Bent Words

Bent Words

January 10, 2011

So here's the dealy-o...

Last week Monday my manager, J Rat, and the GM, Dan, got together to discuss a few things. On the docket were:

1. J Rat's punctuality.

Whether it's a minute late or "I left the keys to my car in Chicago and will be a few hours late," the dude cannot be on-time to save his life. This recurrence relates directly to one of two locations he frequents; the first being the bar. It's not easy being punctual when one is shitfaced and goes to bed two hours before one has to work. Alcohol has also been known to affect one's hearing, causing the alarm clock on the side of the bed to sound as though it were buried deep in an underwater cave. Under a pillow. Under a pile of large rocks.

The second location is the gym. Apparently one cannot be interrupted mid-lift to check the time.

"Must. Make. Muscles. ROAR."

Chicks dig muscles, yo. More than they dig men with jobs.

2. J Rat's ineffectual leadership skills.

His inability to properly mentor Cory and I in relation to our strengths and weaknesses was a topic of contention. Although everyone knows that it would be impossible to cultivate enthusiasm in Cory, they still try. They still think that all he needs is a bit of pep in his step, a little love in his delivery, a shade of hotter pink in his passion when all he's really lacking is more money in his pocket.

"Ya know what would excite me, Laura? A raise."

Seeing as one of my weaknesses is my lack of calm resolve in tense situations, I second this motion. You want me to be cool under pressure than stop pressuring me to perform every one else's duties, number one, and, number two, if you're going to make me take on more responsibilities, make it worth my while. Otherwise, you can just go ahead and get her done yourself. Thanks.

Besides these two objections to J Rat's performance, our department has been doing well. Our overall numbers are up. The margins are greatly improved. The business is booming more now, thanks to the introduction of sleds, than it has since we moved our shazz to the new location. So it was decided that J Rat had all of one week to show major improvements in the above areas before he was to be aborted from our establishment.

That is, he had a full week. Right up until Tuesday morning.

The parts department arrived early Tuesday morning to be given a motivational speech by J Rat himself. He was full of apologies and hope. He was full of readiness and willingness to teach. He was going to be a new man, he said. A new manager. No more bad attitude or frequent stops at Frustration Station. From then on, he would be a leader, a mentor, an asset to our professional well beings.

At 9:00am, Cory, J Rat and myself all walked away to perform our respective duties with a little more faith in our futures.

At 9:15am, J Rat swept through the parts department with tears in his eyes and a ready handshake for his co-workers.

Snap your fingers.

Done. Finished. Fired.

Manager number 6 in three years... POOF.

Cory and I were taken aback.

Not that it was so surprising to be down another man but there we were (again), tossed into the unspoken pool of expectation. Who's supposed to do all the ordering? Who's supposed to restock all the fast moving parts? Who's supposed to collaborate with distributors, brand officials, wholesalers? Us, of course. Continue on with our own duties as well as those of our ex-boss.

And, of course, there was no plan. No back up. No conversation.

And, of course, Cory put in his two-week notice on Thursday. A situation which everyone was well aware of.

And, of course, it was not until Thursday that the owners made their mad dash at securing my future employment.

"It seems to me that we failed you, Laura. Our longest standing employee (besides Marc) and we've never asked you what you want, how you feel, where you'd like to see this place go. It seems to me we haven't told you how appreciated you are..."

It seems to me you're fucking desperate. Not to mention pathetic. You knew Cory was on the cusp of abandoning his post and yet you fire J Rat despite this knowledge without first having secured a new manager? That's not "expedience," that's crassness. You're pissed off because he's late so you just poke and prod at him all day long -- slaying him with inappropriate digs -- for months instead of writing him up for his follies? That's not professional, that's stupidity. You're worried about OUR training, our mentoring, our cultivation but you cannot be bothered to cultivate your own? You don't hire a manager, you MAKE a manager. You start off strong, from the get go, not scramble to discard the product of your own apathy.

How would you even know what's happening when you're at the shop for two hours in a given week?? You have to be here, at the shop, physically present, looking about you and asking questions if you want to know what's going on. You have to be in it to win it. You can't just expect things to go where you want them to. You can't just poke and hope. You have to TALK. You have to SEE. You have to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Who are you going to hire now when all you're really good at is firing people?

This isn't a job anymore. This is a joke. This is one, great big, making the rounds, folding in on itself, JOKE.

Maybe some high schoolers, recently graduated with no plans for the future, fresh out of their unreality, not knowing what's possible in a world full of bad directions, can do the job for you. Quick! Catch them while they're still blind with new eyes. The unseeing youth. The easily cajoled McJobbers who could either be slinging burgers out of a 2X4 window or polishing bikes with a rag on the showroom floor of a motorcycle shop. Hire them.

Because I'm done playing this game. I'm done running around in circles. I'm done pretending this is a real job. I'm done trying to pull the passion out of my constantly discouraged heart. I'm done trying to fool myself that this isn't an abusive relationship. I'm done not being able to pay my bills or EVER have time to write my stories and ride my own bikes. I'm done asking "What can I do for you?" in a world where no one cares, monetarily or emotionally, how I'm doing.

I'm done thinking that THIS is all I deserve.

I have a college education. I have a will to be the best that I can be. I have a thousand dreams still scratching at my soul to be realized.

I'm not asking for the world. I'm not looking to get rich quick. I'm not a job hopper just hoping the grass is a little greener on the other side. I'm not asking for a yacht, a $500 cell phone, a big house that I can't afford filled with crap that represents the extent of who I am. I'm just asking to be rewarded for my dedication, my years of loyalty, my attention to detail. I just want to be able to go out to dinner twice a month without worrying about spending more than thirty bucks. I want to be able to buy new shoes if I need them, save money for my future, make a name for myself in my own little world.

I don't want a lot more.

But I do want more.

More than this.

Written at 6:14 p.m.