inventory. Except Owner. But Owner hasn't been available recently. So I did the next best thing. I can't trust bosses to get messages to Owner (this has been demonstrated in the past), so when I saw the inventory schedule with my name on it from last year laying on Owner's desk, I put a sticky note on it saying I wasn't able to work it this year. Nothing happened for three days. Then I got a phone call.
While I was on my way home from work on Friday, Owner called me at home and left a message saying that it was unacceptable that I can't work it. That it is a regularly scheduled day for me and I have no choice. And that I should have told her personally, not left a note. Never mind that I hadn't seen her for almost three days. I listened to the message, and called the union. Our union rep is on vacation so I was given her replacement's voicemail. I have not heard back yet but will call obsessively on Monday as I need to know if I have firm ground before I put my foot down with Owner.
There are some union issues at play here and I don't know if I'm in the right or not. But I suspect that I am. First off, our contract guarantees that people with ten years or more of employment with the company at the time of signing the contract get a minimum of four shifts per week. We are on four days a week right now...except inventory week. The schedule says we work Mon, Tues and Thurs. Inventory is on Wed and we have Fri off. That's only three shifts. So those seven people with ten+ years should get the opportunity to work inventory before I'm even asked (I only have five years employment). And, if I say no then everyone with less seniority than me is asked. If there still isn't enough people then Owner can compel participation using reverse seniority, the person with the least seniority works the day, then the next from the bottom, etc.
In the past, salaried people (non-union) work in pairs with hourly people (union). There are six bins to count for inventory, two people per bin except one takes three people. That's a total of 13 staff needed. If we follow the same pattern as other years then there will be six salaried people working (Purchaser, Shipper, Line Manager, QA, R&D Baker and Cost Accountant) and seven union staff needed. So, if all seven union staff with 10+ years want to work the day then I shouldn't even be asked to work it. If not all seven want the shift (and every other year there are three that will say yes for sure), then there is still two people with more seniority than me that should be asked first.
I can see why I would be given preference as scaling is my department, but every single person on the production floor can do inventory. It doesn't require special training, just the ability to tare a container, weigh a full container and take note of the amount of product in the container. Every person has been trained to do this as part of their job. Every. last. one. So it can't be said that only specialized people are qualified for this task.
Now, if everyone above me says no to the inventory then the people below me are asked. There are seven people below me. The only way I'd be needed is if salaried people aren't used. Owner is notoriously cheap (did I mention we aren't allowed gloves for certain tasks as they are too expensive?) so I can't see her paying for six salaries and giving them the day off. And like I said, there are three senior staff that say yes to every shift asked. So the chances of me being forced to work the day are minuscule. Besides, my backup plan is to call in sick and spend the day at the Medicenter getting a note saying I'm ok to return to work.
I am walking into this situation with my eyes wide open. I know that Owner is a bully. I know that even if I am 100% correct and have the union back me up I will still be targeted. I've seen her do it to others and it is extremely stressful. Owner already has begun by telling me to train people, but telling people that I'm not allowed to tell them what to do. She tells me to leave work for others if I can't finish in time, but then complains that she doesn't have the staff to finish my work for me. She has told me to work late to finish, signed my overtime on my time card, and complained after payday at how much overtime she had to pay me, and that it's unacceptable so no overtime is allowed. She told me I have a bad attitude because I walked away from her during a conversation (in my opinion, the conversation was done, all that was remaining was her insults) and that she is the one who decides when a conversation is over, but then complains that I stand around and not do my job. It's impossible to do anything right and eventually I'll get written up over something.
This all could be easier if I would just work the damn inventory day. But I feel like I have to stand up to her at some point or she will take advantage of me. And inventory is the hill I've chosen to die on. I will be respectful, polite and firm when I talk to her about it on Tuesday but no matter what it will be viewed as an attack. The fallout of this will be tremendous, I know that I have to hold my ground and be a Perfect Employee so as not to give her any ammunition. I know this will be extremely difficult. And I know I will feel better about myself if I do it.
ps - because I do love inventory so much it is one of the fields I'm looking into as a new job. Maybe there is something better out there...hopefully I'll find it sooner rather than later.