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Self-Insufficient

, , , , , , , , | Working | June 22, 2018

After a buyout, I’ve been temporarily acting as manager of a large group of employees. I’ve separated them into two groups, and each is coming to spend a week training at our headquarters. In preparation, I set up Google documents page with the training schedules, training reference information, maps, lists of contacts, information about the hotel, forms for travel reimbursement, and local information such as taxi services and restaurants. I then email each employee their specific plane tickets and hotel check-in information.

As I am in a supervisory role, this is not my job, but I choose to do this to make my employees’ training easier. Their point of contact for travel is a secretary at headquarters.

Almost immediately, I get the calls from people unwilling to glance through the documents that were provided. Two employees are specifically difficult.

[Employee #1] calls for every question on his trip. He has chosen to rent a car, and expects me to stay on the line with him and give him turn-by-turn directions around the town where the headquarters are located. Each time I tell him to use his company-issued phone for GPS, but he keeps calling. He also emails every morning asking me his daily training schedule. In response, I just keep re-forwarding the initial email with a note that information was already provided.

[Employee #2] just doesn’t read anything. He is scheduled to train with the second group, but having not read the email, doesn’t know that. Instead, he assumes he will be in the first group, books his own flight, and flies out to headquarters. I don’t realize there is an issue until he fails to show up at work on Monday. Then, I get a furious phone call from him complaining that he isn’t booked for a hotel. The secretary at headquarters manages to rearrange things so he can join training that week, but he takes to calling me for any question he might have. Over six days, this amounts to 49 different phone calls. Each has a question that was already answered in the initial email, or is local information he could easily Google.

Afterwards, the company brings on the permanent replacement manager. About a month later, the company decides to make cuts, and I am asked to work with this new manager to decide who will stay. After discussing our experiences, we decide that both [Employee #1] and [Employee #2] show the same lack of attention to detail and zero self-sufficiency in their normal workday that they displayed during the trip.

When they are let go, they have to turn in their phones. I know I made the right choice when I find out I was listed as “Queen Bitch” on [Employee #1]’s contacts!

When Tragedy Breeds Joy

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | June 8, 2018

My mother was seriously injured in a fall while on vacation, in a city on the far side of the country from where her family and friends live. I left the next day to be with her. I arrived after a six-hour flight, tired and scared, in a city I had never been in. I made it to the hospital and found the waiting room while they finished her surgery. Once there, I realized it was nine at night and I had no idea where I would be staying. I knew I had a few calls to make, and asked a woman nearby if I should step outside to do so. She smiled but didn’t say much.

After a couple of minutes, another woman walked in and came over. She said that was her sister and that she didn’t speak English. I tried to talk, but just lost it. Between sobs, I tried to explain why I was there and that I didn’t know where I was going to sleep or much of anything else. She gave me a hug, and then went to talk to the staff at the desk. She came back with one of them who assured me I could sleep in my mom’s room for at least a few nights, and that it was going to be okay. The first woman sat with me until I was calmer.

At this point I realized they were there for their own tragic reason. It turns out one of her brothers had been shot in the head while working at his store. They didn’t know if he would make it or not. But in spite of all that, she made sure that I was okay.

We saw each other during the week I was there. She never failed to smile and ask how mom was.

Thank you to a family of strangers who reached out during their own tragedy to help someone who needed it.

And thanks to four of Mom’s friends and family who took a week each and flew across the country to be there with her. Her case manager said she had more company than some patients who live in the area and have family close by.

A Buffet Of Casual Racism

, , , , , | Right | May 17, 2018

(My husband and I go to a Chinese buffet restaurant for lunch. It’s the weekend and my husband, who is Japanese, is wearing cargo shorts and a nerdy t-shirt, while the staff is dressed in black slacks and white shirts. We are the only people at the buffet at the time and we are chatting as we fill our plates. A customer comes up on the other side of the buffet line. After a moment she comes over to our side and stops in front of my husband.)

Customer: “What’s that?” *she points to a dish on the buffet*

(My husband isn’t paying any attention to her.)

Customer: *louder* “Hey! I said, ‘What’s that?'”

(My husband looks up at the labels for the food on the buffet, but there isn’t one for that dish.)

Husband: “I don’t know.”

Customer: *condescending* “What do you mean, you don’t know?!”

Husband: “I don’t work here, obviously.” *he gestures to his clothes*

Customer: *stymied for a moment, then charges on* “Well, you should still know because you’re Chinese!”

Husband: “I’m not Chinese, and even if I was, I wouldn’t know every dish on a buffet.”

Customer: *glares at him as he stares back at her*

Me: *gesturing toward an employee not ten feet away* “Ask someone who works here!”

Customer: *hmphs at us then starts to walk away*

Husband: *murmurs under his breath* “I don’t know kung-fu, either.”

They Should Make An App For That

, , , , | Right | January 18, 2018

(An elderly woman walks in.)

Me: “Hello, ma’am. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I want to read the Bible from my phone and my grandson told me to get it from the app store. Can you give me directions?”

Me: “Directions to what?”

Customer: “The app store. He didn’t tell me where it is, and I don’t know how to use my GPS.”

(I explained to her what the app store was. She walked away, embarrassed.)

O Holy Gifts

, , , , , , , | Related | January 9, 2018

(My mom’s college friend is Irish Catholic, but her husband isn’t. This is during her wedding.)

Priest: “Can you bring up the gifts up after the intercession prayer?”

Husband: “Sure.”

(After the intercessory prayer, the husband brought up the wedding gifts! “Gifts” in the Catholic Church means the chalice and water!)