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No Patience For That Kind Of Garbage

, , , , | Working | June 9, 2022

I work in a behavioral health facility. New hires go through about a week or two of training with all sorts of different classes, the most rigorous of which is a three-day course that teaches us when and how to physically hold a client that is becoming aggressive to the point of being a threat of harm to themselves or others.

Working in a facility like this requires a LOT of patience and understanding because you deal with people with all sorts of different backgrounds and traumas, and compassion is one of the key unstated requirements, even when you have to physically hold back a client trying to gnaw your face off.

We had a new hire several years back that seemed fine for the start. She would always wear a hoodie to her training classes, which was fine. There’s nothing suspicious about that.

She got to the three-day training about the holds. This training requires us to be physically active and go through the different holds we are allowed to use. She finally took off her hoodie… to reveal a large swastika tattoo on the back of her neck.

That quickly got her into a meeting with Human Resources, where it was learned that she was a White Supremacist. She was promptly let go after that.

Give It Five Years

, , , , , | Working | June 7, 2022

Me: “IT, this is [My Name].”

Employee: “Hi. I’m [Employee]. I’m a new hire.”

She gives me a long-winded explanation about her role in the company, low-key inflating her importance.

Me: “Okay, and how can I help you?”

Employee: “Well, I can’t log in.”

She gives another explanation that she needs to start right away.

Employee: “Is the system down?”

Me: “No, it’s possible the default password isn’t working. It sometimes happens with new hires.”

I go through the process of verifying her identity and resetting her password.

Me: “Okay, you’re all set. Would like me to walk you through logging in?”

Employee: “Yes, please. I have to get started right away because [Company Vice President] is counting on me!”

I don’t remember that VP hiring anyone, but okay.

Me: “Let’s open your email and have you log in. Once you do that, you’ll need to create a new password. It must be at least twelve characters long and have a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.”

Employee: “Oh, honey. In my forty-seven years, I’ve never had to have a password that complicated. I’m too old to remember all that! You’ll understand when you’re my age.” 

Me: “Ma’am… I’m forty-two.” 

Suddenly, she was able to make up a new password and quickly ended the call. I know I look and sound a lot younger than I am, but come on, lady! 

The “important work” she needed to do? New hire orientation. She hadn’t even been issued a workstation yet!

Patiently Dodging a Bullet

, , , , , , | Working | June 1, 2022

A job I liked and hated at the same time was the tech support help desk job. I enjoyed the busy work and dealing with hardware/software, but I hated the customer interaction because 75% of the time, the person on the other end of the phone had issues following basic instructions, making the work frustrating.

On the other hand, some of my coworkers made the job frustrating because of how they treated the people on the other end of the phone.

I had been with the company for about eight months — not a long time, but more than enough to have a great handle on speaking with those that call in and be able to handle the entry-level issues with ease. Sitting at the desk behind me was a coworker who was a bit harsh with customers. He had been working at the company for about a year and a half, so he had more experience under his belt.

This day wasn’t much different than other days. A new hire was brought on the floor and was tasked to sit with my coworker so he could see how things were handled from inbound calls to opening a ticket, to closing a ticket, and everything in between.

We hit a lull, and the inbound calls were low, so I wasn’t actively taking a phone call. As I was going over open tickets, I could hear my coworker talking to a customer on the phone with the new hire sitting there listening.

I couldn’t hear what the person on the other end of the phone was saying, but I could hear my coworker’s end.

Coworker: “Sir, we do not support that device. There is nothing I can do for you.”

He muted the phone, gave an annoyed sigh, and told the new hire:

Coworker: “This isn’t uncommon. These stores call us when anything goes out at the store and expect us to fix everything for them. It’s so annoying.”

He unmuted the phone and started talking with the customer again.

Coworker: “Sir. Let me ask you this. Is your refrigerator running?” *Pause* “Is. Your. Refrigerator. Running?” *Pause* “If it wasn’t, would you call us to fix it for you? We don’t service your refrigerator, and I already told you, we don’t cover or support the system you’re having trouble with. There’s nothing else I can do for you. I’m closing this ticket. I cannot help you.”

[Coworker] just hung up on the guy and proceeded to close the ticket.

The new hire excused himself. He returned about five minutes later and pulled a chair up next to me.

New Hire: “I was told I could sit with you and see how you handle things.”

Me: “Okay. Here’s what I’m doing right now since there are no inbound calls.”

I went on to explain what I was doing, and I asked him what he knew about the system for setting up tickets and so on. He sat with me for the next ninety minutes or so as I took phone calls, resolved issues, and closed out tickets. I had him walk through opening a few tickets and handling an inbound call as I helped him through it.

Eventually, the floor manager came over and got the new hire, and they walked off to his office. That was the last I saw of the new hire for the rest of the day. For the next couple of days, he sat with a couple of other guys and with me. On that Friday, we came to find out that the new hire wasn’t a new technician to work the phones, but the new floor manager (since the current manager had been promoted), and his first task was to decide who to keep and fire.

[Coworker] and one other employee were let go.

The new floor manager and I actually became good friends, and after a couple of years of working together, he asked me if I remembered the first day he was in and how he sat with the guy behind me and then with me. He then went on to tell me that his first task at being the new floor manager was to let me go because I was the low man on the totem pole. However, after sitting with the guy behind me for an hour and listening to how he talked to people and treated them like crap, he fired him, instead.

Floating Around And Then Floating Away

, , , , , , | Working | May 30, 2022

I used to go to this café most Saturday mornings for coffee, tea, cake, etc. One Saturday, a new hire served me my usual carafe of coffee. About ten minutes later, I saw [New Hire] clearing things from tables, but I didn’t pay much attention.

A minute or so later, I was about to pour more coffee from my carafe, but it had disappeared! I realised that [New Hire] must have cleared my carafe, even though it was still half-full. Looking over at the area where they deposit cleared-away items, I saw my carafe, so I rushed to reclaim it.

A week later, I ordered a panini. Some minutes later, I saw [New Hire] emerge with a panini and float through the café looking all around him. I assumed he was looking for me but just didn’t see me, or maybe it was for someone else, whatever. [New Hire] came floating back through, still carrying this panini, and I nodded to him to try to suggest it was me he was looking for, but my nod just didn’t register with him and he went back to the kitchen prep area. Thirty seconds later, he came through again, still with the panini, and this time, I spoke to him.

Me: “Hi, I think that might be mine!”

New Hire: “Weuerghe?”

He looked at me as if I were from another planet.

Then, he sailed right on, floating through with this panini. He came floating back, but before he reached my part of the café, he plonked it in front of a woman a few tables away. The woman looked gave the panini a baffled look, lifted up a corner with a knife, said something to her friend, stared back at the panini, and then started to eat it. She didn’t finish it.

I didn’t want to rush over to grab the panini, just in case it wasn’t actually mine after all, so I waited instead. About fifteen or twenty minutes went by and I’d still not been served. Then, I noticed the manager was at the counter.

Me: “Oh, hello. I ordered a cheese and chorizo panini about half an hour ago and it’s not arrived as yet.”

Manager: “Half an hour ago? That’s too long.”

[Manager] leafed through something.

Manager: “Looks like it got done, so I don’t know what happened to it. I can give you a refund, or do you still want one?”

Me: “I’d still like one, actually. I’m getting hungry now! Seriously, no problem with the wait. I just wondered what had happened as you’re… Actually, I did notice that [description of the new hire] was going round and round with a panini…”

[Manager] immediately closed his eyes, slumped his shoulders, turned his head away, and sighed. It was obvious from his body language that [New Hire] had screwed up before.

Manager: “Okay, I’m very sorry. I’ll do myself right now.”

I watched [Manager] take over the food prep area, working furiously, and very soon after, he came round with my panini.

Another week later, [New Hire] was still there, still fulfilling orders. I ordered an Earl Grey tea. When it arrived, it was clearly not Earl Grey. I took it back to the counter and told [New Hire], who didn’t say anything. He just stared at it stupidly. [Manager] overheard what I had said and ordered [New Hire] to make me an Earl Grey.

Another week later, [New Hire] was no longer there.

An Un-Toxic Work Environment!

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 24, 2022

I work at an independent insurance agency. We are allowed to disconnect abusive calls, and the agents and owner will fire clients if the behavior is repeated. We are asked to give at least one warning before disconnecting; I give two.

We have recently hired a new customer service agent. She has many years of call center experience. She has been doing pretty well on the phone and has started taking calls solo. I follow up with her to make sure the files are noted properly after her calls. I’m reviewing some of her notes and notice she has in the notes that a client yelled and cursed at her.

I pull the call and listen to it. It’s vile. She kept trying to tell the client she was trying to help him, but he was yelling over her and cursing up a storm. He finally hung up on her.

I immediately notify the client’s agent and send him the call recording. I then ask the agent to come to my office.

Me: “Hey, I saw the notes from [Client]. Are you okay?”

Agent: “Yes, I’m okay. I’m sorry, I tried to calm him down and help him but…”

Me: “No, no, no, don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong. I know I mentioned it when you started doing solo calls, but I want to reiterate that you do not have to put up with that kind of behavior.”

Agent: “You were serious?”

Me: “Absolutely. I ask you to give them at least one warning; it’s up to you if you want to give more. If they continue to be abusive, tell them their agent will be in touch and hang up. Let the agent know and they will take care of the issue.”

Agent: “I can seriously hang up on people?”

Me: “Well, not for random reasons. But if they are inappropriate or abusive, absolutely!”

Agent: “That’s amazing. We weren’t allowed to hang up on anyone at the call center. No matter what.”

Me: “That’s one of the perks of having an awesome owner. We don’t tolerate abuse.”

I love my job and my boss. Even though it can get stressful, knowing the agents and boss have our backs makes a massive difference.