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The Misogyny Starts Early, And It’s Coming From Inside The House

, , , , , , | Working | September 6, 2021

My husband and I are expecting our first baby and just found out we’re having a girl. I am talking with a coworker who is also pregnant and having a girl, as well.

Me: “We just found out we’re having a girl!”

Coworker: “And you’re happy about that? You didn’t want a boy first?”

Me: “Not really. I’d be happy either way, but I am really excited to be having a girl.”

Coworker: “Is your husband disappointed?”

Me: “Uh, no. He’s thrilled. He was actually really hoping for a girl; he’s probably more excited than I am.”

She didn’t say much after that but I got the impression she wasn’t happy about having a girl.

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Coworkers Are Crazy-Makers

, , , , , , | Working | September 6, 2021

To put it mildly, my coworker is a selfish idiot who lacks basic self-awareness, which results in her looking like a massive hypocrite. Today, she is really on a roll.

Example #1:

Last summer, she bumped someone’s hours from forty hours a week to fifteen hours to nine hours during a global health crisis. Today, these words come out of her mouth in regards to an intern not minding taking the day off.

Coworker: “We cannot just tell him not to show up! He is depending on those hours!”

Eight hours versus two-hundred and fifty — seems fair.

Example #2:

[Coworker] will send me text messages two minutes before the meeting starts and then ask me if I saw the text message. Rather than just asking the question, she will derail the entire meeting to repeatedly ask if I saw her text message, despite me telling her no. One-hundred percent of the time, the question is something that can wait for after the meeting and is not a huge secret that no one else can know about.

Coworker: “[Instant Message Service] is a huge distraction. It is like text messages!”

So, you admit you do this to be a jerk?

Example #3:

[Coworker] has it in that insane little head of hers that, if I am in the office, then SHE is in the office. Therefore, I always need to be in the office. I have a doctor’s appointment and won’t be in until later.

Coworker: “Someone needs to be in the office at all times. It looks bad if we aren’t.”

This is the same woman who spent every Monday for six months claiming she was going to the dentist and then cancelling it each time after sending out mass texts announcing she was at the dentist and wouldn’t be available. God forbid I get my anxiety meds to deal with this woman.

She is the absolute worst.

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There’s No Room For Error When Working With Family

, , , , , , | Related | September 3, 2021

My first job, when I was too naïve to know any better, was working for my uncle. He wanted a programmer to maintain the website and database for his nonprofit and to help with a startup. Neither the nonprofit nor the startup could afford to HIRE a programmer, so he offered me free room and board, an allowance of $100 a week, and “experience and a spot in the company if the startup takes off.” It was stupid to work for so little, but I agreed to, and I wouldn’t complain if he’d held up his end of the bargain.

Of course, of the odds and ends that made up my “salary,” the room was the most important and valuable. My uncle lives with his girlfriend, and I moved into her basement. This story begins maybe a year after I moved in.

Uncle: “Has [Girlfriend] talked to you about her friends coming to stay?”

Me: “No?”

Uncle: “Well, she has some old friends coming next month and the basement room is the biggest and nicest spare room, so they’ll be staying there. You can take the upstairs spare room or go back to [Home State] for two days.” 

Me: “But all my things are down here! I have furniture in this room that’s too heavy to move and won’t fit in the upstairs room anyway. And I’m trying to tame the cat that lives on the basement patio; how can I do that if strangers are in this room? Not only won’t I be able to see when she’s around, but I can’t even approach the patio from outside without feeling like I’m intruding on the guests!”

Uncle: “That’s up to you. I just came downstairs to make sure you know you’ll need to leave on those days.”

I agree, reluctantly, to take the upstairs spare room. The day before the guests are supposed to arrive, I’ve almost finished cleaning my room. I plan to wash my dishes and take the items I want to keep with me upstairs that evening. I’m at the nonprofit when my uncle’s girlfriend texts me.

Girlfriend: “Hi, [My Name], my friends showed up early, so I went ahead and took all your things upstairs.”

I’m furious that she went into my room and moved my things without so much as asking for permission, let alone asking what I wanted where. But I text back, “OK,” because what else can I do? She’s already done it; I can’t exactly tell her no.

That afternoon, when I get home, I go upstairs to assess the damage. I can’t find any of my books. There’s a dirty knife, covered in jelly, at the bottom of my laundry basket, which has been repurposed into a junk basket. Various electronics are piled in it willy-nilly, some missing their charge cords. All my dishes, apart from that one knife, are in the dishwasher, even though many aren’t dishwasher-safe. I have to go down to the basement to collect clothes, because [Girlfriend] didn’t bring any up.

I also show the guests where I keep the kibble and ask them, since they have the patio, to please feed the cat. They agree, but for the rest of their stay, the kibble dish is empty every time I look at it. I eventually sneak into the basement when they’re not there to get kibble with which to refill it.

The next day, I discuss what’s happened with my uncle, trying to make him see why the situation bothers me.

Me: “First of all, she just kicked me out of my room! I didn’t get any choice in the matter.”

Uncle: “Sure, you did. You got to choose whether to stay upstairs or leave the house.”

Me: “I mean I wasn’t given a choice of whether or not to give up my room.”

Uncle: “No, you weren’t. The room is in [Girlfriend]’s house; it belongs to [Girlfriend], and just because she’s nice enough to let you use it, that doesn’t mean it belongs to you. I think you need to appreciate how [Girlfriend] has bent over backward for you. She didn’t have to let you stay in her house.”

Me: “That’s most of my salary! I earn that room!”

Uncle: “[Girlfriend] doesn’t get anything from you. You don’t write code for her; you write it for me.”

Me: “If you’re stealing from her to pay me with something that was never yours to offer in the first place, that’s between the two of you. Either the room is charity, given to me out of the goodness of [Girlfriend]’s heart — in which case, she does have the right to kick me out, but I’m working for practically nothing — or it’s part of my salary, in which case, I have the right to stay there as long as I keep doing my job. Which is it?”

Uncle: “I’m not going to discuss this.”

Later that day — while I’m still living in the upstairs guest room — we’re discussing the startup’s prospects and how much longer I can continue working with him before I start looking for a “real job”.

Uncle: “I know, I don’t pay you very much. But if you include the room and board—”

Me: “Seriously?”

Sadly, this is not the incident that led to me quitting that “job” — although it probably would have been if it weren’t for the cat, who wasn’t tame enough to transport yet. A few months and a lot of kitty treats later, after an even stupider argument, I packed her into a carrier and left for good.

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Luckily, Customers Don’t Have Firing Power

, , , , | Right | September 2, 2021

I worked for a naval architectural firm in the 1980s. The Washington, DC office I worked in had several US Navy contracts. The office had three departments: one admin and two departments that supported our customers. I worked in one of the latter departments.

The other department had one customer in particular who was very demanding. He was also known for his quick temper. I didn’t know about him at this time, though I soon would.

One evening, I happened to be working late. I assumed I was the only one in the office suite. When our office phone line gets a call after business hours, a night bell rings, and the call can be picked up from any extension. At around 7:00 pm, the bell rang and I picked up.

Me: “[Company].”

Customer: “Get me Mr. [Other Department Chief]!”

Me: “I’m not sure if he’s in, but I’ll go check.”

I happened to sit next to the department chiefs’ offices. I peeked in the office of [Other Department Chief] and he wasn’t there.

Me: “I’m sorry, Mr. [Other Department Chief] isn’t here this evening. I can take a message and see that he gets it first thing in the morning.”

Customer: “God d*** it! I need to speak to him now! Get me his home phone number.”

I knew that even if I had access to that information, I shouldn’t give that out to anyone.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I cannot give out that information, but—”

Customer: “D*** it, I need that number. This is [Customer] and there’s a major f***-up on these plans! Get me his godd*** phone number, or I’ll have you fired so quick your head’ll spin!” *Pause* “What’s your name?”

Me: “I’m [My Name], and I don’t work for Mr. [Other Department Chief]. But I’ll see if there’s anyone here in his department that can help you.”

I placed him on hold before he could get another word out. I walked over to the other side of the suite, and there happened to be a secretary whose husband worked with [Customer].

Me: “Hey, [Secretary]. There’s some loudmouth on hold that wants to talk to Mr. [Other Department Chief]. Says his name is [Customer] something…”

[Secretary]’s eyes got wide, and she asked that I transfer him to her extension. I went back to my office and transferred the call and then got back to my work.

About an hour later, Mr. [Other Department Chief], [Secretary]’s husband, and a couple of the other department’s engineers came into the office. They used the conference room to spread out a whole bunch of engineering drawings. They began intently studying them while on a speakerphone call with [Customer]. Though I couldn’t make out what was being said, I heard [Customer]’s voice yelling for nearly another hour.

After their call, Mr. [Other Department Chief] was walking past my office. I called out to him.

Me: “Hey, Mr. [Other Department Chief]. Do I still have a job?”

Other Department Chief: “Huh?”

Me: “Oh, that [Customer] guy said he was going to have me fired.”

Mr. [Other Department Chief] laughed and then waved his hand at me, signaling me not to worry about [Customer]. And sure enough, I still had my job for eight more years — thankfully without ever having to deal with [Customer] again.

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But You’ll Be Late For Being Early!

, , , | Working | September 1, 2021

Every week, one of the teams meets to discuss the weekly affairs and do some planning for the week ahead. Though I’m not part of that team so I don’t have to join the meeting, I often do as my work touches theirs quite frequently. Most of the meeting isn’t that relevant to me, but occasionally, my input is needed. Tomorrow, I’ll be unable to join at the start (which is the least interesting part of the meeting for me) due to a private appointment. I message the team lead of that team.

Me: “Hey, just letting you know I won’t be joining tomorrow’s meeting at 9:00 sharp.”

Teamlead: “The meeting is at 10:00 tomorrow.”

Me: “Ah, okay. My point still stands, then.”

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