He’s Not A Good Fit(ting)

, , , , | Working | April 8, 2021

I work on a moving assembly line. It’s easy enough work: the part comes into your station, you follow the instructions on screen, and if you do it right, it passes to the next guy.

A new guy starts on the section before me. Most people pick up what to do in a few weeks, maybe making the odd mistake after that. But this guy is constantly screwing up nearly two months later.

I figure he might need help, and maybe he’s not getting it from his boss, so I catch up with him on breaks.

Me: “Hey, you’re new, aren’t you?”

New Guy: “Yeah, started a couple of months back.”

Me: “How are you getting on?”

New Guy: “Yeah, it’s boring, init, but all right, I guess.”

Me: “You know those [small fittings]? Are you all right fitting them?”

New Guy: “Oh, I don’t bother. Someone else can do them.”

Me: “That someone else is me; I’m having to run round and do it for you. I could show you a trick to getting them on?”

New Guy: “Nah, you can do that as you’re so good at them.”

Me: “No, I’m not.”

New Guy: “Just do it, all right! D***!”

I’ve been running around for months struggling to do his job as well as mine. If he can’t be bothered to do it, I am not about to. 

The next day, I see more fittings missing. I look down the line and five more are the same. I let it get into the station, do my bit, and then hit the big red button. The line stops, big flashing lights go on, and there is a cheer from the guys as they get to see who messed up. The line manager rushes over to see what is going on.

Line Manager: “What is going on?”

Me: “All these bits are missing.”

Line Manager: “So, fit them! That’s why you have the box of spares — in case the odd one slips through.”

Me: “It’s not the ‘odd one.’ It’s every single one!”

He went up the line and found dozens of parts not done properly. The new guy was called back and made to do them all again. [New Guy] lied and told them that we’d agreed to all this, but he was shot down straight away.

He kept trying to “forget,” normally right before breaks or home time, making me late to leave, but I kept calling him on it until he got transferred off the line. He quit five months later as it was “too much work.” Some people.

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Sometimes Busy Work Is More Than Busy Work

, , , , | Working | April 7, 2021

A new guy starts on a machine that I know has an important task included. Every tenth part gets recorded on a chart. This is massively important as it is a customer and regulatory requirement. Don’t do it and at the end of year there is no evidence to show the customer. They can refuse the parts or claim tens of thousands in costs, or worse, the regulatory body can stop the entire production line down.

Something that seems like a meaningless task has massive consequences. As the manager responsible, I speak to the new guy to introduce myself. Then, I go into detail on the chart.

Me: “Did someone go through the chart with you?”

New Guy: “Oh, yeah. I don’t see the point, though.”

Me: “It is really important for the customer and company.”

I give him a brief explanation and he rolls eyes at me.

New Guy: “Yeah, sure, whatever you say.”

I’m pretty sure he thinks I am yet another manager giving him unimportant work. So many people assume managers are some evil bunch of people that exist to make your life harder, without thinking there might be other reasons for what they ask of you.

I give him a few days and cast an eye over the chart; he hasn’t even started it. I catch him when he returns from his break.

Me: “Listen. We spoke about these charts and I explained why we need to do them.”

New Guy: “Oh, yeah. I forgot.”

Me: “Okay, well, please try to remember, any missing data is an issue. Do you understand how to complete the charts? Are you okay filling them in?”

New Guy: “What? Yeah, obviously.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll leave you to it.”

A week passes before I get a chance to check again, and it looks like he did it on the day I reminded him but then gave up. I again catch up with him.

Me: “These charts must be done; it’s part of the job. I think I have given you plenty of reminders and will escalate this if I catch it not being done again.”

New Guy: “If it’s so important, why don’t you do it?”

Me: “Apart from working across multiple sites, you want me to come down and do your job for you?! No, get it done.”

New Guy: “What’s the point? A bit of paper no one even looks at.”

Me: “It’s a five-minute job, once a day. Look. I’ve already explained why it’s important. I think we’re done here. I will let your boss explain.”

His boss chewed him out in front of everyone, again explaining the importance of the task and of listening to instructions given by me. He seemed to get it, and for a few months, did it without fail.

At the end of the year, the customer was due to fly in within a few days. I grabbed all the paperwork, evidence, and charts. I cast my eye over them and started seeing patterns — the same number in every column, mistakes, and massive gaps.

I couldn’t present these to the customer; they were essentially forged documents. I gave the line manager a call. 

With no other option, he put the new guy in the factory where he had to open up hundreds of boxes and recheck every part, fill in each chart, and repack them. He complained the whole way through and then walked off the site without cause. They brought him back to finish his work and then fired him the next day.

Sometimes things are not what they seem, and companies don’t take it lightly when your laziness threatens a multi-million-pound contract.

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You’re Getting Paid To Be Trained! Let It Happen!

, , , , , | Working | April 1, 2021

I’m leaving my current job, but I’m good friends with my boss and, from what I’ve heard, the guy taking my job has been pushed out of another department so he might not be the best. I’m doing all I can to hand over my tasks to my replacement.

However, this is a particularly easy task as he seems to know everything already!

Me: “This is important; the department manager will get all kinds of irate if it’s not done properly.”

Replacement: “Yeah, the report, I know.”

Me: “Oh, have you run it before in your previous department?”

Replacement: “No, but [Boss] told me about it.”

Me: “Okay… So, should I go through it?”

Replacement: “Nah, I got it.”

Me: “Okay. So, looking at the check sheet, either we’ve gone over everything or you’ve declined to, so we are done. I am happy to go through anything again that you’d like.”

Replacement: “Nah, I’ll be okay.”

Me: “Okay, great. Well, good luck!”

I email my boss with the list of everything I offered to go through and I let him know that I offered several times to go through things but was declined. I leave a few days later.

I get a missed call from my old boss a week after, so I call him back.

Me: “Hey, how is it going?”

Old Boss: “Just seeing how it’s going for you. Are you liking your new job?”

Me: “Well… it’s only been a week, so it’s hard to tell. How’s my replacement doing?”

Old Boss: “Well, not a great start; from what I can tell, he has done nothing at all. When I pulled him up on it, he tried to blame you!”

Me: “But I did go through everything with him. I sent you the list.”

Old Boss: “No, you did, and thanks. We will have to have a think about if we’ll keep him on. So no regrets about leaving?”

Me: “Sorry, I will let you know if I do.”

I never did go back, but I keep in touch with my old boss. The know-it-all turned out to have been a major pain in his last job, doing little but complaining lots. They eventually fired him and are struggling for a replacement.

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Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Press The Green Button

, , , , , | Working | March 25, 2021

I am asked to train the new guy; I have trained people many times before and without any major issues. The problem with [New Guy] is that he doesn’t want to listen, doesn’t want to do anything he considers an order, and immediately tries to cut corners, so I make sure to be perfectly clear and record what I tell him at all times.

Me: “When we pull the head into the station, we follow the onscreen instructions.”

New Guy: “Yeah, I can see that!”

Me: “Once that is complete, we need to wait a few seconds for the data to save and then hit the green button.”

A big flashing countdown is on the screen telling you to wait.

Me: “Do you want to give it a go?”

New Guy: “I think I can do that. I’m not stupid.”

Me: “It’s part of the training.”

[New Guy] rushes his way through the operation as quickly as he can, and as soon as he finishes, he hits the green button.

Me: “Okay, good. But you need to remember to wait five seconds before hitting the button. If you don’t, the data might not save and someone will have to redo everything you just did.”

Just as I finish my sentence, the break bell rings, and [New Guy] wanders off without another word. I mention to the line leader that I went through the process with [New Guy] only once and that he should probably be checked up on before being left to his own devices.

The next morning, I see that the charts are massively down, production numbers are down, and overtime is way up. It hasn’t looked this bad all year. I look into why and realise straight away what happened. Unsurprisingly, there is an emergency meeting called.

Boss: “We lost nine hours of work last night and two shifts of parts. What happened?”

Me: “It looks like the new starter didn’t follow instructions and hit the save button without waiting, so it didn’t save any of the work. I trained him the right way and made sure to point this out.”

Shift Leader: “When [New Guy] was finished, I watched him and told him three times to wait. I didn’t leave until I saw him do it properly.”

Boss: “Well, I have a report from the individual saying that no one told him this, despite him asking several times; it wasn’t clear that he had to wait.”

Me: “What do you think really happened?”

Boss: “Yeah, I will talk to Human Resources tomorrow.”

[New Guy] was put on an even easier job but lasted only two more months.

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Why Would You Lie About That?!

, , , , , , | Working | March 15, 2021

A woman just joined the company, and she’s started coming out with these wild stories; many of them just don’t make sense. But if I try to clarify what she says, the other guys jump to her defence. Honestly, it is a little pathetic. She clearly likes the attention but doesn’t seem interested in anything more, and the guys all want to be the one that “got the girl.”

But it is doing no harm, so I tune them all out. I do notice that all the stories seem to be more about her being the victim — being followed home, weird phone calls, everywhere she goes she has these issues. Of course, the guys at work love this; they can be the big, chest-beating alphas, protecting the weak female.

Then, this worker starts to make comments about customers, ones that have never hinted at this behaviour before. Then, she makes a big mistake.

New Worker: “Ugh, that guy was such a perv.”

Me: “What? [Customer]?”

New Worker: “Eyeing me up, making all sorts of comments about what he would do to me.”

Me: “Are you sure? Really? [Customer]?”

Male Coworker: “Oh, man, that guy is going to get it. Don’t you worry; if he comes back here, I will sort him out.”

New Worker: “Oh, thanks, babe. He was well out of order.”

Me: “[Customer] is gay.”

Male Coworker: “What? But—”

Me: “You met his husband last month.”

Male Coworker: “Oh, yeah, the guy with the old Jag.”

There was the longest of pauses. We just looked at her and she silently walked away. She was on last chances after that. No more attention-grabbing stories, no more hanging around with the guys instead of working. She lasted three more months before moving on.

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