It’s Only Good Advice When It Applies To Others

, , , , , , , | | Working | August 8, 2019

(I work as a mechanical engineer in a quite noisy factory; as such, we’re required to wear ear protection when on the shop floor, but not in the enclosed workshop areas where I work. On this particular day, I’ve spent the better part of five hours straightening a stack of steel plates that came in slightly bent due to a mistake in the drawing not specifying they needed to be pretty much flat. I’m overheating, my arm is sore from all the hammering, and despite my ear defenders the noise is really loud and beginning to get to me, but the job needs doing so I’m doing it. Working in the workshop next door is one of the maintenance managers, a grumpy, unpleasant person slightly past middle age — the kind of person that regularly comes out with statements beginning with, “I’m not racist, but—” or, “these f****** [group of people],” so naturally I’ve grown quite a dislike for him over the years. Having had enough of the noise, the grumpy manager storms in.)

Grumpy Manager: “Do you have to do that?”

Me: “If you actually want the job done, yeah.”

Grumpy Manager: “Can’t you do it at [work bench on the shop floor]?”

Me: “Not without pissing off a bunch of machine operators, no.”

Grumpy Manager: “Oh, just tell them to put their earplugs in properly if anyone complains.”

Me: *in an oblivious tone* “So, if someone complains I should just tell them to put their earplugs in?”

Grumpy Manager: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay, put your earplugs in.” *puts ear defenders back on and goes back to work*

(Out of the corner of my eye I saw him go an odd shade of red, begin to gesture wildly, and step towards me before he noticed my direct manager — a man I get along with well and who also dislikes the grumpy manager — on the other side of the workshop keeled over with laughter, and decided not to make an idiot of himself any further.)

Been Waiting For 25 Years To Say That

, , , , , | | Friendly | July 19, 2019

I’ve recently gotten a job at a motor factory in the connecting department. Both connectors I work with are originally from Vietnam, and both are old enough to be my parents.

The woman and I talk quite a bit, as it’s easier for me to get physically get close enough for us to hear each other over the noise while still working, and one day she says, “You just look so familiar to me, and I don’t know why.”

I honestly can’t think why I would look familiar to her. I ask if she frequented a job I had at a convenience store for nearly ten years, but she hadn’t. We can’t think of any other reason and just shrug it off.

After a few weeks, we’re talking about music, and I mention that I took piano lessons for ten years, and that I ended up quitting lessons because I hated the recitals. She is mostly impressed that I kept with the lessons for so long, and she tells me about her oldest daughter who tried to take lessons for a few years but just never got into it.

I mention the music school I used to attend for private lessons and she actually pauses in what she’s doing to look at me again and she says, “You’re the little girl from [Music School]! You used to sit with me in the waiting room; my daughter had lessons with [Teacher] before you!”

Over 25 years later, and she still remembered me as “the little girl who sat in the waiting room with her.”

Doesn’t Take A Rocket Scientist To Get Rid Of Him

, , , , , , | | Working | June 27, 2019

(I work at a company that makes big rockets — the kind that put satellites into orbit. One of my coworkers, a slacker, drops a large wrench onto one, damaging it so badly it is scrapped. Cost: $6,000,000. He is given a month’s unpaid suspension as punishment, but the union argues “poor training,” resulting in full back pay. A year later, he leaves the building while pressurizing another, more complete rocket. A bulkhead collapses, resulting in a second scrapping. Cost this time: $12,000,000! This time the company finds a way to get rid of him. They call him to HR, along with his union steward.)

HR: “I’d like you to read through your original employment application, and tell me if there are any errors.”

Slacker: “Uh, no, it looks fine.”

HR: “Okay, just to be sure, you didn’t make any mistakes filling it out?”

Slacker: “No, everything is accurate.”

HR: “Thank you. You’re fired. It seems you lied about a felony conviction.”

Slacker: *looks pleadingly at union steward*

Union Steward: *shrugs*

Entitled To Training To Be Entitled

, , , , , , , | | Working | June 23, 2019

(I take over the responsibility of running a small team at work. It is clear that they are unhappy so I do all I can to help them out, talk with them regularly, and generally keep them running smoothly. Things improve quickly, but one person always has a complaint, be it work related or otherwise. He asks to speak to me in private.)

Worker: “I’ve got a problem. Why am I being paid much less than everyone else?”

Me: “I don’t know your exact wage, but I don’t think you are.”

Worker: “Well, I know that I am! [Worker #1] and [Worker #2] get paid a lot more than me.”

Me: “They have been in the position for much longer than you, have completed their training, and have had pay increases based on their yearly performance.”

Worker: “Okay, well, how do I complete my training?”

Me: “You have to show competence in each area of the job; there is a sign-off sheet for each skill. When you and I are happy with the skill we will both sign. When you have signed all of them, you are officially trained.”

Worker: “Okay, I want to do that.”

(I collect all of the training sheets. They have been written to cover one skill each; I improved them to make sure it’s very clear. You can actually use the sheet to help you with the job. Under each one, you sign to say that you are competent in that skill and have received training, and that if you fail to follow the instructions you may be questioned and possibly, in extreme cases, disciplined. I give the pack to him and hear nothing until I am called into HR.)

HR Manager: “We have had a complaint about unfair treatment and entrapment. Apparently, you have asked [Worker] to sign something that will get him in trouble.”

Me: “That would be the training document; have you read it?”

HR Manager: “Yes.”

Me: “And you can see that it is nothing like entrapment and everyone has been treated the same?”

HR Manager: “Yes, that was all. Thanks.”

(Not to be put off, I explain everything to the worker again and tell him how this is fair and normal. He accepts and I hear nothing back until I get called into HR again.)

HR Manager: “We have had a complaint that you are paying someone who works for you less, because of his race.”

Me: “This would be [Worker]?”

HR Manager: “I cannot say.”

Me: “Okay, I am going to pretend that [Worker] is the only person reporting to me of a different race and explain. [Worker] will be paid the full amount for the role, minus merit increases earned by others for their long service. He can only do this once he has signed the training documents. This has been explained.”

HR Manager: “And if he refuses to sign?”

Me: “No one can make a mistake and not face discipline if it is appropriate. That is what this is about. If he truly believes that he cannot do the job after several months and multiple training sessions, I will happily transfer him to any other department that needs him.”

HR Manager: “To be honest with you, I have already spoken to the individual, and I think that this is the case, but I need to follow the process.”

(I hoped that this was all over; I had been nothing but patient and tried to help and explain. He seemed to understand and be happy with the extra effort I was doing to get him more money. To my surprise, the worker took me to an independent tribunal, which sided in my favour. He then took me to another tribunal that sided in my favour. He later signed the documents and got the pay rise without issue.)

A Scrabble To Find The Scribbler

, , , , , , | Working | April 29, 2019

(At the factory where I work, coworkers suddenly start writing “funny” messages on the doors and walls of our toilets. It turns out it’s some kind of contest between them. Clearly, management isn’t thrilled, and issues a memo that if anyone is caught in the act they’ll be fired on the spot. But since these are toilets, it is illegal to install camera surveillance. Without any means of surveillance, the memo has no effect and the walls and doors get smeared with more new “funnies” every day. One day, the maintenance department thinks they’ve found a solution in a paint that is supposed to be resistant against all sorts of pens, markers, crayons, etc. They invite a salesman to demonstrate the product. The man comes in with a lot of samples and we all get to try to write on the samples with anything we can come up with: markers, pens, lipstick, pencils, and even spray paint. Nothing sticks to the samples. The salesman cleans every sample without any effort.)

Head Maintenance: “That’s nice. But I want to see this stuff on one door of our toilets.”

Salesman: “Sure you can. I’ll treat one of your doors with our product, but you’ll have to sign this order for it first.”

Head Maintenance: “There’s no way I’m going to buy a product if I haven’t tested it in real life. That’s why we asked for a demonstration in the first place. We’re done.”

(Management found a cheaper solution. They painted the toilets and hired someone to clean the toilets whenever workers used them. That man also checked the toilets for new scribbles. As a result, two coworkers were fired. The walls and doors stayed clean.)

 

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