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I Don’t Agree With Taxes, But I Still Gotta Pay ‘Em

, , , | Right | June 22, 2022

I received payment five months late, minus the late fees, and with a note attached.

Client: “I appreciate your work and I apologize for the lateness; however, we did not agree to be charged these late fees, so we will not be paying them.”

I responded:

Me: “I appreciate the payment for the original invoice. However, we did agree that you would pay me five months ago. As a result, I’ve attached an invoice with the late fees.”

Achieving Your Goals… Eventually… Sort Of…

, , , , , , | Working | June 21, 2022

When I first graduated from college, I had no luck finding an entry-level job in my field. I decided to lower my expectations and applied to a telemarketing company. But they wouldn’t hire me, either, because the only experience I had was a work-study job during college. They recommended getting a job with a temp agency to get more work experience, so I signed up with a temp agency.

I started out by telling the temp agency that I was really good with computers and had a degree in engineering. And then they sent me to be a temporary receptionist with instructions to answer the phones and not touch the computer. I had a few more short-term receptionist assignments, including filling in for someone who left in the middle of the day without clearing their desk of the food they were eating when they got sick. Another memorable assignment was handing out food samples at a large grocery store.

After working for the temp agency for a while, I applied to the telemarketing company again. This time, they wouldn’t hire me because I was “over-qualified” and they were afraid I wouldn’t stay, so I went back to the temp agency for more assignments.

Finally, the temp agency sent me to work at the telemarketing company. Then, I got hired directly when the temporary position became permanent, and I stayed at the telemarketing company for five years.

Take Your Watermark And Lo-Go Away

, , , | Working | June 20, 2022

My business is in need of a logo, so I reach out to an artist online to make a design for us. We come to an agreement, and they get to work. As is typical for art commissions like this, they provide us with an example image of the final product that has a large watermark across the image, ensuring that we can see what the final product looks like while also preventing us from stealing the image.

Everything looks good, so we send the final payment, and they send us the finished image. Except, rather than removing the watermark like the contract we signed with them specified, they have instead changed the text of the watermark to their signature.

We reach out to them.

Me: “Hi. So, the image looks good, but I think when you went to remove the watermark, you just changed the text, instead. Could you send us the final image without the watermark?”

Artist: “I sign all my work.”

Me: “Okay. That is not what was agreed upon in the contract we signed. We need the logo to look like the specifications, without additions like this watermark.”

Artist: “I sign all my work.”

That is the only response they give to any follow-ups before they just stop responding when we try to get a refund. In the end, we contact another artist, explain the situation, and provide the “signed” image to them as part of their specs, and they are able to recreate the basic image without the watermark. We pay them and use that logo.

Nine months after this whole debacle, we get an email from the original artist.

Artist: “You have been using my creative property without permission. This is an official cease-and-desist notice. Legal action will be taken if you do not properly cite my works.”

We considered engaging, but in the end, we decided to just ignore it. It has been five years since then, we are still using the logo, and we haven’t heard a peep of any “legal action” from us not using the “signed” logo.

If I Had A Nickel For Every Time This Happened…

, , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2022

The way my company organizes itself is that we’re split into three- to five-person teams that each handle a certain specialty. I’m a woman and the team lead for four men.

When I first started with the company, the teams were named “Team 1,” “Team 2,” “Team 3,” etc. Because the names are not memorable, the team leads, and eventually, upper management started referring to each team by specialty instead. Unfortunately, those specialties tended to change throughout the year. Documents from last year might refer to my team as “Longtail” and from this year might refer to them as “Webex”.

It was decided to let the teams give ourselves official names. We chose “Nickel” as a dorky reference, and we were instructed to submit a team photo. As a team full of people in our late thirties and early forties, we decided to make our most gangsta poses possible in an effort to seem young and hip, though gangsta hasn’t been in style since we were in college.

We submitted the name and photo to management.

The next day, I was called into Human Resources.

I thought initially that the poses were too much, but HR reassured me that there was nothing wrong with the poses.

HR: “You should see what the other teams submitted. No, the problem is this. Here. Look at their pants. Did they do that deliberately?”

I looked at their pants — really looked — for the first time, and they all appeared to be sporting improbably large boners.

HR: “They trust you. Please find out for us.”

The way I found out was just by brazenly asking. It turns out it was deliberate; they had all chosen to wear, essentially, codpieces at the urging of their instigator and ringleader. I asked him why, and he said:

Employee: “To demoralize the other teams and crush their spirits.”

Long story short, my team is being disbanded and three of the men are being let go. The ringleader is having some portion of his compensation clawed back.

I’m no longer a team lead, though I got to keep the pay bump. The ringleader and I are being put on separate teams.

Why does it feel like I’m the one being punished?

Totally Missed The Point

, , , , , , , | Working | June 20, 2022

It’s the 1990s, and I am running a small team in a financial services company. We have a morning process to manage, with a number of defined tasks. [Coworker #1] is young and has been in the job for only a few months. One day, he calls in sick, with a croaky voice.

Coworker #1: “Maaaate, I’m dying. I’ve got some kind of ‘lurgy. I’m not going to make it in today.”

Me: “Okay, thanks for letting me know. Get well, and I will see you when you’re better.”

A few hours later, I realise I need some data that he only he has access to, so I call his landline.

[Coworker #1] answers in a surprisingly boisterous, chipper voice.

Coworker #1: “Hi, everything’s ready. We’re just waiting for—”

Me: “[Coworker #1], it’s [My Name]. I need access to the [necessary data].”

Coworker #1: “Oh. Ohhhhhhh… Ummmm…” *Croaky voice* “Yeah, it’s in the shared folder. I put a password on it: [password].”

The following day, he returns to work sunburned and hungover.

Me: “[Coworker #1], look, it was fairly obvious from our calls yesterday that you weren’t being completely straight with me. I need to know that I can rely on you. Next time, just be straight with me.”

A few days later, [Coworker #2], an old hand who has been with the company for years and is amazing at his job, calls me early.

Coworker #2: “Mate, I’m sorry, but I’ve been out all night, just got through the door. I am still drunk and there’s no way I am coming in today.”

Me: “Right, no problem. Thanks for letting me know. I’ve got you covered.”

[Coworker #1] gets wind of the conversation and complains.

Coworker #1: “Wait, you gave me grief for pulling a sickie, but when [Coworker #2] tells you he’s too drunk to work, you give him a pass. That’s not fair?”

Me: “The difference is that he has proven himself time and again, and he was completely straight with me about his reasons. He didn’t try to mislead me, and that means that I know I can trust him with other things. It’s vital that, in our team, we have complete trust but manage what we disclose with everybody else to ensure that there’s no blowback and we can continue to operate as we see fit.”

He mulls that for a while and seems to accept it.

A few months later, I go on holiday and my boss fills in for me managing my team. When I get back, the boss calls me into a meeting.

Boss: “I am sorry, but I had to let [Coworker #1] go while you were on holiday.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Boss: “Well, he called me out of the blue and said he wasn’t coming to work because he’d been drinking all night and, when I told him that that wasn’t acceptable, he said you let [Coworker #2] do it all the time.”

I tried to straighten it out and get [Coworker #1] his job back but, after I explained, [Boss] insisted that he was too stupid to be employed.