Gender Stereotypes Do Not Compute

, , , , , , , | Friendly | September 29, 2018

(This happens in the late 80s. I have just bought a house and am having a housewarming party. My friend shows up with her new husband, a guy I’ve never met. I give them a quick tour, including my study.)

Friend’s Husband: *spotting my computer, which is one of the original IBM PCs with two floppy drives* “Is that your husband’s computer?”

Me: “No, it’s mine.”

Friend: *rolling her eyes* “Don’t mind him. He doesn’t think women are intelligent enough to use computers, that’s all.”

Me: *thinking* “How charming.”

(I get busy with host-related stuff. I happen to see my friend and her husband racing out the door as though their a**es were on fire. They don’t even say goodbye.)

Me: “Huh, that’s weird.”

(I didn’t think anything of it until the following day. I went to turn on my computer, and to my horror, it made a terrible grinding noise. I turned it off and investigated. SOMEONE – and I think we all know who – had shoved a floppy disk in backwards. Luckily, there was no permanent damage.)

This Is Obviously Not Your Field

, , , , , | Working | September 28, 2018

(I work in IT. This has happened at my job more times than I can count.)

Supervisor: “I need you to add a new field to this screen. It’s a birthdate.”

Me: “Gotcha.”

(One hour later:)

Supervisor: “So, are you done?”

Me: “Not yet.”

Supervisor: “Why the heck not? What’s taking so long? It’s just one field! It’s a simple change!”

Me: “Yes, but first I have to find an appropriate spot for it on the screen. Then, I have to code it. Then, I have to put in edits, so that the users can’t enter something silly like February 31st, or a future date, since it’s a birthdate. Then, I have to ensure that the data entered is propagated to the database that’s keeping track of all the data on the screen. Then, I have to ensure that the birthdate is being sent properly to the other programs that use this screen for input.”

Supervisor: “…”

Me: “I haven’t even mentioned having to test it and document it. Shall I go on?”

Supervisor: “Just stop making excuses and get it done!” *leaves*

(I wouldn’t mind so much, but my supervisor used to be a programmer himself. He had evidently forgotten how much time a “simple change” takes.)

An Uncalled For Potty Mouth

, , , , | Friendly | September 23, 2018

(I’m browsing at a mall when I run into the mother of someone I used to go to school with when I was small. This woman never liked me much.)

Woman: “Well, if it isn’t [My Name]! What are you up to these days?”

Me: “I’m going to university, and–”

Woman: *waves her hand dismissively* “Well, of course you’re going to university. Everyone does.”

Me: “Um, okay.”

Woman: “Do you have a job?”

Me: “I’m working part time at a dinner theatre–”

Woman: “Doing what? Cleaning toilets?”

Me: *pause* “No, actually, I work in the box office. I take reservations for the shows.”

Woman: “Hmph.” *walks away*

(No disrespect intended to anyone who cleans toilets for a living, but I’m pretty sure she intended it to be an insult.)

My Business Lunch Is None Of Your Business

, , , , , | Related | September 10, 2018

(One of my first jobs is as a secretary and receptionist. I am angling for a promotion, so I make myself as indispensable to my boss as possible, and I persuade him to allow me to accompany him on a business lunch with our marketing reps. I am talking to my mum about it.)

Me: “I’m pretty excited about this. It’ll be my first business lunch.”

Mum: “Who are you meeting with?”

Me: “Our marketing team: [Employee #1] and [Employee #2].”

Mum: “[Employee #2]? No kidding! I know her! She’s really nice.”

Me: “Cool! Good to know.”

(I go to the lunch and conduct myself with as much poise and professionalism as a 22-year-old is capable of. I am quite nervous, but I pretend that I do this sort of thing every day. I think I’ve done a pretty good job. Later, when talking to my mum again…)

Mum: “How’d the lunch go?”

Me: “Great! I think my boss was impressed. I saw [Employee #2] talking to him afterwards and pointing at me; she was smiling.”

Mum: “That’s probably because I called [Employee #2] beforehand.”

Me: “Uh… You did?”

Mum: “Yes! I told her it was your very first business lunch, and that you were really excited and nervous. I also told her that since you’re just a kid, she should be nice to you.”

Me: “MUM! HOW COULD YOU?!”

Mum: *bewildered* “What? What did I do?”

(Sigh. I love my mum, and I know she only had the best of intentions. I might have gotten that promotion after all, despite or because of Mum’s “help,” but another job opportunity came my way first. I jumped at it.)

Big Sign = Big Trouble

, , , | Right | September 7, 2018

(The first Tuesday of every month is “10% off Tuesday.” I amv working the customer service desk when a customer brings me his receipt.)

Customer: “The cashier never took off my 10%.”

Me: *reading the receipt* “I’m sorry, sir, but you only spent $25. The promotion requires a minimum purchase of $50.”

Customer: “That’s ridiculous! Where does it say that?!”

(I walk exactly three feet and point to the fine print of the giant sign on the window, which clearly reads “with purchase of $50 or more in a single transaction.”)

Customer: “How do you expect anyone to read that? It’s so small!”

Me: “It… it really isn’t.”

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