Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some of what was happening! - Dispatcher

So why did I give notice and leave the job that I loved?

Well, let's just dive in....

When I was interviewed for the position I was shown the 'wonderful new, fully automated CAD system' It was a 'top of the line system'. I think from reading previous posts you know that it is not top of the line and in fact so inferior that it is down right dangerous.

What I wasn't informed of was that I would be called in to work in the middle of the night and as happened to another co worker, I would have to respond no matter what! One co-worker was in a town 90 minutes away having a family holiday celebration (1 week before the holiday) on her day off. The whole family scheduled this day so she could be there and not have a chance of being disrupted if she was called in. She was. She was also told if she didn't respond back into town to work immediately she would be fired. (This is what was being told to everyone by the co-worker).

What kind of life is this? Not being able to have a real day off and not worry about having to respond back in to work when they hunt you down. I'm all for working overtime. I did on average 50-60 hours every 2 months to assist in covering shifts! But... I found this disturbing.

What did I really do? I turned off my phone ringer from the moment I walked out the door on my Friday till the morning I was to work. When I was actually with Officer I would turn my phone in to airport mode so I would never get a call but could still use my MP3 features.

When I was finally released, my schedule was being changed 7 times a month. I walked in to work and was told to go home and come back in 5 hours for a 12 hour midnight shift. A few days later I was working days, then swings, then mids. I was spending my entire life trying to catch up on sleep! Going for literally days without sleep and never did I get a solid 6 hours of anything while I was working there.

When I got to know the wonderful (they are so nice) dispatchers I found out something. 20% had worked there for more then 20 years and 80% had less then 5 years on the job.

The turn over is HUGE!!!

My mother was a smart woman in the restaurant business for years and always told me 'When your service is good at a restaurant you know the management is good. Poor service, poor management'. I couldn't agree more.

I never worked somewhere where I was literally scared of making the wrong move. I watched my co-workers being written up for small stuff that while it was against policy, they themselves caught and fixed! However, 2 weeks later there would be a notice in their inbox advising them of the policy and what they did wrong and while they finally corrected it, they are on notice not to let it happen again! There was not one mistake that I made that did not go unnoticed. Even for the better of the victim/citizen we were written up. In one case, my co-worker saved a life of a citizen, and because she chose breaking policy to save the life, she was written up!

Can you say M I C R O M A N A G I N G???

Oh and did I mention that our every move is video taped? With the exception of the bathroom and the far far corner in the kitchen, everything we do is on camera, and they watch!!

Let me remind you that the CAD system is not set up fully!!! These dispatchers are working with a half a$$ put together CAD system that still makes them do everything by hand or in their case, memory. Basically, the CAD system just helps the administration with times. It doesn't do anything for the dispatchers. In my eyes! I'll focus on that later though.

Moving up here my pay was cut in half, my commute increased from 15 minutes to 50. My gas bill increased, I no longer have set days off and I am rotating on this 14 day schedule that I actually thought I would like, but it always seemed like I was working, getting off work or getting ready for work!

I needed days off that were mine! I longed for my sporadic 4 day off reward!! I dreamed of set days off where I could plug in to my MP3 player and listen to my podcasts and work on my land! It really didn't seem like to much to ask for.

So, as I sat at my dining room table looking out at the 18 pallets of bricks that were waiting for me to lay them into nice neat paths and stairs I drew up a new schedule. Taking into account all the complaints each co-worker had. Fully knowing that I am the lowest (well not anymore) man on the seniority list. I put each one of them into play on this schedule.

Several of us liked it. It was perfect!! But a few didn't. Management saw how it would fix all their issues, but never acted. Some were upset by it and it finally ended up in the recycle bin.

The main complaint? People would rather come in on their days off to work a 12 hour shift then stay over and work a 15 hour day when they were forced overtime on them. I couldn't understand this. I wanted so desperately to have my own days off and plan stuff, I was okay working the longer days, when needed, if it could guarantee me those days off where mine!

At my prior agency we were allowed to help people. At this agency you can not suggest or tell people how they can help themselves. Even if it is not a police matter! You have to take the info and pass it on to an officer that will belly-ache with you (as he should, this is not a police matter) as to why he needs to call this person back about this stupid call... When just a few months prior I was trained and able to not only say 'No' but to give all the idea's and tips on how to handle the screaming teenager, or whatever the situation was.

I was officially, by the minute, getting dumber!

Can you believe that even with all of the above going on... I was still jazzed to go in and help the citizen's in this county? I still liked my job?

So why did I really leave it all behind then?

It will have to wait for a bit.. I have ran out of time and this wind is picking up. We are probably going to lose power again so have to shut everything down. More continued very soon.

Trust me... It really is a good thing wrapped up in a bunch of garbage!


Lauren Marie said...

I heart you and I am so glad you are both writing again! Can't wait to read more ... I'll be back to check for more!

The Dispatcher and Her Officer said...

Lauren Marie... I heart you also! I have so enjoyed all your comments and inspiration!

Your Awesome!!

Mo said...

Heyyyy you dont work for my department. ;) Hang in there!