Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doesn't He Deserve Better?

Mike has been the finest sanitation engineer the City of NY has ever known. In his 50 years of service, Mike kept his streets spotless. His trash cans were always in perfect alignment. Everyone who worked with Mike knew that no one could do the job any better than Mike.

Unfortunately Mike is getting on in years and he is slowing down. His enthusiasm for the job is starting to wax thin. He sometimes gets tired and must stay in the truck and let others do the heavy lifting. But, there are days when he is in rare form and as spry and good at his job as any twenty year old.

Mike's boss wants Mike to retire. He only sees the side of Mike that is old and tired. But, Mike's boss also knows that Mike has seniority in the job and it will be no easy feat getting Mike to leave.

Keeping the city clean is the ultimate goal of Mike's boss. He loves his job and is always striving to do his best. He wants to do something about Mike. But, what to do?

Should he hide in the back of the garbage truck and watch as Mike goes on his daily rounds?

Should he inspect the trash cans for unwarranted dents after Mike has picked up the trash?

Should he take out his level to check the alignment of the cans?

Or, should he talk to Mike, find out what is going on? Should he give Mike the respect his 50 years of service has earned him?

I know what I would do if I were Mike's supervisor and that is one of the reasons I will never be a supervisor.


Anonymous said...

What would you do if you were the supervisor?

Pissedoffteacher said...

I would talk to Mike and find out if anything was wrong.

I would try to work with him, within reason, change his schedule, make things easier.

I would treat him with the same respect I would want to be treated with when I am his age and that I want my own parents to be treated with.

I would not play "gotcha" with him.

Anonymous said...

but what if this person simple did a fraction of what his co-workers do?

what if Mike is unable to adequately do his job because he is physically no longer to do it?

what if Mike is scared of retiring and moving on because he doesn't really have something else to do?

when does Mike become an issue that has to be dealt with?

I was raised to respect my elders and I will always honor those who have committed themselves to their work for years.

But when does Mike need to be "pushed" out simply because he won't go. I don't think this is one of those issues that management in all industries wrestle with. They are tough decisions, and no decent human being would ever want to put someone out, but when does Mike simply have to go. And is a supervisor wrong for "pushing" him to go if it is everyone's best interest.

Deep subject when you think about it...

Pissedoffteacher said...

First off, too many people in supervisory positions now a days are threatened by older workers. I would hope Mike's supervisor was not one of those people, but you never know. Look at how many innocent teachers are in the rubber room right now because of incompetent administrators.

Secondly, if the administrator is correct, I would hope he/she could find a more humane way of accomplishing the goal.

Third, it is a difficult problem, one I could never solve. I think too much with my heart and not enough with my brain. And, that is one of the reasons why I never pursued a career in administration.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Anonymous--you are probably are very good person who would never do what Mike's supervisor is doing. I bet you don't evenwork for the sanitation department.