A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 10

, , , , | Healthy | April 21, 2021

When I was almost nineteen years old, I moved to Iceland to try to work there. I had gotten the job prior to moving, so that and living quarters were not an issue. The job was as an uneducated gardener, so some of it was physical-labour intensive — digging and moving heavy stuff. It was nothing too bad, but as this was very new to me, I did find some new muscles.

One day, about three weeks after I had started, I noticed that my wrist was hurting very badly, every time I tried to use any equipment, light or heavy. Since I had some small problems with my wrist years before, I wanted to get it checked by a doctor to see if it just needed rest or something more.

As I was in a new country, I didn’t understand the local language too well, so I wasn’t sure where to find a healthcare center. Luckily, there was one close to my working area, so I went there to ask them how to get help.

I waited patiently in the queue, and when it was my turn, I asked politely if we could have the conversation in English. The receptionist started to huff, but she did reply in English.

Me: “My wrist is hurting, and I would like to know if someone could take a look at it. Since I haven’t been to a doctor in Iceland before, could you please tell me how I book a time with one?”

Receptionist: *Huffs in anger* “You cannot just walk in here and expect a doctor to just see you! You need to book a time!”

I was very confused, since that’s exactly what I asked for help with.

Me: “Well, yes, that’s what I’m planning on. I’m not expecting a doctor right now, but I just want to know how to book a time. I’ve never done that in Iceland before. Could you help me?”

Receptionist: *Still huffing in anger* “You need to call in order to book at time! This is not how you do it!” *Starts to look at some papers*

Me: *Lost for words* “But… I’m trying to do exactly that. How do I—”

Receptionist: *Cuts me off* “Here! Take this paper and fill it out. Give it back afterward.”

I was very confused, but the papers were in English, so I could fill them out. Afterward, I went back to the receptionist, since I thought maybe now I could get the info I needed.

Me: “Here is the paper. What now?”

Receptionist: *Still clearly annoyed* “Sit down over there. A doctor will take you as soon as possible.”

Me: *Very confused* “But… I did not mean…”

By now, the receptionist was just glaring at me, so I couldn’t do anything else but sit down and wait. Some fifteen or twenty minutes later, a door next to me opened and a doctor asked me to come in.

Doctor: *Visibly not satisfied, but not angry* “You know, you need to book a time before you can see a doctor here. You cannot just walk in and demand one.”

I was now even more confused and annoyed, but I was still trying to be polite.

Me: “But that’s exactly what I tried to do! I did ask the receptionist how to book a time, but they didn’t answer me. They just gave me some papers to fill out and asked me to sit down and wait! I never expected to see a doctor now or even today!”

The doctor finally seemed to realize what had happened.

Doctor: “Really? Well, there is a phone number you can call. And since you live outside of this area, you should go to another healthcare center closer to your address.”

The doctor checked my wrist, and thankfully, it was only about me not being used to this kind of work, so it only needed as much rest as I could give it for a few days. I was still allowed to work.

But I never got an answer to my original question: how do I book a time with a doctor at the healthcare center in my area? It took me at least a year before I found out on my own, and only because I had learned the language well enough.

Related:
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 9
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 8
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 7
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 6
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 5

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We Have Several Questions About What We Heard

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

I mishear things a lot. Usually, it’s something dirty I think I hear, but not this time.

Me: “Hi! How’re you doing tonight?”

The customer answers but I hear something else. I’m staring at her with wide eyes, frozen for a moment.

Me: “I’m… sorry… what?”

Customer: “I said I was good and found everything just fine.”

Me: “Oh! I totally misheard you for a moment there.”

Customer: “What’d you hear?”

Me: “I thought you said, ‘You can just shut up now,’ which made me wonder if you knew my mom or boyfriend.”

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The Contrarian Librarian: The DVD

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

Back in the early 2000s, I return some DVDs I’ve borrowed from my university library’s media counter. A few days later, I try to borrow some books from the main counter, but I’m told that there’s a block on my account because I didn’t return some DVDs. I say I did return them, and they ask me to speak to someone at the media counter.

Me: “Hi. According to the system, I didn’t return [DVDs], but I think whoever was working the desk when I returned them forgot to scan them or something.”

Librarian: “And I’m supposed to just believe you?”

Me: *Shocked* “Or… You could check if the DVDs are in the drawers behind you?”

Librarian: “Oh! Right.”

They were there. She didn’t say another word or even apologize. She just looked very embarrassed while she made sure to scan each DVD.

Related:
The Contrarian Librarian Runs Out Of Time
The Contrarian Librarian: The Childhood Years
Softening Of The Contrarian Librarian
The Contrarian Librarian: Looking For Work
Re-emergence Of The Contrarian Librarian

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Past Performance, My Dude

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

I work for a large company and have two people working for me: [Coworker #1] and [Coworker #2]. [Coworker #1] is hardworking, always on time, and happy to help. [Coworker #2] is her opposite; he has been late several times already this year and won’t do anything he deems “not his job.”

Both are great people and work well together; however, when a vacancy comes up for a senior position in another department, I recommend [Coworker #1]. She has all the qualities needed and the right attitude.

A few weeks later, I learn that there have been many applications — including [Coworker #1] and [Coworker #2] — but [Coworker #1] got the offer. They publicly state that it was largely helped by my personal recommendation.

[Coworker #2] comes to me, very angry.

Coworker #2: “Why did you recommend [Coworker #1]?”

Me: “I felt she was well suited for the job.”

Coworker #2: “That’s favouritism! You should have recommended us both or neither.”

Me: “No, I will never stand in the way of people progressing, and frankly, the promotion wouldn’t suit you.”

Coworker #2: “How do you know?”

Me: “The job includes working longer hours, working helping different teams, and, importantly, needs excellent timekeeping and organisation.”

Coworker #2: “You don’t know! I could do all that if I wanted to!”

Me: “You expect to be given a job, based on no evidence that you could perform any of what they are asking, instead of us giving it to someone who has demonstrated that they can time and time again?” 

Coworker #2: “I, err, well… It’s still not fair. I’m going to human resources!”

He did and he put in a complaint against me, which was disregarded immediately. HR told him that we can recommend anyone we like, and frankly, it was part of my job to develop people. 

As he still wouldn’t back down, they brought the interviewing manager over, who told him brutally that even if the Pope had given him a recommendation, he still wouldn’t have gotten the job!

[Coworker #2] sulked for months and nearly got himself fired for his resulting behaviour. Happily, he has finally agreed to let me develop him and his skills and he is doing much better.

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We Want Solutions That Involve Changing Nothing

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

I work as a contractor, taking roles in companies that are having serious quality problems. 

Having worked for several companies in many industries, I have gotten pretty good at finding out why problems occur and how to fix them.

This one company is having major issues with deliveries to their main customer. Every month, they are sent a list of missing parts. The company has to make a load of spares and then airfreight them across the globe to get them delivered in time.

The company is sure that their supplier is making it up but can’t prove it. 

My first step is the packing area, I am introduced to a hate-filled, haggard woman that initially refuses to look at me. I’m told she is the person that packs everything and of course could make no mistakes. 

Me: “Hi, my name is [My Name]. I’ve been asked to help out with [Customer].”

The woman ignores me.

Me: “Perhaps you could help me understand what might be the issue?”

Woman: “Well, they’re making it up, aren’t they!”

Me: “Okay. Do we have any paperwork that proves what we packed?”

Woman: “Oh, I knew this would happen. What has it been, five minutes? And you are blaming me?”

Me: “I didn’t say anything about blame.”

Woman: “No, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”

And she refuses to speak to me. I catch up with the owner. He is as limp as wet lettuce and makes some stupid excuse not to deal with her. He asks me to try again tomorrow. So I do.

Me: “Good morning! Can we chat?”

Woman: “I suppose.”

Me: “So, we need to prove that the customer is losing these parts.”

Woman: “I don’t see what the fuss is about. They cost pennies to make.”

Me: “And hundreds of pounds to replace and ship, every month. I was told that because of these complaints, the company is barely making any money.”

Woman: “I don’t see what that has to do with me!”

I spent a month trying to work through the problems, being ignored by staff, and trying to wet nurse the directors. I eventually found a foolproof, quick, and cheap solution to fix the problem. However, the directors were too scared to implement it, in case it inconvenienced the staff.

I told the company they were wasting their money hiring me if they would not implement my solutions and respectfully ended my contract early.

They call me from time to time to come back in and help. I decline.

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