Wondering of My Real Value

          During my high school years, I tried to mix a little extra curricular with my academics and home/farm responsibilities.  Along with my involvement with the musical department (choirs, musicals, and a little pep band), I tried my hand at wrestling.  My wrestling career lasted about two and one-fourth years. 

During this time, I watched a steady stream of fellow wrestlers who for one reason or another decided to throw in the towel.  The pattern was always the same.  When our coach heard the news, he would take that wrestler into his office and close the door.  Thirty minutes to an hour later, the wrestler would emerge with the coach’s arm around him, giving him some final words of encouragement.  Usually the wrestler remained on the team and all would be well. 

I knew that my abilities as a wrestler wouldn’t merit this same treatment when I finally decided that wrestling wasn’t as important to me as doing my fair share back home on the farm.  But as I slowly came to this decision, I didn’t say anything to any one about quitting.  I only said that I was needed at home on the farm for a few days.  Two days later, after I was sure that I would drop the wrestling, I went into the wrestler’s locker area to get my things and to tell the coach my news. 

Most of the wrestlers were already upstairs in the wrestling practice room when I arrived.  The first thing that hit me was that the contents of my locker were on the floor in the corner.  As I looked closer, I could see that my locker had a different lock on the door.  As I stood and stared, and tried to figure out what happened, our manager (a fellow student) filled me in. 

“That locker has been reassigned.  Since you were gone for two days, we figured that you quit.”

There have been a few times in my life since, which I have thought about that experience and the lessons it has taught me.  The coach wasn’t interested in the young men on the team.  He was only interested in who could give him the most wins.  I knew at the time I was no great loss to the team.  But I will always remember the tactless way they sent that message to me. The image of my wrestling clothes strewn on the floor is still bright.

So here I am at a point in my life when I can relate to that high school wrestling experience.  My work has become like my wrestling experience.  The long days at work leave me many long hours to wonder, “Where is the support from Corporate?  Why are the corporate lawyers so slow to respond to our requests?  And when they do respond, why do they only tells us what we CAN’T do to solve our labor problems, and never tells us anything we CAN do? 

Sunday evening we were still struggling to finish a very long miserable weekend of processing.  My crew was overworked and tired.  Some were sick but trying to tuff it out, because we needed the help so badly.  After sending one more person home, who had worked far too long and hard on that weekend, I had to slow down the production line and shut down part of the machine.  We simply didn’t have the personnel to run the whole plant.  This was demoralizing to the rest of the crew.  It meant the workday/night would go even later.  I couldn’t do more.  Tomorrow would only be more of the same.  Finally something snapped.

I stopped the production line and went in to make some calls.  Of course being a Sunday evening, I couldn’t talk to anything except a voice mail.  My message on that voice mail was loud and clear.  “I NEED HELP OUT HERE, NOW!!!” 

            It’s now five days later.  I have visited at length with three of my bosses, including two corporate officials who flew out here from back East.  Today I will get another manager, on loan from another location, for almost two weeks to help with the work load.  We are still talking about what those corporate lawyers will let us do to remedy our labor shortage.  (At least those lawyers are really good at talking.)  I hope some good will come of all of this feather ruffling (That’s a pun if you know the business I’m in.) 

But I have also had some very frank conversations about whether I want to stay and work for this company.  My salary and work hours have been discussed, and are still being discussed in the corporate circles.   It has been a very S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L week for me.  

So this morning, as I approached the processing plant, I thought of my wrestling days back in high school.  And I wondered if I would see my personal things from my office dumped out on the side of the street.  As I approached the door, my key in hand, I wondered if it would work, or if corporate had changed the locks.  There was no one out there to tell me “We figured you quit.” So I came on in to work as usual. 

Today I have met the same problems, and performed the same duties.  Everything seems to be business as usual.  We are still running the plant with an inadequate crew.  And corporate is apparently still talking about what they will do to help us. 

But they have said nothing to me personally yet.  They still have me wondering, what is my worth to them?  Do they think of me as a trader for asking for more money for my crew?  Are they busy finding someone to take my place?  I will be here again this weekend.  (At least unless I come in tomorrow morning and find that my office was cleaned out during the night.) But I will be wondering now, until they get back to me on our negotiations from earlier in the week, what is my value to this company?  Will they take me into “the coach’s office” and give me a pep talk and make an offer I can’t refuse?  I half expect to see a new lock on the door instead.  WHAT IS MY REAL VALUE?   I’m not sure I want to know.   

11 thoughts on “Wondering of My Real Value”

  1. I can relate to this!  I had a job in northern Wisconsin for about 6 years.  I could just feel the corporate people closing in on me.  I was atthe top pof the payscale and they could replace me for a lot less money.  I was smart enough to begin looking for a job.  I am sure I would have the contents of my locker on the floor if I did not move on.  They I had a corporate job in Houston and after 3 mergers back in the 80’s I decided to not go to work in a corporate office in Chicago.  I took over a specility hospital and found some financial inconsistiencies.  I thought I ws so smart for exposing this and totally shocked when I returned to work to find the contents of my locker on the floor.  Since then I have worked much less and smarter.  I don’t get overly committed to a job anymore because I know at any point you could be putting the contents of your locker in your car.  Good luck…

  2. Your blog brought back so many memories.  I remember you wrestling in high school.  I don’t think you ever got pinned!  You just tenaciously held in there for the whole match, refusing to let your shoulders drop.  One match was held during school and the gymn was packed.  So many students and teachers watching.  When it was time to go back to class I had a class with Mr. Powers, remember him?  He came up to me and told me how impressed he was that you never gave up.
    I think you’re right about your corporation.  They just want the job done, they don’t really care who does it. I finally work for a place that cares about me, as an individual.  With dad’s illness I have been taking a lot of time off to take him to doctors.  After another appointment that ran long, dad said to me, "are you going to have a job to go back to?"  I told him that I wasn’t worried in the slightest.  When I relayed that to my boss he said, "that’s right, you take as much time as you need."   Maybe you should check out the employment here, Ron.  There are openings all the time. And if you find you are ready to move on, don’t let your shoulders drop.  Hold them high, because you didn’t give up. They let you down.

  3. well-written, well-told, but SAD TO THE MAX—-Lord, can I ever relate to what you said –AND empathize with you
    Incidentally, to your ultra-important loved ones and (to a far less extent) to the Blogosphere, you’re VERY important

  4. I feel that way about where my hubs works these days. They don’t care about the employees. It is what is in it for the shareholders. I hear you. You have to do what is right for you.

  5. Yep———worked for a corporate travel company— maxed out the incentive compensation plan…. they had what they called an "open door policy"… Where folks were welcome to come through the open door to share their ideas….  What that really meant was…………….."The door is open and if you express yourself or maxout the amount of money you could make….. well, don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!!"  I do hope that whatever you do, you don’t let the suckers drain you dry first thinking you can fix things… If another opportunity comes along where they will appreciate your time,talent and efforts… take it!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
    Actually, I came here with a different thought………….. Have been working on Mr. G’s family history and am at a dead end with his great grandfather…. to research further back.  Nothing on ancestry.com, or rootsweb.com….  or a google type in search….  my email is guppiewoman@hotmail.com when and if you would have time to give me other ideas or would have any ideas of how to pursue this…. 
    by the way, great your wife… I miss her blog… hugs to you both, lottiemae

  6. Ummm… I think this is a very interesting post. But I had a tired work day. I will visit later again and translate it. Have a nice week Ron.

    Hi Ron,
    I think your wrestling story is look like my model life. When I was a young girl, I had gone to a model school and finished there with first degree. But when I go to the first show, everybody acting me as if I am so worthless. There was so many young and attractive girl. All nice dresses was given them and there was some ordinary or ugly dresses on the table. I remember that moment. They were just like some rugs and dirty things. I couldn’t dress and show them on the podium. I looked at them for the last time and run away from there secretly. I am not laughing for it just this moment. It was sad.
    Anyway. I am not asking to myself what is my real value anymore.
    I hope your business troubles fix soon.
    Take care,

  8. I am so sorry you are being treated this way. I really hope all works out with a happy ending or you come across that dream job that benefits you and them.My Husband and i both work for the same company and i use to worry that if they ever had issues and had to let people go ( like Delta) we would be in a world of hurt, now i just think they better not let one of us go or they will lose the other , kind of a package deal here hehe.good luck and let us know how all ends up.Beth

  9. Came by to say hello sorry i haven’t been around much…i have been sick & still am blah hehe. 
    Wow things sound pretty rough at work i am sorry for that.  ihave mostly stuck with small companies makes for a little less headache but then each person had to do more so we could stay small.  Try to not over work yourself you are only one person & the big boys are responsible in the end for what gets done.  Hope things calm soon.  Nathalie  

    If I were you, I’d listen to my gut, Ron. I believe it is telling you precisely what you need to know.
    I have come to believe that every single experience in life takes place for a reason. They’re like landmarks along a road. Always there, taken for granted until they’re needed again.
    You had a powerful, insight-filled experience when you were younger. A landmark was set in place when you made a wise and unselfish decision and experienced an unpleasant outcome. Now, years later you’re traveling a stretch of road which feels familiar and you’re already looking for a familiar landmark. Perhaps it is not merely coincidental. 
    You are a responsible, valuable human being who would be, by virtue of maturity and experience, an asset wherever you end up. Maybe now is the time to start lining your ducks up in a row (feeble attempt at an appropriate pun, here…sorry…).
    I hope your situation comes to a satisfying, happy resolution.
    Peace and love, always…

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