The English Are Everywhere!

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 1, 2021

I am in a lift — ahem, elevator — with an English colleague. His parents are from Hong Kong and speak no English, but he grew up in a town on the Sussex coast so his accent is pure home counties; think Hugh Grant but without the London twang. The third person in the lift is a stranger.

Me: “Where should we go for dinner tonight?”

Colleague: “Maybe that hamburger place on Washington Square [Colleague #2] suggested?”

Stranger: *Pointing* “You shouldn’t have that accent!”

She immediately clapped her hand over her mouth and looked embarrassed, apologising. He laughed it off because he got it. Asian accent, sure. Asian with an American accent, sure. Asian with a British accent, shocking!

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“Busy” Must Mean Something Else Here

, , , , , | Working | March 1, 2021

There’s an employee in my office who has been there for years. No one knows what she does, but she’s always “very busy” or “at the other site.”

Her boss doesn’t like confrontation so never asks her what she is doing and she gets away with doing whatever she wants for years. She gets verbally aggressive if pushed for any details from anyone.

One day, I am asked to spend some time with [Employee] to understand her tasks on problem reports. I manage them for our site, and evidently, she must manage them for the other (much smaller) site.

With blessings from her boss and mine, I drive to the other site only to find that she isn’t there. I am informed that the meeting doesn’t start for a few hours, but where is she? When she does arrive, she is visibly shocked to see me.

Employee: “Oh, what are you doing here?”

Me: “I was asked to understand your tasks on the problem reports. I made a new system and it might work here, as well.”

Employee: “Oh, well, yes, you probably shouldn’t bother. I have everything in hand. Besides, good luck getting these guys to adopt change.”

Me: “Well, I’m here now. Just pretend I’m not here.”

The meeting starts and is a complete joke. The participants are working on their laptops in silence. Eventually, I have to ask:

Me: “Sorry, but what is this meeting for?”

Manager: “Oh, we discuss the weekly problem reports.”

Me: “So… why are we not doing it?”

Manager: “Oh, we haven’t had a problem report in ages. We’re told—” *motions to [Employee]* “—that it is policy to hold these sessions anyway. So most of us use it as a quiet session to get on with work.”

I didn’t mention that there isn’t a policy at all, or that I don’t even hold weekly meetings, let alone a full-day session. The next day, my boss pulled me aside and asked if I could take over managing both sites as “[Employee] would be busy on other tasks.” What I didn’t realise was that those tasks were looking for another job. She “decided” to leave the business that month.

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F*** You, I Got Mine

, , , , | Legal | February 27, 2021

My old machining lecturer used to work at a machine shop/factory as a machinist. They would work large blocks of aluminum down to saleable parts.

The factory manager would give them a bonus but take off money for every part in their scrap bin.

My lecturer was good but never got the full bonus, unlike his coworker. 

[Coworker] always got the full bonus, even with the new, difficult jobs. The funny thing was that [Coworker] didn’t even have any experience, and to talk to him, he seemed utterly clueless; the guys didn’t like him much.

That was, until the police turned up and took [Coworker] away. It turned out that when [Coworker] made a mistake, he cut a bit off at a time until the massive block of metal turned into dust and chips. 

He cost the company thousands to get a bonus of £50.

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Playing The Sloth Card

, , , , , | Working | February 27, 2021

I work at a gas station next to an interstate with a terrible coworker. It is important to the story to say that this employee is black, and this is her weapon to wield with abandon.

This story is a common occurrence over a period of several months.

Me: “Hey, [Employee], I just finished [task #1] and [task #2]. I’m off to [task #3]. Will you do [task #4], please?”

Employee: “Oh, so you make the black employee do all the work! This isn’t the plantation days! You’re just being racist!”

Me: “No, I’m giving you a task because that is literally one of your jobs, and you’ve been sitting there filing your nails for twenty minutes.”

Employee: “I have a better idea. How about you do that while I man the registers?” 

Me: “Because you work under me, not the other way around, and if you’re not going to get a lick of work done, you might as well go home!”

She then usually storms into the back, and then she’ll parade out with a smug expression and huffily plant herself back in the same spot she has been in.

A few minutes later, I usually get pulled into the back by the shift leader and the store manager. I explain the situation. The cameras are checked, complete with audio. The store manager gives a halfhearted shrug and sends me back out. Then, I go back to my tasks.

The employee then smirks at me.

Employee: “So what did they say to you about your racism?”

Me: “Nothing.”

Employee: “Nothing?!”

Me: “Yep. Not a thing.”

Then, she sat and fumed silently.

The store manager never addressed either report. I have enough imagination to have at least ONE guess as to why her behavior was never addressed, but no proof.

Finally, after several similar interactions, [Employee] got angry that I was not being reprimanded, despite her many “reports.”

She stormed back into the back and I could hear her yelling at the store manager through the closed door! She actually demanded that I be fired immediately, in so many words. Customers could hear her and asked what was going on.

She finally slammed open the office door and stormed out of the store entirely; the manager got fed up and told her to clock out and leave.

She ended up quitting a day later, citing the store manager being racist to “believe the white employee over the black one!” Never mind that her behavior was recorded on audio and video.

To everyone’s utter disgust, she reapplied for the job within a year, and despite everyone’s objections, the manager hired her again. Her behavior hadn’t changed. It took everyone on staff threatening to walk out, leaving the store manager alone with her with literally no other staff on payroll, before he fired her permanently three months after her return.

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What Every Employee Wishes They Could Say

, , , , , , | Working | February 26, 2021

I work in a coffee shop. It is late at night. I was supposed to have gone home hours ago, and my coworker and I have been rushing around by ourselves all day on a busy Friday. So, I am very tired and feeling a little loopy when Yet Another Car pulls into our drive-thru. Deciding to mess with my coworker a bit, I press the inter-employees channel button on the headset and pretend to answer the drive-thru.

Me: “We’re sorry, [Store] is closed forever. Please go away and never come back.”

My coworker’s eyes grow huge, but he sees me laughing at him and we both crack up. Just then, though, the car in the drive-thru pulls forward.

Suddenly, I’m not so sure which button I pushed. I approach the window, worrying about being screamed at and cussed out, but… nothing. The driver says nothing about my antics, just calmly places an order, and it occurs to me that I must have taken too long to respond to the drive-thru so they decided to order at the window. Even so, I have sworn to never pull a stunt like that again.

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