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Just Call Me Magnum

, , , | Working | June 30, 2022

I love Hawaiian shirts, including in the workplace. I perform better when I feel myself, but I always ask my employers what is acceptable workwear and read the dress code. My current job is zero hours and terrible shift patterns. I’m offered a nine-to-five, permanent job and jump at the chance. It’s much easier, too.

I explain to my new line manager that I intend to wear Hawaiian shirts if that is acceptable. He says he’s fine with it, and there is no dress code; I’m not dealing with the public, anyway.

My duties start… at a huge police station. I work hard, I’m on time, and I’m learning quickly. A hundred and fifty police officers come through my office every day.

On day one, I’m eating lunch in the canteen, and a bigwig sits down at the next table.

Police Officer: “Good afternoon, sir.”

Bigwig: “Hi, [Officer].”

I turn round and see epaulettes I don’t recognise yet.

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name], new start today in [Office]. Can I ask what the epaulette means?”

Bigwig: “Welcome to this force, [My Name]. These epaulettes mean Superintendent. I am Superintendent [Bigwig], officer in charge of this station. How is your first day?”

Me: “Thank you, it’s going fine. What do police staff call you? Is my shirt okay?”

Bigwig: “Call me [First Name]. I love the shirt; you only deal with internal staff.”

Me: “Can I quote you on that?”

Bigwig: “Yes. If you receive any complaints, send them to me and I will explain to them what is acceptable dress in my station.”

If the officer in charge is happy and I’m getting my duties done, it must be absolutely fine, right? I am now required to replenish printer paper in several rooms, including for senior management. Friday of my first week, I enter the Command Suite, but I can’t find where I need to be. I see two people in uniform talking in the corridor

Me: “Excuse me, can you direct me to the photocopier on this level?”

The sergeant (one rank above officer) looks at my shirt in disbelief and pauses for five seconds.

Sergeant: “Who are you?”

Me: “My name is [My Name].”

Sergeant: “Would you mind showing me your pass?”

My staff ID is on a lanyard round my neck, as is expected. I hold it up.

Me: “Here you go.”

She studies it for another five seconds. It says something like, “[My Name], Junior Administrator, Appointed [this year].”

Sergeant: “What do you do, exactly?”

Me: “I work in [Office]. I started on Tuesday, and my duties include maintaining the printer paper for the senior officers here in Command.”

Sergeant: “Who told you you could wear this?”

Me: “Superintendent [Bigwig], station officer in charge.”

Sergeant: “Through that door, on the left.”

Unsurprisingly, in a few weeks, my outrageous shirts spread my name like wildfire to the 2,000 police officers in the city, dozens of whom cross my desk every day. Forget my department name or job title. Student cops are told, to get [task], email [My Name] or ask for “the Hawaiian shirt at [Station].” No one else has since queried what I wear.

Totally Missed The Point

, , , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2022

It’s the 1990s, and I am running a small team in a financial services company. We have a morning process to manage, with a number of defined tasks. [Coworker #1] is young and has been in the job for only a few months. One day, he calls in sick, with a croaky voice.

Coworker #1: “Maaaate, I’m dying. I’ve got some kind of ‘lurgy. I’m not going to make it in today.”

Me: “Okay, thanks for letting me know. Get well, and I will see you when you’re better.”

A few hours later, I realise I need some data that he only he has access to, so I call his landline.

[Coworker #1] answers in a surprisingly boisterous, chipper voice.

Coworker #1: “Hi, everything’s ready. We’re just waiting for—”

Me: “[Coworker #1], it’s [My Name]. I need access to the [necessary data].”

Coworker #1: “Oh. Ohhhhhhh… Ummmm…” *Croaky voice* “Yeah, it’s in the shared folder. I put a password on it: [password].”

The following day, he returns to work sunburned and hungover.

Me: “[Coworker #1], look, it was fairly obvious from our calls yesterday that you weren’t being completely straight with me. I need to know that I can rely on you. Next time, just be straight with me.”

A few days later, [Coworker #2], an old hand who has been with the company for years and is amazing at his job, calls me early.

Coworker #2: “Mate, I’m sorry, but I’ve been out all night, just got through the door. I am still drunk and there’s no way I am coming in today.”

Me: “Right, no problem. Thanks for letting me know. I’ve got you covered.”

[Coworker #1] gets wind of the conversation and complains.

Coworker #1: “Wait, you gave me grief for pulling a sickie, but when [Coworker #2] tells you he’s too drunk to work, you give him a pass. That’s not fair?”

Me: “The difference is that he has proven himself time and again, and he was completely straight with me about his reasons. He didn’t try to mislead me, and that means that I know I can trust him with other things. It’s vital that, in our team, we have complete trust but manage what we disclose with everybody else to ensure that there’s no blowback and we can continue to operate as we see fit.”

He mulls that for a while and seems to accept it.

A few months later, I go on holiday and my boss fills in for me managing my team. When I get back, the boss calls me into a meeting.

Boss: “I am sorry, but I had to let [Coworker #1] go while you were on holiday.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Boss: “Well, he called me out of the blue and said he wasn’t coming to work because he’d been drinking all night and, when I told him that that wasn’t acceptable, he said you let [Coworker #2] do it all the time.”

I tried to straighten it out and get [Coworker #1] his job back but, after I explained, [Boss] insisted that he was too stupid to be employed.

You Mean You’d Have To Do Your Job?! The Horror!

, , , , , | Working | June 16, 2022

I own a flower shop and get several orders going to a funeral service. I call the funeral home to arrange for delivery, and someone I do not recognize answers the phone.

Me: “It’s [My Name] from [Flower Shop]. Can you let me know when and where you need the flowers delivered for [Deceased Man]?”

New Employee: “Yeah, umm, the family will be arriving at 9:00 am next Friday, so as close to that as possible after you open.”

Me: “Well, if the family is going to be there at 9:00, would it be better if I delivered the flowers the night before so you have time to set up before the family arrives?”

New Employee: “Oh, that’s a better idea, thanks.”

Me: “No problem. I’ll probably deliver them after I close at 5:00 on Thursday.”

New Employee: “Actually, could you deliver them before 4:00? That’s when [Regualar Employee] leaves for the day.”

Me: “I’ll see what I can do. If we have everything done by then, sure.”

New Employee: “Thanks, that would be great. Otherwise, I’ll have to deal with it.”

If You Want To Keep Employees, Train Them

, , , , | Working | June 12, 2022

In my late teens, I took a job as a cook at a restaurant. On my first day, I worked alone with another new gentleman. One of the managers showed us how to cook, plate, and prepare a few things.

Manager: “I won’t be in tomorrow. The other manager will be here, but they will be in the office all day and you are not to disturb them. If you need help, you are to refer to the recipe book.”

Both of us were still pretty clueless about how to do most anything as it was only the second day for both of us. Needless to say, I wasn’t back for a third.

Everyone Wants To Be Liked, But Not Like This

, , , , , | Working | June 11, 2022

My dad works at a University. He hired someone to work in one of the labs. He said it really was an issue because she was a very attractive young woman and every guy in the place kept coming by to talk to her, hindering her from getting any work done.

This was in the 1970s, and it was incredibly difficult to get anyone to take anything like that seriously back then. People would just ask why she had the job then, because of course, women would only be working in order to find a husband anyway.

I think my dad ended up finding her a different place to work that had restricted access, but the fact that she literally had to change her working location just so she could get her work done without being bothered all the time… it’s ridiculous.