Wednesday, August 1, 2012

That time I became a Safety Inspector.

So, this can't be legal.

I'm, in no way, certified to do safety inspections. I keep my blow dryer inches from the sink and a mere foot from the tub (it's a miracle that it's not plugged in 'round-the-clock). My fire alarm will beep hungrily for a battery for weeks before I buy a pack and months before those batteries end up in the device. I leave the oven on after a cooking project and hours later, Rob will here the clicking of the reheat function (then while swearing, will run over and turn it off). Once in a while, I forget that the mandolin slicer I bought for my kitchen is actually a rickety death trap and I sent my fingers flying into it, spewing blood across my kitchen. Do I throw out this devil device? No. I clean it up and put the device back into my cupboard like a mental patient with a short term memory.

I am not a safety-person. Yet somehow, my boss seems to think I'm the most fit office person to take on the task of doing the monthly safety inspection.

Can we go back to about 2 months ago, when I had my work review? For my office, we do a self-review, a peer-review, and a supervisor-review. I mentioned that it was my goal to be able to implement my skills and background in Journalism into my work so that I could grow with our company. I mentioned this because I knew that the Development Assistant position was up for grabs but hadn't been posted yet- so I made a casual assertion that I would be happy to use my background in Journalism and PR and so on and so forth to help the company succeed in their future social endeavors. I basically threw myself at that position like a desperate woman.

Then, without posting the job internally, they gave the position to my co-worker without an interview. They broke federal law, mind you, by doing this. Then they said to me: "well, we have other things in mind for you." Well the operations manager said this to me after saying "I don't want you to be upset with us over this decision" (nice way of saying "please don't report us to the State for breaking laws). He was also was on leave for an injury he had sustained- so it was a rough time to really discuss things.

Great. Wonderful.  So I asked, "what 'other things' do you have in mind?" to my executive director and she looked at me and said: "Well, if there's anything extra you want to do on top of your current it?" with a shrug. So, I laughed and told her I wanted to be the Queen of England. Now, this was not said in a hostile manner- we were joking around at this point. But then she clarified and said that if there were anything I wanted to do as extra, to check it with her but, please note, she mentioned that no pay raise would occur for my extra work. Mind you, I already do a lot of "extra" activities to help around the office- I manage and work on her data entry so that we, as a company, can maintain our grant money from the state and UPMC. I willingly switch shifts with coworkers so that they can attend work-related functions. I go to work-related functions that are optional, only missing one in the past for a family issue. I clean the waiting rooms, the exam rooms, and get handed cups of pee/ass swabs on a daily basis. I do things that are not in my job description every day.

So, no, I didn't go to our executive director with anything "extra" in mind. I waited for our operations manager to get back from his injury leave to see if maybe his "other things in mind for you" comment would be better filled in by him. He didn't mention anything. A week goes by...two weeks go by...

Then yesterday, my direct supervisor (there are three people above me) says: "(name of operations manager) wants to see you. He's got a task for you." I say, "do you know what it is?" and she cryptically turns back to me and goes "yes. don't get too excited."

So I head upstairs to his office, and he hands me a binder that says "Safety Precautions" and says:

"I have a lot of things on my plate, so I'm going to give you this one: you need to do safety checks of the whole building at the end of every month, ok? thanks."  As he's saying it, the executive director comes out with this huge grin on her face as if they've just handed me some huge promotion. It's her famous "I'm asking you to do this shitty thing for me but if I smile in a cute-but-nervous way, you'll do it anyways, right?"

So now, on top of my current job, and the data entry, I'm doing safety protocols. Which means, checking all the extinguishers, fire pulls, fire doors, regular doors, exit lights, flood lights, strobe lights, fire escapes, and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Which means having to set off the detectors. Which means having to stay after work, late, after people leave the bldg. because we don't want to disrupt the clientele. The problem is: I'm their early shift person. Which means I'm in the building by 7:30 most mornings. I like working the 7:30-3:30 shift and no one has asked me about doing late shift again like I had used to do- mainly because I avoid traffic jams. Before you think this is me whining about traffic, consider: I live 6 miles from work. If I go in traffic, it takes me an hour to go 6 miles. If I go without traffic? 10-15 minutes.

Sorry for the novel, but does anyone else think it's weird that I'm now essentially the "Safety Monitor"? I keep thinking of myself dressed up like this:
Halt! Stop there, demon Smoke Detector! 

Perhaps I should get a stylish orange safety vest/belt combo. A Velst.

I really hope one of the jobs I've applied to in the last month gets back to me soon. I may actually lose my whole damn mind at my work.

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