Enough To Make You Hit The Ceiling

, , , , , , | Working | March 31, 2020

I work cleaning and maintaining water tanks and systems for various properties. I was supervising a group of coworkers on site, even though at the time I was the lowest ranking as a Casual.

Monday – Day 1

I had a two-man team cleaning a pair of tanks in a block of flats when one put his foot through the floor of the loft space to the flat below. As the “ranking” worker, it was up to me to get photos, take measurements, and fill out the paperwork for the insurance, etc.

I asked a coworker to get my laptop from my van parked in the flat’s car park. He went and got it and I started to sort out the mess.

Then, I asked my coworker for the van key… and he couldn’t find it. We searched all round and there was no sign of the key. It was getting late, so I called the office to get them to send the spare key and I got a lift home from the other team.

Tuesday – Day 2

Luckily, I had access to another van, which I used to get back to the main van… only to find that the parking permit was missing. Yes, someone had used the missing key to steal the permit and then relocked the van. I called the police, and while waiting for them, I got the call from the office: there was no spare key. And then, the other team I had working told me they’d put their foot through another ceiling.

Wednesday – Day 3

I was told the main van would be picked up and towed to the office, but I needed to be there to arrange the pickup. I was at the van from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm waiting for the pickup. Finally, they arrived, but the low loader couldn’t manoeuvre in the car park, and since I’d put on the handbrake and the steering lock — as you do — there was nothing he could do.

Thursday – Day 4

I was told that they were going to get the AA “Kerbside Key Service” in that Friday to replace the key and get the van back. Great, I thought. I could concentrate on the job, which had now moved to another area… until I got the call that there was an AA member and a towing guy heading to the van to break in, break the steering lock, and move it — damage I’d be liable for.

I drove over and headed this off and explained that the AA was going to get a key sorted the next day.

Friday – Day 5

I got a lift to the van, and bright and early the AA guy arrived. Within 30 minutes, he’d made two brand-new keys and programmed the locking.

Opening the van, we found that the only thing missing was the Parking Permit. All my tools in the back were untouched and they even left a fully filled-up [Restaurant] coffee card.

And yup, my manager blamed me for the whole mess, and I was threatened with the sack at least four times. 

I’m glad to be working elsewhere now.

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If That’s What You Want, Soviet

, , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

(In the 1980s, there was an effort to assist Jews in the USSR who wanted to emigrate but were denied. Really, all a US citizen could do was write to them and tell them we were working for their release. It also served to annoy the Soviets. My mother joined the campaign and was given a family to write to. Part of the instructions were to mail the letter with a “return receipt postcard” attached. This was to be mailed back by the recipients so that she would know that they received her original letter. I’m not sure who paid for this return postage. One time, after a suitable waiting period, the return postcard did not arrive. My mother went to the local post office to register a complaint. This was not a complaint against the US Postal Service but a way of letting the Soviets know we were watching.)

Mom: “I wish to register a complaint that a letter I sent to the USSR was not received. I know this because I never received the return receipt postcard.”

Clerk: “We would need a letter from them telling us they didn’t receive your letter.”

Mom: “Wait, what? You want them to send me a letter telling me they didn’t get the letter I sent them?”

Clerk: “Yes.”

(Mom stares at the clerk and asks for a manager, please. A manager comes over.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

Clerk: “I was just telling her I can’t open a complaint form until she receives a letter telling her they didn’t receive her letter.”

(The manager stared at the clerk and told them to go work on [something]. The manager then filled out the complaint form for my mother.)

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Seriously Stupid Administration

, , , , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

I was 21 when my Grandma died. I’d watched her slowly decline over the preceding two years, so I was not “grieving” publicly, which allowed me to keep my head.

My grandma, being the stubborn woman she was, had to die at 11:00 pm on a Friday. She wanted to be cremated, and this was about four or five days from the end of the month. By the time the cremation was done and we finally had the death certificate, her last Social Security payment had gone through.

Before her mind had gone too much, I’d had her put me on her bank account, as she lived with me and my dad and uncle, her two oldest sons. This made it easier if we needed something from the store with her card. On the first available day after we got the death certificate, I went to close out her account.

I was told that they were waiting for the SSA to pull the money, and I had to take them the death certificate, as it wasn’t our money.

I spent three months driving between my house, her bank, and the SSA across town before they pulled the money and I could get the last five dollars out of her account to close it.

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Guard Gone Goofy

, , , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

(I have a birth defect, spina bifida, which caused my legs and feet not to grow properly. Though I can stand and walk some, it is immediately exhausting and I can only walk with support. I use a wheelchair and drive with hand controls. I have a van which I put my wheelchair in from the back passenger door. One day, I drive up to a shopping center, park in a handicap spot, and start getting my chair out. I notice a security guard looking at my handicap license plate. That’s cool, no problem; you can’t tell I’m in a wheelchair right away and I hate when people park illegally. I get into my chair and smile at him. This is not some cheap hospital wheelchair someone might use to pretend they are handicapped; it is an expensive custom fit chair.)

Guard: “Ma’am, do you have your placard for this spot?”

(I look at the license plate he was just looking at, and then I look down at myself.)

Me: “Um… no, I have my license plate.”

Guard: “Oh… Well, I just want to make sure; people steal these spots from people who need them a lot.”

(I look down at myself, and then look at my license plate.)

Me: “Uh-huh…”

(The guard walked away after looking at me blankly for several seconds. I don’t know if he thought the chair meant I didn’t really NEED a close spot, thought I was faking it, or was just on automatic.)

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They’re Not Russian To Pay You Any More

, , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

(My boss, the CEO, calls me to his office. When I come, the HR director is also present. Both of them can speak Russian.)

CEO: “[My Name], next week we will have VIP guests from Russia. I want you to give them the factory tour and show them our workshop, offices, etc.”

Me: “Okay, who’s going to interpret? [Secretary/Interpreter] has a week off next week.”

CEO: “You speak Russian; you don’t need an interpreter.”

Me: “Well, while that may be true, I’m not paid to speak Russian.”

CEO: “But you can speak Russian.”

Me: “When I was hired, I was told I’d get a bonus for every language I could speak except for English, which was one of the main requirements for the position I hold. In my contract, it is written that I’m paid for one foreign language and that’s English; I’d get a bonus for other languages. When I asked for it, you personally told me that I ‘don’t have a paper,’ so no bonus for me.”

HR Director: “Um, yes, that’s our policy that you need a certificate. But in your CV, you stated that your mother tongues are Czech and Russian, right?”

Me: “Yes, your point?”

HR Director: “So, you can speak Russian.”

Me: “Yes, but I’m not paid to do so. Since I ‘don’t have a paper to prove it.'”

HR Director: “But it’s your mother tongue.”

Me: “So I don’t need a paper to get my bonus?”

HR Director: “Ugh, um, it’s your mother tongue, so it’s not a foreign language.”

Me: “But it is for you. We are based in the Czech Republic. Russian isn’t an official language here, so by definition it is a foreign language in this state. Is [Half-Russian Coworker] getting a bonus for speaking Russian?”

HR Director: “Ugh…”

Me: “Don’t worry. I know the answer, which is yes. One of her mother tongues is Russian and she is getting a bonus for it.” *turns to my boss* “Sorry, boss, but if you want me to speak Russian at work, you pay me to do it.” *in Russian* “No money, no Russian.”

(I didn’t give that tour.)

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