Exposing cruel and unusual workplaces since 2005.
Showing 116 - 120 of 121 Tales.
Tale # 24
Dept: Management Score: 671
Dec 4th 2005 Submitted by Omni
“Soft-Boiled Customer Service”
A donut Call centers collect a lot of stats on their employees, "average handling time" being one of them. They're meant to be be measures of efficiency, but when these stats are the only thing team leaders have to justify their existence sometimes that can lead to wackiness.

Take my mate, who was a genuinely nice guy. Far too nice really to be doing the job he was doing.

He thought he was there to help customers get their broadband services connected, his manager thought his job was to get customers off the phone ASAP in order to get good stats for the month.

Naturally this difference in goals lead to the amusing situation where the manager brought in an egg timer, set it to go off after a minute then would literally stand over the employee yelling, "Why are you still talking to this customer?!?" while the employee tried to juggle an irate customer and an irate boss.

After a couple of days of his he was really stressed out. I guess it wasn't helping that he had this whole Pavlovian dog thing happening with egg timers going off (yes, I'm a big meanie for setting one off during lunch) and he came to me for advice.

The only honest answer I could give him was to help 2 out of 3 customers and that should bring his handling time down. Just hang up on or transfer the third one. Although he baulked at this (nice guy), it did work, got his boss off his back and everyone was happier... well, except the customer obviously.

I suppose that's why I got promoted when I made the suggestion to management that they should make "Customer Satisfaction" a measure for team leaders as well? LINK
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Tale # 23
Dept: All-Staff Score: 116
Dec 4th 2005 Submitted by Omni
“Unions, OH&S, toasters and other bureaucracies.”
A donut To be fair not all bureaucratic annoyances come from above. Being a large teleco, the company has it's own fun and games from the unions and various government departments.

Now I've often made this point of view known, 'Unions and Government departments aren't motivated by profit. It's completely out of the equation for them. The only way they can justify their existence is to waste your god damn time, force you to pay attention to them somehow then they can claim to be doing something.'

My boss at the time often disagreed with this point of view, but however he did feel that I had the right attitude for an OH&S (Occupational Health & Safety) rep.

It's not fair. You pinky lefty types aren't supposed to be sneaky and smart like that.

The upshot of it that now they come to me to organise their audits and I do everything I can to get them the hell away from me ASAP with minimal impacts. Not that I don't take employee safety seriously, but if you come and tell me that we can't put tinsel up because if might fall and hurt someones eye I'm going to tell you exactly where I'm gonna put the tinsel instead.

But the toaster was a point of contention. Yes apparently this appliance that lives happily in millions of peoples homes is in fact a lethal burning electrocuting trap as soon as you take it out of it's natural environment and into the office. The owner of said toaster (who would often bribe me with toasted ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast) tried to assure everyone that she had the whole affair under control and everything was fine, but eventually she said she had my permission to do it.

Well I tell you what. I thought that I had finally be busted for stealing Lindy Chamberlain's kid. But no, it was just about the toaster, and how apparently I didn't understand about the cheese burning, and how it might be hot if one person has one then suddenly the office will be full of cheesy hot toasters that are left on 24/7.

All my comments and counter arguments (which largely revolved around, 'Bugger off before you have an OH&S incident') fell on deaf ears. And after two months of this and several threats to get the unions involved I eventually caved and asked toaster girl to keep it in a drawer when it wasn't being used.

Problem solved. BTW the 'If I don't see it..' approach also works for liquid paper, which also isn't allowed in the office, because apparently someone might drink it or sniff too much of it and die.

Personally I say that just evolution in action, but I don't get to make the rules, I just get to ignore them. LINK
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Tale # 17
Dept: I.T. Score: 5807
Dec 1st 2005 Submitted by Anonymous
“The Audit”
A donut I once got talking to a guy whose job it was to go into a company, sit alongside the Systems Administrator for two weeks, and write a professional audit on his processes and practices.

Naturally the sys admin would be on his best behavior, showing off all the clever things he did to keep the company's computer network ticking over.

At the end of the two weeks, the sys admin would be fired. There was never any audit: this was just the method the company used to replace their IT people without disruption, making sure the new guy was trained up and the old guy didn't cause any damage before he left. LINK
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Tale # 16
Dept: All-Staff Score: 59
Dec 1st 2005 Submitted by Anonymous
“The Most Important Thing I Learned At Work”
A donut As a fresh graduate to a big company, I was eager to learn all I could to facilitate my rise up the corporate ladder. There was one manager in particular who impressed me: he was smart, ruthless, and half the company was scared of him. I watched him carefully for tips I could use in my own career.

One day, many months later, I went into the bathroom and there he was: standing slouched at the urinal, chin almost on chest, fiddling with his penis. In that moment I learned a crucial lesson: nobody can respect you when you look like that. From then on I have always made sure I stood tall at the trough. LINK
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Tale # 15
Dept: Management Score: 1359
Dec 1st 2005 Submitted by Max
“The Magical Disappearing Office”
A donut My company was very big on open plan: not one employee anywhere in the world, it was boasted, had an office. Instead, we all had mini-cubicles: there were giant floors of maybe two hundred employees and the only internal walls were for the bathrooms and elevator shafts.

One day in my far-flung regional headquarters, carpenters arrived and started building something in the corner where the new General Manager sat. As the weeks passed, this contraption began to look more and more like an actual office.

Naturally this was the topic of hot conversation, but the word was that the General Manager believed that whole "open plan" thing to be more of a guideline than a rule, and not controversial at all.

His office was not quite complete when, quite by coincidence, the worldwide CEO announced he was planning to visit us. It was the first time in maybe decades that this had happened.

The next day, the carpenters began dissasembling the office. LINK
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Showing 116 - 120 of 121 Tales.