Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Your time is not your own [part 5]

In preparation for tomorrow's entry, I would like to point out the following:

I had no idea that as employees, we were supposed to receive 15 minute, paid breaks for every certain number of hours we worked as is required by law. No one ever told me.

It was not until I was taking an employee through training and heard it on the new training videos that I realized "hey, no one has been getting those!"

Yet I felt that if I were to take the breaks owed to me, I would get in trouble and not be seen as a team player. Working at Sears Portrait Studio, you feel you have no job security and suspect they may be amassing those summary of conversations so that they can fire you [though if they really want to fire you, they can because you'll notice when you signed your application that CPI has the right to terminate employment at any time without reason]. I felt that by demanding my breaks I would just further be encouraging them to fire me so they could get someone that they didn't have to pay for breaks.

It was assumed that around Christmas time, no one would get breaks period, often not even lunches. In terms of lunches, you are supposed to get them "business permitting." This is used as an excuse to withhold them if there are a lot of appointments or if there are a lot of tasks around the studio to be done. Perish the thought they they would bring in another associate to help you.


Anonymous said...

One thing I have to say is that even though you may feel like your job is always hanging in the balance at SPS, as a manager it was almost impossible to actually fire someone. The company has had so many law suits and files for unemployment that it is extremely cautious about firing people. Our DM would advise us to not schedule someone for many hours, hoping that they would quit. Usually I would try that, and then something would happen like someone else would quit and then that person who is underperforming, not showing up (or even stealing...I'm not kidding!) would be working lots of hours again. As a manager, it was very difficult to retain respect from employees who WERE doing well because they would see that the ones who shouldn't be there anymore were still on the schedule and never really had any consequences aside from getting written up.

Anonymous said...

Actually, SPS has no problem firing people. I was a studio manager for over 14 years, and was recently terminated for "poor performance". I had many successful years- my studio had sales increases every year, going from low volume to super-high volume during my tenure. I was nominated for studio manager of the year more than once. Then my district was realigned and I was put with another DM who thought it would be okay to sexually harass me. Things got ugly after I got my yearly review in late March...I was given a near perfect review and the largest raise of my career. I got the impression that this DM now felt like I owed him something, but I still ignored his advances. After a competitor moved into my area, my sales and sits took a dive for the first time ever. I got no help from the company I'd been so loyal to. The DM lied about the time he spent in my studio over the next 8 weeks- he'd show up after 5pm on one day and not bother showing up the next. Then he would claim to have been in my studio for 2 days of coaching and training!!! When I went to my sears manager and told her what was going on(because DM hadn't bothered to) she was in shock. I wanted to quit. The store manager insisted that I stay and let him fire me, which I did. He couln't even look me in the eye. My replacement turned out to be his "buddy" who was leaving her husband and transferring in to take over my studio. Apparently, she was willing to do some things that I was not. I hear that DM's in my former studio "all the time now". I bet he is. For the whole 2 days.
The best part of this story is that I began receiving corrective action in late May, but my job was posted online in early May. I'm curious to see how they'll try to explain that one away.
Needless to say, it was determined that I should receive compensation for wrongful termination. So a great big thank you goes out to SPS...I'm getting paid to sit out the busy season!!!

Anonymous said...

Our studio is always so short-staffed that we've never really been able to fire anyone. It sucks b/c we've had to deal with some horrible employees, but at the same time, we need people to cover the shifts. I wonder where these "corrective action-happy" managers find new employees to fill the gaps.
Maybe it depends on the district?

Anonymous said...

Same situation at my old studio. Even if you wanted to fire someone, you had no good new people walking in the door. You were pretty much stuck.

As for the person that was fired who commented above; I suspect that your salary was quite high after so many years that the company decided to lay you off to cut labor. Completely unwarrented, but I would guess that was the main reason for the termination. I'm glad you fought it and won! Obviously they made a mistake, and I can almost guarantee that your old studio's numbers are in the toilet now.

Anonymous said...

You are so much better off.This company just continues to suck the life out of well deserving,well qualified,dedicated people.They want a reason to fire long term employees.The top executives have no experience running a studio,therefore believing ANYONE can do it.Cpi is no longer top of the industry..They did it to themselves.Get out while you can!!!