I recently overheard a conversation at Body Mechanics Department of Mobility. It went something like this:
Left Leg: I’ve filed a grievance with the union.
Management: A grievance? Over what?
Left Leg: Right leg isn’t carrying his weight anymore. I’m under increased workplace stress.
Management: He was injured on the job. He’s got a doctor’s note and I’m only allowed to use him for half-shifts.
Left Leg: Well, I’m not picking up his slack.
Management: Right leg is only going to need a few weeks to get better. You’ve been on half-shifts for 13 years! Can’t you just help out a little more in the interim?
Left Leg: …
Management: OW! Stop it! Is that necessary?
Left Leg: What about left hand? He’s been carrying that cane around. Can’t he take some weight?
Management: He has been taking weight. And he’s not supposed to. He’s just there for balance…
Left Leg: Balance. C’mon. He could take more weight.
Management: …AND he was stabbed with a steak knife a couple days ago!
Left Leg: Oh please. It’s a little flesh wound. You didn’t even take him to the hospital. What about right hand? Has he been stabbed too?
Management: You want right hand to do your job?
Left Leg: You baby him. He just follows you around and does whatever you tell him to do.
Management: Unlike some employees.
Left Leg: I do plenty of work. For the last five years I’ve carried management to work and back. Every day! That’s an hour’s walk just for commuting! Don’t you have a car?
Management: Right. And while right leg is off, you won’t have to do that anymore. So you should be able to pick up the slack in other areas.
Left Leg: Oh, I see. HE gets injured and you miraculously lighten the workload. But no one cares about my injuries. By all rights, I shouldn’t even be here!
Management: Everyone cares about your injury. We lightened the load of the operation a lot for you just to keep you on.
Left Leg: I knew it. You all think I’m dead weight – dragging down the operation’s bottom line. It’s all about the bottom line with you guys, isn’t it?
Management: OK! This is crazy! We can’t bicker at each other. We have a job to do and we have to work together. I’m just asking for a little help for the next few weeks. It’s not easy keeping this operation going every day.
Left Leg: …
Management: AARRGH! OW! OK! OK! Butt has been working double shifts lately, but I’ll see if he’s willing to work more overtime.
Left Leg: That’s all I ask.