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Jul 22 - I Was A Fast Food Worker. Let Me Tell You About Burnout.


 
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RAZAH CUTS  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x3
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Jul 22 - I Was A Fast Food Worker. Let Me Tell You About Burnout.
 

 
As technology ratchets up the stress, low-wage jobs have become some of the hardest in America.

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If you had to make a rat depressed, how do you think you’d go about it?

(Okay, you can’t technically make a rat “depressed” — a scientist would ask how to “create a model of depression” in rats. Actually being depressed is exclusive to humans. But the drugs used to treat depression in humans are developed and tested using rodents.)

So to test your new antidepressant, you need an efficient method of making a lot of rats exhibit anhedonia — that is, making them lose interest in things they used to enjoy, like sugar.

How do you think you’d do that?

It turns out you don’t need to traumatize them. The most reliable protocol is “chronic mild stress.” There are many methods of making the lives of experimental animals mildly but chronically miserable — a cage floor that administers random electric shocks; a deep swimming pool with no way to rest or climb out; a stronger “intruder” introduced into the same cage. One neuroscientist actually nicknamed his apparatus the Pit of Despair.

But they’re all variations on the same theme: remove all predictability and control from the animal’s life. Then take notes as they gradually lose interest in being alive.

The media mostly discusses job stress in the context of white-collar, educated professionals. We don’t put nearly as much time and energy into exploring the stress of unskilled, low-wage service work — even though the jobs most Americans actually work could be mistaken for Pits of Despair.

Perhaps it’s because as technology progresses, it tends to make life easier for the top of the labor market — those skilled, educated workers with decent salaries and benefits. Often overlooked is how those same technological advances have made it possible to control and monitor unskilled worker productivity down to the second. These technologies are also getting more powerful, and that makes a lot of people’s lives inescapably, chronically stressful.

It can be hard to understand the stress of having someone constantly looking over your shoulder if you haven’t recently — or have never — had to work a job like this. By definition, that’s most everybody with power in this country.

Even former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has often played up the summer he spent “flipping burgers” at McDonald’s as a teenager, seems not to realize that it’s much more difficult to work fast food in 2019 than it was in 1986.

I hadn’t had a service job in a while either. But I was curious, especially after driving for Uber for a couple of months for an investigative piece fact-checking the claim that full-time drivers could expect to make $90,000 a year. When my newspaper closed a few months later, I decided to try working three jobs that serve as good examples of how technology will be used at work in the future — in an Amazon warehouse, at a call center, and at a McDonald’s — with the vague idea of writing a book about what had changed. (I used my real name and job history when applying, and was hired nonetheless.)

Even having done a lot of research, I was shocked by how much more stressful low-wage work had become in the decade I’ve been working as a journalist.

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Take fast food, a sector that made up a huge chunk of the post-recession jobs recovery. It’s far from the leisurely time implied by “flipping burgers.” One of my coworkers put it best: “Fast food is intense! And it’s stressful! You’re always feeling rushed, you’re on a time crunch for literally eight hours straight, you’re never allowed to have one moment just to chill.”

The factors a scientist would remove from a rat’s life to make it depressed — predictability and control — are the exact things that have been removed from workers’ lives in the name of corporate flexibility and increased productivity. There’s little more relief for many low-wage workers than for those lab rats desperately trying to keep their heads above water.


For one thing, everything is timed and monitored digitally, second by second. If you’re not keeping up, the system will notify a manager, and you will hear about it.

When I used to do service work, we still mostly used paper time cards; you could make your case to the manager if you were late, or maybe stay a few minutes beyond your shift to make up for it. At many modern service jobs, the digital time-clock system will automatically penalize you for clocking in a minute after the start of your shift or after a break. After getting yelled at for this twice early in the month I spent working at a McDonald’s in downtown San Francisco, I started imitating my coworkers and aiming to arrive 20 minutes before my shift just in case the train was running weird that day. I came to resent how much time this ate up, particularly when comparing it to the trivial difference to McDonald’s of having me clock in at 7:31 rather than 7:30. I’ve reached out to McDonald’s for comment, and will update this story when I receive a response.

Computers and algorithms also have a much heavier hand in what a worker’s schedule looks like. The scheduling systems used to staff most major retail and fast food chains have gotten extremely good at using past sales data to extrapolate how much business to expect every hour of the coming week. Stores are then staffed around the predicted busy and slow times, which means workers’ schedules are often completely different week to week.

The more recent the data, the more accurate the prediction, which is why so many fast-food and retail workers don’t get their schedule until a day or two before it starts. It leaves workers in these industries unable to plan their lives (or their budgets) more than a few days in advance.



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Algorithmic scheduling also results in bizarre things like the “clopen” — back-to-back shifts closing late and opening early the next morning with only a few hours to sleep in between — and unpaid quasi-shifts where workers are expected to be on call in case it’s busier than predicted or sent home early if it’s slower.

Technology has also made understaffing a science. At my McDonald’s, we always seemed to be staffed at a level that maximized misery for workers and customers, as exemplified by the constant line and yells of “Open up another register!” Not only did this permanently strand us in the weeds, it meant that customers were often in a bad mood by the time they got to us.


Understaffing is a widespread tactic to cut down on labor costs. For what it looks like in fast food, check out the dozens of Occupational Safety and Health Administration complaints filed by McDonald’s workers in 2015 about deliberate understaffing at stores in several cities. The workers claim the corporate-supplied scheduling system understaffs stores, then pressures the skeleton crew to work faster to make up for it, which leads to hazardous conditions and injuries like these:

“My managers kept pushing me to work faster, and while trying to meet their demands, I slipped on a wet floor, catching my arm on a hot grill,” one worker, Brittney Berry, said in a statement when the complaints were filed. “The managers told me to put mustard on it.”

Responding to the OSHA filings, the company wrote that “McDonald’s and its independent franchisees are committed to providing safe working conditions for employees in the 14,000 McDonald’s Brand U.S. restaurants. We will review these allegations.”

The statement also made a reference to f*ght for $15, the Service Employees International Union-funded campaign that had been involved in coordinating and publicizing the complaints: “It is important to note that these complaints are part of a larger strategy orchestrated by activists targeting our brand and designed to generate media coverage.” (The cases have not been resolved.)

According to a 2015 survey of thousands of US fast-food employees by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, 79 percent of industry workers had been burned on the job in the previous year — most more than once.

This would now include me. I worked on the now-notorious Szechuan Sauce Day, which was miserable for McDonald’s workers across the country. We were more slammed than I’d ever seen, and as I hurriedly checked the coffee levels between orders, one pot’s handle broke, slicing open my finger and dumping scalding coffee all over my pants.

The thing I found the most stressful at my three jobs was the small percentage of customers who will, for whatever reason, just scream stuff you wouldn’t believe at you. This was mostly at the call center; at McDonald’s, customers tended to be in a better mood. But in person, screamers can also do things like splatter you with honey mustard, which is a thing that actually happened in my third week on the job.

The woman I now refer to as Mustard Lady had already been screaming at me for a few minutes, but I was so surprised when she nailed me in the chest with a container of honey mustard dipping sauce that I instinctively screamed back, “Hey, fu*k you, lady! What the fu*k?” before removing myself from the situation.

I got written up for that.

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If you haven’t had to do it for a while, it may seem like having to be completely submissive to customers shouldn’t be that big of a deal. But believe me, there’s a cost a*sociated with continually swallowing your pride and apologizing to unreasonable jerks. “The customer is always right” policies may be good for business, but they’re bad for humans, physically and mentally.

When Paul Ryan worked at McDonald’s in the ’80s, he might have been representative of a largely teenage sea of fast-food workers, a perception that persists today. But last time the National Employment Law Project checked, the average age of fast-food workers was 29, and more than a quarter of workers were supporting a child. These jobs are not just a source of teenage pocket money; they’re something adults are trying to survive on.

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The average pay for someone with the job I had is around $8 an hour — about half of what’s needed to keep a family with two working parents and two kids afloat. (That is, each parent would need to work two fast-food jobs.)

American culture is full of lingering afterimages of Midwestern guys making cars and mining coal, but, to quote an excellent headline from the Chicago Tribune, The Entire Coal Industry Employs Fewer People Than Arby’s. This is the modern working class — fast food, retail, warehousing, delivery, call centers. Service workers.


Everybody I talked to at my McDonald’s — along with the many other fast-food workers I interviewed — had had food items thrown at them. I got the impression that I was the weird one for Mustard Lady being my first. They’d been hit by nearly everything in the store: wrapped burgers, unwrapped burgers, burger patties, McNuggets, smoothies, sodas, napkins, straws, sauces, fries, apple pies, ice cream cones, even a full cup of hot coffee.

Why do so many people choose to put up with this? Because some choices aren’t really choices.

In my experience, most people are willing to make immense sacrifices to keep their children safe and happy. In a country with a moth-eaten social safety net, health care tied to employment, and few job quality differences between working at McDonald’s, Burger King, or Walmart, corporations have long since figured out that workers will put up with nearly anything if it means keeping their jobs. This fulcrum is being used to leverage more and more out of workers — even, ironically, the ability to spend time with their families. Many of my coworkers were in the O’Henry-like position of providing for families they barely got to see because of their work schedule.

Free market capitalism doesn’t a*sign a negative value to “how much stress workers are under.” It just a*sumes that unhappy workers will leave their job for a better one, and things will find a natural balance. But when the technologies that make life miserable spread everywhere at the speed of globalization, finding something better isn’t really an option anymore. And a system that runs by marinating a third or more of the workforce in chronic stress isn’t sustainable.

Chronic stress will destroy your body like doing burnouts will destroy a rental car that someone else is paying for. It’s a huge factor behind the epidemics of heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disorders, depression, anxiety, and drug misuse that afflict developed countries — the “diseases of civilization.”

And right now, corporations kind of are treating the low-wage workforce like a rental car someone else is paying for. Because while American jobs have gotten safer in terms of limbs caught in machinery, individual companies are extremely unlikely to be held accountable for workers’ long-term stress-related health problems. They’re doing burnouts with the bodies and minds of millions of American workers, because either workers or taxpayers will pick up the bill.

Why? Because “hard work” as an undisputed moral good is a deep part of the American psyche. The idea of penalizing a company for making its employees work too hard can seem ridiculous if the work environment is safe. Plus, “flipping burgers” has been shorthand for an easy job for decades, so it can be hard to a*sociate that with the constant monitoring, understaffing, and sub-living wage of modern service work. Chronically stressful work is different from hard work. And it’s dangerous.

Should people be asked to sacrifice their physical and mental health — and their experience of life as something other than an exhausting, hopeless slog — for the survival of their families? Would a moral society ask them to make this choice?



visit this link https://www.vox.com/the-h .. worker-burnout


Last edited by RAZAH CUTS; 07-22-2019 at 06:53 PM..
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103 comments
 

 3 months ago '18        #2
Deeznutz1981  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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You forgot the title sh*t head
-7   

 3 months ago '16        #3
foshoVoodoo  291 heat pts291
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i call bullsh*t
-4   

 3 months ago '18        #4
DUCEDUCE  17 heat pts17
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fu*ked up workd when I was 18 I worked at subway and held down a 1bedroom in LA.
+16   

 3 months ago '19        #5
JamesFranco  62 heat pts62
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Make the CEO cook the food and run the register
+10   

 3 months ago '15        #6
Muchacho  3 heat pts3
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 foshoVoodoo said
i call bullsh*t
On what part fam? I worked in fast food for almost 6 years so lemme see if I can help you out
+7   

 3 months ago '16        #7
foshoVoodoo  291 heat pts291
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 Muchacho said
On what part fam? I worked in fast food for almost 6 years so lemme see if I can help you out
I worked at subway, bk, and little ceasars. them jobs only hard if you never did hard work before. Try ditch digging, flipping concrete, filling dumpsters then go back to fast food and you'll be hitting them folks partying all day like this the easiest job in the world.


Last edited by foshoVoodoo; 07-22-2019 at 07:34 PM..
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 3 months ago '18        #8
Gmac 
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The best advice I can give anyone who works a sh*tty job working with pissed off customers is to learn how to check people as respectfully as possible, this way you can tell people to fu*k off without losing your job.

" Excuse me miss, I understand your frustrations but we are under staffed at the moment and were working as hard as we can to bring your order or to you. If you could please show some restraint,I don't appreciate your t one and I'm going to have to ask you to calm down."

I have experience dealing with a**holes n c*nts. I've seen people turn their sh*t all the way down n let me go back to work peacefully
+44   

 3 months ago '07        #9
joshdogg26  196 heat pts196
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You’re always feeling rushed, you’re on a time crunch for literally eight hours straight
management consultants: lmao hold my beer
+4   

 3 months ago '19        #10
jordanair45  2 heat pts2
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I worked at McDonalds and it was EASILY the hardest and lowest paying job I had.

But, that sh*t motivated me. I went to school, got a profession, thank you McDonalds, never wanted to do that sh*t again.

I got mad respect for people who do that job, and I will never eat at fast food, ever, cause I know the people there don't care...smh
+37   

 3 months ago '07        #11
j_k1dd  9 heat pts9
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If you not working on a next hustle, or towards a management position, or even towards a real kitchen that serves real food, I don't know what else to say...
+6   

 3 months ago '04        #12
VictoryThagr8  6 heat pts6
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Fast food worker gets paid minimum wage for a reason. It takes 0 skills or effort to work there. Only lazy people bi*ch about working for fast food joints especially when they dont have to worry about presentation of their food. I worked at mcdonalds when i was 16

I give more respect for regular restaurant cooks because they actually have real skills on cooking and they have to actually make their food look appealing. They also have to cook to order unlike fast food restaurants.
+15   

 3 months ago '16        #13
DizAznLuvPho  38 heat pts38
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to me those were never suppose to be permanent jobs. Those were for high school or seniors. Or you just lost your job and need something to get by. McDonald's have the kiosk now and I love using them. Forget paying these workers $15 an hour. Majority of them got an attitude anyways.
+13   

 3 months ago '15        #14
KoolKai  223 heat pts223
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there cliff notes or a condensed version of this article

+11   

 3 months ago '15        #15
PolygonMafia  4 heat pts4
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This is only going to get worse as automation comes about and the tech advances. The near future is most low-skill jobs will be taken by automated services.

Caveat— People like to sh*t on fast food workers when it comes to automation, but it’s going to catch up in a lot of industries. Tech, construction, fabrication, aerospace industry, retail, warehouses, some union labor and many other industries.

The next generation is going to encounter labor issues as a working class that no other has had to deal with so far. We can scoff all we want at work we consider ‘below us’ or whatever, even though most low-wage jobs actually suck a*s and can have pretty intense workloads for such stupidly low pay. The work may be monotonous or seem unskilled, but watch a busy a*s fast food joint and tell me those people aren’t hauling a*s compared to Rhonda at her desk in accounting who spends 50% of her day on Facebook.

We need to stick together as workers and f*ght against the true oppression of our earnings — the extraction of value generated by your labor. That is the true fingers in your pocket. Working for those who provide capital and own capital and wage-slave you out of necessity for fractions of the true value of that labor. If we take control of the means of production and start mobilizing and having employee owned companies - the economy and the average worker would prosper so much more than the current way

+17   

 3 months ago '15        #16
paythewave 
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My first job was fast food and I loved it lol people would trade burgers for beer and one chick even showed her t*tties for cheese cake but yes those are entry level jobs that no one should make a career out of
+7   

 3 months ago '15        #17
Muchacho  3 heat pts3
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 foshoVoodoo said
I worked at subway, bk, and little ceasars. them jobs only hard if you never did hard work before. Try ditch digging, flipping concrete, filling dumpsters then go back to fast food and you'll be hitting them folks partying all day like this the easiest job in the world.
True, I do remodeling now but let's differentiate between HARD & STRESSFUL

Not coming at you bro, but some people get more stressed with the hovering over you, time management, cooking to order (not like McDonald's or BK or sh*t) vs being handed a task your trained in & being left alone with the trust that you'll get that sh*t done


Last edited by Muchacho; 07-22-2019 at 08:36 PM..
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 3 months ago '14        #18
Comicsnow  144 heat pts144
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 foshoVoodoo said
I worked at subway, bk, and little ceasars. them jobs only hard if you never did hard work before. Try ditch digging, flipping concrete, filling dumpsters then go back to fast food and you'll be hitting them folks partying all day like this the easiest job in the world.
Facts , I've done both , the difference is n*gga get out of pocket on construction site yall can scrap and long as both workers can continue working they let you rock

But n*ggas in fast food talk to n*ggas like you lebron on the freethrow , you gota resist the erge to malice the burger palace
+13   

 3 months ago '14        #19
Comicsnow  144 heat pts144
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One of my worst jobs was working as a butcher in a Muslim convenient store , I was in Miami and had a banging apartment in Dade, wit a roommate
( sun roof , Sana , washer and dryer inside 2 bathrooms and toilet would wash .... sh*t was nice

But I lost job as a prep cook in a Chinese restaurant
( owner sold it on sneak trip)
400 a week but 11 hour days 2 days off


To working as a butcher in a cheap a*s Muslim convenient store 8hrs a day for 5 Dollars a hour
They excuse was we would get tips
( we never got a single tip ) just had to thug it out miss a couple meals get a little thinner cuz I wasnt given up that apartment

Held the L till the hotel I was applying at was done construction, and left like the fresh prince getting in the taxi

+11   

 3 months ago '18        #20
NBA  62 heat pts62
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Last edited by NBA; 07-22-2019 at 09:08 PM..
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 3 months ago '15        #21
CALL AGAIN 
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I always had love for fastfood people not just cause i know if im not cool with em they gonn a fu*k my food up, just knowing most are cool people that just fu*ked up or slacked off in life too much. Funny enough my worst fastfood experience was in Haywatd California I am from Oakland but my moms was staying at Hayward at the time.

Anywho they had a 24hr tacobell but it had no drive thru. I walked in for my chulupa and my mom liked messican pizza from there anywho it ended up feeling like purgatory two teen chicks we making sh*t as i guess some dude she went to school with was belittling her i was gonna step in but they knew eachother and i didnt know these weird a*s messicans and white folk from this part of Hayward. The sh*t was so bizarre. Here in Japan everyone is pleasant with eachother and sh*t is smove. Only tourists and chinese that c*m here are ever c*nts.

Come to think of it i never seen one of those so common meltdowns at fastfood joints or starbucks here. Man back ij the Bay that sh*t was a common occurrence.

 3 months ago '16        #22
mallavetti 
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 3 months ago '18        #23
Mr Tibbs 
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I never ever once heard a kid saying.... “When I grow up, I wanna work at McD’s.” Why? Because kids choose real careers like... firemen, doctors and athletes. Fast food jobs are almost like an extension of learning for kids but in the real world (or something along those lines). And for others, it’s just a pit stop until something else better comes along. Unless you trying to franchise or work in upper management, the fast food industry isn’t a career job. sh*ts gonna get really scary as more immigrants come to the US and when automation takes over.
+2   

 3 months ago '15        #24
AlmightySae 
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Bro I worked at a pizza place for like 4 years. First job when I was finishing up high school. sh*t sucked. Literally would drain me out. Imagine having to deal with bullsh*t a*s workers then turning around and smile and sh*t to give good customer service. It’s the worst.
+1   

 3 months ago '04        #25
xbossxplayax 
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ppl who has no choice but to work at min wage positions have very low capability but have very high propensity for having little to no tenacity and focus. so what they feel difficult is quite different from what high performance individuals consider difficult. "feeling this isnt worth my time" because the checks are so small compared to the work they put in that "they" consider to be difficult isnt the issue here because no matter how much the min wage is going to be raised, it wont be enough for them.

having said that, ppl that are at the other extreme of social ladder indeed get unreasonably exorbitant amount of pay esp. in america for a very little work/decision making they are required to do. not necessarily because they are high performance individuals they feel they work is light , but even from the objective point of view, they are truly easy. but why else do you think they sacrificed they "chill" time, friendships and soul to get to that position unless they get to be able to do exactly that?



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