Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nobody Wants to Work

The other day at work we were really busy and understaffed, which happens a lot once summer arrives as I work in a resort area. I was covering up front and while we're working a customer complains about how we're so busy at the registers and the person in charge of running the front end says that nobody wants to work. And I'm pretty sure that's quite incorrect. I know we don't have many applications coming into the grocery store I work at, but it's not because people don't want to work. There are many factors that play into why we aren't getting applications. One of the big stereotypes I'm going to take a run at is one I've been told at classes my company sent me to when becoming a manager, and that's that young people don't like working. Granted, that personally drove me crazy as I've always been a hard worker and am one of those young people, but even going outside of that personal view I can tell it's not completely accurate.
My store did recently increase the pay rate they are offering to help in the summer which has made somebody decide to quit since the part timers we're hiring would get paid more than him, but before that we were offering essentially minimum wage which is below all the fast food places in town. And as we are a tourist town in the summer all the restuarants and golf courses are hiring which means you also get tips as well as whatever their pay is. So the grocery store is offering a lower wage than a lot of other places and you can't take tips. Also once you start training we never have enough hours to offer people so if you're hired before the summer you'll get like fourteen hours after your training is done with the promise of a lot once summer starts and the business shows up. If you don't get hired until summer is here you get thrown right into the fire and have to deal with everything being way too busy from the get go. That's the kind of thing that makes retention hard to manage, and we always have high turnover with new employees.
But that's a symptom of the way businesses have been working for the past couple of decades which is minimizing hours and maximizing the labor they get out of each employee. The addition of Self Checkouts has helped that and then the rest is made up for by expecting more out of every employee for less. When I first started working in a grocery store seventeen years ago I was a bagger and the store would have three people working that role at a time. The store I work at now, is bigger than the one I started at and we have one bagger and they only work from three to eight so all the department managers handle their tasks before they show up like bringing carts into the store.
The people who complain about how nobody wants to work are from the older generation and trying to complain about the young kids not wanting to work, but what they are ignoring is that they had full time jobs, and benefits were pretty prevalent when they were getting hired. Now everybody wants to hire part time employees so they don't have to give them benefits and every part time job requires you to be available nights and weekends. Those requirements kind of suck for a full time job, but are the kind of thing a person can make work, but for a part time job you're not getting enough hours to support yourself and that means you need two part time jobs, but they both require the same kind of hours, and that means people have to choose one job over the other. Right now the backup to my department and one other is the same person and when I talked to her I found out she only wanted to work part time and wanted to work weekends, which they never told me when I'm making the schedule for her and of course we're working her 40 hours a week, even though she's retired and just wanted to keep herself busy. There's just no respect for what an employee wants to do and it's all about what works best for the company.

Now I will admit that most people don't want to work, because working sucks. I don't want to work, but I've had a job for almost 13 straight years with a couple of breaks in between and I work. We have to work in the system we have so people have accepted that and make the system work. With wages not increasing, but living costs raising people find it hard to work the same jobs that don't allow them to support themselves. So people can only take one of those jobs at a time and have to choose which job best works for them. The reality is that it's hard to make life work with one part time job and when you don't get compensated well people aren't going to enjoy their job or want to stay there. When companies don't look at what the reality is for their work force they don't understand why people can't or won't work for them.

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