toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

March 12, 2010

under surveillance at work

Pauline’s first job pays well and offers plenty of opportunities for advancement but she has to put up with not only having to work under a security camera but also having a supervisor spy on everything she does.

"Not every company discloses to employees that their workplace is under 24-hr surveillance," says Pauline, "and this was my experience."

"Imagine my embarrassment and anger when I discovered that my cubicle was prime viewing for the security guards."

"For weeks I had changed from office clothes to gym clothes every Thursday afternoon in what I presumed was the privacy of my little cubicle at the end of the office," relates Pauline.

"I always wondered why the security guards were sniggering at me," sighs Pauline, "but I put it down to my sensitivity about being in my first job."

"It wasn’t until I saw workmen installing security cameras in the lobby ceiling that I wondered if the ceiling where I worked was bugged - and sure enough it was!"

"The spy camera lens looked like a sprinkler," says Pauline. "No wonder I never noticed it before."

"If you remember reading 1984 and laughing at the prospect of Big Brother," says Pauline, "then laugh no more. He is here and here to stay!"

If being spied on by the security guards wasn’t bad enough, poor Pauline also has the additional indignity of having a supervisor spying on everything she does.

"Supposedly she does this to make sure I'm working rather than painting my nails," says Pauline, "but it's a gross indignity to be spied on and checked."

"Most industrial jobs - also white-collar jobs in publishing and banking - require everything to be checked not once, but twice or even more times," explains Pauline, "but my work is not that important to warrant such spying."

"Quality control is a vital part of ensuring that each little part of a whole is perfect. "says Pauline. "I appreciate that industrial jobs have stringent quality control procedures for workers to follow as often lives depend upon the end product being safe for use or consumption."

"In banks, ledgers must tally and audits must be carried out regularly," adds Pauline, "and in publishing, every word must be perfect."

:In general office-work, which is what I do," says Pauline, "this spying isn't necessary and the teamwork ideal - that everybody should be following the same rules and conforming to company standards - is not only shifting a lot of focus away from individual responsibility towards team responsibility but it's also breeding some petty tyrants."

"The daily checking session at my workplace is nothing more than a nit-picking session where the person responsible for doing the checking refers every tiny error back to me rather than correcting it herself," says Pauline. "And if that isn’t bad enough the supervisor spies on me and hovers around me while I am working."

"I feel like a little school-kid being ticked off by a teacher, who - to make things worse - is not much older than myself," laughs Pauline.

"Honestly," laments Pauline, "the company rules are stupid. I gag every time I must do something that goes against my grain, and when that woman is hovering around me spying on everything I do I could scream!"

"Nobody else is complaining," says Pauline, "so it looks as if this is how things are done around here and I guess I must be temperamentally unsuited for teamwork or something."

"I've thought about leaving and finding a new job," says Pauline, "but I really doubt whether there exists a job these days where someone isn’t putting his or her nose into your work - or up your skirts!"

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