Tales from a Toxic Work Environment #2
Based on recent behavior patterns, I'm guessing that one of our newest hires may be on his way out.
It became apparent two weeks ago that he was beginning to disconnect from the job; showing little interest in learning or expanding his knowledge base, spending far too much time sitting by the machine oblivious to his surroundings, and just this week he has called out two days in a row.
We only work three days this week, so that's a lot.
If I had to guess, I'd say that he was burning his limited vacation days because he wasn't planning to be around much longer. That's the obvious first step when someone has disengaged and no longer cares about the job, the team, or the company. In my experience the pattern is fairly consistent.
I am further qualified to spot disengagement because in my three years here I have gone from proud to be here, to why am i still here, because I stopped drinking the Kool aid over a year ago. There was an incident, and that put me in the frame of mind to notice deeper issues, and that's when the realization occurred to me that I no longer really cared. I had essentially allowed all the joy to be sucked out of my work. That actually hurt, because I genuinely liked my job.
This plant is less than two years old, so being here for three means I am a member of the founder's club. That original group of twenty people, of which I am a member, has been whittled down to about 13 now. Some have quit, some were let go, and that's par for the course.
I've been on four teams in those three years. My first supervisor became a friend, and then she quit to move home to Chicago. We still share a text on occasion.
My second supervisor was the subject of a prior post, TFATWE #1, and in the six months that we worked together he managed to say exactly 12 words to me. I was tolerated, and he didn't hide it well.
My third team was my favorite because my supervisor was an intelligent, down-to-earth ex-cop who actually looked me in the eye and spoke to me like a human. He was respectful, fair, and honest and I respected the hell out of him for it.
But, I was moved once again to a newer line so that my prior line experience could make their startup easier. I get it, but it's not ideal. And like I said, I disengaged a long time ago.
One of the issues that led to this state of mind is all the attention being placed on the glass ceiling here. Being a new plant, there is a lot of room for overhead growth. Both middle and upper management slots waiting to be filled, lots of shuffling going on, and this quickly became a full-time preoccupation for every manager at every level.
So much so, that it became clear to us on the floor that we were basically alone here. Our support was non existent because it was off brown-nosing for the next promotion.
You couldn't get anyone's actual attention because all of our supervisors weren't engaged themselves; none wanted the job they had, but were instead sniffing for the next level job they wanted. They simply needed you to make them look good so they could leave you in their wake.
That went on heavily for about a year, and it has started to slow a bit by now.
Engagement is still an issue however, so obviously the problem runs a bit deeper than just a group of non-committed managers. Maybe it's a general feeling that the work doesn't really matter.
Maybe it's a general feeling that you don't really matter. Certain managers have a way of conveying that message regularly, despite the best intentions of corporate or management.
Maybe it has to do with being treated like idiotic children instead of like thinking, rational adults.
For example, management has recently started littering the plant with these moron signs, like the one at each trash hopper that says, " This is the cardboard hopper. Only put cardboard into the cardboard hopper". It has pictures. Of cardboard. In the cardboard hopper. In case you're really stupid.
The walls of every hall are plastered with childish posters depicting aspects of the safety guidelines. From outside, the building is a work of art. The main lobby is tastefully appointed with integral works of art. But walk the halls, and it's an elementary school. It's quite embarrassing, TBH.