my coworker pressures me to take his shifts at the last minute … because he knows I can’t afford to say no

A reader writes:

When I was hired for my current job, it was for overnights, with the understanding that I would work three to four days per week. I was also trained on the evening shift. Since those training shifts, all my shifts have been overnights. I was also assured that I could move to full-time after several months, working both overnights and evenings. There is almost always only one person working overnight, every night. I had a second, seasonal job, but that ended months ago and will not re-open.

That full-time status never appeared, and several actual full-timers have been hired. That is beside the main issue. The main issue is the full-time overnighter, Rick. For the past several months, I have been scheduled for three days and him four. At least once a pay period, he has called me, asking me to come in for him. Almost always, it’s to take the shift, not to switch with him. He has always assured me that management is aware. (I doubt this, but anyway.) Almost always, I take it. Nor have I missed a single one of my own shifts, unless it was switched at his request.

He also keeps calling one or two hours before the start of his shift to ask me to take it, and if I don’t answer his texts, he will call me. His excuses have ranged from his mother being in the hospital, to him being “too tired.” The one time I turned him down, I had a 103+ degree fever. He complained about my saying no, until I offered to take one of his other days. He turned me down, and then complained to another coworker that he wasn’t sure if he’d “feel like working that other day.” He did not mention the fever to her, of course.

I was warned that he would try to take advantage of my time, and have been told by multiple people that he is lazy. I should have listened, but my bank account dictates otherwise. My coworkers advised me not to complain, saying that management would probably just ban shift switching altogether and there would go that extra day of income. To be honest, I have been more upset about the late notice than the shifts themselves. It’s quiet at night.

Until this schedule. I looked at it tonight, and I am down to two days, and he has five. The manager is out until Monday, but I texted her with the following: “I need to talk to you on Monday, please. I can’t afford to only have two shifts in a week. Rick texts and calls me at least once a pay period to work his shifts (usually within a couple hours of the shift), knowing I can’t afford to refuse. I don’t think it’s fair he gets even more hours when he doesn’t work the ones he has.”

If management punishes me, I’m planning to job hunt. Less pay (nothing around here pays within $2 of what I currently make) but more hours will still be a net win for me. Am I handling this the right way? I feel like Rick has me by the short hairs and knows it. I also get the feeling that he may start calling me more often to cover his shifts, knowing I can even less financially afford to say no. I very much doubt management is keeping an eye on who’s scheduled vs who actually shows up, especially at night.

Job search.

The issue is less Rick — although he’s a problem — and more that you’re working somewhere that promised you full-time work, has reneged on that, and now is scheduling you for even fewer shifts than you started out with.

Rick is a problem only because your employer has put you in a position where the only way to get enough shifts to support yourself is to say yes to Rick’s last-minute requests. If your employer was giving you the amount of hours they promised you, you’d have a much easier time saying no to Rick. He might be taking advantage of the fact that he knows you want more shifts, but your employer is responsible for you being in that spot in the first place.

All that said … if your management is unaware of who’s actually working each shift (and doesn’t realize how often it’s you, not Rick), that’s worth pointing out. I could quibble with the framing of your message to your manager a bit, but it’s reasonable to say, essentially, “I came on board with the promise of having full-time hours by now. I don’t have that, and in fact I’m scheduled for fewer shifts now than I was earlier on. I’ve been working X extra shifts per week because Rick frequently asks me to take his at the last minute, but that’s not sustainable and I need a schedule I can plan on. Since I’ve been averaging X shifts a week, can we formalize that on the schedule so it’s not dependent on last-minute calls from Rick to fill in for him?”

{ 193 comments… read them below }

    1. T'Cael Zaanidor Kilyle*

      The net result of these circumstances — LW being underscheduled, Rick always asking LW to work for him (but not on a predictable schedule and at the last minute), and LW needing the hours — is that LW has essentially become an on-call employee, but without being compensated appropriately for it.

    2. Dragon_Dreamer*

      LW here. I sent this to Alison a few weeks ago. The meeting with the AM was… not fun. She sounded more annoyed than anything. I made sure to lay out for her the full situation with Rick, and that I cannot afford to stay on only 2 shifts a week. 3, I can get by. 4 would leave me financially secure.

      Her response:
      “Rick has seniority. Part time here is 2-3 days. If he wants more hours, he gets them. If you want a change, go see the GM. HE hired you while I was out on disability. If you and he had an agreement, you talk to him. I schedule as I need to. I don’t care who works what shift, as long as it’s covered. Go talk to the GM if you’re unhappy.”

      I asked her about the daytime/evening shift, and her response was, “I wasn’t happy. You’re only fit for night work.” I only had 3 training shifts, she expected me to already know what I was doing!

      The meeting with the GM a week later went better. He listened, and agreed that I had been promised 3 shifts per week minimum. 4 is trickier, because they don’t have room for another full-timer yet.

      He was also NOT happy that Rick has been calling out with such short notice. Yes, having the shift covered is important, but he expects that if someone is scheduled, they’ll be there. At the end, he promised to look at the hours worked by both of us for the past year, and go from there.

      Since then, I’ve had consistent 3 day shifts, with a 4 next week because Rick is off. I was told that I am only to respond if management contacts me about his shifts. I also asked for, and got the caveat that if he gives up a shift, those are MY hours. No more switching. He loses that pay for the week.

      I have also started a major volunteer project in my field. To say what it is would be too revealing, but it will be a massive feather in my cap, AND lead to actual jobs. (This field is one where that does actually happen, volunteer to paid!) I am also throwing my hat into the ring for a full time position at the same place. If I don’t get it, I lose nothing.

      As for money, I’ve been working as a contracted employee on the side, making good money doing occasional work. It covers the gaps the regular job hasn’t. Sadly, that one won’t become more than occasional.

      I’m also going to a conference for my field next month, so I’ll hopefully get leads on grad school and jobs, and make more connections!

      I hope to have a Feel-Good Friday update in the next year or two!

      1. Ginger Cat Lady*

        Ah, I see. AM was upset that changes (hiring you) were made while she was out, so she’s treating you poorly because the very fact you were there reminds you that she wasn’t in control. I wonder if a favorite employee – or a friend of hers – was fired and you are the replacement. Sure sounds like she resents you being there.

          1. Dragon_Dreamer*

            I think it’s a little from both columns. I was hired because the old overnight part-timer got sick of Rick’s antics and found a new job.

            1. Lydia*

              So your AM has been avoiding the Rick Issue for ages and thought she was being clever by insisting you go the GM, and you did. Do you know if she had to account for Rick’s bad behavior or her lack of addressing it?

                1. Rosacolleti*

                  May I ask how management didn’t know about Rick dumping shifts on you. I presume you were paid for them rather than Rick?

                  Also has Rick stopped calling you to take his shifts now he’s been found out?

                2. Dragon_Dreamer*

                  AM apparently knew, didn’t care. GM doesn’t do payroll and thought he was mixing up who was supposed to work.

                  Rick has only texted me once since, to let me know of a required password change.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          I was in that position once, and it didn’t end well. You have my sympathies. These ego-filled people are not fun to deal with.

      2. House On The Rock*

        Best of luck with everything. It sounds like you are juggling a lot, including a difficult superior, but have solid plans and prospects. I will await your Friday Good News!

      3. Michelle Smith*

        I’m rooting for you OP!! Please write in with that update, whether it gets posted on a Friday or not, once you have one. I can’t wait to celebrate the good news that you got more financial stability in the field of your choice and left these people in your rearview!!

      4. Heidi*

        Former hotel GM here…

        If it’s any consolation, I think your FOM (I’m assuming she’s an FOM) is going about this all wrong. Sure, seniority counts for something, but it shouldn’t dictate the schedule when there are obvious attendance issues at play.

        As a former GM/overnight-shift-coverer, I think she’s either

        1. worried that Rick will quit if she pushes him on his attendance or reduces his hours, then she’ll have to work all of his shifts that you can’t cover…and no manager likes covering the overnight.

        2. worried about some aspect of your performance and thinks that, although inconsistent, Rick is more fit for the full time hours than you are. Now, I’m only thinking this because she said you’re “not fit for the day shifts.” I’d recommend diving into that and asking if there is any particular reason why she said that.

        The overnight shift in a hotel is one of the most thankless, so just know former GMs like myself appreciate the heck out of you!

  1. witch*

    I don’t know where this is but it feels like a kitchen. And if it is a kitchen, or retail, simply hop.

    There’s no point in working at a place where someone willing and interested in full-time work is only getting two shifts in a week, unless you’ve not actually told your manager. If you’re looking for shifts make sure all schedulers are aware — Make it easy on them to slot you in when they’re doing the schedule on Tuesday or something.

    1. Cookie Monster*

      Seems like they did tell their manager: “I was also assured that I could move to full-time after several months.”

      I guess the manager (or whoever) could’ve told them this without them even having to ask, though.

      1. Samwise*

        Sure, but is OP relying on the manager/whoever remembering that? Is the person who promised full time work the person who makes the schedule?

        OP needs to use Alison’s script asap. Because if they haven’t said anything to their manager about ft work since being hired, guaranteed it’s not still in the manager’s head.

      2. tamarack etc.*

        This sounds more like what the OP was told when they started … and it often happens that such things are more of an aspirational statement, made to entice a desirable candidate, than something that the hiring manager already has a clear process or plan for.

        The OP should have this talk with their manager. And go job search.

    2. Be Gneiss*

      quiet overnight shifts also seem like maybe gas station or convenience store, and if they are the only 24-hour one in the area and they’re paying a shift premium for overnights, I can see where the LW might have trouble matching that pay rate.
      But the extra $2 isn’t going to cut it if they’re only getting 2 shifts a week!

      LW, I hope your manager either fixes this, or you find something better. Sending you all good vibes.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        This right here. If you earn an extra $32 for the two shifts because the pay is higher, but lose out on 3 shifts of pay because they won’t schedule you full time–let’s say it’s $10/hr, that’s $240.

        Losing out on $240 to get $32 is not going to work out.

      2. Dragon_Dreamer*

        I can say, it’s a hotel. I also recently found out I’m the highest paid non-manager there except for Rick, by a couple hours. Partly due to having 2 degrees, partly because I’ve implemented things to make the paperwork easier, and partly because of the shift differential. Rick gets $1 more because he’s got 2 extra years.

      1. NoOneWillSeeThisComment*

        Having worked in security…I would have thought that too…but the OP says “there’s almost always someone on overnights” which doesn’t sound like security because there was no “maybe” about 24/7 coverage anywhere I ever worked. Granted, I was never somewhere quite this dysfunctional. Really confused why they would hire full timers but not offer it to OP first? That’s VERY standard for security.
        I’ve seen crazy things though in security, and most of them were not worth it…especially because minimum wage has gone up so much, instead of making double minimum wage, you’re now just making the minimum.

        1. Moopsy*

          FWIW, I read the line “There is almost always only one person working overnight, every night.” as indicating that there was *only* one person working overnight, as opposed to more, not that there was maybe one person working overnight and potentially no one working overnight.

          1. Dragon_Dreamer*

            Exactly. Always one, rarely 2, and that only if someone is being trained. 3 people (besides management) are trained for overnights. Me, Rick, and one daytime coworker who fills in ONLY if no one else can.

    3. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      Being that it’s overnights and evenings, I was thinking more of a care facility, whether its a nursing home or maybe something with developmentally handicapped folx. My mom worked in the handicap field for over 25 years (until I was 18) and she would see this all the time. There was constantly people who were favorites and would get more hours, even if they didnt want them. Her last job in the field they essentially made her quit becasue they started to schedule her down to only a few hours a day.

      1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        I also thought this could be a possibility. Nights can be quiet if the people who live there mostly sleep at nights and just need someone to be present in case they need something.

      2. That One Who Definitely Isn’t A Superhero*

        Handicapped is a non-preferred term for those of us living with disabilities, especially in the US. But I hear you on health workers being scheduled in unfriendly and inconsistent ways

        1. Allison K*

          This is such a direct, classy phrasing, and I’m going to remember it for when I need to call out non-preferred language. Thank you!

    4. Bi One, Get One*

      It really could be anything. I had an ex who was a CNC machinist for the overnight shift, and his company promised him full time and instead kept bringing in temps. Only when they started taking orders from a particular company did they stop stringing people along and finally hire folks on for full time work. It paid better than minimum wage, but not by much.

      1. Sacred Ground*

        Yeah, I lived in Las Vegas which is a true 24/7 city. You could work the graveyard shift at a tire shop, nail salon, wedding chapel…

  2. Antilles*

    OP, it’s time to leave because you’re never ever getting more from this employer. You will never be full-time here.
    Know how I know that? They had “several” opportunities to move you to full-time but didn’t. If they had any intent to move you full-time, they would have asked you internally before looking externally…and their choice speaks volumes.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      At the same time, I assure you that management does not care that LW is the one covering the shifts vs being assigned the shifts. They don’t really care who covers them as long as they get covered. This will only change if LW shifts the problem back onto management’s plate.

      Leave, LW. They don’t care about keeping their word to you.

      1. Ole Pammy's Getting What She Wants*

        yep – if anything, picking up other’s shifts so often signals to the manager that if you want more hours, you’ll find it yourself.

      2. Dragon_Dreamer*

        Working on it. Focusing on getting something in my field, and I have an occasional freelance side gig that covers the gaps in my bills.

    2. Busy Middle Manager*

      “it’s time to leave”

      eh have people been following the job market lately? It’s been solid 4-6 months of “why do companies have ads up if they aren’t actually hiring” stories and videos and comment threads. Everyone has realized how many postings are “ghost jobs” waiting for the perfect candidate willing to accept a low salary.

      It seems way more common this year that people are indeed searching to get out of a bad position, and having no luck.

      1. MK*

        Sure, but it sounds as if OP is getting a low salary already, and she says herself she will be making more money elsewhere. Also, the job market varies wildly based on location. Where I live, a “good” or “career” permanent role is very hard to find, but more “blue collar” jobs with ok pay are much easier.

        1. Mouse*

          I think this is backwards – LW says that the most they could get elsewhere is $2/hour less than they currently make.

          1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

            Yes, but if the more hours are enough more hours to make up for the difference (which she says) that may be worth it for her.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            Let’s say that the rate is either $8/hr or $10/hr. Shifts are 8 hours.

            Two days at the higher paying job is $160.
            Five days at the lower paying job is $320.

            If you want $150/week and otherwise value the free time, then the first option is good. But that’s not OP. OP wants full-time work and a higher weekly wage.

            1. Dragon_Dreamer*

              OP would honestly just love to pay their bills and get a job in their field. (Me, btw.)

              Because it’s a job where we don’t get half hour breaks, I get paid for the full 8 hours. So 4 8 hour shifts a week would still be full time. I can pay my bills on 3 days. With 4, I’d have savings while I try to get a job in my field.

          3. Lydia*

            Staying where she is where the hours are fewer, but the hourly rate is higher is the definition of stepping over dollars to chase dimes.

            1. Varthema*

              But free time is valuable too, especially since she needs that extra time to do what she needs to do to go after a FT job in her field.

        2. Busy Middle Manager*

          OP said they can’t find anything within $2 an hour of where they live, which means the other jobs pay less, not more.

          1. MK*

            This is what she said:

            “Less pay (nothing around here pays within $2 of what I currently make) but more hours will still be a net win for me.”

            That sounds like a better-paying job overall, and probably more stable income.

      2. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

        Exactly what is your advice? There’s a lot of vague hearsay and nothing concrete in your post except scare tactics and buzzwords.

        OP should job search. They will 100% not get a new job by not looking. There is a chance of getting a new job if they do look. The only smart choice is to try, no matter what “everyone” has realized.

        1. Busy Middle Manager*

          Following the financial news and job market is not “vague” and pretty insulting actually? Like, I am a financial news junkie, but when people don’t like the takeaway, it is hearsay. OK.

          My advice is to talk to people to fix the problems. That is my advice in general. I’m noticing too much advice is to instantly break up, divorce, quit whenever there is a problem, which only works if the next situation is better.

          1. MK*

            The post makes it clear that OP has little leverage to fix anything. The reason you are noticing “too much” advice to quit a bad situation is that people tend to stay in them long after it has been made clear to an impartial observer that putting more effort in is a waste of time and energy. And breaking up and divorcing, when someone treats you badly, is guaranteed that the next situation will be better, you will be alone but not in a bad relationship. ; just like it sounds as if OP will be in a better situation if she gets another job with less hourly wage but more hours.

            1. Jackalope*

              For example, if I were to share about my job no one would be telling me I should leave (unless I said I wanted to) because it’s a good job that I like with good pay, good benefits, nice coworkers, and work that I find meaningful. But because of that I haven’t written into Alison to ask her how to make things better, because they’re already pretty good. On the other hand, the OP’s who write in aren’t at a point where everything is “already pretty good”; if things were fine they wouldn’t be writing in. By the nature of advice columns, you’re only going to get situations where things aren’t working in the letters. Some of those can be fixed fairly easily, for some they’re more difficult, but a lot of times there’s not a good way to fix them and you have to either live with it or move on.

              As to the current job market…. It’s probably not as bad as the media are saying. The current unemployment rate is 3.6%, which means that it’s more an employee’s market than an employer’s market right now. Now, whether there are jobs available in the OP’s field (which she doesn’t mention; she says that this job is just paying the bills until she can make the switch) and in her area (or an area she’d like to live in) may be another story. But the numbers right now are really good, no matter how many fake job postings exist out there.

              1. Dragon_Dreamer*

                Jobs in my field are *really* hard to find right now, and historically, it’s not a well-paying one. I have the qualifications, but don’t yet have the portfolio that will really impress schools and jobs.

            2. Ariaflame*

              Being one of the few people trained to overnight has at least some leverage. If OP leaves then they will be down to one person trained and one who in theory can but won’t if they can avoid it.

          2. Starbuck*

            it’s not helpful to give advice as such a broad generalization though. “Bad job market” is meaninglessness vague unless you can be specific to region, industry, role, etc. it’s so variable.

          3. Antilles*

            Three thoughts:
            1.) Talking to fix the problems only works if the other person is actually willing to fix the problem. The company which knows OP wanted to go full-time and has passed her over several times doesn’t seem likely to care much.
            2.) It’s not an either/or situation. Nothing says that OP can’t both talk to them and ask for more shifts while also keeping her eyes towards the exits.
            3.) “That only works if the next situation is better” isn’t helpful advice because you can never be certain of that. Unless you’re willing to stay in the same place eternally, at some point you need to take a chance and risk that the next place is better rather than equal/worse.

          4. Susannah*

            Well relying on online complaints about companies posting job openings that don’t really exist isn’t that scientific or useful.
            It may be that LW wold have a hard time finding a job; depends on field and area. But unemployment is very low. It’s not like we’re in the Great Recession. And what people are saying is LOOK for a new job – not to quit this one in a huff.

      3. Momma Bear*

        Trying to improve the shifts and looking for a different job are not mutually exclusive. The job, even if not ideal, can hold them over until they find the next good thing. As long as they are not fired, even a short week is better than zero.

      4. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

        No one’s saying job searching will be instant. But however long it is going to take, it will take longer for each day OP delays starting.

      5. nnn*

        I assure you people still find jobs every day in bad job markets. Bad job markets don’t mean you’re stuck where you are, what an odd thing to tell this LW.

        1. Susannah*

          The people who want us to believe it’s a “bad job market” are the companies making record profits, annoyed that workers want a share of that, and are desperate to go back to the days when people would take any job, no matter low the pay or abusive the environment, just to have a job. Labor has a very rare edge now, and companies are pissed off about it.

      6. Quill*

        Leaving is often aspirational around here (partially because it’s easier to tell someone they can hit the bricks than it is to actually do it, partially because with the locations and job types being so scattered nobody can really give good advice on any specific job market.)

        Though also given the job market there’s some utility to being told to start looking now, because it takes so dang long to get a job, and the LW’s current employment isn’t going to get better in the meantime. Better to start now (while employed and getting some hours / money) than to wait until the job is months into not paying you enough to live on.

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      They value Rick more. It’s gross, unfair, the entire place apparently knows it, and it isn’t going to change.

      LW, any job that gives you sufficient hours and respect is going to be better than this.

    4. Dragon_Dreamer*

      Thankfully, this place is NOT my career. I’m giving them everything I can, because that’s how I am, but I am actively trying to find things in my field.

  3. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

    You are worth more than this current situation, OP. And you can take steps towards it being better. Please, please job search.

    1. Busy Middle Manager*

      The job market right now is way worse than the number of “open jobs” suggests. “Just job hunt” is going to become less helpful over the next year as it becomes a futile effort. Just yesterday the Federal Reserve said they predict unemployment to go up to 4.1% next year. Anyone in corporate or retail knows most places already run on skeleton crews. So many places have ads up just in case the perfect candidate comes along, but aren’t actively hiring.

      Long way to say, “just job hunt” only works when other companies are actually hiring. We need to shift advice to “how do I deal with or change this situation” vs. “just leave!”

      1. There You Are*

        I think the “Why Not Both” GIF applies here.

        OP is only working two shifts a week. She has plenty of time to job hunt.

        In the meantime, she can try to have a professional conversation with her manager about getting more shifts, but a change in the job market doesn’t mean she should just give up and take whatever crap this place hands her.

        1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          She could ask people around her if anyone has any openings at least. And OP if you’re reading this your job doesn’t deserve you

      2. ferrina*

        Job hunting isn’t the same thing as quitting. No one is saying “quit without anything lined up”. We’re saying “look around- you can find something better.” It may take a while. But you’ll never find something better if you don’t look.

        LW may need to accept this crappy situation for a while, but they don’t need to accept it forever. Do what you need to but make time to job hunt; don’t accept that this is okay. Work on your exit plan.

      3. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

        Seriously stop. You are not helping. You are for some reason really committed to keeping the OP down.

        “Just job hunt” is in fact the only option. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tight market. The only way to find a new job is to look for one. If OP wrote in saying they had been looking for 10 months with no success, then *maybe* your post would be relevant, although it still wouldn’t be helpful. Concrete, actionable steps would be helpful.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          This is feeling like “Someone broke up with me in some sense (quit a job, stopped meeting for coffee) and that is not okay, you must always stay and talk it out. To engage with me is to commit for life/as long as I need you in that role.”

          All of the people currently starting new jobs did not wait until the global zeitgist hit some perfect new level of demand. Some looked for a short time in what was supposed to be a tough market, and got lucky. Some looked for a long time in what was supposed to be a good market. The average job market doesn’t offer any guarantees to one individual.

      4. Totally Minnie*

        Okay, but then what do you suggest OP do? If this conversation with management doesn’t work and they can’t fix their current job, and you think the idea of them checking job postings and submitting applications is a bad one? What’s the other option?

      5. MK*

        “We need to shift advice to ”how do I deal with or change this situation” vs. “just leave!””

        Ok, so why aren’t you offering any advice about how OP can deal with or change the situation? Could it be because she is a part time worker with no access to higher-ups who has been passed over for a fulltime position? How can she effect change? What other way does she have of dealing with the situation, besides suck it up or refuse the shifts, which she can’t afford?

      6. Susannah*

        The unemployment rate now is 3.8%, and we really don’t know if a Fed prediction will come true next year. At any rate, 4% is considered “full employment.”
        Are you seriously suggesting LW just stick with a job where LW’s hours have been cut, a co-worker is harassing LW to take last-minute shifts, and management has reneged on promises of a FT job? There is every indication nothing will change – at least, not for the better.
        People *do* job search while still employed. And with the reduced shift LW is getting now, seems like there’s plenty of time to find something better.

      7. third sarah*

        What are you even talking about? Unemployment is very low. This isn’t a bad job market by any objective measure.

        But when we have been in bad job markets, people still change jobs and find new ones. I’ve lived through 2 recessions and I assure you it was still very possible to change jobs. The idea that job hunting would be a “futile effort” is extremely strange. It almost seems like have some sort of agenda here.

      8. Owe them nothing*

        Wow. I wouldn’t normally comment on this except you have left a couple of comments and – wow. This isn’t a marriage. This is a monetary transaction. For what sounds like very little pay. It isn’t OP’s job to fix a messed up company. The OP isn’t beholden to this place because they pay her/him/them money.

        They can go look for another job while still working this shitty job. There is zero obligation to try to fix a toxic environment at a rate that is low enough that $2 makes a difference. There is zero obligation anyway, but for more money a person might find more passion (or at least starving and paying rent isn’t a concern).

        People need to advocate for themselves and not feel they have to be grateful anyone is even giving them a shitty job. So nope – this isn’t on the OP, the two day a week part-timer, to fix. And they should absolutely job search. No one is saying give this job up to search. With a few free days a week they have time to try to ditch this toxic job.

      9. Optimus*

        Busy Middle Manager, you seem very against people making efforts to move on from a situation that doesn’t work. No one here has said finding a new job is fast or easy. That does not mean OP shouldn’t start that process, because eventually, they’ll likely be able to move on to something else. They do not owe it to their management to stay in a crummy situation where they are taken advantage of, and they do not owe it to their management to try to bring about change when management has proven they (1) do not care who does what as long as it gets done, (2) do not care if the way it gets done is handled fairly, and (3) have no real intention of bumping OP into a full time slot.

        I don’t understand the fixation on “bad job market = you must stay = no one wants to talk it out anymore.” You can’t talk it out with management who does not care enough to pay attention or keep their promises.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        I don’t know if this is helpful but as someone who was flummoxed on how to transition away from retail and similar positions I went through an employment agency (mostly because I figured one application would open up a bunch of jobs instead of filling out app after app lol) and ended up in a position and industry I never would have been aware of otherwise but that has been good to me. I was really lucky in my timing but sometimes you have to put yourself where luck can catch you ya know?

      1. Owe them nothing*

        Not sure what your field is, but there might be some in-between. Not that everyone needs to wander into a career that isn’t their field, but I did stumble into something that wasn’t my field when I started, am happy doing what I do and am good at it and a leader making very good money. However, there are also stepping stones that don’t end up in accidental 20 year careers. I would encourage you to not look at things as being either low paying hourly temp gigs or career opportunities in your field. You can probably make more money and have more stability somewhere in between.

        1. Dragon_Dreamer*

          That’s what this volunteering gig is. A stepping stone. If I don’t get the full time position I applied for, there’s a good chance of a paid internship after about a year. I have to show I can do this project and that I can deliver what I’ve promised. The fact that I’ve even been enthusiastically accepted for it is a major win, though!

      2. Quill*

        Okay so I don’t know your field but if it’s anything like mine (sparse, one of those Go into STEM young woman – oh wait we won’t hire you, nevermind) adjacent fields are also a good thing to search.

        Heck I got my most recent job on the basis of having worked in a lab before.

        1. Dragon_Dreamer*

          It is STEM, one of the more academic/fieldwork branches. That’s about as much as I can say until I leave this job.

  4. Lurking Tom*

    OP, you should definitely job search because you are getting jerked around by pretty much everyone.

    One thing I don’t get – if OP is paid hourly (which it sounds like) how could management not be aware of the shift switches? Surely they’d notice that OP was scheduled for 16 hours but worked 24, else OP’s pay would be off, right?

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      The people who do the scheduling and the people who process payroll might be different people in different offices.

      It is weird that shift trades don’t need to be recorded somewhere, but I assume that there’s just a general way to confirm someone’s on site?

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        Also, I have worked places where full time employees with benefits do the same shift work as non-benefitted part timers and there is generally a pretty firm rule about not switching between those types of employees without approval from management to ensure those part timers stay part time. If this has been going on for a bit it’s honestly quite weird the supervisor hasn’t noticed.

        1. Samwise*

          Or it’s going on without letting management know, so that Rick is getting the benefit of fulltime without actually working full time

          1. Starbuck*

            Right? it honestly seems like a have-your-cake-and-eat-it scam from the coworker – get a full time position with benefits, but don’t actually work full time yet still keep benefits because you haven’t technically been demoted to part time. Not cool!

        2. Kr*

          This is what I’m thinking – my prior PT jobs were strict about keeping me below 32 hours a week most of the time because they didn’t want to have to offer me FT benefits with the job, particularly after the ACA. OP may not be as be in the US but if they are I would think it strange their management or HR hasn’t yet noticed the issue or commented on it. I’m also thinking that the manager needs to hold Rick to the expectation that he is going to work his 40 hours most weeks or risk losing his FT status

      2. GreenDoor*

        “It is weird that shift trades don’t need to be recorded somewhere” I thought so too. Even if different people schedule vs. do payroll, I would imagine they’d want to monitor hours somehow, if nothing else than to stay on top of who’s earning overtime pay. Also, why are supervisors/managers not raising a fuss here? If I was expecting Bob tonight, and Linda shows up instead….and this was a regular thing, I’d want to know more. Even if shift-swapping is OK, I would thing a good manager would be asking more questions.

        1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          Management night not work at night. and the evening shift person probably doesn’t care who shows up to relieve themas long as someone does.

      3. Totally Minnie*

        Yeah, when I was managing shift workers, I had to submit not the employee time cards and the posted schedule to the payroll team. If the time cards didn’t match the schedule, payroll would send it back to be fixed before they would process it. It’s weird to me that OP’s company doesn’t seem to have a verification process for their payroll.

      4. Dragon_Dreamer*

        They’re SUPPOSED to all be done through management. In practice, it doesn’t happen. Except now Rick has to. See my reply to the first comment.

        I think I forgot to mention that the GM is rather Annoyed with Rick, now, and apparently told him off for “disrespecting” my time with all the last minute calls. I like my GM. :)

    2. Dragon_Dreamer*

      AM apparently knew, and didn’t care. GM had no idea, just thought he was mixing up who was supposed to work.

  5. Jennifer in FL*

    I’m wondering how management CAN’T know about who is working each shift- wouldn’t that be reflected in their pay??

    1. Big DA*

      I was going to say the same thing. Unless there’s a weird, wildly big disconnect between payroll and management, they know about the shift switching because they know who they pay for what quantity of hours.

    2. sacados*

      Well is management even looking at the pay stubs? If that all goes through a separate payroll department that merely processes the time cards, and management is just setting the schedules, then they might not actually be cross-checking with each other.
      As long as all the shifts are being worked by someone, management might not have a reason to look into anything further.

    3. Emikyu*

      I used to work with a Rick, and management wouldn’t necessarily realize because payroll was processed by an off-site company. The only way our manager would know is if she was there at the same time as me – and given how many shifts were staffed by only one person at a time, that was somewhat rare.

      Incidentally, the Rick at my job apparently never got the memo that I quit, because a couple weeks after my last day she called and left me a voicemail (I was in class, so I didn’t pick up) asking me to cover a shift that was starting in an hour or so. It was at least half an hour after the start time before I even saw the message. Oh well. I never bothered to call her back and let her know, because it was very much not my problem.

    4. pally*

      Given the level of disinterest, management probably doesn’t care who’s working the shift as long as they don’t have to deal with any issues. So far, no issues = no management involvement.

    5. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      The person who does the schedule is probably not the same person who does the payroll.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        But why would the payroll person not be checking to see if the person who clocked all those hours was actually supposed to?

        1. mlem*

          Why would they care? They get a timecard, they pay the timecard, task done. Are there fields where rogue people clock in and out?

        2. FrivYeti*

          It is entirely possible that as long as the total number of hours adds up to the amounts expected, payroll isn’t bothering to check whether they’re going to the right people. I’ve worked a number of places where that proved to be the case.

        3. Myrin*

          On the other hand: why would they?

          I see from another comment of yours that you did have to do that when you worked payroll but I’m actually more surprised by that than the other way around. I worked in a store until last year and it was on our boss to make sure that the person who was scheduled was also the one who was actually there to work.

          Our payroll woman (in the company’s headquarters, in another state) only saw how many hours people had been clocked in over the course of the month and I’m not sure she could’ve seen the shift plan even if she wanted to. She would’ve seen if someone who was supposed to work only part-time had been there fulltime hours (and the other way around, and anything inbetween) but that’s a separate thing from viewing the actual plan our boss made in her special programme and then printed and then hung up and where (rare!) shift changes were penciled in by hand.

  6. Skytext*

    You need to take this to management or HR. Full-time versus part-time is based on the actual number of hours per week you average, not what they want to classify you as. After so many weeks (I think it’s six), if by taking all these shifts, you have defacto become full-time and Rick has become part-time and is no longer eligible for those benefits, and you should be getting them.

    1. K*

      This – OP, if you are de facto working full time most of the time because of the extra shifts you are picking up, you should be able to get whatever benefits a full-time employee should get. (You may even be legally entitled to some of these benefits, though idk employment law in your area.)

      The flip side of this is that if the company really does not intend for you to be a full-time employee at this time, they may just go “welp, you’re not full-time so you’d better stop picking up full-time hours” if you raise this issue with them…but if that is the case, just consider it a clear sign to move on as most of the other comments are saying.

      1. It's Suzy Now*

        The scheduling change to 5 and 2 even sounds like someone is aware that the OP has been working 4 nights a lot, and have switched them to 2 so that they will stay at part-time status *even with Rick calling them weekly to take one of his shifts last minute.* Whether that someone is Rick or the Manager…

        I hope we get an update soon on the Manager’s response to the OP’s text!

      2. Dragon_Dreamer*

        Rick has been careful. The threshold is 130 hours/month. The most I’ve gotten with his BS is 126.

        1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          That’s crazy that “last minute” stuff keeps coming up, but apparently not so last minute that Rick doesn’t have time to check his notes on exactly how many hours you’ve worked this month. What disingenuous jerk.

    2. higheredadmin*

      This is probably why OP was suddenly scheduled for two shifts and Rick for five – OP might be close to being classified as full time and Rick as part time.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        I was worried about this too. Management may be cutting the OP’s hours to make sure they don’t become eligible for full-time benefits.

        Assuming 8 hours shifts, regularly picking up a fourth shift a week means that the OP should be eligible for full-time benefits. If they drop OP to two shifts a week for awhile, it lowers OP’s overall average.

        1. Sacred Ground*


          He doesn’t work the shifts he’s given but complains he doesn’t get enough hours?

          Your coworker isn’t actually the problem. It’s your manager who tolerates this nonsense at your expense.

          Alison’s right. Job search now. A somewhat higher wage is worthless if you can’t get full time hours and they’re making it clear that you won’t.

          1. Dragon_Dreamer*

            The GM put his foot down with the AM who does the scheduling, AND with Rick. I laid out exactly how many days I need to pay my bills while I look for something in my field. They’re aware that this is NOT a career position for me. The GM is fully supportive of me getting into my field, thankfully. 3 days minimum, with 4 when they can. He also promised to try to get me more day training shifts. As long as I can pay my student loans and other bills, I can survive.

            The volunteer project will be a MAJOR stepping stone for me, both because of what it is, and which institution it is for. I’ve already been given a lead on a full time position there. If I don’t get it due to lack of experience in my field, no harm, no foul, I can try again once more of this project is done.

          2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

            Yeah, this is nonsense. You can’t be constantly calling out and also complain that you don’t get enough hours.

            1. Dragon_Dreamer*

              Hence my original, upset and PO’d text to the AM mentioned in the original post. I’d been warned this was one of his tactics, too.

              He’d decide he didn’t want to work 5 days a week, drop down to 4, and then just when the old overnighter got settled at 3 days, he’d demand those hours back. A few months or weeks later, he’d change his mind again.

              When I started, he was warned not to pull that nonsense again. He tried once, while I still had the seasonal job. He quickly tired of working, and went back to 4 days. At that time, he was warned by the GM and the supervisors that he wouldn’t get that 5th day back. That was early this year. I guess he figured that he’d waited long enough this time.

    3. Harried HR*

      The only law that regulates Full Time status is ACA and working at least 130 hours per month or average of 30 hours per week for a year would make you eligible for Medical insurance. Individual state may have different regulations

      1. Totally Minnie*

        The only federal law. States have other provisions. In my state, if a part time employee works full time hours for more than a certain number of pay periods per fiscal year (I can’t remember the number, it’s been a while since I’ve been involved with scheduling or payroll), that employee is considered full time and the employer now owes them any applicable full time benefits like insurance or retirement funding, retroactive to when the full time hours began.

    4. goducks*

      The ACA allows for companies to set whatever amount of time they want as their designated “look back” period, so long as it’s not more than 12 months. Some definitely use much shorter, but it varies by company.

  7. AngryOctopus*

    OP, nobody may pay as much, but if you get FT hours instead of PT, you’re going to make more, as well as hopefully be eligible for benefits. Please job search. They’ve hired other FT people around you, possibly because it’s hard to hire for PT/overnight shifts. That’s not your problem. Your problem should be figuring out how many jobs you can apply for that will get you something better!

    1. Mr. Shark*

      That’s what I was thinking. OP is working the night shift, so why switch them to full-time when the night shift might be harder to get covered.

    2. Gerri’s Jaunty Hat*

      You will most likely find that that difference in hourly pay is more than made up for in the predictability and certainty of your schedule. Constant uncertainty and last minute availability has a high price to your life!

    3. MistOrMister*

      What I don’t get is…even if it’s hard to hire PT for overnights, why don’t they just schedule OP for X nights and then X evenings to give them full time? It’s not like it would be impossible. I am wondering if management knows Rick is going to call out at least once a pay period and rather than risk having someone else working full time evenings then going into overtime, they are deliberately keeping OP part time knowing they will cover for Rick.

      I get not wanting to take a job that is a paycut, but if the job offers insurance which you need, you end up coming out ahead. At least in the US. I quit a job and in the time between finding a new one and when the insurance for the new one kicks in, I’ve had to pay $2700 for my insurance. For three months. Having to pay for your own out of pocket or having no insurance and having to pay through the nose at the doctor’s office is overall much more expensive than that $2 an hour.

      1. Dragon_Dreamer*

        Management turned out to be oblivious to this, because no one ever told them, and they only work 9-5 type hours. The GM took it more seriously than the AM. I don’t think the AM likes me much because the GM hired me, and she does the scheduling.

        He had a “Come to Jesus” level talk with Rick.

  8. Goldenrod*

    I agree with Antilles. This line really leapt out at me:

    “That full-time status never appeared, and several actual full-timers have been hired. That is beside the main issue.”

    I disagree that this is beside the main issue. I think it totally IS the main issue! Alison is right: job hunt. This isn’t sustainable and your employer (not Rick) let you down. Rick isn’t the problem here, he’s just a distraction.

    Don’t keep telling yourself that this will work out. Job hunt now!

    Good luck!

    1. 5leafclover*

      This line leapt out at me too, but for a different reason: OP, have you ASKED again for full time work? The phrasing “full-time status never appeared” makes me think you maybe have been waiting for management to do what they promised. From their point of view, if they need someone to work part time at night and you’ve kept agreeing to it, they have no reason to change. Just want to make sure you’re actually telling them what you want instead of hoping they will guess!

      1. Dragon_Dreamer*

        I asked back when the AM was hiring new people, and was told I was a week too late, and that she’d never been told I wanted full time. 9.9 I should have gone to the GM then, but I didn’t want to go over her head.

    2. Bruce*

      Agreed, the AM has already said that LW is not suitable for day shift, she seems to have a grudge. Glad the GM is helping for now, but long term the AM is likely to still be a problem. Good luck with the search!

  9. Mr. Shark*

    I think Alison’s script is spot on. Let management know exactly what is happening and exactly what you want. If they can’t accommodate, then you can look to move on. But given that you’ve been working Rick’s shifts, because he doesn’t want to work them, I don’t see how management could not be willing to give you more shifts.
    Whether they give you full-time may be a different story, but at least if they are giving you more shifts, then you have some time to look for something permanent somewhere else.

  10. Busy Middle Manager*

    Talk to your boss and Rick because even if you loved the job, it doesn’t make sense to schedule Rick for times he regularly won’t work.

    Also try to focus on the things that are rational to be annoyed about, such as unpredictability or that Rick doesn’t switch shifts in advance.

    Because being annoyed at being given extra shifts doesn’t really make sense. Anyone who’s worked a job like this knows that is usually a good thing.

    1. MistOrMister*

      I don’t think OP is mad at getting more shifts. The letter says they’re more annoyed at the late notice than the shifts. I think it’s the fact that they’re being called an hour before the shift starts and expected to drop everything and take it. that is causing their ire. And rightfully so. Although I would also be livid with the company that promised full time and hasn’t come through for OP but is hiring others full time.

      1. Dragon_Dreamer*

        You’ve hit the nail on the head. They’re all day workers, which is the ONLY reason I’m not more upset. This job is a stop-gap for me, thankfully. I’m preferring overnights, cause I get to volunteer during the day in my field. Plus, it’s mostly just paperwork. The extra money for a 4th shift, even daytime, would be nice, though.

      2. Dragon_Dreamer*

        The problem with the last minute notice has been *because* it’s an overnight shift. I do stuff during the day on my days off! So him calling me at 8:30, 9:30, and even 10pm for an 11pm shift means sheer and utter exhaustion for me.

  11. kalli*

    This is management knowing Rick calls out once a week and scheduling so that you get 3 days and he gets 4 days as they intended.

    If you want to be full-time you need to apply for the full-time roles as they become available as unless you have the promise to move to full-time by X day in writing as a condition of your contract, whoever’s in charge can forget and it’s more burdensome on you to prove you accepted based on a promise of moving to full-time by X day than it is for them to fire you for speaking up and then pay you notice/sign off on unemployment if you complain.

        1. Dragon_Dreamer*

          I’d rather not repost the same comment every time. Also, my full update is awaiting moderation.

          Short version:
          AM doesn’t like me, told me to talk to GM.

          GM investigated my claims, then had a Come to Jesus talk with Rick.

          I get 3 days a week minimum and he HAS to go through management. I am only allowed to accept shifts offered by them, so his attendance can be documented. and no more switching. if I work his hours, they are MINE. He doesn’t get to make the hours up later in the week.

          I also have a lead on jobs in my actual field, and a massive opportunity to prove my worth there.

  12. Retail Survivor*

    I think the issue here is that LW’s problem is a good thing for whoever does the scheduling. This is not excusing what they are doing, it’s definitely out of line. However, having a part timer, desperate for shifts means there is always easy cover available even at the last minute.

    The chances are they know what you are going through, it’s just that it benefits them, so they have no motivation to help you. Move on to a company who values their people!

  13. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

    I was warned that he would try to take advantage of my time, and have been told by multiple people that he is lazy.

    One wonders WHY Rick is full-time given his reputation. Either he knows where the bodies are buried, or he was just annoyingly persistent and wily enough with management to hang on to this job (I mean, the shifts are covered, so…)

    Definitely advocate for yourself, OP. Best case scenario, you get full-time and can start telling Rick to pound sand with his last minute requests. Otherwise, job search. Sounds like even with a pay cut to the hourly rate, you’d still be better off as overall you’d have more income and stability rather than relying on Rick’s whims.

  14. Sally Rhubarb*

    My friend is going through this in a way, but he’s a workaholic so he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the insane shifts he’s sometimes forced to work. The devil is in the start up.

    Anyway, LW I recommend you talk to HR since you’re working over what they originally scheduled for you but also job search. Good luck!

  15. Not a manager*

    I think OP never got the full time shifts promised because they know what Rick is like, but they don’t want to do anything it. On the whole, it’s hard to find overnight workers.

    So management just views it as give Rick the shifts, but if he feels overworked, we have a reliable last minute sub. Don’t schedule OP for evenings, because what if Rick doesn’t come in? Then we’re screwed.

    They have decided that Rick is their priority and they will lie to OP to keep Rick happy.

  16. nopetopus*

    I’ve found that by showing that I’m desperate for hours, jobs will walk all over me. I’ve learned the hard way that you want them to know that you can’t be jerked around. By letting things slide (like the full time promise) and being flexible (aka solving problems like shift coverage), jobs won’t treat you with respect. You have to present yourself as being able to walk away as soon as they start fucking with you.

  17. Lily Potter*

    Rick is not the problem here. I mean, he’s lazy and a jerk, but he’s not the problem. He’s not the person keeping you off the schedule and you can’t make him give you more notice when he wants you to take his hours. If you run to management complaining about Rick, he’s just going to stop throwing shifts your way and you won’t get the paycheck you need. At this point, you actually NEED Rick to be lazy. The only way to get out of this circular hell is to have a discussion with management about getting more of your own hours, or else get a job elsewhere.

  18. learnedthehardway*

    Before the OP lets her manager know about this, I think they should consider what they would do if the manager shuts Rick down, but also doesn’t give the OP more shifts. I mean, ideally, the manager would be excited that the OP is a hard worker and happy to move a certain number of shifts to the OP permanently, but if that’s not a possibility (eg. Rick is salaried, OP is hourly, etc.), then the OP could be up a creek. Mind you, management could learn about this in the long run, anyway, but at least the OP could say they weren’t aware it could be an issue.

    Something to consider is why are other people being hired rather than you being made full time. Have you been getting good performance feedback? Does your supervisor / team lead seem to like what you’re doing?

    I wouldn’t necessarily look at the fact that they’ve hired other people to the same role as a negative reflection on you – it’s entirely possible that you and Rick are the only people willing to work a night shift, and so management is simply overlooking you for a perm dayshift role for that reason.

    You might need to push harder on the “I want to be permanent” and “I’m a good team member who fills in as needed” and “I really can’t afford to stay if I’m not made a full time employee” angles, rather than “I’m doing all of Rick’s shifts anyway, so you might as well make me full-time” approach.

    In the meantime, I would kick your job search into high gear. Even if you get part time hours elsewhere, it will give you a better place to start from, if you point out to your manager that you’re doing a lot of Rick’s shifts. That way, if they do shut Rick down on this, at least you won’t be left high and dry.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Also – what’s Rick realistically going to do about it if you refuse to take his shifts at the last minute? He can’t complain to your supervisor about all of the shifts he’s off-loading onto you – the supervisor would look at Rick’s performance/attendance, and fire him. And if Rick does complain to your supervisor that you won’t take his shifts, you can point out that you have taken X number of his shifts in the past 2 weeks, already. The supervisor will say, “Hmmm… OP is being a good team player. What’s up with Rick needing so much time off?”

      You might just talk to Rick and tell him that you need at least X hours notice to take a shift. 4-6 hours, for example. And that you won’t take more than X shifts of his per week. Or something like that.

      You’ve got some power here. Use it!

    2. Dragon_Dreamer*

      I do not want to be permanent. I want to pay my bills. Everyone is full time, except me and a girl who works one day a week because she’s in high school.

  19. All Het Up About It*


    One of my last part time gigs, working retail just under that “full-time have to give you benefits” level, I had to leave my kiosk prior to my replacement showing up because I had an appointment at a dentist where if I was late, I missed the appointment. The only reason my replacement wasn’t there was because my manger was scheduled to come in, but didn’t feel like it, so she called in a guy from the town 30 minutes away. She knew I had to leave, because she had already called to ask if I could stay late. I told her I could stay 30 minutes late, but I HAD to go at a certain time.

    The next week she cut my hours to the bone. Purposefully. Where I would not be able to make rent. And this is after I would take any shift, work 12 hour shifts so she could have vacation time to go see her out-of-town boyfriends. And I truly wish I had reported her to the district manager who knew about the 12-hour shifts and already found them suspect.

    It still makes me seethe to this day. And I am seething for you too OP. Get out, friend! Get out! I know it sucks, but you gotta find something else.

    1. Dragon_Dreamer*

      They’re entirely day shift, never overnight. This job is to pay my bills while I try to get into my field. Ideally, I’d like 3 overnights and one day/evening shift.

    2. Dorothy Zpornak*

      This. OP is being exploited by the employer, who refuses to give them enough work to earn a decent wage. So now they’re angry with the other employee who gives them shifts that allow them to make more money? And somehow blames the other employee who takes advantage of the fact that they can’t afford to say no, but does not blame the employer who is the cause of them not being able to afford to say no?

      1. Dragon_Dreamer*

        I blame the employee who calls me at 10pm at night to wok an 8 hour 11pm shift, because he’s “too tired.”

  20. Let me CC the boss*

    One piece of advice I will give you. Years ago when I worked at a movie theater as a teenager, and worked with many other teenagers, the schedule would come out, and at least 3 people couldn’t work the day they were assigned and would ask me to switch with them. I needed the hours cause I never got enough, or I simply didn’t care when I worked.
    After I left, one of my friends commented, “Oh, the manager never gave you enough hours because he was annoyed with you because you never worked the schedule he gave you but always insisted on switching with others.”
    So yes, the manager thought I was causing the problem, when in truth I was being a nice guy to help my coworkers.

    Moral, every time Rick asks you to take over a shift, you say, “sure.” Then you e-mail your boss. “Rick asked me to work for him on Monday, and I will be doing that. Just letting you know.”

    1. Sloanicota*

      Yeah, it’s possible OP is getting these hours *because* of all the switching, either because the manager has realized they need a “swing person” and OP seems to be it (manager may even think you prefer it), or like you said, the manager is irked or something. Perhaps if it’s the former talking to the manager will clear it up, but if it’s the latter it may not, since some bosses never admit they’re annoyed with you.

  21. look, sometimes nightmares do come true*

    If LW is frequently pulling extra shifts, they also likely are eligible for benefits (and their employer will likely be fined for not offering them).

  22. PlainJane*

    Once, early in my career, I was doing shift work and I asked if I could have a more regular schedule. It was right before the High Holidays, and after they gave me that schedule, I had to ask for time off for Rosh Hoshanah. I got pulled in to have someone yell at me about how I wanted a regular schedule, but somehow, I thought it was okay to then ask for that schedule to be changed “at the last minute” (I didn’t know my schedule until then, so I didn’t realize I’d need to ask).

    Which is really just saying: Shift work stinks, and so do bosses’ attitudes about it.

  23. Helen J*

    I know someone who had a very similar situation happen to them and it ended pretty bad.

    They were hired part-time, promised at least X amount of hours per week and the first few weeks they got the hours. Then the hours starting being fewer each week. They talked to management, things got a bit better, but they still had to occasionally ask for more hours.

    Then they were offered full-time and day shift. After 30 days, they would get benefits. On the 28th day, they new schedule came out and it had them doing the part-time night shift again. They thought it must be a computer glitch. They called their manager, who was out. Two days later manager came in, they said they know what they wanted to to talk to them about, but there was nothing they could really do. The manager said another manager told them they talked to the employee and the employee had agreed to go back to part-time nights. This never happened. They had already hired someone for the position and said they couldn’t do anything, even though the other manager lied.

    So they job searched. Took them awhile, but they got a new job, full-time, better pay. Since they had so little regard for the employee, they texted their manager and said I quit, effective immediately. Manager got upset and said why are you leaving us short staffed. They said you had no problem demoting me without verifying that I was okay with that. The person they hired was a thief, frequently called out and was a terrible employee. Manager complained daily about having no help in their department and another employee who had already put in their notice said “I bet you wish you hadn’t treated X so bad. They worked everyday and didn’t steal! But you let them get treated sh*tty and now you don’t have any good help”.

  24. Moodbling*

    hey OP – you might consider tallying the amount of hours you’ve done over the last 6-12 months and seeing whether it’s consistently 32 or more. if it is, you may in some ways be full time, like, under the law, and owed some benefits. potentially helpful for now.

  25. Specialist*

    Well I finally got to read the entire thread, including the update. Good for you, OP, on going to the general manager and getting more hours!

    A couple of observations. You are a student or recent graduate who will eventually be leaving this job for something in your field. You have already done several things to improve processes at this job. Rick has been at this job for years and isn’t going anywhere, which does give him value to the company over you, because they don’t need to replace him. Neither Rick nor the assistant manager instituted these processes improvements in the length of time they’ve been there, so you have abilities beyond both of them. I think you do the job better than Rick and also could do the assistant manager’s job better than the assistant manager. The assistant manager likely thinks you are a threat to their job and that you are “lording your superiority” over them because you are looking for a better job. You don’t really care about that, except for the fact that the assistant manager is making your life difficult. I feel certain that the assistant manager will try to do other unpleasant things to you in the future, so watch your back.

    I completely understand why you want to keep this job. It does pay better per hour, which gives you more time to focus on the volunteer project and freelancing opportunities that will lead to getting the job in your field. You ARE job searching for something better and have been for some time. It is just that you have to get your prerequisites done so that you can get the job. It is unfortunate that the jerk of an assistant manager has the ability to break the promise made on your employment. However, I am glad that the general manager has more sense.

    1. Dragon_Dreamer*

      Thank you, I think you’ve summed it all up nicely. Due to my autism, I can’t manage people easily or effectively, so she’s ahead of me there.

      At least this place is FAR less toxic than my previous jobs. I’m actually making 50% more per hour than I did in my last fulltime job, which left me even less able to pay bills. That’s why I can get by on 3 days at this job and the freelance gig. If it wasn’t for my private student loans and credit card bills, I’d be sitting pretty. Without that freelance income, though, I’d be in trouble.

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