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Or The Third Option: Music!

, , , , , | Working | June 22, 2022

This conversation takes place over instant messaging at work.

Me: “Can I take April fifteenth as a vacation day?”

Boss: “No problem. Trouble with taxes?”

Me: “No, actually, it’s death.”

Boss: “?!”

Me: “The fifteenth is Good Friday, and my choir has several services to cover.”

Boss: “Ah, the other certainty of life. Break a leg.”

At Least They’ll Be Warm?

, , , , , , | Friendly Related | June 15, 2022

It’s 2020. My son is a very social young man — fifteen years old — and the world situation has made him turn to online services to keep in touch with his friends.

One of his friends is very religious and in a way where certain “ways of life” means you go to Hell. Over several weeks, if not months, my son comes down and tells me about conversations with this friend.

Son: “[Friend] says all nonbelievers go to Hell. And if you do drugs or drink alcohol, same. Stop!”

Son: “[Friend] says transgender people and gays get a hot ‘ever after’ when they die, too.”

Son: “[Friend]’s not talking to me anymore.”

Me: “Why is that, kiddo?”

Son: “Today, we talked about food, and [Friend] said [Friend #2] is going to Hell.”

[Friend #2] is from a different country, and apparently, his diet and religion means he is doomed. 

I tell [Friend] that with all these rules, Hell sounds more and more like a place I would prefer over Heaven. Then he says all my other friends will be in Heaven while [Friend #2] and I are in Hell, and we will be lonely.

And I say, “No, not by your account.” And now he has blocked me, as well as my son.

Me: “I’m sorry. Are you okay?”

Son: “Yeah, I guess. He’s been my friend for years, but it’s getting to be too much. I’m not going to say I’m sorry, because I’m not, but if he unblocks me and plays it off as if nothing happened, I’m fine with that.”

He stops to think for a while, before bellowing a laugh.

Son: “If not, I probably won’t see him again until Hell.”

And he walked off, laughing about his clever remark.

It’s now 2022 and they ARE talking. His friend is still very religious but better at accepting different cultures and religions and not so quick to judge others.

From Name Games To Guessing Games

, , , , , | Working | June 13, 2022

My (large, multi-national) company uses a standard email format, as most do, so if you know the format, you can usually guess someone’s email address. I have a very common last name but was the first person with that last name and my first initial, so I got the standard setup. If my name is Jennifer Smith, I got smithj@[address].

A couple of years after I started, Jane Smith started. They set up her email as smith.jane@[address]. She’s in a different country and has a completely different role from me. I get a lot of emails addressed to her from people who are just guessing at her email address. Sometimes it’s stuff really for Jane, which I forward. Other times, it’s generic spam. This morning I found this in my inbox:

Emailer: “Good morning, Jane Smith! Are we reaching the right person in a company to market/sell your products or services?”

The Boss Has The Right Idea

, , , , , , | Working | June 7, 2022

Since I work from home, my bosses and coworkers and I all communicate mostly via email, instant message, or Voice over Internet Protocol phone calls. This takes place over IM. I’m just coming back from being off for a minor illness after a few days. A month before that happened, I was out due to a badly sprained wrist that left me unable to type. All the spelling errors I’ve left in this story are intentional as they are exactly as I typed them to my boss.

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], are you doing okay? I saw you’ve put in for most of your sick leave all at once. You never use your leave, so I just wanted to check in.”

Me: “Well, the PTO for yesgerday and today is because I dislocated my ankle and am on very strong painfkilsers.”

Boss: “OUCH! Take the time you need. Just wanted to make sure you’re doing okay. At least you don’t have the flu anymore! How’s your wrist, by the way?”

Me: “The sick leave next week is for my surgical thing.”

Boss: “Oh, my gosh, you need surgery on your ankle? Or wait, your wrist?”

Me: “No tis’ unrelation.”

I then fell asleep for several hours and woke up to clarify.

Me: “Next week, I’m having jaw surgery. Not ankle related.”

Boss: “[My Name], I am going to wrap you in bubble wrap.”

Me: “You’re not the first person to suggest that.”

A few days after my surgery, a care package from my boss arrived. It was bubble wrap!

Letting The Little Things Twirl You Up In Knots

, , , , | Working | May 31, 2022

I’m a “floater” for a bank. This means I go to multiple locations and fill in if they’re short-staffed. On this particular day, I’m at a branch that I don’t like and it’s been a bad day. I am sitting at a teller window between two coworkers.

When I’m nervous or stressed, I tend to twirl my hair. It’s a habit I’m trying to break by keeping it in a ponytail or braid. It doesn’t work today; I start twirling the ponytail. [Coworker #1] starts typing. A few seconds later, I hear [Coworker #2]’s computer ding. We have an internal chat window that we can use to message others in the branch. [Coworker #2]’s screen is turned toward me, so I see the message that pops up on the screen.

Coworker #1: “If [My Name] doesn’t stop twirling that stupid ponytail right now, I’m going to come up behind her and CHOP IT OFF! Why do we always get stuck with her?!”

[Coworker #2] turns and looks at me with a horrified expression. She quickly closes her chat window. We both stare at [Coworker #1].

Coworker #1: “What?”

She’s giving us a ferocious scowl.

Coworker #2: “Never mind.”

Meanwhile, I’ve got just enough smarta** in me to poke back. While staring at [Coworker #1], I start obviously twirling my ponytail again. I don’t say anything and I do not break eye contact.

Coworker #1: “What is wrong with you today?”

I stared her down until she let out an annoyed yell and stomped off. I told my boss, and she didn’t send me back there for several months. When I did eventually go back, they were much nicer.