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  • A Toxic Work Environment
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  • July's Theme Of The Month: I Quit!
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    Very Bad Reception, Part 7

    | Adelaide, SA, Australia | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal, Employees, Family & Kids, Health & Body

    (I am 16, and have a condition that I’m currently getting treated with ultra-violet light. I have to stand in a light box. On this day, I finish up and go to reception to pay my bill. There is no one there. I ring the bell, and end up waiting about 10 minutes. No one comes to the desk. I call my mum.)

    Me: “Mum, I’ve been standing at reception in the doctor’s office for 10 minutes, and no one is here. No other patients, no one. I don’t know what to do. Could you please drive past on your way home and pay the bill for me? If I stay any longer, I’ll miss my bus to work.”

    (My mother reported this next part of the story to me.)

    Mum: “Hi, I’m here to pay the bill for [My Name]. She was here earlier today and no one was around when she left.”

    Receptionist #1: “Oh, HER. We’ve been talking about that disgraceful girl all day. You should be ashamed.”

    Mum: “Excuse me?!”

    Receptionist #2: “Fancy running out without paying. She claims there was no one here? What a load of rubbish. I hope you are proud, raising such an irresponsible girl.”

    Mum: “I’m here to pay her bill. Now, how would I know to do that if she hadn’t have called me, upset, worried that she couldn’t pay?”

    Receptionists: “Um…”

    Mum: “That’s right. I’m here because, after waiting here for 10 minutes to pay, she called me, upset because she was going to miss her bus to work. I’m here because she did the only thing she could do. Would you like to rethink your accusations?”

    (The receptionists went about the rest of the transaction in an angry silence. What they didn’t know is that my mother was friends with one of the casual staff at the surgery. We found out later that the receptionists had gone out for lunch and forgotten I was there. The big speech about me doing a runner was so that the doctors wouldn’t know they’d left the desk unattended. Nothing says guilt like an aggressive overreaction!)

    Related:
    Very Bad Reception, Part 6
    Very Bad Reception, Part 5
    Very Bad Reception, Part 4

    A Toxic Work Environment

    | Seattle, WA, USA | Bosses & Owners, Crazy Requests, Health & Body, Theme Of The Month

    (I work as a janitor at a dairy bottling plant.)

    Boss: “Hey, [My Name], we found a problem, We need you to clean it up.”

    Me: “What is it?”

    Boss: “Someone graded the loading dock pavement wrong. Come take a look.”

    (I go and look. There is a pond of black sludge 30 feet wide by 40 feet long under where they until just that day had three semi-trailers as extra loading dock storage. The boss hands me a scrub brush, a garden hose, and a pair of the sort of rubber gloves you wash dishes with.)

    Me: “You must be kidding! I’d need a pressure washer, a hazmat coverall, and a respirator to go in there, The fumes alone are toxic and that sludge is an active biohazard! Call the City!”

    (It’s true: milk fat is an ideal bacterial growth medium. Fat and sugar runoff from tankers spilling both while unloading had been running down to feed the sludge for at least TWO YEARS.)

    Boss: “Legal says we shouldn’t let the City find out or it would be very expensive for us. As for the respirator, I’m sorry but OSHA regs say we can’t loan you a respirator you’re not trained on, the pressure washer hose won’t reach, and the hazmat guy took his suit home with him.”

    Me: “Look, I’ll buy a respirator out of my own pocket, okay?”

    (Boss goes away, consults with legal, and comes back.)

    Boss: “Sorry, it would be illegal to let you buy safety gear out of your own pocket. You’ll have to make do without it.”

    (That was the day, the very minute, I quit that job.)

    Finally Independent From Them

    | UT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bosses & Owners, Crazy Requests, Theme Of The Month

    (I suffer a concussion at work. I have a splitting headache and vision problems, but didn’t really think it was bad until two days later. That’s when I answer every question by telling the person how to call Mexico City in Spanish. I ask to be able to get off early and my boss gives me permission. After the ensuing weekend, I get called into the manager’s office. The union representative who’s there to make sure I’m treated fairly is there.)

    Manager: “Have a seat. We need to talk about your attendance.”

    Me: “Sure. What’s going on?”

    Manager: “You left work early the other day. This is completely unacceptable.”

    Me: “I asked [Boss] for permission because I was sick.”

    Manager: “It’s still not acceptable. You committed to working your full shift and damaged the reputation of the company by not living up to your promises.”

    Me: “Excuse me. Because there was a fault in your chairs in the break room, I got launched head first into a brick wall. I have a concussion. I was too mentally disoriented to tell which language I was speaking at the time. Would you have preferred that I stay around to confuse everyone more?”

    Manager: “The union is here to witness that this is your final warning. If you ever call in sick again, that’s grounds for termination.”

    Me: “Even if my boss—”

    Manager: “You WILL BE FIRED if you are this lazy again. This is an at-will work state and we’re doing you a courtesy by giving you a second chance instead of terminating you immediately.”

    (Three work days later, I wake up vomiting excessively. It was a two-hour commute on bus to get to work, so I called to let them know I need to ask my boss about getting the day off or coming in later. The manager got on the phone instead.)

    Manager: “You knew what this would mean if you were ever sick again. It’s been nice working with you, but you’re done here.”

    (He hung up immediately. Two days later, the same manager calls me up at home.)

    Manager: “I know you called in sick for the last three days, but I need to make sure you’re going to be covering your shift tomorrow.”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Manager: “It’s the 4th of July and one of our busiest days. We can’t afford to have you out sick. Are you feeling well enough to come in?”

    Me: “You fired me when I called in sick.”

    (There was a long pause.)

    Manager: “I think that was a misunderstanding.”

    Me: “You told me that I had been terminated for calling in sick excessively. What part of that was a misunderstanding?”

    Manager: “I’m not unreasonable. Even though you quit, I’ll let you have your job back if you work on the 4th of July.”

    Me: “No.”

    Manager: “I didn’t fire you. I just—”

    Me: “For six weeks, you have scheduled me on split shifts so that I didn’t have time to get home and back between my shifts and got off of work too late to get home at all. While working for you, I’ve been sleeping in the armchairs in the break room and bringing changes of clothes for the week. I’m paying rent for an apartment that I’ve only been to once in two weeks. I brought this up several times a week since the day it started and was told that you yourself had made sure I would stop being scheduled at unreasonable hours. I’m not working another day for you and your sense of ethics.”

    (Needless to say, I didn’t ask for a reference.)

    Genial About The Genie

    | Kent, England, UK | Bizarre/Silly, Bosses & Owners

    (This is a conversation I overheard between two of our managers.)

    Manager #1: “…and we really don’t want to let that genie out of the box.” *pauses for a moment* “Bottle. Genie out of the bottle. Why would a genie be in a box? It could escape out of the cracks. Anyway…” *goes back to the conversation*

    (Five minutes later and Manager #1 has been sitting in silence with a thoughtful expression.)

    Manager #2: “You’re still mulling over the genie situation, aren’t you?

    Manager 1: “Well, it was a homeless genie…”

    An Internal Decision

    | England, UK | Awesome Workers, Bosses & Owners

    (The manager in our store usually works the shop floor on weekends when we’re busy as if she were a normal staff member. It’s worth noting that she is always running around, never standing still. She comes into the lab where I am sorting orders, stops still, and smiles at me.)

    Manager: “You know sometimes you get really mean, rude, horrible patients?”

    Me: “Yep, all the time.”

    Manager: “Well, the one I’m with is as bad as I’ve ever seen. She waited for five minutes to get her glasses, and so now she wants something for free.”

    Me: *confused* “Well then, what are you doing in here?”

    Manager: “I told her I’d ask the manager.” *giggles* “I think I’m going to say no!”


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