Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
I've worked for bosses that were pretty skeevy in the past, but none have been so, um, forthcoming with it as my current employer. He's a college professor who's second in charge of our department, and I'm his secretary, which means I usually bear the brunt of his cluelessness.
Our new graduate students had arrived for some orientations and what not. One of them has just had a baby over the summer, and OK, maybe she was showing off the pregnancy boobs a little. She came in one day and asked me -- privately -- about a good place to pump breast milk. Having no experience in this area, I was all, um, the bathroom? It's the only place I could think of.
Now, my boss has an unfortunate habit of staring women in the chest when he talks to us. Yes, it gets old, but he's a dude. What am I gonna do? I choose to ignore it and move on. But this poor girl, who has only been here for a day, apparently got the brunt of it early on.
I know this because my boss pulls up a chair next to my desk the other day and says he needs to talk to me about something "outside his area of expertise." Mentally groaning, I listen as he gives me the following recap of events:
"So I was talking to (grad student) a few minutes ago and I was staring at her breasts and she told me she just had a baby and needs a place to pump."
Mind you, there was NOBODY in the room at this point except the two of us. Could I have been more uncomfortable? I think not. Not knowing how to react to this, I just told him I'd check the staff bathroom to see if there was an outlet in there.
I know he looks. I see him doing it to every woman who comes through these doors. But does he have to admit it to me like that? No, he does not. And yet he does.
I saw that grad student later that day and started to tell her we could get her a key to the staff bathroom, which is a little more private than the student one, if she wants. She stopped me mid-sentence to say she had ordered a battery pack for her pump and that's the end of it. Poor girl.
Also, I need to remember to buy some baggy, high-necked shirts to wear to work.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I once had a coworker who was very, very strange. It's hard to sum him up in writing -- he was one of those people you really just had to experience in person -- but suffice to say he had led a very sheltered life before entering our profession, which requires you to be at least kind of competent when it comes to talking to people. It did not go well. He was awkward, long-winded and excruciatingly weird.
One day this coworker had a large binder open on his desk, holding it upright so his face was shielded. There was something fishy about the way he was turning the pages, and eventually I realized there was another book hiding behind the binder.
Because I had nothing better to do, I decided to make it my mission for the day to figure out exactly what he was reading at his desk, and why it had to be kept secret. Eventually the binder slipped and I got my answer.
Letters to Penthouse.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
One day I noticed that my coworker was wearing two different shoes. And not just a little bit different, but different in a very obvious way: One was black and the other brown, one had a tassel and the other didn't. Clearly different.
And sure, perhaps the nice thing to do would have been to ignore it and let him figure it out on his own. But I'm sorry -- if you wear two different shoes to work, you deserve to be made fun of.
"Coworker?" I said, smiling nicely because I really am just trying to poke fun, not to be malicious. "Are you wearing two different shoes?"
He looks down, blushes, and then sets his jaw and looks back up at me.
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you are!"
"No. They're supposed to be this way."
"That can't be right. One is black and the other is brown! That one has a tassel and the other doesn't!"
"I know it seems that way, but they really are supposed to go together."
By this point it wasn't about the shoes anymore. It was about me being completely incredulous that this guy just wouldn't laugh about it and admit his mistake. I had witnesses. I had TRUTH on my side. But that guy stood his ground, mismatched shoes and all. What a dork.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Co-worker: What did y'all do this weekend?
Me: My parents took us to see the Louvre exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta.
Co-worker: The what?
Me: The Louvre exhibit... At the art museum.
Me: It's a bunch of ancient stuff.
Co-worker: Like the Titanic?
Me: No... not like the Titanic.
The office can be a strange place. There are days you feel like you've accomplished a lot, there are days you watch the clock slowly work its way toward 5:00, and there are days you wonder why you're even there.
And then there are the days you marvel at the fact you haven't yet gone on a murderous rampage in response to the blatant stupidity, the unbridled ignorance, the unparalleled jackassery you see every day. And the worst part? You don't feel safe blogging about it, because everyone knows it's not safe to blog about work. No one wants to get dooced.
dooced: Getting fired because of something you wrote on your blog. Blogger Heather Armstrong coined the phrase in 2002 after being fired from her job for writing about her coworkers on her blog, Dooce.
Do you feel like a lonely sane island in an ocean of crazy? Do you sometimes wonder if your entire office is a reality show and you're not in on the joke? Do you find yourself wondering how your coworkers have made it thus far in life, because surely someone that stupid would have accidentally shot their own face off by now?
I don't know how so many crazy people manage to hold down jobs. But I do know that you are not alone.
And so I bring you They Took My Stapler, a place for people to vent anonymously about the crazy people they encounter in their day-to-day work lives. All you have to do is this: E-mail me, the Webmaster, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your tales of colleague incompetence, whether it be your boss, your coworker, or a client. I promise not to identify you on this site, nor should you identify by name the colleague in question or any company either of you has ever been affiliated with. You can trust me -- I'll even throw in a few stories of my own (believe me, I could fill a book) without ever revealing my own name.
Ideally, I'll post once a day with an anonymous person's tale of workplace disgruntlement. Because if you can't commiserate with other sane people, well, then, nothing good can come of that. Just ask all those postal workers.
You do not have to be a blogger. Your stories do not have to be recent; it's perfectly fine to tell tales of past coworker transgressions. All I ask is that you keep the tone lighthearted and funny (though a little contained vitriol here and there never hurt anyone.) Basically, no stories of workplace violence, harassment, or other depressing stuff. Deal? Deal.
Now, vent away!