Bad boss and coworker stories

This Stresses Me Out

, , , , , , , | Working | June 14, 2021

I’m working for a multinational company that employs tens of thousands of staff; our site alone has about 700 employees. One afternoon, as I am merrily doing some design work, I get an email from someone at the corporate office. It’s completely blank and has been sent to everyone. I figure that someone accidentally sent this to everyone, hit delete, and go to get back to my work.

Then, a little message pops up.

Message: “[Email Sender] has requested a read receipt when the email has been read. Do you wish to send? Yes/No.”

Oh, dear. I hit no, figuring the sender probably wouldn’t appreciate a reminder of what they did. I also wonder how many people have their settings to automatically send the receipt without prompting. I manage about twenty seconds more work when I get another email alert. It’s a reply to the original email.

Reply #1: “?”

Someone has decided that the best response to a blank email was responding with a single question mark. But the “best” way of doing this was to hit Reply To All. I hit delete.

Message: “[Reply Sender] has requested a read receipt when the email has been read. Do you wish to send? Yes/No.”

The reply had inherited the Read Receipt request. I imagine the IT departments across various sites not being very happy as the email server starts to fill. I imagine their collective moods worsening when the next message appears.

Reply #2: “??”

This is followed shortly by…

Reply #3: “???”


Reply #4: “????”

…as a few people decided that this is funny. I guess it is, to a point. I and a few of my nearby colleagues laugh at the stupidity of these people and how they are going to get some grief for clogging the mail servers. All of these want Read Receipts, too. I think we reach “????????” before the emails start to change.

Reply #5: “Please remove me from this email chain.”

This is sent to everyone, of course; there are a few of those.

Reply #6: “Please stop using Reply To All as you are making the problem worse!”

The odd thing is that it wasn’t one person who sends that message; there are several. And they aren’t doing it independently. Each email includes all the text from previous emails, and I can see the previous warnings there.

Reply #7: “You’ve just hit Reply To All to send the message; don’t do that!”

…and so on. I have no idea if those who are adding their warnings are trying to be funny or helpful or are just desperate to be the one who gets everyone to shut up by having the last word. In any case, the last word comes through a few minutes later with a site-wide email from our IT manager.

IT Manager Email: “Please stop responding to the email that was sent in error. These responses are clogging the servers. The email network will be down for a period while we remove these emails”

This email does not request a read receipt. 

A day or so later, I see one of the IT staff and ask him about the events of that afternoon. He visibly deflates as the memories come back.

IT Guy: “We had to disconnect our server from the global network to stop anything else getting through and then go through the servers and strip out every single one. It took hours!”

Me: “What started it all?”

IT Guy: “One of the accountants at corporate was trying to test something and accidentally managed to send a blank message to everyone. You know the rest.”

Me: “What about all those who responded? I noticed that there were a couple of senior directors from this site who joined in the, uh… fun.”

IT Guy: “They were all spoken to. They were told in great detail about server space, exacerbating problems, and exponential growth!”

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God Help You If You Have To Use The Restroom

, , , , , , | Working | June 14, 2021

When I started working at my university as an admission counselor, the role was fulfilling but incredibly stressful. Every second of our day was scheduled by the higher-ups and we had to manually mark our status on the computer. Teams were measured by how closely their statuses aligned with their schedules. I stressed over meeting steep call quotas and enrollment goals. I worked from home one day per week and my supervisor was extremely strict with making sure I kept to my schedule. If my computer went idle when I wasn’t on break, she would message me to make sure I was working.

After eight months in this role, the health crisis hit and we became fully remote. I was living with my parents and sister, so I had to work from the basement, which was the only place I wouldn’t be disturbed while on a call. It was quite cold and lonely down there, which, in addition to the mental distress of living in a global crisis, made the rigidity of my job unbearable. I really liked the university, and the pay and benefits were too incredible to give up, so I began applying for roles in other departments. I was soon offered a position in the registrar.

My new role was absolutely nothing like the old one. I didn’t have to clock in or out, and no one cared how I structured my day. I actually had a meeting with my boss a few weeks ago where she told me someone had reported to her that I had been idle for more than fifteen minutes, and my boss went on a rant about how she doesn’t want her employees to feel like they’re being monitored and she doesn’t care what our schedule looks like so long as we get the work done. It was such a stark contrast to the boss who made me feel like a criminal for taking a couple of extra minutes of break time that I almost started crying on the call. It is really nice to know I now have a supervisor who will stick up for me and actually cares about the work we do, rather than arbitrary bureaucratic restrictions.

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Extensive Laziness

, , , , | Working | June 14, 2021

I’ve been working on getting a permit to build an extension on my house; such permits are required where I live. Most government services in the area are run out of the county courthouse. If you don’t know the phone extension for a specific office or employee, you call the courthouse’s main number and the receptionist transfers you to the right person.

I have a question about one of the forms I have to submit to the county zoning office, but I don’t know their direct number, so I call the courthouse’s main number. The receptionist answers, I explain what I need, and she agrees to transfer me. I’m on hold for a few minutes when the next person picks up.

Employee: “Hello, this is [Employee] in Licensing. How can I help you today?”

Me: “I have a question about [form].”

Employee: “I’m sorry, could you say that again?”

Me: “I have a question about [form]. I’m looking for a permit to build an addition on my house, and I have to submit [form] to be approved.”

Employee: “This is the licensing office. We don’t have anything to do with zoning or building permits.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. Your receptionist transferred me to this extension.”

Employee: *Under his breath* “God d*** that stupid woman!” *More clearly, to me* “I understand. The courthouse recently hired a new receptionist. She’s been transferring calls to random extensions all week because she’s too lazy to actually learn which department deals with each issue. Do you have a pen and paper ready? I can’t transfer you directly to the zoning office, but I can give you their direct number instead of making you deal with our receptionist again.”

Me: “That would be great. I’m ready for the number.”

Employee: “The zoning office is [phone number]. Since you’re here, is there anything you need help with as far as licensing is concerned?”

Me: “Nope, nothing. Thanks for helping!”

Employee: “You’re welcome! Have a great day, and good luck with your addition!” *Under his breath, as he’s hanging up* “And now to yell…” *Click*

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You Gotta Show Up To Get The Money

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: vemiam | June 12, 2021

A few years ago, I worked in a call centre for a major mobile phone provider in the UK in the incoming upgrades department. [Coworker] was an all right person for all of a month while working there. She asked me to cover her shift so she could “hold her father’s hand as he lay dying in hospital” and I agreed so I didn’t end up looking and feeling like a d**k. The day came where I covered her shift, and on my way to work, I got a text from her with her phone login details.

Each employee had a unique eight-number code to log in to the phones and computers to take calls and input customer data. I thought it was weird that she texted it to me but ignored it. I had a fantastic day that day for upgrades. I managed to sell sixteen upgrades, two accessories, and three new lines, which made me eligible for that month’s bonus. I was made up.

[Coworker] returned to work and asked me how the Sunday shift went — she never thanked me — so I told her I’d had a top day and gotten that month’s bonus in one day. She was extremely excited for me, or so I thought. The day that pay slips were released, [Coworker] came to my computer to ask why the bonus wasn’t showing up on her pay slip.

I told her it was on my pay slip because I was the one who earned it, and she said, “Oh, I thought you were using my phone because it was my shift. That’s all right. I’ll just take half. Do you want my bank details and you can transfer it?”

Wow, just wow. No, [Coworker], I’m not giving you s***.

She turned on me something awful, calling me a horrible b**** and cursing my family for keeping her money from her, so I took it to my team leader, and [Coworker] apologised.

And then, the next day, she asked for a quarter of the bonus for letting me cover her shift and have that great day. She got a firm no but decided that must mean I’d accept buying her dinner for a fortnight because it was the least I could do and the least she deserved — her words, not mine. She let me know this when she added s***loads of food to her order and got five drinks and told the lady that I’d pay. She even tried walking off with her tray. She got shouted back by at least five people, and I finally told her to f*** off or I’d go to Human Resources.

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Not Ovary-acting To This One

, , , , | Working | June 11, 2021

I am a female apprentice in a very male-dominated field. None of my coworkers or bosses have ever had an issue with that; in fact, they are all very supportive.

One day, we have an outside company come in to do some work we don’t do, so they come around about once a week. There is a new employee with them. I am tasked with bringing them some things they need.

New Employee: “Uh, what are you doing here?”

Me: “I am doing an apprenticeship.”

New Employee: “Right, but when you’re finished, you’ll work in accounting?”

Me: “Uh, no, I’ll be in the workshop.”

New Employee: “No, really, you should be doing a desk job.”

I think he might be joking, so I laugh, but I realize he’s serious.

Me: “I love my job, so I’m not going anywhere else.”

New Employee: “But it’s not, you know… a job for you.”

I was so flabbergasted that I just walked away, but I vented to my coworkers about it. They all took my side, and I am still astounded by an outside company coming in and thinking they can tell me what job I should be doing.

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