Whatever it is that's going on, I've been trying to be very cognizant of the fact that there are people who cannot afford to live on less hours, especially right before Christmas. If there are not enough volunteers, they 'force out', which means people are told that they are leaving early. No choice. I have heard that shortened hours are really putting some people in a pinch. So when they ask, I generally try to take the time, since I'm primarily there for the benefits.
I've gone to another building to work down there and will probably be there for the rest of the pre-Christmas season. I'm now sucked into the mandatory overtime thing. I don't like it, but, you know, it is what it is. I've always thought that being part of a company is a two way street. You should be able to depend on them but they also should be able to depend on you when they need to.
It gets unbalanced sometimes. The first year I worked there, we were working 10 hours weekdays, 8 hours Saturday and Sunday. Mandatory. For 7 weeks. People were walking off the job, which made a hard job even harder. I was pretty fed up with it by the end of the season. It was a very painful year on a personal level and I had no time to prepare for Christmas. I didn't even get my tree up. My house was a mess, I was barely able to keep up with dishes and laundry.
After that, they had a focus group. I give him a lot of credit. The head of our branch of the company was there. We discussed the situation. I told him very pointedly that what the company asked of people that season was unreasonable and that if next year played out like this, I would not remain with the company.
Another issue that was brought up was the mandatory overtime. A co-worker brought up the fact that when you are a flexible employee, trained in different department, you are caught in a trap. If you are trained in receiving and quality control, you work mandatory overtime as the product is brought in. If you are trained in pack/ship, you work overtime during the high volume shopping times: Christmas, Easter, even changing seasons when the product goes out. When that dies down, you get sent to returns because the volume of returns peaks after a peak shipping time. She complained that she was working overtime virtually year around and that it was not working for her and her family.
Other objections were raised. I was proud to be a part of that group, because really, sitting in a room with the big boss, I figured everyone would clam up and refuse to speak out of concern of putting a target on themselves. But everyone did. We were all very plain spoken.
Management listened too. I felt like every concern that was brought up that day was addressed over the course of the next year. Every one. That says a lot about the company itself, in my mind and makes me, personally, more amenable to helping them out when they need me.
The following peak season was much more manageable.
Now another peak season has come after what appears to be a lean year for us.
I am working mandatory overtime, although I pointed out that I should not have to, since one of the things that came from that meeting was that for multiple people working in multiple departments, you could only be required to work overtime in your home department and one other. I've met the requirement already and should be exempt from mandatory overtime in this department.
That being said, I recognize that I have a responsibility to my company, and will certainly work as much overtime as I can. I am going in on Sunday, and at 5AM for the rest of the week. My hope is that they will keep their original promise and that I will be allowed to leave work at my regular time. My daughter is caught up in peak season as well, and someone needs to be free to pick up William after school. It used to be Tim, but he wants to go hunting. For the next two weeks. When I worked on Friday, I had no idea what time we were going home exactly, until five minutes before we went home, which makes it pretty hard to plan. Since William did not have school that day, it was not such a critical thing. I raised my concerns once again, though. Hopefully it will be discussed and agreed upon. I'm perfectly happy to work on the weekend, and to go in early whenever they need me to, but I cannot stay late.
It will work out how it is meant to work out. I really do feel that the next week will give us a pretty good idea of how the Christmas season will go for us.