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.)

Camp Misery

, , , | Working | April 16, 2018

(I’ve worked at a camp and outdoor education centre in a remote area for many years. All my interviews for the positions I’ve held have either been on Skype or phone, or at the local branch near where I live. The people who run the camp know that I do not have a car, due to the fact that I’m a recent graduate desperately trying to pay off some student loans. After working a fall session and returning back home to two part-time jobs, one of the supervisors contacts me and suggests applying for an assistant supervisor job that will be all year long. I’m excited about the opportunity, but I remind the supervisor I am without a car and ask if that will be an issue. He assures me it won’t and goes on about how the job would be perfect for me, since I would live onsite and wouldn’t need one. With their insistence, I apply. A day or two later, I get an email asking if I can come up to the camp in two days time for an interview. The camp is four hours away, and the bus to get there doesn’t drive up on the day they are asking. If it did, it would be a full day of travel, and I would have to leave the night before to get there. My parents and friends also work full-time, and asking them to drive me there and back in one day is out of the question. Plus, I am still working my two part-time jobs and it would be impossible to get coverage in just two days. I respond and ask if I could schedule a Skype or phone interview, instead, as finding a ride up so soon would be hard to manage. I don’t think this will be a big deal, as all my past interviews have been this way. To my surprise, I get the following email back:)

Supervisor: “Due to the nature of the job, it is vital that you are here in person to meet with all the program heads. A Skype or phone interview is out of the question.”

(I am confused, as I have never encountered this problem before, and the same supervisor who suggested I apply is saying this. However, I try to honour their request, since I was encouraged to apply.)

Me: “Okay, I unfortunately will be unable to make it to the site on the day requested, as I need to take the bus up. What about a week from that date? And would it be possible to secure a place to stay? The bus won’t be running after I arrive, or I would have to come up the night before.”

(Since I know most of the supervisors and have worked at the camp prior, I don’t think it will be an issue to stay overnight and catch up with the people I have worked with. Well…)

Supervisor: “We were hoping to have interviews done within the week. Furthermore, the site is off-limits to anyone who is not a supervisor as we are getting ready for winter session. The hotels in town are always vacant around this time, though. Let us know and hope to hear from you soon.”

(To clarify, this camp I had worked for forever wanted me to drop everything, spend at least $100 on travel to their location, and then spend another $100 on accommodation for an INTERVIEW. Not even the job, an INTERVIEW. The kicker? The other supervisors already had somebody else in mind for the job and, I found out later, felt that having a vehicle was necessary for the job. Luckily, after that last email, I declined the interview and eventually found work elsewhere. But I shudder to think of if I had gone through all of that for a job I wasn’t going to even get.)

An Uncomfortable Level Of Lunch

, , , , , , | Working | April 15, 2018

I was promoted about a year ago to be general manager for all of our branches in the city. One of my duties is to chair a supervisors’ meeting twice a year. These are usually long and tedious affairs, so to make them bearable, I have all the supervisors over to my house and feed them lunch before having the meeting. This way, everybody gets a good meal, and the meeting can be done on comfortable couches, instead of hard boardroom chairs.

Most of my supervisors are great, or at least good at their jobs, but one of them I have constantly had to speak with about her lousy customer service and basic lack of people skills.

A few weeks after I have had to have another talk with my shoddy supervisor, I receive an email from the union. The email says that they have received an “anonymous” complaint from a member that the supervisors’ meetings are held at my house. They can’t give any reasons for the complaint beyond that it makes the complainant uncomfortable.

So, from now on, all supervisors’ meetings will be held in the windowless boardroom, on hard chairs, and with no food. All in the name of making one supervisor “comfortable.”

If The Shoe Fits

, , , , | Right | April 15, 2018

(I get this call at my office.)

Customer: “I love your company’s sandals, but I hurt myself while hiking!”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that!”

Customer: “They really need to have more protection for the foot. My feet got all cut up on the rocks!”

Me: “Ah. Well, for hiking on rough terrain, sandals might not be your best bet. We have some hiking shoes and boots that might work better for you.”

Customer: “No, I prefer to wear sandals; they’re much more comfortable. I just wish they had something on top to protect my feet.”

Me: “Um, I really think a pair of shoes might be the way to go here.”

Customer: “No, you’re not listening. I want a pair of sandals with an upper to protect my feet!”

Me: “Uh… I’ll pass it along to the design team.”

Politely Leave Them Hanging

, , , , , , | Related | April 13, 2018

My mom is telling me about a very frustrating exchange she had with the customer service of a large bus company, ending with, “…and that’s why I hung up on them.”

I have to stifle a laugh, because I was in the room with her for the end of the call. Most people hang up on someone by simply hanging up without a word. My mom’s version of hanging up on someone is to say, “I’m going to hang up now. Merry Christmas. Goodbye.”

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