Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: Yarnspinner on July 01, 2013, 01:43:50 PM

Title: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Yarnspinner on July 01, 2013, 01:43:50 PM
I have done a Very Bad Thing. 

For reasons we will not go into (basically, I am an idiot who should have stayed on vacation) I absentmindedly tossed the keys that open the lock I put on my locker INTO the locker and then shut and locked it before I realized what I was doing.  (Living life on autopilot is highly over rated.)

I tried calling the maintenance personnel but none of the people who could actually remove the lock were in and there was no staff member from that department who had access to bolt cutters.

I had actually keyed up a how to video on how to pick a lock with paper clips when my immediate supervisor said "I know Head of Maintenance (HOM) has bolt cutters.  If you go look for them I can get the lock off your locker." Since there were items in my locker I would need (and since HOM wasn't answering his phone at all and since it had been suggested to me that HOM might be gone for the day) I suggested that maybe I could go get the bolt cutters.  My boss said that would be an excellent idea and that he would cut the lock off for me, which he did.

Well, HOM just got in, found out I went into his (wide open, unprotected) office and removed the (right in plain sight) bolt cutters, he went ballistic.  At first those of us who witnessed his anger thought he was kidding as he pulls stuff like that all the time. 

"How would you feel if I went through YOUR stuff?"  he roared and on and on, then stormed out telling me my behavior was unacceptable and there was no excuse.  Not even the fact that I was told by another staff member that he was gone for the day was acceptable. 

My boss felt his behavior was ridiculous, as did the others who witnessed it.  That doesn't stop ME from feeling bad about what I did.  Of course I would be upset if someone went through my desk...it happens on a daily basis, however, as does me going through others desks to find something for patrons, packages left for one staff member that wound up with another staff member and so on.  We regularly go through supply closets in other departments when we run out of stuff.  This is not an uncommon practice, nor one that has been an issue.

My boss says to let it blow over and if it doesn't he will talk to HOM.  Shall I let it go at that?

It honestly never occurred to me that this would be an issue:  we go into that office for ladders, pails and you name it...but because I got a pair of bolt cutters, my life is forfeit.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: LeveeWoman on July 01, 2013, 01:50:11 PM
I'd ignore it and drive on.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Shoo on July 01, 2013, 01:51:44 PM
I agree.  Ignore it if you can.  His outburst was ridiculous and out of line.  If *he* doesn't drop it, I'd be tempted to go to his superior and complain about his behavior, specifically, the way he publicly and LOUDLY embarrassed you.  There's no excuse for his behavior.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Library Dragon on July 01, 2013, 01:51:58 PM
You didn't rifle through his personal belongings.  You retrieved the tool owned by your place of work after receiving no answer to your calls. 

I'm glad you had witnesses to HOM's behavior.  It was uncalled for.  If there was a problem with knowing where the bolt cutter had gone to that could have been addressed rationally. 
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Margo on July 01, 2013, 01:52:37 PM
Yes. Since your Boss has specifically told you to let it blow over, do that.,

I have to admit that if i were boss, i might be wondering what HoM has in that room that he's so concerned about..
And i would be speaking to him about hoe it is appropriate to speak to coworkers. But those are boss's responsbility, not yours.

HoM will either calm down (in which case you can, if you wish, explain to him what happened and why and that you did not go through his stuff; you collected a item belonging to the company, which happened to be in his office (NOT in any cupboard or desk or other private area)
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: lowspark on July 01, 2013, 01:54:08 PM
My boss says to let it blow over and if it doesn't he will talk to HOM.  Shall I let it go at that?

Yes.
His reaction was really OTT.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Yarnspinner on July 01, 2013, 01:56:38 PM
Thank you, folks.  I don't know why, but having YOU tell me I wasn't out of line is more reassuring than having my own supervisor (with whom I am friends) tell me. 

It's been a long day......
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on July 01, 2013, 01:57:47 PM
You were fine.  HOM was a bacon-fed knave.

Makes me wonder if he was overreacting either because there was something in his office he didn't want anyone else to see or he was doing something he shouldn't have been when you were unable to get a hold of him.  The best defence is a good offence, in his mind.

The only part of my office that is mine is the locked drawer.  And even that, our AA has a spare key.  If someone came into my office to look for something they needed, the only way I'd be ticked is if they changed my chair in the process.  Takes me forever to get that thing back to where I want it when someone messes with it.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: JenJay on July 01, 2013, 02:00:15 PM
I wonder if he's trying to divert boss's attention from the fact that he (HOM) left early without permission?

I wouldn't worry about it. If he said anything again I'd reply "Boss told me to go get the bolt cutters out of the maintenance office. If you have a problem with that, take it up with boss." and I might add a "Stop harassing me about it." if I felt it necessary.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: NyaChan on July 01, 2013, 02:01:54 PM
Joining the chorus - ignore his outburst, it was completely over the top.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: MrTango on July 01, 2013, 02:22:16 PM
I agree with others that you need to leave it alone.  His outbust does nothing but make him look bad.

The only thought I want to add to the chorus is that if he comes back to you about this non-issue, let your boss know about it.  That includes him making an apology.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: EllenS on July 01, 2013, 02:26:58 PM
You were getting company equipment out of the company Maintenance office, on the instructions of your supervisor. You are fine, and if HOM wants to rant about it, tell him he should talk to your supervisor about the proper procedure in HOM's absence.

If you want to make "oh, gee, I'm really really sorry" noises, while you do that, go ahead.  Personally,  I have found that when men go into chestbeating displays at work, batting your eyes and acting all contrite and girly usually controls them very well.   It's kind of a slimy tactic, but very effective.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on July 01, 2013, 02:28:55 PM
Yup. you didn't do anything wrong. you went it, took something you needed that was in PLAIN sight, and used it. As someone else pointed out, they most likely belong to the library, NOT him, and as he wasn't there and presumeably should have been, he's either very defensive he was caught leaving early, or has something in there he didn't want anyone to see.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: wheeitsme on July 01, 2013, 02:36:41 PM
Would you go ballistic if while you weren't there he went to your desk and borrowed the stapler that is sitting on top of it in plain sight and then he returned it to the same spot? 

You didn't go rooting through his workspace hunting for a random unnecessary thing.  You went into his open office and, from a space that was out in plain sight, borrowed something needed, specific, and only there thing and then you returned it to the same place. 

HOM has issues (heck, it sounds like he's got several concurrent subscriptions) that don't have anything to do with you.  And you don't have to feel bad because he has issues.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: TootsNYC on July 01, 2013, 03:21:36 PM
I'll join the chorus.

Be guided by your boss, and by the opinion of everybody else.

(also, technically, it's not *his* desk; it's the company's desk. True, it's good etiquette to treat other people's work spaces with respect. But you did--you didn't just go rummage around because you were curious. You had a work need for the company's equipment, and you kept your "intrustion" to the strictest bounds.)

Also, there's a cliché that I think is operable here.

"least said, soonest mended"
(or in the words of the ever wise Mrs. Cosmopolite: "It won't get better if you pick at it.")


For the sake of the *rest* of your coworkers, don't apologize to him. That will only reinforce the idea that this was reasonable.

but also, don't pursue it. If he's come to his senses, he may find it too awkward to apologize. If he doesn't, he'll come do so. If you pursue it, you'll just make it worse.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on July 01, 2013, 10:06:04 PM
Very strange and rude behaviour! (his, not your's).

And the bolt-cutters weren't his - they belong to the company.

Add me to the chorus of posters who think he may have something to hide.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: whatsanenigma on July 02, 2013, 07:48:59 AM
"How would you feel if I went through YOUR stuff?"  he roared and on and on, then stormed out telling me my behavior was unacceptable and there was no excuse.  Not even the fact that I was told by another staff member that he was gone for the day was acceptable. 

I wonder if it isn't that he has something specifically to hide, but that maybe other people (not the OP) actually have been going through his stuff when they go in there to get approved items.  From my perspective, if I was not at work and someone took company property off the top of my desk (a stapler, the kleenex box, even a pen that I actually had brought in myself) I wouldn't think anything of it, but if I found out that someone had rummaged through a closed drawer or file when there was no need, I would feel very upset and creeped out, even if there was nothing in there but work-related stuff.  (I most likely wouldn't say anything, though.)

I think we all know people who just can't seem to help snooping around.  (Again, I am not talking about the OP, who clearly did not do this.) Maybe other employees have been doing this and this guy is sick of it.  Or maybe he's worried about what might happen with other people always wandering through his office area, even if their presence is authorized, because by snooping around or for some other reason, injury might happen or something he is responsible for might go missing, either stolen or just carelessly lost.

Not that this excuses his treatment of the OP.  If someone is not showing the proper respect to his work area or he has other concerns,  then he needs to take that up with the boss.  It was entirely out of line to take it out on the OP.

But maybe there is actually some grain of truth in his complaint, at least as regards other employees, and he unfairly took it out on the OP.  And in any case, I agree with others who say just act as though nothing has happened.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: bopper on July 02, 2013, 07:58:41 AM
I wonder if he's trying to divert boss's attention from the fact that he (HOM) left early without permission?

I wouldn't worry about it. If he said anything again I'd reply "Boss told me to go get the bolt cutters out of the maintenance office. If you have a problem with that, take it up with boss."

I was thinking of this too...it's called Transference.  He felt guilty that he wasn't there to do his job (either because he left early or just left on time) so he is taking it out on you.  You were doing what your boss said and retrieving a tool that could only be gotten from his office. Also he may feel territorial about someone doing his job.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Zizi-K on July 02, 2013, 09:08:02 AM
Yes. Since your Boss has specifically told you to let it blow over, do that.,

I have to admit that if i were boss, i might be wondering what HoM has in that room that he's so concerned about..
And i would be speaking to him about hoe it is appropriate to speak to coworkers. But those are boss's responsbility, not yours.

HoM will either calm down (in which case you can, if you wish, explain to him what happened and why and that you did not go through his stuff; you collected a item belonging to the company, which happened to be in his office (NOT in any cupboard or desk or other private area)

Exactly.

Ignore this clod, you did nothing wrong. Sometimes people have a way of making us feel guilty (or trying to) when in fact we are blameless. Don't let this guy make you feel bad, there's nothing to feel bad about.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Twik on July 02, 2013, 01:22:16 PM
I'd be upset if someone went through *my* stuff.

However, what is in my office is (with a few exceptions, like photos) not *my* stuff, it is my employers' stuff. Other employees who need said stuff to do their jobs are entitled to access it, since my office is only *my* office as a courtesy title. It is company space.
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Yarnspinner on July 03, 2013, 04:22:37 PM
Sort of update:  One of the coworkers who witnessed his behavior took him to task for "embarrassing" me and his response was that I had no business going through his office.  He has taken steps to rectify the problem:  he has now locked his office when he is not there, which means we will likely chip in and buy our own sets of tools as many of the things we need in a pinch are behind the door. 

This is the same guy who refused to get a plumber to the storefront branch library where I used to be stationed when the toilet started running and overflowing (and the water cut off was not anywhere to be found...found out later it was very conveniently located in another business in the strip mall) .  He couldn't get a plumber to us at all, so we would have to live with it. My then boss and I waded into the water in our good shoes carrying yarn, duct tape, paper clips and a pencil...and managed at least to pull up the flapper and keep it in line with the pencil and the yarn, then we made an elaborate hook up with the duct tape and the paper clip so at least the thing wasn't running and sending water everywhere.

Don't you know that he encouraged the plumber to make fun of us the next day over our "silly system". 

I have spent years defending this guy to some people because I know that Stonecold is on his neck.  But not anymore.....
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Shoo on July 03, 2013, 04:32:07 PM
Why don't you go to his supervisor?
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Yarnspinner on July 03, 2013, 04:37:37 PM
His supervisor is Stonecold...who fires him every other evening and hires him back in the morning.   She doesn't really doesn't care, Shoo. 

But I take your meaning.  If we had an HR department we could go there.  But we don't.

If the head of Labor Relations and Stonecold weren't friends maybe we could do something there.

But....it's My City and Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall would fit very nicely in with the stuff that goes on around here.....^_^
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: wheeitsme on July 03, 2013, 04:57:33 PM
So in an effort to protect "his stuff" he's making himself dispensable.

How long will Stonecold hire him back when she's got other staff with tools that are doing the job he's getting paid for? (Granted that isn't part of their job to do his job, but when has that ever stopped Stonecold?)
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Stormtreader on July 04, 2013, 04:17:27 AM
My guess is that hes trying to divert people away from asking the question "So you mean you left your office unlocked with bolt cutters in plain sight where ANYONE could have wandered in and emptied all the lockers?"
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Twik on July 04, 2013, 02:54:22 PM
My then boss and I waded into the water in our good shoes carrying yarn, duct tape, paper clips and a pencil...and managed at least to pull up the flapper and keep it in line with the pencil and the yarn, then we made an elaborate hook up with the duct tape and the paper clip so at least the thing wasn't running and sending water everywhere.


You're my kind of engineer!
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: chibichan on July 04, 2013, 05:26:56 PM
Yarnspinner , aren't you getting near your retirement date ? I remember reading your earlier Stonecold stories and thinking to myself " Lawd , when this poor woman finally get out of there , I'm going to throw a party ."

I think you need a ticker at the bottom of your posts , something like " Only 4 more months until the insanity ends ! "

And no , you did nothing wrong . Ignore HOM , if he's not around to do his job then he has no right to complain when other people do it for him .
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Yarnspinner on July 05, 2013, 09:41:03 AM
Yarnspinner , aren't you getting near your retirement date ? I remember reading your earlier Stonecold stories and thinking to myself " Lawd , when this poor woman finally get out of there , I'm going to throw a party ."

I think you need a ticker at the bottom of your posts , something like " Only 4 more months until the insanity ends ! "

And no , you did nothing wrong . Ignore HOM , if he's not around to do his job then he has no right to complain when other people do it for him .

Well, money is going to be tight, which is why I didn't retire on my last projected retirement date,  but I am HOPING to set a date of May 31st, 2014.  Half of my coworkers are preparing to go then, and I don't want to be alone.  I've even started talking with personnel about it!!!  I'll keep you posted.  (The plan is to sell everything, buy a Winnebago and drive off into the sunset so even my family can't find me! ^_^)
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Marbles on July 05, 2013, 05:59:02 PM
Sort of update:  One of the coworkers who witnessed his behavior took him to task for "embarrassing" me and his response was that I had no business going through his office.  He has taken steps to rectify the problem:  he has now locked his office when he is not there, which means we will likely chip in and buy our own sets of tools as many of the things we need in a pinch are behind the door. 

Maybe that same lickpicking website can help you out. ;)

Would Stonecold authorize a locksmith to open HoM's office if he were out just to rankle him?

I hope you manage that 2024 retirement, Yarnspinner!
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: PastryGoddess on July 05, 2013, 06:58:35 PM
Sort of update:  One of the coworkers who witnessed his behavior took him to task for "embarrassing" me and his response was that I had no business going through his office.  He has taken steps to rectify the problem:  he has now locked his office when he is not there, which means we will likely chip in and buy our own sets of tools as many of the things we need in a pinch are behind the door. 

Maybe that same lickpicking website can help you out. ;)

Would Stonecold authorize a locksmith to open HoM's office if he were out just to rankle him?

I hope you manage that 2024 retirement, Yarnspinner!
2024?!?  If Yarnspinner stuck around that long, she'd be eligible for a Nobel Prize :D
Title: Re: Any Way I Can Make This Better?
Post by: Marbles on July 05, 2013, 09:33:18 PM
Sort of update:  One of the coworkers who witnessed his behavior took him to task for "embarrassing" me and his response was that I had no business going through his office.  He has taken steps to rectify the problem:  he has now locked his office when he is not there, which means we will likely chip in and buy our own sets of tools as many of the things we need in a pinch are behind the door. 

Maybe that same lickpicking website can help you out. ;)

Would Stonecold authorize a locksmith to open HoM's office if he were out just to rankle him?

I hope you manage that 2024 retirement, Yarnspinner!
2024?!?  If Yarnspinner stuck around that long, she'd be eligible for a Nobel Prize :D
Oops! She sure would!  ;D