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Facts Versus Opinions: The Never-Ending Debate

, , , , , | Working | January 30, 2018

(I work in a vaccine development company making viral vaccines. We usually write quantities of viruses in “log ten” units because the numbers are huge, e.g. six logs is a million. My colleague in charge of the process development team is giving a report. I’m in the assay development team, and she doesn’t get along with any of us.)

Colleague: “You can see that the total amount of virus in this run was twelve logs in the raw harvest and went down to nine logs in the purified batch. So, it’s only a twenty-five percent loss, which I think is pretty good.”

(Twelve logs is a trillion and nine logs is a billion.)

Me: “You can’t calculate percentages on log values. That’s not correct.”

Colleague: “How can you say it’s not correct? Twelve minus nine is twenty-five percent loss.”

Me: “You can’t do it like that. You have to convert to linear [regular numbers] first.”

Colleague: “This is my data! I can choose how I want to present it! You have to respect my opinion!”

(We end up arguing over secondary school maths for about five minutes before the boss, annoyed, stands up and points at the slide.)

Boss: “That is not a 25% loss. That is a 99.9% loss.”

Not Tipped To Be A Good Place To Work

, , , , , , | Working | January 29, 2018

I worked for a coffee shop chain and had just transferred to a new store after moving. The way the company did our tips was to collect them for the week, count how much we had received, and find an hourly tip rate based on the number of hours worked that week. Then, people were tipped out based on how many hours they had worked during the week. Tips only went to hourly employees, and we weren’t supposed to discuss tips with management. We didn’t know how much came in in tips, or how much the hourly tip rate was. We didn’t keep a record of the tips from week to week. Once everyone had picked up their tips, the tip sheet was tossed.

At my old store we had three people who were trained on how to deal with tips and would rotate doing so. I was one of these people. When I transferred to my new store, I found out that only one person did tips. I found that a bit odd, and when I inquired as to why, I was told they hadn’t had time to train anyone else. So, I let my store manager know that I knew how and would be happy help with tips here.

After my first week at the store when I got my tips, I was a bit sad to see that I only got $1.32 per hour; my old store tips had been about $2.50 per hour. I wasn’t too surprised, though; my first store had been in a more affluent area and this was more rural. I had also come from a stand-alone store, and this was a drive-through, which meant we had a larger staff and that people would sometimes steal our tip box.

The next week, I got my tips again, and again they were $1.32 per hour. I found this very strange as we didn’t often get the exact same hourly rate. My first store we had as much as a 75-cent swing based on time of year, hours worked, and other factors. The third week, the tip rate was once again exactly $1.32 per hour.

The fourth week, my manager actually took me up on my offer, and I got to do tips. When I was finished doing tips, they were $2.14 per hour. The following week, the first person did it again, and tips were $1.32 per hour. The following week, I did tips, and they were $2.20 per hour. After this I went to my manager.

I told him that I thought something fishy was going on, that I had never seen a tip rate be the exact same week after week, and that when I did tips they were at least 80 cents higher and they fluctuated like they were supposed to. He told me that he would look into it.

A couple days later, the assistant manager came to me and told me that they had decided that my personality didn’t match the store’s atmosphere and that they had decided to transfer me to the other store in town. At that time, nothing happened to the other person who was doing tips. The other employees had now seen that something was going on with their tips, but there was no paper trail or any way to prove how much they should have gotten.

I was actually glad to be out of that store; it wasn’t a great working environment. After I left, they did change the way they did tips, and now two people had to count the money and figure out the tip rate, which was around $2.25 per hour with a normal fluctuation. A year later, the assistant manager and the other person who did tips were both fired for stealing from the company.

No Clean Break From Having To Clean The Break

, , , , , , | Working | January 28, 2018

(The kitchen I work in has just had some maintenance done, and the builders took down and then reattached several hanging cupboards that we use as storage for baking ingredients and canned foods. While I am working in front of one of these cupboards, the inner shelf suddenly breaks down due to not being properly reattached. Several bags of flour and sugar, two glass jars of cherries, and a large bag of rice come crashing down towards me. A lot of it lands straight on my head and knocks off my glasses. Luckily, a coworker is nearby and rushes to hold up the shelf, but the two glass jars break on the floor and spill cherries and juice everywhere. While I’m searching for my glasses, my boss yells from her office next door, not bothering to look into the kitchen:)

Boss: “What was that noise?”

Coworker: “The baking shelf just came down! [My Name] was right underneath it!”

Boss: “Did something break?”

(My coworker doesn’t even bother to reply to that, secures the shelf, then hands me my glasses and tells me to sit down because apparently I’ve got a small bleeding head wound from the stuff that hit me. Five minutes later, while I’m still sitting and pressing a towel against the wound and my coworker is getting the first aid kit, the boss comes in, looks at me, then looks at the cherry-covered floor.)

Boss: “You’re going to clean that up, though, right?”

(That was all she said about the entire incident. Since it was right before dinner rush, I didn’t dare to call out sick. My coworker and I cleaned up as best as we could and emptied the shelf so nothing else would fall down. Luckily I didn’t get a concussion or worse from the accident. The builders who hung the cupboard got chewed out by my higher-ranking coworker, but my boss never mentioned it again. I’m surprised she didn’t make me pay for the jars I “broke.”)

Switching It Up And Going Down

, , , , , , | Working | January 26, 2018

(After employees count down the tills at the end of day, money goes into plastic bags with strong adhesive strips closing them. They have to be cut open by accounting. Because counting down the tills is important, but difficult for people who struggle with math, I’ve had my store split between employees asked to count down tills and those in charge of floor resets at end of day. The district manager visits, and he takes issue with this.)

District Manager: “Why do you only let some employees count down tills? It would make more sense for every employee to take a turn.”

Me: “We only let employees who are able to demonstrate they can close tills quickly and correctly actually do so. There’s more than enough work for everyone else to recover merchandise.”

District Manager: “Hmmm… Humor me. Tomorrow, let’s switch the two groups, just for tomorrow’s shift.”

(We did. Thankfully, he was there to witness employees struggling with counting out the change and massive cash discrepancies. I expected that; not everyone is good at math. What shocked us was the number of people confused by the adhesive plastic bags. Several people had to be instructed that the bags had to be sealed and how to seal them. One employee somehow managed to get the bag stuck to his hair, money still inside. The adhesive was so strong, we had to cut it out. I let the district manager be the one to actually cut the employee’s hair. It drove the point home, and he bought the accounting team — and me — lunch as an apology.)

This Person Is Such A Headache

, , , , , , , | Healthy | January 26, 2018

(A coworker has been on blood-thinning medication for the past couple of months. She isn’t allowed to have other medication that has the same effect, namely aspirin.)

Coworker: “I have such a headache. Does anyone have anything I can take?”

(We all say no, so she resorts to searching through the desks of people who are on holiday. She finally finds some.)

Coworker: “Perfect!”

Me: “Um, shouldn’t you try something else? You aren’t allowed aspirin, remember?”

Coworker: “It’s only two tablets! What harm will it do?”

(She disappears before I can protest further, and comes back with a glass of water, having taken them on the way back. She surreptitiously takes another two a few hours later, and I protest yet again. She goes to the printer and comes back screaming.)

Coworker: “I’ve got a paper cut and it won’t stop bleeding!”

(I see that she is actually applying a lot of pressure on the cut, causing it to stay open.)

Me: “Maybe if you ease up on it, it’ll stop.”

Coworker: “No, you idiot! You do that to stop the flow. Oh, my God, I’m dying! Why did you make me take those d*** pills?!”

(We called an ambulance for her, and the second the paramedics arrived, they loosened her grip and the wound closed within a couple of minutes. She spent the entire time accusing us of trying to kill her, and demanded the paramedics phone the police for “force-feeding her death-pills.” We had to explain the situation, as the paramedics thought she was under some sort of narcotic, and they decided to take her to the hospital to make sure the medication wasn’t wreaking havoc on her blood. When she came back into work the next day, she went straight to our manager and launched a formal complaint. We all needed to give statements, and it was decided that if we are going to bring medication to work, we need to ensure it is secure. [Coworker] was put on temporary leave after we revealed in our statements that she actually went looking for the medication in someone else’s belongings, something she failed to mention in her complaint.)