A Badly Timed Period

| Working | April 29, 2015

(My workplace tries to get every second out of us on the phones. They are pedantic about breaks down to the second, and you will often get grilled about those ‘two minutes’ over a day that you weren’t speaking to a customer. In light of this, they are always developing schemes to ensure they are getting precisely 7.5 hours from us per day. We are called into a meeting in shifts, and I am in the last meeting of the day.)

Centre Manager: “So, between us and our sister call centre in [City] we’ve developed a new way of using the bathroom quickly!”

Head Of Call Centre: “I have made it my personal mission to time people using the bathrooms, and I have planned out how long each person needs in the bathroom. If you’re doing number 1’s, you only need one minute. If you’re doing number 2’s, you need 2 minutes and 20 seconds. So in future, we’re going to expect you to follow these guidelines, and aim for these times when using the bathrooms.”

(I’ve worked with lawyers for years, and am known for being a bit of a smart-a**.)

Me: “Um, what about those of us who need to have ‘number 3’s?'”

Centre Manager & Head Of Call Centre: “What?”

Me: “Well, you said you’ve monitored people using the bathrooms, so you can get an average time, right?”

Head Of Call Centre: “Yes.”

Me: “Did you only monitor the men?”

Centre Manager & Head Of Call Centre: *worried glances* “Yes…”

Me: “So, it never occurred to you that women have an issue once a month that they can’t control? And that issue may take more than a minute in the bathroom?”

Centre Manager: *both go pale* “Um, surely, that’s not an issue?”

Me: “Surely, you’ve never been women, and only surveyed half of the centre’s population. And I suspect that the union would be furious if they knew you were timing our bathroom breaks!”

(Funnily enough, no one else had brought this up, and when the suggestion got around to the other female staff, they backed me up. The policy was dropped by the end of the week. It turned out they were trying to prevent people using their smart devices in the bathrooms, which was fair, but why not just say so?)

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