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That Prank Is Just Cold

, , , , , | Working | September 14, 2021

We’re in the first hot days of summer, the air conditioning has not been activated yet, and the whole workforce is gasping. I’m visiting a different department — accounting.

Me: “How’s things?”

Accountant: *Puffing* “[My Name], make it cooler!”

Me: “Eh, you wish.” *Looking out of the window* “Did any of you know there’s revenue police just outside our gate?”

Accountant: *Gasps* “WHAT?!”

Me: *Grinning* “Gave you a shiver, did I?”

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‘Cause You’re An Intern, WA DA DA WAP WA DAAAAAA!

, , , , , , | Working | September 13, 2021

I recently graduated as a mature student. I am thirty-six but have always been somewhat baby-faced and so am often mistaken for being younger than I actually am. I manage to secure an internship at a company I used to work for prior to attending university but in a different department. I had left to attend university in order to switch careers.

A large part of my role is finding ways to improve our products, which sometimes means proposing new ways of doing things in other departments and asking for said departments’ input and cooperation.

Most of my coworkers are friendly and open to ideas and suggestions, and we get along great… except [Coworker #1]. She works as a supervisor in the same department I used to work in. I have no idea what I did, but she is always combative and hostile toward me. She’s fine with every other coworker except me for some reason. It’s important to note that [Coworker #1] did not work for the company when I worked there. She was hired sometime after I left.

During a meeting, I have to suggest some improvements and tweaks to [Coworker #1]’s department to help with a major change we are planning for one of our products. She doesn’t take it well. She tries to shoot down every proposal point I give her, saying things like, “That’s just not how it’s done,” or, “You can’t expect our department to do that.” Having worked in that department for years as a manager, my suggestions are always tailored to what her department can do. I should note it’s only MY proposals she is rejecting.

Eventually, we have to end the meeting. She says — obviously insincerely — that she will take what I’ve said “into consideration.”

We end the meeting. My manager says he’ll have a word with [Coworker #1]’s manager.

The next day, she storms up to my desk.

Me: “Oh, hi, [Coworker #1]. How can I—”

Coworker #1: “Who do you think you are, telling me how to run my department?”

Me: “That’s my job. We need everyone’s cooperation to—”

Coworker #1: “No. You’re an intern. You don’t get to tell anyone what to do. What do you know about having a real job? The classroom is nothing like the real world.”

Me: “Actually, I—”

Coworker #1: “Don’t you dare tell me how to do my job. You don’t know the first thing about it.”

Me: “Actually, I know a lot about [Department] because I used to work there. And not just work in it; I was a manager.”

Coworker #1: “Ugh. If you’re going to lie, at least make it believable.”

[Coworker #1] insults me a few more times about being some upstart student who doesn’t know her a*** from her elbow and then storms off again. 

The moment she leaves, I send my manager a message to let him know what happened. Her behaviour is reported to Human Resources, and she is disciplined and put on a warning. Thankfully, she is smart enough to leave me alone after that, but she is still combative in meetings, trying to shoot down every proposal I lay out more aggressively than before, but her manager overrides her.

Then, one day, I overhear her talking to [Coworker #2] in the break room.

Coworker #1: “I can’t believe they’re making us follow her stupid proposals. It’s not like she knows anything about [department].”

Coworker #2: “Oh, you mean [My Name]?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah.”

Coworker #2: “Oh, didn’t you know? She used to run [department] for years. She left to go to university.”

[Coworker #1] went silent.

You’d think that, after that, [Coworker #1] would finally see the light and apologise for the way she treated me, or at least stop being so hostile, but she doubled down and continued to be combative toward me in meetings, and she started to question every little thing I did. When my internship ended, I was hired permanently in the research and development team, which is exactly where I wanted to be. [Coworker #1], however, became even more hostile until she eventually left to work somewhere else. I can’t say that I miss her.

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Further Train(ing) Is Required

, , , , , , | Working | September 13, 2021

I worked for a while at a railway company. We had a big, busy office where customers could call in for help. Our network covered the Norfolk Broads, a National Park of rivers, waterways, marshes, and large, shallow lakes created by peat digging in the middle ages. Like all National Parks, the Broads is a popular summer tourist destination but has many fewer winter visitors. The result of this was that we had a summer timetable with more trains that stopped at more stations and a winter timetable with fewer trains and fewer stops. Unfortunately, that meant that sometimes visitors would be caught out when the timetables changed.

That was what happened one evening in September. An elderly couple had been out bird-watching in the reed marshes, and on returning to the station, their expected train had not arrived because the timetable had changed. They called our office and asked for help.

We called the head office since we had no one from senior management in. The problem was explained to the senior person at head office.

“Just tell them to walk along the tracks to the next station; there’s a train that calls there in just over an hour,” they said complacently.

Apparently, they didn’t think of the fast-fading light, the rising tide — yes, the river was tidal! — and the fact that, although no more trains would be calling at [Station] that evening, there would still be trains using the line!

We called a taxi for the couple and told them to send the bill to the rail company.

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If You Can’t Control It, Own It

, , , , | Healthy | September 11, 2021

I am sensitive. By this, I mean that my skin is sensitive, my digestive system is sensitive, my sense of smell is sensitive, and my eyes are sensitive. A strong smell, bright lights, a change of weather, high winds, changing temperatures, pollen — all cause a reaction of some sort. It’s like hay fever, seasonal eczema, and something else all wrapped in one and antihistamines do nada.

I’ve only been working in this office for about a month and I’ve been fairly reaction-free. Then, a change in weather plus the construction site burning something acrid results in my eyes swelling and getting weepy and my skin peeling to the point of bleeding. I’m somewhat irritable due to being so uncomfortable.

Trainer: “You don’t have to tell me — it’s entirely your own business and it clearly doesn’t interfere with your working — but I’m nosy. What do you have that causes these reactions?”

Me: “LBS.”

Trainer: “What’s that?”

Me: “Little B**** Syndrome. My body just reacts to everything that isn’t basic as f***. Doctors don’t know why, so I’ve decided that my body is just an oversensitive little b****.”

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Time Budgeting Is Hard Work

, , , , , , | Working | September 7, 2021

I had a coworker come to my cubicle to talk to me about the email I had sent her. She said she was too busy to read such a long message. We spent ten minutes talking about it.

The average person reads 300 Words Per Minute but speaks about 150 WPM. My message was less than 900 words, and so it should have taken less than three minutes to read. Great time-saver, talking to me about it instead of reading it.

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