<BG>Though I work in HR, I'm sometimes called upon to do translation/interpretation where I work, since I speak fluent Lavenderese. In this particular situation, I had permission from my then-supervisor to spend a couple of hours interpreting for an event at another work site--as long as I got back to the office in time for an interview with a candidate who was flying in from out-of-state, since Boss would be out of the office all day and couldn't be there herself.</BG>
12:05 pm: The event is over. Coworker #1 has offered me a ride back to my office, since I don't drive and I took the bus directly to the other worksite in the morning. He asks me to wait 5 minutes before he drives me back and I agree.
Sometime between 12:05 and 12:10: Coworker #2 greets me and asks what I'm doing at her worksite. I tell her I was interpreting Lavenderese for Worksite Event. CW#2 says, "Oh, really? I need a Lavenderese interpreter for a meeting with a parent at 12:30." The interview with the out-of-state candidate, which I've been specifically asked by my supervisor
to sit in on, is also at 12:30. I reply:
"Sorry, T., I can't. I have an interview back at MyOffice at 12:30."
"But YourBoss can do the interview!"
Normally, all it would've taken for me to be able to do the Lavenderese interpretation for T.'s parent conference would have been a call to MyBoss to let her know where I was going to be and how long I'd be gone. But in this instance, I'm afraid it really wouldn't have been possible. I would have been disobeying a specific instruction from MyBoss to be back at MyOffice for the interview--and I would have inconvenienced not only a candidate flying in from out of state, but also three or four other interview panelists who were coming in to MyOffice for the interview at 12:30 and expected me to be there.
"Sorry, no. MyBoss is out of the office today so I'm the only person in HR, and I have to be back at MyOffice by 12:30 for this interview. I can't be in two places at once."
CW#2 was not taking no for an answer well. She made some snide remarks about me "not wanting to work with the families"--which was "an interesting assumption," now that I think about it--before CW#1 let me know he was ready to go.
I found out later, from someone who'd worked closely with CW#2, that she had been a bit of an SS to work with under the best of circumstances. Somehow I was not surprised.