It’s all so upsetting…


My boss kicked me out of the office 20 minutes early last Friday. He seemed kind of upset that I was just sort of sitting around. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Waiting until five,” I said. He scowled at me and stomped off. Three minutes later he was back. “What, you don’t want to go home?”I assured him that yes, I did indeed want to go home, but I get paid hourly. He stomped off. Three minutes later he was back. “Do you want a broom to lean on or something?”

At that point I gave up and went home.

There was simply nothing to do. All my work was done. There ain’t no more. It’s all finished. The printing presses are off. The design work is done. The floor is swept and the paint on the walls is less than a year old. But I couldn’t afford to go home, either, even though I had a TON of stuff to do at home…

Today was payday. Of course, I found that I was exactly 20 minutes short of my 40 hours. For some reason this makes me irrationally angry. It only adds up to about five bucks… Five little dollars. But I really wanted those five little dollars.

In my mind, I work the first 39 hours of the week to pay bills (we’re in debt way farther than I’m comfortable with). The last hour is my “beer money.” That’s the money I get to play with. So it upsets me mightily to lose that last 20 minutes of work…

Oddly enough, the bosses have, in the past, punished me for not getting 40 hours a week on my time card. (“Since you don’t actually work 40 hours a week, and between 1997 and 1998 you only averaged 33 hours a week, we feel that we should only pay you for 33 hours a week while you’re on vacation…”) So now they won’t LET me get 40 hours. I feel conflicted.

For the last 12 or 13 years they’ve blocked my four efforts to join the union (“sorry, we must have lost your application or something”), so I have no retirement fund or 401k. They “forgot” to give me two weeks of vacation between 2004 and 2006. They decided to only pay me 75% of my vacation pay (though they’ve rescinded that decision since). They simply don’t give raises, period.

But what really bugs me is losing that lousy five dollars…

All around, this is a good place to work, but it’s frustrating at times!

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7 thoughts on “It’s all so upsetting…

  1. Pixie

    It sounds a real mean place to work, even if outside of the money issue it’s Ok.

    And so not good having no beer money, very definately not fair.

    can’t you join the union without the bosses knowing, or does it work differently in America?

  2. katrocket

    I have no idea what your labour laws are in Iowa, but in Canada, your boss would be criminally prosecuted.

    Employers who arbitrarily make up their own rules like “we’re not paying you for vacation time” are relying on the fact that they don’t pay you enough to hire a lawyer to sue them. It’s an unfortunate viscious cycle for the “working poor”, as we’re often referred to.

    I’ve heard bad stories about cheated workers in the U.S., and it seems that non-union employees in America don’t enjoy the same protection through policy that we have in the north. But perhaps some investigation on Google might show you what your rights are?

    I could never work for such a petty a-hole. Your boss sucks.

  3. Chris

    There ARE good things about where I work… I have an indoor job, there’s no manual labor, they rarely question my judgment…

    But they pay me just enough that I can’t afford to leave. If I’d go work at McDonald’s or something I’d probably lose two bucks an hour, maybe three, and there just aren’t many good paying jobs to be had around here. We still owe a ton of money on our house so we can’t afford to just “up and move,” either.

    About the union — the bosses have to know who’s in the union, as they’re required to toss union members some retirement benefits. They can’t STOP people from joining, but the lady I have to give my application to is the same lady that’s in charge of keeping costs down in the company. So…

    Vacation seems to vary year to year for me. According to company policy I’m entitled to three weeks’ paid vacation a year, but last time I checked I’d only accrued one week.

    Whine whine whine. Push comes to shove I just don’t have the cojones to quit. I do, however, think I’ll start pushing for more freelance work this fall — see if I can at least loosen the shackles a little.

  4. pistols at dawn

    I think this is a fairly common problem, particularly in smaller areas where there simply aren’t other jobs. It’s a constant battle between needing to eat food and wanting to stand up for what you’ve been promised. Does it suck that they’re not living up to what they’ve said? Yes. But are there a whole lot of other options? Sometimes “not that bad” is the best you can do, and you spend your time on the clock figuring out a way to something better. I hope for your sake, sir, that either your employer realizes that not being an ass is its own reward, or that “something else” is soon in coming.

  5. Leonesse

    You know what I don’t miss? I don’t miss my female boss making me walk across a huuuuge building to get her water just when she knows my carpool has shown up. Nope, don’t miss it abit. Nor maintaining her children’s calendars. Or driving her to her doctor appointments.

    Also, don’t miss watching Annual Review ratings getting lowered because the ratings are tied to the bonuses. So, it didn’t matter if you did a stellar job, you would be rated less because of the cash payouts. That’s a great way to increase productivity… get a permanent lowered mark in your employment file because they are giving you bonus money for your hard work. That is supposed to encourage you to do better? Of course, the worker never really knew their rating was lowered, but I did.

    I could go on and on…. Cubicle HELL!!!

  6. Pixie

    Oh… I can SOOOOO relate to this. I am “salaried-non-exempt”. What does this mean? It’s means I’m hourly (so why don’t they just say that?). So if I’m not there for 40 hours, I don’t get paid for 40 hours, but if I’m not there for 40 hours I get in trouble… I don’t understand… I’m not there, don’t pay me… but don’t make me sit there if I don’t have anything to do? Gaaaaah! And I SOOOO relate to the $5.00. I think you wrote this post for me.

    Love to you and Dagmar!


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