A hypothetical situation:
You work at a small, community bank at a part-time job. The job starts at 20 hours a week, but before long you begin to help out in another department, one that sorely needs assistance. You share the first job with another person, who also gets 20 hours a week there. The bank keeps the two of you sharing this position because it is less expensive than hiring one of you on full time with benefits.
Your work for the second department grows, and is something that can be worked simultaneously as the first job (for the most part). You are given permission to pick up more hours here and there (along with covering for those who are sick) as long as the average number of hours you work per week never goes over 30 over the course of the year. Then HR steps in, claiming that at your position, you cannot go over 28 hours a week more than once per pay period, effectively cutting the number of hours you can be given.
You carry on essentially working two jobs on a part-time schedule, hoping that the talks that you were told were going on about possibly offering you full time come through in the next few months. But they don’t. And they still don’t. And yet you wait. At your midyear review, you tell your supervisor that your job description is inaccurate, and has been for a while. You wonder if it could be updated to reflect your current responsibilities. She agrees with you, but says that no, it can’t, because – get this – HR would prefer to keep your job description the way it is because the specialized tasks that you perform every single day can just be lumped under “Administrative Support”. And changing that would mean putting you in a different pay bracket. Which would cost the bank money. Because that’s what it always comes down to: will it cost the bank money?
Then an intern is hired.
Initially, this intern is not wanted by the department forced – by the president of the bank – to hire him. They don’t need the help. There are other departments in greater need of assistance. Departments like, for example, the one you’ve been unofficially working for for the past year and a half. Departments that could really use someone with prior training and experience to help them keep up with their workloads.
But the intern is hired, and he’s given slightly less than full time. And when I say “slightly less”, I mean on average approximately 38 hours a week. Hours that you would kill for, even if they didn’t come with benefits. He isn’t majoring in anything related to the department he’s working for, so this internship will not help him get a job after college. In fact, it doesn’t take long for it to come out that the president of the bank had to force the head of the department (who is also your boss, though you’re officially part of a different department – don’t ask) to hire this intern because he is the son of president’s best friend. And he is home from college for the summer. And he needs a job.
That’s what his position is, you realize. A job. Not an internship. You’re annoyed, but you deal with it because hey, you don’t have any say, and bitching about it isn’t going to get you anywhere.
Then you find out that he makes more per hour than you.
And not just a little more. A lot more. Almost a quarter of your hourly pay more.
For doing what? I’ll tell you. Many of the same “administrative support” tasks you did before you began helping the other department. Basic things. Easy things.
And then at the end of the summer, when it’s time for the little prince to go back to college, what happens? The people who initially balked at his hiring treat him to not one, not two, but three going-away celebrations paid for by the bank.
Employees that have retired after thirty years of loyal service aren’t treated this well.
If your brain hurts thinking about this, you’re not alone. I can barely process this, even after writing it all down.
And I am furious.