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Calling It Quits For This Millennium

, , , , , , , | Working | January 25, 2018

I work in IT, so I set up a lot of new starters and process people leaving the business. As with every call centre, we have a fairly high turnover of seasonal staff, but a core of long-termers who have been here for more than ten or even twenty years. The long-termers like to complain about the young new starters a lot, that they’re work-shy, not prepared to go over and above, don’t enunciate properly on the phone, things like that. I used to argue with them that the stereotype of the “entitled millennial” was totally false, until today.

I was asked to disable an account of a 20-year old man who had been here less than two weeks. In those two weeks, he had not once turned up on time, took 20 minute cigarette breaks three or four times a day without asking his team leader, frequently “forgot” to log himself back into his phone when returning to his desk, and had at least two complaints logged about his customer service already.

Apparently it was “too difficult” to get up early enough to get here on time, and he found the job “too hard.” It’s answering the phone to people with broken electrical products. He’s had an expert sitting with him to help every day, and a team leader to escalate to should he need to.

On his leaving form, he put his official reason for leaving as “parking too difficult.” Well, if he showed up on time, that wouldn’t have been an issue!

Of the five other newbies who started the same day he did, one left on the first day as he “doesn’t do call centres.” What did he think he was interviewing for? The other four seem very keen and are getting along well.

Oh, how I wish I could just quit a job because I didn’t like getting up in the morning!

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Can’t Safely Pin That Job

, , , , , , , | Working | December 21, 2017

This happened back in the mid 90s. I had recently graduated, and was now applying everywhere I could to get a job with my engineering degree. One such place was a government research establishment, and I was delighted to be granted an interview. It was on the other side of the country, and I was reliant on public transport, as I didn’t have a car. Also, as I was a poor ex-student, I couldn’t afford a new wardrobe. However, the suit I wore for my university interviews was still in good enough condition, so I wore that.

I had researched my connections thoroughly, and arrived in the area in plenty of time. After a pleasant stroll nearby, I arrived at the reception and security block about 15 minutes early. I signed in, and was told to take a seat as someone would be with me shortly.

As I went to sit down, I felt something give. I reached behind me, and could feel a tear in my trousers. I shot off to the toilet to inspect the damage, and was horrified to see that the tear started between my legs and went about half way up my backside!

I decided I needed help. I explained the problem to the receptionist, and asked her if she had any safety pins. She didn’t, but she was able to offer me some paper clips. I retrospect I should have asked to borrow a stapler, but my brain was in full panic mode. I gratefully accepted the paper clips and headed back to the toilet.

Whilst I couldn’t just clip my trousers together, I found that by unwinding the clips I could use them to wire my trousers closed. This now presented me with another problem – sitting down. Fortunately, when I did come to sit down, I found that the metal ended up in my, um, natural crevasse. It wasn’t too uncomfortable, but I was very much aware that I was being jabbed, and as a result my mind wasn’t fully on the interview.

During the tour of the facility, I was glad that the place wasn’t teeming with people, as I wasn’t entirely confident that the back panel of my jacket was covering everything I needed it to. So, I made sure that I was always walking by the side of, or just behind my guide, and I certainly never went up the stairs in front!

After the interview, my ordeal was far from over. Being a poor graduate, I had spent most of my money on the travel costs, and I did not have anything to spare for buying new trousers. So, it was a walk to the bus stop, followed by a bumpy bus ride — not ideal when having metal pressed in places that could lead to a stainless steel enema if the potholes got any worse — and then a lengthy train journey. After that, it was a trip on a very crowded underground ride through London. It was rush hour, which meant that I was stood up for the duration, much to my backside’s relief, but it did mean that my rear was now potentially at the eye-line of the seated passengers. I hope they got therapy afterwards.

Then it was one more train journey back to my hometown, and then a half-mile walk home. There, I received the love and sympathy one would expect from my parents, once they had finally stopped laughing.

I never did hear back about the job. I expect that the interviewers were either puzzled by how someone with an upper second-class honours degree could appear to be so vacant, or they were too traumatised by the visions they received. Whilst I don’t think I did give anyone a full moon, as my boxer shorts did remain intact, I suspect that some people received a partial lunar eclipse.


This story is part of the Bad Interviews roundup!

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Should Éire On The Side Of Caution

, , , , , | Right | November 13, 2017

Customer: “So, you sound English; that’s rare these days.”

Me: *sitting there, very white, and with alarm bells sounding* “Um, yes. I was born and raised here.”

Customer: “You can never tell whether someone is really English.”

Me: “Well, if we are being fully accurate, I am ethnically Irish.”

Customer: “Well, Ireland’s part of England, anyway.”

Me: “I wouldn’t say that to someone not being paid to sit quietly.”

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Mismanaged Your Time

, , , , , | Working | September 13, 2017

(One summer, I do an internship at a popular independent radio station. We have gotten an interview with the lead singer of a reasonably popular British rock band. However, the band’s manager is a bit of a pain to deal with, and has a tonne of demands in regards to content that he is always changing. The DJ tells me this is the norm in this business, but this guy is just obnoxious. Each time he calls, he acts like he is doing us the world’s biggest favour. Not long before the interview, he calls the umpteenth time.)

Band Manager: “Now, listen here. [Singer] has a VERY busy day today, and you cannot keep him on the line a minute longer than necessary. Got it?”

Me: “Oh, yes, there’s nothing to worry about. [DJ] should be done in under 15 minutes.”

Band Manager: “There are to be no personal question about him or the band; is that clear?! He isn’t here to answer silly questions”

Me: “Don’t worry; we have a bunch of questions about the new album coming out, and that’s all we’re concerned with.”

Band Manager: “Make sure you do.”

(With that, he just hangs up. The interview goes very well, and the singer seems pleased with the questions the DJ asks about the new album.)

DJ: “Thanks so much for joining us, [Singer]; I hear today’s a busy one for you.”

Singer: “Oh, not really. I’ve been just chilling and playing [Video Game] today. I’ll probably stroll down to [Bakery] in a bit. Easy day.” *chuckles*

(The DJ and I were both fighting hard not laugh at this point, since this guy basically revealed his manager was lying. We could imagine the embarrassed look on the manager’s face when he said that. That was the only time we had this band on our show; we think the manager was too embarrassed after that one.)

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Time To Shed Away That Staff Room

, , , , , | Working | August 25, 2017

(In a small town I live in, I have a shed in my garden, which I use as a sort of studio for drawing and writing. I recently notice food and supplies going missing. I assume it’s just my memory or some pranks by friends, until one day, the door opens while I’m working in there.)

Woman: “You! Who are you? What are you doing in our staff room? Are you new?”

Me: “Uh…”

Woman: “Out! Out! It’s not a break time yet! I have a phone call to make and I need my coffee. I can’t concentrate with you in here!”

Me: *losing my temper* “Hey! This is my study! Get out!”

Woman: “This is our staff room! I’m calling the police.”

(It turned out the woman was the manager of a shop that backed onto my garden, and had been using my study as an office and staff room for some time now. The rest of her staff had tried to convince her it wasn’t hers, but she wouldn’t listen. Despite everything, she kept calling the police every time I was in there, and when I fitted a lock, too. Eventually I moved out.)

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