Engineering A Chip On Their Shoulder

, , | Working | June 27, 2017

(My father is a senior engineer for a national technology company. He has received notification that a newly hired engineer, fresh out of college, is being added to his team. He hasn’t met the engineer, but was given their name, which is one that could easily belong to someone of either gender. He goes to meet this new engineer in the lobby on the first day. He goes out and sees a woman waiting.)

Father: “Hello, you must be [New Engineer]. I’m [Father]; I’m the senior engineer on our team.”

New Engineer: “Bet you weren’t expecting a woman, we’re you?”

Father: “I wasn’t exactly expecting either a man or a woman. I was expecting an engineer.”

New Engineer: “And to you age 50+ engineers, engineer means man, right? Women can be engineers, too, you know. They are just as capable as men.”

Father: “I have no problem with female engineers. In fact, I’m married to one.”

New Engineer: “You mean a manufacturer who would have been an engineer if you let her.”

Father: “No. I mean she has a master’s degree in civil engineering.”

New Engineer: *scoffs* “How kind of you to finally let her go back to school and finally get the degree that matched her skills.”

Father: “She’s had her master’s degree since the early 80s. In fact, she had a master’s degree before I did.”

New Engineer: “Wow, really? She’s one of those trailblazing female engineers?!”

(She suddenly is bizarrely star-struck.)

New Engineer: “Oh, I have to meet her! Was she part of the founding of the female engineer societies?”

Father: “She thought about it. But she realized something that maybe you could learn from. She decided to stop trying to convince everyone that women could be engineers and just prove it.”

Welcome To The Hotel Exaggeration

, , , , , | Working | June 27, 2017

(I used to work at a very prestigious five-star hotel in Central London. Naturally with the territory comes some guests who, in my experience, were impossible. This is however not that kind of story. I am currently an hour into the morning shift when my service phone rings. The call registers from the front desk.)

Me: “In-Room Dining. [My Name] speaking.”

Front Desk: “Hi, [My Name]. Can you go to [Guest Room] and help [Affluent Guest] out, please?”

(Note: Affluent Guest, as I would soon find out, was a regular at this hotel. She also established a reputation with most if not all the hotel staff as being incredibly demanding and impossible to please. This is the first time I am dealing with her.)

Me: “Sure. What is the problem, may I ask?”

Front Desk: “You know? I actually haven’t got a clue, mate. Is this your first time dealing with her?”

Me: “The guest? Yes. Yes, it’s the first time.”

Front Desk: “Okay, just to let you know she’s VERY impatient and extremely rude, so be careful, okay?”

Me: “Thanks for the heads up. I’m on my way to the room now.”

(I hang up and head up to the floor that Affluent Guest is on. On the way I cross paths with one of the housekeeping associates.)

Housekeeping Associate: “You going to [Affluent Guest]’s room?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Housekeeping Associate: *rolls eyes* “She’s craaaaazy. Don’t let her get her way!”

Me: “I won’t.”

(I’m a little bit concerned about how much of an issue this particular guest is perceived as, but for benefit of the doubt I just put it down to exaggerations on the hotel’s part. I find the room, knock, and then enter to see a frail, old Chinese lady sitting on the sofa.)

Me: “Good Morning, ma’am. My name is [My Name]; I understand you’re having some sort of issue with your room?”

Guest: “Hello, my dear. Yes, I cannot get the window to open, see? And it’s very hot in here!”

(From the moment I walked in I could feel the humidity. On this particular summer day in London, the heat was out in force.)

Me: “I see. Unfortunately, ma’am, because we are on the seventh floor, the windows are locked shut for your own safety. Have you tried your air conditioning?”

Guest: “I have, my dear. But I don’t know how to work it properly.”

Me: *starting to get a little bit concerned* “Okay… has anyone else came to the room to help you?”

Guest: “Yes, but they didn’t do as I asked. They thought I wanted to change rooms! All I want is to get the air conditioning working.”

Me: “Of course, I completely understand, ma’am. Let me see what I can do for you.”

Guest: “Thank you so much, young man.”

(I go over to the A/C unit and realise that not only is it not on, it’s also broken. In regards to the guest, the perception of her being anything but pleasant has completely faded away at this point, but I’m more so concerned that this elderly lady was allowed to sit in such heat for such a long time.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am. I realise what’s the problem. Your A/C unit here is not working for whatever reason. Did anyone else check the unit?”

Guest: “No, not at all!”

Me: *stunned at this* “Okay. Here’s what I’m going to do now for you. I will be calling the engineers to the room to see if they can fix the A/C. In the meantime, I would recommend you go down to the restaurant on the second floor. We have air conditioning down there so you can cool off and relax whilst the problem here is fixed. I’ll also ask the restaurant to have a cool drink waiting for you to make up for the issue. How does that sound, ma’am?”

Guest: “That sounds very nice! Thank you for your understanding. May I have your name?”

Me: “You certainly can. It’s [My Name].”

Guest: “Thank you, [My Name]. I will be leaving a message about your conduct tomorrow before I leave. Thank you so much for your time!”

Me: “It’s my pleasure, ma’am. Have a nice day!”

(I left, happy that I was able to resolve the guest’s problem AND shatter the pretensions of nearly everybody else about that guest, and all because I didn’t over exaggerate her issue, and instead treated her problem as something that was easy to fix in less than an hour. Never let other people’s perceptions cloud yours.)

My Knife, Your Problem

, , , | Working | June 27, 2017

(My dad owns a small business for tinsmithing. We recently hired a new employee. For this story let’s say my dad’s initials are M.K.)

Dad: “Hey, didn’t I give you my knife today on site?”

New Hire: “Yeah, I gave it back to you right afterwards.”

Dad: “Are you sure? Because I can’t find it anywhere…”

New Hire: “Well, I don’t know what to say to you. Maybe you lost it somewhere?”

(A few days go by. My dad sees New Hire working with a knife that looks exactly like his. He lets him turn it around and, sure enough, there are the initials M.K. written in permanent marker on the clip.)

New Hire: “What do you mean?! That’s mine! I bought it a few weeks ago!”

Dad: “Well, then why is there written M.K. on YOUR knife?”

New Hire: “It stands for… my knife!”

(My dad did let him keep the knife since it was a cheap one and it may have been a honest mistake and he simply was ashamed to admit that he took it. However, New Hire was let go shortly afterwards, still in his probation period, when money went missing from the locker room.)

A Routine Poutine

, , | Working | June 27, 2017

(I am in a popular restaurant here in Canada, and if you don’t know, poutine is a Canadian treat with french fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Those are items all poutines have.)

Me: *giving my order to the waitress* “Could I get a poutine instead of fries, please?”

Waitress: “Would you like gravy on your poutine?”

Me: “Err, yes, please.”

Would Jew Risk It?

, , , , , , | Working | June 27, 2017

(My family and I are driving to Idlewild for a mini vacation, and stop at a local restaurant on our way to our cabin. We sit, are greeted pleasantly, and chat with the waitress. All perfectly pleasant, until we try to order. My mother wants to know if a particular soup has pork in it, as the meat is not specified on the menu.)

Mother: “Excuse me, could you tell me if there’s pork in this soup? Or pig of any kind?”

Waitress: “Oh, let me go check.”

(So far so good. She comes back out with the cook and the apparent owner.)

Cook: “We don’t cook this with pork in it. Can I ask why you can’t have pork? Is it an allergy?”

Mother: “No, it’s a religious thing. We’re Jewish.”

(The cook and the owner, as well as the waitress, all appear deeply confused and affronted. We try to explain the religious abstention from pork and other such forbidden foods, explaining it is our preference, not something we advised for everyone.)

Waitress: “Jewish? Well, that’s stupid. Why can’t you just eat the pork. It’s perfectly good food!”

(We were stunned, offended, and quickly left, paying for our food and throwing out the soup soon after, on the off chance they did actually put pork in it.)

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