Rife With Ignorance

, , , , | Working | December 12, 2017

(My boss, a person with a Master’s degree, is writing an article for a professional publication, and despite the fact that I am just the receptionist, he asks me to proofread it for him because his assistant has the day off. It’s a good article about something I agree with, so I’m happy to help out with making sure it’s right. I find a problem almost immediately.)

Me: “I don’t think you meant to say ‘bereft’ in this sentence. Is there a word you would prefer in this spot?”

Boss: “Yes, I did! I said it’s bereft with dishonest people, as in there are too many of them! Don’t tell me what I mean.”

Me: “Okay…”

(I don’t really know what to say because he’s wrong, but he’s also yelling, and he isn’t known for changing his mind or listening to reason.)

Boss: *looks at the article, then back at me* “Why? What does ‘bereft’ mean?”

Me: *taken aback* “It means deprived or lacking, so the sentence actually says that we’re lacking dishonest people.”

Boss: “Oh. Well, that’s not what I mean at all. I mean there’s too many of them.”

Me: “So… we’re rife with dishonest people.”

Boss: “Yes… change it to that.”

(He went into his office and told Siri to define “rife.”)

The FDA Is Truly Evil

, , , , , , | Working | December 11, 2017

(I work for a company that makes products with laser scanners in them. This means annual inspections by the FDA’s department of devices and radiological health. After the inspector finally leaves:)

Me: “Darn, that guy was here all day, and I forgot to say, ‘Frickin’ laser beams!'”

Coworker: “I’m sure he’s heard it before.”

Committing Career Suicide

, , , | Working | December 11, 2017

(I used to volunteer with a suicide prevention charity while at university. I put it on hold while I moved around the country looking for a job. Once settled down, I start up again working on Saturday evenings. A month later, my employer has fired a manager to cut back on costs, and for us agreeing to jointly fulfill the role, we have each gotten a small increase in wages. Said manager was also involved in the night shifts, which we now have to fulfil.)

Manager: “All right, so it’s [My Name] and [Coworker] on Saturday and Sunday… [My Name] Saturday and [Coworker] Sunday.”

Me: “I’d rather we switched. I’m busy Saturday evenings.”

Coworker: “I don’t mind switching.”

Manager: “No, you have that report due in on Mondays, and you can’t do it if you have worked the Sunday shift.”

Me: “I can do the report on Sunday. It doesn’t take long.”

Manager: “No, that won’t work.”

Coworker: “[Manager], it’s fine. I’ll do the Saturday.”

Manager: “No, [My Name] is new, and he has to learn proper respect and authority. He will work Saturday.”

Coworker: “Mate, he volunteers with [Charity] on Saturdays. Also I have been here long enough to learn ‘respect and authority’ and I say I’m working the Saturday!”

(Our manager scoffs at us but eventually lets us switch. I arrive at my next shift with Charity, and am told someone has been ringing in every few minutes. We suspect it might be a prank caller, or someone who is in distress and is unable to maintain the call. We’re on alert, though, in case they phone back. I end up being the next person to take the call.)

Me: “[Charity]. This is [Alias]—”

Manager: *recognising my voice* “No, you’re [My Name]. It’s [Manager]. I’ve been calling all night to see if you actually do work there and not just being lazy… See you on Monday!” *hangs up*

(The others at Charity weren’t happy with me, and I had a few choice words for Manager when I got in. He didn’t understand how inappropriate it was to flood a suicide prevention service to prove someone volunteered there.)

Both Sides On Poor Form

, , , , | Working | December 11, 2017

(I work in a department that offers grants and loans. Recently, management has made a decision that applications will only be processed if applications have been completed 100%. Previously we’d let applications through if they hadn’t indicated how they heard about the scheme or indicated if their car was first- or second-hand. While this makes sense, I am currently trapped in limbo with a customer with the following set of emails. Please note that the customer had emailed their application.)

Me: “Unfortunately, we cannot process your application at this time as you have not indicated your preferred email address for correspondence. Please fully complete the application and return this to us to allow us to proceed.”

Customer: “It’s the email address I’m using just now.”

Me: “Unfortunately, we can only accept this information if it is on the application form. We are not able to accept this information in any other way.”

Customer: *attaches incomplete application again* “It’s the email address I’m using just now.”

(Management still wont let me accept it and we’re stuck in a loop. Whose fault is it really?)

What The Ellie?

, , , , | Working | December 10, 2017

(We have a new contract and have been given a direct contact who will handle all things which are needed across both companies. Her email address is, I assume, her name. It starts with Ellie. I email her a formal introduction, as I will be interacting quite a lot with her in the coming weeks.)

Me: “Dear Ellie, I would just like introduce myself prior to our actual meeting, as there will be many new faces for you to remember. I’m [My Name], and I am the main commercial advisor who will be dealing with your contract.”

Eloise: “Dear [My Name], thank you for your email. I would like to ask, however, that you address me by my full name, Eloise. We have not established a strong enough work relationship to start using nicknames.”

(Her email includes a signature with “Ellie” as her name.)

Me: “Oh, I do apologise. We have only been given your email address, and I have a relative who is named Ellie, so I assumed it was the same situation with you. I am sorry if I caused offence.”

Eloise: “No offence caused. But please try to remember, it is E-L-O-I-S-E. I would also appreciate the exclusion of personal details in future correspondence, thank you.” *same signature*

(I can tell she isn’t interested in anything beyond the most basic and professional relationship, so I decide to stick with that. Everything is going well until I receive an email one morning that is addressed to everyone in the company.)

Eloise: “Could I please request that all future correspondence address me as ‘Eloise,’ as the level of unprofessionalism being conveyed by your company is disturbing and affects productivity. We do not know each other on a personal level, so addressing me with just ‘Ellie’ is extremely inappropriate. Thank you.” *Ellie signature*

(I decide not to respond, as I have followed this request to the letter already. Several more emails come through following a similar theme. This is the first.)

Director: “Eloise, I can understand your frustration; however, as your employer has only graced us with your email address, and this company prides itself on maintaining a friendly environment, we have had little reason to assume your name is anything other than your email suggests. I would advise perhaps updating your signature, as the use of your nickname may be causing confusion.”

(We got no response from her, but I heard she complained about the “lack of professionalism” to her bosses. The director asked if she had an additional address with her full name, instead, so that the desire to use her nickname at first contact would be prevented. She didn’t, and seemed thoroughly offended by the suggestion. The contract was put in jeopardy because of it, and required a full week of board meetings to straighten out. In the end, she was moved to another contract to save on future hostilities.)

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