Hey, all. I know I haven’t posted anything for a while. Again. I have a good reason, I promise. About a week ago I found a guy who’s willing to give me proper critique on one of the stories I’ve been working on, and most of my evening (and middle of the night) free time has been spent on that little project.
Anyway, back to what you probably clicked here for. Since I haven’t written anything in a while, I was racking my brains earlier today for something to write as a journal entry. I was at work, internally griping about the behaviour of some customers, when it hit me. I’m pretty sure I haven’t gone into depth here about any of my part-time jobs, so why not talk about that? In fact, while I’m at it, I’ll talk about the worst one I’ve ever had.
I’m not going to write the name of the place, since doing so could potentially land me in some sort of trouble, but basically it’s an indoor trampoline facility. The concept of the place was enough to get me interested in the job, I mean who doesn’t want to work around a bunch of giant trampolines? Also, there was a nice little benefit of unlimited free trampoline time for me and one friend at a time when not working. I will just say now that I never went to that place unless it was for a shift.
The facility (for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just call it Hel — you’ll see why in a bit) was just recently built when I saw an ad for positions there on Craigslist. Like I said, it sounded really cool so I sent in my resume. I was actually pretty shocked to get a reply (this was the first time I’d gotten a job through Craigslist) saying that I would be called and all that jazz. So I was called and they asked me to come in on a certain day for the whole group employee show around since Hel was only just opening. I couldn’t make it on that day as I had work at another part-time job. I was told to come in for orientation another day, but I had to go in to say ‘hi’ on the original day, for reasons I guess.
At first, the job seemed alright. I was going to be working at the front desk once they got their systems all up and running. I don’t know who the idiot was who decided to open Hel before even the cashier system was even running (to say nothing of certain other parts of the facility), but I would have loved to smack him. The place opened in October when it wasn’t scheduled to do so until January. At first, working there was ok. Things were slow because it was nearly Christmas and stuff, so I wasn’t too stressed out in the beginning. There were other problems, though.
Problem #1: I had a specific schedule at my other part-time job, which I really liked and had no plans to leave: Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The boss at Hel told me that I should have my entire weekends free in case I needed to be called in. So, I asked my boss at my other job to take me off Sundays. I had initially taken the new job to supplement my hours and wages. I was supposed to get at least four shifts a week. The jerk only ever booked me for weekends, all weekend, and sometimes put me down for days I shouldn’t have even been working in the first place.
Problem #2: I told the boss when I started that I have fallen arches in my feet and I’m supposed to wear orthodics. While I’m usually ok without them if I’m walking around a lot, but I can’t stand in one place for long periods without them otherwise I get serious pain all up my body. The majority of my shifts involved me standing in one spot, shoeless, making sure kids didn’t do stupid things on the trampolines. (Shoes aren’t allowed in the jump areas, and we had to wear special socks with grips on them instead).
Problem #3: I was told that I was going to be trained to work at the front desk doing cashier-type stuff. They had me do time tags maybe three times and put me out on the floor or doing cleaning the rest of the time. Even after the whole place was up and running how it was supposed to me, they never did a thing to train me for the position I was promised.
Problem #4: Inconsistent direction. When the boss at Hel hired me he said I shouldn’t be afraid to be rude to the customers if they’re breaking the rules. All the rules were read out to the customers as they signed in, so they were expected to listen and comply. Later, they told me to stop yelling at the customers so much. At the end of most days I’d leave either feeling like Hitler or just mentally worn out by all the people deliberately not listening to me or doing things that just don’t make logical sense in the first place. Later still, they complained that they weren’t hearing me use my whistle enough. Really, I’m amazed I could still speak after any of those shifts.
Problem #5: Probably the biggest one for me, aside from the standing for long periods without shoes, and the reason why I now call it Hel. That place was bloody fricken cold! And I don’t mean like an “air conditioning’s turned up too high” sort of cold. Hel was built inside of a warehouse. I was working there in the middle of winter. Without shoes on my feet. Most days I couldn’t even feel my toes in spite of wearing 3 pairs of socks. Even if the heating was turned on, you couldn’t feel it. And there was only so many layers I could pile on under my uniform (t-shirt) without looking like a twit. I kid you not, that place was about the same temperature as a meat locker (and I can tell you this honestly because I’ve been in a meat locker before).
Problem #6: Most shifts were generally about 8 hours long, unless it was quiet and they sent me home early (a blessing I was always grateful for). In those 8 hours, a person would get one 15 minute break about halfway through their shift. Only one person could be on break at any given time, and no one kept track of who was getting breaks and when (I actually went through an entire shift without a single break once). Now, I’m not expert on labour laws, but I’m pretty sure that that’s all kinds of illegal. From what I learned about jobs in school, an employee on an 8 hour shift is entitled to two 15 minute breaks, paid, and one 30 minute unpaid break. Also, you technically weren’t supposed to leave your post unmonitored, so I was always reluctant to go ask for my break if I was watching a section not in viewing distance of the front desk (my own problem, I know, but still)
So those are the big 6 reasons why this is the only job I was actively searching for a replacement for. An additional, although minor, reason was a problem of distance and transportation. I didn’t have my own car at the time, so I always had to coordinate with my parents to be sure I could get a ride to work. The bus route didn’t exactly stop close by, and a lot of the time I had to walk all the way over to the (sort-of) nearby Colossus Theatre after a long shift of freezing my sore feet in misery.
I’m not sure if I talked about this before or not, but I’ll write it here anyway. A certain event happened one day, coincidently the same day I was planning to give notice (I’d found another job by then), that just finalized my need to get away from working at that place once and for all.
I was watching over the foam pit — a rather annoying job since people tended to take painfully long times to climb out of the foam pit — when a boy cut his knee on some plywood at the edge of the pit that had gotten exposed (probably by kids not listening when I told them not to pull on the foam mats when climbing out). At first, I couldn’t see the blood and thought he was just lingering in the pit like most kids did. When I did see the blood, boy was there a lot of it. Nothing like if he’d gotten a serious laceration, but enough that several pieces of foam were quite stained with it on one side.
Now, I’m not trained in first aid. The only blood I’m accustomed to seeing is my own, and only in very small amounts. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Of course, I took most of the bloody foam out of the pit first and stuck it to the side (I had no idea what else to do with it). Then, after telling the girl behind the front desk what had happened, I had to walk the bleeding kid all the way around the facility (ironically, though the foam pit has the best view of the front desk, it’s also the furthest from said desk in regards to walking distance) and up to the front where I had to rifle through the horribly disorganized box of medical supplies (consisting mostly of bandages and exactly 0 tubes of Polysporin).
This, of course, had to happen at the busiest time of day and the response of all the people in charge was, essentially, for me to handle the situation by myself. So I tried. I really did try. I know how unpleasant it is to be bleeding in front of other people, so I really really tried. The trouble was, I know nothing about giving first aid aside from “put on the Poly” and sticking a bandage on top. At the same time as I was struggling to find suitable sized bandages and something to clean the poor kid’s knee, his mother was going on at me for doing things wrong. Of course, the boss couldn’t be found, because he was always somewhere not where I was unless he was telling me to do something. So, there I am, stressing out because this kid was bleeding and his mom is yelling at me for getting blood all over the floor while trying to clean the cut with eyewash solution (which is apparently also good for cleaning cuts; a fact I only know because that’s the one thing the boss did tell me after ten minutes of unsuccessful searching for the aforementioned Poly).
Finally, the mom asked if I had any first aid training and, when I told her I did not, told me to go get someone who did. So, shaking and literally on the verge of tears, I walked up to the front desk and told them to get someone who knew what they were doing to help the kid. Then, I walked straight into the break room/storage room (it served as both but really only had chairs for us to sit on in regards to “break room supplies”), curled up in one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs, and cried my eyes out. I don’t care if the security camera filmed my entire little breakdown, they should know what they did.
I told the boss flat out when he hired me that I had no first aid training. He was fine with that and took no measures to give me first aid training, or even put any sort of organization system to the giant storage box he used for the first aid equipment. Not only that, he left me alone to deal with an injured child in spite of lacking that knowledge or experience.
To be honest, looking back, I should have just flat out quit right there when I was done crying. Just walked out and never gone back. Sadly, I didn’t. I worked there for one more weekend (all they’d scheduled me for) and never went back. Come to think of it, I never got any pay-stubs from that place either. How the heck was I supposed to know how much they were paying me every two weeks?!