Unlinking Yourself From Future Training

, , , , | Working | October 15, 2019

(Part of my job involves working with secure data, so my job includes random trainings being assigned to us to review best practices for keeping data secure. One day, I get called into my boss’s office about those trainings.)

Boss: “IT was just complaining to me that you haven’t completed any of the last three trainings.”

Me: “I haven’t gotten notifications about any trainings in the last month or so. Do they still send out email notices for the trainings?”

Boss: “They do. They’re insisting that they’ve sent out multiple notices.”

Me: “I’ll go check.”

(I go through my email, searching for the notices, and I finally find one in my spam folder. After looking at it, I find out what the problem was.)

Me: *to my boss* “I found out why I wasn’t seeing their emails.”

Boss: “And?”

Me: “They were getting caught by the rules about ‘unknown links’ that IT insisted we set up in one of their earlier trainings.”

Boss: “Oh.”

(As it turns out, everyone who actually implemented that rule was also failing to get the notices, while those who had skipped it, such as my boss, were still getting the notices. If it had been deliberate, it would have been a good way of showing who actually followed those lessons and who didn’t. As it was, it was just due to the IT group not following their own rules about what constituted “safe emails.”)

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Society Is Transitioning With Them

, , , , | Working | October 12, 2019

(I study dentistry in France. I’m a VERY anti-social justice woman, but I still think it’s important to support real issues, like gay and trans rights. Therefore, I educate myself on those topics, perhaps a bit more than the average person. This takes place at the dental clinic. We get the names and file number of patients on paper and then have to get them from the waiting room by calling their name out loud. I open my patient’s file using their number and read through it quickly, not paying much attention to their name. I see them being referenced as a woman, with pronouns like she and her. I then go and get them by calling “Mrs. [Last Name], and an older woman stands up and accompanies me to my chair. I then notice that the first name on the file is male. It sometimes happens that we get patients with the same last name confused, so I check:)

Me: “Um, sorry, but… what’s your first name? There might be a problem with the file.”

Patient: “Oh, it’s [Male Name], but I use the name [Female Name] now. I haven’t legally changed sex because that would make me lose my pension, but I am male to female transgender.”

Me: “Oh, all right. I guess you want me to refer to you by using female pronouns?”

Patient: “Well, you can call me [Female Name]!”

Me: “Haha, I can’t really do that since I don’t know you that well, but sure, I’ll call you ma’am, then.”

(The appointment goes well, and we chat about how and why she came to find out she’s a woman. At the clinic, our chairs are basically in half-open cubicles, so people walking by can see and hear everyone’s patients. After I’m done treating her, a guy from my class approaches me. It’s worth noting his father is an imam — a Muslim prayer leader — and he was raised VERY conservatively.)

Guy: “So… What was up with your patient?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Guy: “Well… I don’t get it. Was it a man? A woman? Was it a woman who wanted to be a man? Was he wearing a wig?”

Me: *pause* “Bruh.”

Guy: “What? That’s weird.”

Me: “Well, she’s male to female. When she was young, she was a man, physically at least. Now, she’s taking hormones; that’s why she has a female body. She identifies as a woman, so that’s what she is. She just wasn’t born in the right body, so to speak. And yes, that’s her real hair… You know that if you let yours grow, it will get long, as well, right?”

(I know I simplified it a bit, but my colleague was mystified by the concept of transgender people, so I didn’t want to overcomplicate it for him. To his honor, he didn’t feel “disgusted” or anything of that sort, just confused. I didn’t think there still was anyone under forty in France who didn’t know what a transgender person was!)

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The Mother Of All Birthdays

, , , , , , | Related | October 11, 2019

(Every few years, my birthday falls on Mother’s Day, but I don’t have a mother, so I usually just focus on my birthday.)

Coworker #1: “Hey, [My Name], what are you doing for Mother’s Day this weekend?

Me: “It’s actually my birthday on Sunday, so I’m going out with some friends that night.”

Coworker #1: “I didn’t know it’s your birthday! Were you born on Mother’s Day?”

Me: “I was, actually, so it’s not unusual for my birthday to fall on the day itself.”

Coworker #1: “Are you doing anything with your mom?”

Me: “No, we… I don’t have a mother.”

Coworker #1: “Oh, I’m sorry. What are you and your friends doing?”

Me: “We’re going to–“

Coworker #2: “Wait, I thought you lived with your mom when you started working here.”

Me: “Yeah, I did. It was bad, it didn’t work out, and I moved away as soon as I could.”

Coworker #2: “So, you do have a mom but you’re not even going to call her?”

Me: “No. I’m not.”

Coworker #2: “But it’s not right; she’s your mom!”

Me: “Look, my mother is not a good person; let’s just leave it at that, okay?”

Coworker #2: “I can’t believe you’re a person who would cut her mother out of her life.”

(I just walk away. Later, I finish up my work duties and am about to clock out when [Coworker #2] ambushes me by the time clock.)

Coworker #2: “What was that, earlier? You lied to [Coworker #1] about not having a mom and then got snippy with me when I called you out on it.”

Me: “All right, look, I’m going to say this once: my egg donor is a very bad person. She lies, steals, and manipulates every single person she comes in contact with. I moved in with her when I was a homeless teenager to get off the streets, but not even six months into the arrangement she stole all of the money I’d saved and kicked me out of the house — on my birthday, no less — because I caught her in a lie. And when I pointed out that her stories didn’t match, she screamed at me, dragged me out of the house by my hair, and locked the door behind me. I was on the street again for almost a week. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since, and I plan on keeping it that way. If you have a problem with that, then that’s your issue, not mine. To avoid this exact situation, I just tell people I don’t have a mother. It’s not a lie to me; that woman birthed me, but that’s it. That doesn’t make her my mother. Now move. I’m done with work and I’m going home.”

(To her credit, [Coworker #2] did apologize to me and bought me a little gift for my birthday, and we got along just fine until I changed jobs. Not everyone has good parents, and that includes mothers, people! Try to remember that, especially with the whole “I judge people by how they treat their parents” thing that has been going around lately.)

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Out Of Office And Out Of Their Minds

, , , , , | Working | October 10, 2019

(I work as an IT technician. One summer, I am travelling with my wife to visit her family for two weeks, so I put my Out Of Office on, as required by my boss. Two days into my holiday, I decide to log in to my work email to see what is going on in my absence. I have an email from someone fairly senior in the company:)

Senior Person: “Hi, [My Name]. Could you please give me access to [HR System]? Thanks, [Senior Person].”

(After reading it, I think, “Yeah, I’m not going to bother replying, because my Out Of Office will respond to her and tell her that I’m out of the office and to open a helpdesk ticket.” In any case, she SHOULD have been opening a helpdesk ticket, anyway, instead of emailing me directly. I foolishly choose to do nothing about the email, close my email client, and go to enjoy the rest of my holiday. About a week later, I log in to check my email again and I have another email, this time slightly nasty, from someone in our HR department:)

Demanding Lady From HR: “Dear [My Name], I understand that [Senior Person] emailed you a week ago to get access to our [HR System]. She’s had no response from you and so, in desperation, emailed me today to see if I can give her access which, unfortunately, I can’t. Please give her access as soon as possible. It is also not very professional to ignore emails from senior people in other departments. Please bear that in mind. Thanks, [Demanding Lady From HR].”

(I realised I needed to do something, so I replied to the HR lady and said that (1) [Senior Person] should have opened a helpdesk ticket rather than emailing me directly, because then ANYONE in our team could have picked it up and actioned it the same day, (2) if [Senior Person] had bothered to read my Out Of Office response, she’d have known that I was on holiday and was NOT ignoring her, and (3) this time round I would forward her email to our helpdesk system which would open a ticket for her automatically. The demanding HR lady responded to me, all apologetic and saying she “hadn’t realised I was out of the office,” which I found surprising because she would have got an Out Of Office response when she sent me her email. The lesson I learned here was NOT to check my work email when on holiday, so I never did it again!)

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Taking You On A Journey Of Crazy Thought Processes

, , , , | Working | October 10, 2019

(I need to travel down from Scotland to the south of England for a meeting. I don’t know how to drive so I have requested a train be booked for there and back. I check online and send the journey I would like booked to the expenses department. The morning after, I receive the confirmation and immediately call them.)

Me: “I’ve been booked on a journey for a meeting tomorrow at [Location]. This isn’t going to work. Could I please be booked on the route I sent you?”

Expenses: *snotty* “What’s wrong with what we’ve booked?”

Me: “Well, it requires me to go down the east coast, while both train stations are on the west. It also says I will be arriving at 16:43.”

Expenses: “So?”

Me: “My meeting ends at 14:00.”


Me: “The meeting will have ended before I even get there.”

Expenses: “That—”

Me: “Also, you have my return booked for 17:00, at a station I see is over an hour away.”

Expenses: “It’s only a couple of minutes driving!”

Me: “I don’t drive. But what I’m really trying to get at is that you’ve booked me on a trip that will take over twice as long to get there, and booked me on a return fifteen minutes later. Not only will I have missed my meeting, but the entire journey will have been for nothing other than being in the country for a quarter of an hour…”

Expenses: “Your meeting was deemed non-essential by [Manager I’ve never heard of], so it is acceptable for you to be late, and the journey you have been put on was the cheapest available.”

Me: “I’m not going to be late; I’m not going to be attending it at all. And this journey isn’t the cheapest available.”

Expenses: “I can assure you it is.”

Me: “The journey I sent you was nearly £50 cheaper than the price listed in the confirmation. I checked it again before calling, and it’s even cheaper now, even if I go first class!”

Expenses: “There is nothing more I can do. You have been booked on this journey. Goodbye.” *hangs up*

(I was more than livid. I decided to check out the manager she mentioned; I found she was a fleet coordinator who had nothing to do with employee expenses. After contacting her, she confirmed she had not been in contact with expenses regarding my trip, and didn’t even know the person I dealt with. I spoke with my manager, who escalated it to his, who is a regional director. Everything was sorted out within an hour and I attended my meeting with no issues. The expenses woman I dealt is now sending out the monthly internal magazine, and as far as I can tell, it is the only thing she does.)

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