How Responsible!

, , , , , , | Working | April 26, 2021

My coworker is passing by a manager.

Coworker: “Hi.”

Manager: “Did you just ask if I was high?”

Coworker: “No, I said, ‘Hi.’”

Manager: “Well, never at work.”

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An Unnatural Fixation With Color

, , , , , | Working | April 21, 2021

This happens around 1993 or so. I’m about thirteen and my cousin is twelve. She is visiting for the summer. My cousin has very bright strawberry blonde hair, and her hair turns VERY bubblegum pink when she gets in a pool. This happens pretty much every summer.

The problem arises after we get to summer camp after a day at the pool and beach. [Cousin] gets called into the director’s office for having an “unnatural” hair color. He doesn’t believe her when she says that she didn’t dye it. Our grandmother comes to pick us up.

Director: “The rules are very clear; this camp does not tolerate unnatural hair colors.”

Nana: “Sir, this is her natural hair color. We went swimming yesterday and the chemicals in the pool turned her hair pink. This happens often and it will fade in a week or two.”

Director: “That won’t do! You will take her home and dye her hair back to a natural color. She will not be allowed back in until then.”

We leave. [Cousin] is in tears, absolutely baffled about what she did wrong to get kicked out of camp. Nana is muttering up a storm. I start laughing.

Nana: “What’s so funny?”

Me: “Well, the director said that cousin’s hair had to be a natural color, not her natural color. Didn’t she want to dye it black a few weeks ago?”

[Cousin]’s ears perk up. Nana gets a rather evil grin and tells me that I’m absolutely right!

Nana: “[Cousin], do you still want to dye your hair black?”

Cousin: “YES! YES, I DO! Are you really going to let me?”

Nana: “Absolutely, let’s go to the beauty store.”

The next day comes. The director calls us back into the office and calls our grandmother to come get us. The director lays into Nana about how this isn’t a “natural color.”

Nana: “Excuse me, black hair most certainly is a natural dang color!”

Director: “It’s not her natural color.”

Nana: “The rules clearly state ‘natural colors.’ Nowhere does it specify that it must be her natural color.”

Director: “WELL, THAT’S WHAT IT MEANS!”

Nana: “So, you mean to tell me that your black hair, your secretary with the flaming red hair, and the super bleached-out platinum blonde instructor are all your natural colors? Because I know darn well they are not! Now, you will stop harassing my grandchildren, or I’m pulling them out of this program, with a full refund, I’m reporting you to the super head honcho—”

My nana is very good friends with the head honcho, and the director knows it.

Nana: “—and I will convince every parent and grandparent to pull their kids. You have no right to harass children and their bodies. I don’t give a s*** if it’s just hair or not! You do not give impressionable kids body image issues.”

True to her word, she pulled us out after he refused to let it drop and got all the parents to pull their kids and place them in the other camp across town run by the same organization. The head honcho fired the director since numbers got too low to keep his camp open and transferred anyone who wanted to keep their jobs to the other camp. No one was sad to see him go, and the transferred employees were much happier being out from under that tyrant. [Cousin] never heard another peep about her “unnatural” hair.

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Something About Catching More Flies With Honey…

, , , , | Working | April 21, 2021

One of our biggest customers has a major incident on their site and they ask our owner for help. He promises them we will help and, as without them we don’t really have jobs, we all pitch in to help.

Everyone is pulling long days, extra help is pulled in, temps are hired. Everyone is trying to do their job as well as help the customer. It is pretty intense, but at the same time, everyone working together under crisis brings us all together.

I’m working long hours to do my work and others. I’m also one of the few people to have any experience in the customer’s software, so this makes me very busy.

After a few months, the customer starts to recover and we slowly return to normal. A big meeting is called by the owner for all the team. I am quietly expecting good things.

Owner: “I just want to thank everyone for their support and dedication. [Customer] is recovering and has placed one of their biggest orders ever with us. We have become their preferred supplier. This is excellent news for the company and all of us. As a sign of appreciation, we have arranged for individual gifts for all of you. We have some surprises later on in the year, too.”

Human Resources Manager: “Please come forward when I call your name so I can check you off the list.”

I see people being called forward and they return with little handmade gift sets, bottles of wine, etc. I get called over next.

Human Resources Manager: “Here you are, and thanks.”

She hands me a small bunch of flowers.

Me: “Flowers?”

Human Resources Manager: “Yes, and thank you for your support.”

Me: “I’ve worked over 200 hours this month. Everyone else has personalised gifts and you give me a bunch of flowers? What does a bloke want with flowers?”

Human Resources Manager: “Well, we didn’t know what you liked.”

Me: “Sure, whatever, real nice, I feel very valued. Keep your flowers.”

I realise I’ve made a scene. I worry how I’ve come across but I’m angry about how little they made an effort. I go back to my desk and get on with it.

I decide to decline all further overtime. This leaves them stuck without anyone to work the software, the work starts backing up, people start to get stressed, and they start talking of hiring someone who can work the customer’s software. Just as I think I might have to help out again, I get a request to go to HR.

Human Resources Manager: “I am really sorry; the way I acted wasn’t acceptable. I should have treated you fairly. I talked to the owner and he wanted you to have this.”

She gave me a bottle of whiskey — my favorite — with a handwritten note, thanking me personally for the work I’d been doing. I did end up helping out after that.

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We Want Solutions That Involve Changing Nothing

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

I work as a contractor, taking roles in companies that are having serious quality problems. 

Having worked for several companies in many industries, I have gotten pretty good at finding out why problems occur and how to fix them.

This one company is having major issues with deliveries to their main customer. Every month, they are sent a list of missing parts. The company has to make a load of spares and then airfreight them across the globe to get them delivered in time.

The company is sure that their supplier is making it up but can’t prove it. 

My first step is the packing area, I am introduced to a hate-filled, haggard woman that initially refuses to look at me. I’m told she is the person that packs everything and of course could make no mistakes. 

Me: “Hi, my name is [My Name]. I’ve been asked to help out with [Customer].”

The woman ignores me.

Me: “Perhaps you could help me understand what might be the issue?”

Woman: “Well, they’re making it up, aren’t they!”

Me: “Okay. Do we have any paperwork that proves what we packed?”

Woman: “Oh, I knew this would happen. What has it been, five minutes? And you are blaming me?”

Me: “I didn’t say anything about blame.”

Woman: “No, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”

And she refuses to speak to me. I catch up with the owner. He is as limp as wet lettuce and makes some stupid excuse not to deal with her. He asks me to try again tomorrow. So I do.

Me: “Good morning! Can we chat?”

Woman: “I suppose.”

Me: “So, we need to prove that the customer is losing these parts.”

Woman: “I don’t see what the fuss is about. They cost pennies to make.”

Me: “And hundreds of pounds to replace and ship, every month. I was told that because of these complaints, the company is barely making any money.”

Woman: “I don’t see what that has to do with me!”

I spent a month trying to work through the problems, being ignored by staff, and trying to wet nurse the directors. I eventually found a foolproof, quick, and cheap solution to fix the problem. However, the directors were too scared to implement it, in case it inconvenienced the staff.

I told the company they were wasting their money hiring me if they would not implement my solutions and respectfully ended my contract early.

They call me from time to time to come back in and help. I decline.

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Over Time, This Can Become Very Frustrating

, , , , , , | Working | April 19, 2021

I work for the local council. Due to the current health crisis, we have had to close the office and work from home. This means helping the contact centre. It’s not difficult as we did more or less the same job face to face. The only difference is we help with applications (Blue Badge for disabled residents, Bus Pass applications, Council Benefit applications, etc.).

After the second lockdown, we ran a limited service from the local library. This was to try and be as “normal” as possible. But to adhere to social distancing, we had to book appointments instead of a walk-in service. As soon as the third lockdown hit, the library closed. So that customers wouldn’t lose their appointments, we instead worked overtime and weekends to help customers with applications over the phone. That’s something we can’t normally do due to needing photographs, documents, etc., but we’re trying our best to provide the service even though it is much more limited.

I decide to do a bit of overtime to help with these appointments. My manager sends me three tasks to complete during my one-hour overtime: two that will take around fifteen minutes each and one that will take around half an hour. Therefore, I will finish at 6:00 pm. My manager sends me two of the tasks and keeps referring to the third. However, he has not sent it to me. I keep asking for it to be sent to me as I do not have it, but she keeps implying that I have deleted the email. At 5:00 pm, my manager is showing as “offline,” so any emails or messages I send will not be picked up straight away. I complete the two applications which take around forty-five minutes and then pick up some emails for the remaining time.

I log on the next morning and the first thing I see is an email from my manager containing the last task. 

Manager: “This was in my drafts.”

It was sent at 6:18 pm. No apology. I was also suffering from a flu — tested negative for the health crisis illness, thankfully — and had informed my manager of this. There was no sympathy at all. I decided not to do any more overtime.

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