Ashley took a few vacation days before and after Memorial Day to give herself five days off this past week. Yesterday was her last day off before going back to work today, so we went out to Uno’s to celebrate what was a very fine few days indeed. Our waiter informed us that we would receive exemplary service because there were corporate big-wigs lurking about. After he left to get our drinks, we spotted them: the white guys in dark suits. I noticed the corporate scumbags with Uno’s look a lot like the ones I saw at Pilot. They must look the same everywhere.
The five years I worked maintenance at Pilot, I weathered dozens of corporate visitations. Four of those five years, my general manager was a guy named Joe Gruninger. Joe was one of the most impressive human beings I’ve ever known — funny, super intelligent (qualified to be a college chemistry professor, he went to work for Pilot originally because managing a truck stop paid more than teaching did where he came from), and the hardest worker I’ve ever met. Joe was the boss of my store, and he worked harder than any three of his employees put together. He wasn’t the sort of manager who spent his entire shift in the office — he was always out doing something, helping ring up customers, fixing broken-down gas or diesel pumps, putting away orders, he even pitched in with cleaning showers when there was a back-up. He told me once that he wasn’t comfortable telling someone else to do a job unless he had done it himself.
Corporate visitations ruined Joe’s entire week. Usually, the corporate inspector was our store’s regional manager, of which we had four or five in the time I worked there. One of them, whom we all called Mac, was a really nice guy whose visits we almost looked forward to; the rest of them were dipshits. Every so often, the division manager would tag along. Our division manager was Najib Tegey, who used his time at our store to hover around everyone else as we did our jobs, rarely saying a word. The only time Najib ever spoke to me was once when showers were especially busy, we probably had a ten-person wait, when he asked me if I had been trained on cleaning showers. I’d worked there for four years at that point, had been present for almost every one of Najib’s corporate visits in that time, and had spent probably 60-75% of my time on the clock cleaning those fucking showers.
I felt for the guys and girls working at Uno’s last night, scared of their own shadows because a couple of assholes from corporate were around. It made me think of how unfair it is to them, as it was to me and my fellow wage slaves at Pilot, to have their performances evaluated by people who have never done their jobs. And it made me think of Joe, who worked his ass off managing our store and had to put up with know-nothing douchebags like Najib coming in and telling him he needed to do better while never mentioning the countless things he was doing right. When Joe managed us, we were the most profitable store in the company; by the time I quit, a year after Joe left, we were near the bottom. Joe’s replacement was a nice guy named John Trotagot. He wasn’t a tenth the manager Joe had been, but he was being groomed for a regional manager and thus caught far less shit from corporate.
The world’s run by the Najibs, not the Joes. You want the problems of the world summed up in one sentence? There you go.