This Receptionist Might Be TOO Receptive

, , , , | Legal | April 21, 2021

My office is very strict about getting personal items delivered to the office. I think there was some theft or something in the past and issues with insurance etc. Whatever the reason, it is made clear that it doesn’t happen unless you have the permission of the senior director, a man who is never here and is a very stern person.

I normally never work on reception, but today I’m covering the receptionist who had to be sent home sick. A courier drops off a load of parcels and I email each owner in turn to let them know. I get to a name I don’t recognise, so I head to the office, but they don’t know either. They send me to Human Resources, and the HR director says they will keep the package safe.

I get back to the desk and find a guy standing there.

Me: “Can I help you?”

Guy: “Where’s [Receptionist]?”

Me: “She’s out sick. Can I help?”

Guy: “No! Well… it’s just, I saw the courier and wondered if there was a parcel for me?”

Me: “What’s your name?”

He gives me his name and yes, it is the one on the mystery parcel.

Me: “Because I didn’t have your name on the approved delivery list, I had to place it upstairs for safekeeping.”

That’s a lie, but I guess that this isn’t a business-related delivery and he is going to act out if he finds out I am the one that got him into trouble.

Guy: “S***, where is it?”

Me: “Upstairs. You can ask [HR Manager] for it.”

He thought about it for a while and then went upstairs. I went on my lunch and didn’t think any more about it.

Weeks later, I heard that there is a vacancy for a new receptionist. Apparently, the guy was running some sort of bootlegger operation using the company mail, and the receptionist was being paid to look the other way. They were both fired, and I’m not sure how they thought anything else would happen.

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Something About Catching More Flies With Honey…

, , , , | Working | April 21, 2021

One of our biggest customers has a major incident on their site and they ask our owner for help. He promises them we will help and, as without them we don’t really have jobs, we all pitch in to help.

Everyone is pulling long days, extra help is pulled in, temps are hired. Everyone is trying to do their job as well as help the customer. It is pretty intense, but at the same time, everyone working together under crisis brings us all together.

I’m working long hours to do my work and others. I’m also one of the few people to have any experience in the customer’s software, so this makes me very busy.

After a few months, the customer starts to recover and we slowly return to normal. A big meeting is called by the owner for all the team. I am quietly expecting good things.

Owner: “I just want to thank everyone for their support and dedication. [Customer] is recovering and has placed one of their biggest orders ever with us. We have become their preferred supplier. This is excellent news for the company and all of us. As a sign of appreciation, we have arranged for individual gifts for all of you. We have some surprises later on in the year, too.”

Human Resources Manager: “Please come forward when I call your name so I can check you off the list.”

I see people being called forward and they return with little handmade gift sets, bottles of wine, etc. I get called over next.

Human Resources Manager: “Here you are, and thanks.”

She hands me a small bunch of flowers.

Me: “Flowers?”

Human Resources Manager: “Yes, and thank you for your support.”

Me: “I’ve worked over 200 hours this month. Everyone else has personalised gifts and you give me a bunch of flowers? What does a bloke want with flowers?”

Human Resources Manager: “Well, we didn’t know what you liked.”

Me: “Sure, whatever, real nice, I feel very valued. Keep your flowers.”

I realise I’ve made a scene. I worry how I’ve come across but I’m angry about how little they made an effort. I go back to my desk and get on with it.

I decide to decline all further overtime. This leaves them stuck without anyone to work the software, the work starts backing up, people start to get stressed, and they start talking of hiring someone who can work the customer’s software. Just as I think I might have to help out again, I get a request to go to HR.

Human Resources Manager: “I am really sorry; the way I acted wasn’t acceptable. I should have treated you fairly. I talked to the owner and he wanted you to have this.”

She gave me a bottle of whiskey — my favorite — with a handwritten note, thanking me personally for the work I’d been doing. I did end up helping out after that.

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All Aboard The Lazy Train(ing)

, , , , , | Working | April 21, 2021

Everyone who works for me has to get their training sheets signed off before they get their full pay. It’s not my rule, but I admit that it works and it’s pretty simple — it takes a week at most.

We have a guy transfer over from another shop. I know they had problems with him, but we are desperate and it’s not like I’ve not dealt with difficult people before.

Employee: “Why is my pay so low? I was told it would be [higher amount]!”

Me: “It will be once you finish the training; it was all explained in the letter.”

Employee: “I’m not working for that!”

Me: “The training is a week. It isn’t even hard, just normal workday stuff.”

Employee: “Well, I’m not doing it!”

Me: “Okay, we will find someone else.”

I walk away. No training means no pay rise. Before I get round to making the call to replace him, I hear that he wants to do the training after all.

Me: “There are ten training sheets to sign off. Some we can just do with a quick run-through. Others may take a little longer to ensure you’re happy.”

I hand him the sign-off sheet.

Employee: “What is this?”

Me: “A sign-off sheet. Once you and I are happy that you understand the training given, we both sign.”

Employee: “You can’t make me sign that!”

Me: “No, but you won’t go any further without it. We’ve been through this already.”

Employee: “But I want the money.”

Me: “Do the training, then. Simple.”

He walked away from me. I let my boss know and he backed me up. I mentally prepared for another new starter when my boss called me in. He let me know that the new worker had claimed discrimination based on his race and the fact that he was the only person getting “less money than all the white people.” I explained to my boss that all [Employee] had to do was complete the training, but he made me take the day paid while they investigated anyway.

I came back the next day and the new guy was not there. Officially, he had quit. I wish I had been there for that conversation.

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There’s Being Secure, And Then There’s Being Insecure

, , , , | Right | April 21, 2021

As a bank, we take security very seriously. We have two levels of authentication that callers must go through to speak to a representative out of a choice of three: voice recognition if they’re signed up, confirming digits of a number they made up that we do not see, or security questions.

A caller is screaming and crying because she’s able to get through by ONLY using the two levels of verification. After somehow managing to calm her down, I decide to be nice and add a note onto the account that she would prefer to do all three types and then proceed to go through the questions with her even though I know it’s her. She isn’t happy with this.

No, she wants for someone to send in an IT ticket to get her specific account updated so that no matter what, she will have to go through all three authentications, and only on the automated line as she isn’t confident she’s speaking to someone who works for the bank, even though she is the one who called us.

Me: “I can’t do that, ma’am. Every customer is treated the same.”

She is adamant. Then, she breaks down in tears.

Caller: “My ex-husband hacked into my account and stole my money years ago and I’ve been really paranoid it’ll happen again!”

I feel bad for her but I cannot do what she wants me to do, nor can a manager, nor can IT.

Me: “Ma’am, there is something we are advised not to do unless the customer really wants it, which is to permanently lock all accounts so no one can access them over the phone and any query has to be dealt with face to face in a branch.”

She goes quiet for a few moments and I think at first she’s hung up, but then, I hear this in the background:

Caller: “They can’t do more than you can. Why did you tell me they could?!”

That’s when the penny drops; she is already in a branch speaking to someone about it. She isn’t happy with their response and has called us to see if we can do better.

Other Person: “I’m sorry if it came across like that, but I did say they might be able to do something else, not that they will.”

Caller: “But why can’t they? Anyone can access my accounts!”

Other Person: “You can have voice verification, you can have a unique number for yourself, you have security questions, and the only other option is to lock your account so anything has to be done face to face—”

Caller: “But why can I only have two?! I want all three, and not the last option, as that’s not convenient!”

Other Person: “I cannot change the entire security policy, I’m afraid, so unfortunately, those are your options.”

Caller: “Well, they’re not suitable if I can only have two, so lock my accounts. But how do you know I’m me?”

Other Person: “We always ask for ID, so we know it is definitely you—”

Caller: “But anyone can fake my ID and put makeup and a wig on to look like me, and they can then access my account!”

After this, she let out another loud sob before hanging up on me, leaving me stunned. I took a note of the account number and checked it two hours later to see what option she went with. If the notes the person in the branch left are to be believed, they offered to upload a bunch of random questions and she had to answer every one of them.

There are fifty questions. I feel for the poor person she next speaks to.

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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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