Brightening Up Everyone’s Day

, , , | Working | June 14, 2017

(I and several others have started working as part of an office team, and our manager has been doing an induction. He is wearing a ridiculously bright furry jumper that is almost offensive to the eyes. We have all remarked on it in private, but not directly to him. One man in the group takes serious issue with it, criticising him heavily during our lunch break while he isn’t in the room. It has gotten to the end of the work day and induction.)

Manager: “…and that is pretty much it. Any questions?”

Man: “What’s with that jumper? Are you gay or something?”

Manager: *taken aback* “I am, actually, but that isn’t why I wear it.”

Man: “Okay, why then? I don’t want to have to work with THAT—” *pointing* “—assaulting me every day.”

Manager: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Our commercial manager has a daughter who is autistic, and sometimes she has to bring her in if she can’t find a carer. She responds well to bright colours. She doesn’t fuss as much, she’s more comfortable, and it makes her smile. So I have always tried to wear something bright on the off chance that she appears.”

Man: “It isn’t your responsibility to do that.”

Manager: “But it is. Sometimes life deals you a bad hand and you just have to handle it as best you can. I employed [Commercial Manager] because she’s good, and if wearing a silly bright jumper makes her want to stick around a little longer, then that is something I am willing to do.”

(I was actually moved to tears by this, as was everyone else. The man just grunted and since then made it clear he wasn’t interested in mingling with the rest of us. Thankfully he has an office that he doesn’t come out of often. I’ve also taken to wearing bright cardigans to work. They aren’t as bright as our manager’s, but the commercial manager’s daughter seems to appreciate it. It really brightens your day seeing her come in with a smile from ear to ear at you all in acid green.)

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  • Siirenias

    That guy sounds like no fun. I find it hard to imagine that he’s a very good worker with such an attitude.

    • Jeanette Stringer

      Being anti-social or have a terrible attitude doesn’t mean they’re terrible at work, just terrible socializers.

      • Siirenias

        He may not need to cooperate with his coworkers, but he should still respect them. This doesn’t sound like social awkwardness to me. This sounds like trying to ‘win’ the conversation.

        • Hahn Ackles

          The thing is, there have been lots of studies and basically without exception an incompetent employee that gets along with everyone is a better hire than a genius employee that everyone hates.

          No matter how good* that one employee is, he can’t make up for lost morale and motivation.

          *Except maybe Steve Jobs.

          EDIT: Meant to reply to Jeanette.

          • Xenobio

            It’s not just “morale”. Jerks actively drag teams down by bad behaviour.

          • Siirenias

            Like that one trope of the aged secretary that always has a full bowl of hard candies on her desk and can’t understand the “interweb” but the company will fall apart when she retires.

          • Hahn Ackles

            Yeah. And I say this as someone who had the skill and experience to come into my current position and massively increase the efficiency of basically everything my store does: Regardless of how much I’ve achieved in this position, if I didn’t get along with my coworkers I’d barely be treading water. No one person can possibly make up the work of a motivated team that works well together.

          • Katrin Schirmer

            yeah, unless you are self employed you need to be a team player and be able to work with other people. if you cant you are likely contributing to a hostile work environment, where you are at least part of the cause.

    • faifai

      Having a nasty attitude towards someone who is your superior at work generally doesn’t get you very far. He’s lucky he wasn’t fired on the spot for the “are you gay” comment.

  • roselover58

    Just wanted to say how wonderful you, and your manager are. For those not fluent in “British” english – a jumper is a sweater…

    Again – great work!

    • Cathrope

      The British. Always butchering the English language. 😛

      • Reaper

        You do realize that the British invented the English language, right?

        • Cathrope

          Yes.

        • I think that was the joke.

        • James Jiao

          The British didn’t ‘invent’ the English language by the way.. it’s a hodgepodge of loaned grammar and vocabulary from several different older/extinct languages spoken by peoples who preceded the British as we know them now.

          • A Stead

            To be fair, very few languages are invented. Most evolve from previous languages. Things like Klingon can be said to be invented, but they are not largely spoken.

          • Celoptra

            So? the American-English or Canadian-English borrowed words from First Peoples/Natives.

          • Keniko Dukas

            Can you gives some examples of that? I’m Canadian and I’ve never noticed

          • Celoptra

            chipmunk, Toboggan, Kayak, caribou, Muskie, and igloo

      • Susan McInnis

        I sincerely hope that was a joke. We who live in countries other than the US that speak proper English and not American might take offense if you weren’t joking.

        • James Jiao

          Just so you know next time… the 😛 smiley normally indicates ‘whatever precedes this emoticon is meant to be taken as a joke’.

        • Cathrope

          I’m joking people.

        • AsaeAmpan

          There’s no such thing as proper english, even you british destroyed it as it altered from old ‘olde’ english to british english, american english and british english are both bastardizations of ‘proper’ english which has died over the years.

      • Blake Barrett

        Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?

    • I still can’t figure out why you guys call them sweaters….

      • Amber Wilkinson

        Why do you call them jumpers? They don’t make you jump.

        • They make my body temp jump.

          I don’t know why they are called that either.

          • Rob Tonka

            And they make you sweat.

        • Novelista

          I totally get why lifts are called lifts, though!

        • James Jiao

          You are using modern meaning of the word to try to rationalise its etymology. It doesn’t work.. most of the time. A jumper is derived from a ‘jump’ which is what the sailors back then call a loose jacket. This sense of jump has long been in disuse.

          • Amber Wilkinson

            Well, false cognates are a thing. Especially in English, I suspect, since we pull from so many source languages.

          • Some Reader

            That’s really interesting – I never knew that, thank you!

      • Roeduh

        …Because they’re warm, ie you sweat in them. The etymology of jumper is far more convoluted. We just use a more obvious and blunt term is all.

      • James Jiao

        A sweater is called that because it’s supposed to make you sweat. This is an exception to my other comment in this thread lol.

        • I find the idea of a garment that is supposed to make you sweat to be weird, lol. I want to be warm, not sweating!

          That said, I find “jumper” to be weird too… and jumper is the word we use for it.

          • Katrin Schirmer

            then i’m guessing you don’t own any sweatsuits. lol

          • Dsru Bin

            The sweatsuit doesn’t make me sweat, it’s what I do in the sweatsuit that makes me sweat. Which is why I don’t own a sweatsuit 🙂

          • I don’t even know what a sweatsuit is!

          • Katrin Schirmer

            a suit consisting of a sweatshirt and sweatpants, worn when exercising or as leisurewear. 😛

          • Please, for the love of Pikachu, stop using words I don’t know and probably need to google!

            I have no idea what a sweatshirt, sweat pants or leisurewear is. I can guess on the last one but…

          • Kat Atkinson

            Trackies

      • -BabsUvula-
        • Nic

          We call that a pinafore (because it started as a type of apron with a bib that you pin in the front).

        • Are you referring to her dress?

          • Yes.

          • -BabsUvula-

            Well it’s not a dress because it requires something to be worn underneath. But yes, the part that is more dress-like.

    • Rob Tonka

      Thanks. I had no idea. I knew a jumper to be the uniform dress girls wore in my catholic elementary school. A pullover. When OP said it was furry, I then assumed it to be some sort of costume.

      No what’s an induction? 🙂

      • Xenobio

        Training a bunch of new staff.

      • roselover58

        the action or process of inducting someone to a position or organization.

  • Roq

    OP does acknowledge that the color is almost offensive.

  • faifai

    I read this story twice in a row because it was so good it needed to be read twice. Thank you for sharing.

  • Carrie

    A+ manager. He knows a good employee is worth their weight in gold!

  • Deadpool
    • Kumajiro

      I’m really hopping this account is run my Ryan Rendolds (sp?) Cause that seems like something he would do

      • Deadpool

        No. My real name is Wade Wilson (sp?). Who’s this Ryan guy? He sounds handsome. More handsome than my burned mug.

      • Wendigone

        Deadpool is already my favourite commenter here; that’d just make him even more awesome.

      • Dsru Bin

        The commentor currently known as “Deadpool” used to be known as “Nate”. You may see some comments addressed to Nate but in response to “Deadpool”, which is a result of him changing his name after the fact.

        • Jami

          Maybe Nate is Ryan Reynolds.

          Or maybe Deadpool has stopped breaking the fourth wall and just jumped all the way through it into our universe. Only he tried to go by Nate for awhile and it just didn’t work out.

          • Dsru Bin

            Fair points.

        • Deadpool

          Not sure whether to upvote for going through my comment history that far back or downvote for outing me…

          As someone else pointed out, I should have started a new account on a different browser, but I already had the Avatar and the jokes were right there…

          • Jami

            But see we don’t know that you aren’t really Deadpool who tried for a while to go by the name Nate in this universe. Or if you’re just a guy named Nate who decided to change his username to Deadpool. With Deadpool involved either is a possibility. I mean, if I was Deadpool stuck in a universe where everyone thinks I’m a fictional character I would start out using a pseudonym to throw off TMZ and government controlled scientists.

          • Dsru Bin

            I didn’t have to go through your comment history; I was reading a different thread where you were Nate (and people had referred to you by name), and then you were Deadpool.

          • Deadpool

            Oh man! You saw me putting on my super suit? How embarrassing! (Literally, if you’ve seen the trailer)

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99fb91177a378bc8c5b8bf03aa11d7d3302fea8b2343ef8c7a336c893ff04baa.png

      • Jim Mason

        Or maybe it’s Deadpool using Cable’s computer. You know, Nathan (Nate?) Summers?

  • grmrsan

    How did that man actually not get fired for being such an outright @$$?

    • Viola Pastuszyn

      It’s not as easy firing someone, pretty much almost anywhere else, as it is in the US. Guy probably has a contract.

    • AsaeAmpan

      As stated by viola it’s actually quite hard to get fired outside the states, inside the states you could sneeze wrong and be fired.

  • I wonder if “Fired due to homophobia” counts as unfair dismissal…

    • Kryss LaBryn

      I hate to say it, but… to be fair (and I had to reread it, and no tone of voice doesn’t help) the jerk, when the manager says, “Yes, I *am* gay,” just says “Well, okay, but if that’s not the reason why, then what is?”

      The first time I read this, when he pointed and said he didn’t want *that* assaulting him, I honestly thought he was pointing to the manager, rather than the manager’s sweater. Upon the re-read, he’s still brusque and kind of a jerk about it, but a lot less of a jerk that I had thought at first.

      • Fair point but this line here
        “Man: “What’s with that jumper? Are you gay or something?””
        Screams of homophobia to me.

        • Gregmite

          it is homophobia/toxic masculinity. “you’d only wear something like that if you’re gay” etc.

  • Roeduh

    Guy shouldn’t even have to justify what he wears. Honestly, people.

  • Denton Young

    As someone on the spectrum, this moved me a lot. That is one awesome manager.

    • Darth Hideous

      Same here. There are so many stories of those like us getting shoved aside for being too weird it’s nice to be reminded that there are people out there who do care.

  • Kitty

    Uh, it technically isn’t the manager’s ‘responsibility’ to keep the autistic kid happy. Manager’s not the parent. Of course, that coworker is an idiot to get offended by a bright color, but hey, that’s his problem.

    • Kryss LaBryn

      It’s not a responsibility, no, certainly not in the legal sense; but “This is a small thing I can do that doesn’t make the slightest difference to me and doesn’t require any effort or inconvenience, that makes my employee’s work life a little easier upon occasion and helps her to be able to focus on her job more,” arguably could fall under the mandate of a manager, and certainly falls under the mandate of being a decent human being and coworker.

  • A Stead

    Was I the only one who read “… on acid green”? Yep, think it’s just me >_> But that could equally have made the work place more interesting :-p

    • Dsru Bin

      Nope, not just you. I had to read it three times to get it right.

  • Scott O

    It’s a much more entertaining story when reading it as an American.
    A manager in a “bright furry jumper” produces a mental image quite different from the one the OP intended!

  • Katie Manning

    It seems a lot easier to just have the brightly coloured sweater at your desk to put on if the child shows up, rather than have to pick out a different ugly sweater every single day just in case she MIGHT show up.

    • Max

      They’re fun though.

      • Torbjörn Axelsson

        My thought exactly, I have a feeling that workplace is colourful and vivid to a much larger extent than others, just because people are encouraged to not be boring.

  • Lany Chabot-Laroche

    The story is super cute, but I can’t help but wonder if there is really a need to wear one ALL the time. The manager says “in the off chance that she appears”. So why not just leave a bright jumper at work and wear it when the kid is there?

    • Nic

      For the same reason the OP has taken to trying to find something fun and bright to wear – because yes, it could make a little girl very happy, but also (reading between the lines) she’s discovered that there’s freedom in giving yourself permission to wear fun clothes instead of “proper” ones.

  • Xenobio

    Wow he just started a new job and he wants to get fired already… amazing.