A Spoon-Fed Fork Pun

, , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2018

After a busy day, we spent a long night washing dishes, and we were all exhausted after working all day. One of the servers came to ask us if we had any clean forks so that they could finish placing silverware, but didn’t know that one of the other servers had just picked up all we had left.

Without thinking, I said, “Sorry, we’re fresh out of forks to give.”

My manager overheard, and started laughing.

An Underreaction To An Overreaction

, , , , , , | Healthy | June 20, 2018

When I was in elementary school, my parents had an obsessive conviction that I must never be allowed to stay home alone during summer vacation, even though they were perfectly fine with letting me stay home alone on a regular basis during the school year.

They always signed me up for every single multi-week summer “camp” available, the ones where kids go or are bused somewhere in the morning and return in the afternoon, like with school.

This happens when I’m about 11. My parents both work, so they’ve signed me up for a camp where kids spend the whole day in a water-park, mostly under the sun non-stop, wearing only swimsuits.

One night before bedtime, Mom plugs some kind of new bug-repelling device she’s just bought into an electric outlet in my bedroom.

When I wake up, I’m covered head to toe in large, swollen, red, and extremely itchy hives. They are absolutely everywhere. I look like a horror movie monster and can’t stop scratching.

Mom examines me, and declares that it must be “just” an allergic response to the bug repellent, and that it is “not a big deal.” I must still go to camp as usual. She doesn’t even try to put any kind of lotion on me or do anything.

I protest having to go anywhere in this condition, as I feel terrible and look frightening.

Mom insists, and derides me for being a baby and whining. She repeats that it’s clearly not a big deal.

It’s clear to me that she just wants to go to work as usual, doesn’t want to be bothered today with taking an ill child to a doctor, and still refuses to let me stay home on my own despite me being too sick to go out. But there’s nothing I can do about it.

Being at the water-park is awful. The chemicals in all the pools and being in the hot sun all irritate and inflame the hives further. As nearly my entire body is exposed in the swimsuit, all the other children look at me with contempt and disgust. Pointing and whispering quickly begins, and I become the target of relentless teasing.

There are very few adults around, and none of them notice or care about anyone being unwell unless they’re clearly dying; most of them are either lifeguards at the pools or people handing out our lunches and snacks, so anything outside that just isn’t their problem.

I spend the entire day absolutely unable to stop scratching everywhere and utterly miserable, while worrying that I have some awful disease — I’ve never had allergic reactions before in my life.

When I finally get home, my mom seems terribly surprised that the hives haven’t gotten any better and that I feel awful.

After some lengthy discussion, it’s decided they’ll actually let me see a doctor. Tomorrow. And Dad will be the one to take off work to take me.

The next day by midday the hives have finally began to partially reduce in size… as I haven’t been sent to a freaking water park today. The doctor I’m taken to says that it is in fact clearly an allergic reaction; most likely to that bug repellent device. And that I clearly should be kept in cool and dry conditions until it goes away: no more sun, chemicals, and dampness. And no more chemical bug repellents in my room.

My parents very begrudgingly allow me to stay home for a day or two after that. I can only remain grateful that this is the only time in my childhood I have had any kind of allergic reaction; otherwise, there’s even odds I’d be dead now.

Thanks so much, Mom, for your entire handling of this situation; your caring and consideration of my health will always stay in my heart.

Please don’t do this to your children.

Every Office Has One(sie)

, , , , , , , | Working | June 19, 2018

Several years ago, my company was looking to hire an intern, and we received an impassioned application from a young woman in her early 20s. She didn’t have much experience, but she seemed driven, smart, and dedicated, and we felt like we could take a chance on her. All of us kind of empathized with being that young person, trying to get a foot in the door and get noticed. The job involved a lot of basic “intern-y” stuff like paperwork and emails and data entry, but also involved attending meetings and check-up calls with our clients, contractors, and so forth, more to take notes or answer basic questions and take information than anything huge or stressful. It was basically a lot of the sort of work that we were desperate for an intern to handle so we could focus more on our bigger projects and our main duties. Since we knew it was a significant amount of work, even if it was mostly made up of a lot of little things, it was paying more than minimum wage.

When we called her in for her interview, she seemed different from her application. She was very quiet, a little awkward, and stumbled through speaking, though we chalked it up to nerves. Because it was only a four-month internship with option for us to hire permanently or “renew” the agreement, it didn’t seem like much of a risk to us, and we decided to hire her. The first few weeks went… okay. She seemed so outgoing in her application and emails when we’d followed up with her, but around the office she was quiet as a mouse and seemed to be trying to actively avoid people, even after extensive training. She did her work quickly and effectively, but any time she had to do something that involved working with her coworkers, or clients, face-to-face, she found some way to get out of it.

Because that sort of thing was in her job description, which she assured us she could do before we hired her, that just wasn’t acceptable. I tried to speak with her privately about it, and she told me she was just not used to dealing with people professionally, and swore she’d get better and try harder. I was not unsympathetic; I might have been ten years or so older than her, but I knew what it was like to be the awkward, anxious gal… Heck, I still am, and get a lot of social anxiety; I’m just better able to hide it and work with it. But as her first month dragged into her second and we didn’t see an improvement, that sympathy turned into frustration; my coworkers and I were left holding the bag for a lot of the duties she was specifically brought on to handle that involve dealing with people in person or over the phone, all because she was uncomfortable or nervous. It got to the point where she was not doing half of what her job required, something that annoyed my boss more and more when he was paying her significantly above minimum wage for an internship, making him feel like she was coasting. We’re a small, tight-knit company and he’s an extremely generous boss, but all of that depends on all of us handling our responsibilities so we can rely on one another.

I pulled her into my office and told her, frankly, that if she couldn’t get around this and we couldn’t find a reasonable solution that didn’t involve her hiding every time she was expected to talk to someone, or coming up with excuses, it was not going to work out and she was going to be let go. She got teary, and then defensive, saying she’d been trying but it was hard, and she just needed us to be a little patient and understanding. At this point, she’d been “trying” for almost two months, and we hadn’t seen even a little progress since the beginning. I told her as gently but firmly as I was able that at the end of the day, this was still a job and we were still a business, and if she literally could not do the job she was specifically hired to do, we’d have to part ways.

The very next day, she was supposed to be sitting in on a meeting with one of our contractors and a coworker, both to take down information to update our system with later, and to get some experience on how these things went so in the future — if she got her act together and was hired on– she could handle them herself, and gain insight and experience into the industry itself. As it was, she’d mostly just gained insight and experience into being your standard office gofer.

Because I was wrapped up in my own work I didn’t get to see this happen, but my coworker came storming back after, angry and embarrassed, because our intern, this adult helping to represent us as a company in a business setting, showed up to this professional meeting in. A. Unicorn. Onesie. I absolutely refused to believe he wasn’t joking until I heard from everyone else. The contractor — who was more confused and made awkward than anything else, and thankfully as understanding as she could be about it — attested to it, including how the intern dragged her chair away from the table and sat in the corner with her head down, taking notes and not speaking, as did everybody else in the office who had seen it. Apparently, she just stood up shortly after she sat down, grabbed her things, and left.

I tried getting a hold of her multiple times, but she ignored all attempts to contact her, even though you could see her on social media out partying with her friends and chatting online. She even went so far as to delete every single reference she had ever posted to working for or with us. Because she still seemed to be active and happy, we just decided to drop it. We never saw her again, but it still remains the single most bizarre experience of my career, maybe even my adult life. All we could guess is that she just got overwhelmed and maybe wore it as some sort of comfort thing, then got embarrassed and fled. I’m still not 100% sure whether it was some elaborate troll, but I honestly can’t figure out what the point would be. I looked her up again recently; she seems happy and healthy, and is working for another company in a completely different industry, so it seems like everything worked out for her. The whole incident was just so strange I wanted to reach out to her and ask her what the hell happened, but ultimately I decided she was probably far more embarrassed by the ordeal than I was impacted by it and let it lie. She seems to be doing very well for herself, and at the end of the day, that’s worth more than my curiosity.

It’s Not Therapeutic To Be This Stressed

, , , , , | Working | June 19, 2018

I’m working a normal day at the massage studio when something I’ve never experienced happens.

A client is booked for a session at a certain time with a therapist — let’s call the client Mary — and I greet and check them in, and they wait for their session. As they wait, we even buy a gift card for their friend with her card on file and make another appointment for her. Eventually the therapist comes to get her to take her into session, and everything seems fine.

A minute later, Mary comes in, apologizing for being late for her session. I stare at her with a face of a deer in headlights and ask her to repeat her name. Then, panic sets in. Who’s on the therapist’s table?

I run back to find the therapist before they go in, stating Mary is here for her session, and we now have no idea who is in his room. He has to end up going in there basically saying, “Who are you?” since we’ve greeted her under the assumption that her name is Mary [Last Name], for her session.

Turns out, her name is Kari. Very similar in names! Her session is for the same time, with the same therapist but for tomorrow. Scrambling still continues as I realize I bought a gift card for Kari with Mary’s money!

Thankfully, we are able to get the real Mary scheduled for a new session, her card refunded, and each party happy, but after working at this studio for almost two years, and the therapist for over five years, we’ve never had anything like this happen before!

It’s Not Gossip When It’s True

, , , , , , , , | Working | June 18, 2018

I work in the security industry, as a concierge in a condominium.

A few years back, a coworker was told to train a new guy who was rather dimwitted, slow to learn, and annoying. I know because I had him for training for one shift.

[Coworker] told me later that he got tired of training the new guy and went to the condo party room to watch television, leaving the very inept trainee to manage the lobby desk by himself. I warned [Coworker] that the party room looked out onto the back patio where the BBQ grill was, and that the curtains were very see-through. If a resident went out on the back patio and peered through the windows, they’d see it was a security officer sitting there watching television, which we were obviously not paid to do, and would complain, getting us all in trouble. He laughed and waved it off.

He told me the next day that he was forced to continue training the same inept guy, so he ran off to watch television again. I warned him, again, not to do that.

The next time he bragged to me about watching television on duty, I just contacted my Client Service Manager — the security company manager responsible for our team — and told him what [Coworker] was doing. I’d reported other security officers for risking the team with their own personal antics. I don’t like being a snitch; I like having a stable work place where fellow officers aren’t screwing it up for us by being selfish d**ks.

Apparently, [Coworker] was called into the office and when told to explain himself, said that yes, he had been watching television, and then went on to say that I was spreading crazy gossip about him to anyone who would listen, and that I was mean, so wasn’t that worse than his television-watching offense? For the record, I had never gossiped about him, nor was I ever mean to him. I just asked him to stop risking our jobs with his unprofessional behavior, and he blew me off.

I got called into HQ the next day. That manager had a form for me to sign. “[My Name]? Why does it seem you like to backstab other officers? [Coworker] told me about you gossiping about him, and I see you’ve reported other officers who needed disciplining. That’s why I’m having you sign this form where you acknowledge that you’re a gossip, and you swear to never be caught for gossiping ever again, or more serious consequences will happen. This will go into your permanent file. Do you understand?”

I argued that I had never gossiped about [Coworker], and those other security officers had been problems, and my manager said, “Oh, really? Because [Coworker] said you have. Why would he come in here and lie to my face? He sounded very sincere every time I’ve had to speak with him, and you have been involved with the disciplining of several officers. No… I think you are the one lying because you enjoy getting other guards in trouble. Sign this or face disciplinary action.”

I was so floored and cowed that I stupidly signed the d***ed thing just so I could get the hell out of there.

Thankfully, not long after, this manager was fired for being caught on camera cheating on his wife with residents in buildings when he was there for manager meetings. No one cared he was cheating. They cared that he was there for a meeting with the building’s property manager but instead was seen feeling up a resident of the building. Other officers said he would sometimes touch female officers, too. My company finally got fed up and fired him, but not before he did a ton of damage to many innocent officers.Thankfully, I got out of that company, and I am now working for a much better local security company. I will never forget what that a**hole manager did.

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