Acting Like The First Three Letters From “Assume”

, , , , , | Friendly | June 20, 2018

(I’m walking my dog in the park, when I get hit in the back of my head. I turn around.)

Woman: “NEVER ASSUME, YOU BI— Oh, wrong person.”

(She then trots away like nothing happened. I am standing there in shock of the spontaneous attack.)

Me: “Did she just assume I was someone else, and then yell at me for assuming?”

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Every Office Has One(sie)

, , , , , , | Working | June 19, 2018

Several years ago, my company was looking to hire an intern, and we received an impassioned application from a young woman in her early 20s. She didn’t have much experience, but she seemed driven, smart, and dedicated, and we felt like we could take a chance on her. All of us kind of empathized with being that young person, trying to get a foot in the door and get noticed. The job involved a lot of basic “intern-y” stuff like paperwork and emails and data entry, but also involved attending meetings and check-up calls with our clients, contractors, and so forth, more to take notes or answer basic questions and take information than anything huge or stressful. It was basically a lot of the sort of work that we were desperate for an intern to handle so we could focus more on our bigger projects and our main duties. Since we knew it was a significant amount of work, even if it was mostly made up of a lot of little things, it was paying more than minimum wage.

When we called her in for her interview, she seemed different from her application. She was very quiet, a little awkward, and stumbled through speaking, though we chalked it up to nerves. Because it was only a four-month internship with option for us to hire permanently or “renew” the agreement, it didn’t seem like much of a risk to us, and we decided to hire her. The first few weeks went… okay. She seemed so outgoing in her application and emails when we’d followed up with her, but around the office she was quiet as a mouse and seemed to be trying to actively avoid people, even after extensive training. She did her work quickly and effectively, but any time she had to do something that involved working with her coworkers, or clients, face-to-face, she found some way to get out of it.

Because that sort of thing was in her job description, which she assured us she could do before we hired her, that just wasn’t acceptable. I tried to speak with her privately about it, and she told me she was just not used to dealing with people professionally, and swore she’d get better and try harder. I was not unsympathetic; I might have been ten years or so older than her, but I knew what it was like to be the awkward, anxious gal… Heck, I still am, and get a lot of social anxiety; I’m just better able to hide it and work with it. But as her first month dragged into her second and we didn’t see an improvement, that sympathy turned into frustration; my coworkers and I were left holding the bag for a lot of the duties she was specifically brought on to handle that involve dealing with people in person or over the phone, all because she was uncomfortable or nervous. It got to the point where she was not doing half of what her job required, something that annoyed my boss more and more when he was paying her significantly above minimum wage for an internship, making him feel like she was coasting. We’re a small, tight-knit company and he’s an extremely generous boss, but all of that depends on all of us handling our responsibilities so we can rely on one another.

I pulled her into my office and told her, frankly, that if she couldn’t get around this and we couldn’t find a reasonable solution that didn’t involve her hiding every time she was expected to talk to someone, or coming up with excuses, it was not going to work out and she was going to be let go. She got teary, and then defensive, saying she’d been trying but it was hard, and she just needed us to be a little patient and understanding. At this point, she’d been “trying” for almost two months, and we hadn’t seen even a little progress since the beginning. I told her as gently but firmly as I was able that at the end of the day, this was still a job and we were still a business, and if she literally could not do the job she was specifically hired to do, we’d have to part ways.

The very next day, she was supposed to be sitting in on a meeting with one of our contractors and a coworker, both to take down information to update our system with later, and to get some experience on how these things went so in the future — if she got her act together and was hired on– she could handle them herself, and gain insight and experience into the industry itself. As it was, she’d mostly just gained insight and experience into being your standard office gofer.

Because I was wrapped up in my own work I didn’t get to see this happen, but my coworker came storming back after, angry and embarrassed, because our intern, this adult helping to represent us as a company in a business setting, showed up to this professional meeting in. A. Unicorn. Onesie. I absolutely refused to believe he wasn’t joking until I heard from everyone else. The contractor — who was more confused and made awkward than anything else, and thankfully as understanding as she could be about it — attested to it, including how the intern dragged her chair away from the table and sat in the corner with her head down, taking notes and not speaking, as did everybody else in the office who had seen it. Apparently, she just stood up shortly after she sat down, grabbed her things, and left.

I tried getting a hold of her multiple times, but she ignored all attempts to contact her, even though you could see her on social media out partying with her friends and chatting online. She even went so far as to delete every single reference she had ever posted to working for or with us. Because she still seemed to be active and happy, we just decided to drop it. We never saw her again, but it still remains the single most bizarre experience of my career, maybe even my adult life. All we could guess is that she just got overwhelmed and maybe wore it as some sort of comfort thing, then got embarrassed and fled. I’m still not 100% sure whether it was some elaborate troll, but I honestly can’t figure out what the point would be. I looked her up again recently; she seems happy and healthy, and is working for another company in a completely different industry, so it seems like everything worked out for her. The whole incident was just so strange I wanted to reach out to her and ask her what the hell happened, but ultimately I decided she was probably far more embarrassed by the ordeal than I was impacted by it and let it lie. She seems to be doing very well for herself, and at the end of the day, that’s worth more than my curiosity.

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Gone In A Keystroke

, , , , , | Friendly | June 19, 2018

When our family took vacations, we asked the neighbor to feed our cat. She was supposed to open the garage, walk inside the laundry room — which was inside the house — refill the food and water, and clean the litter box. Our cat was fine every time. Our house was exactly how we left it.

One day, we were looking for dad’s old military uniform. The garage door was open, so the neighbor could hear us.

She walked up to us and said, “I know where it is!” She lead us into the house, upstairs, and to the office closet. The uniform was on the top shelf.

We never let her have a key again.

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It’s Not Therapeutic To Be This Stressed

, , , , , | Working | June 19, 2018

I’m working a normal day at the massage studio when something I’ve never experienced happens.

A client is booked for a session at a certain time with a therapist — let’s call the client Mary — and I greet and check them in, and they wait for their session. As they wait, we even buy a gift card for their friend with her card on file and make another appointment for her. Eventually the therapist comes to get her to take her into session, and everything seems fine.

A minute later, Mary comes in, apologizing for being late for her session. I stare at her with a face of a deer in headlights and ask her to repeat her name. Then, panic sets in. Who’s on the therapist’s table?

I run back to find the therapist before they go in, stating Mary is here for her session, and we now have no idea who is in his room. He has to end up going in there basically saying, “Who are you?” since we’ve greeted her under the assumption that her name is Mary [Last Name], for her session.

Turns out, her name is Kari. Very similar in names! Her session is for the same time, with the same therapist but for tomorrow. Scrambling still continues as I realize I bought a gift card for Kari with Mary’s money!

Thankfully, we are able to get the real Mary scheduled for a new session, her card refunded, and each party happy, but after working at this studio for almost two years, and the therapist for over five years, we’ve never had anything like this happen before!

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This Patient Is Not A Breath Of Fresh Air

, , , , | Healthy | June 18, 2018

(I work at a large, multi-specialty medical office. Access to the back office is restricted, so patients are guided to their rooms by me or by another nurse after they check in. After their appointment, there are signs showing the patients the way out, but unsurprisingly, many ignore them and get lost. My coworker finds a woman wandering the halls.)

Coworker: “Were you looking for the exit? Let me show you the way.”

Woman: “No, I… I’m here to see the pulmonologist.”

(It turns out the woman had never actually checked in, and had just followed another patient into the back office when they were called back! My coworkers and I wondered if she thought she was just going to stumble upon the pulmonologist waiting for her in one of the rooms!)

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