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Audit Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

, , , , , | Working | October 12, 2021

Part of my job is to conduct audits; I do a different area each month. It’s all in the name of improvement and helping, so all audits are scheduled way in advance and I’m pretty reasonable with findings if they tell me that it is about to be fixed or just a one-off and they seem genuine.

It has worked really well. Initially, I was ignored and avoided; now, I’m often welcomed and asked for my opinion… all apart from one area: [Employee]’s department.

I visit him and not only is the place a mess, but he is breaking rules at every step. It is clear he just wants to make himself look good but is costing the company thousands in complaints and damages.

He gives me all sorts of excuses, until I can hear no more and just give him the list of things to fix and a warning: fix them by the next audit or I will escalate. He doesn’t seem to care.

The day before the audit, I pop over to the area to make some notes to prepare for the audit.

I can’t see [Employee], but what I do see are staff brazenly hiding all the incriminating evidence: banned chemicals hidden under desks, reject parts hidden under goods, outdated paperwork in bins, etc. One, not knowing who I am, happily tells me what he is doing and that it’s at [Employee]’s request.

The next day:

Me: “Okay. We have gone through the numbers and staffing; that all looks good. Now, we had several customer complaints about damage due to the use of the wrong cleaners. Has that been resolved?”

Employee: “Yes, we got rid of them straight away.”

Me: “So, there won’t be a bottle hidden under that desk under there?”

Employee: “Err, no?”

I pull out the bottle and make a note on my paperwork.

Me: “Okay. So, next, I’ve been asked about your number of rejects. We have huge costs in parts that we cannot account for. Are your rejects being reported?”

Employee: “Yes, every reject is on the reject shelf.”

Me: “So, a member of staff didn’t hide them in that yellow bin there with the good parts?”

Employee: “Is this an audit or a snooping session? How am I supposed to run a department if you keep coming around checking up on me?”

Me: “This is my second visit, and there will be many more if you refuse to follow policy.”

Employee: “I don’t have time for this. I have actual work to do.”

He stormed off, which was a silly thing to do, because without him there, I had free reign to check the whole area. It didn’t take me long to find a huge list of issues and problems. Even more foolish was to complain to the manager about me “interfering” as, by that point, I had a whole photo album’s worth of his mistakes. He was given “one last chance” but must have blown it as, three months later, he was demoted.

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If You’re Not Careful, Someone Might Go Nuclear Here

, , , , , | Working | October 6, 2021

Years ago, I was the supervisor for a field service crew in the nuclear power industry. Nuclear power plants are not typically located in populated areas. My crew and I usually stayed at second-rate motels and ate at local diners. I’ve forgotten exactly how much per-diem we received, but it barely covered our expenses, even for cheap motels and fast food. After each trip, my boss would complain about our expenses and how the company was barely making a profit.

On one trip, I was in the site work trailer late at night with the utilities’ site engineer. He asked if I wanted to see a copy of the contract between his company and my company. Of course, I did. The contract included an hourly pay scale that the utility paid for skilled labor, site supervision (me), and per-diem. It was eye-opening, to say the least.

A few days later, I was back in the office and my boss started his usual fuss about our “high” expenses. I told him I had seen the contract. That’s all it took. He never said anything about our travel expenses after that.

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Liar Is As Liar Does

, , , , , | Working | October 6, 2021

I have been with this company for years and have a great track record, but to progress any further, I need to show some leadership and management ability. They offer me a promotion and a small team to manage. I accept and things start pretty well.

A week or so into the job, one of the guys pulls me to one side.

Employee: “Hey, listen. My wife has been called into surgery tomorrow. I need the day off to take her.”

Me: “Tomorrow? Wow, that’s short notice. Err, yes, of course. Take it off. I can sort something out here.”

Employee: “Great, thanks. She has been on the waiting list for ages and they had a spot.”

The next day is a rush. We already have a guy off sick and no cover. I end up getting there early and stay way after hours to cover. I’m just about finished, and I get back to my desk and slump in my chair.

One of the other managers spots me and comes over.

Manager: “You look beat.”

Me: “Yeah, one guy is off sick and the other had a family emergency.”

Manager: “Was it [Employee] with the emergency?”

Me: “Yeah, he needed some time off for his wife.”

Manager: “Surgery?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Manager: “Just to let you know, [Employee]’s wife has had multiple ‘surgeries,’ but he can never show any proof. A couple of times he’s been caught down the pub, instead.”

Me: “What? How has he gotten away with it?”

Manager: “[Owner] wants to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when family is sick. Although, if I were you, I might give the sickness policy a read-over.”

He leaves. I take the policy home with me to read overnight and book [Employee] in for a back-to-work meeting the next day.

Me: “Hi, [Employee]. How are you? How is the wife?”

Employee: “Okay, thanks. I might need a couple more days off, you know, for follow-up appointments.”

Me: “Sure, sure. So, we have these meetings to make sure you are okay to return to work and clear payment for time off. On that note, could you please share with me any sort of doctor’s note for yesterday?”

Employee: “What? No, [policy] [section] says that we don’t have to when it comes to surgeries.”

Me: “Oh, didn’t you read the update a few months ago?! It was sent to everyone and put on notice boards. The policy was changed in that regard.”

Employee: “Well, I don’t have anything!”

Me: “You must have had a letter, text message, or something from the hospital.”

Employee: “No, they didn’t send me anything.”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry, but you can request one normally free of charge. If not, I will have to mark you as absent and you won’t get paid.”

Employee: “What?! No, I need that money. This is unfair. I will go to HR.”

Me: “As you wish, but I don’t make the policy.”

He made a complaint; it went nowhere. He made all sorts of threats but nothing came of it. What was interesting was what happened way later: they called his home phone and his wife answered, confused as she thought he was at work. After much panicked searching for him, she found him at his girlfriend’s place. That’s why he was so keen to get out of work so often. The panic over pay was so that his wife didn’t notice the missing days’ wages.

He quit before I found out what happened to him.

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This Is The Wrong Place For A Meltdown

, , , , , , | Working | September 30, 2021

I’m an intern at a nuclear power plant. The group I’m with is about to start some work.

Group Leader: “All right, guys! Let’s go make history!”

Group Member: “Uh… no. That’s the opposite of what we want to do.”

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Offloaded A Couple Hundred Pounds Of Rubbish

, , , , , | Working | September 10, 2021

[Employee] works for me; that is to say, he sometimes does some work… if I can get him motivated enough. The problem is that he has a particular very specific qualification. While it’s simple to do, there are so few people that can train others, and it’s a very rare skill to employ.

[Employee] knows this and thinks himself invincible. He does what he wants when he wants, he’s rude, he’s often late, he makes mistakes, and he’s aggressive to staff. He makes my life difficult. The team resents him, and they resent me for not doing something about him.

Everyone is unhappy, but to get rid of [Employee] is to lose our biggest customer.

Me: “[Employee], can I see you for a minute?”

Employee: “What about?”

Me: “In the office, please.”

Employee: “Let’s see what this d**khead wants now.”

Me: “Sit down, please.”

Employee: “What now? You tell me off, I go back to work, and we do this again next week? Tell you what. I’ll skip to the end right now, shall I?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we have to let you go.”

Employee: “You can’t let me go; you can’t do the [Customer] contract without me!”

Me: “I have that sorted. We have an agency.”

Employee: “Yeah! And they will charge you double!”

Me: “Yes, I know. After I spoke to [Senior Director] and explained, he gave me his blessing.”

Employee: “And that’s it, is it? I’ll collect my stuff, shall I?”

Me: “The team already collected it for you. Security will help you to the car.”

Letting anyone go isn’t easy, but this one time, he did try to make it so.

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