Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Veep Boo-Boos

As I look back on the job I'm leaving, I feel compelled to list some of the Vice President's "Greatest Hits."

These are things she has said or done that are either rib-tickling funny or jaw-dropping terrifying, depending on which side of the fence you're on.
Po-Tay'-To / To-Mah'-to. This exchange took place while the VEEP was interviewing someone for a front-office job. She was right outside my cubicle which explains my "participation" in the hilarity.

VEEP: (Looking at applicant's resume) Oh, it says here you're a phlebotamist.


VEEP: Oh, so you collect stamps!

ME: Bwah-hah-hah! (This took me so by surprise I burst out laughing. Good thing I wasn't drinking anything or it would have shot out my nose.)

VEEP: (Puzzled) Isn't that what a phlebotamist does?

ME: A phlebotamist collects blood! A philatelist collects stamps!

Fun With Microsoft Word.

VEEP: (Working on some sort of document) Toni! Come here and show me how to cut and paste again!

It's the twenty-first century everywhere but here, where it is perpetually 1979.
Designer Pandemic Panic.

The VEEP became obsessed with (and that would be putting it mildly) the thought of a nation-wide, infrastructure -crippling outbreak of the Bird Flu.

As a result, the plant was put through a two week drill.

The employees were broken up into two groups, each working separate twelve-hour shifts. Everyone had to wear surgical face masks and latex gloves at all times. We were instructed to wash our hands with hot soapy water while singing two choruses of "Happy Birthday To You." We had to label all our pens & pencils so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate via shared writing implements. We were given our own spray bottles of disinfectant cleaner so we could disinfect our work areas.

I have since asked people who work at major and minor health care facilities (eg. Duke University & my wife's urgent care office) if they had done such a drill.


It would appear that none of our customers had made such contingencies, either.

Ultimately, this was used as a marketing tool to prove that we were ready for the impending pandemic.

What does "Minimum" mean?

Here's a classic bit from when I was offered this job, back in December, 2005.

VEEP: Craig, we're very impressed with your resume and job history.

ME: Well, thanks.

VEEP: Now, on your employment agency application, you put down that the minimum wage you'd accept is [X] dollars an hour.

ME: Uh huh. The last time I did contract work it was for [X+8] dollars an hour, but [X] is pretty much the least amount I can squeak by on.

VEEP: Will you take [X-1] dollars an hour?
Arrrgh! Here I was, three months past the expiration of my unemployment insurance payments and this was the only company, out of the fifty-plus I had applied to or interviewed with, that was offering me any kind of job. I swallowed hard and accepted the gig at [X-1] dollars an hour as a contract employee.

Later, I found out that the company was paying [X+50%] dollars an hour to the employment agency for my services. It amounted to very nearly an extra $200/week! Well, I guess that's how employment agencies work...

Flash-forward to when their Quality Systems Manager handed in her notice. I was brought back into the office.

VEEP: Craig, as you probably heard, So-And-So is leaving.

ME: Uh-huh.

VEEP: We'd like to bring you on the payroll and offer you her position.

ME: Wow, that'd be great! (Here, I'm thinking that they would pay me the [X+50%] dollars an hour they had been paying the employment agency.)

VEEP: Now, we have to let the last few weeks of the employment agency contract run its course. But once it does, you'll become a full-fledged employee and we'll bump your salary up to [X] dollars an hour!
What a sweet deal... for them! They were agreeing to pay me the previously-stated minimum amount to take over this job and in the process they would be paying well over $100 a week less for my services.

It's good to be the Queen!

As a bonus, I've brought last Summer's "professionalism" posts out of moth balls.

Bon apetit!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leaving? For a new job? Or to take time off?

November 06, 2007 2:25 PM  
Blogger furiousBall said...

wow, that's some awesome tighwadilatitudeness

November 06, 2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Craig- you are using both side of that toilet paper, aren't you?

November 06, 2007 5:11 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Sounds like the Veep has a degree in proctopsychology...

In my business, the more we can convince a customer (employer) to pay our referral - whether a temp or an on-trial worker - the better we do. Fees are not taken out of the employee's wage; they are based on a percentage of the wage paid. Therefore, the higher the wage rate, the better for both of us.

I hope you are moving on to better days.

November 06, 2007 7:46 PM  
Blogger RED MOJO said...

See, now you can laugh about all that stuff, and you thought the day would never come! Almost all of my old bosses are very like cartoon characters to me now, when i think back on them and their zany antics, that would have been so much better with those cartoon sound effects.

November 06, 2007 9:23 PM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

You must be so glad you'll be rid of her.

A Bird Flu drill! Unreal!

November 06, 2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger Gale said...

You know there is one at every company, sorry thats how it goes. But since you have plenty of experience with these types of people you got it made in the shade. Now one of my worries; you are going to be so busy that you won't have time to blog. So don't go off and get a career and forget you have loyal readers.

November 07, 2007 5:09 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

rhea: New job.

furiousball: Agreed!

scott: Yep, I'm using that trick you showed me. Side 1: TP, side 2: coffee filter.

wiz: Yeah, I'm gratefull that the employment agency got me the gig and I don't begrudge them the $1 they pocketed for every $2 that I earned. I just find it amazing that my services were worth less to my employer once I went on the payroll. (Good to see you 'round these here parts! I was praying you'd show up. *wink*)

mojo: Well, those cartoon sound effects are pretty much playing in my noggin 24/7 any way, so...

whim: Bird. Flu. Drill. Unreal. Yes!

gale: I'll see what I can do to keep up with my bloggin' buddies. Who knows - maybe I can afford a new computer and High-Speed access once those sweet new paychecks start rollin' in!

November 07, 2007 8:08 AM  
Blogger Charlotta-love said...

Oh, that payroll bit got me too. I started the job I'm currently at and was getting X. Part of my job included processing the invoice for my temp agency that got me the job. I certainly wasn't getting the same amount. more like "X minus some". My company decided to hire me on and I asked if I would be getting the full X amount they had been paying. nope. Took me a year to work up to that amount. I can totally relate. Glad you are moving on!

November 07, 2007 12:01 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Oh yeah, did I not mention that next to HMOs, and HR staff, employment agencies are the spawn of lucifer.

November 07, 2007 12:34 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

As they say, philately will get you nowhere.

November 08, 2007 12:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home