That Is A “Pretty” Bad Policy

, , , , | Working | April 21, 2018

(A friend is talking to a woman visiting her sister. The woman is complaining about her expanding business and how annoying it is finding someone to hire. The job in question entails answering the phone, searching their files for the car part the client is inquiring about, and replying whether it’s available. My friend has finished her studies and is unemployed.)

Friend: “I would like to apply, if that’s okay.”

Boss: “Oh, no. I could never hire you; you’re a beautiful girl.”

Friend: “Excuse me? What’s that have to do with anything?”

Boss: “You’ll probably marry soon, and then you’ll get pregnant and leave. I want someone who will work there permanently; I don’t have time or will to train two people to do that job.”

Friend: *taken aback* “So, you’re only hiring men? Wait. I thought you already have a girl working for you.”

Boss: “Well, that’s completely different.”

Friend: “How exactly?”

Boss: “She looks like a man! No one will ever want to date her, let alone sleep with her.”

(Her employee is a beautiful girl who simply prefers sportswear and having her hair cut short.)

Friend: *leaves to stop herself committing murder*

(I don’t know what’s more idiotic: her backward opinions, or her belief that she’ll find someone willing to permanently work at such a low paid menial job. There is a silver lining, however: guess who announced their pregnancy a couple of months later?)

Making It Very Loud And Clear

, , , , , , | Working | April 20, 2018

(I am house-sitting for my uncle while he is recovering from brain surgery, making my commute to work in downtown about 45 minutes through morning traffic. My job as a morning receptionist requires me to open the office doors at seven so that people can come in and get themselves settled in the space. This particular week, we are hosting a group of people who expect the doors to be open promptly at seven, and for the most part I have been on time, if not a few minutes early. On this day, however, I am less than five minutes late to open the doors.)

Me: “Good morning, everyone! Sorry about that. Thank you for being patient.”

Coordinator: *to someone else* “Wow, she’s really pushing her arrival time.”

(I hear this and am a little annoyed, but I ignore her and go about opening the office and getting the morning started. About an hour later, my manager comes in and greets me and everyone else, then heads to his office to get started on his work. At some point the coordinator must speak to him about me being late, because then this happens:)

Manager: “Hey, can I talk to you about something?”

Me: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Manager: “Look. I know you’re watching your uncle’s house and everything while he’s still in the hospital, but I really need you to be here on time. These guys want the doors open at seven, so you need to be here at seven. Again, I know you’re helping your uncle out after his surgery, but please be on time.”

Me: “Okay, I will be.”

(This entire conversation takes place at my desk, at the front of the office, with this entire group in hearing distance, and my manager does not have a quiet voice. I am embarrassed, angry, and confused as to why this conversation wasn’t more private, but I decide to bring it up to him after I’ve cooled off a bit.)

Me: *later* “Hey, [Manager]. Can I—”

Manager: *he stops me* “Hang on. Let me explain. I’m sorry I had to do that right then, but I have a good reason, I swear! That coordinator came over to complain to me that you were late this morning, but it was obvious that it was only by a few minutes, and she was acting like it was the end of the freakin’ world. It really got to me, and I know what you’ve been going through recently, and I just wanted to get them off your back. She was close to your desk getting coffee, and I wanted her to hear, but I’m still sorry.”

Me: *stunned*

Manager: “Yeah, it really bothered me.”

Me: “Yeah, I guess so. Okay, well, I was upset by that, but now that I know what you were doing, I’m not mad anymore! Thanks for doing that.”

Manager: “Great! Let me know if she keeps giving you a hard time.”

(The coordinator was more pleasant with me after that, and it was great knowing that my manager is looking out for me. Also, my uncle has recovered amazingly well.)

Doesn’t Even Sound Good On Paper

, , , , , , , | Working | April 18, 2018

I work in a small, open-plan office in a fairly small company. The husband-and-wife owners of the company don’t seem to want to update anything or invest any money in the company; the windows don’t fully close unless someone pushes on them from the outside, the blinds are damaged so you can always see in, and the computer system is over some early version of Windows with limited processing speed, which crashes on a weekly basis.

One day my boss gets an email — they can’t work out group emails — to say the wife has decided we are using too much stationary, she refuses to buy any more, and she wants us to be a paperless office. This is all despite us lacking the resources to be paperless, and the husband’s insistence that we keep a physical paper trail of every order, invoice, or query the customers have.

We make do as best we can, but eventually I bite the bullet and buy a pack of paper, pens, and a few nice post-its, etc. It’s not much, but when you are earning minimum wage and buying resources which work should be providing, it’s more than I want to spend.

I put all my stationary in my desk the next morning. I come back from lunch to find all of it gone, including a monogrammed pen my mum bought for my birthday. I eventually track it down to the female owner’s office, where she is happily using them. When I confront her about it, she repeats, “Paperless office,” like she is a parrot who has learnt a new phrase. I bite my lip and ask how we are meant to be paperless when we are also expected to keep written notes and print records of all our work. She eventually relents that she might, maybe look at a stationary order, “if it’s such a big deal.” I thank her, take my monogrammed pen from her hand, and walk out her office.

The next day, I replace the stationary and replace the lock on the desk, secure it before I go for lunch, and come back to find my coworkers giggling. Apparently, the female owner had heard I had more stationary and spent five minutes trying to pry open my desk before snatching the post-its from my desktop, screaming, “PAPERLESS OFFICE!”, and storming out.

Treating You Like The Grunt Of The Litter

, , , , | Working | April 18, 2018


Boss: “There is a major project that needs done by next Wednesday. What do you need in assistance to get it handled?”

Me: “Can you cover the [day-to-day grunt work]?”

Boss: “You got it.”

(I decide to quietly go above and beyond and work all weekend. Come Monday morning, I gauge how much I have left to do and estimate I’ll have it done by the end of the day. An hour later:)

Boss: *has no insight into the extra work I did* “That project will be done today, right?”

Me: “Uh… We agreed on Wednesday.”

Boss: “I’m being aggressive with our timeline.”

Me: “Yeah. Today or tomorrow.”

Boss: “Good.”

(By mid-day, I start getting calls from other departments that are waiting on the stuff from [day-to-day grunt work]. I don’t want to throw my boss under the bus, so I say I’m on it and follow up with my boss later.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker in other department] needs that [day-to-day grunt work] done by the end of the day.”

Boss: “Well, I’m caught up in phone calls all day!”

(I end up doing the [day-to-day grunt work], which makes for a 12-hour day after a full weekend, and a delay in my early delivery of the project. Tuesday:)

Boss: *working on something* “Would have been nice to have [project] done to make this easier.”

Me: *letting it slide* “I’m almost done.”

Boss: “I need you to immediately transition back to [day-to-day grunt work].”

(I do, and everything is three to four days behind. Wednesday:)

Boss: “Where are we with [project that hasn’t been discussed in a month]?”

Me: “I’ve been doing [project due today] and focusing on [day-to-day grunt work]. I’ve not had time.”

Boss: “Well, I need to see some progress on that. Don’t feel like you have to do [day-to-day grunt work] on your own; ask for help when you need it.”

Me: “…”

Unique For How Bad It Is

, , , | Working | April 16, 2018

(I am a reporter at a local newspaper. Twice a month, I write a business feature, which showcases a local business. I go in to interview the owner of a sandwich and smoothie shop.)

Me: “There are a lot of cafes like this out there these days. What makes yours unique?”

Business Owner: “Hm. I don’t know. I should probably think of that, hey?”

(I was less than impressed with the whole interview. I didn’t even write the story. He never called to ask why.)

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