I’ll Keep Doodling; You Keep Projecting

, , , , , , | Working | June 1, 2021

I like to draw. I’m not very good but I enjoy doodling, mostly landscapes. If the weather is miserable, sometimes I take my break at my desk and draw.

Out of the blue, my boss and another manager approach my desk. They don’t look happy.

Boss: “Can we see your book?”

Me: “Err, no. It’s my property.”

Other Manager: *Sternly* “Come with us.”

They march me into an office. My boss motions for me to sit down. The other manager seems to be trying to be intimidating, but it’s not really working.

Boss: “A coworker has made a complaint about your drawing; they say you have been making fun of them.”

Other Manager: “That counts as bullying and we won’t stand for it.”

Me: “I just doodle; I don’t draw people.”

Boss: “Okay, but we cannot prove that without your book. We can’t force you to show it, but we might need to investigate, and that might mean suspension.”

Me: “Fine, whatever. Here, take the book.”

They search the book and find nothing, of course.

Other Manager: “He might have ripped out the page.”

Me: “Count them if you like; there should be 300 pages.”

They look at me, I guess to see if I’m being serious.

Me: “Go on. I haven’t taken any pages out; you can check.”

Other Manager: “I need to take this.”

Me: “No, that’s my personal property. If you want to count the pages, you can, but you do it in front of me.”

Boss: “I told you [My Name] wouldn’t do it. You can count the pages if you like but I’m getting a coffee. [My Name], you want one?”

I drink a coffee with my boss while the other manager sits and counts the pages. He finally finishes.

Other Manager: “Okay, 300. He was telling the truth.”

Me: “Look, I don’t know who complained, but it could have gotten me suspended. What are you going to do to them?”

Other Manager: “I guess I can have a chat with them.”

Boss: “No, you wanted to interrogate [My Name], so we do the same to them. After all, [My Name] might want to make a complaint, too.”

Other Manager: “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. We can do it now.”

I had a good idea who complained anyway, but it was confirmed when they took the office busybody away into a room. I couldn’t hear what was said, but it looked like a loud conversation.

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Dogs Bring EVERYONE Together

, , , , , , , , | Working | June 1, 2021

I’m a bubbly, gregarious woman who’s been with the company for over four years. Last year, an older man came and joined our team. He’s a lone wolf who works away quietly in his office, only joining us to eat his lunch silently while the rest of us chat. He has a service dog that he keeps in his office and, one rough day, I ask him if I can pet his dog for comfort. He invites me in and I sit on the floor for his Schnauzer to come console me. This starts to become a semi-regular occurrence where I go in to visit his dog right before home time.

At first, we don’t talk past the pleasantries, but after a few weeks, I begin talking to him. It is one-sided talk about stock market issues, which I was just dipping my toes into, or a huge hack that has just happened. A few weeks after that, he begins to respond and my soliloquies become a pleasant back and forth where I learn that he has a full and interesting life. We begin sitting together at lunch and I start dragging him into the group’s conversations.

Months later, as I sit with his dog smushed bodily against me, he quietly thanks me for inviting me into the group.

Me: “What? No. Of course. Everyone thinks you’re great.”

He lowers his head as he confesses to me that he was let go from his last two jobs because of harassment claims from women.

Coworker: “I’m on the spectrum, so I have a really hard time interacting with people. I can’t read people so I can’t really tell if I’m being inappropriate or something. I figured it would just be best to stay quiet here so I wouldn’t upset anyone.”

Me: “Man, that’s horrible. My dad’s on the spectrum so I guess you kind of remind me of him. Everyone here likes you, and listen, I’ll let you know if I see you’re making anyone uncomfortable, okay?”

He smiled and nodded as I extricated myself from under his adoring dog so we could all go home.

He’s doing great and feeling safe in our group. I think it helps that I grew up with an autistic father. I subconsciously keep him focused on a topic, but not bogged down. I also make sure he’s heard but doesn’t overwhelm the discussion. Other coworkers have started doing the same thing.

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Who Has Time For Coffee?!

, , , , , | Working | May 31, 2021

Our office helps other companies with their customer mail processing and other communications. In the morning, I do two important tasks. First, I have to sort out all the mail coming in so that my own department can start processing it, which is their daily work. After that, I have to sort out the mail for one specific company which outsourced their mailroom to us. A courier then picks up that mail and brings it to their head office.

The second job is big and complicated since the client company has loads of departments and people with different jobs. My predecessor in said mailroom did the job for several decades, so he knew practically everything, to an extent that it is impossible to teach me everything before his transfer. Luckily, the usual courier also has some knowledge and he can call certain people if necessary.

And then, the usual courier falls ill for a few weeks. His replacement is new, so unlike the usual courier, he can’t help to speed up the process. Instead, he just waits impatiently without making any small talk. One morning, he even arrives shortly before I can start with the sorting.

Replacement Courier: “Sorry I’m asking, but can’t you guys do this earlier, so it’s ready when I arrive?”

Me: *Aghast* “Erm, well, no… I’m the only one who can do it. And if I could do it earlier, I simply would.”

I was left wondering what he thought I was doing the entire morning. Later, he complained to the receptionist of the client company that at our place “they do nothing but drink coffee.” I was not amused. When the actual courier started to recover, the replacement was soon let go.

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Sometimes It’s Okay To Be A Naysayer

, , , , , | Working | May 31, 2021

Our workplace isn’t open the entire year; from November to March, we’re only open during the holidays and spring break. Obviously, employees with a permanent contract still need to get paid during those months. Since many of them are technical staff, gardeners, or animal caretakers, it makes sense they are needed throughout the entire year.

One year, however, the owner tries to solve the winter expenses by firing all of them, temporarily at least, since he obviously needs them back in spring. Since Dutch law prohibits just firing employees on a whim, he has to negotiate their termination, which takes far longer than his petty mind likes. At some point, when the permanent workers are taking up their remaining vacation days, he even tries to order the planner to suddenly schedule them all in, hoping he can fire them for refusing to come in. Luckily, she ignores him.

In the end, many of them are fired for three months and allowed to return after three months, weeks after the season has started, resulting in lots of overdue maintenance.

Skip to a few years later. I have a different job now, but I coincidentally meet up with a former coworker.

Me: “So, still working at [Company]?”

Coworker: “Yes, I still am. Your job fine?”

Me: “Okay, I guess. Still no permanent contract, but it could be worse.”

Coworker: “Pity. I have permanent and I am still working there, winter or no winter.”

Me: “Even back then?”

Coworker: “Oh, yes, he couldn’t just fire me or force me to quit. I simply said no. You know, he was like, ‘Could you please quit for three months?’ So I said, ‘No.’ And then he said, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘No.’ ‘It would be really nice.’ ‘No.’ ‘Pleeeaase!’ ‘No.’ ‘But it’s necessary!’ ‘No.’ ‘YOU HAVE TO!’” *Long pause* “‘No.’ And since then, I’m out of favour, but I still have my job.”

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Spaced Out On Spatial Reasoning

, , , | Working | May 26, 2021

I work in a lab, and part of my job is to process biohazard residue to be safely discarded. I am at my workstation when a coworker comes by.

Coworker: “Could you please come and take one of the residue bins? It does not have a lid, so I cannot close it.”

We tell the cleaning staff not to touch those bins unless they are absolutely clean and with the lid properly snapped shut, so I follow my coworker.

Me: “How come you do not have lids to close the bin? Are there none left?”

Coworker: “Yes, there are some, but the bin I am talking about is square-shaped.”

That is odd, because the room that is assigned the square bins is one floor above us. Thinking that maybe the cleaning staff made a mistake, I say nothing else. When we arrive at the lab, my coworker points to a lidless bin… that is round-shaped.

Me: “Uh… That is not a square bin.”

Coworker: “No, but none of the round lids fit it.”

I take a random round lid, put it on the bin, and press down. It snaps shut immediately. I look at my coworker.

Me: “You do see that I just closed it, right?”

She stares at me with a blank look.

Coworker: “Yeah… but that is not its lid.”

Me: “Lids are interchangeable. All the round lids fit all the round bins.”

Coworker: “Yeah, I know. But that is not its lid.”

She keeps staring at me as if that is the most logical explanation possible. I simply take the bin and go for the door.

Coworker: “But that is not its lid! Thank you!”

Hey, at least she said, “Thank you!”

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