He’s Spring Broken

, , , , , | Working | May 9, 2019

(A new hire, still in high school, is clearly working his first job. A few weeks go by and everything is fine. Then, one Monday he doesn’t show up for work. Calling him doesn’t work; no one answers. Tuesday, same thing: no-show and no answer when called. He still doesn’t show up on the third day; however, he answers his phone.)

Coworker: “Hey! Where have you been? You should be at work!”

Employee: “What? Why? I’m on vacation. It’s spring break!”

Be Thankful You Dodged That Bullet

, , , , , , , | Working | May 2, 2019

A few months after finishing my degree, I decide to apply to some seasonal retail positions to help pay the bills while looking for more permanent work. One well-known department store invites me for a phone interview. It goes very well, and the employee offers me a 20- to 25-hour-per-week sales position on the spot.

When we talk about availability, she tells me that the regional store I’ll be working in isn’t asking seasonal workers in this role to come in on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day; as long as I can come in on Black Friday and December 26, that’s fine. In fact, if I’ll be traveling, she can even make a note on my file that I want to work later shifts on those days! I was hoping to visit family a few hours away on Thanksgiving, so I say that’s perfect, and she puts me down as available anytime between ten am and midnight on Black Friday. I also tell her that, for religious reasons, I would prefer not to work Saturday mornings but can work every Sunday and Saturday afternoons if needed, and she assures me that is fine and she will make a note of that, too.

The training itself consists of six hours of watching instructional videos, 50 minutes of silently watching a busy cashier handle transactions without talking to me, and 10 minutes of the cashier actually training me. I am a little nervous that I won’t be prepared for the job, but as it turns out, I don’t have to worry.

Schedules are handled in an online system. When I am getting set up, I notice that Saturdays are listed as a “must work” with no option for me to make myself unavailable, even for a few hours. I ask one of the office managers and she says not to worry, and that once I am assigned to a manager, they will be able to alter it. I will “definitely” have shifts on the schedule before Thanksgiving — about three weeks away, at this point — and when I arrive for my shifts I will be assigned a manager.

A week goes by. The website says that all employees should now be scheduled for their entire holiday season, but my calendar is still blank. I call the office manager and she says the website was wrong; schedules would be up by Tuesday, and the schedule will only cover the next two weeks. On Thursday, the schedule goes up. I am scheduled for only one shift in two weeks, and it starts at four pm Thanksgiving Day. There is supposed to be an option for me to advertise the shift for other employees to pick up, but it isn’t working. I call the office manager again and explain the mixup. She says, again, that more shifts will definitely be added to my schedule, and that the option to swap shifts only comes up one week before the date.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, I still can’t swap that shift and my “20- to 25-hour-a-week” job still has me scheduled for only eight hours in two weeks. Annoyed, I call the office and tell the second office manager — the one who answers the call — that I would like to quit effective immediately. She asks for my name, which I give, and the name of my manager. I tell her I never got one, and she says, “Okay, thank you,” and hangs up.

Five weeks later, I get a call from the original office manager. She says, “Hi, [My Name]. Are you available to pick up a shift this week?” When I tell her that I quit over a month ago, she asks if I signed any paperwork. I tell her no one ever asked me to. She says, “Okay, thank you,” and hangs up.

But hey, I made $48 from my training shifts that they never asked me to pay back, so I guess it wasn’t a complete waste of time?

Wrongful Termination Is A Termination Of Sense

, , , , , , | Working | April 25, 2019

At the beginning of the year, we get a new PhD intern who has a rather inflated ego and will try to exert his authority over others simply because they have a Bachelors or Masters. It suffices to say it becomes quickly apparent that he is not efficient, effective, or all that smart as he claims. He ends up costing the company thousands because he refuses to check his work and in his own words assumes it is “perfect” when he gives it to people. It also turns out he is actually a Masters student and not on track to get his PhD, despite explicitly stating he is working on his dissertation. The icing on the cake is that he refuses to work in the office and can’t work more than 25 to 30 hours a week while initially trying to get 50 to 60 hours a week. Long story short: he is unreliable and a chronic liar, but still thinks he is a real prize.

Around this time, we also have a change in management. Without being prompted or even asked, he determines he will take over the weekly meetings. Our boss, deciding to see where this goes, lets him. Note: he is still technically an intern but is insisting to the rest of us — and his money lender — that he is a full-time employee when the managers are out of earshot. The first week’s meeting goes all right, but they continue to spiral out of control from there.

Eventually, he stops showing up to the office altogether, but still maintains he is going there and lies about it, or even claims his coworkers are the ones not in the office. He then spends the next month or so canceling his own meetings, forgetting about them completely, or trying to get other people to cancel for him.

It finally becomes clear to my boss that this guy is straight-up incompetent, but because he is the type that would sue for wrongful termination, my boss still has to make an effort to correct the mistake. This leads to a round of cries from said “coworker” about how he can’t take the abuse any longer and more whining. My boss even schedules for him to attend a seminar, all expenses paid for, to work on his organization. The guy takes it as nothing more than a suggestion — while still in negotiation for a contract. Eventually, after much back and forth and the boss having several people ask him to go, he agrees…. but his girlfriend ends up driving him.

He uses this seminar to try to leverage more power, while still failing at his job, but obviously gets shut down. Still, he is obviously oblivious to the fact he is in deep s*** at this point.

Finally, around Christmas time, someone else is assigned to run the meetings as we haven’t had one in two months. He, of course, is absent as it is “the holidays.” When he comes back, he is relieved! It goes over his head that he lost his “power” because he was lazy.

Yes, he is still working for this company. And I am currently looking for a new job.

Moral of the story: your coworkers may be a hot mess, but if management allows it, leave.

We’re Not Really “Feeling” You, Either

, , , , , | Working | April 10, 2019

I am serving my notice period for a job. On a Monday, the guy hired to replace me starts. He’s apparently been out of work for a few months, due to some chronic medical issues. He does complain of feeling feverish and run down, and is wearing a wrist brace for an apparently long-standing strain injury. Overall, though, he seems keen to be back in a job.

On Tuesday, he isn’t in when I arrive. Our manager advises me that he’s called in sick, citing the fever he mentioned the previous day. We agree it’s not a great start to a new job, but one can’t plan for sickness, so we shrug it off.

I work from home on Wednesday, as the trains aren’t working. The new guy doesn’t answer any emails in the morning, and at lunch, my manager tells me that he hasn’t been in again due to something medical, but is due to be in for the afternoon.

On Thursday, I get in late — train issues again — and New Guy is, once again, not there. My manager fills me in on the details:

Wednesday morning, he had to make an urgent doctor’s appointment to get his inhaler refilled, as it had run out, and it’s something he really shouldn’t spend a whole day without. Once more, it’s something that doesn’t reflect hugely well, but it does seem reasonable enough.

While he was at the GP, however, he decided it was also worth the doctor taking a look at his wrist — yes, the one that had been injured for a least a month prior to starting this job. The result of this investigation necessitated a trip to the hospital for x-rays and other stuff, which my manager was promised would only delay his arrival until just before lunch.

Two hours after lunch, New Guy calls to say he’s gone home and won’t be in — all the excitement of the day has left him “not really feeling it” — but he swears up and down he’ll be in on Thursday.

When he does arrive Thursday morning, after consulting with the department head and HR, my manager politely tells him that it’s not working out.

It’s hard to feel too sorry for him, though; our contracts enforce a one-month paid notice period during the first six months of employment, which applies no matter who makes the decision to terminate your employment.

So, for a day’s training, a sick day, and a couple of medical appointments, the guy got about five weeks of pay.

She’s A Few Pennies Short Of A Dollar

, , , , , , | Working | April 5, 2019

(I start working in a big box store as a cashier. I have an extensive retail background so I personally learn the POS system and stop training to work alone in ten minutes. I start training other new people in my first three days. When I meet a new person and they ask how long it took me, I tell them that I’m not the norm and I explain why. The company wants new cashiers to have one day of training then be on their own; it is a super easy system. This day I’m training another new person who I find out has actually worked for the company two weeks longer than me, is full time, and who is supposed to be in the Money Center. After she tells me this, I make her jump on the register and watch what she does. She very, VERY slowly goes through checking the person out and bagging their items, looking like she’s going to have a panic attack the whole time. Then, she takes their cash and goes to give them change. The drawer pops open and the computer tells her to give back $12.53 in change.)

New Cashier: “Um… there are no tens.”

(I look at the drawer and then back at her for a second, hoping something clicks. I get a blank stare from her.)

Me: “Two fives make a ten.”

New Cashier: “Oh, yeah!” *giggle* “Duh!”

(She digs out the bills and then slowly starts counting the coins.)

Me: “You have too many pennies.”

New Cashier: “Oh!” *giggle*

(Later, I tell my manager — not the manager that hired her — what happened.)

Me: “Someone needs to explain to me why someone who can’t count change and can’t handle an ounce of pressure was hired for the area that handles the most cash and has the most pressure… and why she’s going to make more than me.”

Manager: “Yeah… someone’s going to need to explain that to me, too.”

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