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1997-1999 Archives

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive

Jul-Dec 2000Archive

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."    business1110-00

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 himself.

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 everything was.

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.    business1116-00

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!    business1116-00

Page Last Updated May 18, 2007