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Unintentionally Planted Knowledge

, , , | Working | January 13, 2022

My husband loves plants. I don’t love plants and don’t remember many of their species or names. I do know my husband’s favourite plants species: the Anthurium, the Spathiphyllum, and the Bromeliad. That’s all the plant species I know and recognise; everything else is “something green” to me.

At work, to keep up appearances, the CEO decided that all the plants will now be maintained by a company that is also a florist. They come once a month, water the plants, and change plants that are dying. They pick plants that are sturdy and need little water or that look fancy (but are probably dead at the end of the month). The floral company always puts a big centrepiece in the hallway.

I overhear some coworkers talking.

Coworker #1: “I wonder what kind of plant that is.”

Coworker #2: “I have no idea; let me Google it.”

Me: “Oh, that’s a Spathiphyllum.”

Coworker #1: “Oh, are you sure?”

Me: “Yes, this is one of my husband’s favourite plants. I don’t know anything about plants myself.”

A month later, we get a new centrepiece.

Coworker #1: “Hey, [My Name], we got a new piece. Do you know what it is?”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t know anything about plants. I only… Oh, wait, that’s an Anthurium.”

Coworker #1: “You really know plants!”

Me: “No, I don’t! This is just one of my husband’s favourite plants.”

A month later, we get a new centrepiece. 

Coworker #1: “Well? What did we get this time?”

Me: “I told you, I don’t know anything about plants. I only know three plant names: Anthurium, Spathiphyllum, and… oh, no… That’s a Bromeliad.”

Coworker #2: “Aw, I was hoping you’d be wrong! I now have to treat him to a coffee. I’ll win the bet next month, I’m sure of it!”

I am now known as the “crazy plant lady”. It doesn’t help that the floral company keeps on using these three plants.

The Grass Started To Grow Again And The Animals Came Back

, , , , , | Working | January 12, 2022

I have a coworker who is very dramatic. We are both on the management team with several other leaders in our large workplace. She is rude, will announce mistakes of the staff very loudly for everyone to hear, and has spread horrible rumours. She has the mentality that her team will always be perfect, and everyone else is the problem. She has had warnings for her behaviour and is on her last legs. 

Today, we are having our daily catch-up between all the teams to see the workload, and those leaving are handing over to the next shift. My oh-so-lovely coworker starts complaining and yelling about a task not completed by all shifts — including hers today, but she won’t admit that.

Coworker #1: “And if [task] is not completed by the time I start my shift tomorrow, I am walking out that door. We have KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and you lot are too lazy to do them, and I am sick of this bulls***! Get it done or I am out that door!”

All of the team are either looking at each other trying not to laugh or completely zoned out because we are all over listening to her rants. She leaves for the day and my boss, [Coworker #2], and I start talking.

Boss: “What the h***? Out the door? Really?”

Coworker #2: “Yeah, it’s like a power trip phrase for her. She thinks we care or that we would be lost without her — that if she walked, we would be begging for her to come back. I can’t wait for the day she actually walks. I’ll be dancing. Maybe we should leave [task] unfinished if it actually gets rid of her.”

It wasn’t the next day, but a few days later, she had her monthly “personal development” session with a superior and it was suggested she try to take a bit more constructive criticism on board and think about how her team can improve. She started screaming her head off and stormed out of work saying, “I’m done!”

She tried to come back two hours later, but her swipe cards had already been deactivated as she had abandoned her position, which meant she also lost all her built-up leave entitlements and payouts. I could see [Coworker #2] dancing at her station after the spectacle. My workplace was suddenly a very peaceful and enjoyable place to work. It’s amazing how one person can change an atmosphere with their toxicity.

You Can’t Help Those Who Don’t Want To Be Helped

, , , , , , | Working | January 12, 2022

During the last recession, I took a job at a company that makes special washers, springs, etc. I previously worked in high-accuracy, high-tech companies, and this is some of the most basic engineering I have worked with, but I am genuinely happy to have a job.

It is clear straight away that the team I am working with has been there forever, they’re all set in their ways, and they don’t like change. None of them speak to me and they all complain constantly. 

The current winge is about their office; it has shrunk slightly because the business needed the space. The office is still 40% bigger than it needs to be, but they complain anyway. 

This carries on for months until I’ve had enough. I suggest some ways we could make the space work better — new equipment that takes up less space and is easier to use, changing an empty desk into a work area, etc. It’s all stuff that I have seen working before and will make their lives easier.

The team hates every idea I give and responds with nonsense excuses or just refusing to listen. Knowing this is a dead-end, I shut up and get on with the work. They seem happy being miserable.

Months later, the same original gripes and complaints keep on coming. What is worse is that some of these old ways of working are affecting the customers, and now I am getting complaints from my boss, expecting me to stop them.

My boss brings me into a meeting room to discuss it.

Manager: “We are getting a lot of complaints about missing parts.”

Me: “Yes, they are being counted by hand, and mistakes will happen as long as we do this.”

Manager: “So, how do we improve?”

Me: “Stop the problem at its source; change from manual counting to a machine. It is inexpensive and will pay the company back in costs within a few years. It is simple to use and implement.”

Manager: “Great. So, why haven’t you said this before?”

Me: “Every suggestion is shot down by the team. When I try to encourage improvement, I get complaints. Then you discipline me for not working together with them and tell me to ‘toe the line’.”

Manager: “Ah, okay. Well, the next issue, then? Marks and damages. Lots of complaints here.”

Me: “I believe we have discussed this one, too. I wanted to test out some new worktops. But—”

Manager: “Oh, yes, there were some complaints from the team and we dropped it.”

Me: “I don’t know what to tell you. You employ me to fix these issues. I have given you multiple cost-effective options to do so, all proven with little to no risk. But the operator is telling you that he doesn’t want to even try, so we just don’t?! And the problems stay here forever. I have tried reason, I have tried demonstrating the savings and benefits, and I have tried bringing the team with me and hearing their ideas, but they don’t want to change. They are actively stopping progress and improvement.”

Manager: “Yes, a tricky one… Okay, so, the next issue.”

We went through the list and it was all the same. I’d make a suggestion, but the team wouldn’t like it or would refuse to try. The manager would like the idea but refuse to help.

I knew then that I was wasting my time in this job; nothing I would do could change anything. The company would rather lose thousands a month, and potentially customers, than ask the guy whose job it was to put parts in a bag to try something slightly different. I quit that month.

The Squeaky Wheel May Get The Grease, But…

, , , , , , | Working | January 11, 2022

This happens in my work chat group.

Boss: “I’m naming [My Name] employee of the month.”

Coworker: “Why?! He was on leave the whole month!”

Boss: “Exactly! He’s caused me the least amount of trouble this month!”

Not Getting An Overdose Of Sympathy

, , , , | Working | January 11, 2022

I am sitting in the break room with two of my coworkers. [Coworker #1] is scrolling through Facebook when she drops her phone and starts crying into her hands. 

Me: “Hey, hey, what’s wrong?”

I rub her back.

[Coworker #2] looks up from his own phone.

Coworker #2: “What happened?”

Coworker #1: “Jesus Christ…”

She turns her phone toward me. It’s a memorial for a man about our age. I recognize him, as he’s been in the store several times.

Me: “Oh, no.”

Coworker #2: “Who’s that?”

Coworker #1: “My ex-husband… He overdosed. I didn’t even know. I just talked to him two days ago.”

Me: “What do you need?”

Coworker #2: “Why are you sad about your dead ex-husband? Most people would rejoice.”

Me: “[Coworker #2]!”

Coworker #2: “I’m just saying, it didn’t work out, so why are you crying?”

Me: “Don’t say—”

[Coworker #1] turns and gives him a face full of rage and sadness.

Coworker #1: “I have to tell my children that their daddy will not be back to pick them up this weekend. And because his family thinks I’m a b**** for kicking him out, I found out on f****** *Facebook*!”

[Coworker #2] looks embarrassed for a moment but doubles down and glares at [Coworker #1]. 

Coworker #2: “Well, that’s what happens when you do drugs! F****** idiot!”

He got up and stormed out before either of us could say anything else. I now avoid [Coworker #2] unless I absolutely have to talk to him, as does [Coworker #1].