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A Little Class In Class Will Pay Off Later On

, , , , , , | Working | April 28, 2021

High school was a difficult time for me. I was the “smart kid”: straight-A student, top of my class, the one everybody wanted for group projects. And I was the one everybody forgot was there when recess came. I wasn’t quite bullied, but I was ignored A LOT.

To make things worse, I was diagnosed with a tricky disability in my senior year and was extremely ill, in and out of hospitals all through that year. My grades naturally slipped a bit, and at that point, the few people who talked to me regularly dropped me like a hot potato. Obviously, now that I was only a B student and couldn’t do the whole group project on my own, I was no longer necessary. By the middle of the year, only the “weirdos” from two classes below me even acknowledged I existed. (Great guys. We’re still friends!)

Fast forward several years. My disability is well under control and my career is taking off. I am to be the project manager on a big project in a prestigious engineering firm and I’m involved in hiring more people to the team. We call in a guy whose resume looks promising, and this exchange happens as soon as he is introduced to the interviewing panel.

Candidate: “[My Name]?! Wow, it’s been so long I didn’t recognize you! How’s it going?”

Me: “I’m sorry, do we know each other?”

Candidate: “What, you don’t remember me? I’m [Candidate]! We went to high school together.”

I figure maybe he is someone from another class aiming for a leg up, but I still have no clue who he is.

Me: “Ah, well. That was almost ten years ago and was a difficult time. I’m afraid I don’t remember you. But anyway, your resume…”

Candidate: “Oh, come on! You have to remember me! [Candidate]? We were in the same class all the way through! I think you even had a crush on me!”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Candidate: “Yeah, you totally had a crush on me! You were always up for helping me with homework, and you were game to include me on group projects and then do my share. Pretty sure you did everyone’s share! Ha, no point risking your grade being lower, right? You were a weird little girl!”

I remember him now. I did have a crush on him for a while and “helped” him a lot with schoolwork (meaning I did it for him). It’s bad enough to bring that up in an interview, but… 

Me: “Ah, yes. [Candidate]. I remember you now. You were the one who started yelling out that the [ableist slur] was coming when my disability first started. And stepping back in corridors or crossing the street when I walked by. And telling people they should stay away from the [other ableist slur] or they’d become losers like me, too.”

Candidate: “Er… I… Well, I was young, and…”

Me: “Thank you for reminding me of all this. Turns out it saves us some time.”

Candidate: “But… my interview?”

My Boss: “I think we can all agree that we’re done here.”

He seemed sincerely shocked that he didn’t get the job!

This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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The Sweetest Thief

, , , , | Working | March 6, 2021

Before the health crisis enforced working from home, my team had a tin of candy set out. We took turns restocking it weekly and it worked well since we had an area just for ourselves. Then, the candy started disappearing after hours, at incredible rates.

We honestly didn’t really mind because we always got too much candy and there was typically a lot left at the end of the week. But we also knew it was likely a project manager who had a massive sweet tooth and tended to stay late, and we thought it was rude to just take without a heads-up when he could easily afford his own.

So, we wrote, “God is watching you,” on the tin the next time we restocked. We expected that the guy would come to us and say something about liking candy and being put on the restocking rotation, but it turns out that we both overestimated and underestimated the guy’s honesty.

The candy continued disappearing at the same rate, but every Monday, a $20 note would appear below the tin. Our regular candy budget was about $10, so this was way too much. But since we never officially found out who our candy-thief-turned-candy-supplier was, we couldn’t exactly give it back. We started getting a fancy cake once a month with the leftover money.

Sex For Anything Besides Reproduction? How Dare You!

, , , , , | Related | August 11, 2020

I was raised in a very open household, where I was encouraged to talk about all subjects, so I don’t really get embarrassed easily. My sister-in-law, on the other hand, is bizarrely prudish, to the point that she refers to pregnancy as being in a “delicate condition.” It’s particularly weird because she’s not even religious.

We are both in our late twenties, and at the time of this story, I am being treated for a health issue which means I can’t take the pill. My husband and I are not ready for children yet, but we have slipped, so I am at a pharmacy and convenience store getting a pregnancy test and a large box of condoms. My mom is also somewhere in the store buying her own things, while I’m already at the register.

My sister-in-law enters the store, sees me and my items, turns an interesting shade of red, and makes a beeline for me. Her side of the conversation is done in an angry whisper that’s still audible to other people in line, while mine is at my normal voice tone.

Sister-In-Law: “[My Name], what are you doing?! Why are you buying this trash, and at a local family store? Don’t you care about our family reputation?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Sister-In-Law: “You’re a married woman! People are going to think you’re cheating. And are you? What do you need this for? Married couples don’t need condoms, and a whole box is just scandalous. And if you thought you were in a delicate condition, you’d see a doctor, unless you’re trying to hide your infidelity!”

Me: “I need condoms because I like sex and so does [Husband]. I’m pretty sure a whole box of condoms make us prepared, and hopefully very lucky. And I need the test because, well, I like sex and so does [Husband]!”

I wiggle my eyebrows.

Sister-In-Law: “You’re just shameful! I’m ashamed to even know you! Would you be buying this if your mother could see you? Of course not, you—”

In one of those benevolent-universe coincidences, my mom chooses this moment to come to the register.

Mom: “Hey, [My Name], did you finish buying your stuff already? I found a box of the [different condoms] you prefer if you want to switch.”

Sister-In-Law: *Screaming* “You’re all shameful!”

As she stormed out of the store, the cashier and the couple behind me in line were dying of laughter, I had laughing tears rolling down my eyes, and my mom was just super confused. To this day, my sister-in-law barely speaks to me at family functions, which I still consider a double win!

This story is part of our Best Of August 2020 roundup!

Read the next Best Of August 2020 story!

Read the Best Of August 2020 roundup!

He Just Said What They All Were Thinking

, , , , | Working | July 27, 2020

I work at a small engineering company. We are still very small, only about twenty-five people. We have an IT guy who is responsible for interfacing with clients when their problem is more software-based and installing any modules we program for them. Therefore, he interacts with clients more than most of us engineers. He has a bit of a short temper but is otherwise excellent at his work and great as a coworker.

We also have a very abusive jerk of a client who gives us a lot of revenue and a lot of headaches. He expects each of us to grovel and scrape whenever we interact with him, has sworn at all of us at some point, and is a horrible human being in general.

He’s just found a minor bug on a software we sold him. This is fairly normal and we warranty new software for two to five years because bugs do happen.

My colleague and I, who are the programmers, my manager, and the IT guy are all at his site trying to solve the problem and have already taken a lot of abuse.

Client: “You’re all morons who can’t do anything right. I don’t know why we still bother with your company!”

Manager: “[Client], we are here to fix—”

Client: *Like a chant* “Morons, morons, morons! Come on, sing with me what you are! Morons, morons, morons!”

Three of us there are shocked and don’t know what to do. And then, there is [IT Guy].

IT Guy: “Sure, I’ll sing with you! F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!”

The client’s jaw hits the floor and he starts getting red in the face. But [IT Guy] continues his own chant, raising his voice to the point of yelling in this guy’s – open plan! – office space, and adding dancing middle fingers!

IT Guy: “F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!”

My manager quickly — but not too quickly! — gets us out of there before security comes to get us. [IT Guy] is still yelling as we drag him out the door.

IT Guy: “F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!”

He was fired, of course. In a company as small as ours, we couldn’t afford to let this behavior go unpunished — not with that many witnesses — or our reputation would go down the drain. But he was the office hero for months!

And the client was so hated that [IT Guy] was not fired for cause and was offered a settlement equivalent to two months of his salary, on top of the normal unemployment benefits. My manager also wrote him a kick-a** reference letter and sent his résumé to some connections. He had a good new job in under a month and remained friendly with us.

And we never did business with the abusive client again!

Sick Kids Can Turn Parents Into Basket Cases

, , , , | Related | June 17, 2020

This happened over a year ago, so it’s not to do with current events. Our two kids — a baby and a two-year-old — are very sick, with high fevers and sore throats. We take them to the emergency room, and after that, I go straight home while my husband goes to the drugstore to buy their medicine.

Once he gets home, and we give all the stuff that needs to be taken immediately, I notice he came in like he had been teleported right from the store. He has a shopping basket with the medicine boxes inside.

Me: “Um, did you pay for that?”

Husband: “Of course I did!”

I point over to the basket.

Husband: “Oh! Wow! How did that happen? I’m sure I paid!”

He looked in his wallet and found the receipt. He did pay for everything — except for the basket, that is — and had no idea of what happened. He was so worried and in such a rush that he did everything in a daze.

A couple of days later, once everything was back to normal, he went back to the drugstore, apologized, and gave back the shopping basket.