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The Most Stressful Five Minutes Ever

, , , , , | Working | December 3, 2020

I work overnights at a hotel and also manage a day job. Six days out of the week, I’m up for twelve to eighteen hours.

One day, I wake up later than expected and realize I have to be at work in twenty minutes. It takes me about fifteen minutes just to drive there, so I immediately text my coworker.

Me: “I’m so sorry, but I’m going to be five or ten minutes late. I’m really, really sorry!”

I get ready as fast as I can, taking my toothbrush, face wash, and makeup with me, so if I have a spare moment I can clean up better there.

The coworker texts me back.

Coworker: “Don’t worry! It’s okay.”

I arrive literally at 10:05; the shift starts at 10:00. As I turn my car off, I see a ton of text notifications. Most are from my coworker yelling at me for being late.

Coworker: “I had plans! It isn’t fair for me to have to stay later just for you!”

The other is from my manager.

Manager: “Are you all right? Your shift is starting in a minute. Do I need to find someone to cover for you?”

I am a little peeved at this, as I did warn my coworker and it was a genuine accident. I have never been late before, and I’m also nervous about getting in trouble for being late.

Rather than answer the text messages, I rush in and greet my coworker, apologizing as much as I can. I don’t offer excuses as I know it’s my fault for missing my alarm. My coworker just scowls at me and grabs her stuff and leaves, not bothering to tell me anything about her shift. We usually tell the new desk person if there were any complications, drama, problems, etc., and if there were none, it’s normal for us to just say so; that way the new front desk can get a feel of that kind of shift it will be and just be aware of any problems.

Just as she leaves, my phone rings and I see it’s the manager, so I answer.

Manager: “Are you all right?”

Me: “Yes. I’m at work, but I wanted to relieve [Coworker] before I responded to your texts.”

Manager: “Oh, I thought you would be later. I know you work two jobs, so I was afraid you got sick or majorly overslept. You’re okay. I’ll text [Coworker] and let her know that if it’s more than fifteen minutes, then she can contact me. Well, I’m glad you’re okay and at work. See you in the morning.” *Hangs up*

I then start my nightly routine, only to find a handwritten note, again from my coworker, calling me out on being late and explaining that it’s not fair or right for me to be late. While I do understand how annoying it is to stay later, it seriously gets under my skin because I was literally five minutes late. and I’ve stayed an hour or two later in the mornings because the morning front desk overslept. Also, I’ve come in early to relieve this same coworker because she was sick or had night events she wanted to go to.

In the morning, at the end of my shift, the manager comes in and I apologize once more to her.

Manager: “It’s okay. To be honest, by the way [Coworker ] told me you would be late, I was honestly expecting an hour or more. She was saying that you texted her right before her shift was to end and that you needed time to get ready, eat, and drive on over. And she said that she had something going on that she had to get home for. That’s why I was wondering if you needed someone to cover your shift or come in and cover for an hour so she could leave.”

Me: “Well, in the amount of time it would’ve taken for someone to come over and cover for me so she could leave, I probably would’ve arrived by then anyway.”

Manager: *Shrugging* “I suppose that’s true. Anyway, don’t worry about it. I was more concerned that you were sick or something. It was just five minutes, and you’ve stayed later or come in earlier in the past. Just don’t let it be a habit.”

I thanked her for understanding and promised it wouldn’t happen again, and then I went home. The next time that coworker asked me to come in early, I said no.

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