Wrongful Termination Is A Termination Of Sense

, , , , , , | Working | April 25, 2019

At the beginning of the year, we get a new PhD intern who has a rather inflated ego and will try to exert his authority over others simply because they have a Bachelors or Masters. It suffices to say it becomes quickly apparent that he is not efficient, effective, or all that smart as he claims. He ends up costing the company thousands because he refuses to check his work and in his own words assumes it is “perfect” when he gives it to people. It also turns out he is actually a Masters student and not on track to get his PhD, despite explicitly stating he is working on his dissertation. The icing on the cake is that he refuses to work in the office and can’t work more than 25 to 30 hours a week while initially trying to get 50 to 60 hours a week. Long story short: he is unreliable and a chronic liar, but still thinks he is a real prize.

Around this time, we also have a change in management. Without being prompted or even asked, he determines he will take over the weekly meetings. Our boss, deciding to see where this goes, lets him. Note: he is still technically an intern but is insisting to the rest of us — and his money lender — that he is a full-time employee when the managers are out of earshot. The first week’s meeting goes all right, but they continue to spiral out of control from there.

Eventually, he stops showing up to the office altogether, but still maintains he is going there and lies about it, or even claims his coworkers are the ones not in the office. He then spends the next month or so canceling his own meetings, forgetting about them completely, or trying to get other people to cancel for him.

It finally becomes clear to my boss that this guy is straight-up incompetent, but because he is the type that would sue for wrongful termination, my boss still has to make an effort to correct the mistake. This leads to a round of cries from said “coworker” about how he can’t take the abuse any longer and more whining. My boss even schedules for him to attend a seminar, all expenses paid for, to work on his organization. The guy takes it as nothing more than a suggestion — while still in negotiation for a contract. Eventually, after much back and forth and the boss having several people ask him to go, he agrees…. but his girlfriend ends up driving him.

He uses this seminar to try to leverage more power, while still failing at his job, but obviously gets shut down. Still, he is obviously oblivious to the fact he is in deep s*** at this point.

Finally, around Christmas time, someone else is assigned to run the meetings as we haven’t had one in two months. He, of course, is absent as it is “the holidays.” When he comes back, he is relieved! It goes over his head that he lost his “power” because he was lazy.

Yes, he is still working for this company. And I am currently looking for a new job.

Moral of the story: your coworkers may be a hot mess, but if management allows it, leave.

Caught You In A Confused State

, , , , , | Working | April 25, 2019

(I am walking out of my office just as another coworker is walking in. We nearly crash into each other.)

Me: “Hi, I’m solid.”

Coworker: “Hi, I’m liquid.”

(For weeks after that, he continued to greet me as “solid.”)

Lost In Their Own Translation

, , , | Right | April 24, 2019

(I am a freelance translator working from home. I translate documents in the French-English language pair — English to French and vice-versa — and don’t work with other languages. One day I receive a message from a regular customer.)

Customer: “Hi. Are you available to translate a new document?”

Me: “Hi! Sure, what do you need?”

Customer: “I need to get a 4000-word document translated from Dutch to French within the next twelve hours. I need you to use Google Translate and fix all the errors for a perfect translation.”

(I don’t speak a single word of Dutch.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but don’t you mean English to French? I’m afraid I don’t speak Dutch.”

Customer: “No, it’s okay. I just need you to use Google Translate to translate it from Dutch to French, and correct the mistakes in French for a perfect translation. Get it?”

Me: “Sorry, I think you’re going to have to ask someone who speaks Dutch; I can’t provide you with a quality translation if I don’t speak the source language.”

Customer: “Oh. Okay, then. Bye!”

(If it was so easy to translate a document and get a quality result, nobody would need professional translators!)

Loves To Follow Orders – If They Have One

, , , , , | Right | April 19, 2019

(I do data entry for a company that supplies drug stores with their merchandise. The way our system works is that the customer will phone our office, get our answering machine, and leave a recorded message with their order. I will then play the message later and enter the order on my computer. I can count on the following happening at least once a week:)

Person On Recording: “Hi, [Company]. Here’s my order…” *gives order*

Me: “Oh, great. They didn’t give their name or their store, and the computer won’t let me start entering their order unless we know who it’s for.”

Person On Recording: *continues*

Me: “I hope this is a short order…”

Person On Recording: *keeps talking*

Me: “Maybe I can recognize their voice? …Nope.”

Person On Recording: *keeps talking*

Me: “Please, please, have them say who they are at the end of the message! I’ll have to rewind and listen to the whole thing again, but at least I’ll be able to enter it.”

Person On Recording: “…and that’s it. Thanks!” *hangs up*

Me: “Aw, crap.”

(We don’t have call display in these days, so I have no hope of knowing who the order is for. Then, the next day, this usually happens.)

Caller: “WHERE’S MY ORDER?!”

Insecure About Your Security

, , , , , | Working | April 18, 2019

(I work as a contracted security guard at a university. My company’s posting is at one of the university’s newest acquisitions, a former corporate campus. Staff and faculty move in slowly over several months. This takes place one day while I am out on my rounds; I discover that a previously empty section is now occupied.)

Woman: “Excuse me, you can’t be up here.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Woman: “I said you’re not allowed to be up here. You have to go.”

(I gesture to the keys and radio on my belt.)

Me: “Ma’am, I am Security Officer [My Name] from the main gate-“

Woman: “Yeah, you’re contractors, right? So, you’re not supposed to be where we are.”

Me: “That’s not true. We can—“

Woman: “No, your place is at the gate. Not where we’re working.”

(A few of the other people in the department hear her and chime in that they agree.)

Me: “I see. Well, regardless of how you feel seeing us around, we’re allowed to be here.”

Woman: “But I said–“

Me: “Part of our duties requires us to go on patrol and check to make sure that not only is everything all right, but to help anyone who asks. That means that we have access everywhere and are allowed to go everywhere. That ensures that we can get to any emergency at any time. Also, contractors are not any less important than ‘real’ employees; we’re usually the first ones anyone calls.”

Woman: “You’re not Public Safety. You’re not real security.”

(I finally lose my patience.)

Me: “My $300 security guard license says otherwise.”

(I walked away, the woman still talking angrily. I notified my site supervisor, who pulled me off of rounds and went up to the new department herself. She experienced the exact same thing I did, and took down the names of every single person in that area. My supervisor then filed a harassment complaint with Public Safety, who made the ENTIRE department take a harassment and sensitivity course. You bet they were sunshine and rainbows the next time we saw them!)

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