In Livid Color

22 May

The basement at work was a mess!  A fucking mess–yeah, the f-word was warranted.

earthquake 1

I didn’t want to do it.  It was a horrid mess and dangerous and disorganized, and I knew I COULD do a great job with it.  But I also knew it would take time, be dirty, hard work, and everyone would be mad. Because everyone at my work (all vet hospitals everywhere?) hates change, and cleaning would mean moving things.  I also knew, whatever work I did would be immediately undone.  Undone by both people wanting the OLD way back, and by people haphazardly shoving things where they didn’t belong.  So I realized it would be a challenge and any benefits wouldn’t last.

So I left it alone for 3 years.  I wanted nothing to do with that tedious job when all the thanks I would get was anger over change, and then, the same ol’ mess.  But then, my boss was talking about having us clean it to be legit for OSHA.  And really, that’s important.  What if a cat got down there and was poisoned by Monsanto?  What if a co-worker was hurt by a sharp tool while trying to grab food?  It WAS a task that needed doing.

And having to clean it as a group, during work hours, while being interrupted by clients, would be worse then just doing a good job of it during off hours by myself.  So I reluctantly volunteered to get it done before the business day started on Wednesdays when I’m there by myself cleaning anyway.  But I gave the disclaimer that I would have to move things, and I must be able to do it in grubby clothes as well as uninterrupted –over 3 or 4 Wednesdays.

My boss was amicable to those conditions (this was a job that really needed doing and of course nobody wanted to do it) so I jumped in whole-heartedly.  I figured if I was going to do it at all, I was going to do it RIGHT.  And I really did.  I was invested.

Honestly, I couldn’t have had a better attitude about the whole thing.  And I could not have worked harder, or done a better job.  I picked piles of random items off the dusty floor, organized piles of like items, scrutinized shelf-space to see where common items could be grouped together, and did heavy lifting and tedious organizing.  All of the chemicals went into rubbermaid boxes, all sharp objects into a lockable closet.  The basement slowly transformed from a dangerous vortex of chemicals and lost things and unknown garbage, into a safe, functional, visually-appealing storage room.

tornado

The trouble came with the storage of Rx food.  You see, our receptionist tracks it, orders it, and sells a good majority of it.  And SHE is probably the most anti-change person at work.  But my work had the dumbest system in place for years.  The canned food was strewn around the basement, but the dry food was stored in the tiny isolation room upstairs.  Then, orders of dog food were set upon tables in the midst of the basement.  It was a real mess, and totally impractical–but I knew changing it would cause strife because that’s the way everyone was used to it.

But only thinking of functionality, order, and ease for EVERYone at work, I preceded to stack it nicely.  I moved the canned flats from a small shelf, a small side-mounted cupboard,  the bench, and a couple of side shelves to one larger set of shelves, where it could be in one easy to see location.  And this went over well with all staff.  Lovely surprise to me!

But then I had an extra empty shelf.  And I knew it would get cluttered with disorganized crap right away if I didn’t fill it.  So I thought–what can I put there?  And it came to me–it would really be ideal to have all the food in one place.  I’ll move the dry food from the top floor to the basement.  But there was a series of hoops to jump through:  The small shelves were fastened to the wall (2nd vet pried them off for me), the shelf upstairs was heavy (my boss carted it down the stairs with me), the shelf we just struggled to get downstairs wouldn’t fit down the basement stairs (3 people helped disassemble those shelves), those shelves were weird to put together (the book-keeper helped me re-build them), there was a large amount of dry food in stock to carry down 2 flights of stairs (3 of us hauled them over an hour).  Got all that?  So there was nothing easy about moving the dry food to the basement so all the food could be in one place.  AND everyone (except the receptionist) helped accomplish it.  But it would be easy, and worthwhile, and practical so it was all worth it.

I came in early to work on part 3 of the basement project (the side room containing Christmas decorations, I131 leftovers, and large yard items) and to my surprise half of the main room had been disassembled.  Similar items I had so carefully stacked off the floor were tossed to the floor randomly.  I’m sure if it had been any easier of a job, I would have come in to the dry food placed in its former locale.  The food looked much as it had before I touched it–with the addition of all the dry.  On the order of 6 groupings of items were moved out of probably hundreds, but it was an affront none-the-less.  They (the spoiled receptionist) had carelessly un-organized my work.  And I’m sure there had been a hissy fit about the changes I’d made.

They (namely, my boss, who ultimately controls all aspects of the hospital) let her move things back where they were.  Under the pretense there was no room for the new food.  Which I KNOW is B.S., because they also moved food I already found a place for, back to the middle.  I’m sure it was all about being change-averse.

DisasTER

Tears came to my eyes.  They had figuratively punched me in the stomach.  All of my hard work, it felt like, was compromised.  Why continue cleaning and organizing?  They were sure to hate it and ruin it anyway. . .  Then, the more I thought about it–the less sad I was and the madder I became.  WHY would they be so thankless about my working so hard to make all of our lives easier?  More importantly, why was this allowed?  I had to say something.  I had worked too hard to apologize for moving things.  I had gone too far, to let them selfishly destroy it.  This wasn’t right.

When my boss came in, I truthfully told her I almost cried when I saw the basement.  And true to form, she (hating confrontation and wanting everyone to like her) said she had nothing to do with it. And I told her she put me in a bad position then didn’t have the decency to protect me when the going got rough (receptionist temper-tantrum).  Then everyone made excuses that there wasn’t enough room.  Which they just may have believed.  Because vets don’t pay attention to details such as who is doing what work, or how big the food stock is normally.

And now they are buying another shelf.  Because they really think there was not enough room–when I know very well there are 3 empty shelves down there and isn’t it funny the tables are set up exactly as before?  Maybe I’ll learn one of these days not to put myself out there by doing anything extra, because I know where my boss’ allegiance lies–and they are not with me.

volcano 1

On the plus side when my boss “offered” me to work “some extra hours” translation:  Wanted me to work full-time over the summer for no full-time benefits, I had no problem saying an unequivocal no.  If I hadn’t been through the incident that morning I would have taken on extra hours I don’t want or need, out of pure guilt.  So there’s that. . .

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