C-Section Versus A D-Bag

, , , | Right | August 23, 2018

(My husband is an engineer for a big, international company. He deals with clients all the time, since they usually don’t understand what’s possible and what’s not, or why they have to pay more for a stronger product or a custom design. He has to leave a meeting with an important client when I go into labor. After 27 very long hours for us both, I get a C-section. I am feeding our child for the first time, about 28 hours after my husband left the meeting. My husband takes his phone out of airplane mode for the first time in those 28 hours, to let our family know our son has arrived. The phone starts buzzing with messages, lasting at least two minutes.)

Me: “What the h*** is wrong this time?”

(He shows me the phone; it has 58 missed calls and 43 messages, all from the same important client, ranging from simple requests for a call back to cursing him out for terrible customer service and not being available. The phone starts ringing. He decides to answer, since the company can’t afford to lose such a big contract.)

Husband: “Good day, sir. Before I say anything else, I’d like to apologize for the inconvenience of not being available. As you know, my wife was having our first child, and since you kept calling me, I assume I’ve forgotten to give you my coworker’s contact information. If you have some paper, I can give you that info now; he can help you with everything you need.”

Client: *very cheerful* “Congratulations on your child! You’ve taken quite some extra time, but since it’s a special day, I’ll forgive you. Now, I need help this instant. I need the [product] in a different color; otherwise it won’t match my [workplace]!”

Husband: *tired and a bit confused, since his company makes electrical transformers and aesthetics don’t usually matter* “Sir, I’m not working right now, and I won’t be for at least a few more days. My coworker knows your contract and custom needs as well as I do, and he will be more than happy to help. Can I give you his number?”

Client: *shocked* “No! I saw your coworker in the meeting, and I don’t like the way he looks! He’s too big to be smart! I want you to solve my problem! Make the [product] a different color, and do it now!”

Husband: *trying to stay friendly* “I can assure you that my coworker is very intelligent. Besides that, your [product] has to withstand extreme conditions, meaning the color is a custom metal alloy, designed to be very strong. Changing that would require months of research and tests, to make sure the new alloy is strong enough to survive those conditions. I can’t do that right now. If you don’t want to talk to my coworker, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until I get back to work.”

Client: *condescending* “Well, get back to work right now. It’s not like you had the baby, and your wife should be able to take care of it without you.”

Husband: *annoyed* “No, sir. My wife has had a C-section and isn’t allowed out of bed for the next few days. She needs me here. I’m going to give you my coworkers’ info, and then I’m going to end this call. His number is—”

Client: *interrupting and shouting* “My sister had a baby in less than four hours, and she was up and running the next day! She never needed help, so don’t you lie to me! How dare you lie to me like that?! I’m your number-one client! You should jump when I say so! Give me your wife on the phone, so I can tell her to suck it up personally!”

Husband: *losing it* “Has anyone ever told you you’re an a**hole?! I’m not going to put your convenience above the well-being of my wife and child! I’m not going to let you talk to my wife, especially not after what she’s been through! I’m not going to jump because you say so, but if you keep this up I might just push you off of a cliff! I’m. Not. Working. Right. Now. I’d give you my coworker’s number, but I don’t want him to deal with your s***, either, so just go f*** yourself until you see the color you want! Goodbye!” *click*

(My husband is very startled by his own reaction.)

Husband: “D***, I’m going to have to deal with that when I go back next week.”

(He called his coworker and manager to explain what had just happened. They both were appalled by how the client acted, and contacted the legal team to look for a way out of that mess. When the client called to complain, they explained that since my husband wasn’t working, his actions were his own and not of the company. Also, because he wasn’t working, what the client did was harrassment, and my husband was allowed to react any way he liked. The client let it go. He still refuses to work with my husband, but now works with his coworker. I guess the client got over his dislike for tall people.)

Cancel Anything That Comes Out Of Their Mouth

, , , , , | Right | May 28, 2018

(I work as an apprentice in IT for an engineering design company. I’m not familiar with the whole building yet, so I ask this guy to meet me so I can go with him to his desk and try and resolve his issue. This is what happens when we get back to his desk.)

Me: “So, if you could just log in for me and show me the problem, that would be great.”

User: “Okay, although I don’t know why they sent the apprentice down; this is far too complex for you to understand.” *types in password, hovers the mouse over the cancel button, and clearly reads the word before clicking it* “Oh. I must have gotten my password wrong.”

(He then proceeds to do this two more times before I intervene.)

Me: “Maybe just try hitting the enter button this time.”

User: *does as I instruct and his machine starts to log in* “Apprentices just aren’t qualified enough to work in these kinds of places.”

Me: *rolls eyes* “Yeah. We’re just not smart enough.”

Engineered The Perfect Misunderstanding

, , , , , | Learning | November 13, 2017

(I’m checking engineers in at an alumni event where they each receive a name tag, but I am neither an engineer nor an alumni of the school.)

Engineer: “Where’s your name tag?”

Me: “I’m not an engineer.”

Engineer: “Don’t worry; it’s not that hard. Just peel the back off and stick it to your shirt.”

Going Against Code

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(Back in 1978, I was just a kid working as a programmer for a large engineering firm. One day my boss hands me two stacks of listings. They are the source for a project, one from today and one from six months prior. My job is to go through them line-by-line and mark which lines have been removed, which have been added, and which have been changed. The stacks are at least six inches tall, and I look at them in dread, realizing that there have to be some 100,000 mind-numbing lines to read. The number of errors I am bound to make will be astronomical. Then I get the bright idea to write a program that can find insertions, deletions, and changes. One day, such tools will become commonplace, but in 1978, they are unheard of. In a couple hours, I have a working program and I run all the code for the project through it, print it out, and give it to my boss later in the day.)

Boss: *looking shocked* “It’s done?”

Me: “Yeah. I wrote a program that did all the dirty work.”

Boss: *getting a bit red and angry* “Who authorized you to write a program to do this?

Me: “I was hired as a programmer. I didn’t think I needed to ask about that. Besides, this is 100% accurate. If I did it by hand, think of all the errors that would be in it.”

(Since our stuff often needed FAA or military oversight, he realized I just helped him dodge a bullet, and he calmed down quickly. The remaining problem was that this little task was designed to keep me busy for two or three weeks while he came up with something else for me. But from then on, I was put on more interesting projects.)

Engineering A Chip On Their Shoulder

, , | Working | June 27, 2017

(My father is a senior engineer for a national technology company. He has received notification that a newly hired engineer, fresh out of college, is being added to his team. He hasn’t met the engineer, but was given their name, which is one that could easily belong to someone of either gender. He goes to meet this new engineer in the lobby on the first day. He goes out and sees a woman waiting.)

Father: “Hello, you must be [New Engineer]. I’m [Father]; I’m the senior engineer on our team.”

New Engineer: “Bet you weren’t expecting a woman, we’re you?”

Father: “I wasn’t exactly expecting either a man or a woman. I was expecting an engineer.”

New Engineer: “And to you age 50+ engineers, engineer means man, right? Women can be engineers, too, you know. They are just as capable as men.”

Father: “I have no problem with female engineers. In fact, I’m married to one.”

New Engineer: “You mean a manufacturer who would have been an engineer if you let her.”

Father: “No. I mean she has a master’s degree in civil engineering.”

New Engineer: *scoffs* “How kind of you to finally let her go back to school and finally get the degree that matched her skills.”

Father: “She’s had her master’s degree since the early 80s. In fact, she had a master’s degree before I did.”

New Engineer: “Wow, really? She’s one of those trailblazing female engineers?!”

(She suddenly is bizarrely star-struck.)

New Engineer: “Oh, I have to meet her! Was she part of the founding of the female engineer societies?”

Father: “She thought about it. But she realized something that maybe you could learn from. She decided to stop trying to convince everyone that women could be engineers and just prove it.”

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