Not As Bright As A Button

| Working | June 13, 2014

(I work as a programmer for industrial machines in a huge company in Germany. I am responsible for the program of a new kind of cleaning machine, which also has a security door that has to be opened and closed by pushing a button. Before opening a safety interlock needs to be opened. It takes about two seconds before the door ultimately starts opening.)

Project Manager: “Hey, [My Name]. That machine needs to be quicker. Why does it always takes two seconds before the door opens?”

Me: “Uhm… because the safety interlock has to be opened first. That takes two seconds.”

Project Manager: “Couldn’t you remove that safety interlock? Then we would save those seconds?”

Me: “No, sorry. For safety reasons I can’t do that.”

Project Manager: “Okay… What about you open that safety interlock two seconds before that button is pushed. Then the door would open exactly when the button is pushed.”

Me: “… No.”

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How To Promote A Quitting Spree

| Working | October 28, 2013

(I work for a large defense manufacturer. Towards the end of my second year, in December, I have a conversation with my supervisor.)

Me: “I think my work lately has been good enough that I deserve a promotion.”

Supervisor: “You can’t have a promotion. All the promotions for next year have already been decided on.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Supervisor: “All the promotions for next year have already been decided on. It’s company-wide. No more promotions are available.”

Me: “Do you mean that if someone was hired who was really brilliant, and who decided he wouldn’t stay unless he got a promotion, he couldn’t get it? That all the promotions for the whole company, for all of next year, have been decided on?”

Supervisor: “Yes.”

(I stare at him for a moment, trying to figure out if he believes that himself, or if he thinks I am stupid enough to believe that.)

Me: “Well, I’m glad we’ve had this talk. I think, under the circumstances, it might be best if I started over somewhere else.”

(Lo and behold, the next day he stopped by my desk to tell me my promotion was in the works!)

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A Self-Lay-Offing Prophecy

| Working | December 4, 2012

(Our company has just been bought out by a competitor. There is some significant downsizing expected. My manager calls me in to break the news first thing on Monday morning.)

Manager: “Here’s the deal: you have to let all eight people on your team go today. There’s a script that you have to use, and an HR rep will be with you.”

Me: “All eight? My whole team?”

Manager: “Yes, the whole team. We still have duties for you, though.”

(And so I go about firing my whole team. After it’s completed, I meet with my manager again.)

Manager: “We have to let you go.”

Me: “…What? I thought you said you had duties for me.”

Manager: “Yes, and you completed them.”

Me: “You kept me on to fire my staff before firing me? That was it?”

Manager: *brightly* “Glad you understand!”

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Some Coworkers Are Full Of Crap

| Working | September 12, 2012

Me: “Why is there a sump pump in the septic tank?”

Coworker: “We’re removing the overflow. The tank overflows after it rains.”

Me: “Oh, where are you pumping it to?”

Coworker: “Into the sewer.”

Me: “…What?”

Coworker: “[Boss] doesn’t like paying for something we could do ourselves.”

Me: “Okay, you do realize that these sewers are directly connected to the river?”

Coworker: “Yeah… so?”

Me: “And now it’s overflowing, too?”

Coworker: “…And?”

Me: “And now I have to walk through fresh s*** to get to my car, that’s why.”

Coworker: “Then don’t wear sandals to work next time!”

Me: !#@#^$%&

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