The Atmosphere Suddenly Got Acidic

, , , , | Learning | September 2, 2019

(I work in a cancer research facility. For some background to the story, we are not a learning center, but a fully-functioning research building. We do have students, but they are at least in the third or fourth year of college, and some are even working on their thesis. We have a rule: if you have to use the equipment and do not know how, DO NOT touch it and ask for help. This rule is in place to protect the insanely expensive equipment, such as high-resolution microscopes, centrifuges, and cytometers, because if something happens to them, the hourly fee for a qualified technician runs in the hundreds of dollars. This rule applies to every machine, not only the expensive ones.)

Student: “Hi. I need to measure the pH of this solution.”

Me: “No problem. Here is the pH meter to do that. Do you know how to use it?”

Student: “This one is different than the model I know.”

(All pH meters work the same. You know how to use one, you know them all. pH meters have a crystal electrode that you introduce in the solution, and the machine gives you the pH measure automatically. However, you have to clean the electrode before using it to wash away the conservation solution — KCl — and to not contaminate your own solution with it.  I take her answer as she doesn’t know where the Off/On button is, so I turn it on for her and resume my work. The student takes the electrode, pulls it out of the conservation solution, and plunges it into her solution, which is the same color and texture of blue ink.)

Me: “Did you wash the electrode?”

Student: *confused* “Was I supposed to do that?”

Me: “Well… yes. Because if not, you just cross-contaminated your solution. Unless you know for a fact that your solution contains potassium chloride.”

Student: *alarmed* “Oh, no!”

(She proceeds to take the electrode out of her blue solution and plunge it again into the conservation solution, which turns blue immediately and now will have to be disposed of and replaced. I look at her, speechless. Suddenly realizing what she just did, she says:)

Student: “Oh, oh, what a mess I have made! Oh, my! I will have to do the solution again! I will be back to measure the pH later!”

(And without another word, she ran out of the door. Obviously, I had to clean up the pH meter and the counter and replace the conservation solution for a new one. She has not come back yet to measure the pH of her solution.)

1 Thumbs
324

His Attitude Will Have You Shaking

, , , , | Working | July 4, 2019

(I am a teen, starting work in a laboratory. I am quiet and new to the working world, so I keep my head down and do everything to not screw up. There is a coworker that everyone tiptoes around. I can’t see why, apart from him being a bit unusual, until one day it becomes clear when two of my coworkers come into the room very flustered.)

Coworker: “You can’t speak to the driver like that!”

Unusual Coworker: “That idiot does it all the time.”

Coworker: “He’s just doing his job!”

Unusual Coworker: *shouting* “Then he needs to do it properly!” *storms out, slamming the door so hard the whole room shakes*

Me: “What was that all about?”

Coworker: “One of the guys dropped some parts off slightly out of the line marking. [Unusual Coworker] shouted and swore at him.”

Me: “You are kidding me!”

(No sooner have I finished my sentence than the unusual coworker storms back in again, slamming the door open.)

Unusual Coworker: “I don’t know what you two are talking about, but you need to pull it together. I’m sick of putting up with stuff like this!”

Coworker: “Don’t take it out on me; you need to calm down.”

Unusual Coworker: *getting right in his face* “You want to take this outside?”

Coworker: “Get out of my face, or I will make you regret it!”

(The atmosphere is terrible. I can’t speak, just shaking my head as he yet again storms out. Things calm down after a few hours before the unusual coworker blocks my path outside.)

Unusual Coworker: “I don’t like your attitude.”

Me: “What? I haven’t said two words to you.”

Unusual Coworker: “You shook your head at me; I want an apology.”

Me: “What?! Fine. I apologise for shaking my head. Get out of my way.”

(I reported his attitude to my boss, as did my coworker. A week later, he was removed from the company. I’m still working there, but it is a much better atmosphere all round.)

1 Thumbs
507

Beginning To Sound Like A Broken Vinyl Record

, , , , , , | Working | September 18, 2018

(Within a few months of starting my job, I develop a latex allergy. Because I need to wear gloves to collect samples, my boss orders in some nitrile gloves for me. They are only for me to use because of the higher price compared to the latex gloves. A few months later, I start getting horrible itching on my hands during work. It sometimes spreads to my face and arms, and gets so bad I need to jump in the shower the moment I get home and scrub myself raw to try and make it stop. After a process of elimination, I figure out the source and go to my boss.)

Me: “So, you know how I’ve been itching lately?”

Boss: “Yeah.”

Me: “I think I know why, and if I’m right, you’re not going to like it. I think I’m allergic to the nitrile gloves, as well. I need to test it out.”

Boss: “Oh, my God, you’re so bloody precious.”

(I was allergic to the nitrile. I now have vinyl gloves and strict orders not to develop any more allergies.)

1 Thumbs
664

That’s Totally Riddikulus

, , , , | Working | August 30, 2018

(I work as a lab technician in a factory. I’m one of the few females in a workplace full of males who — sometimes literally — think they know it all. There is one coworker in particular who served a short stint in the Navy years ago and now tries to insert this into conversation wherever he can, in order to talk about his “hard time served in the military.”  This guy served a few months and then was quietly discharged due to some obscure medical condition. The way he talks about it, though, he was on the front lines, digging trenches, giving orders, etc. I’m just going about my job, and it’s common for people to come into the lab for an assortment of different reasons. Also note that I’m wearing a Harry Potter shirt this day with the spell “Expecto Patronum” on the front.)

Coworker: “Hey, turn around. I want to read you shirt… Expecto Patronum… Oh, I know this! It’s Latin for, ‘Expect Greatness.’ I learned it in the Navy!”

Me: *trying not to burst out laughing*

Coworker: *sees me grinning from ear to ear* “Is that it?! I’m right, aren’t I?”

Me: “Uh… Actually, it’s a spell from Harry Potter.”

Coworker: “Oh… Huh. Must have been something similar that I learned in my time, I guess.”

(Sure, dude… Whatever you say. I got a good laugh out of it with my Harry Potter-loving friends and coworkers.)

1 Thumbs
412

Not The Big No-No-No You Thought It Was

, , , , , | Working | August 17, 2018

(I’m from a non-English speaking country and I’m doing a post-grad at a botanical institution. Two colleagues from my country have been here for six months and they show me the basics of living in Cambridge.)

Colleague: “So, if you finish working late you can either get food at the petrol station or at a deli in this road… but for the main shopping, there’s a supermarket down this road. When you go to the cashier, she’ll ask you three questions. I don’t know what she means, but it’s easier if you always say, ‘No, no, and no.’”

(I did my main shopping on the first weekend and I found out that the dreaded three questions were, “Do you have a reward card?” “Would you like a bag?” and, “Would you like any cashback?” Also, they were always pronounced in the same way, and very clearly by all cashiers, so I don’t know how my colleague couldn’t figure out what they said. When I explained it to him, however, he was very happy to get cashback at the supermarket instead of walking all the way to the ATM!)

1 Thumbs
462