Sunday, December 31, 2006
I've been working in television in one form or another since 1989. With the exception of my first job at the mighty KDLT in Sioux Falls, every job has been a 24/7 operation. Three hundred sixty-five days a year. That includes every conceivable holiday.
My bitch has never been the hours or the days. I've always tended to work during primetime and on weekends. Hell, that's when people are watching TV, you would think that's when a broadcast operation would want its best people at the controls. For the most part, I think I've been one of those people in every job I've had in the industry.
My bitch is with management in general. Primarily that they're managing a broadcast operation and yet generally seem to act like things close up at 5pm, that everyone just goes home like a regular "9 to 5er." They act like no one is around on weekends or holidays.
Now this has its advantages as an employee, namely that you're able to just do your job and not be interfered with by idiots in suits. You do your job, you do it well, and no one is in your hair unless you do something wrong. I like that.
What I don't like is when, on Friday afternoon, some "9 to 5er" brings you some task that has been on their desk all week and wants it taken care of in the next fifteen minutes because they're going home in a few minutes. I'm not going home in a few minutes, I'll be here all weekend.
We have a little unofficial policy on our shift, not to go back to the prep area before 5pm, because this invariably happens. Someone, rushing out of their office for the weekend, drops something in your lap, doesn't explain it fully, and rushes out the door. Worse yet, you get a phone call, from corporate for something that is a "priority." I get priority, I work in a time-sensitive business. Priority does not mean do something immeediately just so someone else can get an early start on their weekend.
I sometimes take it personally when someone tells me "have a nice weekend" as they head out the door. It depends on who says it, of course. One of our own gets it, and I take it as "have a good weekend at work." Too may people, and this is everwhere I've ever worked, don't really understand that anyone, someone, you, aren't on your weekend, that anyone could possibly be in the facility between 5pm on Friday and 8am on Monday.
And holidays. Good lord, they can't fathom that anyone could possibly be working on, for example, New Year's Eve. And I understand that us 24/7 folks can be hard to deal with. When I worked for the state of South Dakota, the Governor would always, as a treat to employees, give us half the day off on Good Friday. It was a big secret and we'd find out sometime on Wednesday. Now, I appreciated the gesture, and I would get 4 hours off sometime, but since my position couldn't be left unattended and since we weren't allowed any overtime and since our work week ended at 4pm on Friday, it was a struggle to schedule everyone their time off. In the end, more trouble than it was worth. People who were not essential, genreally meaning they made lots more money than me (the recptionist made lots more money than me, and I did her job in addition to mine from 4pm to midnight) could just pack up and go home. Oh, they might shuffle their duties to get everything done, but they could go home.
Easter has always been a sticking point in general. It's a Holiday, a Holy-day, but since it always falls on a Sunday has never been in anyplace I worked a work holiday. Yet, I've almost always had to work it. A day that the "9 to 5ers" get to spend with their families, hopefully a special day, and I have to work and am compensated for it at the same rate as I would be for a Tuesday night in September.
And I could go on and on. On and on, but it's pointless. All of that said, my current employer is better than most on these issues. Better than any other I've had in that regard. I know I chose this business (or it wouldn't let me go), but a little regard by management would certainly be appreciated.