There have been a lot of mix-ups in my tourguiding job lately. On Tuesday, we had one too many guides for a tour (a mistake that is certainly preferable to this morning’s situation, when a group of 60 kids and teachers showed up and no guides had been assigned to them.) Also on Tuesday, I was assigned to give a 11:15 scavenger hunt to a group that had a tour before the hunt. The group was supposed to leave for the tour at 10 am. They were 25 minutes late and, upon arriving, required a bathroom stop, which always takes an extra half hour. As soon as a group is late, we tour guides instantly start axing stops, because we are required to get the tour back by the time on our sheet. However, the guide leading this tour elected to give the group the full 75-minute tour and give them a shorter scavenger hunt time, since you can’t fill out the hunt without learning about the answers, which you get on the tour.

This was a good, solid choice on the guide’s part. After we finished the hunt, I went to my boss’ apartment to drop off the hunt supplies and pick up some more uniforms. On the way up, she asked how the tour went. I explained to her the situation and she leveled me with a stare. “So you DIDN’T offer to give them extra time on their scavenger hunt?” I told her no, we kept it in its alloted slot. “Well, did the other guide have somewhere to be or something afterward?” I knew she didn’t, but I didn’t want to throw her under the bus, so I said, “Yeah, I think she did.” “Hm,” my boss said. “I’ll have to talk to her about that.” The interrogation continued and it was obvious that the other guide and I could do absolutely no right by this woman.

This morning, I caught up with the same guide, who reported that she had been chewed out over e-mail by our boss. Besides berating the guide about all the things that had been covered with me, the boss also asked the guide if she had somewhere she had to be the day of the mix-up. The guide told her no. “Well, good,” the boss said. “Because you’d need to clear that with me. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have been able to add an extra 45 minutes to your shift.”

Say what?

Now, I like this job. It’s a nice job for an actor to have because it allows me to sort of do what I love. But this is still an entry-level position. A high schooler could do this job. So what on earth makes my boss think that we need to dedicate our entire lives to this not-even-a-career? This past week, I was told (not asked) that I was being given an extra tour. I had scheduled my therapy for that time slot but, not saying a peep to my boss, rescheduled my session for Wednesday and took the extra tour. I was then asked on Tuesday to give a tour during my rescheduled therapy time slot. This time I said no.

I am very dedicated to my jobs. Besides the fact that I need the money, I’m a chronic people-pleaser, so I like to say yes to any shift that comes around. But I do have a life outside of my jobs; I learned back in March that working so much that you don’t have a life is not healthy. So after I get my monthly schedule, I plan the rest of my day around my shifts. And while I understand that there are emergencies, I don’t get why this boss expects me to have an extra 45 minutes to several hours to add to my already-present shift. I’m a tour guide, not a doctor; my job is not so important to society that I should expect to drop everything at a moment’s notice to go into work. It seems to me that she wants to be notified of every little conflict, but I have to wonder- if I am having lunch with a friend, do I need to tell her that in case she decides to give me a tour? She’s denied people going to important doctor’s appointments in the recent past, deeming the request “ridiculous.”

Having had so many jobs in the past year, I know better than most people how insane the job market is. It’s hard to get a job, but it’s just as hard to work the job you eventually get. Even at entry-level positions, they’re now expecting you to dedicate your life to these jobs. They don’t ask you to take a shift- they tell you that you’re taking it. Certainly, we’re all strapped for cash and most twenty-somethings I know are ready and willing to fill in an emergency shift. But the fact is that we’re still people. Taking a day off every few weeks to spend with friends or family shouldn’t be considered a crime, and taking a few hours to go to the doctor should be allowed to be put BEFORE the job. How can employers expect their employees to work up to the level demanded of them if they’re run ragged? For the past few weeks, I’ve worked five to six days a week, sometimes doing two jobs a day, and that is perfectly fine with me. I can handle that. But I wish that that seventh day, the one that I cherish during the rest of the week and milk when it finally arrives, wasn’t seen as me being lazy. Perhaps if these jobs paid us enough to allow us to only have one job, the story would be different. But as it is, we twenty-somethings need to have at LEAST two positions to keep our heads above water, and I think it’s only going to get worse.


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