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We’d Definitely Rather Have The Chicken

, , , , , | Working | August 10, 2020

I have a quite stressful job at quality assurance in our factory. Luckily, we are a great team. One of my coworkers, otherwise a silent, nice guy, is a bit of a walking Wikipedia, and from time to time, he decides to entertain us with bits of trivia he finds interesting. Despite how it sounds, he comes out as the opposite of annoying as those little bits, completely unrelated to our work, are like little tea breaks for our high-strung brains.

One day, I am venting about our cafeteria, which is not good at all. Basically, there is only some sort of chicken, five days a week. My coworker lets me calm down, and after some time, he starts:

Coworker: “[My Name], you know, there are very interesting bugs, called Dermestidae, often called skin beetles or museum beetles. There are about 1,600 species of them and some are considered pests because they eat grain or clothes, but overall, they are very useful, as they get rid of dead organic matter. In the show Bones, they use them to clean the bones of the corpse! And there is one subfamily of them called Thaumaglossa. They are very specialized, as they only eat ootekas — egg containers — of mantids. Really, the only thing they eat is ootekas.”

Me: “Is that so?”

Coworker: “Yes! So, why do you complain about having to eat chicken?”

My colleague was genuinely startled when the whole office exploded into laughter, as he did not realize that our colleagues listened to him. We all agreed that this one took the cake for a surprise ending. The cafeteria is still crap, though.

They Share It In Half-Hour Shifts

, , , , | Right | July 9, 2020

For health reasons, everybody has to cover their mouth and nose. A woman wanders in to the store with her boyfriend, who doesn’t have a face mask.

Me: “I’m sorry, but you have to cover your face.”

Woman: “We are here together!”

Me: “…”

This story is part of our Anti-Masker roundup.

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A Mouthful Of Either Will Silence A Coworker

, , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

I work for a company which mostly deals with international clients, which means we mainly communicate with our clients via email or phone, but sometimes we have foreign visitors who don’t speak Czech.

[Coworker #1] is a serious gentleman in his sixties; [Coworker #2] is a quiet woman in her fifties. We have an open space office, and both of them sit in the row next to mine and neither of them speaks any foreign language.

There are two visiting Finnish engineers sitting right next to my table. The word “paska” in Czech means “duct tape,” while in Finnish it means “s***”. The whole conversation is in Czech.

Coworker #1: *Yelling* “Hey, does anybody know where the ‘paska’ is?!”

The Finnish engineers raise their heads and give him a deer-in-the-headlights stare.

Coworker #2: “I think there is ‘paska’ in the office kitchen.”

The Finnish engineers look shocked.

Coworker #1: “Is there a ‘paska’ in the kitchen?!”

Someone: *Yelling from the kitchen* “No, the ‘paska’ isn’t here! Have you checked the supply closet?!”

The Finnish engineers now look like two scared owls.

Me: “Guys, can you please stop yelling ‘paska’? Our guests seem to be shocked.”

Coworker #1: “Why?”

Me: “Because ‘paska’ in Finnish is ‘s***’. I’ll explain it to them. Please use ‘izolepa.’

“Izolepa” is another word for duct tape.

I explained to the engineers that my coworkers weren’t yelling, “S***!” at each other, just looking for duct tape. They were understanding and found it funny, especially when they looked at [Coworker #1], who gave them a sheepish smile and said, “Sorry?” with a very strong Czech accent.

The Money Is Fine, But The Karma Is The Real Bonus

, , , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

My boss, the CEO, calls me to his office. Our company has a policy that if you speak a foreign language, you get a bonus, but you have to have an official certificate to prove it. I can speak several languages, but since I don’t “have a paper” to prove it, no money for me.

CEO: “[My Name], on Monday there will be a meeting with one of our suppliers from Italy. We have some problems with late delivery of the material and I think they are bulls***ting us. I want you to attend the meeting and tell me what they say in Italian.”

Me: “Boss, you know I’m not paid to speak Italian. I don’t have a certificate to prove my language skills, and [Human Resources Director] said—”

CEO: “Don’t gimme that bulls***. You studied and worked in Italy for a year. But don’t worry; I spoke to [Human Resources Director] and you’ll get a one-time bonus for it, and another one if you find out something useful. [Human Resources Director] wasn’t very enthusiastic about it, but we really need some leverage; because of them our schedule is late and we may have to pay some fees to our customers.”

I give him a wicked smile.

Me: “As you wish, my lord.”

I attend the meetings as “a person responsible for writing the minutes of the meeting” and find out that while our supplier prepared our purchased material, right before the shipping they sold it to our competitor at double the price, but their official statement for us was that there were some problems at the forgery and they had to postpone the production because of a broken machine.

I send my findings to my boss by email and he is very pleased. He uses this information — packed in some fairy tale about how he found out about it — during two days of negotiations and the Italian side isn’t very happy that we know. They apologize a lot and pay some hefty fee for breaking the contract with us.

Also, because I stayed in the meeting room during the breaks, I heard that they did the same thing to us before and to our sister company, as well, and I heard about some other problems they have.

After the last meeting, the head of their delegation is in the corridor on his phone telling the results to his boss. Unknown to me, an agent from a different Italian supplier has come to visit us. He is an older man and very fond of me since he found out I could speak Italian — as the only person in the whole company. I’m passing by the Italian on his phone when I hear a familiar voice.

Agent: *In Italian* “Oh, my dear, how are you, sweetie?!” *Hugs me*

Me: *Also in Italian* “Hello, [Agent], I’m fine. How about you? How was the flight? Let’s go to my office and grab some coffee.”

The head of the delegation stares at me, completely shocked. 

Head Of Delegation: “F***.”

Subordinate To His Bigoted Ideas

, , , , | Working | June 30, 2020

I’m head of quality assurance and the certification department. There used to be three people including me, but one was fired for drinking and the second one is on maternity leave and won’t be back for another three years.

Before she left, I repeatedly requested new help. It didn’t matter if it was someone from a different department or completely new, because in both cases I’d have to teach them everything. The only requirement was that they had to speak Russian.

The human resources director promised me to find someone, but no luck… until one day I speak to the head of the development department

Head Of DD: “Hi, [My Name], I’m so sorry. I apologize. I had no idea.”

Me: “Hi, [Head Of DD]. What’s wrong? Why do you apologize?”

Head Of DD: “I swear, I didn’t know about it. I’m sorry.”

Me: “Okay, how about you start from the beginning?”

Head Of DD: “I went to [HR Director] to ask if she could find me someone more capable than [Coworker]; he is totally useless. She said fine and that she would move him to your department. I’m really sorry. I didn’t know she still hadn’t found a substitute for [Coworker On Maternity Leave].”

Me: “Oh, well, as long as he can speak Russian. I need someone who can deal with Russian documentation, send emails, and tell me what [Mother Company] needs from me. It’s not like he has to do something complicated like drawings, material calculations, and other technical stuff like your team does. If he is at least able to do this, I won’t have to work fifteen hours a day. I’m really tired.”

Head Of DD: “That’s why I’m so sorry. I’m afraid he won’t be of much help. His Russian is perfect, but the rest…”

Me: “We will see. Don’t worry.”

The next day, I go to the office kitchen to grab a coffee, and when I return to my office, there is someone sitting in my chair. The guys fiddles with my computer mouse trying to wake up my notebook from the screensaver but only gets to the “locked” screen.

Normally, I lock my office but this time I was away for two minutes and didn’t bother. I recognize the guy as [Coworker]; I saw his photo at the “New Employees” board a few months ago.

Me: “Umm, good morning. That’s my chair. You are [Coworker], right? I’m [My Name]; nice to meet you. Let me show you your workplace.”

The coworker stares at me quietly. Then, he slams his hands on my table, stands up and, still without a word, passes me and leaves the office. I’m confused and have no idea what happened. I let it be as I have too much work to do.

Later, at the company canteen, [Head Of DD] joins me for lunch.

Head Of DD: “Hey, how did it go?”

Me: “I have no idea.”

I tell him what happened.

Me: “He didn’t come back. I even checked if [IT Coworker] had switched the nametag on my office door; he likes pranks like this. Nope, my office was still my office. I have to ask—”

A coworker from the HR department joins us.

HR Coworker: “Hi, guys. [My Name], I’m sorry, no new subordinate for you.

Me: “Why? [Coworker] was in my office, and then, without a word, he disappeared.”

HR Coworker: “Yes, he came to our office. He said that he thought you’d be his subordinate, not his boss. He won’t listen to some silly little girl and if we don’t give him your position he will leave. His words, not mine. So, we said goodbye to him.”