Last Friday, in Belated Occupy Blogosphere, I recounted issues at work.
Thank you for all the encouraging comments of support – they reinforced my belief that we are right to complain. When you’ve been told, over and over, that ‘nothing can be done’ about an unacceptable situation, it leaves you feeling powerless and under-rated as an employee.
Fired up with indignation and because this had begun to affect our personal relationship, The Artist and I took charge and refused to work in that area. We we’re called into a meeting with our supervisor and his superior – where I laid out the things that are wrong, with reasons why we were no longer prepared to put up with such an apathetic response.
And, guess what?
They’ve moved us to a different area, of our choice.
We now clean the science laboratories, on the opposite side of the campus. We’re two and three floors up – so the likelihood of seeing little faces (and bums) at the window is nil. We can get on with our work unimpeded, untroubled by needless frustration. There’s plenty to occupy us but we like that – the three hours pass by in a flash. This has had a significant impact to our self-esteem and job satisfaction, which has overflowed into our non-working lives.
Seven years ago, we made a deliberate decision to engage in low paid, manual labour, so that we could concentrate on our passions, without financial constraints. ‘Work’ was just meant to be exercise, which covered our living expenses – leaving us free to enjoy the rest of the day in more satisfying ways. Until recent events tipped the balance, this worked well.
We like to put one hundred percent effort (no more, no less,) into everything we do. We take pride in carrying out a good job, in having made a difference by the end of each shift. Even though it will be messy again tomorrow (and the day after, and the next,) if we can leave our departments looking cleaner and more cared for, we consider it an equal exchange. We can go home with clear consciences and forget all about it, until it’s time to start over again. This is the way we planned it.
It’s interesting how far we allow ourselves to be pushed, before we decide that enough is enough. And, once that decision has been reached, there’s no turning back. I admit to a few little wobbles, where I catastrophized that we’d be given the boot, for being troublemakers. At our age and living on a small island, where would we find other jobs? I know that we have rights, which ought to be respected and I was angry at being forced to uphold them – but, at the same time, feared the consequences of ‘blowing the whistle’. I’m a writer, not a fighter.
But to accept our superior’s viewpoint is to condone it – and that didn’t sit comfortably with either of us. We were left with no option but to deal with it. And it has already improved our lives, beyond measure. That still leaves the problem of the teenage perpetrators – who will continue to terrorise our replacements.
I have clearly stated our concerns verbally and will pass them, in writing, further up the hierarchy. I have discharged my responsibility, under The Health and Safety at Work Act, by reporting an irregularity. I have projected likely outcomes and refused to be one of those who stands by and says nothing to prevent a tragedy. From my lowly position, there is little more I can do.
Many people have asked why the police aren’t being called – we were informed that they won’t come out for something so trivial. So we suggested employing a security firm but these are considered a needless expense, as they could patrol the campus 24/7 and not catch anyone.
I disagree. We know what time the youths turn up, we even know who some of them are – so the police/community wardens could wait in the building, ready to escort them home and advise their parents. After that, a dog-handler and attack-trained Alsatian could walk the site every evening, to discourage the kids from returning. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what they are. Kids, who have to go in for their tea at six thirty – we see them climbing back over the fences as we walk home. Once the word got out, these measures could be stepped down to less frequent, randomly scheduled patrols.
To my simple mind, it would be worth whatever it cost – to prevent an accident, to save a child’s life, to protect the reputation of the school and the safety of it’s workers. Why not involve the parents – all of them, not just those of the delinquents. At the very least, they could raise funds for security measures. But I bet there are police officers, lawyers, security guards etc. among them, who would be willing to offer sound anti-vandalism advice. Shouldn’t they be informed?
We’ve stated our case, very forcibly, even offered solutions and all we can do now is wait and hope that change happens.
I know it’s small potatoes, compared with the injustice that’s rife in this world. But this whole sorry episode explains why I’m passionate about contributing to the Occupy Blogosphere movement. I have to make a stand, in whatever way I can.
Any less would be compliance.
And that would make me culpable.
That’s not my style – it ain’t happening!
Every Thursday we OCCUPY this space, giving this planet a shot of fun, support and positive energy. To learn more about this movement, or to join in, please visit Souldipper’s Blog