Who Doesn’t Love Unsolicited Advice?

, , , , , | Working | January 1, 2021

I recently got a job at a dealership. It has quickly become apparent that one of my coworkers is going to be a problem. I was hired to replace a cashier that was moving to a different state, and this coworker fills in while I finish my last two weeks at my old job. There are only two cashiers on any given day: one in the morning and one in the evening.

I am not that good at confrontations, especially in situations like this where I’m trying to learn.

On my first day, the official trainer can’t train me because she’s the accountant and she has to do her end-of-the-month stuff. Apparently, the problem coworker thought I would be by myself the next morning — my second day — and was upset when she was told she had to work the morning cashier shift because she hates being a cashier.

I’m scheduled at 2:30, but I punch in around 2:20 and head to my station, which is basically a locked room with plexiglass at the counter with only a small opening to pass things through. The problem coworker is there.

Coworker: “What time were you supposed to get here?”

Me: “Two-thirty. I know I’m a little early. I’m still waiting for [Trainer].”

Coworker: “That’s the problem with twenty-somethings. They don’t know how to get anywhere on time. You should always be here fifteen or twenty minutes early. We open at seven, so you should be set up and ready to go at seven.” 

I anxiously wait for the trainer to arrive. When she still hasn’t arrived by 2:50, I start to wonder if she forgot she was training me today.

Me: “I wonder where [Trainer] is.”

Coworker: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Do you have her number to call her?”

Coworker: “No. I don’t get anybody’s number and no one has mine. [Dealership] isn’t paying for my phone, so nothing work-related is going on it. If I need to call out, I know the number for the dealership. And you’ll never see me on my phone while I’m at work. My family knows to call here if there’s an emergency and they need to get a hold of me.”

Thankfully, a manager walks by a few minutes later and calls the trainer for me. She is stuck in traffic and finally shows up an hour late. I go about my day and the trainer asks if I’m comfortable doing the morning shift by myself the next day. I do agree to try the morning shift after being reassured that I don’t really do anything until about nine or ten, and the trainer will be in around 9:45.

The next morning, I show up at 6:50 and start my opening tasks. By 7:15, I’ve finished everything and I’m scrolling through Facebook on my phone when guess who shows up? The coworker thought that once again she would be the morning cashier. She offers to stay with me, and while I’m glad to not be alone, I wish I was with anyone else. I decide not to point out that she was the one ranting about how you should always be twenty minutes early when she herself was fifteen minutes late.

I get a transaction around eight. The money-taking part is easy; it’s logging the money properly that I’m not fully comfortable with, but I have notes and I start to do it the way I was trained.

Coworker: “Okay, stop what you’re doing. You’re doing it wrong. Don’t listen to the twenty-somethings; they don’t know what they’re doing. They make things way more complicated than they need to be.” 

Me: “But this is how [Trainer] and [Other Cashier] showed me how to do it.”

Coworker: “Trust me, I’m sixty-something. I’ve been around way longer than they have. How old are you anyway?”

Me: “Twenty-six.”

Coworker: “You’re older than I thought.”

I get this a lot. Most people think I’m nineteen to twenty-two.

Coworker: “Anyway, the only thing the twenty-somethings are good at is Excel. I’m assuming you know how to use Excel.”

Me: “Yes.”

I’m thinking to myself that I’m a business major and had to take a computer class for business majors where 80% of the assignments were based around Excel, but she starts ranting again. I mostly tune her out at this point.

A little while later, we’re bored with nothing to do.

Coworker: “Let’s scan some documents. I know [Former Cashier that moved away] would scan sometimes in the mornings when it’s slow.”

Me: “I don’t know how to do that. They didn’t show me.”

Coworker: “Well, it’s not rocket science. All you do is push some buttons.”

I’m thinking, “It may as well be rocket science since I don’t know what I’m doing because it’s only my third day!” She shows me how to scan old documents into the computer. While I do that, a worker from another department waves hello as he passes. I would estimate that about 40-50% of the workers at the dealership speak both English and Spanish. The worker who waves is Hispanic, and I acknowledge him through the plexiglass barricade.

Coworker: “Yeah, that’s [Hispanic Coworker]. He’s nice, but his spelling is atrocious. I keep saying that if people would just learn to speak proper, then there wouldn’t be as many spelling errors in the world. Most words are spelled like they sound. I mean, [Other Coworker] always says, ‘idear,’ instead of, ‘idea.’ It’s spelled like it sounds. Like, people from Boston don’t speak proper.”

I mentally bang my head into the desk and resist the urge to say, “Okay, boomer,” and risk getting fired after only three days. I have to listen to her rant about grammar, twenty-somethings, how the other cashier doesn’t keep anything in a “logical place,” and how to properly file things — something else the other cashier apparently doesn’t know how to do “correctly” — for another hour and a half until the trainer comes in to check on me. I am honestly so horrified at some of the things I hear that I don’t know how to respond.

I pray for customers to come so she will shut up for a few minutes. When I do have customers, she watches me like a hawk and makes me super nervous, but she makes sure I logged everything “the right way.” As soon as the trainer comes in to check on me around ten, the problem coworker leaves.

Trainer: “I am so sorry you had to be stuck with her all morning. Everybody kind of hates her, but we can’t get rid of her. Do you need help with anything?”

Me: “Yes. Help me undo everything. She was having me do stuff all out of order, and she had me separate the receipts from the invoices, and I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.”

The trainer helps me get organized and settled. Thankfully, there isn’t too much to do, and she tells me to page her if I need anything. I manage to get into a rhythm and I’m feeling more confident. A while later, the problem coworker stops by.

Coworker: “How are you doing?”

Me: “Good…” *waits for her to leave* “…now that you aren’t here.”

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The Pun Train Keeps Motoring On

, , , , | Working | December 17, 2020

I work in a small office as a design engineer. It’s getting toward the end of the day, and I’m sort of concentrating on my 3D design. The reason for the lack of full attention is that the director has come out of his office to talk to the technical manager, [Coworker #1], and [Coworker #2], and it’s hard to ignore. Just as well, as when my name gets mentioned, I am already up to speed.

They need a new motor for one of our machines, and our regular supplier is still on furlough. [Coworker #1] has suggested another contact, [Representative]. The director groans and starts moaning about how annoying [Representative] is.

Director: “He just goes on and on about motors. He won’t stop talking about them! Good call, though, [Coworker #1]! I ought to get [Coworker #2] or [My Name] to deal with him. Maybe one of [My Name]’s War And Peace-length emails will put him off contacting us again. [Coworker #2]… if you ever talk to him, you’ll end up learning everything there is to know about motors, even if you don’t want to.”

Me: “So, what I’m getting is that [Representative] is a bit of a motor-mouth.”

There follows a lot of groaning, and the director rubs his forehead. He turns and points at me.

Director: “That’s it; you’re going to have to deal with him, [My Name]!”

With that, he returns to his office.

Coworker #1: “You’ve wound him up, [My Name]!”

There are more laughter and groans.

Technical Manager: “I really want to join in with this, but I won’t.”

He looks at me and nods towards the director’s office.

Technical Manager: “You’re gonna get shafted.”

There are yet more laughter and groans.

Me: “He didn’t seem that phased.”

Groans…

Coworker #1: “He’ll be put in a cage.”

He notices the blank looks and lack of reaction and starts to explain to [Coworker #2], before trailing off.

Coworker #1: “A cage induction motor…”

Me: “Yeah, that was a bit of a leap, and I think [Coworker #2] has lost his bearings.”

More groans!

Coworker #1: “Yeah, he’s not a fan.”

Laughter!

I grab my mug and head to the door.

Me: “Anyway, I need to clean my mug, as I don’t want to stator late!”

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Getting To The Meat Of The Problem

, , , , | Working | December 15, 2020

My company has asked a load of us to help out in the factory on a special project. It means long days in the cold, but it’s extra money and they promise to feed us.

Day one is tough, but we make it fun. Lunchtime comes around and they take our orders for pizza — meat and vegetarian options. Everyone kicks back and tucks in.

Day two is just as difficult as before, but we are in a rhythm, we work hard all morning, and they come round and offer fish and chips. Most have fish; some just have chips. It’s really cold and the hot food goes down well.

Then, one of the younger guys pipes up, going on about fried chicken.

Coworker: “Yeah, let’s get fried chicken tomorrow.”

Me: “Err… not everyone eats meat. I just can’t eat it. We should have something everyone wants.”

Coworker: “Nah, it will be great! Let’s get chicken.”

Me: “Do what you want, but these meals are for everyone, not just what you want, okay?!”

A few more people chime in to agree; they don’t eat meat or just don’t want greasy chicken. I think nothing more of it until the next day.

On day three, we are getting tired and people are making mistakes, but we make it through to lunch. Management comes round asking what chicken meals we want.

Clearly, [Coworker] has gone behind everyone’s back. I am honestly a bit pissed off.

Manager: *To me* “So, what meal can I get you?”

Me: “Oh, nothing for me. I can’t eat it.”

Manager: “Oh, really? [Coworker] said he spoke to everyone and they were happy.”

Me: “Not really, but if most people are happy, then I can just get my own.”

Manager: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yeah, it’s fine.”

I take a long lunch and grab myself something to eat. I come back to find half of the team missing. The manager is stressed, worrying about finishing the work on time.

It turns out that [Coworker] didn’t bother to ask anyone. Half of the team wasn’t happy, either, and decided to get their own lunch. Some were stuck in traffic, some were just late, and some were chatting or went back to the office first.

Things were so delayed that we didn’t finish our quota for the day. A couple of guys — including me — volunteered to work even longer to make up the time lost. When asked, [Coworker] stated that he “didn’t want to” and left.

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