December 17, 2007

Observe and Report

Holiday Image: 2003 tree and packages.

After a long day of nonstop talking, I’m curled up near the heater this morning nursing my gratitude. Each workday at this job, I come home ever more grateful for my blessings after I pick my employee of the day. Yesterday, I got Maria, who, with her family, suddenly found herself out of a job after forty some years.

Her family had owned an Italian restaurant. It had been a neighborhood fixture for over forty years, and she had grown up in the “shop” surrounded by family. Their landlord had not renewed their lease and given them 30 days to leave. When they took an additional 30 days extension, he sued. He would not let them lease at the new, higher rate either saying he wanted to try something new.

Maria herself is forty…just too old to join the military, too old for the police department or any other department with an age limit that is now hiring. She lives in a part of town where the city is laying off. She had hoped to find permanent work with my company, and I’m sure she was disappointed in my advice.

“Go to school,” I told her. “Use this job to put yourself through school. Apply for any job that will get you a retirement and health benefits. Security at an event focused company has few permanent employees.”

And she worked hard. She caught on fast, she was willing to talk and say “Happy Holliday” to the crush of employees using the ramp, and at the end of the day, she was smiling at them too. She will be a great employee for us, but she will never get rich doing security.

“It was a heartbreaking shock,” Maria told me. “We have mortgages, bills, and its Christmas too. No one saw this coming.”

She was serious about this new job too.

“What do we do about that?” She said pointed to a big puddle on the cement as we walked on by. The enthusiasm of the newly indoctrinated.

I’m sure my lasse faire attitude bothered her. “Nothing.”

But I didn’t explain. For yes, someone needs to take some action about that giant, slippery, just asking to be sued over, liability issue puddle, but the food service workers will take care of it. They know that puddle is there. It waxes and wanes throughout the day. Someone will mop it up several times during the day. Another one may be there when I head home later in the day as it is a design error….water drainage blocked by the new handicapped seating area. Instead I had only a short time to teach her how to do my job.

She asked that sort of question several times. “Your job is to observe and report,” I countered. Each time I saw an example of that, I would point it out to her. An area director was standing and observing a clump of drunks as they made loud, happy noises near Gate F. He and I were both hoping they would move their noises outside the gate. Eventually they did.

And right in front of us, three policemen and one of our best Supervisors brought two fools to a halt. Gate crashing doesn’t make it in these big modern stadiums. You can’t just sneak under the fence any more. Instead, these two tried to push their way through a wall of security “disrespecting”* one young lady at the gate in the process. The largest young man fought back with a vastly smaller policeman who promptly pinned him to the wall.

Very entertaining.

Very informative for the woman I was training too, then we were back to helping fans find seats while the miscreants were carried away and kicked out. I was back to yelling at young men who thought they knew better as they took fully loaded hot boxes down the ramp. Nope, they won’t always listen to me….use the elevator isn’t something they want to hear when the line is forever to get on.

They were vastly entertaining too. “Don’t watch,” I’d tell her. But this day nothing ran away down the slope or tipped over dripping the contents down my ramp.

She had only been to one class. “Don’t do as I do. Don’t put a foot up on the bicycle rack. Don’t eat on the job, don’t drink anything but water on the job, don’t eat brownies on the job, and don’t drink anything in cans on any job.” They had told her not to bring water bottles, or that’s how she interpreted it.

“Yes, bring water. Always. Hydration is a most important thing on this job. You may find yourself stuck out in Timbuktu with the temperature at 90 and rising. You need water.” I went into the “you can always hide it” routine just as the policeman in front of us hid his water bottle in the middle of the “sign up for a Master Card and get a free T Shirt” clot of boxes. Great timing on my part.

For I don’t worry about the puddles when I know from experience that someone will mop them up. I do worry about things like water. They don’t have the experience to know they need it. Did they bring it? Lunch, did they bring that too? Do they have a sweatshirt? That too is important on a chilly day when you are out in the wind. Often I am the first job these new hires get. “Don’t yell,” I say yelling at some fool to turn their cart around. “Basic physics!!” But they haven’t taken physics.

I’m certainly a case of observe and report all by myself.

* I do not believe that "disrespect" is a matter what anyone says, it doesn't work for me. Diss indeed.

Duck: G was having dinner with Duck and his tablemates when I called at the end of the game. Duck doesn’t like having his Christmas Cards tacked up on a bulletin board. He wants them near him between bookends that no longer exist. He doesn’t understand that 1. He can take those cards down any old time, and 2. Any card he gets he shreds after reading. Immediately.

Me: I’m in appallingly bad winter comfort condition. Agony-ious indeed yesterday. Must make concerted effort re crunches and leg lifts. Today: Work shelving DC’s this afternoon. Visit Duck. Dinner somewhere.

Football News: We are getting Golden Time to work Christmas Eve is heartening. Heard that we are not working the US Open. Have two upcoming bowl games, and now playoffs. But, I’m not working the Super Bowl for eight bucks an hour and no travel time for the 16 hours on the bus.

G: Reminds me to put that last load in the dryer. Calling doc about nose. Feelin’ better. Did hamburger at Denny’s yesterday and learned that corporate is selling all its restaurants into franchiseeness. One man bought all three that are near us and must buy two more.

Weather: 62 and sunny today. Tomorrow scattered showers.


  1. Sounds like a busy hectic day. :(

  2. I really like it when you talk about your job and the people you work with. It is easy to transport myself over to the stadium.

    Hopefully, Maria will take your advice about further schooling to heart. Though, I am don't know what it is like in the States, but in Germany, not many (or, no) companies will take on someone permanently over 40. This is why I have been going from one temporary contract to another these last ten years.


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