Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm Not Yelling! I'm Merely Talking To You In A Condescending Manner

Throughout my 16 1/2 years of state employment, I've been yelled at for a myriad of transgressions. Some of those transgressions were serious enough to warrant further discipline beyond the verbal, while others were about as serious as giving a child crust on their PB&J when they specifically asked for no crust, yet the discipline was overly disproportionate to the actual transgression.

In other words, I accuse you of favoritism, you whine to your supervisor, and I get sent to anger management (true statement).

Earlier in the year, I had one such transgression, that although it wasn't an issue, someone had turned it into an issue.

When I get inter-office mail, sometimes I have to use a letter opener and a pair of scissors to open it, 'cause the sender chose to use a half a roll of tape to seal the envelope. The end result is that by the time I get done opening said envelope, it's purty much been turned into scrap paper.

So being the good worker bee, I put said envelope in the recycling barrel. Less than a minute later, a person higher up the food chain (who doesn't work in my department) stooped by to ask why I was recycling an interdepartmental envelope.

I answered the query, and within a few seconds, had an argument over whether or not I should've recycled the thoroughly destroyed envelope. If you think that an argument about recycling was dopey, you would be correct in your assumption.

Fast forward to mid-August '12.

One morning, I strolled over to a copier with the intention of making two dozen copies of a fax cover sheet. When I got there, a flashing error message on the control panel said that the paper tray needed to be refilled. So I proceeded to take four reams of paper and filled the paper tray.

However, being that this is one of those super sensitive new copiers that needed to have the paper aligned just right in order to work, it didn't work. Because I didn't properly align the paper.

Note: the rest of my floor isn't what you call "proactive" when it comes to doing certain things.

Anyways, after making a couple of attempts to fix the problem and failing, I left that copier and went to another to make my copies.

About several minutes later, a supervisor comes by my cube and says, "Did you make these copies?"

Sheepishly I say, "Oh, yeah. Thanks." (I had forgotten to cancel my print job before walking away)

After they had given it to me, they spend the next few minutes berating me for improperly filling the paper tray. Because I did it "wrong", I inconvenienced everyone else who had to use it. So in the future, if the copier needs to be filled, ask for help.

Note: This was a condensed version of the conversation, but you can get the basic idea on how dopey this was as well.

When this person left, two other co-workers who had heard this "discussion" commented on how dopey (there is another word that is a tighter fit, but alas, I'm trying to be Mr. Clean today) this was. My supervisor, who knew about the first incident, couldn't believe it when I said I was involved in a discussion that topped the first one for sheer chutzpah.

So in the course of one year, I got involved in arguments that covered the following topics:

1} recycling
2} filling a copier

So my question to you is this:

"What was the stupidest argument that you were forced to partake in, simply because someone objected to you doing something that you were supposed to do?"


  1. I remember those finicky copiers that you had to fan the paper before you put it in or it magically wouldn't work. I was typically the last call to fix the copier before we called the expert.

  2. This is precisely why you must keep a voodoo doll in your drawer and stick pins in it every now and then.

  3. Bearman: Me and one other co-worker, who happens to be a guy, are really the only people who fix/fill the copier, our unit's fax machine and our unit's printer.

    If we don't do it, it really doesn't get done.

    This, however, has to be the stupidest thing that I've come across in 16+ years of working for the guv'ment.

    Debra: The modern voodoo doll is this blog. It took me about twenty minutes to write this blog post (about three handwritten pages). So whenever I encounter schtuff like this, it becomes fodder for either this blog or Facebook.

  4. You have got to be fucking kidding me. And you haven't gone postal why?

    Stupid thing that comes to mind was actually when I was volunteering for an organization, and another volunteer chastised me over e-mail the entire leadership council for including more than one topic per e-mail. Kid you not.

  5. M: I am not kidding. My example isn't the worst, as I've heard stories of seriously anal retentive people doing even stupider stuff.

    Why haven't I gone postal? I still value my job and I'm just getting over what happened a year and a half ago the last time I went down that path.

  6. That's pretty lame. I'm glad to say that I haven't been reprimanded for any silly reasons (or even any good reasons) that I can recall.

  7. S.R.: Exceptionally lame.

    What little respect I had for this person is now all but gone.

  8. I would like to think that there's a special place in hell reserved for all of those people, where they must endlessly watch people fill copiers, etc., and have to sit on their hands.

  9. M: Plus listen to Rob Schneider's character perpetually saying multiple variations of, "Making copies".

  10. ah, yes, the red tape jungle.

    While not work related, I have to laugh at conversations I have heard around here about recycling. I have actually heard people at restaurants refuse to order certain things...because they did not know if they were supposed o recycle the container or throw it away and did not want to get yelled at if they guessed wrong.

  11. Debra-lol-

    My big boss came in, then walked up to me n blasted full force "WHAT's GOING ON?!!" n stuff about why was the garage door nearby open because the ac had been fixed at a high cost!"
    Well I didn't know because I didn't open it. It was the production manager standing nearby letting me take the blame n never owning up to it. If it wasn't so stupid of him, I would've walked out... of course the whole building heard it.

    Good thing this is your blog, cause I can't put this stuff on mine... he might find it!

  12. Darth: Seriously? Not order something at a restaurant 'cause of potential recycling issues?

    I put that right up there with ordering a pizza with everything and getting a bottle of water 'cause you're on a diet.

    Snaggle: Nice company you work for. Get yelled at by upper management for something that you didn't do, and have the person who did serve you up on a plate with all of the trimmings to the managerial einstein.

  13. I had an employee in a bank where I managed the branch. He was excellent and probably had higher favorable comments from customers than any of the staff. I got a call from downtown and was told to find a reason to terminate this young man who was openly gay. I refused. The heat was then on to punish me and within six months I was gone. The new manager managed to find reason to terminate the man.

  14. G.A.: That is thoroughly despicable on all accounts.

    I sincerely hope both you and the young man were able to get justice in the end for your improper firings.


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G. B. Miller

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