Thursday, January 14, 2010

My co-workers are idiots

And that's putting it kindly.  In the past year the workload has increased approximately 25% -- the journal went from averaging 40 articles per issue to averaging 50 -- without a commensurate increase in staff.  If anything, staff has gone in the other direction, from 6 fulltime copy editors to 5.5 (5 permanent fulltime regular employees and one half time contractor).  So how have my co-workers responded to this work load?

By doing the absolute, dumbest thing any worker who gets paid an hourly wage can do:  taking work home to complete it in the evening or on the weekends.  They are, in short, donating their own time.  Unbelievable. If you only have one thing to sell, you don't give it away.  A colleague mentioned at our most recent editors' meeting that she has been routinely spending her lieu day (she's on a 5/4 schedule) working from home.  Another logs in to the system in the evening to work on his own time.  When I asked how on earth management would ever realize we had a problem if they kept hiding it, I got blank looks.  They won't even ask for credit hours or comp time because, and I quote, "[the managing editor] doesn't like people asking for credit hours."

People are becoming increasingly stressed out and it shows.  A colleague has a cold she cannot shake and is becoming more and more accident prone, one has become so hypercritical when she does 2nd and 4th edits that she's driving the rest of us crazy, and another fellow who used to be notable for his jokes and truly horrible puns now looks distracted all the time and has begun snapping at people (and shouting obscenities at his computer; he's next door to me so I can hear the frustrated "what the fucks?!" pretty clearly) . . .

You know, I don't get it.  I can understand this type of behavior in work environments where people are terrified of losing their jobs, like out in the private sector, but we're federal employees!  Job insecurity is not one of our fears, especially if everyone on the editorial staff stuck together. (It's easy to berate one person for failure to meet deadlines, but when the entire staff is late?)  But, as usual, there are a couple people who are still naive enough to believe that someone will notice their self-sacrifice and reward them for it.  Given that they're already at the maximum promotion potential for their current job and have absolutely no desire to go elsewhere in the agency (a couple have had chances to do so), just what do they think that reward will be?

And how am I coping, you may ask?  By looking at the calendar, thinking about the retirement bunker in the U.P., and telling myself I'm now so short I can walk under doors.  I hope the arbutus are still blooming when I get to the farm in May. . .  


  1. Once when Lear Fan was running out of money (you know, one of those times when I was cashing my paycheck at a casino), at a company meeting one guy suggested we work without getting paid. One of the supervisors was smart enough to say we couldn't do that for various reasons like if we aren't paid we aren't covered by workmen's comp.

  2. Things are still tripping along pretty much as I saw them coming. But I got ready for it all so I'm okay with it. I can get by on just a few hundred a month if I have to.

    Not my problem if others want more and are going to whine if they don't have it.

    I'm going camping tomorrow, you're in charge while I'm gone.


  3. i think to much of myself to sell my short..they need a wake up call.

  4. I guess the fear has gone airborn and is making people do stupid things.


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