The Landscape of Hell

Day 1 as a new hiree at a landscaping job, I excitedly head out the door. B, my new boss, calls literally just as I am headed out the door and cancels the workday.

Day 2: I drive the 30 min to work only to find today’s workday also to be cancelled.

Third try is a charm and I work 10 hour days 6 days straight. Upon return from the long weekend I find three new high school  hires, including a real-life Barbie. Shockingly, after 10 hours of work in the hot sun Barbie does not return for a second day of torture to her fake nails. The other two new hires are fired the next day for making honest mistakes made as a result of a lack of training. As the sole employee now, I am told I can work whichever schedule I desire. By the end of the day, however, B has managed to change the schedule a half dozen times before finally implementing a schedule whereby tomorrow – a previously scheduled day off (for which I had made plans that B was aware of) – is now a mandatory full day.  The following day at 8:23 AM, B calls to cancel the workday.

During the course of my employment, I am yelled at and treated in a demeaning manner, often enduring undeserved and irrelevant rants and of course an erratic schedule that seems to change as often as the weather in our area (hint: every five minutes). I am expected to work 10-hour days in the sweltering heat without break even for food or drink, and B strongly suggests I pee in a bottle, as he does, in the back of the trailer (I am a woman). He places said bottle in the cooler next to my Gatorade. Then came the day B ignorantly drove 1,000lbs+ of mulch-filled trailer over my foot without so much as an apology or offer to take me to a hospital. I tough out the remainder of the day without complaint, despite being unable to bear weight on said foot.

I work long and hard for B despite all the above because a) as a university student I am desperate for the work and b) I am a really hard and proud worker who does not give up easy.

The last straw though was when pay day rolled around and my cheque was missing hours. I worked for B for a month and was one of his longest-working employees. Later I discovered that he owed at least two former employees thousands of dollars in hours and equipment; those employees recounted similar stories to mine (down to the pee bottle stored next to their lunch and drinks).

Comments (12)

AllyMay 16th, 2011 at 9:11 am

Every landscaper I’ve known requires all employees to wear safety shoes to prevent injury when (inevitably) someone’s foot gets run over on the job site. Otherwise, I’d say this is pretty standard when it comes to landscaping jobs.

BillyMay 16th, 2011 at 10:08 am

10 hours of manual labor without even stopping for a drink? Damn, you hung in there a lot better than I ever would have been able to.

cupkateMay 16th, 2011 at 10:39 am

the second his pee bottles came next to my water bottle i would have been outta there. i pride myself on sticking it out in tough situations but that would have made me mental. i feel like this would be a challenge on fear factor or something, eesh!

nachturnalMay 16th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Where I live, it’s legally mandated that workers stop for a half-hour break every 4 hours they work, whether they want to skip the break or not is their business but they are legally entitled to it. You are also supposed to be able to go take drinks as often as is reasonable, especially when it is hot. I am certain that there are similar laws elsewhere, so working for 10 hours with no breaks at all, not even for drinks, is almost certainly illegal.

Take his ass to court.

eutieMay 16th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Ally, peeing in bottles and not stopping for food during a 10-hour shift is normal? Damn, my landscaping work has been positively plush by comparison!

zomboidMay 17th, 2011 at 9:26 am

hmm. how is this ‘i’ve been a landscape gardener and..’ pissing contest going to work if some of you piss in bottles?

BillyMay 17th, 2011 at 10:14 am

Sorry everyone, zomboid’s just mad because I planted more tulips than him/her last week

zomboidMay 17th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

tulips are better than one!

take my life…please

rawrMay 18th, 2011 at 6:34 am

Labor laws can go fuck themselves! Yeah!

Karen HiebertMay 18th, 2011 at 8:56 am

someone was being cheap. time to report them to the authorities….

MattMay 18th, 2011 at 9:50 am

You and the two other former employees should get together on his ass.

zomboidMay 20th, 2011 at 3:18 am

yeah! ass party!

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