Reading Comprehension Skills: Locked

, , , , | Working | May 2, 2020

I work in my university’s IT department. We manage hardware like microphones and cameras for the staff working in the same building as us. Occasionally, we have issues with customers returning equipment to the adjacent computer lab instead of to us even though we’re open, or simply not returning the equipment if we’re closed.

My coworker, who manages the hardware for our office, decides that he’s had enough, and he puts a sign on our front door. He leaves feeling satisfied, and I don’t think anything of it.

The next day, within ten minutes of unlocking the front door, I watch a customer approach. She stops and stares at the sign for a moment. She looks at me and I put on my customer service smile even though I’m still waking up. She looks back at the sign on the door and looks confused. Then, she turns and walks away.

I think that is odd, but we have people approach to read some of the signs hung up in our window all the time, so I don’t think much about it. A minute later, the woman appears from behind me, asking about buying a laptop. My heart almost stops.

We share office space with the university’s technology store, so the sales representative steps up and begins talking to the customer and mercifully walks her back around the front desk to where the merchandise is set up.

After a moment’s confusion, I look around to the back room and see the door to the computer lab support cubicles open. She went all the way around past the computer lab support desk, went through their office, and tracked down the side door that connected to our office. We typically keep it locked, but apparently, it was not locked this morning.

Baffled, I turn back as the sales representative concludes a pitch.

“Well, I’ll have to think about it,” the customer says, and she begins walking back around the front desk.

The sales representative says, “Um, ma’am, you can go out through the front door.”

“Oh. You keep reminding me, but I keep forgetting.”

With that, she leaves through the front. I give her a moment to leave and then start laughing with the sales representative about how bizarre it was that she went all the way out of her way and snuck in behind us.

After a moment’s thought, I go around and check the new sign on our door. It’s right above the handle so anyone trying to get in would see it.

“If LOCKED, return equipment to computer lab support desk.”

At the bottom, a huge arrow points toward the other desk.

A few minutes later, another coworker approaches, sees the sign, and enters, confused.

“Why does it say our front door is locked?”

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Don’t Take A Page Out Of This Page’s (Really, Really Neat) Book

, , , , , , | Working | May 1, 2020

The pages at our library mostly work by themselves, but we team up an hour before the library closes at 6:00. We have a new page, and I’m training her about our closing duties: straightening the books on the shelves, picking up books that patrons left on tables and chairs, etc. She’s working pretty slowly, so I go over to check up on her.

Me: “Okay, good job! Just keep in mind that while we want the books to look nice and neat, it doesn’t need to be perfectly lined up.”

This is my indirect way of telling her she needs to speed up.

New Page: “No! The very top row needs to be brought all the way to the front! The edges need to be flush! This is the correct way!”

I’m surprised by her backtalk.

Me: “Well… yes, ideally. But this is a pretty big library, so if we try to make each shelf perfect, we’ll never get done, and half the library will still be a mess. Anyway, just keep the time that we have in mind.” 

She seems to take the hint and tries her best to keep up with me. I expected her to work slowly, so she actually does well enough on her first day, and I figure she’ll only improve. The second day, we work with another page, [Coworker]. Because there are three of us, we start later than we usually would. However, [New Page] is working much more slowly than before. My supervisor, who has other things to do and never performs closing duties with us, comes over to baby the new page a bit, giving her some tips to help her work faster before leaving her in our hands.

Coworker: “[New Page], when you finish those shelves, move on to the nonfiction section. The two of us are starting from the end close to the audiobooks, so just come find us.”

[Coworker] and I move on to the next area and speedily work together to get it cleaned up. When we’re halfway done, we realize something.

Me: “Wait, where’s [New Page]?” 

We look for her and find her still in fiction, going over shelves that have already been done and trying to make them perfectly straight.

Coworker: “[New Page], those books are straight enough! Come on!”

We drag her to the next section and I work alongside [New Page] for a while, keeping an eye on how she works and trying to coach her into working faster. I leave to finish up the rest of nonfiction, and she’s stuck on the same row of shelves.

Me: “Okay, [New Page], the reference and foreign language sections are next. Join us over there when you finish that shelf.”

[Coworker] and I go to those areas and start working as fast as we can to make up for the time we’ve lost babysitting [New Page]. We’re concentrating so much on our work that we don’t realize right away that she’s missing again.

Coworker: “Oh, God… Where is she?”

We backtrack to the previous section, and sure enough, she’s “fixing” the shelves that are already straightened.

Me: *Really frustrated* “[New Page]! I told you that we had to straighten up reference and foreign language next! We’ve already gone over those shelves!”

We drag her over to reference so that we can finish up while she barely does anything. It’s running really close to 6:00, and two more sections still need to be cleaned up.

Me: “[New Page], can you go over to health and science and help [Coworker]? I’ll go over to the young adult section.” 

[New Page] follows me like a lost puppy. I decide, “To heck with it; she can help me, instead.”

Me: “[New Page], can you handle those shelves over there while I do these?”

She doesn’t. She hovers about asking me questions.

New Page: “Do I have to clock out right at the hour?”

Me: “No, you don’t have to. You actually have seven minutes after 6:00 before you absolutely have to clock out, but no one stays that long unless it’s really messy. Anyway, I want to keep you a couple minutes after just to quickly show you how we do sorting.”

New Page: “Okay.”

I continue working as fast as I can while she idly stands by and watches.

Me: “Okay, finally done here. We don’t have time to actually do all of the sorting, but I can at least show you–”

New Page: *Frantically* “But it’s 6:00! I need to clock out!”

It was actually still a few more minutes until 6:00, but she ran off to the back room anyway so that she could wait there before clocking out. [Coworker] and I did as much as we could in the sorting room before heading back. Even though it was after 6:00, [New Page] is still there. She left only moments before I clocked out.

The next day, after we spoke with our supervisor about her poor work ethic and utter lack of teamwork skills, it was decided that [New Page] would be stuck in the fiction section. For a long time, the only thing she was ever responsible for was putting away fiction and closing that area by herself; however, she worked so slowly that we often had to help her finish up. She never really got any better at her job, but she was never fired.

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Going The Distance To Be Lazy

, , , , , | Working | May 1, 2020

A coworker is always late in the morning; her excuse is the distance. We live along the same train line but her station is 25 minutes further away from mine; it takes me an hour to get to work on a train that takes me directly to the town we work in.  

One day, my coworker asks me which train I catch as I am always at work on time.

Me: “I get [Train]; it’s pretty quick as it only stops at [Major Stations] before it gets to the city.”

Coworker: “Oh, that one leaves my station too early for me and I don’t like stopping at all of the stations because it makes the trip so much longer for me.”

Me: “But isn’t that the last train that will get you to work on time?”

Coworker: “Yeah, but I hate all those stops, so I wait for [Express Train] which gets me into the city without stopping; it only takes 45 minutes and I am there not long after your train goes through.”

Me: “But that still makes you late, doesn’t it?”

Her train terminates at the station, so she has to get through crowds to change platforms and then wait for the next train to take her to our station which is four stations past the city.

Coworker: “[Manager] understands because I live so far away; he always lets me go home ten minutes earlier, too. Anyway, I am moving soon and will be closer.”

She moved a couple of weeks later and was still arriving twenty minutes late every day. This went on for six months until she forgets some keys. I was working reception when her manager let me know that they would be out of the office for two to three hours because he needed to drive her home to get the keys which were vital to his work.

Less than fifteen minutes later, they were back, and her manager looked even more pissed than he’d been when they left. It appeared that she’d neglected to tell him that she had moved to a place just ten minutes’ walk from work. She thought it was funny that she had been able to get away with it for so long.

She didn’t stay with us much longer, quitting because her unreasonable manager would insist on picking her up each morning half an hour before starting time, and she did not like getting out of bed that early.

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Panic Attacks Are So Much More Fun As A Group!

, , , , | Working | April 29, 2020

My company has been going through some dramatic restructuring. I’m in a coworker’s office going over some work I’m helping him with and what projects we need to look at in the new year. Our boss pops her head in.

Me: “We’re pretty much done here if you need him.”

Boss: “No, that’s fine. I’m just having a panic attack.”

Coworker: “I also want to have a panic attack after talking about everything we need to do this year.”

Me: “Me, too. Should we sit in here and have a panic attack meeting, then?”

We all laughed the hysterical laughter of the damned.

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In The Spirit Of Fellowship With Coworkers

, , , , , , | Working | April 27, 2020

This prank on a coworker required a degree of sophistication, preparation, and a little engineering but it came off great. [Target] is in charge of shipping and receiving and works in the warehouse area of our office. [Target] is, I guess you would say, easily spooked, which makes him the perfect candidate.

I rigged up a zip line in the back warehouse, constructed a shape of something resembling a ghost with a wig head and sheet, attached it to the zip line so that it would zoom across the warehouse where it would be captured by our security cameras. I had to put up the zip line for testing and take it down so it wouldn’t be detected during the day.

I finally got it to where Tristan — the name we gave our ghost — would sail across the warehouse at the right speed. The trick was how to get Tristan to release in the middle of the night where he would be captured with a time stamp on our cameras that had night vision. I tied a restraining cord to Tristan and put the other end of the cord in a frozen bottle of water. This way, as the ice turned into water, the string would release and Tristan would complete his journey.

It worked perfectly. So now, we had this video of some unidentified form drifting across the warehouse in the middle of the night on our camera systems.

The next day at work my coworkers [Accomplice #1], [Accomplice #2], and [Target] were in the office chatting. [Accomplice #1] casually mentioned how tired she was because she received a call from our security monitoring company around 4:00 am saying that motion had been detected in our back warehouse.

While they were chatting, [Accomplice #1] began reviewing video footage from the warehouse from the night before. The cameras only record if there is an event, so it wasn’t hard to find the right spot on the footage. Sure enough, at 4:08 am, there was Tristan soaring across the warehouse. The first time they saw it, it was a WTF moment. They ran the footage back.

When [Target] saw it again, there was a momentary pause, then bye! [Target] proceeded to walk back to his area, grab his things, and walk out.

“You tell [Boss] she’s gonna have to get somebody else,” he said, and he proceeded to get in his car and leave. He was gone before anyone had a chance to explain. Finally, after we reached [Target]’s cell phone and explained, he did agree to come back. He was a good sport about it but has sworn revenge on me.

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