Something About That Employee, But I Can’t Put My Finger On It

, , , , , | Working | March 16, 2018

My dad is the manager of a local gas station chain. He’s a really social guy, and it’s a fairly popular gas station in a relatively small town, so he knows basically everyone — or at least, they know him.

He’s driving while talking on the phone — using Bluetooth, of course — and gets a little distracted, so he doesn’t realize he’s driving a little too slowly, maybe five miles under the speed limit. A car honks at him, which snaps him back to paying attention, and then the other driver aggressively begins to pass him. As they drive by, the passenger glares and raises a certain finger, then suddenly looks horrified and backs down. Dad can’t help but laugh; it’s one of his employees.

Her next shift, she apologizes profusely. Now, every time she comes into work, Dad teases her that she has road rage.

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I Can Speak The Inglish

, , , | Learning | March 16, 2018

I am a New Zealander, and I was applying for graduate study at a number of universities in the United States. A month or two after applications went in, I received a letter from one of the universities — a prestigious one which should know better — to inform me that my application was incomplete because I had not submitted a TOEFL score. “TOEFL” is short for “test of English as a foreign language,” and is used by US universities to ensure that foreign students have sufficient command of English to be able to study in an English language environment. It is not required for native English speakers, so of course I had not taken the test.

So, I wrote them a reply, which went something like this.

“You have asked me for a TOEFL score. As it happens, I was resident in the USA from age eight weeks to four years old, when I learned to speak. Had I remained there, I could reasonably claim that English was a foreign language, but I then moved back to New Zealand. As such, I speak English natively. I know to never split an infinitive. I avoid cliches like the plague. Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. I don’t use no double negatives. In short, I cannot in good faith take a test of English as a foreign language.”

They made no further demands for a TOEFL score.

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Killing The Company, One Person At A Time

, , , , , | Working | March 14, 2018

I work for a cleaning company that has a contract with a set of factories in my small town. As far as I know, it’s the only cleaning company in town. I’m hired to work weekend mornings, and I do so, enjoying my job for two years. It’s not necessarily fun work, but I get along with the people at the factory, except my boss.

She doesn’t take criticism. Period. And she never takes any blame when something goes wrong, so it’s a recipe for disaster.

Naturally, cleaning in a factory isn’t an appealing job, and it doesn’t pay well, so not many people apply for the job. Those that do are often scared away by my boss; as a result, anyone that stays is never reprimanded or fired since we have a shortage of employees.

That’s pretty normal in the business world, but about eight months ago we found ourselves at a serious shortage of employees, and I was “asked” to work weekday night shifts. It’s not something I was comfortable doing, but I was assured it was a short-term thing until they hired more people.

Lo and behold, six people got jobs over the next few months, and they either quit or skipped most of their shifts without reprimand. At this time, my boss did the incredibly idiotic thing of dumping all of the hours the new employees were supposed to take onto one person.

So, that person quit because they were flooded with more hours than they could handle. Then, my boss just took all those hours and handed them to the next person. You can see where this is going.

Eventually it got to me, and I was already working shifts I didn’t sign up for. Now, I was being bombarded with hours I couldn’t handle. At the same time, the company was now down to a handful of people. I overheard my boss talking, saying that if we lost any more people, she wasn’t sure the company would be able to do its job. If not, it would lose its contract, effectively killing the company.

And her response? “I have no idea how this could be happening!”

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Den Of Thieves

, , , , , | Working | March 14, 2018

Where I work, you have to be 18 or older to work as a sandwich maker. Underage workers mainly work cashier and drive-thru, along with packing together the meals, just not making the sandwiches. As I’m underage, I always work at a cash register.

I have been working there for about seven or eight months when I’m called into the back room. One of the lesser managers just says, “Sorry, so sorry,” as I am heading back. I don’t think anything of it until I start talking to my head manager. Apparently, my register was short $5, and even though my head manager keeps saying that I probably gave back the wrong amount of change, I can tell she thinks I took it. I get written up and have to pay the $5. I don’t know if this is legal or not; I am 17 and this is my first job.

Anyway, I just accept it and move on. But then, one day I come in, and I get called back again. This time, there is $10 missing. My head manager closes the door behind us this time and asks the lesser manager if I used my register last night. I was working drive-thru, and, since he was a manager, I thought nothing of it when he took one of my guests for me. We actually did this a lot with many managers. I said he did. Apparently, he is known to come up short on registers a few days before payday — just enough to cover the cost for a pack of cigs. The head manager tells me she isn’t going to write me up this time, as I have usually been on-the-dot perfect on my registers for the nine or ten months I have been there. But, apparently, there is this major count thing going on on Monday, and if I don’t get the $10 in soon, it will come up short, and people will get fired. I am told that if I pay the $10, they will get the lesser manager to give me $5. It isn’t worth it to me, so I just give the $10.

I sort of put that in the back of my mind, and within the next week or two, they fire the lesser manager. I never get my $5.

I end up quitting right before my senior year, to give me more time for extracurricular activities.

The real kicker is that I go back a few years later when I am halfway done with college. Only one manager from my first time working there is still there. She tells me the old head manager has been fired. Apparently, she was stealing from the company for years. She got away with about $5000 before they caught her.

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AdSense Versus No Sense

, , , , , , , | Working | March 13, 2018

A couple years ago, I was tasked with buying advertising space through Google to promote our company’s video-on-demand service. However, after a few days, our ads were suspended, because we had to submit proof that we had the rights to use some intellectual property that belonged to movie studios; our ads featured lots of popular film characters. I told my boss what happened, and suggested we go ahead and get in touch with our contacts at the studios as soon as we could to obtain written proof that we could use the characters, My boss was having none of it. The way he saw it, Google was screwing us over, and my job was to get them to immediately reverse their policy-based decision and run our ads.

Unsurprisingly, I was not successful in doing so, although I had a very productive call with Google. They gave me further information and guidelines about their policy, and told me how to get the situation sorted out as quickly as possible. I told my boss about it, but he said that surely I wasn’t insistent enough, and called me into his office to show me “how it’s done.”

Cue the most cringe-worthy moment of my life, during which I sat in front of my boss while he called the reception desk at Google headquarters and (unsuccessfully) harassed the receptionist for 20 minutes, asking to be put through to Larry Page. When he finally gave up, he just told me to do whatever it takes to get the ads up and running as soon as possible, at which point I just followed Google’s guidelines as instructed. Wouldn’t you know it, the ads were up and running less than a day later.

This was one of many crazy things that happened at that company during the time I worked there. They were a very small outfit, yet they always expected to be treated like one of the giants out there — and spent money they didn’t have, accordingly. I smelled disaster coming and quit just a few months after this, and they went bankrupt less than a year later.

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