May 10, 2004

Sorry, You Forgot To Give Me A Lobotomy With My Nametag

Just got home from work. Am purple with aggravation, frustration, and disbelief. Cannot possibly speak rationally right now. Also apparently have lost all my pronouns somewhere between the car and here.

Breathe deep. Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean.......

Okay, I'm better now.
Here's the thing... I was called into the HR office today, because one of my coworkers (let's call her Blondie) wanted to file a complaint against me. The complaint stated that I made her feel "threatened".
I was slightly reassured, however, that they'd given the problem to the Intern. This bodes well in favor of this being silly enough to count as training for her, apprently. The Intern is approximately 12 years old and has not blood but political correctness flowing in her pre-pubescent veins.
"How" I asked the Intern, "in the world does she think I've threatened her?"
Intern: "You've made no overt action. She feels intimidated by you, however, and wished to make an official complaint. We felt it was better to discuss the matter with you before taking any action, if necessary."
Me: "Exactly what did I do?"
Intern: "Er... nothing, really.... she said she's intimidated by you, because you talk about people and events that she knows nothing about, and she said it makes her feel stupid."
Me: "You're kidding, right?"
Intern: "We have to take it seriously, it's in the manual. "
Me: "Exactly what was it I said that got her upset?"
Intern: "She mentioned something about medical references, and once you talked about Henry VIII.... it bothers her that she doesn't understand what you're talking about most of the time. Oh, and McGuyver. "
Me: "She's upset because she doesn't know who McGuyver is?"
Intern: "We're not writing a complaint on this. We just wanted you to be aware of her feelings and be more sensitive to her cultural framework."
Me: "Oh, you did NOT just say that."
Intern: "Beg pardon?"
Me: "Nothing, nothing.... okay, so basically if I have to talk to her, I should talk slow, use small words, and mention nothing that happened before last Tuesday?"
Intern: "Did you know sarcasm is considered a form of aggression?"
Me: *backing slowly out of the room* "Uh... okay, gotta go, late for my shift... buh-bye now."

I haven't quite decided how to handle this yet. Part of me wants to completely and utterly ignore Blondie and speak nary one more word to her... ever.
And the other part of me wants to start a discussion about quantum physics and watch her head explode.
I'm probably going with the third path.... I'm going to laugh my ass off.

Posted by LeeAnn at May 10, 2004 12:24 PM | TrackBack


That is SERIOUSLY fucked up...

I'm glad I work with folks who have at least been to college, if I worked around the people you work with, I'd have been written up as being "intimidating" within 10 minutes.


So, now being stupid is a "protected right" and anyone who makes you feel stupid is being "aggresive"?


Posted by: Jack at May 10, 2004 01:34 PM

I feel for you LeeAnn. Once, I got written up for making one of my female co-workers cry. Apparently, I looked at her in such a way as to hurt her feelings. The worst part was that I didn't even get to see her cry. My supervisor had a long talk with me about my use of facial expressions, etc., etc. All I could think to say was, "We work in a jail! Suck it up already!" Need less to say, that didn't go over well...

Posted by: Lynn at May 10, 2004 02:04 PM

WTF? Uh, my job would probably be on the line if I were you, but my first inclination would be to mention a certain sexual act, the "offended" co-worker, an equine terrestrial mammal and the fact that maybe, just maybe, those three things should coincide in a particular way. Probably a good thing that I never went into politics.

Posted by: physics geek at May 10, 2004 02:19 PM

Have you considered working within the cultural framework? Simply file your own report. Complain that someone is claiming you are threatening to them and now you aren't able to use words with more than 4 letters in them to accomodate her (be sure to add parenthetically that if this were a "him" there would be, of course, no difference in your perception) so now you can't even ask where the restrooms are without sounding like a nasty talkin 3rd grader. And though she hasn't whined at you personally just the thought of her possibly doing so at some conjuncture in the future (a clear act of possible aggression) compels you to file a complaint and how you'd hate to file an action against the entire company for not screening people who don't know who the hell McGuyver is.

Posted by: Bob at May 10, 2004 02:37 PM

Thank you all for your kind, albeit way too much fun to actually put into practice acos after all this IS work and if I dare enjoy myself whilst on the job I might be written up for undue smileage or some such evil thing, advice.... Rest assured I am not nearly as frothed as I was at first glance, but have decided not to alter my fiendish overly-educated ways one whit, but to, if next I am summoned to HR, just repeat over and over "ACLU.....ACLU....ACLU".
I've heard it makes both Interns AND the baby jeebus cry.

Posted by: LeeAnn aka Cheesemistress at May 10, 2004 02:42 PM

LOL, the next thing you know, you'll be fired for being over-qualified.

Posted by: Tiffany at May 10, 2004 02:46 PM

All this time I had no idea that we worked for the same company!

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at May 10, 2004 04:16 PM

*rolling on the (coffeehouse) floor, peeing my pants off* oh. my. god. that's is the most hilarious piece of pc-bs i've ever heard. no, wait - sounds like the HR dept at my workplace.. freaks.

Posted by: angel at May 10, 2004 05:06 PM

Good thing you didn't mention current events, LeeAnn. I mean, she could have easily thrown that in as her reason for feeling "threatened."

Superior intellect is a curse, my dear.

Maybe this little twit needs to be reported for being insensitive to *your* cultural needs - those requiring thought, compassion, and, well, anything having to do with the real world.

Posted by: Da Goddess at May 11, 2004 10:07 AM

My immediate response would have been to smile nastily and ask "Did you know that aggression is considered healthy in some cultures? And aren't we supposed to consider all cultures equally valid?"

I wouldn't have lasted as long as you did....

Posted by: ubu at May 11, 2004 02:26 PM

Frankly, I'm intimidated by the sheer prevalence of such agressive timidity.

Posted by: Brett at May 11, 2004 02:54 PM

Why am I - educated, literate, intelligent, handsome, filthy rich, dual-national, transoceanic cosmopolite - the only one who doesn't know what "HR" is?

[Son: "It's 'Personnel' to you, Dad."]

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at May 11, 2004 03:01 PM

Exploding her head with quantum physics would kill an ant with a cannon.

Just drop a "Knight Rider" reference and watch the combustion.

Posted by: Jeff at May 11, 2004 03:07 PM

Cher Madame le Maitresse de Fromage:

I had to read that story twice to make sure it wasn't satire. (Maybe it is - but it's painfully real.)

I assume, then, that your place of employment is not the Acme Rocket Science Corporation....

I have a feeling that young Blondie uses "like" a lot. You know, she's like......

You also realize, don't you, that being smarter than someone else is a direct form of hostility....

Posted by: Mike at May 11, 2004 03:50 PM

I'm with Bob on this one, seriously. because, [to use non-threatening venacular] like, isn't reporting someone an act of hostility? and, like, isn't it against the law or something for them to maintain a, um, like, hostile environment for you to work in?

instead of backing out of doogie howzer's, you shoulda fought psych with psych. nail that passive-aggressive beotch while you can get a swing in.

Posted by: tee bee at May 11, 2004 05:41 PM

I supervised a complete and total idiot at my last job (who was the niece of the CEO. Gah!). She held the same academic degree as me, but was two years younger and about 20 years dumber. I always got shit like that, that she couldn't comprehend things that I knew, and even when I explained things to her, she still swore I set out to make her feel stupid. Jesus H., if you'd ever met her (I called her Incoherent Twit), you'd know how difficult it would be to make her seem smart! Let this blow over -- hopefully your little intern will feel so intimidated that she quits!

Posted by: Dawn at May 11, 2004 07:46 PM

I'd avoid having any non-work related conversations with this person - well - forever. If you are feeling nervous, follow up every conversation you have with her with an email, and archive the emails. Sound paranoid? This move of hers either means she has the IQ of kelp and/or she's trying to build a paper trail against you. Either way, the best way is to deal with her as little as possible. How can she not know McGyver? He's a genius? Well...he's not a genious, he's an actor, and what's more he's not much of an actor, as Bob once said.

Posted by: Jerry at May 11, 2004 08:28 PM

Get a good set of sock puppets, communicate with her only through them, never talk to her directly.

If 'el blondo' still gets intimidated by the puppets then you claim she's discriminating against you because of your socksual preference.

And that, my friend, is a hate crime...

Posted by: SpaceMonkey at May 11, 2004 10:06 PM

Not knowing Henry VIII is bad, but not knowing MacGuyver? That's instant dismissal in these parts. What would Patty and Zelma say?

Posted by: Simon at May 12, 2004 12:58 AM

Who's McGyver? OK, I suppose I should Google it myself, just wanted to know. This one?

BTW I once had some, um, highly-strung individual go off her head at me for, and I quote, 'typing too loud'. I actually felt sorry for her, seeing someone go off the rails like that, screaming abuse etc. is not funny. The HR types wanted me to file a formal complaint, but I saw no need. She needed help, not a black mark on her employment record.

Important advice : File a counter-complaint, and do it right smart. There really do exist people in an office environment slimy enough to try to get others fired for trumped-up infractions. Mention in particular the implied threat from the HR critter with that "Did you know that sarcasm is a form of aggression' question.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at May 12, 2004 01:05 AM

*&#%! That is.... that is..... I can't even think of words for how stupid and messed up that is. I would be very tempted to make a point of talking down to the little twit all the time... very obviously and exaggeratedly talking down.

Posted by: Lynn S at May 12, 2004 09:53 AM

... and maybe the HR person too.

Posted by: Lynn S at May 12, 2004 09:55 AM

Hon, I am _still_ seething (when I remember it) about being called on the carpet for exactly the same sort of thing (I was asked not to use big words anymore). That was back in 1980.

Ain't nuthin' new under the sun. Sigh.

Posted by: Kathy K at May 12, 2004 10:37 AM

What would McGuyver do?

That's a great theme.

I think, using only a toothpick from a swiss army knife, he would loosen all the bolts on this person's chair such that it would collapse in a rather hilarious manner.

Plus, she was probably pissed because although she had seen Rocky 1-5, she had apparently missed Henry 1-7.

Posted by: Steve the Llamabutcher at May 12, 2004 10:40 AM

Ha ha ha ha ha! Start quoting cryptic passages from "The Sorrows of Young Werther" to her, and wink knowingly every time you do. She'll quit.

Posted by: Velociman at May 12, 2004 01:47 PM

The joy of PC run amok - I think you need to start documenting the dangerous things that the co-worker does (anyone that benightedly stooopid has to be dangerous, there must be a scad of life-threatening things on a daily basis, improper handling of office items chock-full of toxic chemicals, OSHA vioaltions, culturally insensitive things that would offend some hued person pedestaled by the multi-culti brigade ...).

Posted by: m at May 12, 2004 07:04 PM

"..more sensitive to her cultural framework"?

She sounds like she needs to have her "cultural framework" rearranged. Bitch. Jeezus.

Posted by: Burnt Fuse at May 12, 2004 11:19 PM

Help me live! That is absurd, are you pulling our leg? Crazy I say! Yeah, this world has allowed lawyers to screw it up for too long . . . I feel for you, I once worked at a place where people were hyper-sensitive to anything and anything everything outside of the scope of work. You couldn't talk about anything much for fear of offending someone.

Posted by: Jason Bunting at May 13, 2004 08:11 AM

I had a cake when i arrived. I do believe, however, your story took it. And rightfully so. You'll excuse me now, won't you - i need to find the stapler, pick my ass off the floor, and staple that badboy back where it belongs.

Posted by: Anne at May 13, 2004 09:06 AM

I'd avoid big words like 'today' and 'tomorrow' and stick to a second grade reading level. *sigh* Seriously, file a counter complaint to the frivolous original complaint and then have as little contact with this particular co-worker as possible. Obviously she didn't pay much attention in school (hello...Henry VIII?) or watch much TV (I thought EVERYONE knew who McGyver was?) and is not interested in improving her knowledge since her response is to file a complaint instead of opening a book (or tuning in to TV Land...

As if work weren't stressful enough, now we have to deal with stupid employees?

Posted by: Kerry at May 13, 2004 11:47 AM

That should SO be a scene in a movie.

Posted by: gimmy at May 13, 2004 12:42 PM

As revenge, you could always tell her Santa Claus isn't real.. Although that would probably get you fired...

Posted by: Rivers at May 13, 2004 01:05 PM

Who is McGuyver? :)

Posted by: Roman at May 13, 2004 06:59 PM

You better check company policy first. By not talking to Blondie, you might also be in violation of their policy and laws on the subject.

This is way it works. If you do nothing, its a crime. If you don't talk to her, or limit it to offical work related necessity, that might also "contribute to a hostile workplace" BS.

When you start making crimes based solely on the feelings of a person, what do you expect?

Posted by: ben at May 14, 2004 01:43 AM


Imagine being a rational, functioning, non-PC human at the OTHER end of the equation. I have been 'let go' from quite a few HR departments for not simply cowing to that kind of BS.

If the Blonde had come to me with that kind of complaint, I would have told her to go find a book without pictures or squeaky little attachments to press in time with the duck going 'quack' to help polish her education.

You can see why I no longer work in HR - it's simply impossible to do the job in the current political climate without being a complete toady.


Posted by: Monica at May 14, 2004 03:03 AM

I think that when faced with such questions or comments, the best thing to do is as the drive through old Chinese lady did in 'Dude, Where's My Car?' :

"And then?"
"And then?"
"And then?"
"Aaaaaand theeeeen?"

Posted by: Artemis at May 14, 2004 04:01 AM

It's conceivable that the HR* dept is documenting Blondie's stupidity in case she later starts making less obviously assinine accusations. That's the optimist's view. I wonder what would happen if she accidently/on purpose saw this blog?

*and don't get me started about them turning me from a person into a resource.

Posted by: james agenbroad at May 14, 2004 05:20 AM

I'm not sure who is dumber, 'blondie' or your entire HR department. I work in HR, and if anyone made that kind of complaint, I'd fire him/her on principle.

Posted by: Reklaw Lah at May 14, 2004 09:47 AM

My husband is in the process of politely answering an e-mail from a student who complained that the final was too hard because it was comprehensive; certainly, she couldn't be expected to remember the poems discussed the first weeks of the semester. To do well on the test (she got a C) she had to cram. And she wasn't the kind of person who believed in cramming. Clearly, the test and the course were too difficult. (He has high student evaluations and has been teaching lit for thirty years; while I teach at an open admissions school, his is a public research university with fairly high requirements.)

I see this and begin to realize that people now think they have a right to be stupid and if anyone in any way makes them feel that being stupid is not a good thing, that person is oppressing them.

If this attitude gets much more currency than it already has, we can give up on our school system. (And most teachers can tell you that the politically correct HR people in most business environments can't hold a candle to the demands of the special needs counselors of even the most selective schools.)

Posted by: Ginny at May 14, 2004 10:43 AM

I think it's obvious that LeeAnn must work for the Bush administration.

Posted by: Kim at May 14, 2004 11:59 AM

Oh, dear me....this is one of the most painful things I've ever read. I will NEVER complain about my company's HR department again, I swear...

Posted by: Jason at May 14, 2004 02:12 PM

Wait! This can't be true. (or else it's a real unlikely event) Isn't it generally acknowleged that boys tend to vary more than girls? Ya know, different shaped bell curves, etc. I mean, male geniuses more common than female, male morons more common than female. Most women are mostly normal in most ways. (one of the reasons weird guys have trouble getting laid) If she's really that spectacularly dumb, she's a rare and wonderful thing, and should be Federally protected as a wetland or something.

Posted by: Justthisguy at May 14, 2004 08:12 PM

Sometimes I do wonder where is Alice Sheldon (aka James Tiptree) now that we really need her. At least I'd like to know what became of her revolver. Some serious, heavy-duty, not necessarily bad juju on that piece.

Posted by: Justthisguy at May 15, 2004 01:15 AM

Why not give your coworker a reading list so that she can be more aware and senitive of your culture?

Posted by: RonG at May 15, 2004 01:10 PM

Oh. My. God.

I'd be laughing my ass off but I can see it happening in my office.

Posted by: Og at May 15, 2004 06:40 PM

Steve the Llamabutcher: Can I have a WWMD bracelet? Please?

Posted by: Teri at May 15, 2004 07:21 PM

I'm Mcgyver. Really. It's my nic and road name. 'cause I, well, fix things. I don't know who that guy on tv was, tho

Mcgyver, out

Posted by: Mcgyver at May 16, 2004 10:55 AM

Life imitates Harrison Bergeron.

Posted by: A Jackson at May 16, 2004 12:10 PM

Harrison Bergeron? Janet Reno's real name is Diana Moon Glampers! (or would that be Hillary's?)

Posted by: Justthisguy at May 17, 2004 05:57 AM

That's just... awful!

I'm very lucky, I work for a small company and the woman I work 90% of the time with is smart enough that we can have a conversation that runs the gambit of all creation.

Then, I have to talk to coworkers who think food poisoning should be contagious...


My last job, I actually created a new motto for my life: "The world is full of twits, and I am their exterminator."

This job, I created another one: "Killing only lasts a moment, maiming, a lifetime."

That's going to be a cross stitch picture that I'm going to hang up beside my terminal sooner or later...

Good luck with 'Blondie'!

Posted by: Ninjababe at May 17, 2004 06:18 PM

Man oh man, nothing more amusing than an internet post about how erudite the speaker and how backwards her coworkers. O cursed mantle of genius: what a crooked twist of fate that you should burden so very many of the self-congratulatory.

Posted by: f at May 17, 2004 10:18 PM


No one is criticizing the Complainer for being of average intelligence; we are criticizing her for threatening a co-worker's livlihood for trivial reasons.

Posted by: Brett at May 18, 2004 09:57 AM

That sound you hear is not the sound of one hand clapping (as Grady Nutt demonstrated, that, at least, has some content). It's the sound of silence as the vacuum inside "Blondie's" head is echo-tested...

I wonder... since people who can and do actually think are becoming rare, maybe a movement to get them recognized as a discriminated-against minority is in order...

But it'd be an uphill battle, since congresscritters in general can't (and don't) think, and bureaucrats (of all stripes—not just gov't bureaucrats) are required to have their brains surgically removed (if the surgeons can find any evidence of brain matter to begin with) and replaced with multi-cultural pudding.

Posted by: DWN at May 18, 2004 10:49 AM

Get a lawyer. Document everything, no matter how small. If you get summoned to HR or to your boss's office frequently about this sort of thing, quit and sue for constructive termination (assuming your lawyer concurs with all this). Companies hate to be sued by former employees over employment matters; they'll settle just about anything.

Posted by: Silicon Valley Jim at May 18, 2004 12:50 PM

to theodopolous - "HR" is Human Resources

I work at a university, and someone offered a seminar on bullying in the workplace. One of the things mentioned was "passive/aggressive" which sounds a lot like what Blondie is doing. She is acting like a victim and blaming you for an attack that you aren't making.

Remember being little kids and saying your sister hit you, when she didn't, just because you wanted to see her get in trouble? Blondie is pulling the same crap as an adult. She wants to see you get in trouble because you make her feel inferior, and that's probably her favorite way of lashing out. She hides behind a "victim" mask and attacks people who don't deserve it. There are whole chapters of psych texts about people like her.

I'd say, if it keeps up, definitely consult with a lawyer. it could get ugly.

Best of luck..

Posted by: pinkteaset3 at May 18, 2004 01:25 PM

Thanks to all for the advice, consolations, and giggles from neat suggestions.
As things stand now, I am rarely scheduled for the same shift or duties as our darling Blondie, so I doubt anything further will come of all this.
As to taking any legal steps, I really don't take the whole thing seriously enough to go that far. Were this a "real" job with a corporation, yeah, maybe I'd think about it. But this is part time diddly work, and just not worth getting stressed about it all.
But come it to court, I'm calling all of you for character references. :)

Posted by: LeeAnn aka Cheesemistress at May 18, 2004 01:35 PM

I am humbled. This is better than *any* work-related story I've ever told.

Posted by: epi_lj at May 18, 2004 06:06 PM

Jerry Springer just called. They want their guest back.

Posted by: Mike at May 18, 2004 07:19 PM

It's actually spelled "MacGyver." I hope I'm not making you feel threatened by correcting you. :)

Posted by: rainbow_goddess at May 18, 2004 07:34 PM

Claim you feel threatened because of her complaint

Posted by: A at May 19, 2004 02:25 AM

Oh, I feel for you, having just been though similar b.s. myself.

I substitute at elementary schools and there was this one day where another teacher was in the classroom I was at - she's a floating 3rd grade teacher. Well, the whole gist of the lesson was comparing Chinese New Year's to our New Year's. Kids were supposed to rewrite the sentences. Only thing was, is that the teacher was the one giving the whole class each and every reworded sentence - so basically - they were just having to rewrite them, not in their own words, but in hers. Okay, so I'm going around the room helping the various kids. I asked floating teacher if she could wait a moment, while one kid was still writing. The following Monday - the teacher I had worked for (oh, and who had left me a note telling me what was 'wrong' with about 95% of her kids, ie; this one talks to much, this one has ADD, this one blah, blah...really!) anyway... I come by to tell her that her kids were pretty good for me, and she proceeds to tell me, "Well, they may have been good by SUB-standards, but not by mine!" (I shrink to about an inch in height at this point and feel like a 5-yr. old), "And you were rude to floating teacher, when you asked her to stop, so one kid could catch up."

Later, I talk to Floating Teacher, "Was I rude to you last Friday? I didn't mean to be, if I was."

FT:"Oh no, you weren't rude..."


Oh, and another school - they didn't like the fact that I tried to advise a couple of girls who were fighting (an ongoing problem, which I sort of walked into - since I'm not the normal teacher)see how they could deal with each other.

Honestly, it's not the kids that are the problem most the time, as much as it is the ignorant (and oh, there's a bunch of them!) teachers.

Thank goodness, there's schools that like me a lot, and I don't have to go back to those two!

It was lots of fun to respond to the shitty letter the teacher wrote about me in school #2!


Oh, and that's so funny about the person who feels intimidated by your use of large words. Poor little baby! Can I slap her for you? Or use big words in front of her? Can I? Can I? *eyeroll*

Posted by: spikealicious at May 19, 2004 06:46 AM

LeeAnn - just read this, as someone posted a link to mock_the_stupid...I feel for you, honey. My girlfriend has a great suggestion:

"Get a good set of sock puppets, and communicate with her only through them. Never talk to her directly.

If 'el blondo' still gets intimidated by the puppets then you claim she's discriminating against you because of your socksual preference.

And that, my friend, is a hate crime..."

Posted by: Nicole at May 19, 2004 09:43 AM

yeah uhm ignore me, didn't realize she'd copied it from another reply - duh. i'll be in the corner, awaiting my mocking.

Posted by: Nicole at May 19, 2004 09:43 AM

Some of you laugh, but this is no joke. I just lost a job I held for 16 years because of "complaints" that my mere presence in the office was making people feel stupid. Most all of it was pure BS.

Somebody suggested seeing a lawyer. In the state where I live (Virginia) there's no law against being stupid. Actually it is almost a tradition here. Also, there are no laws to protect people in the work place from "hostile environments" or most other insults, unless you are a member of a "protected class".

I had just four years to go to qualify for full retirement benefits -- not that they were all that great. Talk about pissed!?

If the few of us who are left with > 5 neurons to rub together don't link up and do something to protect ourselves then we are d-o-o-m-e-d.

Posted by: Dave at May 19, 2004 12:48 PM

Oh my god. I thought that Rob Grant's novel Incompetence was science fiction.

Posted by: dyfferent at May 19, 2004 05:06 PM

This is the phenomena of the MisUnderstood thingie. When a person doesn't understand something, it becomes hard to remember. And it becomes a source of confusion and disorientation, etc.

Mental disorientation, being closely related to mental pain, is often the cause of people making irrational swipes or attacks at something.

Nature abhores a vacuum. If there is a vacuum in the mind, people will usually fill it with BS unless you fill it with something else. the BS usually justifies whatever stupid thing they choose to do in the first place.

All of this is fundamental to the subject of study. You should inform her that if there is something she does not understand, the best thing to do is to ASK about it. 12 year olds often have an inflated sense of pride, so you should not patronize her. But invite her actual participation as an adult in the conversation, and otherwise act as a gentle mentor.

Yep, you get to be a parent of sorts. Clear this with HR first, of course, or else they will get weird.

Of course, if you leave her swimming lost in her disorientation, who knows what goofy stuff will happen. And besides, it makes good substance for a discrimination lawsuit on your part, if you get fired.

Posted by: SickMind Fraud at May 19, 2004 07:45 PM

Two stories, one possibly apocryphal and one that happened to me directly.

1) A mid-level office manager submits a report on some training material in which he describes some of the material as "pedagogical". He is excoriated by his manager for the use of "inappropriate language" in his report. When he provides a definition of the word pedagogical, he is told to drop the matter. A memo later issues from the department head that all internal documentsd are only to use language suitable for the Sunday family edition of the paper.

Two weeks later, the mid-level manager delivers his letter of resignation - composed entirely of words cut and pasted from the Sunday paper. (Now *that's* an "I quit" letter!).

2) I was once soundly chastised by my immediate superior for using the phrase "tempest in a teapot" to describe a network problem that was being treated as more serious than it was. I couldn't understand the problem (I thought he was annoyed because I was being flippant) until he admitted to not knowing what it meant. I was willing to let it go at that, but then he started in on how using big words and clever phrases was inappropriate for office communication because people wouldn't understand it and it made them feel stupiod, etc. I stood up, said "You pay me $XX,XXX a year (a lot of money) for my experience, my education, and my intelligence. And I am not going to apologize for them, nor am I going to abandon them just because they 'might hurt someone's feelings.' "

I even got away with it, but that's largely because they couldn't afford to fire me. Rule Number One: never write down the root password.


Posted by: Daniel Ream at May 19, 2004 10:36 PM

Get back to work, you whiny bitches.

Posted by: lck mstr at May 20, 2004 01:24 PM

The scarey thing is what happens when people with the attitude of the complainant in this tale of woe get REAL power, like the Ayatollahs in Iran (or John Ashcroft).

One of the roots of sexism is men's blaming women for "making them feel" threatening feelings. Denise Masino (just Google her) is the Ayatollahs' worst nightmare. Of course, Bob Dylan summarized all this long ago when he wrote:

"At midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Go out and round up everyone
Who knows more than they do."

(from "Desolation Row", where Cheesemistress'
office building is no doubt sited).

Only hope: keep flaunting what you've got,
whether it's intellectual, physical or sexual.

Posted by: Ted Syrett at May 20, 2004 07:08 PM

I once got fired for "threatening or intimidating a co-worker." I was a security guard at a university. One of the off-duty guards was trespassing in a restricted area, and I had been called to eject him. After brushing off my several requests that he leave, he finally said with a smirk, "I'm just trying to make your job interesting." I responded that it would be a little TOO interesting if I had to call the police to remove him.

Three hours later, his good buddy, our supervisor, stormed into the office in a huff, pointed his finger at me, and said, "You're determinated, Mister!"

After I thought about it and figured out what he MEANT to say, I asked, "what for?"

"For threatening a co-worker. It says right here in the policy manual that anyone who threatens or intimidates a co-worker shall be terminated."

"But I didn't threaten him! I just told him to leave."

"You threatened to call the police on him!"

Uh...yeah. The happy ending is that the supervisor felt bad for me the next day and changed my termination paperwork to read "laid off due to reorganization," and I collected unemployment for the next 6 months.

Posted by: Gaelan at May 21, 2004 06:27 AM

Sweet mother of Mogg... the entire scenario is so surreal that the "middle path" - laughing your tail off - seems the most appropriate response. Reminds me of that one Dilbert cartoon where Dil's captured by the trolls in accounting. Dogbert says "Release Dilbert, or else." "Or else what?" replied the troll. "Or I will put this cap on my head backwards," replies Dogbert. "Your little hard-wired accounting brain will explode just looking at it!"

Cut to Dilbert hanging upside-down above a pit of lava. "What was that popping sound?" he asks Dogbert. "A paradigm shifting without a clutch" is the reply.

Truly one of my favorites. Too bad real life can be like this... my eternal sympathies.

Posted by: ccdesan at May 21, 2004 03:15 PM

The "Pedagogical" Story - from
(Google is your friend)
"As director of communications, I was asked to prepare a memo reviewing our company's training programs and materials. In the body of the memo one of the sentences mentioned the "pedagogical approach" used by one of the training manuals. The day after I routed the memo to the executive committee, I was called into the HR director's office, and told that the executive vice president wanted me out of the building by lunch. When I asked why, I was told that she wouldn't stand for "perverts" (pedophilia?) working in her company. Finally, he showed me her copy of the memo, with her demand that I be fired - and the word "pedagogical" circled in red. The HR manager was fairly reasonable. Once he looked the word up in his dictionary, and made a copy of the definition to send back to her, he told me not to worry. He would take care of it. Two days later a memo to the entire staff came out directing us that no words which could not be found in the local Sunday newspaper could be used in company memos. A month later, I resigned. In accordance with company policy, I created my resignation memo by pasting words together from the Sunday paper.
-Taco Bell Corporation"

Posted by: A Jackson at May 21, 2004 05:00 PM

" more sensitive to her cultural framework."


Just what freaking culture does she come from?

That's just rediculous, and a good pointer for why so many people have become passive and timid to the point of losing themselves.

Posted by: Branwyn at May 22, 2004 10:11 AM

All you people who had access to television in the Eighties are oppressing me and I'm gonna tell!

Posted by: Anton Sherwood at May 22, 2004 11:19 AM

Ick. I once had to respond to a complaint that I was reading on my breaks.

Like, books. Not the porn or car mags often read by the complainant.

My boss kept trying to hold back his laughter. Eventually we both lost it, but I still resent that LITERACY is considered to be inappropriate by some.

Posted by: AltoidsAddict at May 22, 2004 01:51 PM

I was called into the room by an HR guy and told I was fired bc I had gone to an inappropriate place of business after hours on my own time on a business trip. Why did I go bc the senior management I was with pressured me and my co-worker and we figured hey since she and I were together we could handle it. Well now we are both fired for being there, fired for being uncomfortable, fired for being pressured, fired for not wanting to offend a member of senior management. She and I are appealing it...but omg its insane for the two of us right now. Does this sound right to you.....

Posted by: Jen at May 22, 2004 02:50 PM

Ted Syrett --

The scarey thing is what happens when people with the attitude of the complainant in this tale of woe get REAL power, like the Ayatollahs in Iran (or John Ashcroft).

Two misspellings: "scary" and "Janet Reno".

(There's a reason Republicans voted for the Yale/Harvard undergrad/grad student, not the University of Tennessee journalism undergrad with a lower GPA. Imagine, needing four years of education to learn to write at a sixth-grade level . . . )

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at May 22, 2004 07:04 PM

I am a factory donkey. Meaning that because I am an immigrant to a non-english speaking country, my 12 years of complete schooling and year of Arts College along with a second course of intensive English Literature (not meaning I can type to save my life...give me a spellcheck anyday. I'm a girl of the Modern Age) mean absolutely jack until I learn the Dutch language, grammer, vowels, verbs and tiny little Male/Female expressions that are more complex then learning French while reading it in Greek.

So I am stuck in a factory with 90% of my co-workers being as stupid, dense and just plain air-headed as this young tweenager still picking mushrooms for entertainment...unless she thinks they are a rare breed of flower and can be stuck on your forehead so you look like Toadstool in Nintendo. (note the reference to Hobbits in the last sentance...and they are smarter)

This causes frustration. Most of them can't string two English words together when most other Dutch can at 5 and they don't even speak real Dutch. Their dialect is so that it's just about as hard to understand them as trying to grasp true Welsh when you have never even heard of the country.

And now it comes down to it...I don''t think a single one knows who King Henry was unless they watched Ghost and heard the song...

"I am Henry the 8th I am, Henry the 8th I am I am. I got married to the widow next door, she's been married 7 times before..."

Oh God. Give those like us who seek intelligence a us if Blondie was given free reign of the canteen. We'll need stomach pumps for her mistake of putting a cube of dishwashing powder in the soup when she thought it was packed chickenstock.

~Vana E the Sadist~ (I think you'd know what caused me to become one)

Posted by: Vana E at May 23, 2004 03:22 PM

oh dear...oh dear.

Now you must file a complaint that you no longer feel safe working with someone who is dumb as a rock...oh, you probably can't say that.

Ok, try this....I don't feel safe working with someone whose cultural framework is "shaky."
Shaky Framework makes me VERY nervous. Tell them that and demand to file a complaint.

This is by far the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. It would almost be worth it to continue your "abuse" of her and get fired. You'd be on every news show, talk show and interview show in the USA and probably get all kinds of neat job offers. That would really fix your "smartass!"

Thanks for the laugh though.
I'd have to look at her and smirk at least 10 times daily.

Posted by: AK at May 23, 2004 05:48 PM

Oh how I feel for the oppressed intellectual.
I am an on-site manager for a three facility
elder care business. I am the poor soul who gets
the questions like:

There aren't any ready pie crusts in the freezer,
should I make some from the pie crust mix in the cabinet?

Patient X is having chest pains and wants an ambulance, what should I do?

Mind you now that I live on-site and these questions come from phone calls that invariably are at 3 am or at any time my wife and I are attempting to be intimate...

Worst part is, most of the employees here are not tweenagers! These are "fully-functioning" adults both male and female. I shudder to imagine their homes where a kindly neighbor must have taken it upon themselves to label every cabinet and drawer with the contents and put direction signs on every surface so that these people can manage to survive independently.

Posted by: Thunk at May 24, 2004 08:29 AM

WHo is Henry VIII is he McGyver's cousin or love child or something?

Posted by: Bob at May 31, 2004 12:07 AM

Man I love HR. Sigh. and a complaint from an intern makes it so much better. I think my HR dept went to the same training school yours did. :(

Posted by: eve at May 31, 2004 12:50 AM

It is your fault she is stupid?
Fire that moron for being stupid and then chew out whoever hired her and move on.

Posted by: Mad Ogre at June 2, 2004 10:00 PM

i'm not sure if i should laugh or cry.

Posted by: dave at June 3, 2004 11:25 AM

This is amazing. Have a discussion about physics with her boss. In the manual, gheez.

Posted by: Robert at June 4, 2004 08:46 AM

If she filed the complaint, and you make her uncomfortable, that means she paying close attention to everything you say and your talking to others an not to her directly or she not included in the conversation. That mean you are receiveing unwanted attention, and there is laws against STALKING!

Posted by: wellhell at June 5, 2004 11:48 PM

so this is how entire buisnesses get filled with idiots, and folks with an education are unemployed

Posted by: Ivan at June 7, 2004 06:36 AM

To all of you who don't know who McGuyver is, he was a Scottish Chieftain who was at war with Henry VIII.

Posted by: Erik at June 7, 2004 06:45 AM

I HAVE to comment on this one. I am a retired teacher. I had new teachers complain that I used too big of words when talking to them. TEACHERS!!! I also had a principal repeatedly return my report card comment sheet because I used too HARD of words. SHE even had to look up two words she complained. YIKES!!!

Posted by: Cindy Loo Hoo at June 7, 2004 03:48 PM

Good Giddy God. And to think... Intelligence used to be revered in our society...seen as something to be strived for, rather than something to be hidden or controlled.

*Sigh* What a world we live in.

Posted by: DarkAngel at June 10, 2004 03:21 PM

Yea, I interviewed with a dumb bitch at work for a job I was eventually turned down for. The fat lady gave it to another fat lady. Afterwards, in the "feedback" session, the dumb bitch described me as " a little intimadating". OH, and also, she said I listed out too many of my qualifications in the interview. I wanted to say, "gee, you woman are handling this manager thing just fine".

Posted by: Chamo at June 12, 2004 11:05 AM

I am so confused... hmmm!

Posted by: Megs at June 19, 2004 07:57 AM
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