Wednesday, December 02, 2009

In the supermarket checkout line: "pay your dues"

While in a checkout line at a Safeway this morning, I sensed what a bit of “pay your dues” in the workplace can get like.

The number for the next checkout line was on, but the cashier-checker was nowhere to be found. The assistant manager in my lane had to use the intercom several times to get the checker, whose shift had just started, in position.

Someone like me that spent thirty years in I.T. largely as a developer (with light telephone customer support at the end and some sporadic on-call duties) probably would have a hard time adjusting to the regimentation of a job like this. Imagine some other jobs (USPS letter carrier, which starts by accurately casing the mail each shift).

I said, “it would be nice if you could just hire a customer.” The assistant manager said, yes, she would if she could. She was short of checkers (even in a jobs recession). Well, I face a hernia operation soon and couldn’t do the work right now if they could hire me.

I can remember comments during past recessions. “Get laid off from data processing, go out and get real jobs.”

Pay your bills and pay your dues.

No comments: