Cancel The Nice!

, , , , | Right | September 5, 2018

(I answer the phone, transfer calls, and try to provide basic assistance after hours. One day at 4:50 pm Central time, I receive this call.)

Client: “Is [Representative] there?”

Me: “I’m not sure who you mean, exactly; do you know his last name?”

Client: “No! I’ve been calling him all day and I just keep getting his voicemail! I must have called eleven times! And he hasn’t returned my calls!”

Me: “Okay. How can I help you today?”

Client: “I need to know if my loads are going to be picked up today! And [Representative] won’t return my phone calls!”

Me: “Okay. Do you have any reference numbers for these shipments?”

Client: “No!”

Me: “Okay. What’s the name of the company paying for the freight?”

Client: “I AM!”

Me: “Do you know your account number? Or can you spell out the name of the company for me, please?

Client: “It’s [Company]! I have four shipments that need to be picked up today before 3:30 Pacific time!”

Me: “Okay. I found your account. I do see four shipments scheduled to pick up out of the same warehouse by 15:30 PT today, all scheduled with [Carrier], so most likely they will only send one truck to load all four shipments, as they are scheduled as LTL.”

Client: “But [Representative] hasn’t returned my calls! I need to know if they’re going to be picked up!”

Me: “Okay. Well, if you can hold for a moment, I will call the carrier and double-check that they will be sending a truck today.”

Client: “Then do it!”

(I call the carrier. All four loads have been cancelled by the representative this client is trying to contact. I am freaking out, so I try to call this guy’s manager to see if I can get any help. He is in a meeting. My manager tells me to try to calm the guy down and see if we have his rep’s cell number so we can see what is going on. I take the guy off of hold and find out what is really going on.)

Me: “I apologize; it looks like the carrier does not have these shipments scheduled to pick up today. I am attempting to reach out to your rep and his manager to see if maybe they had booked a different carrier—”

Client: “I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. That’s why I’ve been trying to call him all day! My secretary found a better rate, so we cancelled these pickups with you, but she’s an idiot and she booked them wrong! And now you have to get them picked up by 3:30 today! That’s in two hours! And [Representative] won’t return my calls! You have terrible customer service! Absolutely terrible! I need these shipped today! It’s Friday!”

Me: “I apologize. However, as your rep is not in the office today, we will likely not be able to reschedule these shipments on such short notice.”

Client: “Well, why isn’t he in the office?! It’s Friday! We’re all working!”

(Well, some people work different schedules and don’t cancel orders at the last minute expecting everything to be worked out by yelling at someone who didn’t cause their problem – but I guess that’s life.)

Your Feelings Deceive You

, , , | Working | September 4, 2018

(We get new management and a supervisor, and no matter how we try, the supervisor and I just don’t get on the same page. We don’t hate each other, but he feels I’m not doing my work properly, and when I ask how to improve, I get vague comments. Plans are made to help me improve, but there are technical issues that prevent things from changing. I keep on asking for help, but I feel like I never get anything concrete to work on. The word “fingerspitzgefühl” is mentioned over and over again — “you just have to have the feeling for it.” When I get called into the office away from the rest of the team, I know what’s up, and I am told my contract will be terminated. It doesn’t matter that all but one of my clients are extremely satisfied with me; I just don’t have that “feeling.” I get a very generous offer, which my lawyer tells me proves they have nothing and just want to get rid of me. I accept the offer and go on an already planned vacation. My duties will be taken over by other colleagues, including a task only the most trustworthy of people can do — delicate financial work. During my vacation, I get a call from my supervisor. He wants to tell me this, before I hear rumours. From our team of eight people — me included — three were found out to have stolen from the company. They were supposed to take over my delicate task and their position was terminated immediately.)

Me: “Oh, wow. I never would have guessed that, especially from [Coworker].”

(They studied to become a lawyer.)

Supervisor: “Yeah, we are really understaffed now.”

Me: “Well, I’ll see what I can do when my vacation is over. I’ll be back next week for my final month. I hope you can find someone else soon!”

Supervisor: “Yeah… Well… Um… Yeah… Have a nice week.”

(The regret in his voice was clearly audible and I did a little victory dance. It may be petty, but to me it was wonderful to find out he put his trust in three fraudulent employees and fired me.)

Not All Fatherly Advice Is Good Advice

, , , , , , | Working | September 4, 2018

(I’m soon graduating university with a degree in computer science. Simultaneously, I’m also working as a working student — a concept in German academia where, rather than working in an unrelated side job, you’re working part-time in your future field of study to gain some experience and build a network, and are paid slightly less than someone with a degree. While the chances that they’ll hire me afterwards are rather high, my dad feels the need to help me get a job. He tells me a friend of his is searching for someone like me. I’m not too eager to apply, but it won’t hurt, either. Calling his friend, I learn that there’s no official job posting yet, and that I just should send an application with my experience and a salary expectation. I do just that, being careful to include a request to keep my application in confidence, and am invited to an interview.)

Interviewer: “First things first. Your salary expectations are a bit high. If [Dad’s Friend] wouldn’t had insisted, we likely wouldn’t have invited you.”

Me: “I think they are more than fair. It’s actually slightly below the average entry wage for someone with my degree, but I’m willing to compromise. What did you have in mind?”

Interviewer: “Something in the ballpark of 14€ an hour.”

Me: “That’s actually even less than I’m currently earning as a working student. I’d be willing to go down to 20€, but that’s about it.”

Interviewer: “I don’t know what to tell you. We simply don’t have that money in our budget for a graphics designer.”

Me: “Wait. What? I’m a computer scientist specializing in UX design, not a graphics designer. That’s a totally different area of expertise! I’m afraid I’m not the right applicant for this job.”

(With this I got up, said good-bye, and went home frustrated, suspecting they didn’t read more than my salary expectations. The next day I went to work and my boss called me into his office. Apparently, they’d also ignored my plea for confidence and contacted my department for a reference without my permission. Thanks, Dad!)

Analyse This: I Quit

, , , , , , | Working | September 2, 2018

I get hired as an assistant in the photo department for an online clothing retailer, but I show up the first day only to be told by my boss that he believes my skill set would be more useful in a customer care position and to come in the next day with my personal laptop. I’m a little taken-aback by this, but after ensuring he is aware I can’t do a desk job where I’d have to sit in front of a screen all day due to chronic back issues, and being assured that isn’t the nature of the job, I comply — considering the pay for the second position was better — and come in the next day with my personal laptop.

That’s when I’m told my new job title is a Customer Behavior Analyst, and what that entails is, in fact, sitting in front of a screen all day, building massive brand-specific spreadsheets and reports that cover all purchases of that brand in a super complex matter. Of course, I’m expected to do so on my personal laptop, which would require me to download quite a few new programs, as well as a massive amount of data, onto a device that wasn’t meant for such large bulks of data-processing.

When I voice my concerns and bring up my back issues, I’m yet again assured it will be fine, that I can take breaks to stretch my back whenever needed, and that I can work on my own pace, as none of those reports are of an urgent nature and are only really needed once every two months when reordering is to take place.

I’m never officially trained on how to operate their system; I’m only told which fields to include in my spreadsheets and reports. Because of this, I end up having to redo the first spreadsheet three times, and have to do so manually for each order as the system they used was absolutely ancient. To give you an idea of how insane that is, the first brand I am tasked with doing has over fifty products on our site, each available in at least five colors, each color of course has anywhere between five and fifteen sizes, and the brand has at least a thousand orders. Because of the way their system works and the constant changes my boss suddenly decides he wants added or removed, it takes me two days to finish the first report. I tough through it, and thankfully manage to figure out how to do most things on my own as nobody saw it fit to teach me.

On my third day in the position, I am tasked with a brand that had about three times the amount of products and subproducts, and am told the report is needed first thing the next morning, which would be absolutely impossible to achieve. The boss won’t hear any “excuses” when I tell him that, and demands it be in his inbox first thing in the morning. This results in me staying in the office from eight am to eight pm, with no lunch break or back-stretching breaks, and continuing to work at home until about midnight.

I end up quitting after one week, as working in a position I am not qualified for, with a device not meant for the job, paired with absolutely insane deadlines just isn’t worth it. My work days ended up being over sixteen hours long on a good day, which obviously strained my back and caused pain so terrible I could hardly keep down two meals that entire week. The quitting process was an absolute nightmare, and involved getting yelled at by my boss — actually yelled at like a child — for nearly two hours, being told I was incompetent and immature, that I had absolutely no future, and that if I wanted an “easy” job, I could do well as a stripper.

Oh, and did I mention the boss was my step-dad?


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Housewives Inc.

, , , , , | Right | September 1, 2018

(I work at a small ecommerce business where each employee has a multitude of job duties. The phone rings, so I interrupt my current task and conversation with a coworker to answer. It is important to note I am female.)

Me: *speaking a little bit too quickly* “[Company]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “What is this?”

Me: *speaking more slowly* “This is [Company]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Oh! I thought I was calling some housewife or something. Can I speak to [Coworker]?”

Me: *pauses* “Sure, let me transfer you to him.”

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