The Job Search That Took Fifty Years

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2018

(Twice a week the same young man shows up at my office dressed in a suit jacket and tries to drop off a resume. Each time, I refer him to the website. He comes back, having not checked the site, still trying to hand in a paper resume. Finally, I sit him down and ask why he keeps coming back.)

Man: “My grandfather says I have to show up in person and make a good impression. He says that going to a website doesn’t show initiative.”

Me: “That’s not true. Do you even have any design or programming experience?”

Man: “Uh… No. You train, right?”

Me: “No, that’s the basics of what we expect from an employee. You know we don’t have any posted job listings, right?”

Man: “No, I didn’t go to the website because my grandfather said… Heck, I’ve wasted a lot of time, haven’t I?”

(I send him back with a letter to his grandfather.)

Letter: “Dear Sir,

Your grandson has come to my office on five occasions now, following your advice. That same advice seems to be what is hampering his job search.

When I am looking for an employee, I am looking for someone with initiative, thoroughness, and follow through. In this case, I want someone who takes the initiative to visit the website and research the company. I want someone with the thoroughness to read and follow the instructions on how to properly submit their resume. Finally, I want someone who follows through with an application to any job that meets their qualifications.

I hire only competent employees, and following the very basic instructions of how to apply for a job shows this competence. By having your grandson ignore this and follow your outdated advice, he has shown himself unable to use the resources at hand, unable to follow basic rules, and requiring special treatment.

Furthermore, as you have sent him to ‘hit the pavement,’ he doesn’t know the first thing about this business! (For example, showing up in a suit to an office where we dress exceedingly casually shows he is a bad fit for our environment.)

I’ve wished your grandson well in his job search. Please stop hampering it with your bad advice. This is the new millennium.”

(The young man thanked me! A few weeks later, he emailed that he found employment in a business completely dissimilar to mine. I hope he learned his lesson about not listening to dated advice!)

Making It Very Loud And Clear

, , , , , , | Working | April 20, 2018

(I am house-sitting for my uncle while he is recovering from brain surgery, making my commute to work in downtown about 45 minutes through morning traffic. My job as a morning receptionist requires me to open the office doors at seven so that people can come in and get themselves settled in the space. This particular week, we are hosting a group of people who expect the doors to be open promptly at seven, and for the most part I have been on time, if not a few minutes early. On this day, however, I am less than five minutes late to open the doors.)

Me: “Good morning, everyone! Sorry about that. Thank you for being patient.”

Coordinator: *to someone else* “Wow, she’s really pushing her arrival time.”

(I hear this and am a little annoyed, but I ignore her and go about opening the office and getting the morning started. About an hour later, my manager comes in and greets me and everyone else, then heads to his office to get started on his work. At some point the coordinator must speak to him about me being late, because then this happens:)

Manager: “Hey, can I talk to you about something?”

Me: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Manager: “Look. I know you’re watching your uncle’s house and everything while he’s still in the hospital, but I really need you to be here on time. These guys want the doors open at seven, so you need to be here at seven. Again, I know you’re helping your uncle out after his surgery, but please be on time.”

Me: “Okay, I will be.”

(This entire conversation takes place at my desk, at the front of the office, with this entire group in hearing distance, and my manager does not have a quiet voice. I am embarrassed, angry, and confused as to why this conversation wasn’t more private, but I decide to bring it up to him after I’ve cooled off a bit.)

Me: *later* “Hey, [Manager]. Can I—”

Manager: *he stops me* “Hang on. Let me explain. I’m sorry I had to do that right then, but I have a good reason, I swear! That coordinator came over to complain to me that you were late this morning, but it was obvious that it was only by a few minutes, and she was acting like it was the end of the freakin’ world. It really got to me, and I know what you’ve been going through recently, and I just wanted to get them off your back. She was close to your desk getting coffee, and I wanted her to hear, but I’m still sorry.”

Me: *stunned*

Manager: “Yeah, it really bothered me.”

Me: “Yeah, I guess so. Okay, well, I was upset by that, but now that I know what you were doing, I’m not mad anymore! Thanks for doing that.”

Manager: “Great! Let me know if she keeps giving you a hard time.”

(The coordinator was more pleasant with me after that, and it was great knowing that my manager is looking out for me. Also, my uncle has recovered amazingly well.)

Alpha, Bravo, Circus, Drake

, , , | Right | April 20, 2018

(We get a lot of calls asking us where to send the claims form back to, even though the address is in the top right of the letter. It is a fair question, as we are a white label company, so we don’t always have the name of the insurance in the address. I get a call through and the customer is asking, “Where do I send this back to? There is no address and no envelope.”)

Me: *says address slowly* “One… Drake Circus…” *rest of address*

Caller: “1 DC—” *rest of the address correct*

Me: “No, sorry, let me try again.” *very slowly* “Drake Circus.”

Caller: “Yeah, I got that. DC.”

Me: “No, I mean the address is the words, ‘Drake Circus.’ I could spell it phonetically for you.”

Caller: “I’m sorry, dear. I don’t know what that means. I’ll send it to the address on the letter.” *hangs up*

Me: “…”

That’s A Lot Of Yoghurt

, , , , | Working | April 19, 2018

(I am on break and enjoying a yoghurt in the break room. A colleague walks in.)

Colleague: “Ooh, that looks nice.”

Me: “It’s my favourite.”

Colleague: “Did you get any for me?”

Me: “No. It’s bring-your-own. If you wanted some, you should have asked before I got it.”

Colleague: “Don’t you think it’s a bit rude to get something only for yourself, and not for others?”

Me: “Um, it’s bring-your-own, and [Colleague], 300 people come in and out of this room each day. If I had to get them yoghurt everyday, I’d go bankrupt. Besides, I’ve never seen you bring anything in for anyone else.”

(She didn’t say anything else and left. I finished up and went back to my desk. An hour later, my floor manager came over and asked why [Colleague] came to her asking, in seriousness, that I get a raise of £29,000 a week. Now, she can barely keep a straight face whenever [Colleague] is talking to her.)

Doesn’t Even Sound Good On Paper

, , , , , , , | Working | April 18, 2018

I work in a small, open-plan office in a fairly small company. The husband-and-wife owners of the company don’t seem to want to update anything or invest any money in the company; the windows don’t fully close unless someone pushes on them from the outside, the blinds are damaged so you can always see in, and the computer system is over some early version of Windows with limited processing speed, which crashes on a weekly basis.

One day my boss gets an email — they can’t work out group emails — to say the wife has decided we are using too much stationary, she refuses to buy any more, and she wants us to be a paperless office. This is all despite us lacking the resources to be paperless, and the husband’s insistence that we keep a physical paper trail of every order, invoice, or query the customers have.

We make do as best we can, but eventually I bite the bullet and buy a pack of paper, pens, and a few nice post-its, etc. It’s not much, but when you are earning minimum wage and buying resources which work should be providing, it’s more than I want to spend.

I put all my stationary in my desk the next morning. I come back from lunch to find all of it gone, including a monogrammed pen my mum bought for my birthday. I eventually track it down to the female owner’s office, where she is happily using them. When I confront her about it, she repeats, “Paperless office,” like she is a parrot who has learnt a new phrase. I bite my lip and ask how we are meant to be paperless when we are also expected to keep written notes and print records of all our work. She eventually relents that she might, maybe look at a stationary order, “if it’s such a big deal.” I thank her, take my monogrammed pen from her hand, and walk out her office.

The next day, I replace the stationary and replace the lock on the desk, secure it before I go for lunch, and come back to find my coworkers giggling. Apparently, the female owner had heard I had more stationary and spent five minutes trying to pry open my desk before snatching the post-its from my desktop, screaming, “PAPERLESS OFFICE!”, and storming out.

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