Alpha-Betting On You Doing It For Them

| Northern Ireland, UK | Coworkers, Extra Stupid

(I’m a senior receptionist, and I get two brand-new coworkers. Neither of them are “particularly bright.” I am alphabetizing some files, and mid-task my boss phones reception.)

Boss: “[My Name], I’m about to leave the office to get on a plane, but I’m supposed to go to a meeting. Will you go instead and take notes for me?”

Me: “Sure. Where’s the meeting?”

(She tells me, and I turn to my new coworkers. They are both sitting at the same computer, chatting and not even pretending to work.)

Me: “[Coworker 1], [Boss] asked me to go to a meeting for an hour. Can you finish alphabetizing these cards while I’m gone?”

Coworker: “Okay, I suppose so.”

(It’s mostly finished when I leave; the rest would take about 15 minutes at the most. I go to the meeting and come back an hour and a half later. Guess what? It’s not finished.)

Me: *eye-twitching* “Did you get a chance to finish these cards?”

Coworker: “No, I forgot the alphabet half-way through.”

(I turned around and walked out of reception right there. Not only was that an excuse designed to make her look stupid, but the whole time I was gone SHE WAS SITTING IN FRONT OF A FUNCTIONAL COMPUTER. Even if she had a mind blank, she could have gone online and searched for the alphabet! I moved away a few months later, and found out from a different coworker that she was fired a little after I left.)

Turning The Problem On Its Head

| Reykjavik, Iceland | Technology

(I work at the local school helping the janitor with various things as well as cleaning after class. One day the janitor, a grumpy, mean, old man, asks me for help fixing a projector, as it is showing everything upside down.)

Me: “So, I think that the problem is that…”

Janitor: “I know what the problem is! Help me take the damn projection screen down.”

Me: “I really don’t think that’s the problem. We just have to reset the projector…”

Janitor: “You don’t know what you are talking about. Just help me damn it or go clean the bathrooms.”

(I just do what he says and spend the next hour ripping the projection screen off the wall seeing as it was fastened quite well. We even manage to break a piece off the top and end up replacing all of it. We put it back up, the only difference being that he turns the projection screen upside down. I’m laughing in my head the whole time by the way.)

Janitor: “Why isn’t it working?!”

Me: “Look, I told you. You can’t just turn it upside down. The projection screen isn’t the problem, and you just have to reset the projector itself.”

Janitor: “Well, why didn’t you say so.” *quite pissed off*

Me: “I did. I told you from the beginning.”

Janitor: “No, you didn’t. I’m telling the principal that the broken projector screen will come out of your pay.”

Me: “Fine with me.”

(He proceeded to tell the principal the whole story of how he tried to fix it by turning the screen upside down. The principal just looked at the janitor and asked if he was f***** joking. He then explained to him how projectors work. The janitor hasn’t asked me for help since. The principal, however, asks me regularly for help with things he doesn’t trust the janitor to do.)

Willing To Leave Over A Cup Of Coffee

| Australia | Coworkers, Job Seekers

(I recently took up an IT position at a school. As the previous guy left due to a family emergency, they had to advertise the job as temporary to get by to the end of the year. To keep the job for next year, I have to reapply. The job has been advertised in the local newspaper and a few of the other staff have noticed and been asking if it’s because I’m leaving.)

Me: *getting up from the lunch table while talking to a Coworker #1*

Coworker #2: “Are you leaving us, [My Name]?”

Me: “No… I’m just getting coffee. I’ll be back in a second.”

(Turned out she meant the job advertisement.)

Never Bug The IT Guy

| Australia | Pun, Technology

(I’m the only IT person in the school, and as I only work one day a week I don’t have a designated work area, so I work out of the staff room. Today I have a collection of laptops setup on a bench running diagnostic tests. It is lunch time and I am eating lunch nearby with a few of the teachers.)

Teacher: “Is that a cockroach?!”

(We all look over and see a cockroach crawling around on a laptop.)

Me: “Well, it IS my job to get bugs OUT of the computers.”

Stuff The Translation

| Japan | Coworkers, Language & Words, Lazy/Unhelpful, School

(I’m an American working as an assistant language teacher in Japan. I work with multiple JTEs, or Japanese teachers of English, in teaching English at junior high schools. I’m not allowed to speak Japanese during English class, so many JTEs take it upon themselves to translate my words for me when the students absolutely cannot understand and make repeated incorrect guesses. One particular JTE, however, is adamant about never translating for me, even when the students become so confused that the lesson cannot progress. This has been going on for a couple of months when this lesson takes place. The Japanese are, as a whole, very strict in terms of cleanliness and preventing the spread of germs and sickness.)

Me: *holding up a stuffed animal* “This is a dog!”

Students: *in Japanese, to one another* “That’s not a dog. That’s a toy.”

Me: “Correct! This is a stuffed animal. It LOOKS like a dog, but it isn’t a dog. What does “stuffed” mean in Japanese?”

(The students give various guesses.)

Me: “I’ll give you a hint.” *I rub my stomach* “Mmmm, I’m so stuffed!” *I place a bunch of books inside a basket and make a show of trying to squish them down to fit* “This basket is STUFFED with books!”

(After several awkward minutes of me trying to make them understand and not succeeding, I glance desperately at the JTE. The students, too, look to the JTE for an explanation. The JTE pointedly looks away, and that’s when I’ve had enough.)

Me: “Okay, fine.”

(I take the grammar worksheet that the JTE has made, wad it into an enormous ball, and without hesitation stuff the whole thing into my mouth.)

Students: “WHAAAAAT?”

JTE: *nervously* “Um… hold on…”

(I remove the ball, which has become a giant spit wad, and plonk it down onto the JTE’s desk, much to his utter horror.)

Me: “Get it now? I STUFFED the paper into my mouth! My mouth is STUFFED with paper!”

(Finally, it dawns on one of my students what I’m talking about.)

Student: *in Japanese* “…stuffed?”

Me: “YES! Thank you!”

JTE: “Um…”

Me: *already moving on to the next object* “Okay, next! What’s this?”

(The lesson continues without further incident, except that the JTE keeps staring at the spit wad on his desk. After class gets out, I throw the spit wad away then kindly wipe down his desk to remove the traces of spit. Maybe next time he’ll translate for me.)

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