I have so much more to tell from this blog where I outlined 5 awkward things I’ve witnessed through various jobs.
Again, I am protecting everyone’s identity.
I would love to go into detail about every fine example of an awkard situation that has unfolded in front of me but they simply just don’t make the cut, mainly because there’s no real story before or after the awkwardness.
– I once caught an enagaged female colleague in a romantic clinch with the security guard.
– Once, one of my colleagues caught wind of the company’s intention to make us all redundant so group emailed everyone with the news before the company had wanted to release it.
– I ran into my boss in Tesco, once on the hunt for doughnuts, an hour after work had started, not expecting her to arrive yet.
I’ve contributed to awkardness by making people cry or upset when my words have been misconstrued, it happens a lot, I’m either too logical or too dead-pan with ‘jokes’ sometimes… but those are maybe for another time, for now, here are 5 more awkward things I’ve witnessed through work.
Discovering Your Termination Whilst Doing the Company a Favour
It was my job to change colleagues’ email signatures so they carried a clickable image to whatever ridiculous, product the company was selling.
I have no real interest in other people’s mail, texts or anything else they receive that’s addressed to them personally but sometimes, something catches your eye and human nature takes over.
The office manager decided to leave her station as I changed her email signature and I immediately noticed, in her inbox, an email from my employment agency bearing a subject title containing my job title at the time.
I skim read the mail and it transpired that my agency were actively seeking to help my current company employ someone… with my exact job title.
I phoned my employment agency and asked if my company were looking for someone. Again, not my business, but they said no. Call it scrupulous lying but I’ve never used that agency again.
About a week or two later I was given a deadline for a task of SUNDAY!
I arrived at work on Monday morning knowing I wouldn’t see the day out.
As hasty as they were to have me leave the building and have my replacement start, they neglected to allow me to handover, so when they phoned asking if I could speak directly to my replacement to talk them through some processes I politely declined.
‘It’s a bit awkward’ was my reason.
Microphone Left on Whilst Visiting the Toilet
Having a ‘set-piece’ fall out of a Naked Gun movie and play out in the real world is a treat…
This was a conference and one of my colleagues was on stage as he was handing over an official chairmanship as his run in the role was now over.
Anyone on stage was required to wear a clip on mic, so vast was the auditorium we were in. I was quite bored by this point of proceedings.
The conference was set over a weekend and so far, I’d endured a punctured tyre before I had even set off on the mammoth, border crossing, drive.
When signing in to the conference, I was greeted by a guy I had previously promised to send info to, but as I’d taken his call on the road I’d neglected to write it down so I forgot.
‘Are you Bazz?’
This guy went on to present daytime radio shows. I forget his name.
It quickly transpired this was banter and I spent some time talking to this guy over the weekend, he was alright, I explained my mis-hap, he seemed to be cool with it.
I was also informed by my boss that we kind of had to ‘improvise’ getting somewhere to stay.
‘You need to pull, basically’ were his ‘wise’ words.
I managed to squeeze into to a group booking through a potential client which involved me top-bunking in a hostel in a room full of delegates.
My boss had also ordered me to take three of our client’s home on the Sunday, which meant three women crammed into my car, stuck in traffic, making the journey last SEVEN hours whilst my possessive ex-girlfriend had cartwheels by text and by phone call about it along the way.
All of this was worth it, for the glorious, stomach busting laughter that occurred, back in the auditorium, when one of my colleagues, during the break, went to the loo, still ‘microphoned’-up.
The undisputed sound of toilet seat crashing down onto porcelain which bellowed out of the PA system, sent another person on stage scrambling to the Gents to alert my colleague and a ripple of laughter so hearty, my colleague was cheered when he returned to the stage.
Declaration of Illiteracy ends Badly for Aussie Applicant
We had all arrived to work as telesales people and were having a group induction. This included a basic ‘test’ which we filled out answers too on our given test papers.
During the first break I quickly identified who I wanted to be friends with when we started on the phones. I picked the people surrounding me. An 18/19 year old, hippy-type, a stocky, Maori grandma with an afro and the 30-40 something bag lady/80s retro mum.
To be honest, because of the severe randomness of the situation, I was in Melbourne, Australia. So I can even more randomly identify the bag lady/80s retro mum as Kylie. That was her name, I don’t know her surname and I very much doubt anyone who knows her could even point her in my direction now.
Anyway… Kylie was cool in a kind of ‘too’ enthusiastic but she’s alright way. She spoke fondly of her daughter she was raising and it was made clear she would go hungry if there was only enough food to feed her. It was really awe-inspiring.
As the MD was giving us a welcome talk he said ‘don’t worry about your test scores, it’s only if you are seriously bad will it stop you working here.’
We all chuckled nervously with relief… all but Kylie who loudly and disappointedly said ‘Ohhhhh….’
‘What’s the matter?’ the MD enquired with a smile.
‘I really wanted to know my test score’ Kylie replied.
Charmed at her enthusiasm the MD, reassured her, ‘The scores really don’t matter.’
‘Ah but,’ Kylie started to sulk, ‘I wanted to know mine, it means something to me, because I can’t read too good…’
The MD motioned for calm, gave his ‘number two’ a look and carried on his talk.
Seconds later, ‘number two’ came over to Kylie as whispered if he could have a word and she should probably grab her bag.
That was the last we saw of her.
Prisoner Stutter Worsens When Asked for the Truth
OK, I can’t really hide the fact that I worked (temp contract) in a prison with this story, but I’ll state, for the sake of not getting beaten up in a pub, I was not a ‘Screw,’ I was a security guard to external contractors who were building a new wing. There. Back to vague detail…
We were on the night shift, looking after the guys working in the kitchen doing maintenance stuff from the ‘cons’ working in the kitchen cooking their dinner and stuff. Normal duties, keep an eye on their tool boxes, open and shut gates for them.
We met a bloke who identified himself as earning £50 a week behind those bars. That was about six times as much as what you were supposed earn as an inmate.
‘I won’t ask why’ I said, trying to keep my face as universally friendly as possible.
Later he walked up to me and stuffed a load of wrapped turkey slices into my pocket from the fridge. ‘Have them,’ he instructed boldly, ‘I can get you anything you want…’
Why would I want anything? I could just stop at a supermarket on the way home everyday…
‘Daddy’ or ‘Top Dog’ aside another ‘guard’ and I got chatting to a talkative chap who was filling us in on life on the inside in a jovial yet very real manner whilst carrying out his kitchen duties.
He was articulate to a point and thought provoking in his assessment of some of the struggles you face as a prisoner.
‘So what are you in for?’ asked my colleague slightly breaking the protocol of not really trading information with them.
I’d love to tell what he was in for. I know that the story started with going to see his girlfriend but as the story unfolded, so did his tongue which seemed to affect his once perfect speech.
Very quickly, my colleague and I could not understand a single word the inmate was saying.
At one point he sounded like a piano key being pressed over and over again. The word ‘like’ became ‘la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…’
As this was going on, my colleague and I glanced at each other, one, to ascertain that we were really witnessing the same thing and two, we needed to ascertain this in the millisecond of a lightening flash quick hear turn so as not to offend what was looking a lot like a loose cannon before us.
‘Oh’ we both said when the story… well… array of random sounds had finished.
‘We’d errmm…’ we tried so desperately to find an exit to the exchange, ‘better go check on stuff.’
We were stopped in our tracks by the ‘Top Dog’ who gave us a packet of crisps each.
Colleague Drinks too much on her Last Day Lunch Break
I never spoke to her in the office before and the first time I did, she was drunk.
Two of my colleagues were leaving so naturally, they went out for a liquid lunch.
One of them drank too much and started to become rather boisterous at her desk, firing insults at people. I decided it was too much to sit in an office where everybody could see and hear it but nobody wanted to confront it, so I nipped out for some ‘fresh air.’
Moments later, my drunk colleague and her mates found their way out side for some fresh air too and she was still ranting. I tried to stay in my corner, fearing some random outburst directed at me.
Unfortunately, the drunk’s mate was a mate of mine, so started talking to me, this inevitably drew attention to the drunk.
Mid-rant, she turned in my direction…
‘Err… I’m saying nothing… I’m a little scared of you’ I stammered, trying to make some light.
‘You’re OK,’ she said, ‘You wear awesome clothes!’
I think… possibly the strangest first time conversation I’ve ever had with someone at work.
That apparently, was the ripple about me amongst colleagues who I never really spoke too. In the following weeks, more colleagues made similar comments.
At the time I had two careers at once and tended just to buy new clothes every couple of weeks.
After around five minutes back in the office it had become apparent that the drunk girl needed to go, so she was gently persuaded to pack her things and leave.
As she was leaving, under the very gentle and HR friendly, guiding arm of a manager, she picked on certain individuals surrounding and told them exactly what she thought of them, mostly, the comments were negative.
To this day, it’s still the best exit I’ve ever seen from a place of work and one of the greatest causes of mass, felt and office based awkwardness.