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The Best Way To Judge Someone’s Character

, , , , , , , , | Working | February 1, 2023

Back in the 1960s, my father-in-law took early retirement. He and my mother-in-law set about building their own house in rural Wales and lived in a small caravan on the site. He hired bricklayers and roofers but did everything else himself with help from my husband and me.

When he reached the stage of needing the interior walls plastered, he asked around but could not find a plasterer who was willing or available to do the job. Then, one day, a man came to the door and offered his services, saying he was a plasterer who had been made redundant and fallen on hard times, and he and his little dog were sleeping in a nearby farm’s barn.

[Father-In-Law] was a bit sceptical about his story, but [Mother-In-Law] looked at the dog and realised that, although the man looked scruffy, the dog was well-fed and happy. She persuaded [Father-In-Law] to give him a chance, so he was told to plaster one small room as a trial.

He made a great job of that room and was hired to do the rest of the house, while my [Mother-In-Law] made sure he had one good meal each day. With the money the plasterer made, he was able to find somewhere to stay. Following recommendations from my in-laws, he was able to get more work, and he went from strength to strength, all thanks to [Mother-In-Law] noticing that he had taken good care of his little dog through his rough times.

Sounds Like A Pain In The Butt

, , , , , , | Working | November 28, 2022

I work at a sign and vinyl application franchise. We do a lot of corporate signage, but occasionally, we get unique orders for use of our vinyl stock.

I answered the phone one day for a client whose business was in glass installation. He explained that he needed a reorder of a product he’d gotten in June: a three-by-five-foot protective vinyl application to a matching-sized pane of glass. 

We went through a few details and he mentioned that this time, the glass they’d bring in for production would be nearly an inch thick.

He explained that the client to whom he’d be supplying the glass had the pane as part of a glass coffee table. And three months after they’d installed the first one, an employee sat on top of it and completely cracked it, completely ruining it.

I kept my voice steady for the rest of the call — the poor guy sounded so dejected — but I couldn’t stop giggling at the thought of some poor employee finding out the hard way that you shouldn’t sit on glass coffee tables.

Painting Yourself In A Terrible Light

, , , , , | Working | October 26, 2022

I was running a painting crew. This guy begged me for a few hours of work. He said nothing was beneath him and he needed a real paycheck to get his parole officer off his back.

Me: “I have a bunch of grunt work you can do. I’ll pay you fairly, but the work sucks and I can’t promise you a role as a painter. If you want this, you need to prove yourself as a hard worker.”

New Guy: “No problem! When can I start?” 

I told him to show up the next day with clothes that he could get dirty and plenty of water.

When the next day rolled around, he showed up forty-five minutes late, and he was all dressed up. It was not a good first impression, but I gave the kid a chance. I set him up with a five-in-one tool and an area about 20 m² (200 ft²) to scrape old paint off of.

Even for a new guy, it was, at best, four hours of work.

I checked up on him after about forty-five minutes. I immediately raised my eyebrows. He had scraped about a quarter of a square meter (3 ft²) of the area and was texting when I walked down. I retrained him, gave him a specific target for the next hour, and left.

I came back an hour later. He was still texting.

He had done half of what I’d asked him to, and he was acting like he had done me a favor.

Me: “This is unskilled labor. All you need to do is move your tool over the old paint. You aren’t keeping up. I don’t want to see you on your phone again.”

The third time I came to check on him, he was sitting down texting in the shade.

Me: “What’s up?” 

New Guy: “Scraping paint sucks. When do I get to be a painter?”

Me: “You don’t. I didn’t need any painters. I hired you as a favor. Pick up the pace. I expect you to finish scraping this in the next hour.”

I came back down an hour later. If you guessed it, give yourself a cookie: he was texting. He had accomplished about 25% of what I had asked.

New Guy: “So, do you have any water? Also, when’s lunch?”

Me: *Thoroughly done* “Lunch is right now, and a storm is coming, so just take the next few days off.”

I swung by his house with a paycheck for the few hours he had worked that day, told him I’d found a more experienced guy, and wished him the best.

A few weeks later, he had an “amazing offer” for me. He asked me to launder his substance-dealing profits into paychecks from my company, and he would give me the grand rate of five dollars for every 200 dollars I paid out to him.

I declined. He’s a successful real estate agent now, but I’d never buy a house from him.

The New Manager’s Head Must Be Filled With Concrete

, , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: codeegan | October 7, 2022

I drive a concrete truck. We deliver ready-mix concrete throughout a fairly large area. Keep in mind that concrete has a shelf life of ninety minutes once water mixes with the cement. This is very important on “spec jobs”.

Our company uses a routing and tracking system I will call the Terrible System. If there is a good route or less than good route, it chooses the worst route of all routes possible. After working with it for a short time, this was noted. During training, new drivers are told to use it for the final part of the route only. The problem is that every time one doesn’t follow a route, an alert is sent to management. Early in using Terrible System, managers found a way to turn off these alerts.

A new manager starts. After a year, he brings up in meetings that drivers are not following Terrible System’s routing. Multiple times we tell him that it gives us the worst and longest routes. He doesn’t listen.

After six months, [New Manager] states that drivers will be written up if we continue to not follow Terrible System routing. Drivers don’t listen. A few days after this pronouncement, a fellow driver is written up. This is talked about.

Cue malicious compliance! The next day, on my second load, I have to take a load to a location I’ve had before. It is fifteen miles east of the plant and then a ten-mile leg north. Following that route takes about forty-five minutes or less. We have been going to this job site for three months now and know that Terrible System gives a much longer route. I am the first truck of four and note on the radio that we need to follow the Terrible System route as directed. Off I go!

The route it takes me is southeast thirteen miles and then north on an interstate highway thirty-five miles, including a chicken coop (a weigh station — trucks are chronically overweight for interstate). Then, it takes me east through a large metro area for twenty miles, followed by the last leg south for about fifteen miles. It takes 125 minutes for me (Terrible System gave an estimated travel time of 140 minutes, so I did well).

I arrive, and I’m timed out. I’m rejected, and that costs the company $1,000 for the concrete, not to mention the twenty gallons of fuel I burned. The second and third trucks are the same. The fourth truck is stopped at the chicken coop and the company has a $500 fine.

The customer is pissed and calls [New Manager] screaming! [New Manager] asks to talk to me.

Me: “We followed [Terrible System]’s routing as directed; you can check that easily.”

The next day, a sign was posted in the break room stating that drivers are to use professional discretion in choosing the best and most expeditious routes to jobs.

We Just Want To Know What The Wallpaper Looked Like

, , , , , , | Working | September 22, 2022

My husband used to work putting up wallpaper in large, rich-people houses. He’s very direct. When he works, he tends to hyper-focus on the job, and he doesn’t really understand social cues.

His boss, the owner of the company, is an older, fairly friendly guy, but he’s as conservative as the average person in this state. One day, he comes up to my husband with a weird expression.

Boss: *In a low whisper* “[Husband]! [Husband]! Our client… The owner of this house… He’s married!”

Husband: *Pauses* “Okay.”

Boss: “No, you don’t understand. He’s married… to another man!”

Husband: *Genuinely confused* “What does that have to do with the wallpaper?”

Boss: “Nothing, but our client is, well… It’s weird!”

Husband: *Pauses again* “I agree, the wallpaper is a strange choice, but it’s what they wanted.”

Boss: “No, they’re two men living and being married here. In this house! How can they even afford a place like this?”

Husband: “I’m sorry, what does that have to do with the wallpaper?”

Boss: “ARGH! Never mind!”

The boss grumbled to himself as he walked away. My husband didn’t work with him for long after that.