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  • October's Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

    Category: Coworkers

    Adding Con-Text To The Story

    | AB, Canada | Coworkers, Holidays, Overtime

    (In my entire time with my company, I’ve never been able to make it through a vacation without getting a call from the office, asking me how to fix some problem. It’s usually an incredibly minor problem, so I frequently complain about it. On my last vacation, as expected, I get a text message from the office. We sort out the problem and at the end of our text conversation…)

    Coworker: “And I hope you’ll notice that I TEXTED you, so this doesn’t count as a phone call!”

    Me: “Oh, don’t worry. It’ll be a phone call when I tell the story.”

    If It Ain’t Broke, Renovate It

    | OH, USA | Bosses & Owners, Coworkers, Ignoring/Inattentive

    (For a couple years, I have worked full time at a radio station as a graphic designer, with a web developer, and a manager (Boss #1) who oversees all of our projects. It is a really good arrangement: we each have our own offices next to each other in the same hallway. All of our projects exceed expectations, we always finish them all ahead of schedule, and we all work so well together that we consider each other friends more than co-workers. One day, one of our higher-ups (Boss #2) calls Boss #1 into his office. He tells us about the conversation afterwards:)

    Boss #2: “So, we just got the manager reviews back from everyone, and it turns out you got the highest score in the entire building!”

    Boss #1: “Yeah, we all work really well together as a team. We’re really lucky to have found a way to collaborate that works well for everyone.”

    Boss #2: “It’s so good, actually, that we’re a little worried.”

    Boss #1: “Really? Why?”

    Boss #2: “We think you’re being overprotective of your employees – they don’t really mingle with any other departments and we want everyone to have relationships with each other.”

    Boss #1: “Okay, I can see where you’re coming from. I’ll try to see what I can do to make our department a little more open to others in the building.”

    (Our boss tells us about the situation and we all agree to try and start socializing with our other co-workers a little more. We do a great job for a couple of weeks until one day Boss #2 calls us all into Boss #1’s office.)

    Boss #2: “So, I have an idea I want to throw past you guys. What if we moved all of you out of your offices and put you into one large shared space, like they have at Google?”

    Me: “That sounds like it could be a cool environment, but we already work really well just by having our own offices.”

    Boss #1: “Not to mention, didn’t you just pay a lot of money for those personality evaluations? Each one of ours said that we work better if we have our own space to retreat to.”

    Coworker: “Can we have some time to think about it?”

    Boss #2: “…ctually, I was talking about it to [Owner of the Company], and he wants to make it happen. Construction starts in two weeks.”

    (All of us were shocked. True to his word, a construction crew came in to start renovating for our new office… a week earlier than we were told. I came back from vacation to find my office completely empty: my personal items, desk, and even the photos on the wall had all been taken down and moved without my knowledge. In a few days they had moved all of us to opposite corners of the building, isolating us from each other, without any prior notification or really caring about our feedback. It turned out that Boss #2 didn’t like how tight-knit we all were. Within two weeks our morale nosedived, the construction took twice as long as was promised, my coworker quit and found a better job, and eventually Boss #1 was replaced by someone who didn’t know the first thing about what we were supposed to be doing. Our department fell apart. To this day Boss #2 still scratches his head and wonders “what went wrong.”)

    Job Title Doesn’t Include Reading Titles

    | Warrington, England, UK | Coworkers, Ignoring/Inattentive, Lazy/Unhelpful

    (I am fairly new to the company. I am assigned to help the chief engineer update some safety documentation for existing and new equipment.)

    Engineer: “[My Name], why have you changed all the details in the early part of this document you’ve sent me? That’s still relevant!”

    Me: “That’s the document for [new equipment], not [old equipment].”

    Engineer: “How was I supposed to know that?”

    Me: “It’s in the filename of the document.”

    Engineer: “Oh, you can’t expect me to read that.”

    Me: “…and the title page of the document.”

    Engineer: “…hmm.”

    Me: “…and the e-mail you opened the file from.”

    Engineer: *incoherent muttering*

    The Perfectly Timed Storm

    | Houston, TX, USA | Coworkers, Technology

    (We are based in Houston, TX, where natural disasters are all storm-related. On this day an unexpected storm is rolling in. A dozen people are gathered with me in a meeting room to plan our next software release. The meeting leader is officially calling the meeting to order.)

    Meeting Leader: “Okay, I’m going to start the recording now.”

    (As she presses the button to begin recording the meeting, a loud thunderclap reverberates through the room.)

    Coworker #1: “Uh-oh…”

    Me: “It’s a sign; this release is doomed. Let’s all ju—”

    (The Fates heard my call; the power goes out before I can complete my sentence. Worse, it remained off for the rest of the day, but we pulled through with generator power and whichever laptop still had a charge. The next day, the power is back on, and our meeting continues. Air conditioning issues notwithstanding, it’s going well.)

    Coworker #2: “We’ll just get [Coworker #3] to do it.”

    Coworker #3: “Nuh-uh! My job is keeping the projector going.”

    (Coworker #3 points to the projector screen, and at that precise moment, her laptop’s power-saving settings blank the screen and the projector goes black.)

    Me: “YOU HAD ONE JOB!!!”

    (Whatever the outcome, it seems clear this release will be “all about the timing…”)

    A Gorgeous Faux Pa

    | Glendale, AZ, USA | Coworkers, Language & Words, Rude & Risque

    (I take the bus to work, which means walking halfway across the campus. I’m used to the walk, but it’s annoying during our 115°F (46°C) summers. My coworkers are aware of the situation, and one of them notices me come in.)

    Coworker #1: “Oh, wow, your face is red. You should rest and drink some water before you clock in.”

    Me: “I actually stopped by the water fountain in the hallway, so I’m hydrated. Honestly, I’m not that hot.”

    (My coworker is then called away. Coworker #2, having heard the tail end of the conversation, comes up to me.)

    Coworker #2: “You shouldn’t think like that.”

    Me: *thinking I heard him wrong* “What?”

    Coworker #2: “You should be confident. You know, think of yourself as gorgeous.”

    Me: “Wha- Oh! No, no, wrong kind of hot! We were talking about ‘heat’ hot.”

    Coworker #2: “Oh.”

    (He turns to walk away, and then briefly turns back.)

    Coworker #2: “Don’t tell anyone I said that.”

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