Anonymous 3m 627
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
There was a period of my life during which I worked for a catering company (which shall go unnamed here). It was one of the first jobs I’d held, but special in that – as might be expected – the hours were incredibly flexible and each week posed its own set of challenges. In one regard, such a job might be considered a pretty good place to be. And while it’s true that I did enjoy the flexibility and great range of events we attended, there was one pretty big downside to it all. Ironically enough, it’s the same reason why I enjoyed the job.
Flexibility means two things. Firstly and often foremost, it means employees have quite a bit of control over when they show up for work. On the other hand, there’s no concrete schedule that you can adjust to. Every day is so completely different than the last that it’s hard to say ahead of time when you’ll be available for events outside of work and even more difficult to consistently get to work on time.
Everyone there had their own lives going on. Some dedicated themselves to serving the church, some did charity work for humane societies, and others just loved to travel so frequently that they might as well not even been employed. But none of those things bothered me – not directly at least. What really got under my skin was when people’s personal obligations and business obligations conflicted in such a way that their reliability was hindered. I can’t count how many times I clocked in on time only to begin setting up by my own, joined by the two or three additional coworkers ten to thirty minutes later.
Of course, by then, the group was already terribly off track for reaching the setup deadline, and I was forced to shoulder the burden of it since no one else really understood what was going on (getting to work on time also meant being present for the briefing). What made the situation even worse was that when one member of the team was punished, all members of the team were punished. Since there was no system of accountability in effect, workers hardly concerned themselves with personal ramifications. Of course, I couldn’t be made to endure something like that for long.
Now I’m a writer by nature. I’ve adapted to spending long periods of time working along, keeping to my own thoughts. Running an event solo wasn’t something I was adverse to doing, but when I’m expecting assistance, my mindset is completely different from that when I’m going in to do something alone. This left me contemplated enacting one of two options. The first was reporting those who felt they were unbound by responsibility and the second was taking even more responsibility onto myself.
Being one of the few who wasn’t encumbered by a plethora of desires outside of the workplace, I figured I could maybe spare up to an hour to come in early and complete all of the preliminary tasks. It wasn’t much of a burden on me and it meant I’d be making more money doing the same amount of work. The only difference was that I didn’t have to feel rushed doing it.
My life at work preceded according to that arrangement up until the day I quit. One of the most common questions I heard was “how come your paychecks are always so much bigger than everyone else’s?” It’s a question that I, to this day, will only answer with a smile. And now I’ve taken from it a fairly valuable lesson: never trust anyone to do their part.