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Apparently, The Coworker Is Always Right In Matters Of Taste

, , , , , , | Working | November 23, 2023

[Coworker] sits next to me in the office. We have nothing in common — we’re complete opposites, in fact — but get on really well.

However, she does repeatedly try to invite me out to eat somewhere or order takeaway. When I politely refuse, she brings in the leftovers to try to get me to eat.

Honestly, it was sweet at first, but I am getting a little fed up with it. I’ve said several times that I’m in training, so I have to watch what I eat, and I can’t eat unhealthy food this month. At any mention that I’m finding it difficult, she tries to convince me to cheat on my diet — as if it wasn’t difficult enough.

It’s lunchtime. I’ve brought a layered salad I made last night. It’s not exactly on calorie, but I need a little boost today. It’s full of all my favourite veg and loads of meat and dressing. I’ve been looking forward to it all morning.

[Coworker] spots this. It’s Friday so she is ordering burgers. I know she is going to ask me what I want to order and then act surprised when I say that I’m okay. She then will say how bad she feels being the only one eating rubbish and remark on how she should probably eat better. I know this because this is what she says every. Single. Week. 

However, today, she catches me by surprise and changes up the script.

Coworker: “Oh, poor you, having to eat… that.”

Me: “This? Oh, no. This is great; it’s one of my favourites.”

Coworker: *With a condescending laugh* “Oh, poor thing. I might not be ‘healthy’, but I know what tastes good. Why don’t you order something with me?”

Me: “That’s… kind of you. But no, thanks. Really, I’m happy with this.”

Coworker: *Suddenly irritated* “Oh, don’t be silly. Come on. How can that rabbit food taste good?!”

Me: “I don’t know, [Coworker]. Some people like it.”

Coworker: *Even more irritable* “Oh, because I’m fat, I couldn’t possibly understand. Is that it?”

This again?

Me: “I think your blood sugar is off. Maybe have a snack?”

Coworker: “Oh, you would like that wouldn’t you? I eat even more and get even fatter? So you can lord it over me with your healthy food?!”

Me: “I’m not talking to you when you are like this.”

She started ranting, and it got less and less intelligible. Her manager rushed over and struggled to get her to calm down. Then, he made her go to his office.

She appeared later and blanked me completely, only talking to make snide comments about something being “someone’s” fault and how “some people” are inconsiderate.

Whatever. She could be as petty as she liked. I would not engage with her; she could calm down and apologise if she wanted anything from me.

To my surprise, she requested to move desks. Apparently, I was “not being considerate enough of her life choices,” whatever that meant. I’m pretty sure she just wanted someone to enable her.

Then, I found out where she is now sitting. She’s surrounded by coworkers who are just as health-conscious as I am. Four of them are in my running club, and one is allergic to something in her beloved burgers.

Not only will they not entertain her moaning, but she won’t be allowed to eat at her desk as she insists on doing, lip-smacking and pleasure-moaning as she eats.

Enjoy your new surroundings, [Coworker]. In truth, I won’t miss you that much, or your complaining, your emotional blackmail, or the stink of reheated takeaways.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Change Of Pace

, , , , , , | Right | November 23, 2023

I don’t celebrate Christmas — although I happily participate in festivities my friends and family invite me to — so I always volunteer to work on December 25th so my coworkers who the day means more to can be home with their families.

A few years ago, over Christmas lunch break, I discovered that another coworker did the same and actually celebrated the same holiday I did. We talked about how we were constantly getting the “I’m so sorry you have to work” speeches, but both of us would reply that we were happy to work since we didn’t celebrate; besides, we got double pay for working the holiday.

Over the next few years, we would have friendly competitions about how many “sorry you’re working” comments we got. It was our holiday, and it made us smile to help our customers during a seemingly stressful day for those who forgot things for the holiday.

There was one year that I will never forget.

My friend and I were also the standard Thanksgiving workers. This particular Thanksgiving, we were working in different parts of the store, so we didn’t see each other all shift. Almost to the end, my department’s phone rang and I answered it with our standard phone greeting.

Coworker: “It’s begun.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Coworker: “It’s [Coworker]. I just got a ‘sorry you’ll be working Christmas’.”

Me: “But it’s Thanksgiving?”

Coworker: “I know. Earliest it’s ever started. Enjoy the rest of your shift.”

Me: “You, too.”

I miss that coworker and am still amazed people were empathetic toward us that early. 

I don’t remember the exact numbers, but if anyone’s curious, he won that year’s competition by three “I’m sorry”s.

Time Functions Differently In The Ivy League

, , , , , , , , , , | Working | November 23, 2023

I once had a job at Harvard. (Yes, that Harvard.) I replaced a guy who was legally blind but refused to admit he couldn’t read a screen. He had “screen enlargement” software which he’d used to blow up text until the entire screen showed one letter, and he’d proceed to spend several minutes trying to figure out what letter it was. As you can imagine, especially for commands which would usually be several hundred characters each, this made computer programming very slow.

They were used to giving him a task to do — always “produce mailing labels to these specifications” — and it taking a week before they got results. They gave me a task, and I had results in an hour.

Me: “I’m sorry this took me so long. It took me a while to figure out the printer.”

Without even looking at my work, the boss ripped me a new one.

Boss: “You couldn’t possibly have results in an hour! I know for a fact that it should take at least a week. Go back and do it right this time.”

I took the labels back to my desk, put them on a shelf, read novels for a week, and brought the labels back to the boss. He looked at them and announced that they were perfect.

Boss: “Now you see what taking your time to do it right can do?”

So, when an employer gives me a task with a stated timeframe that is ridiculously long, I get it done and then don’t give them results until about when they are expecting results; if I do otherwise, I know they will reject my work.

Someone Missed Personal Space Day In Kindergarten, Part 3

, , , , , , | Working | November 22, 2023

My stint working on a tech support call center job was interesting in terms of interactions with customers and all the different people that came and went over the years. I’d have to say that there is at least one employee who stands out to me to this day: Mr. I Don’t Understand Personal Space (Mr. IDUPS).

There was a time — okay, it was pretty much the whole four to five years I worked there — when the place was always just trying to find warm bodies to fill entry-level spots. We’d get people starting, and within a day or two, we’d never see them again. If we were lucky, they’d stick around for a month or two before leaving. I chalked it up to low pay and absolutely zero training before people were released to the wolves as they were left to answer the phones and try to help customers out on their own. (Honestly, it was nerve-wracking; I remember those days when I started.) 

One guy that the floor manager hired was not a good fit from the start. The floor manager explained to me that the guy was a recovering alcoholic. This was not something I needed to know, but maybe it explains some of his behaviour? He was much older than anyone else on the floor and his knowledge of computers was very limited. Like I said, sometimes they just needed warm bodies. 

With practically zero training set up for new employees, it was a cluster on the floor almost every day. We had new people who knew nothing and all they were basically able to do was answer the phone, make a work ticket, and inform the customer that, “We’ll be looking into the issue and call you back right away.” Techs that stuck around a few weeks to a month or two eventually learned some of the basics, and they could resolve about a third of the calls they handled, but not Mr. IDUPS. 

Mr. IDUPS, as willing as he was, didn’t seem to retain any information, and he’d been there a month when this story happened. If the company had some sort of knowledge base to go off of, it would have been greatly beneficial to people like Mr. IDUPS. Unfortunately, you needed to learn on the go and retain information.

After a month of Mr. IDUPS being employed, we could tell he was always eager and willing to put his all into the work, but when he was constantly getting up from his desk to track down someone knowledgeable to find out how to resolve the issue he was working on, it became a burden on us all. When he came up to us to talk, he’d stand so close that his body was either touching us or just an inch or two away, and then he leaned in really close like he wanted to give us a kiss on the cheek. He had zero awareness of personal space.

Everyone just seemed to accept that that was the way he was, and somehow, they all seemed to tolerate it. I, on the other hand, don’t like to be crowded. Generally, when Mr. IDUPS needed help, he didn’t make it all the way down to my cubicle; I had buffers (a few other experienced techs sitting between my desk and Mr. IDUPS’s desk) and he bugged them. That is, until one day when my buffers were away from their desks.

I was busy working on a call — my more experienced colleagues and I worked on the hard issues that caused system failures on customer ends — and unbeknownst to me, Mr. IDUPS had been quietly standing behind me for maybe eight to ten minutes waiting for me to get off my call. Per our call resolution, entry-level techs shouldn’t be on a call for over five minutes unless they got their supervisor’s permission, but here was Mr. IDUPS standing away from his desk for nearly ten minutes. As soon as I hung up with the customer I was helping, Mr. IDUPS did his usual: he walked up, stood so close that he was touching me, leaned over my shoulder, and put his face right next to mine.

Me: “Dude. You need to back up.”

Mr. IDUPS: “What?”

I swiveled my chair as best I could to face him. I made a fist, placed it against his chest, and pushed him away.

Me: “I said, you need to back the f*** up. I can hear you just fine without you leaning up on me or being right in my face. If I can put my arm out and touch you, you’re too close.”

Mr. IDUPS: “Oh. I just needed some help with a call I’m on.”

I looked at the phone HUD and saw that he’d been on a call for ten-plus minutes, and most of it had been him just standing by me hoping to get an answer.

Me: “You’re way over on your call time. You need to end the call and inform the customer that you’re moving the ticket to an experienced tech and we’ll get back to them as soon as possible.”

Mr. IDUPS: “Well, I just…”

He started moving closer to me and began to lean down toward my face as he was trying to explain the issue.

Mr. IDUPS: “…wanted to…”

Me: “Stop.”

I extended my arm out again to keep him from getting any closer.

Me: “You need to keep back. I don’t need you crowding my personal space. Go back to your desk. Talk to your supervisor first; if he needs you to come to us, he’ll let us know.”

Mr. IDUPS: “…okay.”

After that interaction, he kept his distance from me when he did have to come to talk to me, but for everyone else, he still got right in their faces and leaned up on them as he spoke to them. Nice guy, but zero understanding of personal space.

Someone Missed Personal Space Day In Kindergarten, Part 2
Someone Missed Personal Space Day In Kindergarten

A Freudian Nip-Slip

, , , , , , , | Working | November 21, 2023

My office-husband video-called this morning to share this embarrassing gem.

Him: “I love my staff. Thank God they have a sense of humor.”

Me: “What now?”

Him: “I just typoed something in chat. It was supposed to say, ‘Got it, should be fine.’ It came out, ‘Go tits, hould be fine.’ 

Me: *Laughs*

Him: “At least she just laughed.”