General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Any Way I Can Make This Better?

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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 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.


I'd ignore it and drive on.

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.

Library Dragon:
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. 

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)


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