Marrying Together Different Interview Styles

, , , , | Working | November 23, 2017

(My boss gets a new manager who makes an effort to get to know everyone under him. Over his first few weeks he takes us all out, one at a time, for a casual half-hour meet-and-greet. I am excited about this because it is the first time I’ve been in an environment where I have senior leadership who seems to actually care about their subordinates.)

Boss: “So, tell me a bit about yourself. None of that work stuff; we’ll get to that. I see you’re married?”

Me: “Yup!”

Boss: “How long?”

Me: “It’ll be two years this September.”

Boss: “Ah. Two years. Yeah, wait until five years; that’s when you’ll find out if it’s going to be worth saving or not.”

Me: *awkwardly* “Haha, yeah. Well, I’ve heard of the seven-year mark being hard.”

Boss: “It’s five.”

(The conversation never really recovered, and I rarely interacted with him after that, though when I did it always felt tense. Naturally, I assumed that he’d been burned once or twice, but after moving to a new role a couple years later, I found out from a manager that worked more closely with him that he was actually a lifelong homosexual bachelor, easily in his late 40s, probably older. So, I guess he was just being mean?)

37 Years And Still Behaving Like A Toddler

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2017

(There is a local general store and deli a few minutes from our house with delicious sandwiches. The owner runs the shop and is always working, with maybe one other person. Lately, the usually set business hours have been sporadic. One afternoon, my dad calls the shop to politely ask when they are closing that day — we’ve tried to get food there the past two nights and are hoping they’ll be open tonight. When asking them about the hours my dad is polite and friendly, with no hint of anger in his voice.)

Dad: “Hi, we were wondering when you are closing tonight?”

Employee: “Just a moment.” *after a minute* “3:00 pm.”

Dad: “Oh, okay. What is the reason for your odd hours? We’ve been trying to come, but you closed at one the other day and three today.”

Employee: “Just a moment.” *fetches the owner*

Owner: “Hello?” *not yelling but sounds short*

Dad: *repeats previous questions*

Owner: *very angry sounding* “Because I’m old, and when I get tired, I quit!”

Dad: *realizing he is angry and trying to be positive* “I like how you think.”

Owner: *a bit angrier* “I’ve been doing this for 37 years, and I can do what I want!”

Dad: *still trying to just be polite* “Good answer. We wanted to order sandwiches today, but won’t be able to make it to the store in time, so we may send our neighbor.”

Owner: “Fine, just call them in!” *hangs up*

(We had been planning to still get the food since my mom was craving it, but I realized that, personally, I really didn’t want to get anything because I don’t like rewarding bad behavior. Whether my parents and neighbor got anything was up to them, but because I seemed so angry, they decided not to get anything, either.)

Will Need To Sweet-Talk Your Way Out Of This One

, , , , , , | Working | November 23, 2017

(It is about 30 years ago, when I am starting out as a food chemist, and I have been invited to give a talk to the FDA in Washington, DC. After the talk, I am shown around one of the labs where they are doing some toxicity testing on aspartame, a synthetic sweetener about 200 times sweeter than sucrose. I have never heard of it, so I ask to take some back to my lab to analyze. They give it to me in a little unmarked plastic bag. After I land in Toronto, I have to go through Canadian customs.)

Customs: “Do you have anything to declare?”

Me: “No.”

Customs: “Any food?”

(I think for half a second, pull the unmarked bag of white, powdery aspartame out of my coat pocket, and say:)

Me: “Yes.”

(I have never seen armed men come that fast. They put me in a back room and a few minutes later a border agent comes in.)

Border Agent: “What are you doing with this much cocaine?”

Me: “What?! No, this is aspartame. It’s a sweetener.”

Border Agent: “Never heard of it. What is aspartame?”

Me: “You know, I don’t really know.”

(I open the bag and dip my finger into it and lick it.)

Me: “Good God! That’s sweet!”

(The border agent also tastes it and agrees it really is a sweetener. But before they let me go, the border agent makes a comment.)

Border Agent: “Makes sense it wasn’t cocaine; I don’t think anyone would be stupid enough to pull out a bag of cocaine when asked if there was anything to declare.”

When Your Inappropriate Comments Hit The Roof(ie)

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2017

(I work with a coworker that is known for saying inappropriate things to clients. She has to sit in a corner desk facing the wall because of her loud and obnoxious comments. I sit very close to her and one call stands out in particular. She is completing a medical financial assistance application over the phone with a pregnant client.)

Coworker: “And how many babies are you expecting?”

Client: “I’m three months alon— Oh! I’m sorry, just one. Having some trouble with baby-brain.”

Coworker: *loudly* “Oh, I remember those days! Being pregnant is just like being roofied!”

(Queue everyone within a five-desk radius prairie-dogging up from their desks for confirmation that this was actually just said!)

Defeated By A Two-Year-Old

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2017

(My home has been plagued with the same telemarketer over and over the past few weeks. They tend to call around the time my two-year-old daughter is napping, waking her up every time. Despite trying everything to get them to stop, and being on the do-not-call list, they keep going. They’ve just done it again, and I have had it. I am enjoying a cup of coffee when the phone rings.)

Me: “Oh, son of a b****.”

Daughter: *wakes up screaming and crying*

Me: “Hello.”

Telemarketer: “Hello! I’m calling about a survey. Is this a good time?”

Me: “I don’t know; you tell me.”

(I take the phone over to my daughter’s crib and place it in there. I can hear the telemarketer swearing when they hear my daughter crying. I pick the phone back up.)

Me: “You call every single day at this time. I have told you repeatedly that you are waking up my child, that we want to be removed from your list, and that we are actually on the do-not-call list. From now on, if you call at this time, or ever, you will hear my daughter either babbling away or crying. It’s your choice.”

Telemarketer: “We’re so sorry. You have been removed.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(We’ll see if we really were removed.)

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