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Panicking, Mostly, We’d Guess

, , , , , | Working | June 19, 2022

This was a few years before the health crisis. My office has all the usual modern things such as Outlook and Zoom, and most importantly, the ability to schedule meetings by viewing others’ availability.

We were performing our year-end process. My coworker, who has been with the company for fifteen years, was in charge of one particular section — the same section she has had for all those fifteen years.

A few weeks after year-end, I was checking off the final items, and I asked her if she had held a recap meeting with the people in her section — about thirty people. You know, what went well, what could be improved, etc. We do this every year to try to make next year better.

Me: “Have you held a recap session yet?”

Coworker: “Welllllll, I tried to!”

Me: “What do you mean, you tried?”

Coworker: “Wellllll, I sent an email to everyone asking them to send me some dates and times they were available for this meeting, but no one responded!”

Me: “Really. You sent an email to thirty people asking them to send you dates and times they were available. I wouldn’t have responded, either. What were you hoping for? They’d all send the same date and time?”

Coworker: “WELLLL…”

Me: “Why didn’t you just use Outlook?”

Coworker: “I tried, but I couldn’t find a good time.”

Me: “Okayyyy, why don’t you break the section into groups and have more than one meeting?”

The whole thing was rather astounding. I have no idea what she’s been doing for the past fifteen years.

There’s Something To Be Said For Accountability

, , , , , , | Legal | June 18, 2022

I work for an agency responsible for monitoring people in home detention. The people we monitor wear ankle bracelets that track their locations. They can get passes — usually two-hour windows where they can be out of their homes for things like shopping, appointments, etc.

I get a call from a guy charged with driving offences.

Guy: “Umm… yeah, I’m going to be late. I’m just waiting for a [Rideshare]. Depending on traffic, I’ll be about twenty-five minutes.”

Me: “Okay, and what is the reason you’ll be late?”

Guy: “To be honest, I got stuck at my weed dealer’s place, and then I had a [Rideshare] cancel. The new [Rideshare] is only two minutes away.”

Me: “Okay. I’ll give you until [forty minutes from now] to be home, and I need you to check back in then and I won’t breach you.”

Guy: “Thanks, man. I appreciate it.”

I had to give this guy points. He was honest about it and had no breaches yet. He did check back in before the limit and hasn’t had any more breaches since.

Can We Come Train With You Folks?

, , , , , , | Working | June 17, 2022

During training at work where I had to sit and listen to a presenter for a two-hour session, my kitten decided they wanted to fall asleep on my shoulder and be held. As I get to work from home, this typically isn’t an issue if they are in my lap as I can still work, but being held for any length of time doesn’t happen often as I have to type a ton of reports. My kitten was very happy and fell asleep, and I got to pay full attention to the training. 

At the end, the presenter asked if anyone had any questions, which several did, but then one of the people in another department asked:

Employee: “[My Name], how did you get your cat to stay on your shoulder for the entire training?” 

As everyone had been on camera, including me, I guess people noticed me cuddling and petting my kitten during the training, which derailed the rest of the questions as everyone else brought their cats, dogs, birds, and a giant lizard onto their cameras so we could do a giant show-and-tell. 

Best training ever.

That’s One Way To Fight Back Against Unfairness

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: Teekno | June 17, 2022

Back in the early 1990s, I was working for a company that provided staffing for US government agencies. I was a system administrator at a large Department of Transportation facility. One day, I walked in and was told to see my supervisor, who very apologetically told me that Uncle Sam no longer wanted me working there, and, well, I was fired. I was told to go to the contracting company’s office on the other side of town, which I had never been to save the day I was hired.

Shocked, I drove up there. I was like twenty-four and had never been fired before. In retrospect, I know what happened: the project I was working on was failing, not because of anything I did or didn’t do — the concept itself was flawed. There were three people who worked on the project: two were federal full-time employees, plus me, the contractor. Anyone who has had experience with this knows the contractors are the first to go.

I sat down with the manager of the local branch, who had an email from the government employee in charge of the doomed project, listing a parade of horribles that I had done. Some of the minor ones were true (I had been late a few times) but the major ones were just… fabrications.

Manager: “They claim that there was a problem with the networking and that a contractor had to be engaged to fix the problem. Is that true?”

Me: “Well… yes. I am that contractor. I diagnosed the problem, and then I fixed the problem. That’s my job. Or at least it was until a couple of hours ago.”

The manager realized pretty quickly what was going on — not that it got me my job back. As we went through the separation procedures, he told me that per company policy, he was required to document that I was not eligible for unemployment compensation. I just nodded because I didn’t know much about these things.

Manager: “You are now getting two weeks of notice. For the next two weeks, you are to show up to my office.”

He offered the use of office equipment to print resumes, apply for other jobs, and the like.

After a couple of days, he said he’d set up an interview for me for another project at the same facility. Sure! I went down there and sat with the project manager. The interview lasted less than five minutes.

Project Manager: “We’re a COBOL shop here. What’s your experience with COBOL?”

COBOL is Common Business Oriented Language, a computer programming language.

Me: “None whatsoever.”

We both realized it was a bad fit. I went back to the office, confused as h***. The site manager knew I didn’t have COBOL experience. Why did he send me there?

I found out a few weeks later. I had applied for unemployment compensation anyway, upon the urging of friends who said that the “policy” sounded really sketchy. I had an interview at the unemployment office. They looked over the paperwork and noticed the form that said “ineligible,” and the lady explained that I could contest that. I said sure.

Employee: “Have you been applying for work?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee: “And have you had any interviews?”

I told her about the one I had. Her eyes widened and she smiled.

Employee: “If they interviewed you for another position, that means you were not terminated for cause. You were let go because of a lack of work. That’s a layoff.”

She then marked on the paper that I was eligible for unemployment compensation.

I asked if I still needed to contest their findings.

Employee: “No. They can contest my determination, but given that they actively tried to keep you employed after these events, it’s not gonna fly. He did you a big favor by sending you on that interview.”

Email Fail, Part 37

, , , , , , | Working | June 15, 2022

I own my own website, so I can make up email addresses and they all come to me; i.e. [My Name]@[website], unicorn@[website], walmart@[website], etc. I do this so that when someone sells my email address, I know exactly who to block or who to give priority to.

It’s time for taxes, and I call my very nice tax person who I have been using for over fifteen years to get them to send me the secure file location so I can upload all of my personal and small business information. A brand new receptionist answers the phone. 

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name], and I need you to send me the normal email so I can upload everything. “

Receptionist: “Oh, okay. What is your email?”

Me: “Tax@[website].”

Receptionist: “Pat?”

Me: “Tax.”

Receptionist: “Fax?”

Me: “T like ‘Tom,’ A like ‘Apple’…”

Receptionist: “TomApple@[Web—]”

Me: “No, tax, like you guys do taxes.”

Receptionist: “This doesn’t make any sense. Let me transfer you to IT.”

Me: “…”

IT: “Hello, this is IT. How can I help?”

Me: “Hi, I need the email so I can upload my tax documents?”

IT: “Why did [Receptionist] send you to me?”

Me: “She didn’t understand my email?”

IT: “What is your email?”

Me: “Tax@[website].”

IT: “Cool. I will get that right over to you.”

Email Fail, Part 36
Email Fail, Part 35
Email Fail, Part 34
Email Fail, Part 33
Email Fail, Part 32