Suzy Snapper
Saturday, February 11, 2006
It has been a very frustrating few days, weeks or months depending on how one looks at it. While things personally are going just peachy, there is an element of my life that has become a bit of a trainwreck. No pun intended.

I began this job I now have in April as a temporary employee. It was to be a 6-month maternity leave cover for a much loved, long term staff member. It was like walking into a place mid-sentence and very overwhelming. I had two weeks' training for a job that was multifold and very busy, but also integral to the function of the business.

After she left, I found it to be a very tight community. Friendships had formed so deep, I found it very difficult to break the cliques. For the first 6 weeks, I spent my breaks sitting under a tree reading as I watched everyone leave for lunchs together. There are many tight ties there and weekends, evenings and pretty much any free time, you'll find a few employees together.

But time wore on, and I began to enter the group. I found a couple people who've I become close friends with. One obviously more than friends, but that has been kept as quiet as possible considering how close the whole company is.

The job though was proving to be much more involved than I had anticipated. Nothing I couldn't do, but the shear volume of work expected was overwhelming and varied. Not just purchasing, but I was also expected to head customs work, janitorial contracts (including hiring and firing), and just about anything else they could throw on the new girl. The man I report to is an amazingly intelligent man, but his communication is poor. He and the lady I was replacing had a bit of a bond where she could finish his sentences...I do not have that.

But I told myself it was for 6 months, and no big deal. But 6 months came, and she decided at the last minute to stay at home until the end of the year. Ok, I told myself 8 months and then a new year and a fresh start. But as those days clicked closer to the end of the year, I was told nothing. Did I have a job? Were they working something out for me that was more tailored to my skillset? The lip service was telling me not to worry.

Then mid-December, I was asked to stay until May. Or should I say, I was told I was staying until May. There was no negotiation. This job, as a short term contract, pays significantly less than the going rate and has no benefits. Both things were ok, for a short time but not acceptable for a full time job.

It's now February. The job has morphed into extremely long hours (like 14 hours a day) and weekends just to keep up. I cannot get everything done, and have been told this is the busiest they have ever been. I have had several meetings with my boss that I was overwhelmed and that I needed help. He agreed but nothing was done and the load increased.

With it, the new products that I just have no way of learning and no minute to spare to ask questions. Yet, I am still expected to answer for things that I have no way of knowing. For example:

'Why did we spent $300 for those spikes?'
'Because that's what he quoted me and what we've paid at the other plants'
'Well, we paid only $25 for those up until 2001. What happened?'

Keeping in mind, my files only go back until 2002. Or my boss will email me something that says 'That order you placed? Can you increase to 4?'. No details on which order and well, I place upwards of 40 a day.

Yesterday, things came to a head. I have missed some large orders. While I am frustrated and mad at myself, I do take responsibility but the fact remains I cannot do more than I am already doing. I do nothing but work. 80+ hours a week, and with no overtime pay, it's a lot to ask. I have become so involved with this job, that I have had to cancel social events and miss family time. I have no time to do anything I love anymore - including my photography nor my writing. I have made mention of that to my boss and was just told That's what (company name) is like. Get used to it".

The problem I find myself in is two-fold. I don't quit. It's not something I have ever done. When things get tough, I get busier. I find ways. To leave something, especially when I know they need help, is very difficult for me to swallow.

And then there's the knee thing. I cannot look for a new job when I cannot walk. Or maybe I can. I just don't know.

But the fact remains I have been mandated an impossible task, and have no recourse. I am not able to provide the level of service they need and I know - both financially and emotionally - that this job is not my career, but merely a stepping stone.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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