Cancer Can Do A Real Job On You

, , , | MN, USA | Hopeless | April 9, 2017

(We have a 24-year-old who works basically as a receptionist for our box office. She answers the phones, directs workers, and handles little stuff for us so we don’t have to. It’s clearly her first office job after a string of terrible retail jobs, and she’s confessed she’s afraid she’ll mess up and have to go back to retail. Because part of her job is answering the phone, we ask that she not answer her personal phone if it rings. She usually just keeps it in her purse until break. One day I notice she has it sitting on her desk and keeps glancing at it.)

Me: “Everything okay?”

Worker: “Oh, yeah, sorry. I’ve got an important phone call due soon. Would it be okay if I answered it? Sorry, it’s really important.”

Me: “Sure, just let [Coworker] know so she can cover the phones while you do.”

Worker: *look of utter relief* “Thanks. It’s from my doctor and they were supposed to call yesterday.”

Me: “Doctors, man. They never call back when they say they will.”

(About an hour late, I hear buzzing, and then see Worker bolt down the hallway, phone in hand.)

Me: *to Coworker* “Any idea what’s going on? I’m getting worried.”

Coworker: “She wouldn’t say. I hope it’s nothing bad. I feel really bad for her sometimes, you know? She’s told literal horror stories of having to work at her other jobs while sick, or not being allowed to call off and she sometimes acts like the smallest mistake will make her lose this job. Yesterday she told me about how she had to miss a funeral because her last job wouldn’t let her have the day off.”

Me: *shuddering* “I do not miss retail. I have no problems letting her go home early if she needs it, you?”

Coworker: “Nope.”

(Worker comes back, kinda pale, and looks like she’s trying not to cry. She goes straight to her desk and sits down, pulling up her work and tapping half-heartedly at the keys. Coworker and I exchange glances.)

Coworker: “[Worker]?”

Worker: *sniffling* “Yeah? Sorry. Hang on; I have a tissue in my purse… Sorry, sorry, would it be okay if I went home? I know it’s sudden but I can come in early tomorrow or—”

Me: “No, it’s fine, it’s fine. Are you okay?”

Worker: “I… just found out I have cancer. Um, I’m probably going to need to put in my two weeks while I get treatment—”

Me: “What?! No, absolutely not! You go home and get everything situated. If you feel up to it, come in whenever you want tomorrow and we’ll get this sorted. I’m gonna drive you home, and don’t worry about your job. Worry about your health!”

(She wound up needing surgery and a few rounds of chemo, but our parent company had no problem holding her job for her in the meantime, and even took up donations to help her pay for everything. She’s currently in remission and I’m happy to say she still works for us. I shudder to think what would have happened if she’d been at her old job when that happened…)

That Explanation Will Go Viral

, , | Australia | Working | March 14, 2017

Working at a computer company, a customer brings in a computer to have a virus removed. We remove the virus and scan the rest of the system to make sure all traces of it are gone. Now, this particular virus is known to come from porn sites so to warn the customer without making them feel embarrassed we say to be careful what websites are accessed with the computer.

Then a few days later the same customer brings the computer back in with the same virus, accusing us of not removing it, and demands that we remove it without them paying. I remove the virus again, scan the system again, print out the Internet cache of websites that the computer has accessed in the past 24 hours (including some kinky-but-not-illegal searches on a couple of porn sites), and then give the system with the evidence to the front desk staff to give to the customer when they come back. Later in the day, I hear raised voices out the front and I know it is that customer when I hear, “I don’t go to porn sites and the only other person who uses this computer is my partner.”

The customer would have learnt something new about their partner that day if it weren’t for the salespeople saving things by telling the customer that sometimes viruses can access the porn sites.

Yeah, that’s how it works: the porn sites come from the virus, not the other way around.

Caught Red Hot Chilli Pepper Handed

, , , | WA, USA | Working | February 9, 2017

We had a lunch thief where I was working.

One day I left my lunch in the fridge, and came in to find it sitting on the counter with one bite gone.

It was the strangest thing . . . just because that recipe called for 3-5 habanero peppers and 3 tablespoons of Tabasco, and the prime suspect in the theft hated spicy food!

I figure that just about took his head off.

And I never had anyone steal my lunch the rest of the time I was there!

Time To Retire That Attire

, , | UK | Working | January 25, 2017

I have an office in a portakabin of four rooms across the car park from the main building. Only two rooms are occupied.

One day I manage to knock over a glass of water and it soaks a load of papers on my desk and goes all down my trousers, too. I lock the office door, make sure the blinds are closed, and take my trousers off to put them on the heater to dry while I tidy up the desk.

After a few minutes the office door opens and a colleague walks in. She has come to collect some papers and let herself in with the master key. She is lovely but not overly bright.

She sits for a few minutes talking, and then starts to leave. As she is going out the door she asks if I am wearing any underwear. I say of course.

She says that she isn’t sure as it just look like I am only wearing a shirt.

She must have thought that this was normal for me in my office. But it hadn’t crossed her mind to leave when she first saw me, or didn’t she notice till she was leaving?

Stronger Together

, , | Minneapolis, MN, USA | Hopeless | January 11, 2017

(It is November 11th, 2016. I’m openly lesbian, and don’t “pass” for straight due to my unique hair and androgynous dress. Unfortunately, there’s a huge rise in hate crimes after the election, and I have been shoved, called names, and had my car vandalized so far. Even though I am just starting out as a lawyer, I can’t stop these things happening. I am talking about the hate crimes issue with a colleague.)

Me: “…so there’s been a lot more anti-minority and anti-gay harassment lately. People feel emboldened, you know? So do you think you could walk me out of work today?”

(Colleague #2, who is a new immigrant from a conservative south Asian country, stops after walking by and hearing this. He smiles.)

Colleague #2: “Do you know what I would do? I would… tell them ‘oh, you’re harassing this gay person? Would you perhaps now like to meet my .38 special?’”

Colleague #1: *describing himself* “Or do you want a six foot six Norwegian carrying a bat?”

(I knew they were joking, but it meant a lot that two very different people felt so strongly about protecting me!)

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