Swear By Your Professionalism

| Germany | Bad Behavior, Bosses & Owners, Language & Words

(I get along fine with my boss and enjoy working for him, but we had a bit of a rocky start: I’m somewhat shy and he’s prone to angry outbursts, which intimidate me, and this seems to make things even worse. Then one day I decide to change things up a bit.)

Boss: *storms to my desk* “[My Name]! Where’s the f***ing file I need?”

Me: *in a calm tone* “I put the f***ing file on your desk this morning, sir. As requested.”

Boss: “Oh. That’s… fine. Carry on.” *pauses* “Did I say f***?”

Me: *still calm* “No, sir. That would be pretty f***ing unprofessional.”

Boss: *bursts out laughing* “D*** right.”

(He went back to his office happy as pie, and from then on work became a lot better. The best thing about it, though, was the face of my colleague, who overheard the exchange.)

Not Blind To Their Activity

| South Africa | Coworkers, Rude & Risque

(My father is a prosecutor for the state working on a rather complex deposition, and is busy planning said deposition on the floor of his office since the space on his desk isn’t big enough. A young female student who has landed herself a clerkship is assisting him. They have another lawyer in their offices who is legally blind. The blind lawyer walks up to my father’s office, and opens the door.)

Blind Lawyer: “[Father], are you here?”

Father: “Yes, I’m here behind my desk on the floor.”

Young Female Clerk: *cheerily* “I’m here on the floor as well.”

Blind Lawyer: *cough cough* “Excuse me…”

(He took a step out of the office and closed the door again. I can just imagine what was going through his head.)

The Runner Is Running Into Your Job

| Cincinnati, OH, USA | New Hires, Non-Dialogue

I have worked for 15 years at a law-firm. I am the person in charge of the computer network, and because I am also an assistant to the managing partner, I coordinate the monthly staff lunch and the monthly staff breakfast.

A very insecure coworker gets promoted to office manager, and she hires a girl to work as a runner/clerk. All this person’s duties involve is making copies, making coffee for the conference rooms, and running documents to the courthouse.

One month, I make the mistake of asking her to pick up the donuts for the monthly breakfast. She immediately goes into hyperdrive and takes over the breakfast with the permission of the new manager. Suddenly, she is ordering a ton of unnecessary stuff that no one even asked for, and arranging the donuts in weird ways.  We’ve always just sat out the boxes of donuts and bagels and cream cheese, with napkins, paper plates and plastic ware. Not on HER watch. Now she has them each on separate plates on big trays that she went out and bought and charged the company. There isn’t room on the counters in the lunchroom for the big trays so she places the trays of donuts and bagels on top of the garbage cans. Really appetizing.

She becomes particularly hyper about usurping anything I do and doing it badly. She starts trying to interfere and tell people what to do about software problems and countermanding my instructions on things — which she is in no way trained for.

Finally, she went too far on that and tried to fix one person’s computer while they were away from their desk, by deleting all the “clutter” on their C:\ drive to make it neater while completely failing to go to the courthouse with documents that were time-sensitive because she was too “busy” trying to do my job. She was not very competent anyway, and instead of making sure she had a job she could do, this office manager, apparently in order to mess with me, got her in so far over her head that she ended up out of a job entirely.

The Sick Reality

| New Orleans, LA, USA | Bosses & Owners, Crazy Requests, Health & Body

(One of the attorneys I work for used the wrong file number in a dictation; fortunately, I am familiar with his cases, so I figure it out.)

Me: “You need to be careful. If I were out sick, another secretary would’ve had a problem with that.”

Attorney: “You can’t get sick!”

Me: “I wish that were true, but you know I can. It’s happened.”

An All-Consuming Business

| England, UK | Coworkers, Language & Words

(I’m looking at a mark-up of a transaction document. I’m having a bit of a slow moment and turn to my office mate.)

Me: “Hey, stupid question. Is consummation of an agreement when you sign it or when you complete the deal?”

Colleague: “Eh?”

Me: “It says, basically, ‘There are no agreements, etc. that will on consummation of this agreement provide a right to anyone, yada yada.’  Is that signing or completion?”

Colleague: “That’s a weird word to use. Well, I guess … when you get married, you sign the piece of paper. But you don’t consummate it till later. So being married is signing and consummation would be—”

Me: “The coming together of all the parties’ desires?”

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