Dutifully Praising Your Sense Of Duty

, , , , | Working | October 23, 2017

(I’ve recently taken a job as a secretary after the person who previously held the position was let go for less than stellar performance. My new boss seems like a demanding person, but I quickly come to realize that his expectations are low. It leads to several conversations like this one:)

Boss: “[My Name], I wanted to let you know I was very impressed with how you handled things while I was traveling.”

Me: *confused because it was very quiet while he was gone* “Uh, thank you?”

Boss: “That email you sent out, you know, when you rearranged a phone call. That was excellent!”

(A task like that would be very basic for someone new to the job. Having several years of experience, I’m completely baffled that someone would bring it up at all.)

Me: “I… You know that’s routine, right? Thank you, but it was just an email.”

Boss: “No, seriously, the way you handled that was very professional. And… Now you’re looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m praising you for something you think should go without saying.”

Me: “Sorry! I love positive feedback; who doesn’t? I’m just confused.”

Boss: “Just let me enjoy this for a bit.”

(Later, he walks by my office as I’m about to finish my last task for the day.)

Boss: “[My Name], what are you still doing here? Shouldn’t you be going home?”

Me: “My shift ended two minutes ago. It’s fine; I’m just sending out that request for information before I leave.”

Boss: “But you could leave that until tomorrow morning.”

Me: “Sure, but you said we need the reply by tomorrow afternoon. If I send it out tomorrow, how much do you want to bet that there will be someone who complains because half a day isn’t enough time to send us a yes or no reply?”

(I’m looking at my screen as I say this, but my boss goes so quiet that I look up and see him staring at me.)

Me: “Everything all right?”

Boss: “I’m not going to say anything, because then you’ll get that expression again as if you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Just… That’s why I hired you. Please stay.”

Jokes Are Your Real Calling

, , , , , | Right | October 23, 2017

(I work in an outbound call center. Customers fill out information online and we, along with others in our industry, then make calls… a lot of them. This leads to a lot of people getting irate. Sometimes we win them over; sometimes we can’t. This guy, though…)

Me: “Hi, is this [Customer]?”

Customer: “You are the ninth person to call me!”

Me: “I’m the ninth caller? Do I win the car?”

(This brought him to a stop and made him laugh. While he and I did have a good conversation, ultimately, we weren’t able to help him. Call of the day, though!)

Dead For A Dollar

, , , , | Working | October 22, 2017

(The cashier is scanning my items, and picks up a decorative owl for Day of the Dead.)

Me: “That didn’t have a price tag and it was the only one there. So, if it is too much of a problem, don’t worry about it.”

(I’m worried about it, though. El Día de los Muertos is my favorite holiday and I’ve fallen in love with this owl. I don’t want to leave the store without one; even though it is a big box retailer, I’m not sure if other locations would have it.)

Cashier: “Did you get it from the front?”

Me: “No, it was in the back with the seasonal.”

Cashier: *thinks, taps a few buttons, types in $1* “Does a dollar sound good?”

Me: “It sounds very good. Thank you!”

Formatting A New Friendship

, , , , , | Working | October 21, 2017

(I work in a portrait studio and am going to upload a customer’s pictures from a memory card after finishing the session. I get an error message that says, “card cannot be used,” which I’ve never seen before, so I call our help desk. He asks a couple questions and runs few a couple of quick things that don’t work.)

Help Desk Tech: “Okay, let’s do it this way. Go ahead and format the memory card.”

Me: “What? Format the memory card?”

(I am terrified to do this because it will erase all the images I just finished taking of a large group.)

Help Desk Tech: “Yeah.”

Me: “No.”

Help Desk Tech: “No?”

Me: *firmly* “No.”

Help Desk Tech: “Why not?”

Me: “I’m trying to retrieve the images, not delete them!”

Help Desk Tech: “It’s fine. I can still get them after you format it.”

Me: “No.”

Help Desk Tech: “It will be okay.”

Me: “What’s your name?”

Help Desk Tech: “[Help Desk Tech].”

Me: “Well, [Help Desk Tech], if I am going to go against my better judgement and format this memory card I need you to promise me that I won’t delete these pictures.”

Help Desk Tech: “It should be fine.”

Me: “Should be isn’t good enough! I need you to promise me.”

Help Desk Tech: “I promise. Go ahead and format it. I’ll help you through this. We can do it together.”

(I can tell he’s teasing me, but I take a deep breath and format the memory card. He proceeds to remotely access my computer and retrieve the images from the card.)

Me: “You did it!”

Help Desk Tech: “I’m glad. I was totally lying when I promised before.”

Me: “[Help Desk Tech]!”

Help Desk Tech: “Just kidding.”

Me: “Thank you so much!” *to my customer who has been waiting for her pictures* “He did it! My new best friend [Help Desk Tech] did it!”

([Help Desk Tech] is my buddy now. I’m always glad when I call the help desk and it’s him. The customer loved her pictures and tipped me $30.)

Going Against Code

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(Back in 1978, I was just a kid working as a programmer for a large engineering firm. One day my boss hands me two stacks of listings. They are the source for a project, one from today and one from six months prior. My job is to go through them line-by-line and mark which lines have been removed, which have been added, and which have been changed. The stacks are at least six inches tall, and I look at them in dread, realizing that there have to be some 100,000 mind-numbing lines to read. The number of errors I am bound to make will be astronomical. Then I get the bright idea to write a program that can find insertions, deletions, and changes. One day, such tools will become commonplace, but in 1978, they are unheard of. In a couple hours, I have a working program and I run all the code for the project through it, print it out, and give it to my boss later in the day.)

Boss: *looking shocked* “It’s done?”

Me: “Yeah. I wrote a program that did all the dirty work.”

Boss: *getting a bit red and angry* “Who authorized you to write a program to do this?

Me: “I was hired as a programmer. I didn’t think I needed to ask about that. Besides, this is 100% accurate. If I did it by hand, think of all the errors that would be in it.”

(Since our stuff often needed FAA or military oversight, he realized I just helped him dodge a bullet, and he calmed down quickly. The remaining problem was that this little task was designed to keep me busy for two or three weeks while he came up with something else for me. But from then on, I was put on more interesting projects.)