My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Archive for the tag “Work”

DST

Image result for daylight savingsIn this hectic world where we wish daily that we had one more hour in our days, losing an hour is a big deal.  When it’s done on a Sunday morning where the next day is the much-dreaded and hated Monday, it’s an even bigger deal.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that this tactic has ran its course but the decision-makers continue to flog this dead horse.  Maybe they just don’t want to admit defeat.  Saying this,  I have a work-around that could make this DST work and benefit everyone.  Make the change on a weekday, preferably Monday, at about 3pm!

How would that benefit everyone?  Well when the time changes on a Sunday, employees show up to work tired and unproductive.  That’s if they do turn up, some prefer to call in sick.  If the time goes forward an  hours closer to the end of their work day, employees get to leave on hour earlier AND start their evening chores earlier too! It’s almost as if they gained an hour! It’s all in the mind of course because really, who doesn’t want to leave work early? Happy employees=production=happy employers.

Thank me later.

Facing Our Mortality

When faced with our frailty and even mortality, it’s funny but not ‘ha ha’ funny, how we suddenly reassess our priorities.  Our all-important project now seem insignificant.  Paling in comparison to the boulder of uncertainty that now impedes us.  Just last week you told your wife that there’s no way you could get the day off work so both of you could celebrate your wedding anniversary.  Too much on your desk that needed your attention. Now today as you watch her gasp for breath in a hospital bed, there you are, away from work.  Vowing not to leave without her. Work could wait.

I know, it’s funny the way we could juggle our lives and put things in perspective once we come face to face with a life-changing moment, not only in our own lives but the lives of our loved ones.  I took my soul-mate to the hospital at 3am Monday morning as she was having asthma-like complications.  As I looked at her,   huffing and puffing her way to the car, my life, past, present and future flashed before my eyes. The ‘what ifs’ were overwhelming.  I knew she was going to be ok, but still, what if?

One of my many blessings I bragged about was that I had both of my grandmothers alive and over 100 years old. In fact, I had never had a death of anyone that was close to me since I was a little boy, and that was my 103 year-old great-grandmother, who I didn’t even live with.  Last month, the younger of my grandmother passed.  Today, her son, who is my dad, lies fighting for his life in a London hospital.  His prognosis looks bleak.

What does this all mean? Perhaps nothing. Just another page in the book of life to some.  To others, it’s an eye-opener. A time to look at what’s important and how much value to assign to them.  Unfortunately, many of us are too busy to notice until we are facing our own mortality.

What A Little Prayer Can Do

To the cynic or atheist and even some Christians, the above topic would be met with skepticism. “Oh not one of those again” but I am not one of ‘those’. I only say it if I think it is so. Read on.

I started a new job last week. My last one felt short of not only my expectations but also of what it was advertised. Needless to say I wanted out badly! I prayed and my wife prayed and my little boys prayed. I also applied for jobs. I prayed that God would help me to get the right job.

I got a pre-screening phone call one day and told my wife right after “I got this”. I just had this strong conviction that the job was mine for the taking. Then I was called for an interview. Again I told my wife I was 120% certain I had the job. I don’t know why I felt that way as I am not the most optimistic person.

I had one qualm, the job description sounded a lot like my last two jobs where I had too much on my plate and was overwhelmed. I didn’t want to get back in that situation. Other than that it sounded great!

A second interview followed by a third helped to strengthen my belief that I was indeed destined to get the position. While waiting for the results of my final interview my wife almost derailed my optimism. “Honey, I don’t want you to get depressed if you don’t get the position. You may not get it and I know how pumped you have been.” She meant well but it put some doubts in my mind. My optimism was now locked in a fierce battle with my pessimism.

While waiting, we all prayed. My mom, my wife’s mom and a few friends. We made up a powerful prayer warrior team. Oh, even my neighbour offered up prayers. No wonder I was optimistic. But I was still concerned about the scope of the job. After all I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore and I wanted the next job to be my last. God, please let your will be done.

The call came when I was at the mall. The job was mine! The HR person informed me that they had made some minor changes to the position. After reviewing the position, it was determined that the job was too robust for just one person so they were hiring another person too. Prayers answered!

So you see, I don’t think but know that God speaks to and through me. Oh, and nothing happens before it’s time and what’s for a man he will get it.

When The Axe Falls

index2Wednesday was like any other day.  Work day that is.  I was busy toiling and doing Boss’ bidding when he called me.  He sounded flippant, not angry and I thought that he was finally going to have the ‘sit down’ talk I had requested earlier in the week.  I needed to get him to realize how much he had heaped on my plate.  “When you are done doing what you are doing, let me know and I’ll meet up with you in your office.”  I immediately started making mental notes.  I wrote some on a piece of paper.  I wanted to be ready to air my points and recommendations.

He met me in my office as promised.  Right on cue! Very rare for him as he was more like the absent and scarcely seen Boss.  He beckoned me to follow him to the board room so we could talk in private.  I grabbed my note pad with me.  Can’t go in there unarmed.  I was mildly surprised to see the HR guy waiting for us at the door.  Looking back on the scene,  he was more like a vulture waiting for the spoils.  Or was it the executioner?  “What is he doing here?”  I thought.  “Boss must have asked him to come to make our talk formal.  Anyways it doesn’t matter as I have valid points.  It’s not like I’m getting canned.”

We took our seats at the table and without waiting, Boss jumped right in.  “Well Carlos, you know we are restructuring…” I didn’t know. “And due to this, we are sorry that we have to let you go… ” Or did he say buy me out? Or lay me off?  I lost him at ‘we have to’.  He kept talking and I picked up snippets.  Words like ‘package’ ‘immediately’ ‘family’ and ‘forms to sign’ danced around in my head.  No! Not me! I’ve been here for almost eight years!  I have near-perfect attendance! I do everything asked of me! Even squeeze out a laugh at their dumb trying-to-be-clever jokes.  Never got into any trouble! Everyone loves me! Heck, I am the most recognizable person at here!  How could this happen?  Then I felt numb.  I have 3 little boys and a mortgage!  What am I going to do?  I have never been laid off or fired before.  I considered myself an untouchable in any workplace.  So this is how it must feel...cslewisMy life is over!

In my almost 8 years on the job, I was never called in to the office to discuss performance issues. No one had any issues with me.  I was always willing to go that extra mile, thinking it would get me noticed.  The more I do, the more indispensable I would be.  Plus, Boss knew my little boys and played with them at work functions.  My family was my safe card.  Who would terminate a good worker with a young family and an unblemished work history?

Within the last year, Boss had dropped the axe on two employees and assigned their duties to me.  I asked for training but never got it and was left to fend for myself.  Thankfully, I was able to train myself on most of the duties but it was a deep hole to climb out of.  I was never able to fully get going under my own steam as I still had my own desk to take care of.  I ended up being the only employee with three computers and three desks.  Yes! I actually worked at three desks!  They were mine!  Saying I was stressed would be an understatement.  Heck, even Boss was stressed with trying to keep up with what he had dumped on my plate.  I dreaded going to work.  I thought of getting stress leave from my doctor but realized that it would just be a temporary fix.  I thought I loved my job until I opened my eyes to what I had allowed to happen.  Instead of standing up, I had put up.  I ignored the signs that said I was an outsider even after seven years.  Nothing I do could have changed that.  I half-heartedly applied for jobs.  I didn’t want to give up the Christmas parties, the prizes, the choices of coffees in the office, working unsupervised (and untrained), the pep talks about how like a family were all were…(I must have been the proverbial black sheep in that family).

On Wednesday, God took it out of my hands.  He probably said, “Jeez man, do I have to do this for you?”  And he did.  So when Boss was spouting numbing and paralyzing words, I didn’t have a cardiac arrest, I was able to look him in the eye without flinching and without emotions.  Sure I was numb and in shock but I was still able to look as if he had just told me I would not be getting a raise this year.  My expression said, “Oh really? Hmm…ok.”

Then it was the HR’s turn to pick at the pieces.  “So here’s where we are at…” He seemed uncomfortable.  Who could blame him?   He was letting go one of the hardest working employee in his stable.  At least in my opinion. Others grudgingly would also agree.  “Don’t sign anything right now as you may want to read it over and discuss with your wife.” My wife! Yes my wife! How am I going to break this news to her?  “We know you are a family man with a house and kids so we will make sure you are taken care of.  For a while at least.”  I was starting to hear and decipher things.  Words were making sense.

While I emptied my desk of all my personal belongings, Mr. HR hovered/lurked nearby.  A couple of my co-workers walked by and I pretended nothing was wrong.  Just cleaning up my office guys, nothing exciting to see here.  Then the jr. accountant came to seek out my help on an accounts payable issue.  Thoughts deep in my head told me to say, “Sorry man, I no longer work here.” but the nice guy in me made me stay for a few minutes to explain to him how to process a problematic invoice.  It’s just how I roll…Mr. Johny-on-the-spot.  I was like that for almost 8 years, why change in a minute?

I drove home blindly.  Pulled up in front of my house, I hesitated to go inside to see the kids.  I opted instead to go for a ride.  After about 10 minutes of almost getting lost on some highway, I drove back home to my boys.  Three of my raison d’etre.  Once with them, I felt better.  Everything is going to be just fine.  When my wife came home, it took a while for me to get the courage to tell her that I no longer was a Lafarge employee.  When I did, she understood immediately.  “It’s probably the best thing.  You could take your time and find something better that you actually love.”  I already did, babes.  You.

In life, we sometimes entertain thoughts of change.  We wonder what’s out there for us but we are too scared to look.  We don’t want to give up the known for the unknown.  Sometimes it takes a rude push to get us out of that state.  It’s like wandering around the lip of a pool, too scared to go in because the water is cold.  Someone pushes you in and after the first cold blast, you get to love it.  You would never know if the grass is actually greener on the other side until you try it, right?

On Wednesday, life handed me lemons.  Tomorrow, I make the best darn lemonade.

Note:  My experience wasn’t all that bad.  I made some life-long friends and gained valuable knowledge and experience.  I harbor no ill-will or resentment towards anyone but instead look forward to better things ahead.  Thanks Boss!

Hope I can say the same thing in a few years

Hope I can say the same thing in a few years

Pssst…Office Gossip

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This has been bothering me for some time.  Gossip.  It’s EVERYWHERE, your home, your office, my home, my office, my lips…Yes, I am not perfect, I have gossiped and do gossip.  (Not proud to say it).  It’s not something I take pleasure in but it’s something that is sometimes unavoidable.  What’s bothering me is not the little juicy gossips about Helen cheating on her diet or the neighbor having different women over every weekend.  No, it’s the daily office ones that tears down that other sweet but quirky woman down the hall, the simple but honest and trustworthy man working at the menial job.  Maybe they are deserving of being called nosy and holier than thou or lazy and maybe even potentially postal but who are we to be the judge? The Good Book says ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and, ‘Remove the bean from your own eye before you try to remove it from your brother’s”.

How and why is it that much easier to cast the first stone or blindly seek to remove the speck from the eyes of others?  Is it because of our fear that if we do not react first, then someone else will and we would be the victim and not the assailant? Or we may as well gossip about that person before they gossip about us? Heck, they may be already gossiping about us so why not get our licks in?

At the end of the day, I mentally beat up myself for succumbing to the gossiping that goes on around me. In my office I usually intend to be just a listener and not a partaker but do sometimes get dragged in to the point where I would nod or put in a few words, much to my regret.

It takes a degree of strength to listen to your friends talk disparagingly about another employee as they gather around in your cubicle.  As part of the clique, how do you say ‘Not here guys, we are not doing this today.’ or how do you just get up and walk away? You very well know that you will be the next gossip topic if you do any of those.  Peer pressure all over again.

I did some research on how to combat this viper and found this helpful link: http://www.wikihow.com/Not-Gossip.  In case you don’t have a chance to read it, here’s an important bit taken from it.

Ask yourself these several simple questions mentally about what you’re about to say before speaking aloud:

  • How would you like it if someone said this about you?
  • Is it true? Maybe it is, but is repeating it necessary?
  • Is it kind? It may be true, about yourself or someone else, but if it will harm another, you have no right to repeat it.
  • Is it just? Is it honest, compassionate, with the person’s best interest at heart?
  • Is it necessary? Will it do any good and satisfy all the other conditions? Not only is it necessary, but is it necessary for the other person to hear? Remember, “Need To Know.

Suspensions with pay

Why are people being suspended with pay as a punishment? Isnt’ that really a vacation from work? And why can’t I ever get an indefinite suspension with pay?  Who would rather be at work if they can stay at home and make the same money?  I often hear of policemen who broke the law and as punishment, they were given a suspension with pay.  That must hurt the poor guys. lol.  Notice how this practice is usually related to those already making big bucks?  Now that’s a reason to occupy wall street.

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