As indicated in my post Obstacles to the dream – Options and opportunities, I recently encountered a challenge to my goal for early retirement.
Without recounting the whole story, I had been assigned to a particular work location for an indefinite period. The issue being that the location provided very little in the way of night or weekend work. This means reduced shift penalties, which means less money.
I’m not talking a few dollars but potentially hundreds each fortnight. For me, this is significant. The other problem was that the location has a low customer volume. I thrive on high-volume work and the difficulties this presents. It is definitely not uncommon during night shifts to have to deal with inebriated customers and those on illicit substances. For some, that sounds horrible. For me, it’s a learning experience and challenges and improves my customer service skills.
For the purpose of my early retirement though, the financial aspect was the key issue. I had been advised by management that I was obliged by my employment agreement to be assigned where there was a business requirement. From a business perspective, I appreciate the necessity to fill a space with staff but I didn’t want that space filled with me!
I asked if there was a further avenue to request reconsideration. I was told that I could contact the head of HR but my chances would be slim. Well, a slim chance was better than no chance, so I went about drafting an email that detailed my claims. I was wary of indicating my financial issues as a primary concern and focussed on points that would benefit the business and others within the business. I made it clear that I could contribute significantly more to a busy station environment and customer satisfaction. I pointed out also there were several other employees that were seeking to obtain a position within the work location that I had been assigned and they would more likely be more motivated and enthusiastic.
Well, I was called by the head of HR today. I was expecting a long-winded explanation of the employee agreement and I had to accept my work location and suck it up. To my surprise, the HR head was very understanding. She agreed that it was much better for the business to have people where they want to be. I suggested at this time the name of a colleague that had expressed an interest in Monday to Friday work. The HR head said she would organise for shifts to be changed for next week and would contact my colleague.
True to her word, the HR head has organised for my shifts to be changed as of next week. I’m back to a busy station and I have a week of night shifts ahead. My mood has been immediately elevated, not just because I have achieved my goal of returning to the work I want but also by the understanding the business has shown to an employee. After being told by a manager at a former company, ‘You don’t get to pick and choose the parts of the job you do’, this was very refreshing. It is positive acts like this that create loyalty and happiness with staff.
I add also that my colleague is very thankful that I had been put her name forward to HR and she has secured a role that will work better with her family commitments and her career goals within the business. A win-win for all I reckon!
The point of the story I suppose is to not let go of your dream lightly. If the HR head had responded negatively, I would have taken the matter to the next level until I either ran out of levels or received the response I wanted.
Another point to consider is how you win someone over to your way of thinking. Whinging and complaining about how much I didn’t want a lighter wallet would most likely get a negative response. Think of what appeals to the person or the business. If they see the proposal as something that will benefit them, they will more likely look at the matter the way you want them to. In this case anyway, it worked!