So, I recently had a setback in my business and I had to get a real job!
It sucked! It was terrible! It was an exercise in humility.
My new employer is a shipping company that does a lot of “shipping” of “everything.”
This is what I was told at least.
I work in a large building in a commercial area where they have warehouses and other industrial types of buildings for shipping and engineering spaces.
While working with a co-worker, I took my badge off and placed it on the desk and he nudged me and whispered, “Hey, you should put your badge on before you get bitched at. Trust me, you will. They are anal about that kind of stuff here!”
He was scared and he was also speaking from experience.
To be clear, I am not working for a government spy organization or a police department or somewhere in the Pentagon working on a battle plan to “Fight zee Germans” in a time of war. We do have a large glass door that auto-locks and you have to hit a buzzer to come inside but it is useless because they let anyone in the building.
Why the big deal? Why the fear.
Later on in the week, my badge was left on my desk and one of the managers came to me, “Excuse me, Adam. I was wondering wear your badge was. See we all wear our badges on our lanyards so that people know who we are. SO if you could go and put yours on that would be great!”
F*&%!! I just got Office Spaced by a boss that said, “That would be greaaaat” to me. PLus, he corrected me by saying my name and telling me that he needs to see my badge so he can recognize me as an employee. Okay, I will play their game. They are paying me and I will be polite and understanding, even if they are not aware of their choice of words and behaviors, even if it is upsetting or strange.
Later on one of the long time employees who does some tasks in a separate area comes over and stands over me, leaning in and looking down at me, “Did you know what we are doing about these new types of accounts or has anyone not told you at all, clearly they have not.”
I have never met this woman. She is in her late 40’s, overweight, wearing red rimmed glasses, has bad breath and is wearing a thick snow-type of jacket and, yes, she has her badge on.
I stand up, and place my hand out to offer a handshake, “I am so sorry, we have not met yet, my name is Adam and I am knew here, what is your name?” The grumpy and frumpy woman rolled her eyes and walked away without saying a word and spoke to someone else nearby, “Perhaps you can explain to the new guy how we do things here at (Name of Company) and what we are doing for this accounts from now on.”
The woman then turned around and walked away without any further looks or words towards me.
I sat back down and went back to work.
Some people are rude and not professional and that is there problem and not mine. It doesn’t mean that I have to be a jerk or mean but when a better opportunity comes around or a raise is required by me to continue, I will remember this during my negotiations.
After my lunch break, I saw the Frumpy/Grumpy woman again. This time she had her hands full with a bunch of items and was walking back into the building behind me. I did not just hold the door open. I closed it. Shut that door, and then looked at her briefly and walked away.
Soon, she was complaining to my supervisor and they came to me saying that it was rude of me to do such a thing to her.
That was the moment that I had waited for and dreamt for.
My face went white and my jaw dropped, “Ohhhhhh!!! I had no idea that she worked here! I didn’t see her badge! I am so embarrassed, by the way, my name is Adam and I am new here, so sorry for not seeming like I am not on the same team as you! My apologies, what was your name again?”
The jaw and teeth grinding on that woman’s face was so fulfilling to me that I could had an erection out of pure vanity but I did not. I pulled it off nicely for my direct supervisor.
As a side note, I would like to thank the Academy. It was one of my best performances.
We shook hands and she introduced herself and stormed off and my supervisor told me to “Be more mindful from now on and get to know those that work here in the office, okay?”
With an office filled with people who refuse to be respectful and have expectations from others and do not want to foster a positive work environment in exchange for a hierarchy that is built on fear and intimidation rather than respect, how is anything ever going to get done or prevented from being done wrong.
Heads up Employees, it is every Badge-Wearer for themselves.
If this is the standard for the American Workplace today, then the lack of respect and communication will be crushed by the new wave of start-up businesses and Entrepreneurs that are looking to model themselves after Google, Yahoo, Zappos or even Southwest Airlines. Employers that put their Employees first are effectively jump starting a positive workplace culture that is productive and satisfying.
Stay Safe out there and don’t get infected by the Office Zombies!