Bad boss and coworker stories

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can’t, Train.

, , , , | Working | April 9, 2021

I am hired at a big government laboratory that handles sensitive biological samples. Some of the testing we perform is very time-critical and finicky; everything has to be carefully categorized and organization is super strict.

I am about a month into training and I am still only being allowed to perform the most basic tasks. Every part of my training has to be verified by a superior and there are numerous forms to fill out.

One day, a woman from the admin office who I have met once approaches me. 

Admin: “It’s [Wrong Name starting with my first initial], right? We’ve got a new college intern and I need you to train her on how to put these samples into [Complicated Database].”

Me: “It’s [My Name], actually, and I’m sorry, but I don’t know a single thing about that system. I’m not going to be able to train her.”

Admin: “All you have to do is read the training manual and then show it to her. Make sure you sign all of the paperwork saying she’s finished training.”

She starts to walk away. I follow her.

Me: “I’m not comfortable training someone on something that I know nothing of. What if something goes wrong?” 

Admin: *Now walking faster* “I’m too busy to train her; you’re just sitting around. She needs to be trained. I don’t get why this is so hard for you.” 

I ended up taking the issue up with my superior. It turns out that it WAS [Admin]’s job to train the intern but she simply didn’t want to. Funnily enough, [Admin] was only mad for about a week and then was back to her tricks. I was commended for following procedures, but in reality, I was just terrified of messing everything up.

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No Touchy!

, , , | Working | April 8, 2021

I worked at a government lab for two years. This story is one of the reasons I no longer work there. I worked as a laboratory technician. Above us were the scientists who were basically in charge of each testing area.

I was finished with my daily tasks and working on some less important projects when I was approached by a scientist. She was in charge of a different testing area for the day and the tech who worked with her was running behind and wouldn’t be able to do calibration tests for the machinery in the area. Since I was finished for the day, I readily agreed to do the calibration. I gathered all of the equipment and walked into the area ready to start. The moment I touched the machine, this started:

Tech: *Suddenly yelling* “What are you doing?!”

She then ran up and SLAPPED my hand hard.

Me: “Why would you do that? You have no reason to touch me.”

Tech: “This is my area! You just walk in here and touch my things.”

We both worked in this testing area and switched areas all of the time.

Me: “I was asked by [Scientist] to do the calibration because it has to be finished today.”

Tech: “If [Scientist] actually said that, she would tell me. Get out!”

I ended up telling the scientist and the supervisor about this exchange. The scientist was furious because she did tell the tech that I was coming, and now the calibration wouldn’t be finished. The supervisor told me that I needed to let the situation go. I’m so glad I no longer work there.

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He’s Not A Good Fit(ting)

, , , , | Working | April 8, 2021

I work on a moving assembly line. It’s easy enough work: the part comes into your station, you follow the instructions on screen, and if you do it right, it passes to the next guy.

A new guy starts on the section before me. Most people pick up what to do in a few weeks, maybe making the odd mistake after that. But this guy is constantly screwing up nearly two months later.

I figure he might need help, and maybe he’s not getting it from his boss, so I catch up with him on breaks.

Me: “Hey, you’re new, aren’t you?”

New Guy: “Yeah, started a couple of months back.”

Me: “How are you getting on?”

New Guy: “Yeah, it’s boring, init, but all right, I guess.”

Me: “You know those [small fittings]? Are you all right fitting them?”

New Guy: “Oh, I don’t bother. Someone else can do them.”

Me: “That someone else is me; I’m having to run round and do it for you. I could show you a trick to getting them on?”

New Guy: “Nah, you can do that as you’re so good at them.”

Me: “No, I’m not.”

New Guy: “Just do it, all right! D***!”

I’ve been running around for months struggling to do his job as well as mine. If he can’t be bothered to do it, I am not about to. 

The next day, I see more fittings missing. I look down the line and five more are the same. I let it get into the station, do my bit, and then hit the big red button. The line stops, big flashing lights go on, and there is a cheer from the guys as they get to see who messed up. The line manager rushes over to see what is going on.

Line Manager: “What is going on?”

Me: “All these bits are missing.”

Line Manager: “So, fit them! That’s why you have the box of spares — in case the odd one slips through.”

Me: “It’s not the ‘odd one.’ It’s every single one!”

He went up the line and found dozens of parts not done properly. The new guy was called back and made to do them all again. [New Guy] lied and told them that we’d agreed to all this, but he was shot down straight away.

He kept trying to “forget,” normally right before breaks or home time, making me late to leave, but I kept calling him on it until he got transferred off the line. He quit five months later as it was “too much work.” Some people.

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Time Is Money!

, , , , , | Working | April 8, 2021

There’s a big meeting at work. It’s some big push about timekeeping. People haven’t been showing up to work on time in the morning or back from breaks; this adds up as a whole line of people are waiting for them, and then suddenly they get hit by a load of work as the first two have to rush to catch up.

I never realised it was an issue, but it makes sense as we get a load of repair work around these times and they look like rushed and bad work. They say that parts cost three times as much after you work out the cost of paying everyone to stand around and then a whole team to repair what should have been right in the first place.

It all kicks off in the break room as I enter.

Worker #1: “So what if I’m a minute late? Who cares?”

Worker #2: “To be fair, you’re always late and it isn’t a minute.”

Worker #1: “Whatever, a minute, four minutes. Why should I lose money?”

Worker #3: “Why are you always late, anyway? You live around the corner.”

Worker #1: “Because that’s what I’m telling you. It doesn’t matter!”

He seems to think a while and then stands up, clearly angry.

Worker #1: “Well, I’m not changing for them. I’m not coming in any earlier. What about you?”

Worker #2: “Nah, you’re on your own.”

Worker #1: “You?”

Worker #3: “No, what they said was fair. I’m going to come in on time.”

Worker #1: “Screw you guys. I’ll do it alone, then.”

Later in the week, I saw him led upstairs twice — I can only assume about his time. He looked so smug, like he was some hero of the people. But the following week, he was there before I was. So much for showing them!

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Dancing Through Life

, , , , | Working | April 8, 2021

Back in the dark ages before cell phones, I worked in a small retail shop that got 70% of its business by phone order. We still had a retail location fully stocked but only got a handful of people in the store every day.

Then, one week, there were no customers or phone orders. At all. By the third day of this, we had done inventory, dusted everything we could think of, done all the maintenance that was pending, stocked all the new merchandise, called all of our holds to pick up their orders, and had officially run out of things to do. We couldn’t even pretend there was anything productive to do.

We were bored out of our minds, and my manager started dancing around the store. Five minutes later, we had a conga line snaking around the store including both of the managers and all the staff on shift. Then, the bell above the door rang. 

Thankfully, the customer had a sense of humor and joined our conga line! We all had a laugh, but sadly, conga lines were then banned from the store.

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