Stories from the Workplace LO11765

Tony Barrett (tonyb@RESNET.UIDAHO.EDU)
Thu, 9 Jan 1997 09:21:28 PST

Replying to LO11738 -- was: Disappointment -- No soul?
[Subject line changed by your host...]

> LonBadget writes
> Tell stories from their workplaces. (especially funny ones)

This isn't a funny story but true.

When I first started in my present position as Maintenance Supervisor I
was struck by how beaten down the employers were on the low end of the pay
scale. Since this a state institution, the idea of changing the pay scale
is next to impossible unless state government takes up the issue. Even
the President of University would have trouble changing custodian's pay
grade ($5.84 an hour.) Worker's morale these days is better than mine
would be if I had to live on that wage.

Shortly after I started, I set up a training with a floor wax company and
I told the custodian, who had aluminium can fund, that I would be happy to
bake some Chocolate Chip Cookies for our training session if they would
buy the ingredients for the cookies. Everything was fine until they found
out some other custodians from another part of the University were going
attend the training. Soon I had several 50 year old custodians protesting
that they "didn't want to share their cookies." In a pre-school I would
have understood such a reaction but from "mature" worker at a University!
The concept of limited good was so much part of their worldview that
didn't want to share. The idea of this department of this University
becoming a LO seems rather remote.

Remember these are the employee that have more contact with students than
most professors. If things are not clean or in disrepair, students have
to live with. Studies show that student spend as much as 80% of their
time in Resident Hall (with sadly underpaid employees.) Most universities
in the West have full enrolment, we on the other hand have dropping

Studying while Rome burns,


Tony Barrett
University Residences
University of Idaho
Office: (208) 885-5848 (w/voice mail)
FAX: (208) 885-6606
Home Page:


"Tony Barrett" <tonyb@RESNET.UIDAHO.EDU>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>