Manual Labor Job VS PTO: Solutions


I have a problem with how people with manual labor jobs are viewed! As usual these are my opinions and since they affect me directly this time I honestly do not care if you take offense! People who work manual labor jobs are the back bone of our society. I have done it but it’s just not my line of work, but my husband does it and loves it! He enjoys it like no other. So when I see him getting taken advantage of or something is weighing heavily on people in his line of work I feel I need to voice my opinion on it.

Though his job offers more than most, I still feel that across the board manual labor jobs need to step up on what they offer people. I understand that they are jobs that many people do not WANT. They are deemed as they jobs that only low income, under-educated, past-criminals, and/ or immigrants can get. I find that to be so harshly stereotypical yet that’s how many view this predominantly male population. I find it so wrong. There are many respectable men in this group who genuinely love manual labor (work they do), the environment, the people they meet, and the frequency of the checks (generally every Friday). I mean they will do work that most of us would not do from animal waste management to landscaping and construction. However, when we think of architecture and even construction we do not think of lowly jobs like landscaping and such but these men do this too. They just do not have the title. Many of them have the ingenuity and brilliance but not the degree or polish/ pedigree one would prefer. They can map out your entire land with koi ponds and zen gardens, waterfalls, rock wall dividers, and stone paths, and ivy covered archways and so on but you do not see them as architects because they did not build a house. Yet they have to know the ratio to their chemicals to spray for your pests, the psi for the pump to build your koi pond, and the correct measurements, and how to get the correct filters installed for fish waste and such so that the fish can thrive. They must also make sure this coincides with your property and spacial quality for everything else you have asked for and is up to code. But I digress.

So the topic today, paid-time off. I have a problem with not paying employees who you were ‘prepared’ or have budgeted to pay just because it snowed or some other act of nature. Moreover, if they have family emergency or need to take a day off for something they have to do it with the knowledge that they will not be paid. This is not fair. I understand it if  was like my job where if you used all your PTO or it has not accumulated and you had to take a day (even though now you can ‘borrow’ up to 2 weeks before you accumulate it) but to straight tell them they never get PTO and never will and you basically never expect them to take a day off is ridiculous. I could almost…almost understand if it were a part-time job as PTO is considered a benefit and most jobs do not offer benefits to those who are not full-time, but a full-time job where one is working and not receiving PTO of any sort seems absurd to me. I mean I have heard of a job not giving them healthcare because that can be pricey and the company has to pay for that, FINE. I cannot say I completely agree but I get it. But when you have already budgeted and were going to pay the employee for being there anyway but then ‘weather’ happened…why not give them that money anyway. Or if they need off for a medical appointment, this money should go into that. I mean an employee should still only get up to a certain amount off like 2 weeks a year that way the rest of the time still goes back into the company and the company still profits/ stays in the green but making money off nature while your employees struggle is wrong. Especially when you still sit like a fat cat paying yourself and getting all you need even on the bad weather days or your medical days and you are not ‘full-time’ either. Yet because you are the boss you can do that. That’s not right!

My solution is that when there is an act of Nature, allow them to make-up the day if they choose or come in and do labor in another way (if it is not too dangerous to drive). For example, come in and clean/ maintain the equipment they use everyday. You have trucks and gear that probably are rarely done/ cleaned on a regular, use that day to do that, get them maintained or take them to a specialist to get them inspected. Have them come in and do paper work, clean, or refresh/ paint the facility. This is something else that has probably also been neglected. Most employees would probably prefer to get in some hours even if only a half day than nothing. If you can do a conference call from home do that; where you can do a training.

I mean, you would be surprised at the morale and initiative your team would take if you showed interest in what they would like to do to keep income coming when there would usually be none. I mean, yes there will be times when after working for months or weeks on end for 10-15 hrs a day that yes they will take the option to have that day off and not care if it it unpaid. However, when it goes on for days on end and 1-3 days a week because of rain, snow, or other reasons out of their control, having options would be nice. These men are human and have responsibilities. They need to be looked at as men and able to do what they need to as men which is to provide and feel pride in their ability to contribute to their household. It is not proud moment when a man has to say my check was short this week because it rained or because I had to get a physical. Doing things to stay healthy should not cost them ‘twice’. They already have to pay for it out of pocket or through insurance, then you make them pay by not giving them PTO or the chance to make up the hours in any way for trying to stay healthy to do their job.

That’s a shame, especially when in most cases they aren’t even the ones that provide healthcare…but that’s a whole other topic for another time! Just look out for your employees because one day they may build a rival company and take all your employees and give them just what you would not! And as a organizational psychologist I will be willing to help them make the solutions I just suggested!

Dear Foreign Tech Support…


Dear Foreign Tech Support,

Let me start by saying thank you. You were most helpful. However, it is always annoying when you are in one country speaking to someone about  a problem and they are almost always refer you to someone who is in a distant land who someones you barely understand. Some people say…maybe you are assuming this, maybe they live here and had an accent.

I  personally work for a tech company that has recently created a call center in this country to try and satiate their customers for this very reason. Customers have made this very complaint about constantly talking to a foreign person who they barely understand and becoming frustrated and then having poor customer service and so on.

However, I had great customer service and I did not assume that tech support agent was foreign I surmised it when she kept saying they will meet with you Tuesday 12/22/2015 and will call you 24 hours in advance and to be ready for this call and again 1 hour before they arrive. Not only was she speaking rehearsed lines but she was unsure of the time whatsoever here because she was about 12 hours ahead of me. I was thinking to myself um, that’s tomorrow,  will I still get a 24 hour phone call to confirm my appointment since it was technically already less than 24 hours? Then I was like I have to sit on my phone today to confirm that 1 hour call o be sure I do not miss that one at least…Or I am in trouble. Geesh.

I am by no means saying they should get rid of their foreign tech support or this woman, I am merely stating that perhaps they should have timezone set-up and even an American call center as a back up (just a small one) to help support them. That is my only concern. I believe every company could use a small skeleton team of this nature at least when you have a huge overseas tech call center, at least to see how your customers respond.

Both my husband and the tech agent were at least patient as my husband asked her to repeat things 1/2 a dozen times and then my husband was a all thumbs with the tech gear at first and tried multitasking with her on the phone. (and yes, she literally asked us to cut the system off and on TWICE, LMBO). The call was direct, short, and pleasant and got what we desired in less than a day. He only had to go with no t.v. for a night. which was nothing since he had it on his phone, lol.

I, on the other hand streamed a movie via netflix and then passed out. I had a pretty emotional day yesterday as well as treatment, and work. I was done for, glad to start fresh today. I have some holiday shopping to finish today. I sadly was done 2 weeks ago then, had to return some things because I was beat to the punch, lol. So now I have to brave the masses one last time. But it’s in an uncommon store so not so bad!

Disclosing Disability…Is it safety, shame, perspective, strategy or all of the above?


As someone who has actively looked for new jobs while having MG it is hard when you see certain things on the application such as the disability disclosure forms and knowing when you go to a job interview if you will have any symptoms that will tell your potential employer that something may be different about you that you do not wish to disclose. The problem with disclosing things are that in some cases with disabilities like my case of MG it does not always affect my ability to do my job. When I am stable I can do anything that anyone else in my job can do. However, yes just like with anyone other disorder when you first get it, it takes time to find out what you have and to get to the bottom of it and some trips to specialists and maybe even some hospital stays.

Once you are beyond that though you generally have a firm grip on things. Then you fall into the area where you are proud of being a survivor of your illness, a champion; however, society still can have a way of making you feel ashamed making you feel less of a person, because they are still the ones that offer you the jobs. Though it is illegal to tell someone you did not hire them because of a disability people still consciously and even subconsciously decided they are not going to hire the disabled person, preferring the more ‘abled’ individual. They give other reasons why they did not hire the person, but sometimes you just know why. Since I have a disorder people cannot see I do not tell people because I refuse to let that be a deciding factor. You cannot always prove that is a reason why you were not hired, but if you did not state it you can usually be sure it was not even on the table. SO though I am proud to be a champion and survivor and I buy the shirts and stand for MG, I still say ALL OF THE ABOVE! Because for now we still have to evolve society in baby steps just like we do everything else. They still ‘see’ the disabled person as incapable even though we know that not to be true, not even giving us a chance to prove ourselves in most cases. So I reserve to the right to employ all tactics I can, I will not hide nor openly disclose my condition. This goes beyond just my case of MG, his goes to mental health/ illness other autoimmune illnesses that are not easily seen as well as physical illnesses. How will you deal with the stigma?

What will you do?