Of Robots and Men

Are you prisoners? – asks me jokingly blond-haired domestic assistant as we walk from our changing room towards the lifts. She just heard me and J. complaining about things in our workplace.

Yesss! We are! – I reply – you are not allowed to do anything in this place. Today – I went to the toilet, then on my way back I stopped near the juicer to get myself a cup of a grapefruit one. Supervisor L. saw me taking the juice and says “You just went to the toilet, now you are drinking, soon you will have to go again”. I waited until she served a customer and I said to her: “Listen, L., not everybody are cyborgs, you know, robots like you!” – and I walked off.

Earlier the same day I had another argument with L. It was few minutes past 8am and she wanted to send me for my break! (My shift is 6.30 to 14.30).  I told her I wouldn’t go because it is way to early. You are the only one who always has an answer to the supervisor! – she said in her squeaky voice to which I replied that later I am not going to work for almost 6 hours straight without any break. M. was there too, displaying sandwiches, so I told her that she started first, she should have her break first, but no, they want to sent me. I also said that if I am working 6 hrs they owe me break during that time anyway – which I am not so sure. Maybe one of you knows? From what I’ve heard you have a right to 20 minutes break if you work more 6 hours.

After that short, intense discussion I went to my coffee station and carried on with my job. Few minutes later it turned out I was right – it was absolutely too early to go!!! Manager came and told M. – main supervisor for the day – that she can start sending people for breaks when Susana comes at 9.

They – managers and supervisors – are trying to control everything. When we go for breaks, when we go to the toilet, what we drink and when we drink it. It is simply a bit humiliating reporting to your manager or supervisor that you need to leave the station to go to ease yourself and they don’t let you – because it is busy, because we have audit, because there are top managers visiting. There is always something. The only way is not to ask but to communicate it to them and just go without waiting for permission.

They forget that they are working with people – humans – not robots.

– Maybe you should wear Pampers? – smiled my blond domestic assistant.

– If they could make us do that – they would. – I say.

Incontinence pad


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