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The People-Are-Gross Crisis Has Been Going On For Centuries

, , , , , , , | Working | October 22, 2021

I’m introduced to some new staff who have transferred into the project team. There is a bit of awkwardness as no one knows whether to shake hands, bump elbows, or what.

One of the new guys puts his hand out to shake mine.

Me: “I won’t, if you don’t mind.”

New Guy: “Oh, come on. [Disease] is not even around anymore.”

It certainly is.

Me: “I’ll refrain, thanks.”

New Guy: “Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not infected! Just shake my hand!”

Me: “Oh, it has nothing to do with [disease]. I just saw you walk out of the bathroom without washing your hands.”

Cue a moment of awkwardness as everyone who had shaken hands with him quietly considered cleaning theirs. Seriously, wash your hands, people! Crisis or no crisis!

Every Swirl Remembers Their First Time

, , , , , | Right | October 11, 2021

Unemployed and bored, I head to a movie theatre for an afternoon matinee. The place is very quiet as I walk up to the theatre’s frozen yogurt counter where there is a rather nervous teenage girl at the till and an older man back there near her.

Me: “Hi there. Can I get [regular swirl]?”

Cashier: “Certainly.”

She carefully pecks at the till, then tells me my total, takes my money, and turns to the man.

Cashier: “She wants a [regular swirl].”

Man: “Okay.”

He looks at her expectantly.

Cashier: “I’m not ready!”

She wails and the man looks at me.

Man: “Sorry, it’s her first real day here.”

He grabs for the cup and I call out.

Me: “No! I want her to do it.”

They both look at me in a bit of fear because I am a bit emphatic, but I continue. I look at the trainee.

Me: “Listen, you’re going to have to start doing this at some point.”

The fear in her eyes is adorable.

Me: “Why not start now?”

Cashier: “I don’t know how.”

I look over at the man.

Man: *Encouragingly* “Come on. Yes, you do.”

Me: “Come on. Whatever you manage, I’ll take it; no complaints. You gotta do it sometime.”

There was unbridled terror as she took the cup from the man and held it under the spout. The creation took forever and came out like a mangled pyramid, but it was what I wanted — if not a bit more than I wanted. She turned with embarrassment at her offering, but I took it, thanked her, and headed into my movie.

Everyone has a first day, and I figured she’d have to get into the meat of the job sooner rather than later. It’s probably best with someone more accepting and forgiving than most I see on NAR.

The Thing About Liars Is That They Usually Get Caught

, , , , | Working | October 6, 2021


Boss: “I’ve interviewed for a new engineer. Unfortunately, I will be on holiday for her first week. Can you help her get started?”

Me: “Yeah, no worries. Will she be helping me with [project]?”

Boss: “Yeah, but not yet. She seems to have a lot of customer experience, so get her building bridges with [Main Customer].”

Monday comes around and the new hire doesn’t show. I get Human Resources to call her and she states that she thought her first day would be Tuesday because she worked Sunday in her last job. I can’t quite follow the logic, but I have HR tell her to come on Tuesday.

The next day, she comes in.

Me: “Hi, my name is [My Name]. This is your desk. I have put everything you need in the drawers and IT has put your login details in that sealed envelope.”

New Hire: “Okay, great. So, when is the first break?”

Me: “Oh, well, all details would be in your contract, I guess, but we break at nine.”

New Hire: “Okay, I guess.”

Me: “Great, get settled. Then we can chat about tomorrow’s customer meeting.”

She seems very nervous and skittish, but I put that down to her being new. I have to help her enter usernames and passwords three times, but eventually, we get sorted. I let her go for a long break and then catch up with her afterward.

Me: “We have [Major Customer] coming in tomorrow. I understand you have a lot of experience dealing with customers.”

New Hire: “Yes, years of experience! I was the best in my old company.”

Me: “Great! The contract is pretty big so this is important. Luckily, tomorrow is just a bit of an informal chat, a review on how things are going.”

New Hire: *Panicking* “You want me to run the meeting?”

Me: “No, I just want you to join me.”

New Hire: *Still flustered* “Okay, because I’m not sure I could do that.”

Me: “No, it’s fine. Just be there, meet the customer, and learn a bit of how it works.”

New Hire: “I guess I could do that.”

I reassure her several times that it really is a simple meeting and nothing to worry about. I get a copy of her CV from HR. She states that this is a skill of hers, so I’m not sure what the issue is.

The next day, she calls in sick. No reason, just sick. I’ve promised the customer that they will meet the new engineer, so it’s a bit embarrassing for me, but it goes okay.

The next day, she turns up.

New Hire: “I’m sorry for yesterday. I was feeling unwell.”

Me: “It’s okay. It is a shame you missed the chance to meet him. He is a great guy and making that connection is important. No matter. Next week, there is another customer review. I need you to join me. I will send over the details that we will be discussing.”

On the day of the meeting, she didn’t show. HR and my boss told her not to bother coming back. Must be the worst case of a fake CV I have seen!

Most Of Us Get Past The “MINE” Stage By Kindergarten

, , , , , | Working | October 5, 2021

I’ve had this job for about three months and it has been good so far. Unfortunately, the person who was supposed to train me left for some extended leave just before I started. I was told that she would return soon and I could ask further questions then.

I knew [Employee] was back when I turned up for work and a woman I didn’t know was sat at my desk.

Me: “Hi. Are you [Employee]?”

Employee: “Yes, that’s me. Are you new?”

Me: “Yes. I think I started shortly after you left.” *Pauses* “I’m sorry to say, but that’s my desk now.”

Employee: “What? No, honey, I have sat here for years. You are going to have to find somewhere else to sit.”

Me: “Sorry, but the office got reorganised while you were off. Your team sits over there now.”

[Employee] was clearly very angry. She got herself out of my chair and stomped to the manager’s office. Evidently, it didn’t go her way, as she stomped back and over to her desk. She refused to talk to me or look at me for the next two weeks.

Then, one day, I came back from a doctor’s appointment to find my desk empty and my stuff boxed up. I went to the manager to find out what was wrong.

Me: “All my things have been moved.”

Manager: “I was told you wanted to change desk, but I didn’t ask anyone to clear your desk.”

Me: *Getting a bit upset* “I have personal items that are fragile. I don’t think it’s fair for someone to mess with them.”

Manager: “Not at all. Come on, I will help you set up your desk.”

He took me back to my desk, and who was sitting there but [Employee]. She had even put up some photos.

Manager: “[Employee], you need to move.”

Employee: “No, this is my desk. MY DESK!”

Manager: “In my office, please.”

[Employee] got up and started walking toward the office.

Employee: “I don’t care what you say; I’m not moving. I’ve sat there for years, [Manager]. Years.”

Their meeting went on for a long while until the assistant manager got a phone call and immediately took us all into the meeting room.

Assistant Manager: “[Employee] has decided that she has returned to work too early and has chosen to take some additional time off.”

Coworker: “She ‘chose’ to? Like last year when she chose to take unpaid leave after throwing that chair?”

Assistant Manager: “The matter isn’t up for discussion. Please return to your desks.”

By the time we did, [Employee] and her stuff were gone. All my things had been thrown to the floor. [Employee] came back a few weeks later, but she exploded again and assaulted someone. She wasn’t allowed to quit and was fired on the spot. It turned out that she had always had anger issues, and the leave was supposed to be time for her to sort her life out and come back better. Looks like it didn’t work.

Why Would You Waste Time Becoming An Engineer, Then?

, , , , | Working | September 30, 2021

I come back after a week off and notice a new face in the office. Later that day, I happen to be chatting with the department manager and I mention him.

Manager: “Oh, yes, that’s [New Hire]. I meant to ask you something.”

Me: “Okay, what is it?”

Manager: “Could you have a chat with him? He’s close to your age and he might talk to you.”

Me: “Err, sure. What about?”

Manager: “Well, he just cannot get on with anyone. I have had three people try to show him the ropes but he just isn’t responsive.”

Me: “It’s not my place to say, but maybe he isn’t a good fit?”

Manager: “No, of course. Maybe. But looking at his CV, he has worked for some of the top companies in the country and graduated top of his class. Before we… sack him… perhaps it’s worth seeing if there is anything the matter.”

Me: “I can give it a try, I guess.”

Manager: “Thanks, just when you get a chance.”

I get where he is coming from. Not a lot of people in the area have our skillset and experience, and there’s a six-month wait for security clearance. Finding people must be hard.

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name].”

New Hire: “Yeah?”

Me: “I notice you’re new. How are you finding it?”

New Hire: “It’s boring. I don’t know why I left [Major Company].”

Me: “Well, it’s early days. Is there anything I can help with? [Reports] are pretty hard to do the first time.”

New Hire: “Nah, I can’t be bothered.”

Me: “Okay, well…. I doubt they will keep you very long if you refuse to work. Let me know if you want some help.”

New Hire: “Pff, whatever.”

[New Hire] spent two more days doing nothing and then disappeared. It was months before my boss would tell me what happened. [New Hire] had left his last job voluntarily, only because he screwed up so badly he was going to get fired when they found out, which they did. He used his friends at the company to pretend to be his old boss and give him a good reference.

Of course, now that this was out in the open, [New Hire] was sacked and his friends were undoubtedly disciplined or fired, losing him his reference. All he had to do was knuckle down and get to work, but he couldn’t be bothered. Now he will struggle to get back into engineering again.