View Full Version : OT Humor: Other Duties As Assigned

Liger Zero
12-17-2010, 12:32 PM
Had lunch with my worker-peoples today and we got talking about the job market out there. Some interesting experiences were shared.

One thing everyone agreed on was the utter pointless-ness of listing a long detailed job listing detailing everything a person would be trained on and expected to do... then close it off with "...and other duties as assigned."

The consensus is when you see that the paragraphs above it are irrelevant because this clause indicates THIS IS A GENERAL LABOR POSITION. You will be assigned to cleaning, sorting, packing and every other unwanted task. As soon as you begin training (say) on a press, someone will tap you on the shoulder and take you off and "assign" you to something else.

It is doubly pointless to run the long ad if this is a "temp to perm" or "temp to hire." Everyone agrees you're more or less there to clean up a mess or take the blame for a doomed project.

Really the ideal general labor job ad would read:

"Help Wanted: Other Duties As Assigned. Temp To Hire (don't hold your breath)." :D

mike os
12-17-2010, 02:33 PM
... must have cast iron butt....:D

12-17-2010, 02:53 PM
Wish it was true in the public sector. As a guvmint employee I had to write several job announcements and they were picked apart by the HR people. Seems that if you don't list every single thing the candidate is expected to do, in minute detail, down the line the person can say, "Well, that's not what I was hired to do," and there is no recourse. It got so bad that we even had to include a statement that the candidate was expected to work cooperatively with others. Guess why.

12-17-2010, 04:06 PM

Is this your pre(post?)-nuptial agreement?

12-17-2010, 04:22 PM
One thing everyone agreed on was the utter pointless-ness of listing a long detailed job listing detailing everything a person would be trained on and expected to do... then close it off with "...and other duties as assigned."

The consensus is when you see that the paragraphs above it are irrelevant because this clause indicates THIS IS A GENERAL LABOR POSITION.

The job description for a Journeyman Lineman here for the provincial electrical utility has quite a detailed list of duties, and the last line is "and other related duties."

A Journeyman Lineman is by no stretch of the imagination a "general labour position".

12-17-2010, 04:26 PM

I'm not sure I agree with that - in past jobs, I helped with job descriptions for very specific and highly skilled positions. We tried to give a very clear idea of what the position is about, but always put "other duties as assigned" to make sure and cover changes in circumstances.

Liger Zero
12-17-2010, 04:46 PM
Unfortunately the labor market is... abused around here. With so many out of work... and with the rise of the "temp mafia" (discussion for another time) many many companies do not hesitate to jerk people around. So what if they leave, there are 40,000 more waiting to fill this position.

12-17-2010, 04:50 PM
Temp to hire has been put in place for a damn good reason. You often cannot (make that never) really know a person from a twenty minute interview. The most stellar interview and/or resume can turn out crap for a practical worker... in ANY kind of job, blue, white, or professional. Ask me how I know. Therefore, we always hire 'temp to hire'. You work? You work hard? You work well with others? We hire you permanently. You a dud? See ya!

This is simply a form of "probation", and personally I LIKE it. And yes, it is MY call who is a dud and who stays on. No boards, no appeals.

In actuality, if you don't belong to a union, you are an "at will" employee. Look it up in your state. Most states have it on the books. You can be terminated for any or no cause, and seniority is plays no part. Anyone, any time.

Liger Zero
12-17-2010, 05:07 PM
This is simply a form of "probation", and personally I LIKE it. And yes, it is MY call who is a dud and who stays on. No boards, no appeals.

The problem arises when companies use the endless supply of labor as a solution to a problem.

Machine doesn't work right? Perhaps it's beat, worn out. Rather than address the issue you apply an endless stream of workers. Tell the owner "hey we just can't retain anyone, they all produce too much scrap."

How about the old Empire Zone Hat Trick. Get a tax break for every person you "hire" but in reality those 365 people you "hired" were here-today-gone-tomorrow temps. State doesn't look at that they just see and report on the "growth."

Then there are the companies like the battery factory... they have as part of their "state compensation package" an endless supply of workers to expose to dangerous chemicals. Oh hey Bill is showing symptoms cut him lose bring in the next guy.

We got a styrofoam company in one town that runs an ad EVERY GOSH DARN WEEK for temps. We have shampoo factory that does the same thing. There it's 18 months as a "temp" then another 18 months as a "contractor" THEN they bring you on as "probationary" worker if you make it. The box factory never hires anyone... the temp service has been filling the same five positions every sixty days for 10 years.

You can sit here and go through the ads and spot the companies that are running revolving doors. Same ad every week looking for "good hardworking people Temp Hire with AWESOME BENEFITS after 90 days"

I did the math for the print-shop advertisement. They need 10 people immediately due to EXPLOSIVE GROWTH and they will TRAIN YOU, 90 days temp to hire. There should be over 2,500 people working there, yet there are fewer than 20 cars in the parking lot. Ad repeats every month in the Penny Saver.

I've seen it all when it comes to Temp-Hire abuse. I've either seen it firsthand, or have sat down with people through the church employment service and heard the stories.

In reality... Temp Work does NOTHING to foster growth, improve the local economy or anything of the sort... One Service is based overseas, the others HQ'd out of state... Yeah. Real nice. Drive people out of the workforce AND siphon money out of our local economy.

THIS is why I gave up on working for someone else. Never going through this nonsense again.

12-17-2010, 06:03 PM
I see some of your points. I suppose a lot depends upon the industry you (we) are talking about. We do not operate a "revolving door". We honestly have been burned a few times. That rarely happens now, though it has once. The guy busted hump, did fine work, and as soon as he was hired? He laid down. And that my friend is where at will comes in. No muss, no fuss, we just don't require your services any more.

If you have the drive and capability to start and run your own business, you will circumvent all of the crap like this. But few people have the savvy to make it work. I do not have it. I went through this "probationary" process , and have worked up to BE the guy overseeing new hires. It really isn't a lot of fun on either end of the rope... especially if you try to be fair. And I do.

Liger Zero
12-17-2010, 06:38 PM
It really isn't a lot of fun on either end of the rope... especially if you try to be fair. And I do.

No, it is not. :)

12-17-2010, 07:59 PM
I can recall talking with the manager of a local chain drugstore. He complained about his incompetent and unreliable workers. He said that if he tried to crack down on them, they would simply quit and go find another minimum wage job. I suggested that if he paid more than minimum wage, perhaps he could retain some better workers. That, I was told, was contrary to company policy.

12-17-2010, 10:03 PM
Damn, LZ!

You and I must both live in the same alternate universe. In the other universe, honest employers are desperate for honest workers, and honest workers are desperate for honest employers. In that universe, Disney magic happens and all is well.

We seem to have slipped into a sad parallel universe where potential employers are only looking for victims, and potential employees are looking for the same.

Then again, maybe we have some choice about which universe we're going to inhabit. I think I'm going to try to leave the victim universe behind.

That's just me. You gotta choose for yourself. (BTW - ignore the creeps who have all the answers based on narrow political ideology)

J Tiers
12-17-2010, 10:15 PM
maybe true some places..... that "other duties" deal SHOULD be part of the engineering 'contract" maybe.......

I work in a small consulting company..... 2 engineering types. I have designed VFDs, motor drive systems, electrical power installations, motor controllers, done EMI amelioration/correction, etc.

AND, I am the "reserve forklift driver", occasional wiring technician, and a few times the chain hoist operator when a heavy product that is not forkable has to go in a truck.

That's "general duties".

As for why someone else can't do those other things...... wel, they could, but

1) they don't know how, maybe.

2) the product being lifted into the truck on the forklift or hoist is worth $50,000.... or some such...... meaning if anyone screws up, it's gonna be either my boss or me, not one of the techs or a programmer.

12-17-2010, 10:47 PM

That teener he hired who is incompetent can go across the street to McD's and make about a buck and a half more than minimum. AND, according to the signs, they pay benefits. I don't KNOW that to be true, but...

IF you quit hiring temps, know that you will be hurting the US economy. Know that there must be millions of Temps working at any given time, and the Temp Agency makes a pretty good overwrite on each and every one of them. THEY will be hurting if you quit hiring their contractors.

They are Businesses, you know. You don't want to hurt those Businesses, do you?


I have only worked in Union shops since I got out of the Service. Every one has had a 90 day "probationary period". You don't cut the mustard, you are gone. Union has no say. So, you could just as easily tell someone who does not fit to hit the road, but, maybe it is less of a load on your shoulders to allow the Temp Agency to tell them that they no longer need you?

In general, if an employee works well for his probationary period, he will work pretty well when that is over, particularly in an "at will" State. He HAS no job when you say he has no job, so there IS no "Probationary Period"

Isn't this a little like Slavery, to depend on others to provide you bodies to run your operation, and get a few bucks off you that you PROBABLY could pay that employee and HAVE a reliable employee?

Instead of the Employment Agency placing someone with you at 7.15, and getting 12, why not offer 12 for a delineated time? "I need another body for 6 weeks, I'll give you 12 bucks an hour. Maybe I can keep you after that, but no promise."

I don't know, for sure, the 12. Can any of you who DO employ temps at 7.15 give us a hint as to how much they actually cost you. I know this is a big secret, but SURELY someone can let the cat out of the bag. Some of mine have worked Temp, and I don't like that.



J Tiers
12-17-2010, 11:25 PM
The guy working temp gets a decent chance at being hired direct after a while...... pay? well that's an issue, might not get offered the $12 after working at $7.

And after the people who took on the temp don't need him/her any more, there are folks working hard to find that temp another job..... because THEY don't get paid unless the temp workers have work.

Ain't ALL bad to have several people trying hard to find you paying work. Even if they do take a sizeable chunk..... You probably won't do better on average after figuring in all the unpaid time between jobs going it on your own.

Unions vary.... my father-in-law was in machinists..... UPS fired him / hired a cheaper new guy, and union did nothing..... nothing but take the money. No love for unions from THAT ex-member.

Forrest Addy
12-18-2010, 12:36 AM
This is obliquely on topic:

I recall a woman who moved to Berkely CA and became roommates with three other women. They all had jobs, they all hated to cook, and the houskeeping chores were always getting ahead of them. So they advertized for a house husband. (I can imagine the ad) and got hundreds of replies. She said most of them devoted pages to their imagined bedroom duties and only a sentance or two on the substance of the ad.

Make a long story short they took on a fireman nearing retirement, recently widowed, still grieving, and in need of company and occupation for the 48 long hours off duty. For free housing, he cooked, did laundry, kept the apartment spic and span, ran schedules and errands, took phone calls, kept their cars running, counseled the depressed and heart-broken, vetted new boyfriends, and in general fathered and big brothered four thirty-something women for a couple of years in the early '70's. I was told there was never a letcherous look. I guess there are born Dads and this was one of them. My hat's off to the guy.

12-18-2010, 12:52 AM
Well Forrest,

we have "The Touch Up Guys" and "Hire A Hubby" guys here in OZ.

Some of us have noticed that they only attend "house-hold" work during "office hours". They seem to be all young and fit and happy in their work and running hither an yon from "job" to "job" and there are a lot of very satisfied mainly female "customers".

They do seem to be the "come to" and "fix-up" guys.

They seem to get a lot of "word of mouth" work too.

Seems to be a pretty good franchise too.



Would you like to write their job description and do the performance evaluations/revues?

Liger Zero
12-18-2010, 12:34 PM
For the record I am not opposed to 90-day probation "try before you buy" arrangements at all! I'm opposed to the companies that work people 89 days then fire them and bring on the next batch.

That is the prevalent "mode of operation" around here. It'd be interesting to compare the temp-cycles with the unemployment numbers. One month they'll be reporting a DROP in unemployment then next month suddenly a RISE in unemployment.

Betcha there is a connection.

12-18-2010, 01:35 PM
LZ: I fully agree with you on the temp issue. Newspaper here wanted a graphic artist; "Must know Quark, Photoshop, and several other programs; Pay advertised was $8 per hour.: Less than 40 hours (not full time) so no benefits.
Oklahoma is an 'at will' state. However, if your company has an employee handbook that discusses hiring and firing that takes precedence.

Liger Zero
12-18-2010, 03:53 PM
Actually according to my Lawyer, the handbook is not binding. This is what the first page says:

"Nothing in this handbook represents a Contract between you and The Company. Only the President or Designated Officer of the Company may enter into a Contract with an employee. If such action is taken the terms of said Contract will be put in writing and signed by the President or Designated Officer. In all cases the Company has the right under the AT WILL EMPLOYMENT LAWS of New York State to terminate any employee at any time, with or without cause. You may have specific rights in any given situation, if there are any questions consult a lawyer."

I am not an asshole-boss. Nor do I want to be one. So far treating people how I want to be treated works really well... I have a good team.

So far. As I get bigger who knows what'll happen. That's why I have the Lawyer. ;)

oil mac
12-18-2010, 05:05 PM
Liger Zero,
you have hit on some very pertinent and sore points in todays modern, transient,sad and feckless, plus " trust all round has gone down the pan syndrome" world, Be it in either the American continent or the European continent, it is all one, In fact, i have come to the sad conclusion, that, it is the same being either an employee or employer, I am glad to be out of it, Having past my three score years &ten (sad old git).

The present malaise which is sapping moral, really began about the early nineteen eighties, There seemed to somehow be, a breakdown in discipline, coupled to a total greed/ capitalism of a more vicious streak, which, swept like wildfire through the western world This coupled with escalating costs &outsoursing work to the east, Put the tin hat on all our comfort zones.

We now also have a different type of management, gone by and large, are the old paternalistic company directors, who were proud of their smoking factory chimneys, In came the modern breed of management, many who have a get rich quick mentality and are born again spivs Allied to that by and large is a workforce who knowing their work situation is getting low paid and transient, dont give much of an interest , All round loyalty is gone!

I wonder when the west will waken up to the situation, and try and put things back on an even keel before it is too late, By that i mean workers and entrepenuers alike, Would be lovely to go back to the balmy warm 1950/s.

12-18-2010, 07:08 PM
I wonder when the west will waken up to the situation, and try and put things back on an even keel before it is too late, By that i mean workers and entrepenuers alike

I keep saying that when all the jobs go overseas and all of us here are making minimum wage (if lucky enough to have a job) nobody is going to buy a $20,000 vehicle or a $100,000 house!

I am semi retired (took one of the automotive buyouts) and in the process of setting up my own business, partially because of the job climate. I am a formally trained tool and die maker with decades of experience, yet I am on my second round of unemployment within a year. There is an ad locally wanting someone with tool and die experience, pay is $9 an hour. I am not too proud to work at McD's if it comes to that, and I will certainly do that before I sell my experience for $9!

Last two jobs I found were through temp services, seemed to be a positive experience on that end of it, but I agree, there are plenty of employers that let people go on that 89th day. Then again, there are the guys that show up at the temp place looking for work still in pajamas!

12-18-2010, 10:01 PM
Mom worked 10+ years in Flordia, for a company that changed temp agencies every 6 months. No benefits, not much wage. Job did not change, never an interview, never a raise. Is that right? I think not.

12-19-2010, 12:35 PM
Don't know about LZ's examples, but a lot of the time companies use temp agencies as a way to outsource paperwork and legal responsibility for things like workman's comp.

I would be interested to see the financials of some of LZ's companies as I suspect they are pretty marginal in a return on capital sense. My experience is that solid companies with strong market position engage in a lot fewer shenanigans because they need to hire and retain good people to stay on top.