Monday, March 7, 2011

Great expectations.

I had the best day at work today! Everything worked out exactly as planned!

Okay, this is my life we are talking about, so you know the above statement is next to impossible.


I got up early, ate breakfast, packed my lunch and headed to work. I sang in the car to try and whittle down my nerves. I got to my first day on the job and walked around the whole place to get the feel of where things were. Because of my manager brain, I noticed a few red flags: the cleaning towels were filthy, and there was only one sanitizer bucket in the whole place. The cooked chicken was sitting in a pan out in the open, uncovered. The glass case where the pastries were kept didn’t close, so there were huge gaps where bugs and warm air could get in. The owner didn’t ask me to fill out any paperwork or get a copy of my driver’s license or social. That’s fine Hed, not everything is going to be perfect. Eventually you can make suggestions to make this place look great!

The owners left for the day, and I was left with my trainer, who was very nice and knowledgeable. During my down time I cleaned the hell out of things, because I hate standing around and I hate not being busy. Around time for her break she started making a sandwich. “Oh, hey, do we get a discount here by chance?”, I ask her. “No. We used to get 50%, but we bought so much that they got rid of it. We do get a free sandwich during our shift though”.

“That’s pretty cool”, I tell her. “Did they tell you about payday?” she asks me. Now, I know I’ll be paid eventually, so usually when I get a job I wait a few days to ask about paydays, benefits and such. It’s just what I do. “No, not yet”.

“Well, we get paid every other Friday, and we get paid under the table”.


“Yeah, they didn’t tell you that, did they? We get paid in cash. It’s cool on one hand because you know exactly what your pay is going to be every week, but it sucks because you can’t apply for aid or anything if you need it”.

“But what about income tax?”, I ask her. “I haven’t done my income taxes for two years. You don’t get anything. No pay stubs, nothing. It’s like we never even existed. Actually that’s why we hire so many people-there is a lot of turnover because the owners don’t tell you until payday. Some stay, some leave”. I was floored.

Here’s the thing: if you, my lovely readers, get paid on the sly, that’s all well and good. No judgment here, folks. But I don’t swing that way. I want a record of my earnings. I want to work at a legitimate business where everything is on the up and up. There are a million bazillion reasons why I have a problem with this.

Firstly, this means more than likely the owners have no workman’s comp insurance. If I slip and crack my skull open, there is no record that I am an employee and it is out of their hands. Second, I have no paystubs to show a potential landlord or car dealership should I choose to rent a place/buy a car. Third, I like my refund at the end of the year, and I like to pay into my social security for when I retire. Lastly, as a manager, what does it say about my character if I worked at a place like this and then one day tried to get another job? A lot of management places ask for a copy of your salary history to make sure that what you say you have made in the past is true. How would it look to a potential employer if I tell them, “well, I worked at this place for a year but it was under the table”? Plus it just opens up a giant can of worms after that. If the owners aren’t willing to pay their employees properly, what other corners are they cutting? What if there is a dispute one day with my hours and what they pay me? There will literally be no record of it.

I feel like a total douchebag loser. I’m unbelievably disappointed. For once in over a year I was able to puff out my chest and play rock star, and now I have to tell everyone that I don’t have a job anymore. Including all of you. You know I’ve been talking about baby steps but when one letdown happens it’s MONUMENTAL to me. It’s not like I’m at the top of my game and I have something bad happen, I have nothing and still bad things happen. It usually strengthens my resolve to give up.

If you’ve just started reading my blog (hi new followers! Love you!), you may not know that I happen to have a fear of what others think, and I’m constantly worried about it (working on it, by the way). So I tell everyone I have a job and get congrats and kudos from everyone, and now…this. The only difference now I guess is that I now know that I can get a job, and I will get a job. I didn’t feel that way a few months back. I need to dust my shoulders off and find another one (sigh) that will be reputable and legal!

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  1. At least it gives you something to do until a REAL job comes around...

    I'm with you. Cool, no taxes, but yeah. No benefits. No worker's comp.

    Some people love this. They can collect unemployment/welfare/foodstamps while still working, and abuse the system. But you're better than that.

    FIND SOMETHING BETTER SOON! Good juju being sent your way.

  2. I am not really shocked by this as there are a ton of people who would love to have that job so they can scam.

    I hope you find something better soon.

  3. Heather I also have a really bad thing about worrying about what others think it sucks I wish I could just NOT CARE but I can't help it. I'm learning to let it go but it sucks thinking about that.

  4. I am so sorry to hear that your awesome opportunity isn't so awesome after all but I will think even more highly of you if you choose to not work here & keep looking for somewhere legit.
    I worked for a company for 5 years that started as paying on the books but then switched to cash in hand. The money was great sometimes - taking home over $1200 a week but then sometimes not getting paid on time for 3 weeks and like you said I couldn't change my credit card, had trouble renting a new house and even looking for a new job as I couldn't give any references from my last 5 years of work. Even now after 18 months at new job I am looking to change companies again and am still getting grief over a gap in my resume.
    Be strong, stick to your principles and you'll find the right job soon enough :)

  5. Hed, you are 100% correct! What your gut is telling is is absolutely right. What these business owners are doing (paying under the table) is illegal. If you get caught not paying taxes on your income, you could get into deep shit. Run away from there! You are NOT a loser. They essentially lied (by omission) to you. THEY are losers - in a big way. Karma - and possibly the IRS - will catch up to them.

  6. Usually I would tell you to not do what we (me and you and other overly anxious types)usually do and overthink things. This time that was the right thing to do.

    Good luck finding the right job. Hopefully things shake out soon.

  7. argh, goddamn it! i'm sorry, boo :(

    but i think you're right to run. usually someone who so boldly flaunts the fact that they work below the law doesn't have a problem doing other morally reprehensible things, and are only concerned with their own best interests, not yours. if the shit were ever to hit the fan and they got caught, they would take you down with them.

    and you're too good for that. fuck them.

  8. That must have been a huge disappointment to you Hed, but, boy, did you do the right thing by leaving - 100%. It would have been so easy for you to stay, but, judging by all the things you immediately noticed that were wrong, I honestly think that you are well out of the whole situation, and people can only have so much respect for you for doing what you did and walking. Something else WILL turn up, and it can only be better. I wish you all the luck in the world in finding something else.

  9. That is totally crap! But I think you are right to leave cos you have a work ethic that doesn't fit with theirs. Something else will turn up :)

  10. Idaho-Juju! Does it come with hot chocolate? (Hee hee Grey's Anatomy reference)

    OT-I know what you're saying, and I thought about staying for about a second, but I just can't work somewhere that isn't legit. It's a damn shame that employers have to do this shit!

    Kinoo-Thanks for your personal story-I remember my best friend was paid under the table and sometimes he wouldn't get paid for a MONTH! Totally forgot about THAT one too!

    Soapbox-I know in my heart you're right and that I did the right thing. It just sucks to have to walk away from something that showed promise :(

    Lance-Yay! I thought smart for a change! :)

    Kage-Awww, thanks boo. You're totally right-if they would treat their employees like shit when they WORK for them, imagine what they would be treated like if shit went down??

    Thisisme-Thanks for supporting me! I was thinking someone is going to be like, "oh that Hed screwed up AGAIN", so it's good to know that all of you (so far) say I did the RIGHT thing!

    lyndylou-Right?!?! I hope something else will turn up-and fast!!!

  11. and i forget to say...LOVE the picture of you picking your nose, lol ;)

  12. OMG Heather, so sorry it didnt' work out but you made the right decision so you can feel good about that and look for something better. Know we are pulling for you. ((HUGS))

  13. hugs so sorry hope things work out soon

  14. Ask them if they will provide you with a 1099 at the end of the year and take out your own taxes. A lot of people work as self employed in situations like this. Try talking to them. You never know??

  15. I would have done the same thing, Hed. There's no shame in trying to earn an honest living. I think you were right in quitting.

  16. Well f*** them. See this as a proof that people want you to work for them and nothing else. I'm sure you will find a proper job soon, just don't let someone else's stupidity bring you down.

  17. I am sorry things worked out that way, but I am BLOWN AWAY by your integrity! Good for you.

  18. Hed, my darling, do you know how smart you are for your decision not to stay there??? So many people would never take into consideration all of those points that you made about getting paid under the table. I'm impressed with your smarts and your integrity. Bravo.

  19. You definitely did the right thing. I would think seriously about letting the state know with a tip. I'm thinking of the workers here, not the skanky employers. Workmen's comp and unemployment insurance are critical and so is paying into social security. If you worked there 20 years--God forbid--and got to be 65, you wouldn't have anything but a free sandwich. I know the economy is bad but these people are users and takers. The playing field should be level. If they decided not to pay their people, oh well. Sorry, I was in HR myself for a long time and I hate to see employees screwed over. YOu WILL find something great!

  20. bummer dudette!

    silver are so right, if they hired you someone else will as well...

    you will find another job, things will be good and life will get better...

    you are so much better than the job, and so just go and get another one...

    no one thinks you are not good enough cuz you were lied to.

    and anyone that does? f*ck them, you don't need them...

    we love ya kiddo! it will get better!

  21. you are SO NOT a loser, douchebag, etc. THEY are. They should have been clean and up front about their policies. i agree - walking away is the smartest thing for you to do. it shows integrity and honesty.

  22. So sorry Hed. I wouldn't keep the job either, too many risks for me. Keep trying, you will get a job :D

  23. Everything will work out fine in the end! You found that job, you will surely find an even better one...I know these things! We are all going to be right there with you till you do mama!

  24. Oh goodness my heart just broke for you when I read this. How unfair.

    But please know that I agree 100 percent with your decision not to work there and you SHOULD puff out your chest and stand tall that you made the right decision, because YOU DID.

    Another job is on the horizon. I just know it - you are doing great hed, keep it up. :)

  25. PS - I am love, love, loving the "hed-er" heehee - the pics are da' awesome!

  26. -_- What? That's not right...Sorry Hed hope you can find something legitimate soon.

  27. Only just got a chance to read this sweetie. Keep smiling, something will come up and as you said, you know you cn geta job and the fact that you arent prepared to compromise your values shows what a strong person you really are. So proud of you and sending youa big hug


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