Something To Celebrate

, , , | Right | December 25, 2020

The last day of Christmas is a public holiday here in Switzerland.

Caller: “I tried to contact you yesterday, but nobody answered the phone.”

Me: “Yesterday was the last day of Christmas, so the office was closed.”

Caller: “I don’t celebrate Christmas; you should respect that!”

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Didn’t Know That Was In The Cards

, , , , | Friendly | December 12, 2020

My boyfriend and I are having a mock-argument over a card game while cooking dinner. As he isn’t speaking to me, I go back to his room; he lives in student housing. When I turn the corner, I see someone INSIDE his room. Naturally, I run up and yell:

Me: “What do you think you are doing?!”

This makes the guy jump and turn round. He has on the ground a bag from a food delivery service, and he starts to tell me he has my food. I don’t speak German very well and cannot remember how to say, “Get out,” so it becomes a very agitated conversation in a mixture of English and very bad German on my part. I occasionally yell for my boyfriend (who can’t hear me from across the building) while we are talking, which is making the guy nervous.

He seems to think he has the answer and pulls out his phone to show the building on a map. I don’t care why he is there and am making gestures telling him to go. I keep telling him:

Me: “Nicht hier!” *Not here!*

But he is insistent it has to be my food. He isn’t even wearing a mask, which is making me more furious. I then mime for him to call the person who ordered the food, but apparently, he doesn’t get an answer.

Apparently, somehow, he managed to enter the building after not getting an answer, and instead of waiting in the entrance, he decided my boyfriend’s room must be the right one and knocked. When there was no answer, he let himself in, and then I turned up.

After about ten minutes of this, he finally turned around and left and I did a quick assessment to make sure everything valuable we had out was in place. Then, I ran back to the kitchen and told my boyfriend to lock his room as had I found someone in there. Luckily, everything was in place and we went back, confused and shaken as to what the h*** the guy was thinking.

I keep reminding my boyfriend it is a good thing I can beat him at cards as it meant I chased off a potential thief from his room.

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Their Coffee Went Up In Smoke

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2020

We are a table of more than ten — half kids, half adults — on the restaurant’s terrace. The table next to us, all relatively young adults, keep smoking (which is allowed) and sending their smoke to us, and especially to the kids (which is not nice, but also not illegal), even after we ask twice of them to be more careful.

They leave before us, after having made a mess of the “how shall we pay” part, according to the faces their waiter is making once they’ve left.

Fifteen minutes later, our waiter comes to us and explains that yes, some coffees are missing from our bill, but it’s because the other table made such a mess that they paid for far too many coffees. And since they had been such a bother to us, the waiters subtracted those coffees from our bill.

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Making Software Way Too Hard

, , , | Working | November 29, 2020

Several companies have merged. Mine is one of them. The company that bought us is notorious for swallowing up company after company into the gaping maw of its conglomerate.

As a result of this, we software designers are tasked with merging our software as much as possible, so that it is compatible with the various small sub-companies that we now are.

My task in this instance is to visit one of the offices in Switzerland to explain how this tool I’ve built can be used to allow several different software packages to be built using a single command. As you’d expect, it’s complicated and messy, having to cater for a number of options and handle goodness knows how many edge cases and special workarounds.

I know the manager of the team I am presenting to. I’ve worked with her on a previous project, and met her in person at a big workshop meeting that turned into a glorious party a year or so before in a beautiful eastern European capital city.

Her team, however, turns out to be hostile, as they feel that the parent company’s decision to make them use our software in their applications is a bit of a slap in the face. So, from the very first moment of my presentation, they pick holes, they challenge, they question every single decision, and they reply to my justifications for those decisions by telling me bluntly that the decisions were bad ones.

I’m used to this sort of challenge, because it’s little different from a software peer review session. But by mid-afternoon, it has been a hard day and I’m starting to lose patience.

Me: “Okay, here’s the software. It is what it is. I have been tasked with presenting it to you. Take it or leave it. I’ve explained how it works and why it was designed that way. I’m afraid I don’t really have anything else to contribute here.”

Into the silence, the manager, who has been trying all day to get her team to work towards a resolution, bursts out:

Manager: “He’s come all this way to give us an app that will help us! And all the time, you people have just been, so… so rude!

The meeting wound up soon after that, and I returned to the hotel to overeat and overdrink before my flight home the next morning.

Happy days.

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No Pay, No Way

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: cptdarkseraph | October 26, 2020

I work for a company that is often visited by journalists. As I am the spokesperson for the company it’s my job to show them around, explain things, organize media conferences, etc.

There are sometimes weeks with no visits at all and then days with three journalists wanting to visit, meaning long days for me. I am fine with that but this also means that I use my car quite a lot. No worries, I like driving my car and I get a certain amount of money per driven kilometre that more or less covers the cost of the gas I use.

Since the company desperately needs to save money they decide:

Boss: “No more money for car trips inside the country; use public transport. We’ll pay for the yearly bus ticket.”

Me: “I probably won’t be able to make as many appointments. Also, if you count the cost of the bus ticket plus the additional time for travel it’s bad maths for you.”

Boss: “I don’t care.”

Fine with me. I cancel the contract for my parking spot which I had to pay for myself anyway, so I can save some money.

The new rule comes into effect, I have my bus ticket and start coming to work by bus. On the second day I do this one of the project managers I am organizing a media conference for walks in.

Project Manager: “I changed plans for tomorrow. You need to pick up a few things before the press conference.”

Me: “Sure thing. Since the conference is quite early can you send our intern with me to pick it up?”

Project Manager: “Why? It’s not that much to pick up.”

Me: “I know but it’s too much to carry by myself. Since I’ll have to change buses at least once it’d be a lot more efficient, and the conference is too early to make the trip twice.”

Project Manager: “Just use your car.”

Me: “Since you won’t pay for gas anymore I will not do that. Plus I cancelled my parking spot here already.”

Project Manager: “Do you really have to start your green experiments in a month like this?”

Me: “Go talk to the boss. It’s his decision, not mine, I told him this would happen.”

Two days later we are back to getting money for gas, but the project manager had to use his own car to go get those additional things. Since my parking space was already rented out to another person I still came to work by bus and if there were a lot of appointments I just had them pay for the daily parking as well!

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