Management Never Learns That You Get What You Pay For

, , , , , | Working | January 24, 2019

Back when I worked as an IT technician in a factory, I had a female colleague who worked as one of our factory technicians. She was a very good technician — highly capable. Part of her job involved spending a lot of time working with a particular system that formed a core part of our production line. She became very competent with this system, and so became our go-to person if we had any issues.

One day she got word that management was doing an internal trawl to recruit someone who would manage this system. My colleague was very keen to apply, and everyone in our department — including our IT Manager, my colleague’s boss — said she should go for it. Initially, she didn’t tell our Head of Department, but when he found out he said that “while he’d be sorry to lose someone who was such a good IT Technician, he couldn’t think of anyone better qualified for the job.” Staff in other departments were excited to hear she had applied, too, because they knew she’d be really good at it.

Well, her interview rolled round, and she came away feeling very positive. The interview panel — which consisted of two directors and one of the senior managers — seemed to be impressed with her. It seemed that she would be a dead cert for this job.

Then management announced their decision: instead of hiring my colleague, they hired someone else: a young woman who had only been in the company about six months compared to my colleague’s two and a half years, was in no way IT literate — IT ability was pretty much a requirement for this job — and actually knew next to nothing about the system. In fact, the only thing she had over my colleague was that she worked as an admin clerk in a department that made the greatest use of this system. My colleague was disappointed, but disappointment soon turned to anger and frustration when the newly appointed “Administrator” for this system ended up phoning my colleague every day because she needed help with the system that she was supposed to be managing!

We later heard through the company grapevine that someone in higher management selected this person over my colleague on the basis that if they hired my colleague, “they’d have to pay her more because she’s an IT technician,” whereas if they hired someone who was just an admin clerk and less experienced in the system, “they could pay her an admin clerk salary.”

And people wonder why so many of my colleagues left the company — me included — to go on to better opportunities elsewhere!

A Dis-Grace-ful Display

, , , , , , , | Working | December 24, 2018

(I’m at my work’s Christmas party, which I’ve mostly organized under the direction of the owner’s wife, who has given lots of instructions on making sure the food will be sufficient and be enjoyed by the workers. As a result, I buy a lot of samosas and dishes for the workers based on their suggestions. It should be noted that the owners are the only German Christians in the factory and everyone else is either atheist, Muslim, Hindu, or something else. This happens as soon as we’re all seated with plates of food.)

Owner: “Now, I feel it should be brought to your attention an issue one of our customers has been having. Apparently, some of his workers are having problems working together because of different religious and ethnic backgrounds. As you can all see, we are very diverse here and I feel we should all take a moment to remember to accept our differences and each other.”

(Cue moment of silence.)

Owner’s Wife: “Now then, I’m sure there won’t be any issues here. So, let’s all close our eyes and say grace.”

(Cue a room full of uncomfortable non-Christians listening to a long religious speech largely about acceptance.)

An Installation Aberration

, , , , , | Working | December 3, 2018

(I’m an IT technician in a factory, the only female on the team. I’m heavily pregnant with twins; it’s my first pregnancy. I’ve been quite ill, with aches and pains, dizziness, and so on. I’ve also been suffering quite badly from hyperemesis gravidarum — vomiting during pregnancy. My hormones are going crazy, and I have been quite emotional. My boss, a massive bear of a man with a heart of gold, has been wonderful, allowing me to work from home or just take a rest day if I feel too ill to work. I’ve been trying to come in as much as possible, though, in spite of how I’ve been feeling. I’m on light duties, forbidden to go into the factory or do anything more strenuous than walking to an office to plug in a mouse. One day I’m at my desk, fixing a few things using remote support, and updating the asset database. I’m alone in the office. One of my colleagues, who is currently working on one of our other sites, sends me a message over our internal messaging software.)

Colleague: “Hey, [My Name], what you working on now?”

Me: “Not much. Fixed a few things, and now I’m looking at updating the asset register.”

Colleague: “There’s four new PCs to go into finance. Today. Can you sort it, please?”

(This is part of a project he’s supposed to have finished by the end of the week; clearly he’s missed his target.)

Me: “But… I’m on light duties. I’m pregnant, in case you’d forgotten?”

Colleague: “Don’t be stupid; it’s not hard to install four PCs.”

Me: “So, ask someone else?”

Colleague: “I’m asking you.”

Me: “…”

Colleague: “Look. Just do it. Why do you women always have to be awkward?”

(He then signed out of the messenger, something we IT technicians aren’t supposed to do unless we’re going off site or going home. I have a rare medical condition called Craniocervical Instability, which means my neck can’t support my head properly. I’m fine if I wear a neck brace; otherwise, I get excruciating pain in my head and neck after a while. I’d had my neck brace off for a few minutes, but now I put it back on. I got up from my desk and waddled to the IT store. I located the four PCs and monitors, which I loaded onto a trolley and slowly dragged to the finance department. The only person in Finance was a young intern, so I asked him where the computers needed to go. He showed me. I cleared a desk, set up the first computer, and knelt on the floor to connect up the cables. By now I was exhausted. I was sweating, my back, neck, and shoulders hurt, and I felt dizzy. Suddenly, I got an attack of nausea and vomited all over the floor and down the front of my blouse. The intern, embarrassed, jumped to his feet and asked me if I was okay. He sat me down and got me a drink of water, then started clearing up the mess. At this point the chief accountant walked in to see me sitting in a chair, crying my eyes out, and her intern on the floor cleaning up my vomit. She asked if I was all right, and when she learned what had happened she called my boss, demanding to know why he was sending a heavily pregnant and clearly uncomfortable woman out to do such a big job on her own. My boss, it turns out, knew nothing about it! My boss apologised to the chief accountant, and to me. He sent me home early to rest. I later found out from one of the other technicians that when my colleague came back on site, my boss called him into his office and started screaming at him. Yes, screaming. Apparently, it was so loud they could hear every word! He no longer works for us. He quit that afternoon.)

Sounds Like A “Not Always Right” Editor

, , , | Working | October 17, 2018

(I have some of the best coworkers, and we like to joke around a lot. One of them is a middle-aged lady who is a real darling, but she has her quirks, one of them looking angry whenever she works hard or is really focused on something. She is working on the far side of the table from me. I’m chatting with another coworker while we work.)

Coworker: “What’s up with [Female Coworker] today? She looks so cranky! Come to think of it… she always kind of does.”

Me: “Nah, she’s never cranky. She just works hard!” *to the female coworker* “Hey, [Female Coworker]. You are always such a pleasant and cheerful person!”

Female Coworker: “Nope, I’m a miserable old hag!”

Me: *pause* “I was trying to make you look good.”

Throwing Out Or Throwing Up?

, , , , | Working | September 17, 2018

(The cat food production line has started to reek, so when I have some downtime, I go through and find out that line workers have been just putting open, rotting, maggot-infested boxes of cat food under tables, maybe to hide them. I get a bin and some gloves and start throwing the opened and contaminated stuff into the bins. A new guy walks up to me.)

New Guy: “Are you just throwing those out?”

Me: “Yep.”

New Guy: “Can we take them?”

Me: *looking horrified* “What?!”

New Guy: “Well, if the company is throwing them out, can we take them?”

Me: “You don’t want them! Do you smell that? Do you see the things moving?”

New Guy: “Well, some look okay.”

Me: “They are contaminated. I’m throwing them into a special large trash can, which is locked… and now I know why.”

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