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Respect Your Coworkers And They’ll Respect You Back

, , , , , , | Working | August 8, 2022

I supply tools and fire safety to the rest of my organisation statewide. Nearly everything is simple, polite requests for stuff like a fire blanket or spanners. A lot of it isn’t for us, but we always tell them who to contact.  

My colleagues are getting tired of the attitude of one department manager, but he has never contacted me. New starts are warned, women especially. I’m waiting and ready for him. This happens via instant messenger.

IT: “I need you to be my minion, please.”

What is a minion? I look it up, and needless to say, I find it really patronising.

Me: “‘Minion: noun, a follower or underling of a powerful person, especially a servile or unimportant one.’ We don’t stock minions.”

IT: “I need a guinea pig. A lab rat, or rat for short. Henceforth, you will be known as ‘rat.’”

I do some Googling to redirect him.

Me: “No, my name is [My Name], not Rat, and the number you need is [number].”

IT: “I think you gave me the wrong number; that’s a pet store.”

Me: “Yeah, but they should have what you need. They’re mostly in the family pet business, though, so I wouldn’t mention the experiments.”

IT: “Eh? What?”

Me: “What, ‘what’? There’s a place in Tasmania that supplies lab animals. Could try them.”

Half an hour passes. I can practically hear the gears turning in his head 700 km away as he realises he isn’t talking to one of his direct reports.

IT: “I am so sorry, I have just been contacted by another one of my minions. I have the wrong [My Name].”

I have the same name as someone in his department.

Me: “Call me, extension [number].”

IT: “I didn’t mean to.”

Me: “I’ll talk to you or your boss. Take your pick.”

My phone rings.

Me: “You said you were contacted by ‘another’ one of your minions. Do you understand that this requires me to be one of your minions? Is that how you think of your colleagues, and me?”

IT: “I didn’t know—”

Me: “You should have known. I do not report to you, and I don’t stock minions. I do stuff like fire extinguishers. Look, my colleagues have been getting tired of how you talk to them, a lot of it is misogynistic. Nobody else starts an email with, ‘Hey, sweetcheeks.’ Not one other person. And you do realise that if you’d started that with the words, ‘Hi, [My Name], can you help me with…’ I wouldn’t have been sending you to the pet store? Does this make sense?”

IT: “Yes, it does.”

Me: “Thank you. I will keep it off the record for now. Between you and me, if you need advice on how to phrase something, call me and ask.”

He later emailed me, asking me to pass along his apologies for his choice of words. It’s early days, but we are hearing much less nonsense from him.

Question of the Week

What is the most stupid reason a customer has asked to see your manager?

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