Bad boss and coworker stories

We Have Several Questions About What We Heard

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

I mishear things a lot. Usually, it’s something dirty I think I hear, but not this time.

Me: “Hi! How’re you doing tonight?”

The customer answers but I hear something else. I’m staring at her with wide eyes, frozen for a moment.

Me: “I’m… sorry… what?”

Customer: “I said I was good and found everything just fine.”

Me: “Oh! I totally misheard you for a moment there.”

Customer: “What’d you hear?”

Me: “I thought you said, ‘You can just shut up now,’ which made me wonder if you knew my mom or boyfriend.”

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The Contrarian Librarian: The DVD

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

Back in the early 2000s, I return some DVDs I’ve borrowed from my university library’s media counter. A few days later, I try to borrow some books from the main counter, but I’m told that there’s a block on my account because I didn’t return some DVDs. I say I did return them, and they ask me to speak to someone at the media counter.

Me: “Hi. According to the system, I didn’t return [DVDs], but I think whoever was working the desk when I returned them forgot to scan them or something.”

Librarian: “And I’m supposed to just believe you?”

Me: *Shocked* “Or… You could check if the DVDs are in the drawers behind you?”

Librarian: “Oh! Right.”

They were there. She didn’t say another word or even apologize. She just looked very embarrassed while she made sure to scan each DVD.

The Contrarian Librarian Runs Out Of Time
The Contrarian Librarian: The Childhood Years
Softening Of The Contrarian Librarian
The Contrarian Librarian: Looking For Work
Re-emergence Of The Contrarian Librarian

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Past Performance, My Dude

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

I work for a large company and have two people working for me: [Coworker #1] and [Coworker #2]. [Coworker #1] is hardworking, always on time, and happy to help. [Coworker #2] is her opposite; he has been late several times already this year and won’t do anything he deems “not his job.”

Both are great people and work well together; however, when a vacancy comes up for a senior position in another department, I recommend [Coworker #1]. She has all the qualities needed and the right attitude.

A few weeks later, I learn that there have been many applications — including [Coworker #1] and [Coworker #2] — but [Coworker #1] got the offer. They publicly state that it was largely helped by my personal recommendation.

[Coworker #2] comes to me, very angry.

Coworker #2: “Why did you recommend [Coworker #1]?”

Me: “I felt she was well suited for the job.”

Coworker #2: “That’s favouritism! You should have recommended us both or neither.”

Me: “No, I will never stand in the way of people progressing, and frankly, the promotion wouldn’t suit you.”

Coworker #2: “How do you know?”

Me: “The job includes working longer hours, working helping different teams, and, importantly, needs excellent timekeeping and organisation.”

Coworker #2: “You don’t know! I could do all that if I wanted to!”

Me: “You expect to be given a job, based on no evidence that you could perform any of what they are asking, instead of us giving it to someone who has demonstrated that they can time and time again?” 

Coworker #2: “I, err, well… It’s still not fair. I’m going to human resources!”

He did and he put in a complaint against me, which was disregarded immediately. HR told him that we can recommend anyone we like, and frankly, it was part of my job to develop people. 

As he still wouldn’t back down, they brought the interviewing manager over, who told him brutally that even if the Pope had given him a recommendation, he still wouldn’t have gotten the job!

[Coworker #2] sulked for months and nearly got himself fired for his resulting behaviour. Happily, he has finally agreed to let me develop him and his skills and he is doing much better.

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We Want Solutions That Involve Changing Nothing

, , , , , | Working | April 20, 2021

I work as a contractor, taking roles in companies that are having serious quality problems. 

Having worked for several companies in many industries, I have gotten pretty good at finding out why problems occur and how to fix them.

This one company is having major issues with deliveries to their main customer. Every month, they are sent a list of missing parts. The company has to make a load of spares and then airfreight them across the globe to get them delivered in time.

The company is sure that their supplier is making it up but can’t prove it. 

My first step is the packing area, I am introduced to a hate-filled, haggard woman that initially refuses to look at me. I’m told she is the person that packs everything and of course could make no mistakes. 

Me: “Hi, my name is [My Name]. I’ve been asked to help out with [Customer].”

The woman ignores me.

Me: “Perhaps you could help me understand what might be the issue?”

Woman: “Well, they’re making it up, aren’t they!”

Me: “Okay. Do we have any paperwork that proves what we packed?”

Woman: “Oh, I knew this would happen. What has it been, five minutes? And you are blaming me?”

Me: “I didn’t say anything about blame.”

Woman: “No, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”

And she refuses to speak to me. I catch up with the owner. He is as limp as wet lettuce and makes some stupid excuse not to deal with her. He asks me to try again tomorrow. So I do.

Me: “Good morning! Can we chat?”

Woman: “I suppose.”

Me: “So, we need to prove that the customer is losing these parts.”

Woman: “I don’t see what the fuss is about. They cost pennies to make.”

Me: “And hundreds of pounds to replace and ship, every month. I was told that because of these complaints, the company is barely making any money.”

Woman: “I don’t see what that has to do with me!”

I spent a month trying to work through the problems, being ignored by staff, and trying to wet nurse the directors. I eventually found a foolproof, quick, and cheap solution to fix the problem. However, the directors were too scared to implement it, in case it inconvenienced the staff.

I told the company they were wasting their money hiring me if they would not implement my solutions and respectfully ended my contract early.

They call me from time to time to come back in and help. I decline.

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Over Time, This Can Become Very Frustrating

, , , , , , | Working | April 19, 2021

I work for the local council. Due to the current health crisis, we have had to close the office and work from home. This means helping the contact centre. It’s not difficult as we did more or less the same job face to face. The only difference is we help with applications (Blue Badge for disabled residents, Bus Pass applications, Council Benefit applications, etc.).

After the second lockdown, we ran a limited service from the local library. This was to try and be as “normal” as possible. But to adhere to social distancing, we had to book appointments instead of a walk-in service. As soon as the third lockdown hit, the library closed. So that customers wouldn’t lose their appointments, we instead worked overtime and weekends to help customers with applications over the phone. That’s something we can’t normally do due to needing photographs, documents, etc., but we’re trying our best to provide the service even though it is much more limited.

I decide to do a bit of overtime to help with these appointments. My manager sends me three tasks to complete during my one-hour overtime: two that will take around fifteen minutes each and one that will take around half an hour. Therefore, I will finish at 6:00 pm. My manager sends me two of the tasks and keeps referring to the third. However, he has not sent it to me. I keep asking for it to be sent to me as I do not have it, but she keeps implying that I have deleted the email. At 5:00 pm, my manager is showing as “offline,” so any emails or messages I send will not be picked up straight away. I complete the two applications which take around forty-five minutes and then pick up some emails for the remaining time.

I log on the next morning and the first thing I see is an email from my manager containing the last task. 

Manager: “This was in my drafts.”

It was sent at 6:18 pm. No apology. I was also suffering from a flu — tested negative for the health crisis illness, thankfully — and had informed my manager of this. There was no sympathy at all. I decided not to do any more overtime.

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