This Story Alllllmost Checks All The Boxes

, , , | Working | January 4, 2021

I am working as a trainer in an establishment in Saudi Arabia. My colleagues and I have devised a series of training courses and tests which, over a period of three years, we are to ensure that all our trainees pass, no matter what.

We will leave aside the question about the ethics of making sure everyone passes, whether or not they are actually competent to fill the position for which they are ostensibly being trained.

As an end product of this, we are then to record the overall results of these training courses in a folder by means of checkboxes where we are to enter ticks in the appropriate fields. And on final completion of all our forms, we then pass them on to our superiors in the establishment, who then stamp them as “approved.”

The years progress, and we manage to achieve our aim of getting our trainees through the training courses as required. We submit the forms and wait for feedback.

All are returned as “rejected”. We are told we have failed as trainers, and we will not receive the credit for having achieved our aim.

We go ballistic, as you’d expect. We demand to be told WHY the forms have all been rejected.

We are led into the office of the superior who issued the rejections where we have this meeting together with his boss. They look at the forms with faces that look as though they are inspecting sour milk for the presence of insect life. The superior gives us a verdict.

Superior: “Unacceptable. The ticks have not been placed neatly enough in the boxes.”

It turns out that some of the ticks had been allowed to stray a millimetre or two outside the boxes assigned for them. For such an outrageous breach of regulations and protocol, we all have been deemed to have failed our task, and the three years are all for nothing.

Naturally, our ire is incensed, and we raise the matter with our line management at our firm who contracted us out. Colourful language is employed, as would be expected. The question is escalated.

In the end, the director of the entire management structure was sent in, complete with his entire team of support staff, to the establishment to which we were assigned. A top-level meeting was held with the trainers, together with the gentlemen whose job it had been to approve our training reports.

The verdict was that the Saudi nationals who were trying to get away without paying the consulting firm for their work were instructed sternly not to turn this business into a “pissing contest.” The decision to mark the reports as non-compliant was overturned, and we were offered official congratulations from the REAL movers and shakers of the establishment for having achieved our aims of having trained the team to the required standard.

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Some Bosses Have No Principals

, , , , , , | Healthy | January 4, 2021

I teach high school, and I am going through an unknown medical ailment for which I am undergoing a battery of tests. This happens over text, as I’m updating my principal as to what is going on.

Me: “I’ve just finished with my spinal tap. They said I can work, but I may end up with a debilitating headache, so would someone be able to cover my class if I need to go lay down for an hour? Or should I just take the day off?”

Boss: “It’s too hard to find a sub. If you need it, we will find someone to cover your class.”

A few hours later, I get a call from my doctor. I’m told to check myself into the ER based on the results of my spinal tap. I text the principal again.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t come in tomorrow after all. I’m currently at the hospital; my doctor told me to go to the ER immediately when he got the results of my spinal tap.”

Boss: “Seriously? You know how hard it is to find subs. You’ve put me in a very difficult spot here. When will you be back?”

Me: “I can’t tell you. I haven’t been told anything besides, ‘Check yourself into the ER,’ at this point. I’m guessing it’s going to be at least a couple of days.”

Boss: “I hope you know what a terrible inconvenience this is for us. You know we have a hard time getting subs, and especially at this late notice and without any information, it’s going to be difficult to cover your time off. You’ve already taken off a good portion of this year and now you’re taking off more time?”

I recently gave birth to my first child and took maternity leave. At this point, I’m sobbing, terrified of not knowing what’s medically wrong with me, and feeling terrible for having to take off because of my boss’s comments. It takes my husband an hour to calm me down.

For the record, I wound up in the hospital for nearly a week and went back to work with an IV still in my arm for continued treatment at home. I was not sad at all when I left after that year ended. And no, my boss never so much as asked me how I was doing at any point through the entire ordeal.

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Time To Salsa Dance Your Way To A New Neighborhood

, , , , , , | Working | December 31, 2020

When I am in college, I work at a restaurant for a little extra cash, and I do mean “a little.” I work the off hours, during the day on weekdays and the occasional weeknight, and I’m not even making enough tips to get up to minimum wage. The owner is supposed to pay me the amount it falls short, but I don’t realize that at the time, and he just marks that I get my tips in cash. The restaurant is only two blocks from my apartment and I often write during downtime, so I don’t worry about it too much. 

After months of barely making anything, Valentine’s Day comes up, which just so happens to fall on one of my weeknights. We have a fancy prix fixe menu and the whole restaurant is booked. The day before:

Owner: “I’m going to have another waitress come in to help you out since there will be so many customers tomorrow.”

I’m usually alone on that shift. I am a little disappointed but I understand. There are only around ten tables in the restaurant, so I could have handled it. 

Valentine’s night, we each start serving our half of the restaurant, but we also start getting orders for delivery with no delivery guy in the restaurant. I call the owner to ask him what we should do.

Owner: “Run the deliveries, and [Other Waitress] will handle the tables.”

Me: “I would be making hundreds of dollars in tips serving those tables, and if I run deliveries? Twenty at most. No.”

When I start giving my reasons, he acts like he can’t hear me and hangs up. I call him back and he doesn’t answer. I keep calling until he does.

Owner: “Run the deliveries or leave.”

I’ve finally had enough.

Me: “Okay.”

I hang up, leave the restaurant, and never go back. 

The owner keeps trying to call me, both that night and in the coming weeks, but I don’t answer. He has other waitresses call me for months — literal months — asking for me to cover their shifts because he says they can’t stay home when they are sick unless I cover them.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I don’t work there.”

One time, the owner sees me walking in my neighborhood and swerves off the road onto the grass next to the sidewalk I am on to jump out and talk to me.

Owner: “We’re friends, aren’t we? Please come back!”

It got really creepy after a while. One time, he even sent me an emoji of two people salsa dancing with the message, “This reminds me of us.”

Needless to say, I avoided that restaurant like the plague for the rest of the time I lived there. I’d cross the street to not walk past it or go the back ways to avoid the main road. In the end, living two blocks away wasn’t as convenient as I thought!

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Just Another Frustrated Cog In The Machine

, , , , | Working | December 30, 2020

I work at a large store. My manager always puts customers before her employees. 

Manager: “[Coworker], did you purposely embarrass a customer?”

Coworker: “How did I embarrass them?”

Manager: “She said you ran her card twice after it had already been declined once. You shouldn’t embarrass people like that.”

Coworker: “I wasn’t trying to embarrass her. I thought it was the machine’s fault.”

Manager: “We literally fixed those machines two days ago! I’m afraid you’ll have to be written up for this.”

My coworker walked away, confused. I know for a fact that my coworker wasn’t trying to be malicious, but at the same time, she’s not the brightest crayon in the box.

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Read It And Weep

, , , | Working | December 29, 2020

After lunch, I’m called into the store manager’s office. I’m a new hire, hired to manage two departments in a large store.

Manager: “I’ve had complaints that you aren’t being social on your lunch breaks.”

Me: “Huh?”

Manager: “I’m told that you don’t watch shows with the other staff; instead you isolate yourself, reading books and making other staff feel like you’re looking down on them.”

Me: “So… you called me in here because I choose to read a book while I eat my lunch instead of watching reruns of soaps?”

Manager: “Yes. The other staff feel like you’re looking down on them because you’re reading instead of being part of the team.”

Me: “You’re messing with me, right?”

Manager: “…”

Me: “I’m actually in here because I’m, what, literate?”

Manager: “Well…”

Me: “Huh.”

And that was just one of the reasons I left that insanely toxic — and now-closed — chain of British shops. Apparently, being literate and expecting grown-a** people in full-time employment to act like adults was just too much for these folk.

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