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We Hope Your Car Has A Radio

, , , , , , | Working | February 16, 2022

This morning, I leave for work ten minutes early so I can swing through the drive-thru of the pharmacy on the way and pick up my allergy medicine. The medicine I’m picking up does not require a prescription, but my doctor actually did a prescription anyway so that my insurance would pay for it. I got a text message last night that my prescription was ready.

I pull into the empty drive-thru and pull up to the window, and no one comes to help me. I press the call button, a voice says that they will be with me shortly, and no one comes to help me.

I wait five minutes and press the call button again, and no one comes to help me, or even answers this time.

I wait another five minutes, give up, and try to phone the store, and an employee finally comes to help me. I give her my name, birth date, and address so she can confirm my identity, and she scans my prescription, staples a receipt to it without telling me how much it is or asking whether I want to use the card on file, and sets it on the counter inside the window where I have no way of reaching it.

Employee: “The pharmacist will come give this to you.”

And she vanished before I could say anything.

I waited another seven minutes for the pharmacist to hand me the prescription that was already paid for, and, remember, did not actually require a prescription to purchase. I could see about half of the inside pharmacy counter from the drive-thru window, as well as most of the pharmacy waiting area, and there was exactly one other pharmacy customer.

Eventually, the pharmacist came to give me my medication, did not do anything that actually merits waiting for a pharmacist, and offered no explanation for the wait other than that he was on the phone with a doctor, which doesn’t explain why I had to wait for him in the first place.

As I had wasted an additional fifteen minutes on what should have been a two-minute stop, I was barely on time to work and had to rush to get myself clocked in and start working.

Some People Just Shouldn’t Be In Charge

, , , , | Working | February 14, 2022

I work for a tiny engineering company with a grand total of five employees: the Owner, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and three engineers. We have a few contractors and interns floating around occasionally, bringing our number up to thirteen strong! Because of this, we do not have Human Resources or an office admin.

For a while, as the only female engineer, I played office admin, secretary, maid, and sometimes even the role of manager. It was fine mostly because I was the only engineer at the time and we didn’t have any interns or contractors. It was my mess, so I cleaned it up. However, once we started hiring a bunch more engineers and it was clear that the men in the office weren’t expected to toss their own trash, I metaphorically “quit” the position of nursemaid and left them to accumulate a pile of trash next to their desks.

There was some pushback from our VP, the only other woman in the office.

Me: “Can I ask the boys to empty their personal trash cans?”

VP: “That is a waste of their time. They have better things to do.”

I made it clear that I also had better things to do. She was clearly not pleased and tried to bully me back into the position several times. The owner — a wonderful, forward-thinking chap — ended up backing me up.

Owner: “[VP], you have two options: one, stop wasting [My Name]’s time and do it yourself, or two, hire someone for the position if it means so much to you.”

However, after several failed attempts to find an actual cleaner — because $50 a week was apparently “too much money” — and an office admin — because the women were either too “young” or “old” — I stopped having sympathy for her.

This was years ago. Our company is still rather small but finally growing. As such, we have people AND food in and out of here, which results in ants when you don’t have a cleaner, in addition to people wanting certain temperatures, which results in the AC breaking.

Me: “Hey, [VP], we have an ant infestation. I used some diatomaceous earth outside to stop the bugs. Also, the office has excess cobwebs. When is the cleaner you hired starting?”

VP: “Are you sure there are ants? They spray outside. Have you checked the plants you brought into the office?”

I roll my eyes. My only other female engineering coworker is not impressed that we are being accused of being messy compared to the boys who literally leave crumbs on the floor.

Me: “Several offices have ants, but not ours.”

I send her a picture of their entry point: a crack in the window sill nowhere near my plants. She whines but agrees to call someone out to ACTUALLY clean.

Two days later, the AC breaks due to lack of maintenance and [VP] constantly coming in to change it to extreme temperatures — sixty or eighty degrees — before leaving.

As the senior-most engineer, I send everyone home and tell them not to come back until the AC is fixed. They can remote in, and I am not putting them in the position to work in a hot, stuffy office. I then let both [VP] and the owner know about the AC, complete with a picture of the thermostat stating that it is eighty-five degrees inside but set to seventy-five degrees.

VP: “Are you sure it is broken?”

To be fair, this was a fair one, as this crazy lady had just come in thirty minutes ago and set it to eighty degrees before walking out. But I cannot get over how she acts like I am purposefully making her life miserable when she has “hired” and “fired” fifteen admin and five cleaning people before they could even start.

It is an office. It is called basic maintenance. You picked this responsibility.

You Know It’s Bad When You End Up In Therapy

, , , , , | Working | February 9, 2022

My first job out of college is working for a startup company. There are times when I am literally the only employee. It is overwhelming, to say the least, but the vice president agrees to take me under her wing.

I immediately start noticing some very obvious red flags, but even though I know some of the garbage she is spewing is wrong and not true, it slowly eats away at my self-esteem. When I have been employed with the company for three years, the global health crisis hits. At this point, I am ready to leave having realized how poorly she has affected my mental health, but due to the hiring freeze, I am forced to stay.

Her abuse begins to skyrocket from there, and then she tries to cover it up by isolating me. At one point, she tells me I am not even allowed to talk to my own mother. She insists that I must continue coming into the office — while everyone else works from home — and continues to expose me to the illness. I drive home crying literally every night.

Luckily, things get better, and one of the other managers sees how horrible she is to me. He insists, rather than firing me as she wants, that he will take over my managerial duties. I begin to flourish under him. Six months later, though, the PTSD symptoms start to set in and I am diagnosed with c-PTSD. My new manager knows about this and supports me as I go to therapy and get on a regime to lessen the symptoms.

Unfortunately, my new manager ends up leaving the company for a better opportunity (which I can hardly blame him for). Fortunately, the owner realizes how well I can do when I am not under the vice president and decides to make himself my manager.

Meanwhile, because I had been pulling her weight for three and a half years and haven’t been for a year, she tries to make “amends”. She “apologizes for her part” in a vague statement that overlooks what she has done to me and takes me not completely rejecting it as an invitation to start calling me at all hours of the day again and asking me for ideas to handle her other subordinates.

Prior, my new manager made it abundantly clear she was not to ask anything of me. With him out of the picture, she thinks she can get away with it. Luckily, before he leaves, he has a talk with both her and the owner, and the owner sides with him — not to the point of firing her, unfortunately, but my exposure to her is minimal and I do not have to pick up her calls, so that is great! And any time she manages to trap me alone, I tell her that I would like to discuss it with the owner — which she is none too happy about as she is trying to mine me for ideas — or tell her to ask him instead.

Meanwhile, the health crisis unwinds and I begin the job search again. Prior to doing that, I ask for a long-overdue raise. In the past, anytime I implied that I should probably ask for a raise, it was met with guilt-tripping and gaslighting on her part. She’d tell me how I “deserved” it but we “didn’t have the money” and it was selfish to think only about myself. Without her standing in the way, I am able to negotiate a 10% raise and five more vacation days within three weeks.

Using that raise that finally puts me at industry standards and the skills I learned over the past year not under her, I manage to find a better job! It is a real shame, though, because I liked my coworkers and loved the product. But after years of being told I should be grateful because I know my abuser and the type of abuse I will receive, I had to put myself first for a change.

Not Throwing Away My Shot, Regardless Of My Coworker’s Concerns

, , , , , , , , | Working | February 7, 2022

I am part of one of the top two vaccine trials for the most recent deadly disease in the United States. With it comes occasional visits to the clinic to take blood samples to test for antibodies.

I was very fortunate to be vaccinated in early October 2020, and it is now a year later. It is time for my booster shot! I take off an hour on a Monday afternoon to go and an hour on a Wednesday afternoon for the follow-up blood draw. I share the news with my boss and my more like-minded coworkers, and they are all excited for me. A couple even ask questions.

I do not, however, share it with two coworkers in the office who are opposed to vaccines. Unfortunately, one of them has access to the time-off logs and sees me taking time off. In addition to being actively anti-science, this coworker considers herself a bit of an amateur doctor — think diagnosing a stomach bug with pregnancy, fever with ovulation, bronchitis with allergies, etc. — and is a full-fledged gossip. Medical information is fodder to her.

So, it is very safe to say, I don’t tell her anything about my medical information. Otherwise, I will not only get her unnecessary and outlandish two cents but also have her spread it to everyone else. On top of it all, when she found out I was on the vaccine trial, she called me “reckless,” “irresponsible,” and “stupid,” and told me to never talk to her about it. I might as well respect her wishes, right?

After seeing me take Monday and Wednesday off as “Sick Time,” she calls me to ask what it is about under the guise of “being concerned about me.” I don’t pick up, and I continue my work, so she asks around. They all tell her that they don’t know. One even pointedly tells her to mind her own business.

Finally, she asks me in front of everyone in the Wednesday morning meeting. She does not like my response that I am getting my government tracking chip replaced. My boss — who has already had the booster — thinks it is pretty funny, though.

Some Bullies Never Grow Out Of It

, , , , , | Working | February 4, 2022

It is a fundamental law that even the best offices must have one insufferable bully. Mine is a fifty-eight-year-old woman who dislikes most other women, especially those younger than her. She is fine with me as she thinks of me being this meek, little thing who will roll over. And at first, she is right! But as I get healthier and wiser, I stop putting up with her game. She, therefore, trades her methods of gaslighting and manipulation for some very old-school methods of bullying and harassing: intimidation and blackmail.

Currently, I am refusing to be alone with her and have made it abundantly clear that it has to do with the fact she threatened to fire me over something that was not my fault to try and blackmail me into (again) doing her job for her. It backfired as I already had a resolution, so I immediately sent both the issue and the solution to the owner with a comprehensive, “How did this happen in the first place?”

Basically, I have made it known to her (and to the company’s owner) that we will never be alone with the door closed again nor will I pick up her calls. If she needs something from me that is work-related, she can send an email or mention it in the morning meetings with everyone else present.

Today, though, she sees that I am alone in my office and decides to try once more to offer me “friendship” and “comradery” — aka gaslighting and love-bombing. She starts it by making her presence known by loudly locking and unlocking the main door several times and banging on it in between.

Bully: “Yooooo-hoooo. Anyone here?”

Me: *Sigh* “Hello.”

Bully: “Why are you sitting in the dark?”

I shrug and continue working. The easiest way to get her to leave is to ignore her and not engage. Any form of engagement will result in her thinking she has a free pass to continue.

Bully: “I have been meaning to talk to you about something. It is work-related.”

Me: “Okay. Let’s bring it up in the morning meeting in an hour. I am busy right now.”

Bully: “I—” 

She pauses and looks over my shoulder at something. The parking lot is in that direction, so I know why she turns white as a sheet.

Bully: “Is— Is [Owner] here?”

I look around the dimly lit office, knowing she knows what his car looks like.

Me: “Well, obviously, no.”

Bully: “I got to go.”

She TORE it out the door to go upstairs where her office was located. Turns out, she’d thought [Owner] was already here and in his office, and therefore, she thought she could corner me while he wasn’t paying attention. She’d seen [Owner] pulling into the parking lot through my window and panicked.

She never did bring up what her “work-related” issue was in the morning meeting. It was probably another grand speech about how “us gals” got to stick together against “those boys” (and other women). Barf.