Tuesday, April 05, 2016
Life at Ghetto Printing
[See “Two Minutes on the Bus.”
N.S.: I apologize to my longtime reader, jeigheff, for not publishing this earlier, but it didn’t occur to me at the time.]
February 28, 2011
The printing company I work at in Austin, Texas is becoming/has become Ghetto Printing, Inc., thanks to amplified music. I'm not liked by some folks because over the years, I've sometimes asked folks inside my department (mostly white) and folks outside my department (mostly Hispanic) to turn down radios, boom boxes, and even a stereo. The feeling of false entitlement that some of these people have is surprisingly strong; they deeply resent people like me. Needless to say, more than a few of these individuals aren't exactly the company's star employees, to put it mildly.
Unlike the bus driver in your story, our supervisors will usually make an individual turn down their music, if push comes to shove. In spite of that, I suspect that certain supervisors are actually afraid of their employees. (This problem manifests itself in other ways, as one can imagine.)
Lately, I've wondered if it would do any good to complain to upper management about this problem. I figure I have about a 50-50 chance of being taken seriously. However, I could also be branded as a troublemaker and put my employment in jeopardy. So I currently deal with noise only as needed, on a day-to-day basis. For what it's worth, our company's employee manual says it's strictly forbidden to interfere with the work of any employee.
The company's supervisors actually make people turn off their music when important visitors show up for a tour of the plant or a press check. Fancy that!
I personally think it's dangerous to crank up music around sheet-fed presses, bindery equipment, etc., plus the decibel levels "on the floor" could well be an OSHA violation. Loud music makes an unprofessional impression on visitors and distracts diligent employees who want to work efficiently. And I'm sure it contributes to mistakes and "redo" jobs, about which the president of our company sometimes complains. Still, the music continues.
A friend of mine summed it up best: people who couldn't do without continual outside distractions (like music or TV) are afraid to be stuck alone with their own thoughts and feelings.