Obeying The Rules To The Letter

, , , | Working | June 22, 2018

(I go to the post office to mail an envelope. One side is quite long — 90 centimeters — but every other side is within the limits, so it can still go through a Dutch mailbox opening, making it a letter. I used to be a mail deliverer myself, so I’m quite aware of all the rules.)

Clerk: “I’m sorry, but the envelope is larger than a mailbox.”

Me: “Eh… It fits through a normal mailbox.”

Clerk: “No, it does not! Look!” *shows the letter next to a mailbox sample display they use to prevent discussions* “It doesn’t fit.”

Me: “Ah, I see… and if you put it in this way?”

(I turned the envelope 90 degrees and “posted” the letter through the sample. The clerk fell silent and turned red, finishing the transaction in silence.)

Self-Insufficient

, , , , , , , , | Working | June 22, 2018

After a buyout, I’ve been temporarily acting as manager of a large group of employees. I’ve separated them into two groups, and each is coming to spend a week training at our headquarters. In preparation, I set up Google documents page with the training schedules, training reference information, maps, lists of contacts, information about the hotel, forms for travel reimbursement, and local information such as taxi services and restaurants. I then email each employee their specific plane tickets and hotel check-in information.

As I am in a supervisory role, this is not my job, but I choose to do this to make my employees’ training easier. Their point of contact for travel is a secretary at headquarters.

Almost immediately, I get the calls from people unwilling to glance through the documents that were provided. Two employees are specifically difficult.

[Employee #1] calls for every question on his trip. He has chosen to rent a car, and expects me to stay on the line with him and give him turn-by-turn directions around the town where the headquarters are located. Each time I tell him to use his company-issued phone for GPS, but he keeps calling. He also emails every morning asking me his daily training schedule. In response, I just keep re-forwarding the initial email with a note that information was already provided.

[Employee #2] just doesn’t read anything. He is scheduled to train with the second group, but having not read the email, doesn’t know that. Instead, he assumes he will be in the first group, books his own flight, and flies out to headquarters. I don’t realize there is an issue until he fails to show up at work on Monday. Then, I get a furious phone call from him complaining that he isn’t booked for a hotel. The secretary at headquarters manages to rearrange things so he can join training that week, but he takes to calling me for any question he might have. Over six days, this amounts to 49 different phone calls. Each has a question that was already answered in the initial email, or is local information he could easily Google.

Afterwards, the company brings on the permanent replacement manager. About a month later, the company decides to make cuts, and I am asked to work with this new manager to decide who will stay. After discussing our experiences, we decide that both [Employee #1] and [Employee #2] show the same lack of attention to detail and zero self-sufficiency in their normal workday that they displayed during the trip.

When they are let go, they have to turn in their phones. I know I made the right choice when I find out I was listed as “Queen Bitch” on [Employee #1]’s contacts!

Are You Puli-ng My Leg?

, , , , , | Working | June 22, 2018

(I own a Puli, an uncommon breed of dog known for its coat texture. They aren’t born with that coat; it takes about a year for the cords to form, and for a few months while the coat is in “transition,” they look like a shaggy, curly-tailed poodle in dire need of a haircut. I am used to having people who work with animals immediately know about the breed and be so glad to get a chance to see one in real life. I have just moved to a new area and am seeing a new vet for the first time, as I think she might be getting an ear infection. The technician calls me into an exam room and starts asking the basic questions, ending with:)

Tech: “…[Dog] sure looks like she could use a haircut!”

(My dog is about eight months old, and very much in the transition stage.)

Me: “Yeah, at this age they do look terrible, but in a few months it’ll be much better.”

Tech: “Do you even brush her?”

Me: “No, that’s not how the coat works.”

(I get ready to give the usual brief overview of how the cords are formed and the work that goes into the coat at this stage, but the vet walks in right then.)

Tech: “Okay, I’m going to take [Dog] to the treatment room and get her weight and vitals.”

(The tech leaves, and the vet starts the usual conversation with professionals of, “Oh, wow, I’ve never really seen one, so that’s what they look like young, etc.” This goes on for a while; I don’t think anything is strange, because at our previous vet whenever [Dog] went into the treatment area, the whole staff had to come and see her. I can hear the sound of clippers turning on in the back, and think it must be another patient getting a haircut. Then, the doctor runs out of stuff to talk about and says:)

Vet: “Well, I’ll go back and see if I can rescue [Dog] from her new fan club so we can start the exam.”

(He opens the door to treatment and screams:)

Vet: “OH, MY GOD! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO DOING?!” *turns back to me* “I am so sorry; I really don’t know what to say. This is inexcusable. I cannot believe…”

(I push my way past him and see [Dog] on a table, with two very scared-looking teenage assistants standing next to her, and a straight line of shaved fur running from nape of neck to base of tail. [Dog] is happily wagging her tail, apparently glad to be introducing me to her new, bestest best friends.)

Assistant #1: “[Technician] said to start shaving her because it was going to be such a long process… but the fur isn’t coming off in sheets like with the dog you showed me on last week, so I stopped and…”

Vet: *who has been babbling this whole time* “This is unforgivable; I’m stunned. Obviously, there will be no charge at all for today. In fact, there will be no charge for any service [Dog] needs, ever, for the rest of her life. Wait. [Tech] said, what?!

Assistant #2: “Her exact words were, ‘Poor dog, just look at this coat. Another stupid owner who bought a doodle-poo and thinks it’s a real breed. You two get started shaving this mess; it’ll likely take an hour or more.’ And then she went to take a cigarette break. I thought she’d gotten the haircut approved.”

Assistant #1: “What did we do wrong?”

Vet: “You mean, besides doing a treatment without the owner’s permission? [Dog] is a Puli.”

([Assistant #1] instantly pales; [Assistant #2] looks confused.)

Assistant #2: “That isn’t a poodle mixed with a collie, is it?”

Assistant #1: “Remember last week when [Other Staff Member] and I were talking about rare breeds we would probably never see in real life? This is one of them; they are famous for their awesome fur.”

Assistant #2: “Oh, crap.”

Me: *having a hard time staying angry because of my very happy dog* “It’s okay; she isn’t a show dog, just a pet. And at least you didn’t start on the side; I mean, once it starts growing out again, it’ll almost look like it was an intentional haircut.”

Vet: “I just can’t believe that she would do something like this without permission; she should know better. I assure you this is not how we do business.”

Me: “I can tell. I would just like to look her in the face when you tell her she doesn’t have a job anymore.”

Vet: “I’m sure that can be arranged.”

(Watching that horribly ignorant woman get fired was one of the more satisfying moments of my life.)

The Silence Was Material

, , , , | Working | June 22, 2018

(I am on a conference call, on my headset. My officemate knows I am on this call, as I asked her if we could close the door so I wouldn’t be distracted by noise outside. As it happens, I haven’t spoken on the call for a while, but am still listening. Suddenly…)

Officemate: *to the tune of “Material Girl”* “Living in a material interest. And I am a…”

(I start frantically gesturing at her. She spots me and puts her hand to her mouth.)

Me: *on the call* “Er, sorry, could you repeat that?”

(Once the call has ended…)

Officemate: “I’m so sorry. You were quiet for so long, I thought your call had ended and you were just working.”

Me: “That’s fine; nobody heard you. But when you’re next having a conference call, I’m going to start doing Mongolian throat singing. Just saying.”

Officemate: “That’s fair.”

This Conversation Died And Won’t Rise Again Three Days Later

, , , , | Working | June 21, 2018

(It’s Easter Sunday and I’m riding up an elevator at work with a coworker. We work at a hospital.)

Coworker: “Happy Easter.”

Me: “Sorry, it’s not a happy Easter for me.”

Coworker: “Well, for us Christians, it is.”

Me: “My mother-in-law just passed away; how’s that for a ‘Happy Easter’?”

(My coworker just looked at me and asked what her name was, I was like, “Nope, not going to happen.” You don’t get to know her name because you jumped to conclusions. Luckily, my stop was next and I was able to get off the elevator without anything further said. But really, why would you instantly go and assume I’m not a Christian just because I said it wasn’t a happy Easter for me?)

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