Second Act Surprise!

, , , , , , | Working | December 29, 2017

(I am hired to do some catering work in a congress centre. Today, it’s training day for all the new temps. Lots of new workers are waiting, in uniform, to be taken to the hall for the training. A coworker and I notice a man in a manager’s uniform, walking around with a moody face, slouched appearance, and messy clothing.)

Coworker #1: *quietly, to me* “Either that gentleman had to start really early, or he had a bad night’s sleep.”

(Finally, we get a message that someone will take us to the hall. The name could be male or female, so I assume they mean the young lady opening the door for us. We go into the meeting hall and get seated. Then, the first person to talk to us is the sloppy, moody man. He talks in a very unenthusiastic way.)

Grouch: “Hi, my name is [Name]. I’m a floor manager, and I have been working here for 25 years already. Now, you’ve got your uniforms. [Congress Centre] put lots of money in those, so be careful with them, okay? It’s, in fact, very simple: you are getting put on your location by me and then you’ll just do as I tell you. If there’s ever a problem, don’t try and solve it; come to me, because after all these years, I know you’ll just create chaos if you don’t. Finally, don’t come up with ideas. After 25 years, I heard all of them already and I’ve got more to do than just listen to stuff I already heard before.”

(The grouch gets seated. During his speech, I notice his shirt isn’t tucked into his trousers and his hand is in his pocket, which, in the Netherlands, is considered a very rude and sloppy thing when giving a speech or presentation. After the man gets seated, a young lady takes over, and starts doing a presentation which is much better and much more inspiring. The grouch seems to be more interested in his phone, although he might be checking important messages. At one point, the lady asks him a question.)

Young Lady: “I’ll be starting the video now, okay?”

Grouch: *looking up from his phone* “Hmm? Sorry?”

Young Lady: “Is it okay to start the video?”

Grouch: “Oh, yeah, fine.”

(This continues for a while. I’ve had different jobs over the years, and although I hate people like this, their existence doesn’t even surprise me anymore. But at some point, the lady starts addressing his behaviour.)

Young Lady: “[Grouch], do you have anything to say?”

Grouch: “Hmm? No, what do you mean?”

Young Lady: “Well, I don’t really like your attitude. Maybe we should pay some attention to it.”

Grouch: “Oh? What’s wrong with my attitude then?”

(He doesn’t sound angry yet, but I know people like this. An argument will break out within minutes, not that the guy doesn’t deserve it.)

Young Lady: “Well, you’re not paying attention, and you’re looking at your phone all the time.”

Coworker #2: “To be honest, you don’t seem very enthusiastic.”

Grouch: “I don’t?”

Coworker #3: “Yes; your appearance makes me wonder whether you feel sick or something.”

Coworker #4: “Yes, I must admit, it’s even a bit unreal…”

(Then the grouch surprises me.)

Grouch: *standing up, putting his clothing right* “Okay, you’re right. Fair enough. I’ll do my introduction again. Hello everyone, my name is [Name], and I’m an actor, here to assist with the training.”

(And to be honest, I expected everything but that! The workplace turned out to be fine, by the way.)

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