Friday, March 1, 2013

Complacency kills

Rule No. 1 of Temp Town is, they're lying. Rule No. 2 is, if they put money on the table, take it, because no matter how long they tell you the project will last, refer to Rule No. 1. If you tell yourself you don't need to get to 60 hours this week because you can do it next week, it means next week the cap will drop to 40, you won't get any overtime and you will be what we in Temp Town like to call "Fucked." So if they tell you that you can work 60 this week, you do it. You do it even if they tell you you can work 60 next week and every week, and that the project will probably run another year, maybe two more years. They are telling us all of these things on my current project, but I don't believe them, which is why I busted my ass this week to get to my 60 hours. Refer to Rule No. 1.

As I got in early each day this week and left late, I could not help but notice that the sign-in sheet -- a lovely, archaic device whereby we indicate what time we arrived, what time we left and how much of a break we took, kind of like a 19th-century time clock -- indicates that almost no one on this project is getting anywhere near 60 hours a week. There are maybe a half-dozen of us. Out of more than 50 people, I would guess that only about half are even getting over 50 hours a week. The person who turned in his/her timesheet before I did when I left tonight only did 28 hours this week.

My first and only reaction to this is, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?!?!?!?!?!? If you leave 10 hours a week of overtime on the table, that is almost $500 a week you won't earn -- close to $25,000 a year. And that's if you believe the project will last that long. If you believe, as I do, that every project ends next week and that you will sit home for a couple weeks before landing another project, you're going to want that $500. So go get it.

Other folks on the project have told me that, yeah, if it were just a 4 or 5 week project, they would work every hour available for those 4 or 5 weeks, but this project is going to go forever. On the one hand, the project has been going for about 18 months, and all indications are it could go another 18 months or more. On the other hand, it might not. Which way are you going to bet? Me, I'm a slave to Rule No. 2, and I never forget that Rule No. 1 hangs over us like a sword. Looking at every project like that doesn't promote a warm, fuzzy and secure feeling, but it keeps food on the table. The folks on this project are in a dangerous rut. If they turn out to be right about how long the project will run, I will be a lot more sleep-deprived than they are. I also will have about $25,000 more to list as gross income on ext year's tax return than they will. Fair trade.

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