"We appreciate you...Somewhat...Only Some of You...Maybe None of You..."
Several weeks ago, a rather non-descript piece of paper materialized next to the computerized time clock system. It had two pieces of tape to hold it up. Here was the message:
WEDNESDAY WE WILL PROVIDING PIZZA FOR LUNCH.
THE COMPANY WILL PROVIDE THE PIZZA AND DRINKS.
PLEASE SIGN UP BELOW TO BRING DESSERT AND SALADS.
It was strangely worded. It should have said something about "Happy Holidays", but did not. Since we are a call center, we sort of eat in shifts or whenever you can leave your desk. Mrs. Cog made her incredible dessert called "Dallas Delight", a creation with cool whip, pudding, graham crackers, and frosting. Simple and sinful, may not be haute cuisine, but I am a simple man with simple pleasures.
The pizza came in, hot and steaming. We all got at least three pieces and ate until we could not eat anymore. Food always makes this place a little happier. But the festivities did not just end with the food.
We have about five different departments in the same building, so there are quite a few people here. They had gotten rid of the temporary employees at the first part of the year, but recently they had hired about ten of them back to help in the various departments. There are even some out on the floor with us. They go through the same training and do the same work. We consider them as equal as any other coworker.
After lunch, the secretary from the Human Resources department came around and had us pick these little green tickets out of a hat for door prizes. She did not go to the temporary employees though. Then after she passed out the numbers she came back and returned giving each of us with tickets a door prize. But the temps received no prizes.
Jean, a 30ish girl from somewhere in New England, stood up and asked Larry (the floor manager), "Hey, how come there is nothing for the temporary employees?". Larry turned red, then said, "Don't worry about that, you need to get back to work!"
Jean would not let it drop, she walked up to Larry's desk and questioned him some more. He was visibly nervous, licked his lips, then looked toward the GM's office to make sure he wasn't looking. "Look", he said, "I'll ask the personnel department if they have anything left over. But the GM set all this up and I don't want to get involved!"
Things around here continue to amaze me. What they must have meant as a way to raise employee morale only made them look small and cheap and mean-spirited. Throughout the whole meal, the GM did not come out and make any kind of small speech, or greet us and ask if we were enjoying ourselves. He stayed in his office on the phone. Once he stalked through the cubicles rather quickly without saying a word, just sort of exuding that atmosphere of unfriendliness that follows him everywhere.
The temps were offended to say the least. Hurt is more like it. Being a temp employee is hard. You always feel like an outsider. Now they felt it even more. I always remember the scene in a Christmas Carol where Fezzywig has the Christmas Party. It was a little thing, but he made their jobs bearable by acting human. By joining in the festivities, by shaking their hands and dancing a jig.
No, I don't expect that. Nor do I expect any kind of hug. Just acknowledge that you see the work that we do, and that you appreciate us. I guess that's out of the question...
Thanks for reading,