Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


Main Page/Home

The Faux Pas Archives
Wedding Etiquette

Bridesmaids and Beastmen
Bridal Showers
Bridezillas and Groomonsters
Faux Pas of the Year
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Guests From Hell
Tacky Invitations
Wedding Rugrats
Just Plain Tacky
Tacky Toasts
Thank You Notes From Hell
Tacky Vendors
Wedding From Hell
Wicked Witches of the Wedding
Perfect Bride
Bridesmaid Dress Incinerator



Everyday Etiquette

Baby Showers
The Dating Game
Ooops! Foot in Mouth Disease
Funeral Etiquette
Gimme Hell
Holiday Hell
Just Plain Tacky
It's all Relatives
Every Day RugRats
Road Rage

Business Etiquette

Bad Business Etiquette
Merchants of Etiquette Hell
Bad Bosses

Faux Pas of the Year




Press Room/Contact


Co-Workers or Cow-Orkers or Co-Irkers?

Jan-Jun 2003 Archive

Jul-Dec 2003 Archive


I worked for the state for 6 years in a small department. One of the women did needlepoint all day while two others had religious discussions (of the 1st year Sunday School level), one woman ate all day and then there was Sports Dude. 

Sports dude had a second job. He arranged for referees to be at the high schools sporting events all across the state. He was well paid for his efforts. My problem was that he did it all during his 8 hours at the state. He sat in the cubicle across from me and one down. He was so loud! All day long I would hear "Hey Coach!', "Hey Dude!" and "Hey Dudette!" as he went through his list. One person would call him several times a day and our Sports Dude would say "You know what your problem is? You're STUPID. I ain't gonna tell you again you're just STUPID MAN!" 

After 3 years of this I called the State Auditor and lodged a complaint. State job, state money, state time. He couldn't be bothered with doing his own job while he was there. The solution? They told him he had to use a cell phone not the phone on his desk!!! At least needle point woman was quiet. I later learned that the pieces she worked on all day were commissioned by our bosses and their secretaries. She too had an excellent second income. 



Last year I was diagnosed with a surprise tumor. We had no idea where it came from, how long it had been there, or anything just...surprise! It was there! I was scheduled to have it out in January. I went in. It was too complicated for the general surgeon to remove so he sewed me back up and sent me to a specialist.

It turned out to be a lot more serious than we thought. It would have to come out using a Whipple Procedure which is quite a serious operation. I had high spirits, though. I'm a teacher so I spent the two months leading up to Whipple Fest preparing to be gone. I was initially supposed to be gone for four weeks, but knowing that things don't always go perfectly I prepared for the rest of the year. I am an EXTREMELY organized person. I left everything ready to go, had students prepped to help (I teach courses that the sub did not have experience in), cleaned up all my loose ends, and checked into the hospital April 1.

While I was in the hospital my teaching partner called once to complain that she had "so much work to do" and "way too much on her plate." From my hospital bed I gave her some suggestions and really didn't think anything of it. I got out of the hospital and that afternoon, another phone call. She was "so stressed" and "so overworked since you've been gone." Okay, that's a little odd to call someone who is out on sick leave and complain that their being gone is causing you stress.

Unfortunately two days later I was back in the hospital. I ended up having a third surgery. No phone calls asking me how I was, but one more complaining that there was so much to do "since you are gone" and she was "so stressed." This was getting old.

Went home. Back to the hospital with internal bleeding. My high spirits were starting to flag and once again, I get another phone call about how "stressed out" she is because I'm not there and she has "way too much on her plate."

Okay is it me? Would you EVER imagine calling someone IN THE HOSPITAL who is having some serious health problems (I nearly died and she knew everything that was going on) and complain that because they had the AUDACITY to be on sick leave, you are stressed out? The final straw was when I was trying to plan an activity for when I returned Once I was finally on the mend. She told me that if I was going to do THAT then I'd *better* be prepared to also help with two other things she'd planned! That was the last straw! I finally emailed her and said "For as much stress as you've been under, I have had 100 times more this month and I'd really appreciate it if you'd stop trying to make me feel guilty because I'm sick. If I can help, I will, but I will NOT feel bad if I can't so don't count on me. As you have seen over the last two months, my health is still up in the air. If you need help, ASK SOMEONE ELSE!"

This precipitated a number of complaints about me to various coworkers, who then emailed me saying "What in the WORLD is going on with her? What is the MATTER with her?" I don't know...

Needless to say we are no longer partners, nor are we friends. I guess REAL friends don't have the audacity to get pancreatic tumors causing "too much stress" and "overwork" on their cow-orkers!



I was a supervisor of the front desk workers at an apartment office/lobby. I could write pages on the many examples of bad employees, but one really takes the cake. I'll call her ASS, because those are her actual, and quite fitting, initials. One day, based on a friend's recommendation, my boss decided to hire ASS.

The office was open 24/7, and there were specific shifts I needed to fill, but ASS was unwilling to work any of the open shifts (she refused to work after 10 pm). Fine. I called around and asked other staff members to switch so that ASS could have the shifts she wanted. I then arranged to meet ASS at the beginning of her first scheduled shift so I could train her on the job. Until this point, we had communicated only via e-mail, so I hadn't yet spoken with her in person.

From the beginning, she was the employee from hell. First of all, she showed up late on her first day! And she lived in the same apartment building where the office was! When she finally showed up, I gave her a big smile, stuck out my hand, and said, "Hi! You must be Andrea [ANN-dree-uh]! I'm Susie! Nice to meet you!" She just glared at me, as though I had just said the stupidest thing she had ever heard, and said, "It's Andrea [on-DRAY-uh]." Whatever.

I proceeded to train her. Now, this was a very easy, minimum-wage job, but the management had very specific policies and procedures on EVERYTHING. These are all covered in the employee manual, but I didn't feel comfortable just telling trainees, "Here's your manual; read it." I walked them through most of the procedures step-by-step, showed them around the office, etc. Well, ASS just thought she knew everything. As I went over important policies and procedures, she paid little attention, sighed, looked at her watch, interrupted me to tell me that she "gets it," and was generally rude and disrespectful.

Her second week on the job, I got called at home during her shift. It was the guy who worked the shift before hers. He said that she had come in 20 minutes before her shift started, and made a big scene at the desk, saying that she locked her keys in the car, she couldn't work that day, and she was just going to quit. Then she left and did not show up for her shift. I headed over to see what was going on with her. I went to her apartment and got there seconds before she walked up carrying some bags from Target. I told her that the other guy had told me what happened, and I asked if she was ok, and if she had really decided to quit her job. She mumbled something about how she was really "stressed out" and locked her keys in the car, so she couldn't make her shift (this might have almost been an excuse if she had locked her keys in the car while she was out, and been unable to get back in time for her shift, but she was obviously already THERE when she locked her keys in the car). She said she really hated the job and she had just decided to quit. I asked her if something had happened, what was the problem with the job, and was there anything I could do to address any problems? She then said that she hadn't completely made up her mind, and she wanted to sleep on it before she decided. Fine.

I ran into her the next day, and she told me she had decided not to quit, and that she had just been "stressed out" the day before. Our policy is that when someone does not show up for his or her shift, he or she is on probation for the next 3 months, and any other screw-up during this time results in termination. ASS thought that since she came in 20 minutes before her shift to announce that she wouldn't be coming in, that it should not be counted as a no-show! Uh, sorry, but no. Two weeks later, we had a mandatory staff meeting, where anyone who would be unable to attend had to give a valid excuse in advance. Well, she didn't give an excuse -- in fact, I asked her personally if she would be attending the meeting, and she said yes -- but she didn't show up. I called her later to ask why, and she said she had just forgotten.

I have to clear any hiring or firing with my boss. I told her that I thought ASS's failure to attend the mandatory meeting, while she was already on probation, should result in termination, but my boss wanted to give her another chance since missing the meeting was not an actual "on the job" screw-up. Fine.

Fast forward two more weeks, someone else had decided to quit, so I was calling around to ask other people to cover his shifts until we hired someone new. When I asked ASS if she could take one, she said no, and in fact, she had decided to quit too. She was scheduled to work the next two days, so I asked her if she could work her scheduled shifts for those days to give me time to find a replacement. She agreed to do it. Later that day, I checked my in-box, and she had left a note for me to say that she just remembered she had to go out of town for the next two days, so she couldn't work after all. Of course she didn't have the decency to tell me this when I talked to her on the phone.

I couldn't find anyone else on such short notice, so I ended up having to come in and work her shifts myself. I was there at the desk, fuming about the whole situation, when who should come walking through the lobby but ASS herself -- obviously not really out of town! I tried to ask her what was going on, but she just ignored me and ran away!



Last year the staff at our place of work decided to have a staff lunch at a fancy Thai/Japanese restaurant. We were all very impressed with the cuisine and atmosphere... except for two ladies, Linda and Nancy [names changed], who complained from start to finish about the food. It was too weird. Nancy continually asked, "What is this?" about every item on the starter's platter.

The waitress came to take the order for the main course, and we all ordered some pretty delicious meals. Not Nancy and Linda. Linda, who was pregnant at the time, ordered a chicken-stew kind of dish (I forget the name), and when it came, opened the lid, took one look, closed the lid and said to the waitress, "I don't want this." I was sitting next to her and asked why she ordered it in that case. "I didn't know it would be like *that*," she said, pushing it away. Nancy ordered something vegetarian but also did not like how it looked when it arrived.

But here's what made me think of breaches of etiquette. They both turned to the waitress and said, "We don't have to pay for this, do we?" The waitress just nodded and replied, "Yes, you do have to pay for it because you ordered it." They just could not grasp the concept of paying for something you've ordered, even if you don't eat it. They then refused to order anything else in case they didn't like it, and looked around at everyone else's food. Nancy kept saying, "I'm so hungry!" She consented to eat a little rice and a few samples of food from other people's plates. Linda blamed her lack of appetite on her baby. That's not the end, of course.

The bill (check) came. After doing some calculations, we determined that each of us owed $120 [unit of currency changed] including the tip. No problem; we all handed over our $120. Not Linda and Nancy. They looked at each other and put in $100 - for both of them! I said, "It's $120 each." "But we didn't eat that much," they said. I protested that they had still eaten something. "Fine," Nancy said, putting another $50 on the table. That made it $170 for both of them... still shy of $70.

Naturally, when the money was added up, there was not enough to cover the entire bill. The lady in charge of paying the bill said to us, "This isn't enough. What are we going to do?" Everyone (there were about 25 of us in total) immediately put in another $5-$10. Guess who didn't? If you guessed Linda and Nancy, you'd be right. They refused to put in more because in their eyes they "hadn't eaten anything".

What annoyed me was not only did they show astounding bad manners by turning their nose up at food that they had specifically ordered, but they didn't grasp the concept of paying a certain portion of the bill. They continue to complain about that restaurant even though a year has gone by, despite the fact that it really is a lovely restaurant (I've been back often). There's no understanding some people.


After reading an earlier submission, I had to tell my story.  This might just be the “other side” of the creative young worker who didn’t get the respect he or she felt was deserved.  I worked for a computer learning company and we hired a new writer.  This was to be a junior position just fleshing out designs, so we hired a girl who had just graduated with a BA and responded to our ad.  In interviews she seemed to understand what was needed.  She blew her own horn a bit much, making much of her college work and awards, but that’s to be expected in an interview.  The rest of us had earned college awards as well but tended not to talk about them anymore! 

Once hired, this girl told people in all departments about how nice it was to have such a great degree from a great university that she was “recruited” by our company.  We were confused by what that meant so I asked her about it, apparently our calling her after she applied meant we recruited her.  Her university was not nationally recognized in the field (I had a master’s in the same subject and had taught as a graduate fellow, so I knew the academic arena pretty well), but of course the people at her school had told her how great it was.  She frequently argued the way things were done saying things like “I wrote a WHOLE PAPER on this in college, and I got an A” when I had taught the course a more recognized University and had the published texts disagreeing with her, and more importantly the rest of the staff had years of experience in the real world that contradicted her.  She didn’t want to do what the Marketing department said we should do even though they knew the clients best.  She didn’t want to stick to the limits we had for graphics and interaction because she knew more was possible, even though our limits were imposed for time and budget reasons and also because our clients didn’t have the newest, fastest computers and connections.  

She finally developed a course that in no way followed the design she was given, was not correct in data, did not match the curriculum in style and form, and would have been impossible to program within the time we had.  When she was told she must rewrite it in two days to match the design, she insisted she had too much integrity to do that, and besides it couldn’t be done on that short a time.  She packed up and left – we weren’t sure if she quit or not.  She didn’t come in the next day (Friday) and didn’t call in either.  I ended up rewriting it for her and then coming in on the weekend to finish my own work.  While she was gone we all discussed whether she could be fired since this was clearly insubordination.  

On Monday she came back happy as can be to start work on new material, and HR told us they were afraid she would be litigious and so we should hope that she would leave on her own (she told us often enough how she could do better, make twice as much, but she felt she owed the company since we so clearly needed her).  They even advised that she get a small raise at her next review – not the percentage that was usual but not nothing, as she had talked to them and they did believe she would sue if she could document any mistreatment, and her father was a lawyer!  I did in fact leave about 6 months later but she stayed on for years and ended up in a management position, where she had seriously been placed so that she wouldn’t screw up the product by being hands-on.  To talk to her it was a recognition of her vast superiority to those of us who weren’t, ummm, her.


Love your site! It provides much pleasure to me and my co-workers. I've been reading it for a while, and now I have my own story to contribute.

This morning, my colleagues and I received the following email. First, some background. I work in the Supreme Court of an Australian state. Each judge of the Court has two staff members - a "tipstaff" and an "associate".  There are also a few researchers not attached to any particular judge.  Bear in mind that the Court has seven floors of judges' chambers, with over 40 judges - that makes over 80 staff members. The message was sent to a group email address for all judges' staff in the court.

"Greetings to Level 6 Associates and Tipstaves and Researchers, For 11.30am near the lifts outside Justice X's Chambers, Ms A [tipstaff to Justice X] has organized an informal welcome to the Associate and Tipstaff of Justice Y who now resides on Level 6.

The informal morning tea serves to not only welcome Ms B [associate to Justice Y] and Ms C [tipstaff to Justice Y] to our floor, but to celebrate the coming of a four day break.

Please bring your own cup or tea or coffee and join us for Mini Easter buns and chocolate Easter eggs. (A reckons $2 per Chamber will cover the cost of the buns and eggs.)

Hope to see you drop by, Ms D Tipstaff to Justice Z" 

So, to recap: Ms D has sent the above message to over 80 people, in order to invite (around) 20 of them. I think it is quite rude to send an email invitation to a group when the majority of the group are not invited: it would not be hard for her to make her own group of the people on HER OWN FLOOR. Then, not only are the invitees expected to bring their own tea and coffee (which is sometimes done in 'informal' court functions between staff, but not where someone's sent out a written invitation as here), they are expected to throw in $2 each ( $40 if all 20 show up) for not proper hot cross buns, but "Mini Easter buns" (whatever they are) and Easter eggs, which I estimate would cost $10 at most to set up. 


Love your site, Miss Jeanne!  I have two stories about co-workers:   1) The 19-year-old daughter of another staff member was working as an intern for our office last summer.  She's one of those girls who insists everything simply HAS to be cute.  

Well, my co-worker 'Betty' was given a present that came in a lovely gift bag with a beaded handle.  Miss Cutesy RIPPED the handle off the bag and used it as a hangar for a note she was leaving on our supervisor's door.  Had she never heard of Scotch tape??   Miss Cutesy also left her lip gloss in her car, causing it to melt in the heat.  She got the brilliant idea to re-melt it in the microwave to get its shape back, then freeze it.  I guess she didn't realize her lip gloss container had metal in it.  The microwave started sparking.  We ended up having to replace it.   

2) It's fairly common for our staff to e-mail jokes and other innocuous things to each other.  My very religious co-worker 'Irene', however, loves to send items about Jesus.  I asked her to please not send me such things, as I am Jewish and it makes me uncomfortable.  She apologized and agreed.  And for the most part she has stopped.  Today, however, she sent out an anti-abortion e-mail.  It was one of those ones written from the point of view of the fetus - "Dear Mommy, I'm in heaven with Jesus and I'm very sad."  If it was just the religious reference, I would have probably ignored it.  But it came complete with graphic photos of ABORTED FETUSES!!  Gross!!


We hired "C" because I suppose we were desperate to have a couple of hours fewer to work each day and felt sorry for her and thought we could "help" or "save" her.  Now we know why the saying, "no good deed goes unpunished" was coined.   She was desperate for a job, badly needed the money, needed to use the services of our business but couldn't afford it, so could she work for us? She even cried at the interview and later told customers it was a miracle that she'd gotten this opportunity.  

Things started out okay, but not great.  Her appearance left quite a bit to be desired (slovenly trailer trash, to be honest), but part of the "deal" was that she would work on this.  Then the absenteeism started, usually due to self-inflicted illnesses caused by smoking, coffee drinking, and eating huge quantities of sweets-- all with a case of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.  When she didn't call in sick she often came to work sick, making us look like the bad guys, since customers assumed that we knew she was sick and forced her to come in.  She was on duty alone, so how could we know she was sick if she didn't call and tell us?    

She started out working 2 or 3 hours a day, 6 days a week.  We had to cut out the third hour since she couldn't go more than 2 hours without a smoke.  Then she called and demanded that we not schedule her on certain days of the week so she could spend time with her husband when he was off work.  Spend more time with him??  She only worked 2 hours a day!  Then she told customers that we had cut her hours and were looking for an excuse to fire her.  Who needed to look?  She presented the reasons to us, but we kept giving second chances.   Months went by and we kept hoping things would get better.  She was fired from another part-time job for missing work, and then quit another job because they expected her to account for her time and productivity. She even convinced some people to boycott that store because of how mean they had been to her in that whole week that she'd worked there.     

At her employee review we laid down the law and gave her 30 days to shape up.  A week later her husband dropped dead, so we were stuck with her a while longer.  Of course she went on telling lies about us, including a whopper about us having given her an employee review 3 days after her husband died.  TOTAL LIE. Of course she never told the customers the truth about why he died.  He died of a stroke because she spent his high blood pressure medication money on cigarettes, lattes,  and gambling.   We bought her a huge floral arrangement, told her she could take as much time off as needed, and coordinated donations for her. Plus a month later we let her have 10 days off to visit relatives.  Finally over a month later she had a co-worker make a thank-you card.  Couldn't even do it herself.   Things continued on with the poor attitude, backtalk, foul language, and backstabbing.  It came to a head when she backed one of us into a corner and screamed at her with clenched fists.  "I'm sick and tired of you telling me what to do." (I'm your employer, I have a right to tell you what to do while you're on duty)  "Oh yeah, you're my employer.  You're always throwing that in my face."  Finally we had had enough and fired her.  Then she had the nerve to file for welfare, unemployment, AND disability.   

What really disappoints us about the whole thing is the number of customers (many of whom have those Christian fish emblems on their cars)  who have been absolutely hateful to us for firing this "beloved" person.  Some won't speak to us or make eye contact; others have quit doing business with us.  Only a few have asked to hear our side of the story.  Thanks for letting me tell it.   Word to the wise:  Do a background check.    



I once had a coworker who had, shall we say, an interesting take on appropriate artwork for one's desktop.

This coworker was ridiculously proud of her five-year-old son, "Johnny", and shared stories about him with me daily. She had told me that his conception was not only unplanned, but quite unexpected, as she'd been told that she could never have children, and both she and her husband (nearly 20 years her senior) weren't exactly young when Johnny came about. They were very excited about having a family, though, and absolutely adored Johnny.

Given her enthrallment with her son, I wasn't surprised that she had a photo on her desk of her holding a newborn baby, obviously still at the hospital. One day, I said something, quite innocently, about the photo of her and Johnny. "Oh, that's not Johnny," she said. "That's my first baby. He was stillborn."

Fortunately, I was walking past her desk on my way to the break room at the time, so I mumbled something sympathetic and got the heck out of there!

I certainly understand the desire of parents to have photos of their children, even those whose lives were unfortunately brief. But I thought it quite odd that she would keep a photo of a dead baby on her desk, where coworkers would undoubtedly see it and, knowing how proud she was of Johnny, feel compelled to comment on it (which I heard at least three other people do during the seven months I worked with her). Some things are meant to be private, but clearly not with her.

Perhaps she felt the need to share his existence with all of us, as she insisted on making sure we all knew graphic details of Johnny's life (including one unfortunately detailed tale about his bathroom habits...). All I know is that the photo creeped me out every time I saw it on her desk!


I really can’t stand Mr. Thinks-He-Knows-Me-Better-Than-I-Do but I guess I have to learn to work with him.  However, he often talks down to me because, well, he is a lawyer after all and I only have a B.A. He also often lets me know in no uncertain terms that his daughter is so much better at everything than I am (she and I have many similar interests - most are hobbies to me, but professional undertakings for his daughter) to the point where I almost don't want to invite him to my wedding this year because his daughter is also getting married this year, and I'm sure that in his opinion hers will be so much better and he won't hesitate to tell me exactly about all the places where I went wrong.  When we have disagreements over non-business items he will suddenly turn to me and ask me why I’m about to cry – did what he say really upset me that much?!    

Needless to say, on each one of these occasions I have never come close to crying, and may have only had a puzzled or shocked look on my face, but certainly not the look of someone about to cry.  So after one of these accusations, I responded that I was closer to laughter than tears and couldn’t believe he thought otherwise.  He then responded in all seriousness and concern that, “You really should see your face right now because you look like you’re on the verge of tears.  If only you could see yourself.”  What the heck?!  I said something back to him about how I think I know my own emotions better than he does and that he may have mistaken my expression for someone who couldn’t believe we were having such a silly conversation.  He again told me that, “You really should just look in the mirror because you look like you're about to burst into tears at any moment.  You really shouldn’t take things so seriously.  After all, we were just having a simple discussion.”   Well…that’s what I had thought too!  Although I did think it was rather humorous that he tried to convince me for almost 10 minutes that all computer programs from Micros**t were not programmed with the user in mind and that they should be totally re-programmed so that he can figure them out at first glance without a User Manual. Based on how tenacious he was with the conversation, it seemed as if he thought that if he could convince me of this that things might actually change.  Um, hello, we work in real estate - not computers!  Of course I thought the conversation was silly and was mostly putting up a defense on behalf of Micros**t because I thought his arguments were waaaaaayyyyyy to ridiculous and impractical. Funny thing, until he accused me of being on the verge of tears I was thinking that the conversation was a fun afternoon diversion.



I worked with a woman who lived about 3 blocks from my apartment. Though both our places were directly on a bus line that went almost directly to our work, we were not in the habit of taking the bus. We both drove. But despite our proximity, we never carpooled on a regular basis. We lived about 25 to 30 minutes from work depending on traffic. On the occasion that my old car would be giving me trouble, I would usually drive to my mechanic's and take the bus to and from work and back to my mechanics in the evening. On the other hand, 4 or 5 times, when she had to take her new car in for it's scheduled maintenance, she asked me for a ride home or a ride to work or for a ride to the car dealership. While the dealership was slightly out of my way, I never refused her request, even if I had plans for the evening. The one and only time I refused was when I had a Dr.'s appointment immediately after work and just couldn't take the time. I didn't mind the lopsided-ness of the situation, since I really didn't mind taking the bus from my mechanics and she lived so close, it was really no skin off my nose to help her out. Until one day.

 Shortly after the one time I couldn't accommodate her, my old car started to give up the ghost. It up and died on me. I had to tow it in to the mechanics and this time, it was serious--I was going to have to leave it at the mechanics for 2-3 days. I grabbed the bus from my mechanics to work and went to my friend. I asked her if she could give me a ride home that evening and the next. She said no, she had plans and had plans right after work both days. Well I was a little irked but people make plans so I ended up taking the bus home--it took 1 and 1/2 hours. I asked if she could give me a ride into work the next morning and she kind of grumped and said, OK, as long as I got to her place by 7:30 the next morning. Now I don't mind walking and agreed but I was 3 blocks from her house! She couldn't swing by? I always gave her door-to-door service. 

So I get there at 7:30 (about an hour earlier than I usually would leave) and she wasn't ready. It took her 45 minutes to finish getting ready--and this is not a Mary Kay beauty queen we're talking about. We worked in a casual office where you wore your dress jeans on the days clients were visiting and make-up was only for the evening. I was really irritated but not once did she apologize for not being ready. About 2 months later, I again started to have car problems but this time I was able to schedule when I brought it in. So I went to my friend again and asked if I could get a ride home with her when my car was at the mechanics. She said possibly, depending on the day of the week. I told her I could schedule it for any time that week so whatever her schedule could accommodate. She looks me square in the eye and then remembers that she has plans EVERY DAY that week after work. I was shocked and speechless. I'm sure I looked a little like a bass, my jaw dropped that much. When she saw my reaction she quickly said, well if I wanted to schedule it for Tuesday, she could drop me off 10 blocks from my home on her way to her thing! I was livid, but thanked her and declined her "generosity" and found other transport from another co-worker. But that was not the last of her chutzpah. 4 months later she comes to me and asks me for a ride home from work because her car is at the mechanics! I told her I was busy.


Dear Miss Jeanne   Here is my submission regarding one of my former co-workers. She was the WORST person I have ever had the displeasure of working with in my entire life (and I've worked with some doozies!). This woman was a walking, talking poster child for Etiquette Hell and I could write a 10-page story of every breach she committed, but instead, I'll just name the one I found most heinous:   She left work one Friday at noon, claiming she was ~sick~ and needed to see a doctor. When she came into work that following Monday morning, she bragged about what a ~great time~ she had Friday afternoon (in front of her boss no less. She was not only etiquette-challenged, but none too bright).  Apparently a friend of her boyfriend's came over that Friday afternoon, and they ~got it on~.  Did I mention this friend was married?  Not only that, but she told me EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of their, um, escapade.  I was too stunned to protest (plus my jaw was sore from hitting our floors quite hard).  She took my silence to mean I condoned this behavior and for the next month took great delight in relaying every graphic detail of their ~relationship~.  I wouldn't want to hear about this from my closest friends, much less someone I really don't like! 

As I was new to the company, and did not want to make waves, I just listened, but now I really wish I would've told her to keep this to herself.   The worst was, she brought this married man to our company Christmas party as her ~date~!  I had to look this guy in the eye, knowing some very interesting information about his sex life. He even wore his wedding band, and it was well known she was single, so I'm sure you can guess what sort of gossip floated around that following Monday.   Yuck, yuck, yuck.  Just thinking of this person gives me the willies.  Thank God she left the company.



I had been working at a company that owned a radio station and a T.V. station for about a year and a half when I was promoted to Operations Director of the TV. side. I was in charge of Master Control - the people who make sure that you viewers at home have something to watch. We run the tapes, push the buttons, and basically send the picture to the transmitter so that it can go out to your local cable company (or dish provider where allowed). This was a family organization; my husband was also a manager there, on the technical side. I worked hard at my job and was proud of my people and the work they did. 

The company was a "mom and pop" organization in every sense of the word, but they were a nice couple. Of course, he was often concerned about the bottom line, and would on occasion have a small fit of temper, but it was easily overlooked because he really meant well at heart, and he showed that more often than his temper. When my husband's and my 10 year anniversary came around, the boss and his wife gave us a dinner and a night in a hotel 2 hours away, so that we could have a cozy night together with no kids and no work to worry about. We enjoyed every second of it, including the drive. Another time, the boss called me aside and told me that he knew I deserved more pay for what I was doing but that, since he couldn't afford it outright, he was going to cover ALL the insurance premium for my and our three kids! He genuinely tried to do the right thing by his employees. 

A new master control operator was hired on sometime later, someone who came from a rival TV. station. Now, I will admit that I am not always the best judge of someone's character, so I try to start everyone off on the same foot and see how they handle a female boss. This guy didn't handle it very well, but I didn't know this for several months. Towards the end of summer, I started gathering information on the new shows we would be carrying in the fall and the times they would be fed on satellite for us to record and broadcast within our schedule. By this point we had added another T.V. station (so to speak; master control ended up divided in half, with one side going for one station and the other side going for the other. The newer station was mostly automated, so it didn't take much for one person to run both.) But with the addition of the new station, I now had 2 channels worth of new programs to schedule recording feeds for. I worked hard to organize everything, but one show had slipped through the cracks and I had the wrong record times for it. This happened two weeks in a row, but no one ever informed me that they weren't getting the feeds because of wrong information. 

I came in one Tuesday morning (Monday was a day off since I worked on Sunday), and took some information to the boss about tapes we needed to order because of a power outage. He told me to get with the traffic manager on that because he had decided that she needed to be my assistant. He didn't even look at me while he was saying this. I was floored. But over the next two weeks I started learning through various grapevines that the master control op who had come from the other station had been talking with the traffic manager about me and the performance of my job. Some thought it was obvious that he wanted my job. So she (the traffic manager) had been the one to go to the boss and tell him that I had not been doing well with scheduling these record times. He gave her the job of scheduling them instead, and she planned on having help from the master control op. 

I talked long and hard to my husband about this and how this decision was made without even giving me a chance to defend myself. And we agreed that it would not be a bad thing for me to go ahead and leave my job. So I sat down and wrote a well-thought-out and respectful letter to the boss who had allowed me to advance so far and learn so much and told him exactly why I was leaving. Then I slipped it under his office door to make sure that no one could intercept it. When my husband went in to work later that day, he was called into the boss's office and told me that the man was visible shaken by what had happened. My husband gave him more information as to what had been done behind my back. To finish this up, a month later my husband was hired on at a station in another state, so we moved away. I kept in touch with one friend at the old T.V. station though and learned that come time for preparation for the fall schedule the next year, the traffic manager who had taken on my scheduling responsibilities went to lunch one Friday and called to say she wasn't going back. 

Not long after that, the master control op who started all of this was fired. The boss's wife was escorted to her car, just to be sure the guy didn't try anything violent; they were that scared about what he might try. When he tried to sue the company for sexual harassment, the case was dismissed by the judge. I don't know where the guy is now, nor do I care. But I have since heard that the boss has gotten out of T.V. altogether and is just doing radio stations these days.


This one's fresh off the press .. just happened this morning.   Our department is divided (physically and by job duties) in two; the C group and the R group.  I work in the R group.  The daughter of a coworker (Ann) in the C group got married a couple of weeks ago.   This morning, another C-group coworker (Barb) had our supervisor forward an email stating that Barb had bought Ann's daughter a gift and wanted to know who wanted to chip in.   

A couple of hours later, Barb stood up and asked if we'd all got the email, and started polling us individually to see who would pay up.  I thought this was tacky in two ways:  First, if your solicitation email doesn't get any responses, you can either re-send the email or assume that no one wants to participate.  Second, if Barb wanted to buy a gift for this girl, fine.  If she'd wanted help paying for it, also fine.  But she should have solicited funds before making her purchase, so as to know how much she'd have to spend.    

That's not all.   Barb then insisted that Ann open the gift here at work.  Never mind that the gift is for Ann's daughter .. Barb and another girl browbeat Ann until she finally unwrapped one end of the gift and peeked in.  (The gift had a beautiful department-store wrap job).  Ann then insisted on calling her daughter to ask if it was OK to open the gift.  WTH?  Of course, the bride said "No".  Barb then insisted that the bride come up here to her mother's job and open the gift.   I walked past before the bride arrived and heard Barb saying, "Ann just doesn't' realize how important it is TO ME for her to open that gift."  Uh, this isn't about you, Barb. 

When the bride arrived, Ann was introducing her to the C group coworkers.  She then made to bring the bride to introduce her to R group, and Barb pitched a fit saying, "Never mind that, get to the important stuff!"  OK, we get the message.  R group is good enough to badger for gift money, but not good enough to meet the bride?!    Ann, to her credit, did bring the bride and the gifts over for us to see, once Barb had been satisfied.   Sheeeeeeeesh. 


I was clerking at a law office with a horribly mean and stupid girl I'll call Witchy.  We both had big projects due around the same time, and she asked if I would proofread her document first.  I looked at it and was absolutely stunned this girl had ever made it through two years of law school.  There were misspellings and typos all over the place, and there weren't even periods at the ends of her sentences.  Her quotation marks were wrong, her citations were wrong, her verb tenses were wrong... it was without a doubt the worst document I'd seen since sixth grade.

I edited it as best as I could without rewriting it entirely and gave it back to her, explaining some of the rules as I went.  ("When you quote within a quote, 'like this', you only use single quotation marks", etc.)

I happened to be in the room as she turned it in to the supervising attorney.  Of course, it was still full of mistakes and he called her on a few of them.  At that point, she literally pointed her finger at me and said, "She told me to do it!" I was absolutely stunned.  I'm never helping her again.

The best part was her explanation to me later on why she had so many mistakes: "My dad took me all around the world, because he thought a real life education was more important than learning stupid things like grammar."  Too bad those trips around the world didn't teach her any manners... or pride.


Page Last Updated May 18, 2007