Thursday, March 16, 2006

A curiosity? (Another workplace rant.)

(By the way, if you read yesterday’s post and didn’t “get” the reference at the bottom, mushrooms are typically grown in a dark, dank environment and covered with a compost of manure. I had several questions about the topic. Clearer now?)

Today’s post is about a curiosity. To me.

My plant enjoys very low turnover of personnel. Which makes my job much easier than it otherwise would be.

Why the low turnover? Well, some factors are good pay, very good benefits, and a small plant environment where everybody knows everybody else.

But last week we had an employee of just under two years quit. At his exit interview with me, he told me that he’d “had it up to here with all the training.”

Say WHAT? The training?

Yeah. He is a “production technician” (plant operator) who works a 12-hour shift that rotates between days and nights. It’s a tough schedule with 8 hours of built-in overtime every other week. But people work it because it pays $25 per hour (base), and employees are scheduled to be off work for seven consecutive days once every four weeks.

So this guy was telling me that he found it so odious, so burdensome, sitting in front of a computer screen taking computer based training courses for sometimes several hours per shift, getting paid $25 per hour (or $37.50 on overtime), in a climate controlled room, that he just couldn’t take it any more.

Can you see why my “bullshit” antennae were twitching?

Now these guys and gals on shift really earn their high pay. Among other things they have to know the plant processes well enough that if there’s a “process upset” (a problem) they’ll know enough about the process to quickly figure out what’s wrong and fix it. Before we make a big batch of bad product that nobody will buy. Or, worse, before the plant sustains damage.

When there’s a fire, a spill, or other emergency, these same shift employees are the ones who respond, put out the fire, clean up the spill, and so on. So they are DEFINITELY worth their pay!

But all of those skills require training. Frequent training. With lots of refreshers. And most of that training is mandated by OSHA and other law enforcement agencies. We have no choice. And this is the first time I’ve heard anyone claim to dislike it with such intensity, much less quit!

So, why did he really quit? I may never know for sure, but I have a couple of ideas from hints he gave during the interview. (So maybe it’s not a curiosity to me after all.)

I’ll likely never know all the reasons. But I’d be surprised if “too much training” was chief among them.

Or even high on the list.


Anonymous said...

I may never know for sure, but I have a couple of ideas from hints he gave during the interview

So . . . you're going to tell us your ideas, right?

Nankin said...

Sounds like this guy didn't know when he had it good.

Valkyrie said...

OH my god working for good money, on a computer -without having to deal with people? Sounds like my dream job!!! BUll antennae - haha Ill remember that one!

Anonymous said...

Duke, if you want for $25 dollar an hour I could do all his traing for him, afterall I'm sat in front of a computer most of the day anyway.

Oh that's not going to work is it :(

Also when I read your first line about your "My plant enjoys very low turnover of personnel " my brain wasn't quite working. For a minute I was thinking you had a pot plant in your office and it liked the same people watering it.

Anonymous said...

Duke, pot plant as in "plant in a pot", I wasn't actually thinking specifically of a particular plant but now you mention it I think I'd go for an egg plant.

Candace said...

I thought it was a potted plant, too!
So, what are your suspicions about this guy's reason for quitting?
He doesn't have a brain in his head?