No Notice Until Someone Notices

, , , , , | Working | May 17, 2021

One of my coworkers has survived for years just by being difficult to deal with and not great at his job but not quite bad enough to fire. They left him with little work to do and no real responsibilities. He came close to being fired several times but just found better places to hide — out of sight out of mind.

Coworker #1: “Has anyone seen [Difficult Coworker]?”

Me: “Have you looked out the back?”

Coworker #2: “Or in the toilets?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, he’s not there.”

Me: “In the plant room?”

Coworker #2: “No, he doesn’t hide there anymore. They said they would get rid of him if he did.”

Me: “Best check his boss, see if he is on holiday.”

Coworker #1: “I’ve just come for him; that’s why I’m looking for him.”

They disappeared. We found out later that [Difficult Coworker] had quit WEEKS ago and not told anyone, not even his boss. He had just left an unclear voicemail with the Human Resources team.

He then applied at the sister company, but the two companies share the same HR team. Needless to say, [Difficult Coworker] didn’t get the job.

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CAT Scans In The Twilight Zone

, , , , , , , | Healthy | May 15, 2021

I arrive early for my CAT scan and sit in the waiting room. [Tech #1] comes out of the back.

Tech #1: “Is [Man] here? [Man]? [Man]?”

Receptionist: “Who’s [Man]?”

Tech #1: “His wife is back there and too dizzy to walk. I’m looking for her husband.” *Louder* “[MAN]! [MAN]?!”

[Tech #1] disappears for a few minutes and then he’s back.

Tech #1: “[Man]? [MAN]?! [Receptionist], would you page him?”

Receptionist: “What’s his last name?”

Tech #1: “Just page [Man].”

Receptionist: “I can’t do that! There are lots of [Man]s!”

Tech #1: “I don’t know his last name. Just page him!”

[Tech #1] disappears again. [Tech #2] comes out of the back pushing a woman in a wheelchair.

Tech #2: “Someone’s supposed to transport this woman to the lobby.”

Receptionist: “Park her over there until they come.”

[Tech #2] parks the woman and goes into the back.

Tech #1: “[Man]? [Man]?”

Transport Nurse: “Where’s the woman in the wheelchair?”

Receptionist: *Waving vaguely* “Over there.”

Transport Nurse: “I see the wheelchair, but it’s empty.”

Receptionist: “That’s odd.”

The transport nurse leaves.

Receptionist: “[My Name], we’ll get to you in just a few more minutes.”

Me: “That’s just fine. You’ve lost two people in the ten minutes I’ve been here, so I’m really overwhelmed with confidence at the moment.”

Someone else behind the reception desk calls out:

Employee: “Don’t ask me! I’m on lunch!”

Tech #1: “[Man]?”

They did eventually find [Man]. They never found the missing lady. And my CAT scan went on without further incident — whew!

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The Perpetual Training Train

, , , , | Working | May 14, 2021

I have to perform two certain tasks in the morning. One is crucial to get the workflow of my department started; the other is a very complicated task for one single client of ours. Since performing both tasks makes it take longer for me to join my department in the workflow, my supervisor wants management to put someone else on task number two. Apparently, this is very hard for them.

In February, I have a talk about it with my supervisor.

Me: “Still no plan, I guess?”

Supervisor: *Almost laughing* “Well, there is a plan, actually, but I doubt it’s going to work. They want [Coworker] to do it.”

[Coworker] mans the warehouse, and over the last months, his enthusiasm for his job has visibly diminished. Still, I have to train him.

Coworker: “Who decided that I have to do this? [Supervisor] probably, eh?”

Me: “Not really, no…”

Coworker: “They want me to do more and more, while I barely have time left for my actual job! Oh, well, what the f*** do I care? I’ll learn it and then drop it and take a job somewhere else!”

He keeps acting like this throughout every morning I train him. He seems like he’s trying to learn the job, indeed, but he keeps claiming that he’ll learn it and then leave.

Me: “You’re really gonna do that?”

Coworker: “H*** yeah! When I say I’m gonna do something, I always mean it!”

His constant moaning and anger suck my motivation to train him out of me. I have some talks with my supervisor about his behaviour. She’s fed up with his bluff and his lack of work ethic, but since he answers to another department, she can’t discipline him for it.

Supervisor: “You know, he would actually have time to perform his main job if he wouldn’t take smoke breaks every two hours. Or if he wouldn’t get out for an hour to buy lunch.”

We have half-hour lunch breaks.

Supervisor: “But I have spoken to [Coworker’s Supervisor] and he also thinks we shouldn’t take his threats of leaving too seriously. It’s a bluff.”

It probably is, I admit. Still, weeks go by while I am training this completely unmotivated guy to perform this quite complicated task. Then, one morning, I come in and hear my supervisor on the phone.

Supervisor: “Yeah, it’s quite clear to me that someone here is being blatantly selfish. Thanks for telling me.” *To me* “That was [Coworker’s Supervisor]. [Coworker] just called in sick. I’m sceptical.”

[Coworker] stayed home for quite some time, claiming burnout. Meanwhile, I kept performing the task myself. By April, someone from a different location was transferred to our office and learned the task from me… only to get a transfer again by June. Finally, after summer, I trained a more motivated coworker for the task. By then, [Coworker] was reintegrating, while showing a complete lack of motivation.

By the end of the year, I had put in my notice, not because of this weird history, but simply because I found a better-paying job with more career opportunities. [Coworker], meanwhile, was still there, doing his job to some extent, while being disliked by virtually everybody now. So much for his claims that he would leave as soon as possible. Being dissatisfied is one thing; digging your own grave because of it is another.

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We’d Like To Refer You To Common Sense

, , , , , , | Working | May 14, 2021

I overhear a fast food worker on their phone when they should be working.

Worker: “Do you have to put in two weeks notice if you’ve only been there for a week? I’m done here, but I want to use them as a reference, so I want to make sure I do it right.”

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A Pitiful Attempt To Be Understanding

, , , , , | Learning | May 14, 2021

I’m a college sophomore. I traveled abroad during the winter break. A couple of days into the new semester, I come down with a rather intense case of chickenpox. I never had it as a kid, so it knocks me out. I am basically stuck in bed with a head that feels like it’s going to explode and blisters everywhere, including inside my mouth and throat.

I call my department and fax them my doctor’s recommendation to stay away from the rest of humanity for a couple of weeks. They tell me not to worry; they will inform all my professors of my absence and I can make up any work as soon as I come back. I am incredibly grateful.

When I come back, I make sure to visit all my professors during office hours so I can catch up. All of them are incredibly gracious and helpful except my linguistics professor, who stands me up during his office hours.

Unable to find him anywhere, I go to his class. To my surprise, there is a test today. I very meekly go up to him and explain my situation.

Me: “I have been sick and absent for the past two weeks and had no idea there was a test. I don’t even know what material is covered on this test. The department assured me I could make up my absences as soon as I came back.”

The professor responds in the most condescending tone you can imagine.

Professor: “Oh, what a pity. Come to my office tomorrow and take the test.”

Me: “Professor, what material is being covered by the test?” 

Professor: “Oh. It’s chapter two and three.”

I go home, frantic, and spend all night devouring chapters two and three. I’m not a linguistics major, so this is not my cup of tea.

The next morning, I have barely slept, but I feel ready to at least pass the test. I walk to my professor’s office confidently. He hands me the test, and I sit down.

When I look at the paper in front of me, I recognize nothing. Absolutely nothing I studied is on this exam. I walk up to the professor.

Me: “Excuse me, sir. Is this the right test? The test you gave yesterday?”

Professor: “Oh, yes!”

Me: “I studied chapters two and three from the book, but they don’t have anything to do with what’s in the test.”

Professor: “Well, what I included in the test was all discussed in class and written on the board.”

Me: “But, sir, I was absent for two weeks due to illness, as I reminded you yesterday.”

He looks at me for a second.

Professor: “Oh, what a pity.”

He turned his glance away from me.

I went back to the desk, did what I could, and turned the test in, completely sure that I had failed. I had.

Knowing that I would probably fail the class, I decided to drop it and concentrate on catching up in the classes I know I could do well in. When I went back to my professor so he could sign the required form to allow me to do just that, he just looked at me and said, “Oh, what a pity,” as he signed.

I did retake the class and got a great grade. Linguistics is still not my cup of tea, but at least the second time around I got a professor that taught me more linguistics than “pity”.

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