Another Splendid Saturday

I find it simply amazing how one person can manage to ruin my day with just a few well placed words.

I had planned on having an enjoyable day to myself today.  It’s Saturday, my day off, the sun is shining, it’s not too humid for the first time in weeks, and I have no obligations other than what I set for myself.  All was set up for a nice day to myself.  Then my boss E mailed me.

I have worked for my boss for 16 years.  I should know by now that he has the uncanny ability to get under my skin anytime he wants, and i should be better at brushing it off, but when it comes to my job and my job performance, there is nothing I take more seriously.  Ok, maybe that’s a flaw in my own character, or maybe it is a sign that I am a good employee, but whatever the case may be, when I do something wrong or make a mistake that reflects poorly on me, it eats away at me until I can find a way to resolve it with myself.

I generate the schedules for the employees at work.  This is a new responsibility for me, one that I have had now for a little over a month.  For the most part, week to week there are not a lot of changes to be made, so it is simply a matter of reviewing what prints out and making slight adjustments here and there.  Of course, when a lot of people request days off, or the level of business changes due to the weather of holidays or other seasonal occurrences, crew members have to be added on or taken off accordingly.  When I first took command of this responsibility, the goal of my boss was to cut the hours as much as possible.  He felt we needed to trim the schedule as much as we could to avoid overspending on labor.  I understand from a business perspective that labor costs are one of the biggest controllable costs in a restaurant.  When it is slow, we need less people and vice verse.  I was told, by my boss, to cut as many hours as I could in the first few weeks I took over scheduling.  I literally removed somewhere around 100 hours from one week’s schedule.  Of course, the result of this was a week in which we were busy and did not have enough people to work.  Labor hours, instead of being +/- 2 or 3 a day were off like -15 a day.  This is not particularly good for business and I get that.  Unfortunately, what I don’t get is how to predict these things, so I simply did what I was told and of course the hammer of criticism fell on my head for being the one who eliminated so many hours, even though my boss reviews the final draft if the schedule before it goes up and makes his own changes.

So, after a few weeks of ups and downs (some days had too many labor hours, others did not have enough) I finally started to find a balance, and while the schedules were not perfect, they were coming along.  Here’s one of the problems that still exist.  I start a new schedule two weeks before it is current.  in other words today for example, was a day I worked on two weeks ago.  If there were any mistakes, two weeks have gone by in which the mistake could have been caught, however I received an E mail this morning telling me that they were short people beginning at 3:00 this afternoon.  Now, my memory is not exactly perfect and I can not possibly remember the daily schedules for nearly 50 people, so when I get some random E mail questioning the hours of one person, I have to go back and look at the drafts I have from two weeks back.

I pulled out my pile of papers after receiving the E mail from my boss and I could see right away where the trouble was, but at the same time, two weeks ago we were talking about trimming the hours, not adding to them, so at the time, I thought the scheduled looked fine.  Of course, there is little I can do from home on my day off, so his E mail simply served as a way to upset me on my day off.  Yes, I want to know when I make mistakes, and yes, I want to find ways to fix them, but I can’t do much to fix a schedule that has been posted for the entire crew to see for over a week and no one else caught the issue until this morning at 8:00.

I am not trying to avoid the responsibility, rather I am asking for help in finding my errors.  I certainly did not short change the shift on purpose and had I seen the issue sooner, I could have resolved it very easily.  Now, looking at the schedule as it is, there are several options that would alleviate the issue right away.  In fact, the only shortfall is between 3:00 and 4:00, possibly until 5:00.  In any case, one hour, or even two, being a little shorthanded, while not fun, is not the end of the world.  I often have to work with one or more fewer people than I would like, and it is usually during lunch hours, not 3:00 in the afternoon.  Added to this is the fact I was told Saturdays have become one of the slowest days of the week, especially after the lunch rush ends.  Again, I am not trying to make excuses, but to send me an E mail seven hours before an issue needs to be dealt with, rather than a few days in advance, serves no purpose other than to upset me and basically put me in a bad mood all afternoon.

Obviously I want to do a good job and obviously I am going to make mistakes along the way, especially early on.  I received no formal training on how to generate the schedule the proper way, rather I was instructed by my boss’s wife on how to do it the way he wants it done.  Since taking over the responsibility I have only gotten complaints from employees who think I am cutting their hours as a punishment to them or E mails from my boss asking me questions about things two weeks out of my mind.  I knew when I accepted the responsibility it was going to be a challenge, and it was a challenge i welcomed, but if I can not get support from my boss, as well as they other managers, but I am not going to touch on that subject right now, it is going to be a long road to travel before I get it right.

I just wanted to relax today and keep my mind off of my job, but it seems like even though I spend 45 hours there every week, I still need to put in more hours from home, on my supposed days off.

It’s now noon and I have done none of the things I wanted to do for myself today as I have been fuming over this issue for hours now.  I guess I should try to enjoy the rest of my afternoon.  We’ll see how it goes.

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~ by James on July 27, 2013.

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