Thursday, 2 November 2017

To Fire or Be Fired, That's my question.

There are just never enough holes in the road especially when you can bill the tax payer for the use of a machine and a shift full of union workers. Let's have another hole whether the project needs one or not. More than a year in and the initial due date is just a distant memory, but still holes are being dug. Maybe they really are digging for diamonds. 


I have been fired twice in my life. Once when I was maybe 15, working at Coles or Woolies, I don't remember which. I was a checkout chick, and this was back in the day when every price had to be crunched into the register and all the groceries had to be pulled towards you by dragging a timber frame thing along the counter. Yeh I am that fucking old. So one day a clever clogs loaded her shit in so that I ended up with meat blood on my fingers and rather than transfer all that onto her new tea towels, I just asked her how much they were. Well bugger me, she lied, I believed her, and she got away with it, but my manager was not happy so I was sent to the deli where I spent time with my arms up the elbows in coleslaw until I was sacked for not coming in one Easter, when I just assumed they would have been closed. Fair enough, they had given me a chance and I buggered up again so offskie it was.

The other time I was at a Tyre shop. It was fucking filthy with a sawdust outhouse for a dunny. It flooded every time a dog peed too hard and the forecourt where the fellas fitted the tyres was a dirt track. So my job was to answer the phone, deal with customers, take the money, check inventories, and clean the place up. I set to it with all the energy of a 20 year old recent graduate who couldn't get a job teaching cos she wasn't a single man. Soon enough the office and the serving area was sparkling clean and I learned a lot about tyres. To the day, 6 months later, I was sacked, no reason given. It turned out that they had taken money from the government in some sort of employment scam and after 6 months the government money dried up so I was offskie again. Yeh this doesn't sound honest to me either, but whenever there is government money involved, I don't reckon corruption is far away. Ho hum.

I sucked it up after the deli sacking and I admit that I was pissed about the tyre place, but in comparison to sacking someone, being sacked is a skate.

I was responsible for a fella failing in his last year's teaching prac session. He was an older guy, who didn't take kindly to female instruction from a younger person. He was doing teaching cos he wanted the money and the holidays and those are good reasons, but for the money and the holidays there is an expectation that you work hard, you know your shit, you arrive on time and you comply with the usual procedural paper work even if it's banal and a little pointless. This guy knew NOTHING and refused to learn anything, he arrived late and never showed his lesson preparation. He had no interest in the kids or any ability to engage them. He refused to attempt any of the strategies I suggested. He just sat there with these kids and was an oxygen thief in the room. He'd done this for 3 years - no problem!

He was with me for 6 weeks. It was my job to teach him how to teach, but he just never showed any willing. In the end I failed him and that meant he failed the whole course. He was not happy. The Uni was not happy. I was not happy, but do you know who would have been happy? All the kids he never got to teach, they'd have been happy.

It was a nightmare failing him. I was scrutinised and made to justify myself. It was a very awkward time and I guess the awkward shitty time might have been what sometimes prompted conceded passes to be awarded rather failures. It would have been a lot easier. Not right but easier.

A lovely woman was falling apart in front of her classes. I was her faculty head. The Principal decided that I needed to do the dirty and I was told to record and gather data and notes of her failings in order for the school to sack her.

I sat in on her classes and noted that she was often late, sometimes didn't arrive at all, she taught the year 9s the year 8 course and the year 8s completed the same unit again and again on a loop. I tried to help. She and I were friends. But it all came to nought because it became very clear very quickly that she was failing the kids.

She was sacked. And soon after we heard that she had early onset galloping (I made that up - it's not a medical term) Alzheimer's. She was not well. We should have helped her more, but we did the right thing getting her out of the classroom. It was a terrible time, cos I felt guilty cos I knew her and liked her, but the kids deserved better.

I think it's very hard to sack someone today, what with 3 written warnings and the unions carrying on. And I reckon that's why there are so few jobs and so many contracts. It has to be at least in part because at the end of the contract, the worker can legally be waved goodbye.

But sackings are necessary. If a job is not being done well shouldn't someone be held responsible? Unless of course the fuck up is a part of the government quagmire, in which case it is all about sliding blame and hiding responsibility and camouflaging corruption and playing dumb. Accountability requires integrity and neither of those attributes seem to be part of government job criteria or tenders. If the government used the money they spent covering their arses and making good government funded fuck ups, we would all be far better off.