Schools, rules, and ID badges

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I work at the city school board office in Midtown. Although, I don’t work FOR the city schools; I’m a third-party contractor through a staffing agency. I’ve been there almost five months now and it’s been a pretty good place to work. One of the things I always liked best about the job was that although the official hours were 8:00 to 4:45, they told me I had the option of coming in early and leaving early. So I could get there at 7:30 and be done at 4:15 and be at the Saucer visiting my waitresses by 4:35 or 4:40.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, that is. They cracked down on security at the school board office – REALLY cracked down. People who worked there found every door locked, and they had to scan their ID badges to get in. As a contractor, I had to get a letter from high-ups in my department saying that I needed access to the building from 8:00 to 4:45, and then take it to security and get a new badge made.

The following day, I got up for work. I was running fairly close to on-time and pulled into the parking lot at 7:57. I walked up to the door and scanned the badge.


I looked at the clock on my cell phone. I waited and waited. 7:58. 7:59. I tried again. Nothing.

Finally the clock turned to 8:00. I scanned the ID badge again, and the lock clicked open. I walked in.

So there’s no incentive for me to get there early anymore. Why would I want to stand outside a door and wait and wait and wait?

I e-mailed the supervisor and asked if my badge’s access hours could be reset to an earlier time. He typed up a letter asking them to let me in at 7:00, but when I took it to security it got awash in red tape.

You know, I do see the point. Kind of. If beefing up the security measures helps keep just one child safe, then it’s all worth it. But I also think it points out a flaw in school-system culture. At school, children are taught that there are rules and they are to be rigidly obeyed at all times. As adults, we learn that strict, stern rules don’t perfectly address every situation, and sometimes the system works better if rules are bent. If I show up at 7:30 or 7:45, I’m not there to kidnap children or overthrow the city schools. I just want to get done early so I can go see my waitresses.

Speaking of which, I’m at the Saucer seeing my waitresses right now, on my lunch break. The food here is especially good today. If you know what I mean.

In the news… Memphis didn’t make Forbes’ list of America’s 35 drunkest cities. Obviously they didn’t survey downtown when they were collecting info about Memphis.

I’ll be back up at the Saucer at 7 for team trivia. Right now, back to the rat race.