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Follow. The. Instructions.

, , , , , , | Working | August 4, 2021

Boss: “Can you teach [Coworker] how to take data off [machine]?”

Me: “I don’t know how to.”

Boss: “Oh, it’s simple. Here, I’ll write it down.”

Me: “[Coworker] has been using that kit for a year. If it’s this simple, why can’t he do it already?”

Boss: “You’ll see. If you manage to teach him, I will buy you lunch.”

Spurred on by the chance of free lunch, I go down to the machine, follow the instructions, and manage to do it okay. I rewrite the instructions to be a little clearer and even draw pictures of the icons. I book some time with [Coworker].

Me: “Let’s go through this together. Have you got something to take notes?”

Coworker: “No, I’ve done this before. I will be fine.”

Me: “Okay, if you insist. First, click on the blue icon called…”

We slowly go through the steps. We find a couple of steps he wasn’t doing properly, so I figure we have cracked it.

A few days later…

Boss: “Did you train [Coworker] yet? There is no data from the machine.”

Me: “Yes, I went through it with him. I proved it was working myself, and then when he did it we proved it again.”

Boss: “Go train him again. There is no data for the last few days.”

I go through it with him again. He is making the same mistakes as last time, so I print a copy of my instructions and tape it to the machine. A week or so later…

Boss: “[Coworker] tells me he can’t get the data off the machine. He says you didn’t explain it properly or the instructions were wrong. I don’t know, but can you get down there and check?”

Me: “It’s literally six steps and it works when you follow the very clear instructions. I will go talk with him.”

I go down.

Me: “Okay, [Coworker]. Show me what’s wrong. Hang on, where are your instructions?”

Coworker: “I don’t know. They must have fallen off!”

They were taped on, so I know he is lying.

Me: “Well, it’s a good job I have spares — one for the machine, one for you, and one I will put on the notice board. Now, can you show me what isn’t working?”

He starts the process, again doing it his way and not the right way. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. We repeat it following my instructions and it works perfectly the first time.

Me: “Okay, I have proven this way works several times. Every time you have an issue, you aren’t following the instructions. I’m going to let [Boss] know it works following the instructions.”

He grumbled something, but I didn’t listen. I let our boss know what was happening. [Coworker] didn’t tell anyone but he had three more issues the following week and decided to stop doing it altogether.

No one else in the department had his issue. Eventually, my boss went down and walked him through the same paperwork, word for word. Suddenly, [Coworker] understood completely and gushed about how easy it was and how [Boss] had described it so well — if only “someone” did it sooner. My boss told him to stop being stupid and treat me with respect.

He never seemed to have an issue again.

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You Do You And We Get Screwed

, , , , | Working | July 29, 2021

I’ve worked at the front desk for a motel for nearly ten years. We are the closest town to [Winery], which hosts big-name concerts throughout the summer — think names like Santana, BB King, ZZ Top, etc. I worked the swing shift (3:00 pm to 11:00 pm) during one of those prior to this story, and it was h***. We worked solo most of the time, and big events like this made for very long days. Outside temps got 100 degrees, and our lobby had one small air conditioner that was too far away and too small to do any good. It was eight hours of being hot and miserable on a good day; the concert crowd was just the icing on the cake.

The next summer, I looked at the schedule and saw that I was off when a huge country singer was playing the winery. I was excited, not because I could go to the concert (not my flavor), but because I didn’t have to deal with the shift.

Then, my boss told me that she needed me there, because it was [Coworker]’s scheduled shift and he needed help. While [Coworker] had been with us a few months, he had a tendency to be late to his shifts by as much as an hour. He always had an excuse, and we were hurting for people (because, to be honest, the job sucked, the pay was terrible, and the manager wasn’t great), so he didn’t get fired.

The concert day arrives, and I show up to work the shift, but [Coworker] is nowhere to be found. I’m not surprised. [Boss] tells me to give him a call, so I do, leaving a voicemail. [Boss] then leaves, and I begin doing what I can to stay ahead of the impending storm.

By 4:15, concert-goers are all lining up, ready to check in before getting their country on. My lobby is full, my line is out the door, and people are starting to get impatient. I call [Coworker] again, leave another voicemail, and then get back to it.

By 4:45, I see that I’m running dangerously low on key cards, so I call my boss and tell her I need more; they’re locked in her office. I also mention that [Coworker] still hasn’t shown. She has me call again. I do so and leave another voicemail.

It is now 5:30. [Boss] arrives, gets me another box of key cards, and starts handling guests, as well. The phone rings.

Me: “[Motel], [City], how may I help you?”

Coworker: “Hey, it’s me. I got your voicemails.”

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]! Great! Are you on your way? I really need your help tonight.”

Coworker: “Yeah, about that… I’m quitting.”

Me: “Wait, what?”

Coworker: “Yeah, I’m just not making enough to make it worth coming in.”

Me: *Pauses* “I’m going to hand you over to [Boss].”

I hand the phone over and [Boss] goes into the office while I deal with the still sizable line of increasingly angry guests. After a few minutes, [Boss] comes out and helps finish the line. She then vents for a couple of minutes.

Boss: “Of course, [Coworker] isn’t making enough money! You don’t make money when you don’t come in on time!”

With all the concert-goers finally taken care of, she left.

I don’t miss that job.

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