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A Shortcut To A Hostile Work Environment

, , , | Working | June 25, 2020

I studied IT in college. My first job is an administrative position with a colleague who is bossy and tends to be controlling, but I need the job so I put up with it. She barely knows anything about computers, but she thinks she is better than me because she went for the official training for the system and is the one who teaches me how to use the in-house software.

My first day:

Colleague: “To do [task], highlight the words, click the right mouse button, and select ‘copy.’ Then, go to Excel, click the right mouse button again, and select ‘paste.’”

I use Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V.

Colleague: “No, you’re supposed to do—”

Me: *Wanting to reassure her* “Oh, it’s the same thing. It’s just faster.”

Colleague: “Oh, really? Hmmph!”

I don’t really notice her reaction but continue with the rest of the data entry.

Colleague: “For the next step, you need to highlight the words, click the right mouse button, and select ‘copy.’ Then, go to Excel, click the right mouse button again, and select ‘paste as values.’”

I use the keyboard shortcuts again.

Colleague: “No, you can’t; you need to do this.”

I’m still innocently thinking to reassure her.

Me: “Oh, it’s the same thing, as well.”

Colleague: “This has to be submitted to Finance, and you have to be very careful not to get it wrong. I’m teaching you the proper way to do it, but you want to be stubborn and don’t want to listen, and you insist on doing it your own way.”

Me: “What? But… it’s the same.”

I am completely lost for words. I didn’t realize that she doesn’t even know about keyboard shortcuts, and I never imagined for a moment that she thought it was stubbornness on my part. I’m a shy person, and as this is my first job, I don’t dare to speak up.

A few days later, we’re doing another task. The system crashes every time I try to submit the data. It doesn’t happen on her system.

Colleague: “See, I told you, you need to do copy and paste properly. This is what you get when you don’t do it the correct way.”

Me: “The error isn’t when I’m keying in the data. It’s only when I try to submit it—”

Colleague: “There, you’re being stubborn again. If your method is correct, why is it that the problem only happens on your PC and not on mine?”

Me: “…”

Colleague: “Do it properly and you’ll see; it will work.”

Instead of arguing, I do it her way. It takes twice as long, and the system still crashes. I contact the system administrator.

Colleague: “Oh, so now the IT people are going to look at it. Okay, go ask them, is it because you’re not doing copy and paste correctly that causes your system to crash? If you don’t believe me, go ask them. They’ll tell you that it’s because you’re doing the wrong thing!”

To shut her up, I do just that.

In a video chat with the system admin, I describe the problem.

Me: “[Colleague] thinks that this error is caused by using keyboard shortcuts, such as Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V. She thinks I should right-click the mouse and select ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ from the menu.”

The system admin gives me a weird look.

System Admin: “No, that’s not the cause.”

Me: “So, using Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V won’t cause this kind of error?”

System Admin: “No, of course not.”

Me: “Or any keyboard shortcuts?”

System Admin: “No, it’s the same. Excuse me, I need to go. I have a meeting.” *Logs off*

Colleague: “So, what was IT’s solution? Can they fix it?”

Me: “He had to go for a meeting.”

Colleague: “Hah, see? You probably bothered him too much, so he made an excuse to leave. Just do what I told you, and you won’t have any more problems.”

So, basically, IT thinks I’m an idiot, thanks to [Colleague]. After some time, IT found the error was caused by a connection time-out when I tried to submit the data. It had nothing to do with keyboard shortcuts.