Thursday, June 17, 2004

A letter to the boss 

Dear Boss--

How are you? I am fine. I received your e-mail, the latest in an on-going series, regarding our workload. It prompted me to write to you about this overtime situation.

To start with, I am not going to be working the amount of overtime you have requested. I did the four-tens schedule a couple years ago and I discovered that I don't handle 10 hour workdays very well. I ended up spending the first day of my three day weekend napping. My wife also noticed that my health was lacking during the time I was working that shift. (Wives notice such things.) For this reason alone, I have not attempted to meet your multiple requests to put in 10 hour days. I understand that this will adversely affect your production schedules, however, I can not in good conscience dedicate my life to meeting these schedules. Especially considering that I was given no input into the setting of those schedules. I realize that it would be foolish to try and schedule production in a democratic fashion. But it also seems foolish for you to be "counting on 2 hours per day of OT plus 1 weekend day" from every operator without first finding out if they are willing to shoulder such a workload.

Of course, maybe I'm the only employee here who is unwilling to do just that. It's possible, I suppose, since I obviously don't share your values in this matter. Heck, I don't even understand your values on this matter. You have acknowledged this overwork as a problem. (Albeit a "good problem", whatever that is.) Yet when you write about addressing the workload issues, you write only of getting faster equipment in addition "to working harder and longer". (I guess the "work smarter" cliché has become passé?) I can understand a reluctance to try to turn down the extra jobs that come our way. But if you refuse to stem the tide of work coming in, shouldn't the focus be on having sufficient resources to handle that work? To me, the only reason to upgrade to faster equipment is so that we won't have to work "harder and longer", not something to complement it. Perhaps you may respond that eliminating hard and long work hours is an unattainable dream in the current state of our industry. I would then have to wonder why a company that has bragged about finding "real solutions" is incapable of addressing this problem. Isn't the whole reason we work to provide our basic needs and improve our quality of life? Or do you have a different goal here than I do?

Anyway, unless you want to fire me, I'll be back on the job tomorrow afternoon. I'll do my best to serve you and our customers and get some serious work done. But when I feel it's time to go home, I'll go home. I'd recommend that you do the same. We're not doing anything here that's saving lives. It'll keep 'til tomorrow.

Have a good one,
Hamburger Lad