Then & Now

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Then & NowI’ve been a manager before at a couple of different places.  Handling customer concerns, training new employees, hiring and firing and disciplinary measures when needed.  There’s no way I could do that in today’s world.  Even if it wasn’t for the worry of having another heart attack due to the stress it can cause in a fast pace food chain.  If I were in excellent health I would simply be a very hated individual.  Mainly because I would expect the employees to actually do their job.  As I would also expect the other management to set a good example for the crew.

I’ve watched the world change dramatically from the introduction of the internet, computers and the now dominating social media and smart devices.  This past year has been an up close view as to why standards in the convenient food (no fast food place is actually fast anymore) workplace have declined severely in the new age.

Dress Code

Although I don’t know of many places that do this, the place I work at, has no real dress code anymore.  We just got bought by a new franchise owner from out of town.  Since then, the black t-shirts with the company logo and khaki pants/shorts are no longer a requirement.  You can wear what you want.  Hence I’ve seen dirty shirts and jeans and shorts that are all torn up.  In this environment I work, it should at least be clean, decent jeans and a company shirt.  At the very least, look clean wearing clothes with no holes and like you actually care about your job.  For the customer’s sake, fake it.

Poor Cleaning

Many times I will walk into the store and the floors look like they haven’t been mopped in days.  Dirty pans stacked high.  The area where the food is made is a wreck.  If I were the customer walking into a restaurant, the first thing I do is look at the cleanliness.  If it looks like a rat-hole, I tend to walk right back out.  I don’t want my food made in a place where they don’t keep a fairly clean kitchen.  Whatever happened to “clean as you go”.  I remember that being a policy in many employee handbooks over the years.  This is especially annoying when the crew is standing around playing on their phones or chatting with friends, family or coworkers amid the destruction.  My philosophy has always been, “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.”.  It would be different if everything was in order and then they had nothing to do.

Job Description

It doesn’t matter if you are a crew member, driver or manager.  There are things that are expected of every employee.  This way the workload won’t fall squarely on only a few individuals.  You must be able to help make food, box food, prep food, answer phones to take orders, run the cash register, stock the makeline and clean.  If you are weak in any area of your job, it’s the manager’s duty to help you strengthen this weakness so that the employee can be a valued part of the team.

Instead, some employees who manage to show up for work on time and only have to achieve some of the responsibilities to be valued as good enough.  If they don’t want to take orders, operate the register or answer phones; it’s ok to make others drop what they’re doing to pick up the slack.  If they don’t know how to clean the bathrooms or floors, just do a poor job and then the other employees who do those same duties at closing will take care of it.

Honestly that makes for a very unhappy work environment.  If some employees have to make up for the weaknesses of part of the team on a consistent basis, they will feel they have to work twice as hard to make the same paycheck.  Which will make the good employees quit eventually.

Personal Calls and Texts

In the good old days before smartphones, you weren’t allowed to use the company phone for personal phone calls unless it was an emergency or had gotten the manager’s permission prior to making the call.  This kept employees doing what they get paid to do, rather than getting paid to socialize.  Holy hell has that changed.  You hear an alert noise or buzz and someone will drop what they are doing and beeline straight for their phone.  In today’s society you expect that from teenagers as their phone is their world.  God forbid they actually go out and do things.  I digress.  However smartphones and social media have pretty much taken a hold of the world.  Turning people of all ages into helpless minions compelled to answer the all mighty tones and buzzes produced by their pocket devices.  I’ve seen old people text while driving now.  As if they didn’t have trouble behind the wheel.  I digress… again.

In the workplace it’s very detracting to the workflow.  Especially when there’s a lot going on.  Suddenly a noise and grandma stops making food and checks her phone.  She tries to be sly about it and walk around the partial wall where the break table is.  Same goes for the young married man.  His pants vibrate and suddenly he has to use the bathroom.  Right…  Like none of us have a clue what he’s really doing.

I admit I check my phone too, but not when it goes off.  It can ding and buzz all it likes.  It will wait until there’s little to nothing going on.  I use a very standard ideal.  Unless it’s an emergency it can wait.  If it’s a real emergency.  A true bonafide life emergency.  Then don’t call me, call 911 first.  Afterward leave me a text or voicemail and I’ll come as soon as I can.  It won’t help anyone if I just drop what I’m doing to call 911 for you.

Friends and Family

This kills me.  Doesn’t matter if the place is dead or busy.  People wander in and just distract employees by interrupting their work to chat.  Wait, what?  If that happened when I was a manager, I’d ask the offending people to leave if we were busy.  Or if we were slow, I’d ask the employee to take a 15 minute unpaid break.  I’m not about to let someone get paid to just socialize with their friends or family members.  They can do that on their own time.  Are there no standards anymore?  Talk about your personal lives on your own time.  Not the company’s time.

Drama and Facebook

This one is just as bad as the Friends and Family.  There is always some rant about someone’s ex or something that got posted to Facebook.  Who the hell cares?  The employee is there to do a job.  Not worry about social media and relationships.

Overall I know it’s a low paying job, but honestly there has got to be people out there who would actually work for their pay.  Just because you show up, doesn’t mean you should get to just play on your phone, do a half-assed job and socialize while looking like a bum.  While a handful of people do what is expected of them.  While I wish I could bring my concerns up to the person in charge.  I can’t.  The last time I tried, I got a whole lot of hate from that person.  So no rocking the boat for me.  I’ll shut up and endure for now.  I hope to find a new job much like my day job where I get to dress decent and work in a clean office.  This night job is incredibly taxing on me physically.  But hey, my floors look awesome 🙂