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Getting Fired: The New American Dream

I appreciate the money, but I shouldn’t have to work 70–90 hours a week to live like a human being, as working that much makes it nearly impossible to have a life outside of work anyway.


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Harry Seitz

4 months ago | 3 min read
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But I’ll quit if I have to

After my second straight year of working 1000 hours of overtime, I received my performance review this past Friday.

Out of a possible 4, I was graded 2s across the board, including for communication, teamwork, flexibility, problem-solving, and volume/quality of work.

Inflation this year was 7% based on CPI (which is likely an underestimate), the highest rate in 39 years.

My raise for this year is 2%.

I’ve been working from home for about two years as a financial proofreader, which is boring and meticulous work. It’s distracting as hell to receive ping after ping while you’re trying to work from shitty 4 point font copy.

Likewise, it’s frustrating to wait hours for technical support when you could fix the problem yourself, but the standard procedure is to get a ticket and sit on your ass.

Regardless, I conceded there might be room for improvement as far as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving (instead of fixing the problems, I’d report them).

Conflict arose when we got to flexibility and volume/quality of work.

I work from 1:30 p.m. to midnight every weekday, whenever we have weekend work (which is often), I volunteer, and I’m the only person on 2nd shift who overlaps 3rd, so whenever 3rd shift was short, I’d stay until 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. depending on how busy it was and how many proofreaders were absent.

So I asked how I could be any more flexible, and my boss told me that there are other ways of being flexible. I asked him to be more specific and he said it all goes back to clear communication and left it at that, which I found somewhat ironic.

After telling me to let other people pick up more jobs a few months ago, he told me that it didn’t seem like I was picking up enough jobs.

I reminded him the workflow isn’t steady and he had asked me to share the load, and that no one can do jobs if there’s nothing on the scheduler. I directed him to the job log, which clearly shows I picked up as much work as regularly as any of the others.

He told me that the job log didn’t factor into the evaluation.

In other words, in order to evaluate my job, he didn’t look at the job log.

I said I didn’t mean to be a jerk, but if the job log didn’t matter, why the hell did we keep it?

He said it was my job to improve this year and I asked him how, or to tell me one specific thing I could do and he got angry.

“You’re a smart guy, you can figure it out. You can fill out the comments on the form and go to HR, but remember if you go that route, we have recordings of all of your conversations.”

Being incompetent isn’t mutually exclusive from trying to force me to quit to avoid paying unemployment, and whether he realizes it or not, his stupid policies are driving several of us crazy enough to just say fuck it.

Unfortunately, I do know what he wants. He wants regular pings from everyone so he knows none of us ever has a moment of peace.

Instead of just letting a coworker take a job, I have to at least pretend to try to grab it first, which means pinging 2nd or 3rd or 6th depending on how many other poor slobs I’m working with.

He has to justify his existence as a manager by fucking with us when we all know we’d be better off without him, and all of his meddling makes me wonder exactly what the fuck it is he does all day.

I’m calling HR on Monday because I pray that they fire me. Failing that, I’ll do the absolute bare minimum from now on and follow his asinine policies to the letter.

I appreciate working from home, but as there’s a global pandemic, that option should be a given. The few luddites who still go to the office have actually hurt us because one of them got COVID, so none of them could work for three days.

I appreciate the money, but I shouldn’t have to work 70–90 hours a week to live like a human being, as working that much makes it nearly impossible to have a life outside of work anyway.

Fortunately, I have a cushion, my mortgage is almost paid off, and I’ve been thinking about divesting anyway. I’m not sure when the market will crash, only that it will soon, so I might as well get the fuck out now.

And who knows? Maybe if I didn’t have to work all the time, I could actually write enough to scrape by.

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Harry Seitz

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