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No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

, , , , | Working | October 22, 2017

(The office I work at is pretty laid back regarding things like lunch breaks, so I prefer to take my break later in the afternoon so that I am available to answer the telephones over the typical lunch hour. My desk is next to the department printer where a lot of protected information about clients is printed, whereas one of my coworker’s desk is a few cubicles down the hall. I am gathering up a stack of coworker’s printed material and decide to drop it off to her as it’s been sitting for a few hours. It is about 10:45 am, but she’s sitting at her desk eating lunch.)

Me: “Hi, [Coworker], just dropping off your printed forms; they’re in the protected folder in your in-tray if you’re looking for them.”

Coworker: “Oh, okay… um, listen; I normally take my lunch early because I get hungry earlier. I need you to make sure you don’t interrupt my lunch with work; I’ve earned my break and it shouldn’t be interrupted for anything other than an emergency, okay?”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you took an early lunch. Regardless, I was just dropping off the files you printed earlier; I don’t actually need anything from you at the moment. Enjoy your lunch!” *I head back to my desk but my coworker follows me*

Coworker: “I don’t think you understand; it’s very disruptive if you give me your work while I’m on lunch! I don’t get a proper break at all and it stresses me out!”

Me: “Yes, I understand that. I apologized because I didn’t know you started taking earlier lunches. I also wasn’t bringing you any work; you left some client files in the printer tray with sensitive information on them. People were sifting through the pile to get their own items. I was just dropping them off to clear the printer tray, not asking you to handle them right this moment. Next time I’ll make sure you’re not on break before I stop in.”

Coworker: “Good, because I’m not going to interrupt my lunch unless it’s an emergency!”

(A couple days later I am taking my lunch at my usual time, which I have done every day since I started in the department. Our other coworker is out at an appointment so it’s just the one coworker handling clients.)

Coworker: “[My Name]! I need you to jump on line one and finish handling a client’s case!”

Me: “What? Why?!”

Coworker: “I picked up the phone and after a minute or two realized I really had to pee! You can handle it; he just needs help filling in a certain section of his registration.”

(My coworker runs off and I end up answering the phone to a client having severe technical difficulties, and I spend over 20 minutes sorting it out. After that call, another client calls, and another, and so forth until I’ve spent over 45 minutes on the phone and my coworker still isn’t back yet. I manage to find her in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil and talking to someone in another department.)

Me: “Where have you been?! You were supposed to come right back from the bathroom so I could go back to my lunch!”

Coworker: “Yeah, but it’s stressful answering those calls! I just needed a little breather to refresh. I’ll go get the next caller.”

Me: “Good. I’m taking the rest of my lunch outside. I won’t be there if you need to use the bathroom again.”

Coworker: “Okay, fine! Jeez! It was just a little break!”

(Shortly afterward coworker stopped printing her files and would email them to me asking me to print and file them for her since I was “already right there”. I left for a job at another department and she quit the company altogether about a month later because it was “too stressful” for her. The rest of us had no issues and found the job to be relatively easy. She was the one making it stressful!)


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A Weak Week Off

, , , , | Working | October 11, 2017

(I’m a paralegal working in the legal department of a company. Between company holidays, the weekend, and paid time off, I have six days off in a row. Before leaving on the last day before almost a week off, I give some important paperwork that needs to be notarized to my coworker, with instructions as to who will be in to sign it and where it needs to be signed. She and I are the only notaries in the company. I also have a habit of answering urgent messages on my days off, something that I’m constantly urged not to do by coworkers. The next morning, I get a phone call from our supervisor, who is a lawyer.)

Supervisor: “Hey, [My Name]. [Person who needs to sign the documents] is here and says that you have some forms for him to sign. Where are they?”

Me: “I gave them to [Coworker] before I left yesterday. She should have them and can notarize them.”

Supervisor: “I haven’t seen [Coworker] at all today. Do you know where she would have put them?”

Me: “I really have no idea. She assured me that she would be in today to take care of them, and I don’t know what she did with them.”

Supervisor: “Oh, okay. Well, [Person who needs to sign] is here right now and can’t stay for long. I’ll print off a new copy and just have him sign the document. You can notarize it next week when you get in the office.”

Me: “Uh, no. I can’t. It’s illegal for me to notarize something I didn’t see signed. I’ll be in the office next week, and while the document is important, it can definitely wait until then, because it’s not due for a few weeks.”

Supervisor: “Well, [Person who needs to sign] is here right now. Can you come in to notarize this?”

Me: *in my pajamas and watching movies with my son* “I really think this can wait until next week.”

Supervisor: “Yeah, but he’s here right now and we might as well just get it done. Can you come in to take care of it?”

Me: “Sure. Can you give me half an hour?”

Supervisor: “I can give you 20 minutes. He has to be somewhere soon.”

(I live about 15 minutes from the office.)

Me: “Um. Okay. I’ll see what I can do.”

(I got dressed with record speed and somehow made it to the office right on time. After taking care of the paperwork, we found out that my coworker had come into the office bright and early that morning, super sick with the flu. One of the executives saw her, took one look at how sick she was, and told her to go home, promising to inform our supervisor what happened. He then waited to tell my supervisor until he overheard us worriedly discussing what could have happened to her, which was half an hour after I got to the office. They let me cancel my PTO for the day and count it as a day worked, especially once my supervisor found out that I had been casually answering emails before he called anyway.)


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This Extra Working Just Isn’t Working

, , , , , | Working | September 25, 2017

(I have put up with months of my manager coming in late to relieve me. When he’s on time, he sneaks in and goes straight to the office without telling me. It’s always a different excuse for being late, and when I do find him, he tells me he’s just about to come and find me. This usually means I’ve worked an extra half hour or more because I can’t leave until he takes over as manager. After getting an hour cut from my shift, I still find myself working until my original finishing time and not being paid for it because the budget doesn’t allow for extra. I finally have had enough, so I give my two weeks notice. It’s my last day, and I’ve noticed that it’s now ten minutes after my shift officially ended. I had been wondering whether I should just withdraw my resignation.)

Me: *thinking to myself* “It’s bad enough I’m working extra again; I don’t even work here now and I’m still working.”

(About five minutes later, I look up to see the manager coming in. It’s obvious he’s trying to avoid me seeing him.)

Me: *loudly* “Hi, [Manager]!”

Manager: *startled, almost spills the coffees he is carrying* “Oh, hi, [My Name]. I’m late, because I just got you a goodbye coffee.”

Me: “Oh, that’s nice of you. Thanks.” *takes a coffee to find it’s almost stone cold*

Manager: “I have to ask: do you really have to go? Can I talk you into staying?”

Me: *sips the cold coffee* “Hmmm… Nope”.


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The Hat Is Key

, , , , , | Working | September 22, 2017

This story happened years ago when I worked at a small fast food franchise. I was responsible for opening the store on Saturday mornings, so Friday nights I needed to remember to pick up the key before going home. I also wore a hat most days when I worked, so I wouldn’t get hair in the food.

One Friday night, I was already in my pajamas and relaxing for the night, when I suddenly remembered I forgot to pick up the key. It was almost closing time, so I leaped into my car without bothering to change and drove full-speed to the store. By then it was closed, but there were still coworkers present to put away food and do final cleanup.

When my coworker saw me banging on the door — in my pajamas, hair a mess, and wearing a pair of gardening shoes that were the first thing I could find to throw on my feet — she opened the door and gave me a shocked look.

“I almost didn’t recognize you!” she told me. “You’re not wearing a hat!”

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Dress Down For Lunch Or You’ll Get A Good Dressing

, , , , , | Right | September 8, 2017

(I’m on a 30-minute lunch break at the grocery store where I work. I’m still in my apron, I am standing in a checkout line holding food and a drink to buy, and I am on my phone. A customer approaches me.)

Customer: “Excuse me, do you work here?”

Me: “Yes, I do, sir.”

Customer: “Do you know where salad dressing is?”

Me: “Of course, it’ll be to your left on aisle one.”

Customer: “Come show me!”

(I decide not to tell him that I’m on a lunch break, and decide that it’ll be easier to just lead him to the aisle. I show him to the correct spot, and am about to leave and go get in line again when he says:)

Customer: “I need you to pick some salad dressings out for me.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “I’m on a fast and can’t have eggs, cheese, or dairy. I need you to pick some out for me and read me the ingredients.”

(By this point I’m a bit alarmed and confused, but I decide to help him further. I pick him out a lovely balsamic vinaigrette and read the ingredients.)

Me: “This one doesn’t have any eggs, milk, or dairy in it.”

Customer: “Really? No eggs?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “No milk?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “No dairy?”

Me: “Nope.”

Customer: “Okay, pick me out another one.”

(I do, and after reading the ingredients again, I hand the bottle to the customer and make sure that the back of it with the ingredients list is facing him. He briefly looks over it.)

Customer: “Okay, I’ll get this one.”

Me: “Great choice, sir. Have a wonderful day.”

(Needless to say, I practically inhaled my lunch when I got up to the break room. That’s the last time I’ll ever wear my apron/name tag on a lunch break again.)


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