You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Office Politics!

Can I get a like out there from everybody who has ever had to deal with a douchebag of a manager? A manager who makes your already crappy day at work, crappier.

Come now, don’t be shy. I can guarantee that at some point in EVERY person’s life, they’ve encountered a manager who micro manages them, acts like a creep, does absolutely nothing but takes credit for EVERYTHING, or is in a management position because they’re the world’s biggest kiss ass and not because they’ve earnt it, which is more often than not the case.

If this is you after work, you get the feels. (SOURCE: PSY Gangnam Style)

If this is you after work, you get the feels. (SOURCE: PSY Gangnam Style, edited accordingly)

You come into work on any given morning, say hello to everyone and sit down at your desk with a cup of coffee, a smile on your face, and you’re ready to give the day a good hard go. Then it happens. You peer over the top of your desk (or cubicle) ever so slightly, unable to control the desire that’s festering inside you, forcing you to look over at your manager to see what they’re doing… that’s when you see it. They’ve got their mobile in hand, food in the other and their feet are crossed upon their desk. They’re clearly working so very hard.

No matter what you do, or how hard you try and concentrate on your task at hand, your eyes continuously watch. It’s like a train wreck. You can’t help but stare despite the fact that the more you see, the more your insides burn. You continue to watch on to see what unfolds. Now they’re lighting candles, their wireless ear piece attached, pacing their office whilst they’re no doubt conducting a “business” call… yeah right.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Slowly but surely the day continues on. You’ve shaken away the bad thoughts and given yourself the little motivational speech that you need to make it through your day – “I’m here to work. I cannot worry about what everyone else is doing. I have a job to do and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability and someday I will be manager, and when that day comes I won’t be like them”.

Hahaha. You idiot. Who are you even trying to kid right now? Yourself? No one else is being fooled. Everyone else knows that you’ll never get there, you’re just hoping and dreaming – which by the way there is nothing wrong with – everyone needs a little hope in their life. But you my friend, you will never rank higher that the office slave. Why you ask? Because you’re too good at what you do. Whether your boss asks you to make them a coffee, file their paperwork or even proof read one of their emails, you do it to the best of your ability. Why the hell would anyone pay you more to be in a higher up position when they can continue to pay you abysmally knowing that you’re still going to perform?

As if you couldn’t possibly feel any worse, your manager then pops up like a ninja behind you. “Melissa, what are you doing there? Are you writing and email about me?” (that was totally just my personal input there because I’m sitting at work whilst writing this article and on total ninja patrol). But seriously, out of nowhere your manager appears asking 21 questions:

What are you doing?
Has this been done yet?
When will that be finished?
That one will be on my desk before you go, yes?
Why did such and such call me?

GIVE ME A BREAK WOULD YOU?! Your task list will be completed promptly and efficiently, alongside my own tasks that I’m making no progress on. Don’t worry though, I’ll work back if I have to and not at all be recognised for it, or compensated. It’s totally cool. I don’t have a life at all outside of work, so please, run along and enjoy a beer on me while I work through all this bullshit!

It’s absolutely ridiculous. You seriously do question how these people get their jobs, but how can we? Every one of us who actually goes to work and does their job are enabling this. We’re all enablers. Isn’t it great? How does it feel knowing that whilst you’re sitting there working your butt off, your Manager is off texting their significant other, painting their nails or having a snooze, all at your expense. Heck, they might as well take daily yoga classes on you.

What makes it worse thought is when your employer thinks it’ll be fantastic rearranging your seating positions on a regular. Seating you next to the office slob, or someone you cannot stand because their personality clashes with yours. You try and try to keep a level head, but no matter what you do, the very sound of their voice sets you on edge. They rock up to work dolled up, eager to talk about what their after work plans are, not concerned in their slightest about work, while you sit there, insides burning envisioning the fan above their head falling down on top of them. You wouldn’t wish anything bad upon them of course, it’s just a subconscious thought that makes listening to their shit bearable. This all takes a toll on your performance.

Do people not realise that productivity levels will only increase if we’re working in a happy place?

Don’t sit me next to the bimbo who would jump the boss for a raise if she could. Don’t sit me opposite the girl who reports EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to HR, even the name of your cat, because it’s apparently offensive, and definitely don’t sit me next to the office sleaze. I will not work like that. I WILL however make my discomforts known.

Please employers… make your employees happy. Studies show that if you’re working in a happy environment, productivity will soar. That means that you’re overworked, underpaid, non-recognised employees will continue to work harmoniously while you continue to sit on your butt and make an absolute fortune. What’s to lose?

– by Melissa Tonitto

Top 6 Customers That Every Retail Worker Hates

“You either love it, or you hate it. There’s no in between.”

This quote is very much true when it comes to working in retail: it can be the fun, exciting and dynamic experience that young, impressionable teenagers see which makes them want to work in retail, or it can be painful and God forsaken and it can turn the best of people into world-loathing cynics.

Speaking of the latter, it’s not the work that turns them into fun-suckers… it’s the customers. As someone who works in retail, I can say that there are customers who need nothing more than a good frying pan to fall out of the sky and squash them into the ground (subtle Snowboard Kids reference).

So you're one of these customers? It'd be a shame if... someone pushed you down these stairs. (SOURCE: Björn Láczay's Flickr photostream)

So you’re one of these customers? It’d be a shame if… someone pushed you down these stairs. (SOURCE: Björn Láczay’s Flickr photostream)

While it is true that there are some lovely customers that you would be happy to go out of your way to accommodate, the truth is that there are too many unpleasant customers that retail workers have to deal with on a daily basis. To give you a fair idea, here are some of the types of customers that every retail worker loathes to deal with (and provided examples):

The Ignorant Questioner
These are the ones that ask the workers questions, which they are perfectly entitled to, except they keep asking the same question over and over to the point where the worker might believe they’re talking to a malfunctioning fembot from Austin Powers. An example:

Customer: Is this garment on sale?
Worker #1: No, it’s full priced, so it’s 29.95.
Customer: Okay… (five seconds later). Excuse me, is this garment on sale?
Worker #2: No, it’s full priced.

Asking someone else isn’t going to get you the answer that you seek. I honestly don’t understand the logic behind this.

The Complainer
“But this top was on the sale rack even though there is a whole set of them placed on the other side of the store marked correctly… I demand you give it to me on sale or so help me I will complain to your manager.” If you don’t think these types of people exist… they do. They will go to extreme lengths to get what they want, even if what they want is absolutely ridiculous. The Complainer will argue with you until the cows come home and will effectively forget that people have feelings.

Customer: Oh the music is so loud and awful in here! I can’t shop in this environment!
Worker: Sorry, the volume is always like this and I can’t change it.
Customer: Well, you’ve just lost a customer!

Because I’m sure that $5 top you were considering was going to have a huge effect on the ultimate sales for the day.

The Slave Driver
On workers job descriptions, it’ll list them as “Retail manager” or “Sales assistant”. Nowhere does it say “Personal shopping basket” or “Other size fetcher”. Technically speaking, people who work in retail don’t have to offer you any kind of personal assistance at all, really; they choose to. Certain people, however, choose to take advantage of this general sweetness and put workers to slavery.

Worker: Is there anything I can help you with?
Customer: Well, I want to try these pants on. Could you be a darl and babysit my baby, watch my trolley, and stand here in case I need another size? Actually… just get me the size up, just in case. Thanks. Oh… here’s the baby.

This may come as a shock to some people, but people who work in retail are human beings as well. Human beings like to be treated as human beings sometimes. What a nifty little idea!

The Grub
So you want to try on three pairs of pants and three matching tops? Fair enough. You’re within your right. But you don’t like any of them… so what do you do? The Grub leaves their tried-on garments inside out on the floor of the change room in a pile of mess, and expect the workers to clean up after them as if they’re some incapable toddler who has gone for a run about.

Customer: Whoops… I accidentally knocked over that table display of shoes. Oh well. Better walk out now and leave it for the workers.
Worker: (chronic swearing in fifteen different languages)

If it’s that easy to take off the hanger, I’m sure it is as easy to put back on. Weird concept, right?

The Bargainer
I understand that some stores may have the privilege of altering prices to make that ultimate sale, but most don’t. So there really is no point in trying to bargain an item if the price tag is set in stone.

Worker: These ones are $49.95.
Customer: There’s a tiny, almost invisible mark on these boots. Can I get a discount on them?

No. You can’t.

The Indecisive Douchebag
This may come to a surprise to some people but putting a refund or exchange through the store’s sale system is a long process. It isn’t just a snap-of-the-fingers-and-it’s-done type thing. So when a customer buys something and then all of a sudden decides they don’t want it, no amount of apologies will make up for the half hour you just wasted of their lives.

Customer: I’ll just buy the pink scarf, thanks.
Worker: Thank you. Have a good day.
Customer: Actually, no; I want the orange one.

With exchanges, it’s also important to note that you can’t just take the new one and walk out. That is called stealing.

If there is one thing I want to leave at the end of this, it’s this: people who work in retail are human beings as well, so treat them like you want to be treated.

– by The Black Widow

You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Society Hates Sick People

I write this from my bed, a bed that has become refuge for the last week or so. Half-drunk tea cups and soup bowls accumulate high in the surrounding area, protected by a fence of snotty tissues and Soothers wrappers. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, this hell of chilling and scolding fever, I have to prove to the people around me that I’m legitimately on the brink of death.

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People get sick, quite often I might add. As far as medicine has come in our existence there is still no cure for the common cold or for the viruses that have caused my tonsillitis. I do not blame the medical or scientific community for this. There are some crappy things that just become part of life and having the flu a couple times a year is one of them. However, society itself does not tolerate this common human affliction.

Why is it that just because I have an assignment due for uni today (which I have completed) and work tomorrow morning that I still feel this guilt for not being able to make it to either of these places? For example, the e-mail I sent to my tutor this morning was a mess of sorrys and reassurances that I will give him a medical certificate. If I am sick, the first priority should be that I get better, not that I have to prove my degree of sickness, but somehow this makes sense: if I’m too sick to leave the house and hand in work at university then I should somehow not be too sick to leave the house to go to the doctors and get a certificate.

I can’t call my boss and simply tell her I can’t come in because I’m sick; instead, I end up saying something along the lines of: “I’m so so so so sorry, I could maybe come in for a couple of hours,” but in my head I’m thinking: “What? I’m sick, I need rest, why am I saying these things?”

I understand that being sick inconveniences a lot of people; my boss will have to find somebody else to work and my tutor will have to wait to grade my assessment, but if we all know that this happens to everyone quite regularly than there should be allowances and backup plans made. Above all we shouldn’t be made to feel this insane guilt when we’re already feeling intense sickness.

I should mention that I’m really jaded about this topic because at one time in my life being sick nearly cost me my job. I worked at a cafe for a while, and after being there for about a month the boss gave me a raise for my hard work. At this point the boss seemed awesome. A couple months later I get sick and call him to say so, which he then replies with ‘That’s okay, you should come in anyway.’ So I do, and for that week I work as hard as I can, when I only have about 60% of my usual energy and 189% of the mucus. At the end of the week he tells me that he is thinking of firing me because I had been ‘slacking off at work even after I was given a raise.’

A lot of questions arise from this one incident, but the main one for me was: what happened in this man’s life to make him think that making a sick person work would be okay? The answer, I have to assume, is the world we live in. A world where there must be billions of people sick at this very second but they are all being treated like a horse with a broken hoof.

I know this seems like a really big ‘what grinds my gears’ article, but I am very seriously curious to know if anyone feels the same. I understand that these practices are put in place for the whole of society to be more efficient, but on a personal level it seems like such a sacrifice.

 by Josefina Huq