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  • A Toxic Work Environment
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    Has Pinot Comment

    | Auckland, New Zealand | Bad Behavior, Bosses & Owners, Coworkers

    (I am taking registrations for a members-only conference when I receive the following email at 10 am:)

    Manager: *cc-ing in the company director* “[Customer] emailed you regarding his conference registration and has informed me you have not responded. Please explain why you have not responded and contact him immediately.”

    Me: *also cc-ing in the company director* “[Customer] emailed me at 8:17 pm last night. I did not respond because at that time I was at home, drinking a particularly good Pinot Noir and watching a movie. I did however respond to [Customer] at 7:37 am this morning. For your information my office hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday.”

    Manager: *no response*

    Company Director: *replying to all* “Pleased to see you at work early. What was the Pinot?”

    Detail Disoriented

    | Darien, CT, USA | Bosses & Owners, Extra Stupid, New Hires

    (I decide to work with a recruiter. I’m sent to a small business for the interview. The owners, a wife and husband, are running late. After about 20 min they’re ready for me. After the usual interview back and forth the wife grills me a bit more.)

    Wife: *with narrow beady eyes* “So, what adjectives would you use to describe yourself relating to work?”

    Me: “Detail-oriented! Because I have a strong economics background, I know how critical micro-components can be with respect to macro-implications!”

    Wife: *stares*

    Me: “I’m also very diligent and strive for excellence in everything I do. Whether it be in my personal, academic, or professional life. Oh and I think it’s important to think outside the box and not always adhere for rigidity’s sake.”

    Wife: “Uh-huh.”

    Me: “Oh, and I’m not sure if you remember me? We took a class together back at [Local Community College] before I transferred to [Prestigious Local University]?”

    Wife: *becoming flustered* “Oh, no, I don’t recall. I was just improving my skill-set to help me run MY BUSINESS.”

    (The interview ends shortly after that. I thought all in all it went well. I would’ve taken the job short term for the money but wasn’t particularly interested; more on that soon. A couple of days later I follow up with the recruiter.)

    Recruiter: “How did it go for you?”

    Me: “Pretty good. I feel well qualified.”

    Recruiter: “Well [Wife] didn’t really give rave reviews. She said you put her off because you said you had OCD.”

    Me: “What? I used the words ‘detailed-oriented’ and ‘diligent.’ And this was for an accounting position!”

    Recruiter: “I wouldn’t worry about it. She didn’t like anyone I sent to her and decided to delegate the role among existing staff.”

    (So why wasn’t I thrilled about the job in the first place? In that class I took with her, the owner proved to be one the dizziest, scatter-brained people I have ever met! She completely flunked the class despite seeking help from classmates – including me!)

    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…”

    Stuck In A Silly Land(line)

    | UK | Bizarre/Silly, Employees

    (My friend works in his family’s computing business, and sometimes they allow him and his friends to hang out in the office outside of business hours. However, he still has to answer the phone in case there’s a problem. It’s a Saturday, and we’re all chatting when the office phone rings.)

    Employee: “Hello? Yes? What would this be regarding, please?”

    (He listens for a while, as the rest of us sit there confused. He starts smirking.)

    Employee: “Oh. My landline service provider? Yeah, he’s really nice. Tastes like oranges.”

    (Catching on, we’re starting to giggle. He keeps going, sounding as professional and well-spoken as he possibly can.)

    Employee: “Yeah, yeah. We pay him in strawberries. It’s really the best way to do it.”

    (We have no idea what’s happening on the other end, but we’re all quietly cracking up as he comes out with the most ridiculous things he can. I have to go and sit at the other end of the room to calm down, but I can still hear him.)

    Employee: “… and anyway, we don’t have a landline. Yes, I’ll stop wasting your time now. Bye!”

    (I’m still not sure what they were trying to sell, but apparently the telemarketer was laughing as hard as we were!)

    Internal Affairs

    | Paris, France | Bosses & Owners, Crazy Requests, Money

    (I don’t get along with my boss and so I leave an (unpaid) internship. About two months later, I get a call.)

    Ex-Boss: “YOU! You better give me my money back or I’ll go to the police!”

    Me: “Wait, what? What are you talking about?”

    Ex-Boss: “Don’t play innocent! You know what you did!”

    Me: “On my mother’s life, on both my parents’ life, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about!”

    Ex-Boss: “You used my home phone to call Southeast Asia for hours! It’s going to cost me hundreds in phone bills!”

    Me: “WHAT?! WHY on Earth would I call Southeast Asia? I know no one there!”

    Ex-Boss: “Just to spite me, of course! You didn’t like it here!”

    Me: “Doesn’t mea— Wait, wasn’t your cleaning lady on vacation at that time?”

    Ex-Boss: “Yeah, so?”

    Me: “And wasn’t she replaced by a woman from Southeast Asia, with a phone that could receive calls, but not make them?”

    Ex-Boss: “Well, I know it’s you!”

    (Eventually, it all died down. However, about two years later, she emailed me about a new (unpaid) position she had, saying that she remembered ‘how cordial our relationships were and how well we work together!’)

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