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Killing Them With Kindness — Or Just A Good Contract

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: ProfileElectronic | June 26, 2022

A couple of years ago, I was working on a part-time basis in a small firm owned by friends. The pay was not very good, but the atmosphere was, and I was allowed to set my own timings, so life was good overall.

Then, a friend whom I knew only through social media approached me for a job in her company. Even though they were offering good money, I turned down the offer as I knew I could not get the benefits I was getting in my current job. Plus, the commute to the new office was very long; I would have to travel two hours one way and change three trains just to reach the office.

A month later, an employee from Human Resources of the new firm approached me again. They offered me almost four times the money I was making and I could set my own work hours. There was also extra pay for working overtime and on weekends. This was important. I joined the new company.

My friend did not know the terms of the new agreement I had with HR; where I’m from, such information is confidential. She used to act like I owed her big time for the opportunity I got. So, one day I corrected her.

Me: “I turned down the offer you were involved with. One month later, I had my own negotiations and got much more favorable terms. I’m here because your company really needs me, not because of you.”

I didn’t share the details of my agreement with her, but we both realized that she was making significantly less than I was. This totally changed her attitude toward me.

Now, she wanted me out, and I was determined to stick through for at least a year. She decided that she would make it very difficult for me to work so I’d quit on my own.

There are a lot of stories I have about how she tried every trick in the book to make me quit. I’m sharing some of them here.

She was my manager and was in charge of allocating work. She started piling more work on me than any other member of the team. I was happy to comply; she did not know that, as part of my contract, I would be paid one and a half times the hourly rate for every hour I worked overtime and two times the hourly rate if any work was allocated to me over weekends or holidays.

Every time she tried to ruin my weekend by calling me to the office unnecessarily, I happily complied. This continued until the time I left the organization and told her how much extra money she had helped me make.

After the long commute to work, I used to be hungry, so I developed the habit of stopping at the food court to pick up a glass of fresh fruit juice and carry it with me to work.

My manager thought that this way she could harass me without actually seeming to do so. She sent a notice that bringing liquids to the office was a hazard.

Ironically, she used to have coffee delivered to her desk three times a day. I pointed out that the rule applied to her, as well, and if I couldn’t have my juice, she couldn’t have her coffee. She had to literally spend an extra unpaid hour at work every time she wanted her special coffee.

Meanwhile, I was happy to leisurely sit in the food court, have my glass of fresh fruit juice with some snacks, and then begin my workday a half-hour later than usual.

A Watched Table Doesn’t Leave

, , | Right | June 26, 2022

Our busy restaurant has quite a long wait during dinner service and people are told by the hosts about this.

One lady gets fed up with the wait after just ten minutes and storms into the restaurant, stands next to a table of four people who have only just finished their coffees, and barks at them:

Customer: “Are you guys done? We’ve been waiting for a long time now and would like to have the table if you guys are just chatting!”

Thankfully, the host escorted her back, explaining why what she had just done was not appropriate, while the table she berated ordered another round of coffees just to screw with her.

Please Tell Me You’re Joking

, , , | Right | June 26, 2022

After the third round of changes, my client is happy and approves our new design for their website. We code it and send the URL over for approval before launching.

Client: “Hmm. Looks all right. But could you try the logo a bit smaller and in the center?”

Me: “Sure, like this?”

Client: “Yeah, no, that didn’t look as good as I thought; change it back. And could you try the sidebar in darker purple?”

Me: “Sure, like this?”

Client: “Yeah, like that! But now the content boxes look a bit bleak. Could you make them stand out more?”

And so on. This goes on for about seven rounds of editing (and about seven times I managed to talk them out of something). We get closer and closer to the original until:

Me: “Look, you approved the design. Any changes are heaps easier to do in Photoshop than on the actual site with code. What are we doing here?”

Client: “Oh, sorry. I’m used to working this way. By the way, I talked to our AD and he had some good points. I’ll send them over.”

I receive a PowerPoint that’s similar to our first design but requires fresh coding and work. The back and forth occurs five more times.

Me: “All right. Like that?”

Client: “Yeah, that’s good enough, I guess. But we decided to postpone the launch until after summer, so just save it somewhere and we’ll pick this up in August or something. I trust you won’t invoice us since you haven’t delivered anything yet.”

A Minty Fresh Reply

, , , , , | Right | June 25, 2022

Customer: “God d*** it! I wanted a soy mint frappe! This is wrong! I can’t believe you guys expect $15 an hour when you’re this stupid!”

Me: “Sorry, sir. I can remake that for you.”

I remake it, he watches me do so, and he tries it.

Customer: “It’s wrong again! What’s the matter with you? You guys deserve minimum wage!”

Me: “Sir, what is it that’s wrong with the drink? You asked for a soy mint frappe and that is what I made.”

Customer: “There’s no milk in this! It tastes like s***!”

Me: “It has soy milk like you asked.”

Customer: “I wanted soy-mint! Not soy milk!”

Me: “Sir, soy mint means your drink comes with soy milk instead of regular milk, and mint syrup. I don’t know what a soy-mint is.”

The customer stares for a moment, trying to come up with a comeback.

Customer: “Well, you should have explained that better.”

Me: “I’m only on minimum wage, sir. I expect those earning more than me to know the difference between soy milk and mint. Thank you for choosing us, and have a great day! Next customer!”

What Do You Mean, I Have To Spend Time With My Kid?!

, , , , , , | Learning Related | June 25, 2022

This happens during lunchtime in kindergarten. One of the parents calls and wants to talk to me. Apparently, both parents have gotten [contagious illness], and they tell me they’ll pick their kid up ASAP.

One hour later, the dad is finally here. Parents aren’t allowed to enter the building because of the health crisis. While his kid is getting ready, I talk to the dad. There are also other parents outside waiting for their children.

Dad: “So, now that we have [illness], what about our child?”

As he says this everyone takes a huge step back from him.

Me: “What do you mean?”

Dad: “We can still bring him, right?”

Me: “I have to talk with my boss about this, but I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”

He stays for thirty more minutes, telling me how he’s vaccinated and he’s thinking about going grocery shopping. I say goodbye like five times because I want him to leave. I don’t have time for small talk, and I don’t want him here when he has [illness]. He finally leaves.

I ask my boss if they can bring their child, and he gets furious. Apparently, they weren’t even allowed to pick up their child at all. As soon as they got their positive test, they should have gone to quarantine. And he most definitely wasn’t allowed to stay here and talk about the weather and stuff.

I email the dad.

Me: “[Child] can come, but you’re not allowed to bring or pick him up. Someone else has to do this until you have a negative test and can leave quarantine again.”

Dad: “This is outrageous. We’re just staying outside. Can’t you make an exception? We don’t have family or friends that can do this for us. [Child] needs to go to kindergarten. And we’re vaccinated so it should be okay. We don’t even go into quarantine.”

Me: “I am sorry, sir, but there is nothing I can do. I don’t make rules and it doesn’t matter if you’re vaccinated or not. You NEED to stay at home because you got [illness]. You’re not even allowed to get groceries or mail, and if you bring your child, we won’t take him inside.”

Dad: “Then [Child] won’t attend kindergarten. Even though I don’t understand these rules. They’re dumb. It’s your fault that he’ll miss out on everything. What are we supposed to do with our child? We can’t play with him for a week or even longer.”

Me: “As I said, I don’t make the rules. Please stay home and get well soon.”

The dad never talked to me again about anything. The audacity of some people…

When the kindergarten was closed due to [health crisis], or children weren’t allowed to come to kindergarten, we got so many complaints like: “What am I supposed to do/play with my child?” “My child is bored. What should I do?” “I can’t do this anymore; when can I finally bring my child again?” “My child is driving me nuts; when are you open again?” 

Don’t have a child if you apparently don’t want one!