Out Of Office And Out Of Their Minds

, , , , , | Working | October 10, 2019

(I work as an IT technician. One summer, I am travelling with my wife to visit her family for two weeks, so I put my Out Of Office on, as required by my boss. Two days into my holiday, I decide to log in to my work email to see what is going on in my absence. I have an email from someone fairly senior in the company:)

Senior Person: “Hi, [My Name]. Could you please give me access to [HR System]? Thanks, [Senior Person].”

(After reading it, I think, “Yeah, I’m not going to bother replying, because my Out Of Office will respond to her and tell her that I’m out of the office and to open a helpdesk ticket.” In any case, she SHOULD have been opening a helpdesk ticket, anyway, instead of emailing me directly. I foolishly choose to do nothing about the email, close my email client, and go to enjoy the rest of my holiday. About a week later, I log in to check my email again and I have another email, this time slightly nasty, from someone in our HR department:)

Demanding Lady From HR: “Dear [My Name], I understand that [Senior Person] emailed you a week ago to get access to our [HR System]. She’s had no response from you and so, in desperation, emailed me today to see if I can give her access which, unfortunately, I can’t. Please give her access as soon as possible. It is also not very professional to ignore emails from senior people in other departments. Please bear that in mind. Thanks, [Demanding Lady From HR].”

(I realised I needed to do something, so I replied to the HR lady and said that (1) [Senior Person] should have opened a helpdesk ticket rather than emailing me directly, because then ANYONE in our team could have picked it up and actioned it the same day, (2) if [Senior Person] had bothered to read my Out Of Office response, she’d have known that I was on holiday and was NOT ignoring her, and (3) this time round I would forward her email to our helpdesk system which would open a ticket for her automatically. The demanding HR lady responded to me, all apologetic and saying she “hadn’t realised I was out of the office,” which I found surprising because she would have got an Out Of Office response when she sent me her email. The lesson I learned here was NOT to check my work email when on holiday, so I never did it again!)

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Once Is All It Takes…

, , , , , , , | Working | September 23, 2019

This happened about five years ago when I worked as an IT technician in a factory. I was an infrastructure technician and I had a colleague — we’ll call him J — who, like me, had a weird sense of humour. J told me that the following happened to him one day. 

At the time, we had two wireless networks; one was our corporate network, and only for laptops, barcode scanners, and company mobile phones. The other was technically only for visitors, but employees tended to connect their personal mobile phones to it. 

Our visitor network was only available in certain parts of our two factories. However, someone had managed to find the Wi-Fi code for the corporate network, so quite a few people connected their personal mobile phones to it. Our SysAdmin had to block these devices because they took up valuable IP addresses that were needed for devices like handheld barcode scanners.

One day, J went round to the stores to look at a printer that wasn’t working. He fixed it and got chatting with the stores guys. One of the younger guys asked J why he had suddenly lost connection to the corporate Wi-Fi. J, completely deadpan said, “Yeah, we had to block personal devices because we discovered that some people were using the corporate network to look at p*rnography on their mobile phones.” Defensively, the storeman replied, “I only did that once!”

J went very quiet, looked the storeman in the eye, and said, “I was only joking!” The storeman blushed bright red, and said, “Oh, so was I!”

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Unfiltered Story #159113

, , | Unfiltered | July 26, 2019

(I work in a small photo studio for new born babies and toddlers. On this particular day, we had just opened up the new studio, and were having a sort of ‘grand opening’ celebration that was open to the public. We had displays and food set out for any visitors- and any visitors that came usually had children with them, as they are what our business is centred around. I had been filing loose order forms in the office when my boss ran in from the studio.)

Boss: Quick! Where’s my camera?

Coworker: (Handing her the camera bag) Here! What’s happening?

Boss: I need to take a picture of the cake!

(We had a cake set out with the company name on it, and little decorative flowers all over. It was quite pretty.)

Coworker: But… We’ve only just opened up and there’s more displays to build. Weren’t you going to photograph it later?

Boss: Yes, but a woman just came in and asked for some cake.

(A woman from one of the other businesses in the village had walked in, asked for cake, and stood in absolute silence in the studio as she ate it, then immediately left. We still laugh about it now!)

It’s Their First Time Or It’s Going To Be A Big Baby

, , , , , | Healthy | May 13, 2019

Several years ago I had a summer job working as a clerical officer in an NHS Hospital. One of my reception duties involved checking patients into the antenatal clinics. The receptionist explained to me that when patients arrived for the clinic I had to take their name, and if it was their first appointment, I had to write “no file” on their letter and bring it down to the nursing station. Women who had previously been to the clinic did have a file, so I had to pull out their file, check their details were correct, and bring the file down to the nursing station.

The receptionist showed me how to do the first few arrivals and then said I could take over. The next patient arrived for her antenatal appointment. I smiled at her and her husband, greeted them warmly, and the woman handed me her appointment letter. “Okay, Mrs. [Patient],” I said, trying to appear professional. “Is this your first appointment?”

The woman looked surprised and glanced down at her belly. “No…” she said. She was quite large by this stage! Her husband just smiled, clearly amused. “Oh… Sorry!” I stammered, then retrieved her file, checked her details, and asked her to take a seat in the waiting area. As she and her husband walked off, the receptionist leaned over to me. “Yeah, it’ll be obvious to you if it’s their first appointment!” she said, smiling. I apologised again, but the receptionist told me not to worry, as we all make mistakes!

The receptionist went on holiday, and I managed to cover reception surprisingly well. And during the next three antenatal clinics, I never again made the mistake of asking a woman obviously in advanced stages of pregnancy if it was her first appointment!

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Signing In A Scottish Accent

, , , , , , | Learning | March 20, 2019

(I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I often feel like I don’t “fit in” because relating to people is challenging for me. However, I’ve started learning British Sign Language, and I love it. It is literal, logical, and has grey areas. Deaf people are very direct, too. I also have a photographic memory, which I haven’t found to be much use… until now. I learn new signs extremely fast. Even my deaf teacher struggles to keep pace. In class, we are learning about countries. This roleplay happens in front of the class, in BSL.)

Classmate #1: “Where are you going on holiday?”

Me: “New Scotland.”

Classmate #1: “What?”

Me: *slowly in BSL and English* “New Scotland, Canada: Nova Scotia.”

Classmate #1: *confused*

Teacher: “If you want to say two countries, you need to say, ‘and.’ Scotland A-N-D Canada.”

Classmate #2: *in English and BSL* “He didn’t say Scotland; I think he means New England and Canada.”

(I am extremely confused. The signs for England and Scotland are very different and unmistakable. I have no idea where she got “New England” from. As for my teacher, he didn’t have a clear view, and missed the sign “new.” He thinks I mean Scotland and Canada. I can’t get it across in BSL, so I resort to English.)

Me: “No, I signed literally, ‘New Scotland.’ That means Nova Scotia in Canada, which is Latin for ‘New Scotland.’ In most languages, including BSL, Nova Scotia is translated literally. I saw it last week from an interpreter on TV.”

Teacher: “Oh. Nothing wrong with the sign, but maybe we’ll keep it at the right level for the exam?”

(I continue to learn BSL extremely fast. One day I hope to qualify as an interpreter.)

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