Picture Jack. Jack wasn't just your average dispatcher. All dispatchers are the natural enemies of drivers, but Jack was something special. He was a wretched, little homunculus who fed on human misery and frustration, and couldn't find his own ass with both hands and a map.
When shuffling trucks to help cover plants that were short, he delighted in sending drivers that worked four or five plants distant, and tacking an extra 90 minutes of driving onto the end of their day (turning a 10-12 hour day into 12-14). Sometimes it was even worse.
I work in the Coachella Valley in California, and on occasion we would see our drivers shipped all the way to the coast. I was something of a special irritant to Jack; about the only person who can override a dispatcher is the local plant manager, and my manger, Bob, would always try to keep me local so I was available to help close.
Jack knew why it would happen, but being overridden pissed him off. Every time it happened, he would complain about it to Dan, the regional manager.
Of course, Dan was a former plant manager, and he knew exactly what kind of games the dispatchers played with the drivers, so the he told Bob that we were in the clear. Increasingly frustrated, Jack began regularly trying to ship me west any time a truck was needed out there, regardless of where I was or how long it would take me to get out there (I was usually over 50 miles away from where he was trying to send me). And every time he did that, Bob would just tell me to come back to the home plant.
It soon became apparent that Jack wasn't even checking where I was or if there were trucks available at closer plants, and Bob gave me a standing order to ignore dispatch.
Now enter Chad. Chad was a petty bureaucrat in every sense of the words. He was also the taint manager at our company, nestled squarely between the regional managers and the operations manager. In theory he was in charge of the mixer division, but he didn't know or care much about mixers. What Chad cared about was efficiency, and at the time he thought the best show of efficiency would be to start shutting down some of the smaller plants.
We didn't get shut down, but several plants east of us did. Their drivers were transferred to the larger neighboring plants, and those plants were expected to extend their coverage area. Bob hates Chad.
Chad's closure of our Imperial Valley plant was how I wound up volunteering to haul a load of Slurry (a mixture of sand, water and just enough cement to make it harden into sandstone; it's used to fill trenches and holes) down to Calexico on a Saturday morning. It was over 100 miles to get there, but there was no longer anywhere closer to ship from.
Four of us loaded up early in the morning and made the two and a half hour drive down to the border. I was about ten miles from the job site when my computer flashed a message from dispatch: "Into San Bernardino off the job."
We pour out the slurry and head to the local plant to refuel; it had been mothballed, but the fuel pump still works. While I am waiting for my turn to fuel up, I call Bob to tell him that Jack is trying to send me from Calexico to San Bernardino (about 175 miles).
We have a brief chuckle, then Bob goes quiet for a second. He says, "You know, you should do it. Don't even stop here, just go straight out. By the time you get there, they should be just about done anyway."
The unspoken message was clear. It was Saturday, my entire day was already on time-and-a-half, and the job I was on had been an absolute milk run. I could bag a few more hours of stress-free overtime by driving out to San Bernardino and immediately getting shipped back home. So I refuel, grab something to eat and settle in for a four-hour drive.
As I exit the freeway in San Bernardino, my radio buzzes. It turns out Bob's been periodically checking the tracking map to see where I was. He says, "Hey, give Ronnie a call before you pull in."
It reflects poorly on a plant when they ship out empty trucks (another of Chad's efficiency drives), so if I'm not going to get loaded, the San Bernardino manager isn't going to want me showing up in his yard. I call Ronnie, and, sure enough, he's not going to have a load for me; he's already washing out his own trucks. So I turn around and head back to Coachella. All told, I ended up with over 10 hours of overtime for delivering a single load of slurry (and since it was just slurry, my drum wasn't even messed up).
Turns out the story wasn't quite over. I came in the following Monday, and Bob is sitting in the office with the most insincerely innocent grin I have ever seen. He looks at me and says, "So, that job you took on Saturday? It was PW," and starts laughing his ass off.
When we get sent out on a Prevailing Wage job, our time is counted from the moment we batch until the moment we return to a batch plant. Thanks to Chad's shenanigans, the Imperial Valley plant was no longer considered an active plant, so all four drivers on that job wound up getting paid prevailing wage at time and a half for the entire drive to and from Calexico.
In addition, because Bob had me bypass the home plant, and Ronnie turned me around before I hit his yard, I got PW for the drive to San Bernardino and back as well!
My time card landed in payroll like a squirrel in a kennel. Shit was lost. Shit hit the fan. Shit rolled downhill, right out of the Operations Manager's office and straight over Chad and Jack.
A few weeks later, Jack was transferred to scheduling, where it was hoped he would do less damage. Chad kept his job, but the Operations Manager made him reopen several of the closed plants.