Years ago I worked for a small, family owned
company. The top jobs wereall held by siblings and their spouses. There were many problems
in dealing with that, but there was one particularly memorable example.
One year, when Girl Scout cookie sales came around, the Vice President (brother-in-law
of the President) personally escorted his daughter to each employee, and stood there
watching as you filled out the orderform. Only one person in the entire company declined
to buy cookies. business1030-00
I have a supervisor who lives in another state and rarely pays a visit
to the office. Our department had planned a special meeting on a day when this supervisor
would be in; specifically so she could meet a guest visiting from England. Said supervisor
arrived at the meeting as she always does, looking agitated with cell phone in hand (she
always acts as though she's too busy and expecting a very important call). Anyway, just as
we were getting to the heart of the meeting, she announced that she had a "nail
appointment" and had to leave. We were all dumbfounded and sat there with our mouths
open. Especially our guest from the UK. What nerve!!
I have a co-worker who's is extremely senstive
about most everything. She offends easily, but she has no trouble dishing it out. After
talking to a customer, she hangs up the phone and screams "Loser!!" or
"Liar!!". She claims rather openly to be a Christian, yet she is spiteful and
spends a lot of her day gossiping.
This started a little while back. I noticed that she would turn on her radio or tape
player very loudly. Several times I've had to close my office door (which our boss hates)
to work in peace. I finally decided to talk to her supervisor about it since she would be
SO offended if I asked her to turn it down. Her supervisor told me she cranks up the music
because I type too loud. And the supervisor approved of this activity. She said if I
wanted to work in peace, I needed to "type more quietly."
I have a good business etiquette from
hell for you. I had been working for a controlling boss for three years. He really went
berserk if anybody was late. The last day that I showed up for work, I was five minutes
late according to his clock, but according to my watch, I was right on time. After
he called time and temperature to prove that I was late, I apologized and said I would set
my watch to the correct time.
He still kept yelling at me. When I finally said that I was not going to work for him
anymore and I quit, he seemed to had lost all control. When I started to walk out the
door, he pushed me back so hard that I fell. I got up off the floor and headed for the
door again. Again, he pushed me, and I fell. This happened about three or four times. I
finally crawled over to a chair to try to figure out how I was going to get away from this
maniac. I was crying and hysterical, but I knew if I could get to a phone to call 911, I
had a better chance of getting out of there in once piece.
While I was trying to figure this out, I heard him walk up behind me. Next thing I
knew, he was taking my shoes off of my feet to prevent me from leaving. He starting
ranting that I had better not move from where I was at or "there will be hell to
pay". Then I heard him walk down the hall.
I finally got to the phone and called 911. Once he found out that I called 911, he left
and insisted that I leave with him- which I didn't. I went to a safe place and called the
police from there. I was transported to a hospital and treated for a fractured wrist (it
was fractured in two places). I now have a order of protection against him. He is still
facing criminal charges and has a hearing to see if the professional board is going to let
him keep his license (he is a doctor- for now anyway). business1025-00
Two of the secretaries at the high school where I
taught for many years had a morning break together and it was their practice to share
sweets and coffee daily in the teachers' room. One day one would bring something to share
and the next day the other would bring something to share. Frequently a male teacher would
pass through while the ladies were taking their morning break. He would see their goodies
on the table and say something like "Oh, doughnuts." Then he would help himself
and keep right on going into the copy room. This practice of his grated on their nerves
since he was never offered anything, never contributed, or even asked if he could help
So one day after they had taken all of this they could, they took a doughnut that was
filled with custard, squeezed out the custard and replaced it with mustard. That day the
male teacher came in helped himself to the only doughnut left on the plate and kept on
walking. He never said one word about the mustard, but he never did come in again while
the secretaries were taking their break. business1019-00
I was a "one-girl office" for a
"pilot program" to train paramedics back in the '80s. The woman who was my boss
was an absolute psycho. I had set up all the files before she was even hired, and I
thought I had done a pretty fine job of organizing everything. She decided she didn't want
to use the alphabet for a filing system. She wanted a filing system based on the Dewey
Decimal System, where everything had a number. So I had to create the system and refile
everything according to number.
We worked in the basement wing of the "old" hospital (the "new"
hospital was right next door). The window in my office was near the ceiling, at ground
level. It was always cold, so I left the window closed. It was a county job, so I worked
regular daytime office hours. This woman couldn't drag her sorry butt out of bed at a
reasonable time, so she would come in at noon and work until 2am the following morning.
After I left at 5pm, she would go into my office and rifle through my files and SMOKE.
Finally, I asked her not to smoke in my office. Her solution was to keep smoking in my
office but to leave the window open when she left. The result was that when I walked in
the next morning, my office was freezing!
Then she would show up at noon and say, "I need this item, that item and that
other item. They're in your files. Go get them." Of course, she had rearranged all
the files the night before, so they weren't where I had left them! But according to her,
it was MY fault I couldn't find them because it was my responsibility to know where
I finally got up the nerve to quit. A few weeks later, I got a phone call from my
replacement, who turned out to be a girl I had been slightly acquainted with in high
school. She said, "Did [boss] do X, Y and Z to you?" I said, "Of course.
Why do you think I quit?" My replacement only lasted a couple of months before she
bailed out as well, although she got another position within the hospital. She called me
about six months later and said, "You know that [boss] is still blaming things on
you, even though you've been gone a long time." business0911-00
I went through an employee placement firm to find
an individual qualified to fill a mid-level management position. The firm sent me
the resumes of several applicants, and they all met our minimum qualifications, so I
asked the employement firm to schedule interviews for all three of them. The first
candidate turned out to be one of the weirdest, rudest person I've ever met.
"Fern" showed up for the interview wearing a ratty black dress that was
streaked with deodorant. The receptionist had shown her into the conference
room, and offered her a glass of soda. When I came in and sat down, Fern was in the
process of taking a deep gulp of the soda, and she let out a huge burp
before she shook my hand.
I blinked, shocked, and she did not excuse herself.
I began the interview by asking her questions about her resume, which she
answered in a very rambling, disorganized matter. There was spittle on her
lower lip and she wiped it away with her sleeve. She burped repeatedly during
her answers and on several occasions made negative comments about our company.
Realizing that she wasn't going to be a good fit in our office, I quickly began to give
a little background on the company and the job. Fern yawned loudly, not covering her
mouth. Then she interrupted me mid-sentence to ask me what the salary was. I said,
"Well, what were you looking to make?"--purely out of curiosity at this point (I
wanted to conclude the interview, but part of me was so fascinated by the extent of her
rudeness that I didn't tie things up as quickly as I could of.) She said $30,000, (which
was significantly below what we were planning to pay, incidentally.) I wrote that down on
a yellow post-it note and stuck it inside a manila folder that contained her resume and
the resumes of the other two candidates.
Just then, someone from my department interrupted us because of a small emergency. I
excused myself quickly to get things under control. When I returned to the conference
room, Fern said that she had crossed out the salary she asked for and made it higher.
Confused, I asked what she meant. She showed me, then, that she had opened up my manila
folder and crossed out the figure I put on that yellow post-it note--upping the amount to
$45,000. Shocked beyond belief, I asked her why she did that. She said she was "just
trying to get as much as she could get," and then went into a long-winded story about
how when she sold her car, she sold it for a lot less than it was worth.
At this point, I said, "Well, if you don't have any other questions about the
position, I'll show you to the elevators." Then she said she did have a question what
were the benefits? I answered her very curtly what the benefits were. THEN she asked if we
would pay to have her take computer classes, since she'd never used a computer before.
Well, the job REQUIRED that she use fairly high-tech technology, and her resume
indicated that she had experience with it. She admitted then that she had lied on her
resume--but she did so with no shame at all!
Needless to say, we did not hire her or use that employment firm ever again.
My first job out of college was at a tiny
non-profit organization run by a husband and wife team. Aside from them, there were
only three other full-time employees, including me. My job was to write and edit their
newsletter and other publications, but on one particular day, my boss, "Marnie,"
decided to give me some job responsibilities that were way out of my scope.
Over the weekend, Marnie and her husband's house caught on fire. I came into the office
on Monday, heard the bad news and offered my sympathy, and then set about doing my regular
editing duties. Marnie left work to deal with the reconstruction crew at her house. At
about 2 o'clock that day, she called me and asked me to come over to her house--she needed
me to take care of some things that she wouldn't be able to do since she would not be able
to return to the office for a while.
I drove over and met her in her dark, smoky livingroom. She began to list all of the
things she wanted me to do for her since she had to stay at home--many of them were
"secretary" type jobs, which sort of bothered me, since I hadn't been hired to
be her assistant, but I figured that she was in a time of crisis so I wrote them all down
and promised to do them. I stood there taking notes while Marnie rambled off her list
"Call so-and-so and cancel this appointment, fax a list to the board members, blah,
blah, blah..." and then she said, "Oh, and when we get back to the office later,
remind me to rub your legs."
I stared at her in total shock. "What?" I said, and she said, "Yes, I
need to rub your legs. See, when I rub my husband's legs at night, I get this weird
tingling feeling in my hands, and I want to see if it's his legs or my hands that are the
problem. If I rub your legs and I get that feeling, then I'll know that I have to see a
doctor about my hands."
At that point, I told her I wasn't feeling well and went home, and I guess she forgot
about her request because I never heard it again. Eventually, I quit for other reasons
relating to Marnie's personality, but before I left, I had a conversation with the
bookkeeper and found out that the "leg-rubbing" request wasn't the strangest one
Marnie had issued. The bookkeeper told me that once Marnie stepped out of a meeting,
handed the bookkeeper her housekeys and asked her to go home and get her a new pair of
underpants because the pair she was wearing were uncomfortable!
Page Last Updated May 18, 2007