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Getting Into This Job Is Way Too Much Work

, , , , | Working | May 19, 2022

I got laid off at my previous job, but fortunately, I found a new one during my last two weeks. I was excited to start a new chapter in my life, until…

Job: “Hey, [My Name]. We need you to start right away, so can you fill out the onboarding paperwork today?”

Me: “Sure. I’ll have it to you tonight.”

Job: “No. We need it today. As in before 5:00 pm.”

Me: “Um, I thought I explained that I’m still working third shift for the next week at my current job. I’m just now driving back from your office after working all night. I’ve been awake for thirty hours so far.”

Job: “That doesn’t matter. You need to get this paperwork to us by close of business today.”

I sighed and stopped to get a coffee to keep me alert for the next couple of hours. Then, I filled out the paperwork, emailed it to them, and finally got precious sleep for a few hours until the phone rang again.

Job: “Just checking to see if you filled out the paperwork.”

Me: “Huh? Yeah? Didn’t you get it?”

Job: “Oh, I didn’t have time to check my email yet. We need you to go to [Site an hour away] for your drug test.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do it first thing in the morning when I get off work.”

Job: “You need to do it today.”

Me: “No, sir. I’m not doing it today. I already told you I work nights until [date]. I’ve gotten three hours of sleep in the past two days and I’m not risking getting into a wreck. It will be done tomorrow. If that is a problem for you, I can decline the job offer.”

Job: “Well, okay. But we’ll need it by noon tomorrow.”

I did the drug test and final paperwork and thought I was good. But I waited… and waited… and waited…

Job: “Hey, [My Name]. We’re almost done with the background check. We just need your address from when you lived in Massachusetts.”

Me: “I’ve never lived in Massachusetts.”

Job: “Our background check says you have. We require every address you lived at for the past twenty years.”

Me: “I’ve lived in North Carolina since I was seven. I’ve only had two addresses in the past twenty years and they are within ten minutes of each other. In North Carolina.”

Job: “We still need your address in Massachusetts.”

Me: “I don’t have one. I. Never. Lived. There.”

After another couple of days…

Background Check Company: “We got reports from the company that you still haven’t provided your Massachusetts address. Please advise.”

Me: “The advice is I have never lived in Massachusetts. I don’t know how many different times I need to say this.”

By this time, I had seen enough red flags to continue my job search elsewhere. I did eventually finish the onboarding process but quit after a week of orientation because the company tried to bait-and-switch me into a position I didn’t apply for or want. I quickly landed three more job offers back-to-back and took one that paid 25% more. 

But, still… what the heck?

Never Commit The Same Crime In The Same Place Twice

, , , , , | Legal | May 17, 2022

After my colleague quit their job, I needed someone in the laboratory who could represent me from time to time. I got permission from my boss to train an unskilled worker for this.

I worked with her for over a year, explained the processes, showed the necessary steps, and made sure that [New Hire] got all the help she needed when I was away. She could call me anytime during my vacation (and she did, a lot). On the whole, she did the job well. I was mostly able to iron out small mistakes. Now that she was my substitute with responsibility, she also got a hefty raise.

A few months later, at an employee briefing, it was announced that some employees had stolen money from the office and various desks and that management had called in the police.

I now know from the stories of my colleagues that the police came into the shop and interviewed some of the employees. I was on vacation at the time of the briefing. During my vacation, I got a call from the police and they ordered me to the police station for questioning.

They asked me about certain days, what I had done on the days, in which offices I had been, and, and, and…

I had no idea what it was about, but I answered the questions as best I could. Then, the investigating officer told me that someone had seen me walking into an office on a specific day on which money had disappeared.

So, I was accused of robbing my colleagues.

It was very painful, and the feeling got worse when I got back to work. I found out that I was the only one questioned, and some interpreted it as guilt.

What I didn’t know was that a colleague never said that money was stolen from his desk, too; he only told the police.

And with [Colleague]’s help, the police put some banknotes in [Colleague]s desk that had been marked with chemicals. When those disappeared, [Colleague] immediately informed the police, and they quickly showed up at our office.

They carried out a color test on the fingers of every employee present at the time, including me; I even had to go first.

My fingers stayed clean. So did everyone else’s… until it was [New Hire]’s turn. She was fired the next day.

Several weeks later, I received a letter from the prosecutor’s office stating that the investigation against me had been annulled. There was also a telephone number for questions. I then called and asked for the name of the person who had framed me. Due to data protection reasons, I didn’t get an answer. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was [New Hire].

[Colleague] got a huge box of chocolates from me.

Boo For Him, But Yay For You!

, , , , , , | Working | May 12, 2022

About twenty years ago, I was working freelance, helping several small local businesses with their bookkeeping and data input. I was used to working in the owners’ houses on old equipment or even taking work home to deal with.

One of my clients knew of a small business whose owner had just decided to computerise their accounts system and had employed a worker who claimed to be an expert in computers and accounts, but said worker had abruptly left them after only a couple of weeks, and it was suggested I might like to take over. As it only involved a few hours each week, it fit well with my other commitments, so I went to meet the business owner.

They showed me their rather old computer, running Windows 3.1, set up in their dining room, and asked me whether that was okay with me, as their previous employee had insisted they needed an office to work in and a state-of-the-art new computer for them to use, which the business could not afford.

As soon as I moved the mouse, I realised there was a slight problem; the cursor hardly moved. I just turned the mouse upside down, removed the retaining ring, tipped the ball out, and scraped a thick layer of gunk off the rollers inside. When I put it back together, it worked perfectly. The look on the owner’s face was great — to see the “load of rubbish” made to work so easily confirmed their poor opinion of the previous employee’s expertise in computers. The computer didn’t need to go online, so the fact that it used an outdated version of Windows did not matter, and it turned out they had made a mess of setting up the accounts, too!

I worked one morning a week for that business for fifteen years until the owner decided to retire.

Straight Into The Deep End

, , , , , , | Working | May 10, 2022

I started a new job as a banker about a month ago. Both my manager and the other banker, who is training me, end up out on unexpected medical leave for unrelated reasons within ten days of each other. I then get slammed with a bunch of stuff that I’ve not yet been trained on.

Thankfully, the bank I work for has a support line that branch staff can call for help. I call it multiple times. I get the same representative every time. After the fifth call, which requires a long explanation…

Representative: “…but it depends on your branch, really. I’d ask your manager to see how she wants it processed. You’ve called quite a bit today. Is your manager out?”

Me: “Yep.”

Representative: “Ah. Maybe you can hold the paperwork until she gets back.”

Me: “She’s on medical, so we’re not really sure when that will be.”

Representative: “Do you have a second banker to ask?”

Me: “She’s on medical, too.”

Representative: “So, there are no other bankers at all?”

Me: “Correct. Just me and our tellers.”

Representative: “Hmm. How long have you been a banker?”

Me: “About a month.”

Representative: “Oh, honey. Talk about getting thrown in the deep end. Please call us any time!”

Me: “That’s sweet, but I’ve already bothered y’all enough today!”

Representative: “Now, I mean it. You call us as much as you need to! What branch are you at?”

After that, every time I called, every representative greeted me with a cheerful, “Hello, [My Name] from [Branch]!” They even walked me through several tricky processes, step by step! They were lifesavers during the two weeks when I was working by myself. I don’t work there anymore, but I’ll never forget how kind those representatives were. If you’re reading this, thanks, ladies!

A Dead-End Is Better Than This Weirdness

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 6, 2022

In early 2016, I quit a dead-end job in a call center and was looking for new pastures or at least a way to pay my bills. A certain company was recruiting for a sales team, and I figured I’d give it a go. I mean, if nothing else, a year and a half in customer service had sure fine-polished my gift of the gab.

The interview went fine — so much so that they excused me for ten minutes and then invited me back in to offer me the position. In retrospect, that should’ve been my first warning sign — who hires someone based on a fifteen-minute chinwag and ten minutes of deliberation? But oh, well.

I showed up on my first day for the contract signing, and it was then revealed that we’d be working on commission only. This should’ve been my second warning sign because if I don’t make any sales on a certain day, I don’t eat that day.

We then went off to a morning meeting in what they called “the Atmosphere Room”. This meeting consisted of everybody pairing up in twos and practicing the (near-identical) sales pitch on each other — with a boombox blasting loud dance music at the same time. According to the trainers, this was to “motivate us to talk loudly and confidently”. I was a bit skeptical, but I didn’t want to be “that guy,” so I played along nicely.

Then, we actually got off to work. It turned out we’d be doing “campaigns in residential areas” — which I quickly learnt was door-to-dooring — so as to recruit benefactors for a cancer fund/research organisation. “Commendable purpose, if nothing else,” I thought to myself. But I soon wised up.

For starters, said organisation had no operations in Northern Ireland (NI), so that alone made it tough to tickle anyone’s interest. Moreover, NI already had a variety of local organisations and hospices doing an amazing job. Lastly, I was no sales expert, but even I knew that knowing your demographic group is key. I also knew that NI was still shaky and divided despite the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and saying the wrong word at the wrong place at the wrong time could still get you into a heap of trouble.

With that in mind, it’d make sense to focus only on Protestant/Unionist areas, right? Nope. We’d be sent off to random neighbourhoods with no regard for sectarian division. Now, imagine walking into a staunch Catholic/Republican area, asking people to donate to a London-based English organisation that doesn’t even operate in NI. In retrospect, I believe it was only my non-Irish/non-Ulster accent that saved me from major carnage. (“Ach, some weird Caneedien or Austreelien… Lad don’t kno’ any bettur!”)

The trainers kept telling us that for every thirty doors knocked, we’d be invited into thre homes, and out of those three we’d perhaps make one sale — in plain English, a conversion rate of 3%. We shouldn’t be discouraged but instead be more assertive and positive. We were expected to cover 100 to 150 households during one ten-hour day in the field, while keeping a tally of the number of houses visited, doors answered, invitations inside, and sales closed. After we’d visited the last house, we were to return to point of origin and revisit all houses that hadn’t answered the door the first time. After Round Two, it was lunch — which, by the way, wasn’t company-paid, so everyone had to find something on their own. With a very limited selection of shops and food outlets in no man’s land, it always ended up being overpriced fast food. On average, I’d spend £4 to £5 on lunch each working day. And unless one of the trainers would take us in their car to our respective patches that day, bus tickets were, too, funded by us. A day ticket in Belfast was £4 back then if memory serves.

At the office itself, things were getting more and more ludicrous. We were not allowed to drink beverages of any sort in the “Atmosphere Room”, and we weren’t allowed to go near the reception area if there were visitors in the waiting area. (They probably didn’t want us to warn inadvertently any “new fish” about this whole madhouse.)

On my fourth day, I started crunching some serious numbers. If, best-case scenario, I’d close a deal with 3% of the households visited, and each sale gave a commission of £2, I’d have to knock on 200 doors a day just to cover lunch and bus tickets that day! Never mind rent and utilities that whole month! There are only so many residential areas in NI! 

The drop that finally tipped the scale, though, was when I’d just returned to the office one evening. The dress code mandated trousers and a dress shirt, and as it’d been a fairly warm summer’s day, I was beat and rather dehydrated. Toilet facilities were scarce in the field, so everyone tried to limit their fluid intake.

As I still had a soda left in my backpack, I helped myself to it. One of the trainers walked by, and I jovially raised the can in a sort of toast. She flipped! What was I doing here? I wasn’t supposed to be out here drinking soda, but instead, I should be in “Atmosphere” to deliver the final tallies! I was like, “Gee, hold yer horses; I only got just in like thirty seconds ago!”, but she’d have none of it. 

And that’s when I left. I couldn’t even be bothered to hand in a formal resignation. I just left and never came back. Rack off, ya collection of lunatics!