October 7, 2008

To Whom It May Concern

TO: Company My Husband Works For

FROM: His Wife

DATE: October 7, 2008

RE: The Status Quo

We need to talk about the service department at one of your Bay Area branches and more specifically, the management. You see, there are four mechanics in your shop. My husband is one of them. He's been with your company for over five years now. He's never done wrong by the company, only missed work in cases of family emergencies, personal illness, and in the last year in the name of "...there's just no work."

Now I realize that to you, this means nothing. "Oh," you say, "a day off here and there. Must be nice!" Yeah. Here and there would be one thing. In the last six months, it's been at least one day per week, sometimes more. A month ago, he had 42 hours on what should have been an 88-hour paycheck. I know that doesn't sound like a problem to you, but it was most definitely a problem for us. You see, I'm a stay-at-home mom. Yes, it's a choice, a choice we made four years ago when I was pregnant with our oldest child, Beth, who's three and a half. We've since added a boy to our family, Robby, who'll be one at the end of this month. We knew that having me stay at home would make things a bit tight. What we didn't know is that the economy would tank due to the mortgage crisis and that we'd be having to survive in the Bay Area for two weeks on one week's pay.

Have you ever tried to buy two weeks worth of of groceries for a family of four (plus one extra kid for dinner four days a week) on $60.00? Are you aware of the managerial practices being used in your Bay Area shop?

Your shop foreman is playing favorites. He has his pet, G, whom he's presumably grooming to take over his job when he retires - which is hopefully sooner than later - who's been working 40+ hours per week, no questions asked. Then there's Speed Racer who tears through jobs like his ass is on fire. Sure, he gets them done in the quoted time but did you know that more than half of the time, those jobs come back or end up being a mess a road mechanic has to clean up because Speed Racer worked too fast, overlooked major things, and now it needs repaired again. This guy works every day. Finally, there's D. He's been there for 30+ years; he's more or less a fixture. He's also damn close to retirement. He works at the speed of turtles humping, puts time down on jobs that he pissed away cleaning the threads on a bolt. He works every day. Nobody ever tells these guys to call before they come into work.

But my husband has to. Why? No one knows. When he is there, the foreman treats him like the village idiot and is extremely rude to him, nay, he's an asshole. So my husband talks to your service manager. What does the service manager tell him? "File for partial unemployment. We'll get the papers ready for you." My husband asks to be put on the road, which would provide more working hours. "No. I can't." No explanation, not even an, "I'm sorry, dude, I know it's tough."

Why is it that the other guys, one of whom is intentionally slow-moving and one who moves too fast and causes costly errors, get full days and full weeks, and my husband is begging for work? Are we the only ones who see the flaw in this? We're pretty sure we are. My husband is a good, hard worker who actually cares about the quality of work he produces and takes pride in doing a good job. Yet he's the first one to get shitcanned for the day if work slows down.

And don't get me started on that Stuffed Shirt you call the General Manager.

I guess maybe I should have addressed this letter to the Service Manager. Or write another one to him...

Service Manager,
Please show some mercy and lay off my husband. He's a good man, a terrific father and in ideal working conditions, an excellent provider. Your shop is obviously overstaffed and under a bit of duress. If you can't give him the hours he deserves, lay him off so that he can get a severance package and start collecting unemployment while we decide our next move. For five years of hard work and loyalty, you at least owe him that. You clearly don't understand the mental anguish he goes through and how much strain this puts on our family and you also don't care. You've made that quite clear every time Rob tries to talk to you and you immediately start talking over him just to stop him from telling you any reasons he needs the hours. You know, like glasses to replace the ones that have been broken for three months. I bet you never noticed that he stopped wearing glasses. Or tires to replace the bald and warped ones we're driving around on? Or the bills that we're desperately trying to stay on top of?
If you want to play favorites, fine. If my husband isn't one of them, that's also fine. But have a heart and lay him off. It's a win-win, really. Please.

I won't actually send this letter to anyone. It wouldn't do any good and would probably just make more trouble for my husband. But it feels good to get it out.


Shawna S. said...

I have been where you are and trying to make ends meet and I know it isn't fun but there are several blogs in the blogosphere that are dedicated to frugality and the art of saving money, feeding families and creating budgets. I recently added one to my blog that focuses on shopping for a family of 6 with a budget of $60 a week and she seems to make it work. I have also done a lot of work with my own budget and figured out what we buy regularly and where we can get what we need while paying as little as possible.

Minxy Mimi said...

I am very sorry. Ive not been in quite as dire straights recently, but I know that budgeting with nothing is hard to do. What kind of work does your hubby do? I guess all you can do is hope that a new and better job comes around.
I am very sorry.

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