Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Coworker from Hell


            Anybody who knows me, talks to me, has heard of me, or reads even a portion of this blog knows that I find humor in exaggerations.  Most of the things I write and say have some sort of hyperbole to them.  I think it’s funny.  My friends think it’s funny.  My frenemies deal with it, out of what I can only assume is sheer politeness.


            People that do not know me, talk to me, hear of me, or read my blog: corporations.  Managers, CEOs, trainers, have time and again had no way of communicating effectively with me.  As much as I would love to throw these corporations (swells sphargo, smashford university, etc) under the bus with many stories, I will not be burning those barely-there bridges.  In fact, my story will not even burn Kingland Systems as bad as I could.


            This is more of a story about coworkers, and having to deal with people you’d actually never want to talk to ever in your life.



            On my first day of training at Kingland Systems, we were in a four hour long training session.  My trainer was James (again, names changed to protect the guilty) and he had the personality of someone who has been kissed by a dementor.  The dude was a nerd in every sense of the word.  Nothing could be hyperbolic, which killed every joke I said with a swift, “That’s LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE, Rob.”


            Once, James got in trouble for taking work home with him, because our job had to be done behind security doors and James hacked into the system to do a bit of the most boring work ever to be done in his spare time.  He wanted to do DATA RESEARCH  at HOME.  We imported about 800 new accounts a day, so it’s not like he would have even made a dent in that crap.  He really just liked the work. 

            Also, one time he fell out of his chair and everyone laughed because everyone hated James.  He was like Dwight from The Office, minus the exaggeration needed to make Dwight’s character funny.




            Somehow, James was engaged, but it was to a mystery woman, and no one has ever seen her.  Once, I said something about Miley Cyrus being beautiful, and James shoved his hand in my face.  When I asked what he was doing, he pointed to his ring finger and announced that he was engaged.  Um… ok.



            So, hopefully you guys have a good grasp on James.  I wish I had known all of this background information before sending him a humorous email in my first week.  We had just had a “team meeting” and I was lucky enough to be placed on James’s team.  There were certain team games that we all played, and most required creative ideas.  Obviously, they were my favorite part.  I would make up the most creative things about Harry Potter, penguins, and jetpacks.  Most of these ideas were thrown out by my team.  Probably by some sort of mind control James had on them.


            After a particularly creative idea, and the fact that I was still drunk the morning of the team meeting, I got the awesomely bad idea to write a humorous email to James.  It was still my first week, and I didn’t know the extent to which James had a sense of humor.

The drunken funny email:

Hey James,
So training week is going pretty great.  I have gotten about 75% of my answers correct, and since you told me that we needed to be at 90% by today, I’d say I’m doing more than my fair share of research.  Did you know that I actually don’t know a lot of business funds and such?  The tribulations of a psychology student I suppose.  Hey, what do you think is everyone-on-the-teams problem?  Do they just not like Harry Potter?  That’s impossible.  I’ll just go ahead and assume that everyone hates me and off myself or better yet, I’ll throw a Harry Potter parade in Kingland.  Please clear this with the CEO.  Anyway, I have a question about this fund.  (business question about open ended mutual funds).  Thanks for your help, I think I’m going to go home and drink some beers and read Harry Potter until my eyes bleed.

Love,
Rob



            This email is not the thing to send to someone without a sense of humor.  It’s probably inappropriate to send this in any business setting.  In fact, it is not appropriate.  But fuck you guys, I like to write.  I like to write jokes.  I like writing funny things and increasing the bond between coworkers.  But after getting fired multiple times for doing this, I refuse to be cohesive with anyone anymore.  No more work emails.


            James reacted in the way a person would if they received a bomb threat.  His response:

Rob,
You’re progressing through training fine. Better than most.  You were right, that was an open ended mutual fund.  On another note, no one on the team hates you, and it is very serious when you threaten suicide.  I hope that was a joke.  I have no authority to allow a parade in the office, and I have no direct communication with David Kingland.  Please do not contact me through email again.

-James

Notice how he didn’t say he loved me.  Heartbreak.



Kingland is a very open workplace.  Not open as in, “say what you want,”  but open in the fact that it is a hollowed out movie theater filled with rows of computers and no cubicle walls.  I simply turned around, found James sitting behind me, and yelled, “James, that was a joke!  You are spot-on in finding comedy in hard to find places!”  And he grumbled something and stared at his computer.



I wish that would have been the end of it, but James had other plans in store.  He sent the email to the managers, and not even five minutes after ridiculing James, our manager WildMyke called me into his office.  WildMyke showed me the email, and then turned.  It looked like he was barely able to conceal his smile. 

“Just so you know, we are able to track all of the emails on the business server, so you might want to tone down some of these jokes.  Anytime suicide is mentioned, we pretty much have to contact HR,” WildMyke explained.

“Oh WildMyke, I’m really sorry.  You don’t have to do that.  I know most everyone here thinks I’m great, and I’m not suicidal in the slightest.  I promise I will never send another email,” I pleaded.

WildMyke laughed then.  He told me to keep the jokes lower key, and that it was probably wise to never make another joke to James again.  I quietly agreed.



Epilogue:  I worked at Kingland for about a year and a half.  It was some of the most boring work on earth.  So I told a lot of jokes.  Most people got them.  James never did.  James is spending a lavish career at Kingland.  They gave him a “promotion”, which is probably true, but what really happened was James was moved to a cubicle desk on the second floor of the building.  So now he doesn’t have to talk to or see people, and people don’t have to talk to or see him.  I think it’s really working out for everyone.