Poets Day

It was only Wednesday yesterday, but I was already thinking of Friday, of course. On Wednesday it is already down the slope.. Not including Wednesday, it is only two days left. You know you can make it through.

Customer to whom I’ve just made a coffee, which he now is adding sugar to, is telling me:

– In my previous job we used to call Friday a POETS day.

– Why? – I ask.

– POETS – Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday.

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These complicated social relations…

Me and my partner in crime (Bov) worked together serving hot food. While she went for break I worked with Ru. It is so hot in there… I felt jealous of Bov getting out of there for a few minutes, so I started moaning to the manager, that I want to swap with someone. I’ll kill you, he said, making strangling gesture with his hands, smiling. Then he said I can go on the till, but then again Bov was back, so I didn’t want to go. I just like working with her. I like working with Bov, I said. Ru heard that. And you don’t like with me?! What’s wrong with me?!, she got angry with me. I didn’t reply.

I didn’t mean it THAT way. I don’t mind Ru. It’s just she is on my neutral side. Bov is on my positive side, I actually like her. She is my friend, I consider her my friend. We are connected by our experience, we helped each other. When our ex-manager was harassing and bullying us – all of us – we stood up to him together. We go out, shop and have fun together.

And about Ru… If there is a chance she can take someone’s words against herself, she will. If there is a chance she can get offended, she will, It is her against the world. She told me this, she didn’t greet me, etc. I am wondering what made her that way. What life she had? Or it is just working here for over 15 years, in an atmosphere of bitching?

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

Getting there…

…especially at 6am is challenging. To say the least. But I am so determined to get to work that nothing can stop me! I will be there no matter what. I am a working woman who is not scared of anything!

Today on my way to work  I used London Overground. I got to the station on time to get the earliest train. But as soon as I entered the station building I saw – and heard – a staff member shouting to a group of people who got there before me: No northbound trains from this station! No northbound trains! Who wants to go to London Bridge needs to go to New Cross! I asked him How about Whitechapel? Nothing, absolutely nothing goes to Whitechapel, no trains north! He was saying so while writing on the board that there are no trains to Croydon which is southbound… Due to signal failure. I looked on this electronic timetable, and there it says: Dalston Junction cancelled but Highbury and Islington on time, platform 1. Confused I wait to see what others will do. Others are also waiting. Finally, tired of hearing the same questions over and over again, the staff member made a phone call and got the information that train to Highbury and Islington will run as normal. He opened a ticket gate, beep, beep, beep – oyster cards – and here they went, running to the platform one. I beeped my Oyster and slowly walked to the platform as there was 4 minutes time. Level one – completed. I was in the train.

Level two starts at my destination stop. I exited through the gate, when outside the station I saw a beggar. I see this guy there regularly. Annoying and bothersome like a fly above your bowl of soup. I decided to avoid him. There are two set of door to exit the station. I saw him at the left ones so I went to the ones on the right-hand side to go round him. But, hey, he saw me too! He followed me:

– Excuse me! Excuse me!

Without stopping I held out my left arm to him saying No!

– Excuse me! I only wanted to ask you for 20p, only 20p!

– But I don’t want to give you 20p! – I replied straight. (Why would I give him 20p?)

He followed me to the traffic lights and even crossed one of the roads with me. We stopped on the traffic island and then he said to me:

– Just be nice, not rude, cause I will punch you in a fucking face!

And then off he went, run away somewhere to the left, between the buildings, probably more scared than I was! Guy was shorter than me, skinnier and didn’t look like a person who is well nourished and still he decided to go on threatening people! Go on, punk, try your luck!

Other incidents on my way to my earliest shift happened in the area I live, not the nicest one. The other day I was walking to the bus stop, when some guystarted shouting Hello! Hello! My reaction as usual – I held my arm to him: Stop! The street was completely empty, no other live souls, except of me and him, dark and cold (I mean the street…). As I walk of he starts shouting his ass off: Helloooo! Helloooo! I sped up. Is that so difficult to understand that a woman walking alone on a dark street might get scared of a man shouting at her? I don’t get men – it happened to me a few times.

Another one was a female beggar, trying to get some change, calling me Auntie! Also a regular in my area.

There is also a story from my way back from work. Busy bus. On of of the bus stops a skinny drunk gets in,white guy in his 50. Not agressive, but talks really loudly, almost shouting. One of the passengers, black man, tried to calm him down, before he starts swearing: Calm down, man, there are children here. Drunk started saying something, quite excited. Indeed so excited that while saying it he almost spat out his dental prosthesis! His fake teeth!!! Black guy wrinkled his face in disgust: Oh, man… In a riposte, white guy took his teeth out and held them towards the black guy: Do you wanna hold’em? After theat he tried to provoke him throwing some N-words at him, but the black man stayed unimpressed.

Do you sometimes have any adventures on your way to work? Share them here!

Attention!

It is the first time I see you sitting – said one of my customers, British lady in her fifties. She is one of few Brits I like, unlike most of them, she is honest (or at least seems honest). We met and started talking when I was working in our mobile coffee shop downstairs, near the reception. She would always stop and talk to me, and it was a proper conversation, not just usual British Hallo, how are you asked without waiting for an answer.

And it is true. I spend exactly 7.5 hours standing. There is no relief.

I stand when I work on the till, where the only moves I make are small step back when the till’s money drawer opens and when I give customer a change with my left hand – position of the till doesn’t really allow to do it with the right hand, but this isn’t a big problem for me, I am pretty much both handed. So this is how the moves go: I quickly scan items or tap the buttons on the screen with my right hand, then I take money from the customer with my left one, when till opens I take half a step back, put the money in the till, close the drawer with my hip and hand the change to the customer again with my left hand. Done. Repeat. Keep repeating for 4 hrs, some days for 7.5 hrs. Pain may start in my left shoulder or neck, spreading to my head. Usually it hurts a lot in the lower back. Both knees are hurting me, and heels. If it happens that I work on the till through the whole day all these places join together, whole back of my body hurts.

I stand when I do a barista job, but this at least allows more moves, both arms are engaged and I can do small steps on my feet.

I stand when I serve food from the counter – a bit more flexibility allowed, more walking moving, kneeling etc.

I stand on the jacket potatoes counter.

The whole Europe is sitting, all cashiers in Tescos, Morissons’ Asdas, Sainsbury’s’, Marks&Spencers etc. RLH stands at attention. Front to the customer. Canteen itself is so small (especially comparing to the size of the building it is in) that there is no sense to even dream about any chairs at tills, there is hardly enough space to stand. When I work as a barista and one of the bigger ladies is a cashier, I have a problem to get out of there, to pass next to her, even though I am thin…

Comic post

Pencil drawing shows a man shouting "GO, clean that table now.

He has good communication skills

As I promised in my previous post, here is my drawing. 🙂

This is how I was ordered to carry on a task. As I remember the dialog went like:

When it’s not busy you can go around and clean tables, keep restaurant clean – said manager to me.

Ok, I’m just waiting for these people to pay – as there were 2 customers getting their food.

GO, CLEAN THAT TABLE NOW – was his answer, as pictured above.

I really like my drawing, even though it is pretty amateur, but he looks very similar to the original! If you could imagine that shirt he is wearing is in shades of pink, violet and purple, and he has a tanned complexion it would be like seeing his photo – well, almost… 😉

Now I am going to try to draw a Grumpy Doctor 😀

 

Let loose

“I’m so happy ’cause today I’ve found my friends…”

I’ve been going through a lot of stress recently. Atmosphere at work isn’t the best – to say the least. There is more managers than staff. They are walking around, watching your every move, sniffing. This is all they do all day long. They rotate so one day you see a person, next day there is somebody else instead. They approach you: “What is your name”? trying to look at your name badge, wrinkling their noses when reading it, never waiting for your reply. You, of course, don’t speak English, can’t talk for yourself, you are too slowly  answering. You never get to know their names, managers don’t introduce themselves. I know their names by eavesdropping how other managers or supervisors address them. I am not sure if I am allowed their first names since officially I never met them. “Oh, ok, Edie, do me a favour, please and do…” – they usually just want you to stop doing what you are doing  at the moment and to start doing something else.

Another story is our GM – general manager. He displays our rota on friday afternoons (today at 3pm I took a photo of an empty wall, not decorated with freshly printed rota). At such a time it is too late to plan anything, to arrange or rearrange, to confirm or to cancel. Once the rota is displayed we can be sure he will change it three times during the week, expecting us to catch up and simply adjust our plans. We can do it, because we make no plans, have no husbands, have no progeny to take care off, no pets and no partners, we are too dumb to have hobbies. We dream only of being in this hospital’s restaurant, of doing 12 hrs shifts, of not being forced to have weekends off.

Our shifts have been changed – our GM now wants us to start at 6.30 am instead at 7 am and we can no longer have 2 x 15 minutes breaks – one of them early to eat breakfast since you start too early to eat at home. We have to wait till 11.30, when the next shift starts work. he expects us to keep working for 5 hrs swaying at the till, almost fainting. I fought for my breakfast, and I was allowed to have quick 5 minutes just to drop something in my stomach. The other day I just sneaked out to eat. That looks like stomach ulcers coming my way.

My holiday form for July remains unsigned, so are other forms for other dates. So are other people’s forms. They will be pushing these unused holidays down our throats on between january and march 2015. We can’t have them when we want or need them. When we are tired.

Anyway, I’ve called off sick on monday and Tuesday. I am stressed and I am not the only one. I had a sort of nervous breakdown on monday when I was crying on the phone to my GP.  I am going to see her next Tuesday.

On Wednesday I decided to go back to work – but still feeling stressed; what will they say, what will he say – our god-manager (GM). If I will have to do the “return to work” form with him… Luckily, I filled it with Maria. And I had little helpers – the quote at the beginning is about it. Or about them.

Those are pale yellow pastilles, hidden in a happy yellow metal box, that opens with a click! They are correctly named Rescue Pastilles. They are a peace of mind locked in a sweet candy. I felt as I was floating in a bubble. But my peace of mind has its catch. My peace is threatened:

Excessive consumption may have a laxative effect.

End of the quote. I can’t let myself live to the full, to be excessively relaxed and happy, as too much of these positive feelings would give me shits. I need to stay in control of myself. I can choose between being stressed, depressed (and well dressed) and being constantly constipated. If I let the stress go, my sphincter will let go.

I don’t know what to say more.

I will keep you updated on it 🙂