Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I would like to complain

Scratch that: I will complain. Right here.

As an employee of the distinguished University of California, I have already been informed by President Mark G. Yudof that I may expect a wage cut and/or work furlough resulting in an approximately 8% salary decrease. Sigh. It's not like I make a lot of money in the first place. My salary is one that can make cocktails come out the noses of my almost all better-paid friends. In the past years, we have either received no cost of living or merit increases or ones so tiny that they are immediately  gobbled up by increases in our part of health care insurance costs. In effect, I have already been making less money every year. But I've not complained. I love what I do, and in my mind there's no price tag you can put on that.  

And I've been working harder. There are no longer any editorial assistants in my department. And there are fewer editors.  But the same number of books. Contract positions (that took the place of once full-time positions) are not being renewed. People leaving or retiring are not being replaced. And people have been laid off. But still, I've not complained. It's frustrating and sad but unfortunately unavoidable. 

BUT NOW I AM COMPLAINING. They've messed with my salary and my workload, but now they're messing with my LUNCH. That's right: my goddamned lunch. Is nothing sacred?? Lunch time is supposed to be a BREAK for eating lunch or doing whatever else you want to do. Eating lunch with my colleagues ("brown bag lunch meetings") to hear about our upcoming switch to Gmail or how to handle diacritics and nonroman alphabets in electronic editing does not quality as a break. Of course, we're not required to attend these meetings, but missing them means you're out of the loop on important material that directly affects your job.

If I haven't ridden my bike to work (long grinding hill all the way home) or plan on running after work, I go to the gym for spin. On days I bike or run, I go to Pilates. Most of the time. I then eat while I work back in the office. Lunch meetings wreak havoc with this well-laid and compulsive plan.

What's next? The six-day work week? Count me crabby.

11 comments:

Kalee said...

Perhaps this is a ploy to weed out even more employees? This sucks.

Purple Flowers said...

They really know how to suck the 'human' out of 'human beings'

ANFQ said...

I dread the thought of someone messing with my lunch. You Figs are having some real lunch issues this week!

browlands said...

I work at UC, too. You have every reason to be upset with your unit for scheduling important meetings during your lunch hour. That is a very sleazy move on their part; in my book, it's unethical. Go one step further and make your complaint formal, and do it in public. You will be helping workers all over the system. Take back your lunch!

Jenn said...

Ouch. Sorry to hear 'bout the work stuff. That stinks.

ElleBee said...

Ugh...I too work at a university, but being at a private school has been a blessing. Because we're actually experiencing our 6th year of record enrollment, we've only had to cut departmental operating budgets by 10%, not salaries. AND they haven't screwed with our lunches! I do have a friend at another institution, however, that is on mandated furloughs. One day in each pay period. Totally stinks, when you figure it's five weeks over the course of the year. That's a big cut, in my book!

Kate said...

I am likely the most uninformed person in my department because I give the big FU to brown bag lunch meetings. I've missed out on some important training, but like you I need/want that time to go to the gym and empty my head for awhile. They haven't fired me yet...

Kate said...

Boo...everyone needs a little down time during the workday...I would see if you can find some studies on how packing the day full actually hinders productivity. (I know they're out there!!)

TC said...

I work at a Southern California university (a private one) and I've already gotten the furlough (yes, 8% salary cut) AND the increase in job responsibilities (including evening and weekend pager duty for every four weeks) AND we were just told that there will be no raises this year. And, yes, I make less than I did at my last job, and I'm the sole income in my family.

But I do still get lunch. So I guess I should be looking on the bright side, yes?

In other words...I feel your pain.

Coffee with Cathy said...

Now, that is low. In protest, you should brown-bag something really smelly or crunchy and sit right beside the folks who called the meeting. That'll teach 'em.

Broady said...

I am pissed off on your behalf. In the midst of a budget crisis, at least one can tangibly see how dreaded salary freezes and/or cuts affect the bottom line. So while it sucks, at least it makes some sense.

But the brown bag lunch? That's just blatantly trying to squeeze more hours into the work day on employees' backs-- for free. That ain't right. If the information or training that is offered at these "brown bags" is important to performing your job, I would be tempted to file a complaint.

But, on the bright side, I am very happy for you that you love your job. You are a fortunate woman in many ways : )

P.S. I made the Peanut Butter cookie recipe you posted, and while they tasted awesome, they did not look near as pretty as yours. Mine thinned out and even lost the fork design! But the husband loved 'em.