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We’ve Got This Investigation Locked Down

, , , | Working | January 11, 2022

I have been on holiday for two weeks. Not five minutes after stepping into work, I am dragged into a meeting with a woman from Human Resources that I have never met before. She tells me a story of a colleague who took medication from my office that she was allergic to.

Human Resources: “After a thorough investigation, it has been decided that you will be issued a formal written warning.”

Me: “Hold up. I want to make sure I have this right. First: my office can only be unlocked with three keys. One key is on my keyring and was with me during my holiday. The other two are skeleton keys that open any door on this floor. They are in possession of the cleaner and owner of this building. This means that either [Colleague] stole one of those keys, or she entered my office while either the cleaner or owner had it unlocked.”

[Human Resources] is just staring at me blankly, so I continue.

Me: “Second: my desk is locked and both keys are on this keyring—” *points to my keys* “—which means either [Colleague] forced the lock on my desk, or she has access to a key I have no knowledge of.”

Again, a blank stare.

Me: “Third: all the medication I keep in my desk is locked inside a security box, because I am on medication that is controlled, and the only way [Safety Manager] would allow me to keep it here is with that assurance. Again, both keys that can open it are in my possession, so she either broke into the box, or she has access to another key I have no knowledge of, which I can’t even imagine how she would have gotten. And fourth: she found a box labelled ibuprofen and wilfully took it, knowing she was allergic.”

Human Resources: “She didn’t know she was allergic. She only just found out at the hospital.”

Me: “Oh, no, she did know. Everyone in this office knows. Every time she has a headache, she asks people for what they have and tells us every time, without fail, that she is allergic.”

[Human Resources] has pressed her lips together so hard they’re practically a line.

Me: “So, after all this, I am the one being written up? What else could I have done prevent this?”

Human Resources: *After a long pause* “I’ll look further into this.”

Me: “Cool. Either [Colleague] is secretly a spy, or she is lying through her teeth.”

After the meeting, I checked my office top to bottom. No evidence of tampering, and it looked like every pill in my box was accounted for. So much for “a thorough investigation”.

Germans Don’t Joke About Sports

, , , , , , | Working | January 10, 2022

I work for a small company in an “at-will” state, meaning you can be fired at any time and the person firing you doesn’t have to give a reason. The owner of the company is of German descent, though this isn’t publicly known; I know it because he grew up on the same block I did and our families are friends.

We’re all eating lunch together in the break room and watching a tennis tournament on the TV. A German player loses, and one of my coworkers speaks up.

Coworker: “That must be one sour Kraut.”

Owner: “[Coworker], you’re fired.”

If You Don’t Want To Help, We’ll Keep You Out Of The Way

, , , , , , | Working | January 10, 2022

It’s the last day of the big office move. We have 150 people, equipment, and stock all being transferred to new premises. A few of us are getting the last of the odds and ends. I’m stood in the doorway propping it open and talking to a coworker, checking we have got everything.

Woman: “Ugh, are you two going to do anything?!”

She shoves past us.

Me: “What’s her problem?”

Coworker: “Oh, yeah. She got caught not helping and was told off by [Big Boss].”

Me: “Well, she needs to wind her neck in. I’ve been here since five.”

It’s not long before she comes back, muttering how this is all a “waste of time”. She stomps right up to us.

Woman: “What exactly are you two doing? Apart from being a doorstop!”

Coworker: *Sighs* “We are doing a final sweep of the rooms to check everything is off and we have taken everything.”

Woman: “Pff, what’s the point in that?”

Me: “What’s the point in checking we have taken everything?” *Pauses* “To make sure we’ve not forgotten anything.”

Woman: “Did I ask you?! And I don’t need you to hold the door for me. I swear I’ve seen more use out of a—”

I don’t hear the rest of the sentence as I step away and let the door close in her face. This door is an old wooden door, normally not used as it sticks shut whenever it gets wet, like today. [Woman] bangs and shouts and curses, and then she bangs some more, all while we load the last of the stuff in the van.

Eventually, I get a call from my boss.

Boss: “What the h*** is going on down there? I’ve had [Woman] scream down the phone at me, saying you locked her in.”

Me: “I was just doing what I was told; she said she didn’t want me to hold the door for her.”

Boss: “Just let her out.”

Me: “There’s more than one door to the building; none of them are locked.”

Boss: “Just let her out, please.”

I went back to the building and opened the double doors not fifteen meters from her, and she pushed past me again with a variety of insults. I know she complained about me, but she did so while also swearing at her boss, so it went nowhere.

And This Is Why We Have The Meetings

, , , , , | Working | January 7, 2022

Being dyslexic and growing up at a time where it wasn’t understood has really impacted my spelling. Still, today, as an adult what I write, read, and think don’t always tie up. Working from home, things get much harder, and what could have been a quick chat is now an email, which takes me so much longer.

Most people are understanding if I misspell something or use the wrong words… all apart from [Coworker], who seems to love pointing out little mistakes and telling people they should just “make more of an effort”. I’ve complained, but his boss seems to be completely detached from everything.

Out of the blue, the company starts to make a big thing about mental health and “wellness”. We are all invited to meetings to discuss the impact of working from home.

Host: “In conclusion, we need to be more alert and aware of the impacts work and life have on our mental health.”

Me: “And [Company] is taking mental health seriously?”

Host: “Yes, absolutely. This directive has come right from the top. We also have helplines and confidential mental health champions to talk to if you need to.”

Me: “So, if someone is causing mental health concerns in others, like belittling them constantly over minor details, then…?”

Host: “Oh, the company would certainly come down very hard on that individual.”

Coworker: “Well, there’s a limit, though, right? I mean, everyone has free speech.”

Host: “Sorry, I don’t understand.”

Coworker: “I mean, you can’t stop people from giving their opinion on others.”

Host: “I don’t think anyone is asking you to not have an opinion. But when that is needlessly aggressive, undermining, or just critical without due cause, we would need to speak to individuals on that.”

Coworker: “Well, I think it’s stupid. I should be able to give my opinion.”

Host: “Again, no one is stopping you from having an opinion. But I think it’s pretty clear what is appropriate and what isn’t. We need to be mindful that, at the moment, a lot of people are under additional strain and stress. Like I just presented.”

Coworker: “Well, I don’t agree.”

Host: “Perhaps we should talk afterward.”

It got very awkward. [Coworker] sat there with his arms folded until the session ended. I didn’t hear what was discussed, but I do know that [Coworker] was sent on several sensitivity and awareness courses. 

Very quickly, he stopped the snotty reply-all emails altogether. I’m still working on my spelling, but it certainly is nice not to have to worry about people ripping apart every email you send.

The Gossip Shop Is CLOSED

, , , | Working | January 7, 2022

I have a coworker, [Coworker #1], who likes to take sensitive personal information and treat it like gossip fodder. When I bought my first house, she decided to go into our database and find my new address herself, despite not needing it for anything. Her whole goal was to make judgments based on the listing photos. As such, when I get married, I do not inform her about it. I don’t post anything about it on social media, either.

It is also worth noting that I wear a small ring on my ring finger with a small smoky quartz in the shape of an elephant. It is clearly not an engagement ring or a wedding ring. I stopped wearing it briefly due to the summer heat but have started wearing it again.

Coworker #2: “Hey. I heard you got married. Congratulations?”

Me: “Uh, who told you that?”

Coworker #2: *Confused* “[Coworker #1] did. She said you got married last weekend.”

Me: *To [Coworker #1] “Why would you do a thing like that?”

Coworker #1: “Come on! Don’t be shy! You are wearing a ring and everything! It is tiny, but I noticed it, of course.”

Wordlessly, I take off the ring and pass it to [Coworker #2]. He gets a funny look on his face.

Coworker #1: “Let me see! Let me see!”

He hands it to her. She scrunches up her nose.

Coworker #1: “What is this?”

Me: “A $10 ring I got from one of those gimmicky bath bombs with the rings inside. What were you expecting?”

Coworker #1: “A diamond ring, obviously?”

Me: “Why would you assume that?”

Coworker #1: “Because you got married!”

Me: “Says who?”

She is forced to excuse herself to be unable to admit how she actually got the information.

Coworker #2: “So, did you actually get married or what?”

Me: “Yes. I did. Thank you.”

For the record, this is the same woman who told me to break up with my now-husband because she was unhappy with her boyfriend AND expected me to quietly buy our apartment from under him and make him unwittingly pay my mortgage. She gets absolutely no opinion in any part of my relationship.