I dont understand the mentality…

Augustus 30, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

… of certain groups of people. And no, I’m not being racist.

It just struck me today while some people will remain bottom feeders until the day they die. Not that the thought fills me with great joy – in fact, the realisation goes along with a lot of frustration and the events leading up to it is busy causing havoc in my life.

I look after my 83-year old dad with the help of 3 trained nursing aides. 1 for dayshift (5x per week) and two for nightshift (alternating, each night).

In the 7 months since we have been using trained helpers, I have had so many problems with people not pitching or phoning 30 minutes before a shift starts that I feel like MURDER!

And here I was, naively thinking that these ladies would be happy to find a stable job, good working conditions and the possibility of finally escaping the web of poverty they find themselves in.

But nay, it seems I live in lala-land.

Examples: getting a phonecall at 21h00 at night, to say that worker 1 is taking her child to KZN tomorrow morning (we live in Alberton) and that she won’t come in at all for the next few days. NO mention beforehand.

Seriously. Do you sit there, watch TV and suddenly this thought jumps into your head: o, wait, I feel like taking a taxi to Durban tomorrow instead of just 20 km to my work? Yep, that’s right, let me sommer call my boss right now…

Then, when you are due back for work, nobody pitches. Employer starts phoning around frantically at 07h00 on a Saturday morning when night worker leave. Day worker nowhere in sight. Said worker calmly informs bewildered boss that she decided to extend her visit to KZN by another day – WITHOUT informing the boss. But not to worry, she spoke to the other helper.

Right, so where’s worker no 2?  After several voicemails, worker 2’s mother phones an hour later (well past 08h30) to tell boss that worker woke up with a headache and decide to have it checked out at hospital. No popping a headache tablet like stupid old me while I drag my aching head to work… NOOOOO, hospital it shall be for this particular headache. 

Result? No helper in sight, interviews (MY work) having to be cancelled for the day.

Then, when you give both workers a serious talk when they eventually pitch for work, both sulk for days. (No, I didn’t give them a written warning, as I was more than entitled to do in the light of the contract. Yes, we do have a written contract, pay UIF, pay PAYE, pay the hourly rate as paid by nursing agency, etc).

Fast forward a month or two. Two night helpers, both with sick children. Me the nice boss once again. Being a mother myself, I feel that a mother should be with a young child who is sick enough to be hospitalised. So, idiot that I am, I allow worker 1 to take time off to attend to sick child. Worker 2 comes in for 5 nights, then phones me and say her child is getting epileptic fits and needs to be hospitalised. No problem, as worker 1’s child should be okay by now.

If the child is okay, only the devil himself knows, as worker 1 has decided to ignore me, the idiot boss, completely. No answer to my phonecalls, voice mails and SMS’s. At first they are enquiring, and later, with frustration levels rising as I have to look after my dad for the third night in a row, threatening her with dismissal in the light that she basically AWOL’ed. Zip, nada, nothing, niks… 

Worker 2 also ignores my phone calls (in her favour, it has only been 2 days, and not a week like in the case of worker 1.) After phone four times, her mother finally phones back to say that worker 2 decided to take her baby to the Eastern Cape (????heaven knows why, we have the best state hospitals in the country right here in Joburg) and that she should be back sometime this week. This is the same lady that is so desperately poor that she had to borrow taxi money from me for the first month of her employment, as it was the first permanent appointment she’s ever had. (She has only been working here 3 months.) Last week, she once again ran out of taxi money, and idiot here helped again.

Before all of this, I went through the same nonsense with another girl – getting phone calls at funny times (even times when I was out of Johannesburg for work) to say that she has to go to her boyfriend/visit her sick mother in hospital/has stomach ache was becoming part of my daily routine.

In between sorting out all this crap (sorry, but can’t think of a better word, given my current level of anger) I have my own career (deadlines wait for nobody) and my 7 and 10 year old to think of. And, of course, my poor old dad, who deserves nothing of this. So, I can’t even voice my frustration.

Now my million dollar question: what’s with this mentality? Is this not maybe why some people will die dirt poor, while others with even more odds against them will make it to the top?

And will we EVER get the message accross to the thousands of have not’s pleading poverty and pointing fingers at the have’s, that the reason they are poor (in very many cases) is not lack of opportunity, but rather a lack of follow through…

3 antwoorde op I dont understand the mentality…

  1. hutton het gesê op Augustus 30, 2009

    Lack of work ethic ;-(

  2. kalinka het gesê op Augustus 30, 2009

    Yes… sounds familiar. Did you specify in your contract that if they fail to notify you ahead when they plan to take leave, they’ll lose their work? Also specify that AWOL results in the cancellation of the contract. Doctor’s certificate has to accompany absence due to sickness. no a phone call from Doc is not enough. Sounds heartless but I found something that does seem to work (for now, touch wood): contract work only, paid per hour. No paid leave. No paid sick leave. That way headaches don’t get hospitalized unless they really have to! But I wonder if this is a thing of how many hours per week they’re hired to work.

  3. Everything you mention is in the contract. We first hired them from a nursing agency, and then, after paying the agency a whopping R4 000 extra per month, decided to “buy them out” at (WAIT FOR IT: R3 300 EACH). The agency supplied us with the contract (the same one as used by the agency). They work on a basis of no work, no pay, and must supply a medical certificat if they don’t pitch for a shift for which they didn’t make alternative arrangements (i.e. asked the relief to take over the shift.) So, while these ladies are ignoring my calls, they are not earning money. So, if I decide to fire her tomorrow, I’m perfectly within my rights, because tomorrow it will be one week since she last contacted me (worker 1). She promised to be back for work on Wednesday night, but 30 minutes beforehand her husband phoned to say the other child got sick and she has taken him to hospital. And since then, NOTHING!!! Four unanswered phonecalls and 3 SMS’s, still nothing. They get the same rate than what they were paid at the agency. After 5 hours they get paid for a full 12 hours. So, legally everything is watertight, and I am honestly not a bad person to work for. My domestic worker has been working for me for almost 9 years, and we haven’t even had one argument or misunderstanding. I think it says something for me as an employer that she moved to Johannesburg with me from the town where she grew up. She’s almost 50, and just has a different work ethic than the city slickers. In 9 years, I had to twice force her to go to bed when she was so ill she couldn’t stand on her feet. Other than that, she hasn’t even taken sick leave. Martha Moroke is just made from different stuff, it seems.

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