Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Hoola-Hooping in Steel-Toes"

...over the past six months, the company I work for and vehemently despise, has finally realized that morale is at an all-time low. A year ago this time they couldn't have cared less, their concerns based solely on the survival of their own necks as business fluttered. Now that all arrows are pointing upward once again, they've decided to try and turn our frowns up-side-down.

...a few weeks ago they held a company picnic behind the plant on a Saturday afternoon, advertising roasted hotdogs and games for the little ones. What they'd forgotten however, was that many departments had already been mandatoried, thus preventing several hundred hotdog enthusiasts from showing up. Or the fact that nobody thought to spare a moment and check the weekend weather report, which cautioned high winds and thunderstorms. week later they announced that everyone who showed up for the quarterly meeting in our lunch room could help themselves to a "doughnut fest," complimentary of the management staff. From what I heard, around fifty people showed, which sounds okay, except that our overall headcount currently sits at seven hundred happy campers.

...what I saw upon my arrival today caused me to stop, mouth agape, and shutter. Posted next to the entryway leading to the locker rooms and concession stands was a sign announcing of their plans for the next uplifting company event. A hoola-hoop contest.

...tomorrow, for no apparent reason that I can come up with, and during the two-hour staggered lunch time, depending on whichever department you were associated with, a hoola-hoop contest would be going on in the parking lot between the assembly and engineering departments, for any and all who wish to participate.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not perfect. I may be the last writer in the Western Hemisphere without a laptop. (there's a story to that...but for another day:) I have a thirteen year old who can sing "What do Tiger's Dream of " from The Hangover, while shoving a six inch blade through the throat of an evil terrorist on XBox Live. I've caught myself humming along to something from Michael Buble while driving. We're all human...

But a hoola-hoop contest? At a steel-mill specializing in anything automotive? Fifty-something, pot-bellied, press operators in grease-stained Wranglers and steel-toe boots, attempting to propell a plastic ring around their gut, trying in vain to keep both it, and their pants, from sagging to the ground.

I sent my wife a text, informing her of the company's newest attempt at creating employment bliss. Her response was..."What? Everything they've done to us over the last two years, and they want to make it all better with a hoola-hoop?"

Trying to lighten the mood, I responded with, "Hoola-hooping works like potato salad...they cure all woes known to man." they're trying. We get it. But if they really want to cheer up the workforce, how about returning some of the earned vacation time wrongfully taken from us over the past two years. Or how about giving a couple departments a weekend off once in a while so they can see how tall their kids have grown since the last time they were allowed to leave the plant. You's the little things that would make a difference.

Hoola-hoops and roasted weiners...I really need a new gig.


Piedmont Writer said...

I'm so sorry you have to deal with the stupidness of big business. Why don't they realize hoola-hoops and donuts aren't going to do anything for moral? For the amount they spent on the hot dogs, donuts and hoops, they probably could have given everyone in the plant a $5- bill and been done with it. I hope they realize the error of their ways and soon.

Christine Danek said...

I hope things turn around. They will have to realize at some point that what they are doing is not working. What a visual hula hoops and steel toed boots.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is sad!! How about implementing employee suggestions? How about recognizing effort? Or bonus money? Those would be more effective than hoops and hot dogs!

Megan said...

Oh my. The idea of the hula hoop contest is absurdly hysterical. But like you said, at least they're trying.

Sounds like they need to do some research in the upping morale dept. :)

Carolyn V. said...

I'm sorry work is so awful. =( I hope it gets better some how.

Lola Sharp said...

I'm sorry to laugh at your pain, but the visual you painted for us...fat, 50 y.o. men in Wranglers need not ever hula hoop. And why would they want to? Some corporate genius really deserves a raise for that winner of an idea.

Now, if the company added tequila shots, handed out by pretty girls in bikinis, they might actually improve morale. ;) It'd still be an ugly sight to behold, though.

Jemi Fraser said...

It must be so hard to work in that kind of environment. Very bizarre way to try to pump up morale.

KarenG said...

Omigosh this was so funny in such a tragi-comic way. What idiots are coming up with these ideas?

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks for your comments and support:) Tried to make light of an otherwise depressing situation my family's currently dealing with. I'm confident that better days are coming...
Oh, and just for the record, I spelled "Hoola-Hoop" with a pair of "O's," for that was how they spelled it on the poster at work.
Gotta love that day job...pure genius.

Kristy said...

You HAVE to send me flix of the contest.

Christina said...

I've been with some pretty bad companies, but I got out before they really made anything better, than a few years later, still heard they treated their employees horribly.

As for the hooping, if you do it, keep one foot a little in front of the other and don't spin your hips, go back and forth. You'll get it to stay up longer. I've been trying to get better at it so I can spin a few hoops at a time, but so far, I can't even manage a few tricks with it.

Portia said...

That's just brutal. I just keep wondering when all of this will end. When I left my last company two years ago, I thought things couldn't get any worse. But the stories continue to pour in. Layoffs, jobs shipped to India ... It's emotionally exhausting.

I'm thinking of you and the bizarre hoola hoop extravaganza. And TGIF!

prashant said...

I hope things turn around. They will have to realize at some point that what they are doing is not working. What a visual hula hoops and steel toed boots.
data entry work from home

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You ever see the movie, OFFICE SPACE? Life in the corridors of big business is always flawed in some ways.

Groucho Marx once said, "In the septic tank of big business, the biggest chunks rise to the top."

I'm sorry that your life over these past two years has proven his statement true.

Word of caution : executives of your business may read your blog without you realizing it. The blood center where I work does mine.

My revenge is that sometimes they come up to me and say, "I couldn't understand what the h--- you were writing about, Roland."

Ah, the joys of being a one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.

Hang in there, Elliot.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

What an ordeal. So sorry to hear of this pain of a company. I truly do hope the situation improves, and that they stop trying to use hula-hoops to fix a far bigger problem. Morale cannot be fixed with games and hot dogs. What a shame.

Elliot Grace said...

...Update on the "Hoola Show," sadly but not surprising, there were no takers. I spied an empty parking lot, spare a handful of HR reps standing about, no doubt feeling quite foolish.

-Thanks to all for reading:)

Roland, love "Office Space." I even have a red stapler in my desk, but as far as I can tell, I'm not quite as manic. I do have several co-workers who read my blog, and I remain fearless. I'm a ten year vet, restless and bored, thinking a pink slip would provide a healthy increase in my writing schedule.
Portia, glad to hear you got out when you of the lucky ones:)
Prashant & Christina, thanks so much for visiting and your encouragement. Better days are coming...

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Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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