The Perpetual Training Train

, , , , | Working | May 14, 2021

I have to perform two certain tasks in the morning. One is crucial to get the workflow of my department started; the other is a very complicated task for one single client of ours. Since performing both tasks makes it take longer for me to join my department in the workflow, my supervisor wants management to put someone else on task number two. Apparently, this is very hard for them.

In February, I have a talk about it with my supervisor.

Me: “Still no plan, I guess?”

Supervisor: *Almost laughing* “Well, there is a plan, actually, but I doubt it’s going to work. They want [Coworker] to do it.”

[Coworker] mans the warehouse, and over the last months, his enthusiasm for his job has visibly diminished. Still, I have to train him.

Coworker: “Who decided that I have to do this? [Supervisor] probably, eh?”

Me: “Not really, no…”

Coworker: “They want me to do more and more, while I barely have time left for my actual job! Oh, well, what the f*** do I care? I’ll learn it and then drop it and take a job somewhere else!”

He keeps acting like this throughout every morning I train him. He seems like he’s trying to learn the job, indeed, but he keeps claiming that he’ll learn it and then leave.

Me: “You’re really gonna do that?”

Coworker: “H*** yeah! When I say I’m gonna do something, I always mean it!”

His constant moaning and anger suck my motivation to train him out of me. I have some talks with my supervisor about his behaviour. She’s fed up with his bluff and his lack of work ethic, but since he answers to another department, she can’t discipline him for it.

Supervisor: “You know, he would actually have time to perform his main job if he wouldn’t take smoke breaks every two hours. Or if he wouldn’t get out for an hour to buy lunch.”

We have half-hour lunch breaks.

Supervisor: “But I have spoken to [Coworker’s Supervisor] and he also thinks we shouldn’t take his threats of leaving too seriously. It’s a bluff.”

It probably is, I admit. Still, weeks go by while I am training this completely unmotivated guy to perform this quite complicated task. Then, one morning, I come in and hear my supervisor on the phone.

Supervisor: “Yeah, it’s quite clear to me that someone here is being blatantly selfish. Thanks for telling me.” *To me* “That was [Coworker’s Supervisor]. [Coworker] just called in sick. I’m sceptical.”

[Coworker] stayed home for quite some time, claiming burnout. Meanwhile, I kept performing the task myself. By April, someone from a different location was transferred to our office and learned the task from me… only to get a transfer again by June. Finally, after summer, I trained a more motivated coworker for the task. By then, [Coworker] was reintegrating, while showing a complete lack of motivation.

By the end of the year, I had put in my notice, not because of this weird history, but simply because I found a better-paying job with more career opportunities. [Coworker], meanwhile, was still there, doing his job to some extent, while being disliked by virtually everybody now. So much for his claims that he would leave as soon as possible. Being dissatisfied is one thing; digging your own grave because of it is another.

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You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone

, , , , , , | Working | May 13, 2021

Part of my job is to get the company through its annual audit, which means working with all the different departments to ensure that they are working to the standard, to suggest fixes, and to help them achieve compliance. It is a thankless task. Everyone assumes it has nothing to do with them, and no one wants to make any effort to change something they see as “not broken.”

Every year is the same. I spend months chasing owners, while they won’t do nearly enough or they just ignore me. The audit is painful and embarrassing, and I receive many, many non-compliances. I always get a major lecture from my boss, no matter what I do. It is never enough for him.

It’s exhausting and humiliating and I feel like I am wasting my life, getting nowhere, for a boss that doesn’t see any value in me or what I do, despite the company not being able to legally function without a passed audit.

Enough is enough, and six months before the next audit, I hand in my six months’ notice. My boss does not seem to care.

I finish my last day like this.

Me: “All previous audit failures are here, and I have a report of the work we said we did to fix it, signed by you and the owners.”

Boss: *Not looking up* “Yeah.”

Me: “I have made the auditors aware of the changes but not who will be the new contact person.”

My boss is still not even looking at me.

Me: “The changes to the standard are here, so these need to be looked at.”

Boss: “Yeah, yeah, sure. I’m sure we will be fine.”

Me: “Great. I have nothing more to do today, so I will be at my desk until the end of the day.”

Boss: “You may as well leave now.”

Me: “Great. Good luck on the audit.”

I packed up my things, said my goodbyes, and left. I kept in touch with several of my old coworkers there. I found out that a month before the audit, they still hadn’t hired a replacement and began to look at the audit. They were not at all prepared, hadn’t done any of the monthly work needed since I left, hadn’t addressed any of the changes I showed them, and hadn’t checked the last year’s audit to ensure that they are still compliant.

They had their worst audit in history with major failures all over and they nearly had to withdraw the certificate, stopping the site completely.

Because of the seriousness, an additional audit had to be planned at a cost of around £25,000. The company hired an expensive specialist to basically do everything I used to do and tell them everything I said.

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This Spring Chicken Is Just Too Tender

, , , , , | Working | May 12, 2021

The restaurant I work at received a new hire who isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box. He is polite and shows the drive to help, but he can’t follow basic sanitary or cooking procedures that were recently explained to him. I am left to train him by myself one night. I’m trying to be as patient as I can, since many new hires don’t catch on as fast as others. The following events all occur within a fifteen-minute span.

Me: “Hey, [Coworker], could you make me a run of tenders?”

Coworker: “No problem!”

Me: “Stop! Put your gloves on! Use the tongs!”

Our restaurant’s chicken tenders are breaded in-house. He was about to stick his bare hands into the raw chicken even though I lectured him on why that’s a terrible idea an hour ago. He comes back to the cooking table after getting the tenders in the deep fryer.

Me: “Just want to make sure: how many tenders did you drop?”

A “run” usually means ten.

Coworker: “I didn’t count. I just made everything that was in the pan. There were like twelve of them. Where can I get another pan of chicken to replace it?”

Me: “Good job! The tenders are in the cooler, in the far left corner.”

I pointed at the cooler door and motioned to him where the raw chicken was. He thanked me and then went into the freezer. I decided to let him figure it out on his own since orders were starting to come in. When the timer on the chicken went off, I moved to pull out the twelve tenders [Coworker] had made. There were six.

He came out of the freezer telling me he could only find frozen chicken. I reminded him I’d said the cooler and he entered the correct door this time, coming out with a new pan of chicken. Although I didn’t notice until later, he didn’t replace the pans properly and just set the new one — with the lid off — inside the old one.

He then asked if he could help me cook something. I asked him to take care of an order that had two of the same burger (and to get some gloves on). They were among the simplest to make and he had a cheat sheet in front of him. The first sandwich was made correctly with no input from me. When he was making the second one, I had to stop him from putting on extra ingredients that weren’t on the burger.

After getting the orders taken care of, I asked him to get me another batch of tenders to make up for the smaller than expected first batch. He gave his affirmation… and then went into the freezer to find another pan of chicken.

He was finally let go a week and a half later, after showing no improvements and openly admitting he didn’t care enough to memorize anything.

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To Say This Is Infuriating Would Not Be Overselling It

, , , , , | Working | May 12, 2021

A few years ago, I was the assistant front desk manager at a hotel. This story is one of the reasons I left that position after a year and went back to a front desk agent.

I had been watching a particular date on our forecast calendar nervously for a while; we were incredibly oversold. We had 200 rooms in the hotel, and on this day we had 250 rooms booked. Our sales team had booked in several groups on the same day, which was what caused the oversell. It was clearly a massive problem, but whenever I brought it up I was told not to worry about it and it would work out.

Well. It did not.

The day arrived, and while we had had a few cancellations, we were still oversold by somewhere around 20%. It was not going to be a fun day.

The logical thing to do would be to pick a group consisting of approximately the size we were oversold by, apologize profusely, and relocate them all to another hotel. The problem with that was that no one in sales was willing to authorize the front desk to relocate their group. They kept telling us to walk the transient guests — guests not connected to any group and arriving individually — and could not comprehend us when we told them that there were no transient guests because they had sold out the hotel so thoroughly and so far ahead of time that no transient bookings had been made.

As check-in time loomed, I finally put my foot down and told the sales lead that there were two options, and we had to pick one of them now.

Option A: We walk [Group #1]. They were regular business for us, but because they were regular business, they were also predictable. I knew they were laid back and really it didn’t matter to the actual guests that much precisely where they were staying, as they were factory workers there for training. They really just wanted a place to sleep, and since they all arrived together, it would only take one phone call and their coordinator would be able to redirect them all at once. They were also, coincidentally, nearly the exact number of reservations we were oversold by.

Option B: We walk [Group #2] and [Group #3]. While this option would get us the number of rooms we needed, it would be extremely inconvenient for the guests. Both groups were here for a conference in our hotel, so they would have to shuttle back and forth from wherever we moved them. They also were a disparate group all arriving separately, so we would have to call each and every guest, hope they picked up, and explain the issue to each one of them individually.

Obviously, I was campaigning hard for Option A. But the problem was… [Group #1] was the sales lead’s group. She told me, point-blank, that we were not going to walk her group and flounced out of my office. So, I got down to the very, very unpleasant task of relocating [Group #2] and [Group #3]. It sucked. I got screamed at, called every name in the book, told I was going to be personally sued, the whole shebang. Oh, and of course sales refused to call their group contacts, so those two phone calls were extra fun.

I got the whole mess taken care of. It took hours. I hated my entire life.

Then, well after check-in time had passed, the sales lead flounced back in and told me that, well, if we had to, she guessed we could walk [Group #1]. I am still shocked to this day that I didn’t strangle her.

I wish I had a satisfying close to this story, but not only did sales not face any repercussions for this, but when they heard from their groups that the front desk had told them that it was their department’s fault we were oversold, the sales lead called my manager to scream at him for having her contacts angry at her.

And the hotel was oversold in the exact same way a month later.

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The Art Of Charming Your Coworkers

, , , , , , | Working | May 11, 2021

On my way into work, I stop at reception to show a friend a drawing I did over the weekend that is saved on my phone.

Receptionist: “Wow, that’s really good. You missed your calling. You should be an artist.”

Me: “I— I am. That’s literally my job here.”

She blushed so quickly I was worried she was going to pass out, but then we both laughed.

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