Friday, August 10, 2007

Vacation? Still Pending....

My partner in crime at my job at UPS is taking a vacation for the next 10 days. He hasn't had one in two years but he's only worked at UPS for less than a year, so he's going to lose some of the benefits he's accumulated. Now, rules are rules but UPS is at fault for not hiring at a decent pay rate at full time. How they expect people to stick around in these conditions baffle me. It's hard to find another job that would fit around the schedule they set up. So, they shouldn't expect people to give unending loyalty. Benefits, Schmenefits, just give me the money.

We always hear about Europe and how much vacation they get a year and yes, I think we need to be a little more like that. I haven't had what I call a good job in my life the closest was the last job I had in Seattle. Yes, it was a restaurant but the benefits were good. Now, typical of employment places they require you work there a year before you get time off, most places put that into a certain hours in a certain period of time which means if you went on vacation before a year you risk losing it all together, this is typical of the jobs I've had.

5-spot was better because even if they did that I worked so much overtime I got a lot of hours in. Now, I worked there almost two years, If I lived there for another two months, I would have had two weeks paid vacation, that's almost unheard of these days, unless you are some bigwig. I sacrificed it because I thought it was more important to get back to New Jersey earlier. Now it's unhealthy to think "What if?" but if I still worked there and if I still lived in Seattle I would. I would have three weeks paid vacation even if I didn't get promoted. That's unheard of in the restaurant industry for non management positions.

Anyway, back to vacations. I haven't had a vacation longer than a week in over ten years, that was when I visited New Jersey with my then girlfriend to my brother's wedding, I didn't need too much time for that but serendipity had my cousin's wedding a week later. I thought I would make it a two week affair. I had the time of my life, both weddings were fun and I even had a blast visiting my girlfriend's relatives, sneaking in some memorable naughty time at an amusement park in PA. My job was okay, I worked there more than a year which meant it was tolerable. When I got back with my girlfriend, work wise got worse for both of us, she knew she was getting laid off and did a few months later. I got fired, because I took too much time off, I got only one week paid vacation, the rest was unpaid. Still, they used it as grounds for dismissal.

Another time I worked at a trophy place and I wanted to take 5 days off to visit the folks for Christmas. It actually would only involve two working days off because the time was over the weekend. One woman I worked with wanted to take a week off for Christmas to visit her folks in Spokane WA. In the six months I was there it was her third such trip, each a week+ long and when she left I had to take on her workload. I pleaded my case, but to no avail. My supervisor was Mormon and so was she and she got preferential treatment. She was there for barely a year and was a paranoid individual. I pleaded to the owner how important it was to see my family, it had been a year since I saw them. He agreed and a week before I was to leave I got fired, right before Christmas. They cited some other reasons, trivial ones to be sure but ultimately it involved the fact I didn't fit in their world view and thus my desires were not to be adhered to.

None of the places I have worked since I got back to New Jersey accepts people taking off for frequent vacations before working there for at least a year. From my past experiences, I am careful in respecting that. Oh, I've been working my ass off trying to get one of those good jobs in graphic design that would offer decent benefits, but most jobs like that are in the past.

Back in the day, it was believed that the USA had the best working conditions, people compared it to Japan and European countries and we'd come out on top. Now polititians and conservative pundits have to resort to comparing our "great" working conditions to Central American countries and Asian countries not named Japan. And even then, you can see the United States slipping behind. That's the American work force, I don't like it but I have to accept it, I do respect it reluctantly, but I do wish we would emulate Europe's model.

Without a trace of irony.

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