Enemies at Work

2013-07-24   Enemies at Work


A couple of weeks ago I managed to make several enemies at work! It was the last day of the week so most people were in the attitude of letting the day go by and get over with the working week, without doing much but just the minimum necessary.

By the opposite, I was trying to get the required production numbers that was the target for that day, so I was pushing the production and helping everywhere I could; big mistake (I guess).

Let me explain you what the situation was:

My work is in a production line. There are about twenty stations along the line and each one adds another component to the product traveling through the line, so at the end it is complete and ready to be packed and sealed.

In order to push the line for faster production there are “Floaters”, which is people who know all the stations and is fast in all of them, so they go around watching where the line is slowing down and help that station to keep up the speed. A floater is all day running from one station to the next helping with production, supplies, an even covering a station when the worker needs to go to the bathroom. It is a fast paced work, and in a 12 hours shift is also tiring, but for me is very entertaining since there is always something to do and the day goes really fast!

That specific day we were running low in personnel, so instead of having 3 or 4 floaters which is the norm, we had only one (me), so I felt the need to compensate and was running like crazy from one station to another trying to keep the line moving at the required speed (there are target running times). But people were in a different mood and more in the concept of letting the day go by without working hard, so to get over with the working week and go home.

After a while, and seeing that I was the only one pushing and even more, getting people mad at me for trying to keep the production numbers, I decided to go talk with the supervisor to explain the situation. In a brief talk with him I explained that I understood that people might be tired and wanting to get the working week over, but at the other hand in my concepts we were being paid to do a job, and since we collect the whole paycheck every time, we should give the whole work every time too, independent of how tired we might be. But it was impossible to keep pushing a line that requires forty workers with only one working!

Given the situation, I told the supervisor that I would be slowing down and not pushing anymore because not only it was impossible, but I was making too many enemies around, and I had to consider the future working there, and is not fun to work in an environment where many people hates you, right? So I wanted to clarify that the reason for my slowing down wasn’t laziness or irresponsibility, but simply adapting to the circumstances at hand.

I also mentioned that the responsibility of motivating, and even pushing the workers to do their job was Leadership task and not mine, and if they were not in the mood to do that, but rather be in the same page with the workers (waiting for the day to go by), then there was nothing I could do about it. So I said to the supervisor that this party was run by leadership, and they can run it anyway they want, and I was fine with it, and I was just clarifying that I wasn’t lazy, but just adapting at the condition set by leadership in the production area.

Big mistake!

The supervisor acknowledge my concerns and gave me his support in the situation, but also called leadership to coordinate a procedure in order to reach and keep the target running times. Leadership went on to apply the new procedures and everybody was happy (or so I thought).

At the end of the day we had kept the required running time and I went home tired but satisfied of having done my job; and I even received the thanks from leadership for my efforts.

The following week not only several workers didn’t talk to me and even avoided me, but even leadership didn’t talk to me other than the strictly necessary; and always in a very business like way!

I managed to make many enemies in one day!

My point with this post is, in my opinion we are hired to perform a job in exchange of a set pay rate. When payday comes we take the whole check, so we should give the whole work. I never say: “Just give me half the paycheck”, so why should I give half the work.

Now, don’t get me wrong; when I’m saying that I suppose to give the whole work, is not about protecting the company interests (although there is some of it too), but mostly is about pride! You see, when I signed that contract I gave my word that I would perform a certain amount of work with a certain level of quality in exchange of a specific pay rate. So far the company has kept its part of the deal and I’ve received the paychecks as promised, so I should keep my part of the deal and provide to the company with the quality and amount of work I promised in that contract. It’s not about protecting the company interests; it’s about protecting my pride and validity of my word and signature!

If we all sign a contract to work in this company and some people don’t keep the promise they gave with their signature, how can I trust that person when they promise something else? Isn’t keeping our word in our work contract a reflection of who we are?

Now, I don’t care what they decide to do about their pride and values, but I intend to keep mine, although it seems to create many enemies along the way!

I don’t like “paid by the hour” and prefer “paid by production”; people select themselves and only those who really want to work remain, and all those who want to be “paid by presence” simply go away.

I know I’m an Aspie and think and see things in a different way, and most of society is based in interaction, connections and getting along (things that are very difficult for me), but still I believe in concepts like pride, respecting and protecting one’s word (or signature) and that’s why I keep pushing in those directions, even if it means people around won’t like me. Sort of stubborn in what I believe is right!

What is your take in this kind of situations?


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4 Responses to Enemies at Work

  1. Sara says:


    I am sorry for what happened to you. It doesn’t seem fair. I have experienced situations like this in my work career.

    It sounds like you got trapped, especially being the only runner that day, which happened to be a Friday. My gut feeling is management was also slowing down that day. You got caught between management and the workers.

    On the other hand, what you did was right. You were trying to do the job you are paid to do. That’s a good thing and management should appreciate it.

    Give it some time and you may find things come around to normal again.
    Sara´s last post ..Story Photo Challenge: The Rock

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    I think the key is time. Just let the weeks go by and I assume the waters will be back at rest.

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Enemies at Work

  2. patricia says:

    Time heals many things, and in work situations just giving something time can find a balance returning on it’s own.

    It is hard to do what you think is correct, when others do not want to honor that thinking. Some will adapt not to make waves, but others will need to understand what is expected and how to make changes. It was the correct thing to do, and always hard to be alone when making that choice of action.

    I just had a person come up to me and say that 4 years ago I had done the correct thing and she wanted me to know she recognized that fact. She also said she learned conclusively she was not brave in those moments of stress, she owned her own fear and did what she needed to do.

    It is hard at the time, and hard to forgive those who “do it to you” but forgiveness is the key. We all have to let go and eventually move forward
    Good write up Thank you for sharing
    patricia´s last post ..THE EXILES: A Novel ~Allison Lynn

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Patricia,

    Seems to me the majority don’t want to make waves and adapt to the general thinking. One of the advantages of being a loner (because of being an aspie) is that I can make waves, even if it cost me the greetings of others.

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Enemies at Work

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