Can’t Stop The Press

| AB, Canada | Working | September 5, 2013

(I’m a reporter at a small-town radio station. The town’s big summer festival is coming up. Last year, I tried to volunteer to work at the festival, but the boss told me that it was against company policy. She said that, as the reporter, I couldn’t work at the event so as to stay impartial. This year, my boss is working at the festival as the volunteer coordinator. It’s literally the day before this year’s festival when she comes up to me.)

Boss: “So, I think it would be a great show of the company’s support for the festival if all of us volunteered to work at the festival this year. We should all work the front gate, because that’s the most difficult job.”

Me: “But, what about company policy? Last year, you clearly said it was against company policy for me to work at the festival.”

Boss: “Oh, please. Company policy changes on a weekly basis. You can’t hold up policy from a year ago and expect it to still be valid. Now, what shift would you like to work?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t. I wish you told me about this change in policy sooner. I’ve spent the past few weeks lining up all kinds of interviews with the organizers and the entertainers. I’m going to be far too busy covering the festival to work at the festival.”

Boss: “Look here. I hold a very high position of authority with the festival this year, and I’m working the front gate. I say the only way you’re getting on the site is if you volunteer to work! Good luck finding another arrangement!”

(The boss storms off in a huff. I pick up the phone and call the festival’s president.)

Me: “Hey, I’m still getting a press pass this year, right?”

President: “Of course you are! It’ll be waiting for you at the front gate on the first day.”

Me: “Right on. Thank you very much!”

(About an hour later, the boss comes back to me.)

Boss: “Now that you’ve had some time to think it over, what shift would you like to work at the festival?”

Me: “Actually, I was very successful in finding another arrangement. I don’t need to work at the festival to get on the site.”

Boss: “I can’t believe you’d turn your back on your team, your station, like this! You have to go to [coworker] right now, tell him he’s working on his own, and apologize to him!”

(This being a very small station, this coworker is working at the cubicle next to mine. I turn and start talking to him.)

Me: “Hey, [coworker], I’m sorry I won’t be able to help you out working the front gate. I’m just going to be far too busy covering the festival.”

Coworker: “When were you ever working with me? [Boss] has been telling me for weeks that I’d be working on my own, because you’d be far too busy covering the event. And I’ve sat here for the past few days watching you line up all those interviews. No worries, man. I know this is a busy time for you. Don’t work too hard!”

(I turn back to my boss.)

Me: “Yeah, [coworker] says he’s fine with it.”

(My boss just screams and walks away. The look on her face at the front gate the next day, as another volunteer hands me my press pass and media kit, is priceless.)

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