29 March 2010

Borders Book of Games

One persons view that we’re following the rules to the T is another person’s view of a hostile work environment.

The upper management with in Borders -at least in this region - are now beginning to eat their young, much like baby sharks. As the company continues to hemorrhage money, instead of cutting back in the boardroom and executive branch (where bonuses will be paid out for top executives who stay with the company for the rest of the year. Hey, where’s mine?) or even trying to figure out a way to make money for its few investors, it has begun what I called Operation Annoy the Staff Until They Leave By Enforcing Rules We’ve Never Really Enforced Before.

So, the situation is this: they’ve fired as many people as they can, so in what is their ultimate goal, getting rid of the full-timers, they’re enforcing rules -which I’m sure is in the Employee Handbook, but never really taken seriously - that will force those full-time and long-timed employees to finally leave so they can be replaced by -as I’m sure they’ll say - grateful long-out-of-work part-timers who will do and say anything the upper management feeds them, because, well at least they have a job.

Our employee lockers and our availability it the latest salvo. In all the years I’ve worked for them, the employee lockers were never a high priority when it came to decorations. It was a place to put pics of loved ones, jokes and what not. Now, sure, can some be over done? Of course. But to suddenly want to enforce it -especially when there are other things more important to keep Borders going - with subtle threats (“Well, if LP came in and saw this, I could get fired,” says the GM. “And you don’t want me to get fired?”) and no real explanation as to why its become such a high priority to clean them up and it just shows that the company no longer has any real control over anything. Again, as another analogy, they are starting to gnaw off the arm that they need to keep the company afloat.

My availability has been the same since I moved to this store almost 5 years ago. It’s been open, open, open. But because I worked on the now defunct IPT, my schedule was stable, Monday through Friday. I’m still do IPT work, which is all the sorting and the majority of the shelving, so keeping me on the same schedule was logical. It’s a proven fact that more shelving can get done when the store is closed. You could, I guess, shift that around and go back to what it used to be before the IPT was created, but you’ll never get caught up while the stores open. Never, ever. Because they tried to go back to it, and it failed. And they acknowledged that it failed.

Sorting does not have to be done during the days, but it is -again - more logical. I could come in late on shipment days and still do it, but if I have to work register or the floor, sorting gets behind. And with unboxed product sitting in the back that will contain inventory that people want to buy will not help your bottom line, either.

Anywho, the point is for the staff, they want another open availability form so if you complain about working crappy hours, or just not getting anything done, they can pull out that paper.

It’s just another very legal way of getting employees to quit. Hammer them with changes enough times, they’re bound to quit. And with this tough economy, who can really quit. You either do it, or bye-bye.

All their silly changes is what happens to company in this situation. It’s dying like an actor swallowing his last bunch of prescription drug. And like a junkie in need of a fix, it needs money. And like a true junkie, it takes that money from home, from the people who have been through thick and thin with you, through the bad times and the good. Borders is taking the very blood it needs to keep the wheels of this company going. Its taking staff and forcing them now to follow silly rules they never enforced when the company was doing better. It’s eating itself from within.

So, in the end, they’ve decided to ensure obedience by applying rules they’ve never really took the time to, well, apply. And if you can’t do it, well, then your gone. They can higher someone to replace you, but they’ll never find someone as good as you.

Plus since I do believe it is the goal of the company to get rid of all hourly full-timers, what might not be an easy way, but to shove these silly restrictions under their noses?

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