I quit my summer job at Six Flags. I was in the fortunate position of not needing the job thanks to ad revenue through this site, selling stuff on Ebay, and other projects I take on the side. God bless the people who do need the money bad enough to work and stay there.
Now before I get started on my personal experiences at Six Flags New England I would like to clear some things up. When I brought up the fact that I did not make overtime (more on this later) with my grandfather, he told me all about when he was a kid how he worked on a tobacco farm, and he did not make overtime because it was seasonal work, and how he could not go to the bathroom whenever he wanted, and how I should be lucky to find a job so late in the summer and so on and so on. I am sure that there are other people out there who would love to ostracize me for not being hard working.
It seems to be a cultural thing, that complaining about your job and that if you're not happy slaving away at it, then you are subhuman garbage. After all the American dream is all about; if you want more out of life you should be happy to work harder for it. For more on this check out this video:
Six flags is a horrible employer. I was treated terribly by guests, staff and the company. Recently I found out I was not alone in my complaints, and in fact employees at other parks have it worse. Ride operators at Six Flags Texas are not allowed to drink water on the job, less the look like they are stealing from the company. If there is one thing I was thankful for, it was that we were given as much ice water as we could drink.
Ride operators have to stand outside at their ride all day, most of us were scheduled for eight to twelve (or more) hour shifts. During my one month stint at six flags, we had to close down our rides twice due to thunderstorms. All ride operators were told to stay at their posts even while lightning struck inside the park.We would be given two breaks which had to be taken in a designated area, and included the time it took you to walk to and from the break area to your position. Getting a bathroom break could take 30 to 45 minutes. I once had a supervisor ask me why I had to go to the bathroom when I had my break two hours ago. I often would leave my post in order to use the bathroom, although this is grounds for immediate termination:
"This year there was a girl at a ride who had to go to the bathroom, she called for the job coach to come down and relieve her, she called for a supervisor to come down and relieve her, she even called for any available person including silver tags to come down and run the ride for 5 minutes so she could go. No one came, so after two hours she unloaded the ride, and went to the bathroom. There was no staffing shortage that day, she was fired over it."As I mentioned before, Six Flags employees are not subject to overtime because the work is "seasonal". I found this peculiar considering the park is open until Halloween. I looked up Massachusetts law on the subject, and found that a stipulation exists for amusement parks. Seasonal employment is defined as one-hundred twenty days in this law, but then goes on to set seasonal employment for amusement parks at 150 days. Why was this stipulation made?
On my second day of work a woman accused me of calling her a slut because I would not let her daughter drive the car on Route 66 due to the height restriction (she was under 48''). She then stormed off looking for security. Being yelled at by guests is a common occurrence. You can expect a promise to be fired or a personal insult at least once a day. On a separate occasion I had a guest call me a "moolie" because according to the rules of the ride, he had to ride with his children and he did not want to.
During my first week I also had a team leader fail to give me a break. I was afraid that this would continue to happen, so I documented the case should it happen again. Originally when I was hired, I was given a stack of papers to sign. The last two forms at the end of all the mandatory forms were optional. They were pre-written statements that waived the employee's rights for a break or for the mandatory one day off in a week. When I did not sign these forms, human resources asked me why did I not sign them, and then told me that my supervisor would want me to sign the forms. I still declined. When I went to my ADP account to take a screen shot of my "virtual" time slip for this article (we cant have real ones) I was notified that I was unauthorized to access my account.
The event that lead to me leaving on the spot had to do with the grooming standards at Six Flags. This was more or less the straw that broke the camel's back in my long list of catalysts. Men have to be shaved when working at Six Flags, as is part of the grooming standards. When I went to the window to punch in I was told that I would have to shave before coming into work. The girl behind the counter took out a can of Noxema and a pink razor. I asked about where could I shave and she said "yeah about that..." I said "What?" and she said "Yeah...". A woman from a desk behind her walked up and said "The bathroom in the park." I said "what" again, and then with a very stern demeanor, she articulately said "go through the security gate, into the bathroom and shave". I looked at the Noxema, then the girl, then the pink razor, then the woman, and I shrugged my shoulders and walked away.
Not coming into work is a "No call, no show" which effectively puts you on probation. I don't know what that means but I returned my uniform the next day. When I tried to turn in my red dot rewards, I was promptly told people who don't work at the park can not turn them in.
The red dots didn't bother me, nor did losing the job, or the six hour shifts that turned into twelve when your supervisor asks you to stay longer. It was the damn pink razor. Why was it pink? The only way body hair can be out of grooming standard is if it is male facial body hair. If they are going to keep shaving cream and a razor handy for men to use in a public restroom, why is it pink? Never mind the fact that those types of razor are not even supposed to be used on somebody's face. It was very deliberate.
I hope this article is useful for anybody whoever is considering working at Six Flags New England. I find it interesting that a google for "six flags bad employer" does not yield anything about working for the park, but "Six Flags red dot" does, or Six Flags ESO (Employment Service Office). Although you would not know to search for these things unless you already worked there. Here's your heads up!!
For more information on Six Flags (or other parks such as Ceder Point) check out the links I provided in this post. They all provide a wealth of information, and can let you know what a hell hole it can be to work in any of these places.