Barista, Olympia

I very seldom work the same days of the week from one week to the next. My hours often tend to vary. One week there’s almost no hours, and then several weeks later, I’m scheduled for too many hours, and outside my availability.

For example, last week I worked 12 hours, and next week I work 26, three of which were scheduled while I'm supposed to be in school.

I’m in school right now, and when I get a shift that’s in conflict with my school schedule, usually I get one of my coworkers to cover all or part of the shift. I've gotten close with a few coworkers specifically so we can help each other cover shifts when we need it. We can't rely on our schedule, so we rely on each other.

About every three to four months, sometimes less, I notice my hours drop. I sit down to talk about it with my manager; I tell her, “Hey, I can't pay my rent.” She has my ability to sleep in a bed or have access to a toilet in her hands. I need more hours, or I will be homeless. She takes it seriously, and my hours go back up on the next schedule. Maybe she tries to call me in a couple extra days, which helps with paying the rent but furthers messes with my schooling. Then after about three weeks to three months, my hours drop right back down again, and the cycle repeats. I'm also aware that my manager in particular is very kind. It's still a problem.

At the end of the month, if the hours have been short, all I have is hope. I had to save money for two years before I started school, so my tiny savings account saves me when things are really short. Otherwise, I just never spend money on anything unless I absolutely need to. Including groceries.

My boss tells us that it's because corporate isn't giving us enough labor. If that's true, then that means corporate just slowly works back the amount of hours we're allowed to schedule people until there's backlash, and that they do it pretty consistently. I'm not sure if that's the only reason, but that's the only explanation we're given. Supposedly, we're not making enough productivity, so corporate cuts our hours. We don't have "enough customers,” so we get less labor.

There's like, two full-time employees at my entire store, out of I think somewhere around 35 employees? Next to none of us are full time.

I would love for it to be a regular schedule at least. Even if there wasn't more hours, I could figure out how to get other work.