Good Bye ABC Cruises, Part 4

29 Jun

As time moves on it is becoming clear that Ash is not much better a manager than his predecessor was. He has the brains and the determination to make the photography department deliver a great revenue stream AND good costumer reviews, but the people sitting in higher management basically keep him from making any discernible progress. We still don’t get a payment bonus for our great efforts. We still are performing minor tasks and services when we could be outside, refreshing our spirits. In fact, we even receive less spare time than we had under previous management.

MSC Preciosa 72

Shooting on deck is a pretty happy task, especially with a sight like this one. But lately we rarely do that anymore.

According to Manager Ash the heads of other departments are jealous of the great amount of spare time that photographers are allowed to spend in the field. Mateja and I are usually off the ship as soon as the gangway is down. I don’t know if anyone particularly watches us go, and thinks “wow, what a fabulous life”, but according to Ash the other departments are jealous at our great freedom.

Thus, he has added certain restrictions to our schedules. Every morning, after the ABC RypMeOff has reached port half of us have to perform some minor task, such as cutting paper frames, or polishing aluminium poles. We follow those tasks for about an hour, just enough to really mess up our mornings. Since we do those things in public, we have to wear uniform to do so, which means we are effectively losing two hours of light, by performing one hour of depressively mind-numbing labour. Like the prisoners of an internment camp we labour away, carrying rocks around the block, until the camp director decides we have suffered enough. Get up early, dress up, perform a task that a monkey wouldn’t be worse at, dress down again, wash hands – two hours gone!

Already the other photographers from the department are talking about leaving this job behind. In fact, on a quiet evening as tonight, as soon as the managers are out of sight, even the rank-1 photographers slink down in their studios, and start chatting amongst themselves. It was only a week ago that my colleagues were constantly pushing me to greater performance, and now they resign to the notion of resentment. Every other day we are told that we don’t care enough about our jobs, and that we are too lazy to deliver a good quality and quantity of pictures. Now even the most steadfast amongst my coworkers have enough of the daily punishment. If we are belittled every night, the least we can do is to make sure we deserve it.

Life aboard the ABC RypMeOff is grand

Life aboard the ABC RypMeOff is grand, and so is the price on the crew.

Meanwhile, good old cheerful Jennifer sprained her wrist (again), so that judgement of the cruise doctor prohibits her from shooting photos. Manager Ash took that as an excuse to take her off the team entirely. She still joins the meeting every night, but otherwise he forbids her to participate in any photo job, or even leave the ship. Any reasonable manager would give her a job that does not involve both wrists, like counter clerk or gallery look-out. We constantly have one or two photographers running around in the photo shop, helping people to find their pictures, and preventing photo theft. If Jennifer was here, we could have one more photographer out shooting pictures.

Jennifer even requested being put to work, but Ash flat out denied her request, although the doctor assured her that standing around would not strain her wrists too much. There is no liability involved here, so he really just wants her to suffer. “Either be back full-time, or don’t return at all” is his massage, regardless of what pressure it puts on the rest of the team.

He reminds us every night that any one of us could be replaced at a day’s notice. Apparently there are “dozens of photographers waiting for their chance” for every single one of us who is “too lazy to do their job”. I guess that means the department will rejuvenate and rejoice when four of us leave the ship, at the end of this cruise. Because for the four of us who are leaving there will be a few dozen people scrambling up the gangway, fighting over our wonderful jobs. Somehow I doubt the reality of such image.

Crew Bar aboard the ABC RypMeOff

Imagine you are promised the world, and then your employer keeps you confined to these colourless walls. How long could you fake compliance?

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