Yesterday was just another day in a long string of days that has made me realize that this job that I loved up until October, is no longer the job that I want.
I loved my job. I loved looking after the kids and being able to play with them and have so much fun, but that isn’t the way it is anymore. Now, with only two staff working all the time there is no way to sit and hang with the kids (the part of the job I loved) because while one staff member is working at signing the kids in and out the other staff member has to stand around in a location in the play area where they can see all the kids and that means that you can’t sit and pay attention to just one kid, not even long enough to have a nice little discussion about their trip to the beach, or how their best friend at school has a new dog and they don’t like it because it’s not a cat.
We don’t even have time, or the supplies, to do a good arts and crafts project like we did. And I loved prepping for those. If you came down to see me on a day when it was slow and there wasn’t that many kids in, well you’d see me snipping away, prepping a project and being excited about doing it with the kids. I can’t remember the last time I actually got to do that.
I remember at the end of October planning out the craft project with another co-worker for Christmas. It was supposed to be a pop up snowman. We were planning out who would be prepping what part of the project, there were three different sizes of white circles to cut out, black top hats, carrot noses, scarfs pipe cleaner arms and of course the piece of card that would be hold the pop out snowman. It was going to be a lot of work, but we were excited about it.
It’s that sort of thing that had us loving our jobs. Now all we can do is sit around and talk while we watch the kids, and let me tell you that isn’t a good thing because then you tend to gripe about the problems with the workplace. And let me tell you there is a huge amount of frustration in our department.
A lot of the workers feel like we aren’t respected, that we’re looked at as the slackers in the store because we get to sit around and play with the kids and that we don’t make any money for the store so we’re not a vital part of the store. We see the way the other co-workers look at us, we see how management is always on us about ‘getting our job done’.
In the past, when we’d have enough staff, we knew what our responsibilities were in the store and we’d get it done without having to be asked. We knew it was our job to redistribute the yellow shopping bags throughout the store and we actually looked forward to doing it. It would take us about half an hour to do a floor, and when all the kids were starting to get to you, you’d just volunteer to do yellow bags and voila you’d get a half hour break from them. Now that isn’t possible because we don’t have the staff.
So we stand around in our department, with parents waiting for their children to come in and play, sometimes they wait for a whole hour or more, and of course they get very upset and complain to us and that negativity sometimes spreads to us, causing us to be just as negative. It isn’t a pleasant place to work anymore.
We see safety issues and we report them and are ignored, at least until a child is injured and then it becomes priority one to get it fixed. Why not fix it before a child gets hurt and there is a potential law suit.
I tell you, if a child was hurt in that room and a smart lawyer asked for our safety check lists they’d see that the company was being warned about these problems for months, sometimes even a year or so and the company did nothing.