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Not The Brightest (Broken) Bulb

, , , , , , , | Working | November 30, 2022

As a summer job, I used to work the midnight-to-8:00-am shift at a popular twenty-four-hour fast food place. On quiet weekdays, I usually worked alone, which suited me perfectly.

One night when I clocked in, my manager was waiting to introduce me to my new trainee. I later heard from the day shift that [Trainee] was a friend of the manager and needed a job because he was on probation, but [Trainee] and I never really talked other than for me to tell him how to clean and for him to tell me that he knew a better way.

The way I showed him to clean the sidewalk along the front of the store was to hose it off, scrub it as necessary with a stiff push broom, and then hose it off again.

But [Trainee] knew a better way.

A few nights later, I was cleaning the grill and heard a crash and a muffled obscenity. I looked out the window to see that [Trainee] had been mopping the sidewalk and as he had lifted the mop to put it into the wringer, he had smashed the broom handle through some fairly expensive overhead neon lights.

He swept up the broken glass and disappeared into the manager’s office for the last couple of hours of our shift.

Fine with me.

As usual, the manager came in while I was busy serving breakfasts and disappeared into his office with [Trainee].

When I clocked out, [Manager] called me into his office to discuss the consequences of my having broken the neon lights.

I probably shouldn’t have smiled, because that triggered a lecture about trivializing the damage.

I pointed out that only an idiot would use the mop on the sidewalk. I looked at [Trainee], who looked at the floor.

I pointed out that [Trainee] is dangerously stupid and dishonest, so I would never have left him alone inside the store while I went outside long enough to clean the sidewalk.

I pointed out that only one of us still had glass fragments in his hair, and that it wasn’t me.

Regardless, [Manager] told me that he had no choice but to fire me for negligent damage to the store.

I told him that, since I was going back to school in two weeks and was tired of working with liars and idiots, I was absolutely fine with leaving him with [Trainee] as his graveyard shift.

I guess tradition requires me to say that the franchise went bankrupt the next month, but in all honesty, I never looked back.

This Really Explains A Lot

, , , , , | Working | November 29, 2022

I work for a government agency. I’ve been assigned to mentor [New Employee], which means she shadows me on all of the files I work on, and I provide as much support as possible on the files she’s working on.

One day, after she’s been working with me for two months, [New Employee] cancels a meeting to discuss one of her files with her supervisor and asks if she can talk to me about it, instead.

Me: “So, what’s going on? [File] is due pretty soon.”

New Employee: “Yeah, about that. It turns out I’m not allowed to work on that file.”

Me: “Really?”

New Employee: “Or any file.”

Me: “Wait, what?”

New Employee: “I just got a notification from the Ethics Office. They said that because my husband works for [Company we regulate] and has stock options, I can’t work on any files.”

To be clear, “can’t work on any files” means “can’t do ANYTHING.” This is really bizarre; as a government agency, we can’t have any possibility of impropriety, but that’s usually dealt with by having us recuse ourselves from working on files related to specific companies. My boss just had to recuse himself from working on a file the other day because his wife works for that company. Another coworker recused herself from a file because she’s a customer of that company’s products. That sort of thing. No one I’ve talked to has ever heard of a potential conflict of interest preventing you from working on ANYTHING.

Me: “So… what are you allowed to do?”

New Employee: “I’m allowed to keep attending training. But that’s it. Why would they have hired me if I’m not allowed to do anything?”

Me: “I have no idea.”

This was a week ago, and while [New Employee] and the head of our department are trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on, it hasn’t happened yet. Fingers crossed that they resolve this; otherwise, yeah, wouldn’t the time to notice that she can’t review files be BEFORE hiring her and spending two months training her?

Oh, and if they do resolve it, she will have lost the time she should have spent working on her files. They’ll be due very soon, and she won’t have enough time to complete them. Sometimes working for the government is exactly what I expected.

Nickel-And-Diming Your Timing

, , , , , , | Working | November 28, 2022

I used to work in retail. At the time, I didn’t drive and had to depend on the bus system and cabs. They knew this when they hired me and said it was no problem.

Every time I was a couple of minutes late, I would make up the time at the end of the day. This became a problem for just one manager. When he wrote me up for being late after a glowing performance review, I quit.

It was worth it to see the shocked look on his smug face as he tried to backtrack out of the write-up.

Something’s Not Connecting, And It’s Not From A Lack Of Cables

, , , , , , , | Working | November 26, 2022

A few years ago, I started a job for a third-party IT company. My role was onsite support for one of our clients. There were three or four of us who supported the various locations for said client. This job should have been a red flag from the beginning — I literally face-planted on the sidewalk on my way into the interview — but I’d had to take the first thing I could because of bills.

I’ve been in this job for about a month when I am told that there’s some regional meeting coming up, and I’m supposed to go up to one of the locations to support the meeting. (They host several of them just because they have offices all over western Washington and just use Teams so everyone can be involved.)

I have never been to this location, but I manage to find it and stumble my way into the meeting room where literally nothing is working. In a panic, I pull up our internal chat system and message my senior tech.

Me: “I’m at [Location], and I’m pretty sure I’m in the conference room, but I can’t get the screen to come down, the projector won’t turn on, and the laptop that seems to be designated for this has no cables.”

Senior Tech: “Extra cables are in the cabinet in the corner.”

I glance around and find what I think is the cabinet she’s referring to. It’s holding craft supplies. There are no other cabinets in this room.

Me: “There’s nothing electronic in there. It’s all craft supplies and stuff for the store.”

Senior Tech: “It’s really easy. Just find the cables and plug everything in.”

Me: “There are literally no cables here.”

Senior Tech: “I don’t have time for this. I’m getting [Her Location] set up for the meeting. Just plug in the cables and it’ll be fine.”

She ends the chat. I start to panic because we’re supposed to have people coming in like five minutes. One woman finally comes in, and I apologize profusely and tell her I’m trying to get stuff going. When the time for the meeting comes up, no one else has come into the room.

Woman: “Oh, well, I guess the others decided to join from their desks. I can just use my laptop. Can you make sure I’m good to go?”

I checked that she was fully connected and got the meeting pulled up. Then, I sat just across the table from her and worked on tickets through this meeting, feeling very embarrassed about this not working. Then, things got worse at the end of the meeting when she introduced herself and I realized she was the CEO!

Like I said at the beginning, this job was a nightmare disguised as an opportunity. When I called my senior tech on the fact that they’d sent me there unprepared — DESPITE my asking for either a walk-through at some point or someone who knew what they were doing to be there with me — I was just told that it was fine since it only ended up being the CEO in the room.

I started looking for a new job right after that. It took me nine months, but I did find one that’s much better.

Sounds Like I’m All Out Of Time

, , , , , , , | Working | November 21, 2022

When I apply to work at a large retailer, I write that my availability is 6:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday through Saturday. I put a big X over Sunday so that I have one guaranteed day to spend relaxing with my family. The woman who will become my manager does my interview.

Manager: “I see you aren’t available on Sunday.”

Me: “Correct.”

Manager: “Any reason for that?”

Me: “Yes.”

Manager: “Which is?”

Me: “I have family commitments.”

Manager: “Every single Sunday?”

Me: “Yes.”

Manager: *Scoffs* “Okay. Not a great start to your career, but that’s your choice.”

Me: *Smiling* “Thank you for understanding.”

She stares at me for a moment, clearly wondering if she should say what she is thinking, but she doesn’t. I’m hired on and begin my illustrious career as a minimum-wage cashier.

The holidays are coming up, and [Manager] approaches me as I’m about to clock out for lunch.

Manager: “[My Name], we need to discuss your availability.”

Me: “What about it?”

Manager: “We don’t have enough people for Sunday evening for the next few weeks. If you’ll open your availability—”

Me: “No, thank you. I am not available.”

I swipe my ID to clock out.

Manager: “You can’t only work when you want!”

Me: “I’m on my lunch, actually. Thank you for respecting my unpaid time.”

I walk away.

The next shift, she approaches again with an availability form. It has my name at the top and “OPEN” written on every day. Given that this is a twenty-four-hour store, this means I could work any time day or night.

Manager: “Here. I filled it out for you. Just sign.”

Me: “No.”

Manager: “You are the only one in this whole store who will not work Sundays!”

Me: “How can you not have enough people when it’s everyone except me?”

Manager: “I don’t have time for this. You need to step up or go home.”

Me: “Okay.”

I dropped my work vest and badge on the floor and walked out. [Manager] called me several times over the next few weeks to try to get me to come back, though she offered no incentive or apology. I found another job before the calls stopped.