I have something to share I really enjoyed, wanted to end the week on an up stroke.
The company I work for is pretty sizeable, with many branches spread across four states. With all of that, it’s family owned and still has that small ‘everyone knows everyone’ feel to it. Most everyone here was here at the start, when it all worked out of a small office in a strip mall.
What I guess I’m leading towards is that, while we work our butts off and get things done, and people are respectful to each other, there is an underlying relaxation among those of us that have been here a while and know each other.
Another important point is that my office is in what you’d call the ‘head shed’ or the corporate area. We’ve got sales outlets and repair facilities and stuff here too, but this is the location with the upper management, such as it is. You know, CFO, CEO, HR, etc. In fact, my office shares a wall with the HR office and if we talk too loud in here, she’ll hear it pretty easily.
So, all that out of the way.
We’ve been expanding my department, growing, working towards tripling our current workforce. Part of that has been hiring and training a new salesman, and now adding on a personal assistant for me.
Part of explosive growth means I’m up to my ass in alligators. I am what you call a single point source of failure. If I go on vacation, people shit themselves. I know most of you can relate to that.
So, instead of training my own personal assistant, I trained the new outside sales guy last month, and now I’m having HIM train my new assistant. They’re next to me though, so I can chime in with the view from above on why he’s being traing to do the stuff Kyle is showing him.
I know this may surprise you, but I’m both a bit of a smartass and a practical joker. I know! Crazy, right? I know I’m pretty uptight and all most of the time here, so you probably didn’t know I could loosen up around the office.
Turned out the salesman, Kyle, well he can dish it out as well as he can take it, and he’s a good guy, so we been messing with each other ever since he came onboard. And the new guy, Curt, he’s all right, he does seem a little high strung but he is the FNG so he’s been taking any good natured ribbing in stride. He can dish it out as well, but he’s so swamped trying to learn a million new systems that he is always walking around in sort of a mid-level panic attack. Kyle tells him that the last thing he needs to do is drink coffee, but hey, who among us can be the one to toss that stone?
So here we are, three of us in my office, with Kyle the sales guy hovering over my new assistant Curt’s shoulder, pointing out stuff like computer systems, contact lists, quoting and, oh yeah, our phone system.
We have this interesting phone system just got added earlier this year. We’ve got digital phones at each desk, and each computer has an app called the Shoretel Communicator which will let us answer our phone, get voicemail messages, forward voicemails to other extensions and all sorts of stuff right from the computer screen. I don’t even need to touch the phone.
This new phone thingie also has a built in Instant Message function. You can call up the app, type in an extension or an employee name, and pop them an internal IM to their desktop. never use it myself, I’m more of a call guy, because if I send you an IM, how do I know you’re at your desk to get it?
So I know what it is, but I don’t use it, and to be honest I don’t know anyone that DOES use it for anything at all except for personal bullshit gossip, and even then I ain’t in that loop. Ain’t nobody got time for that at my desk.
Earlier this week, my boss takes off for Florida to go visit with some vendors, get a free hat, maybe shoot a round of golf. I’ve got Kyle working with Curt and out of my hair so I can try and stay in front of the leading edge of the emergencies that come in every day. “Oh my god my crane is down, what do we do?” “Just take a deep breath, relax, I’ll move some things around and have someone there to fix it in about half an hour. Cool?”
So there I am, plugging away, and an IM window pops up on my screen showing “Curt says; SUCK IT FU&*#^$&”.
I look over and there the two of them are, giggling and pointing fingers at each other. Curt says “Hey, I didn’t send that”, and Kyle points back at him “Well I can promise you I didn’t type it!”
Turns out Kyle is showing Curt the IM part of the phone system, as a joke Curt typed that in to my name, and then as he reached to backspace it off, Kyle reached his gorilla arm around and slapped the Enter key on the keyboard numpad and sent it.
So Curt is freaking out, the two of them are pointing at each other, and I say, “Oh yeah, if that’s where we’re going with this, I’m going to get HR involved.”
And I click the little ‘add a person to the conversation’ button on the IM, type in our HR manager’s name, and hit enter.
Moments later, the IM window on both my and Curt’s computers adds a notice that HR has joined the conversation… and that means she got the entire conversation window.
Curt… Curt just freaked. As Kyle dissolved in laughter mixed with gasps of “ohmigod you didn’t just,” Curt leaped out of his chair and away from the computer, recoiling in fear like a rattlesnake just popped it’s head around the monitor stand.
He’s just losing it, I thoght he was stroking out right there, so I closed the window on my desk closing the IM session, and reassured him there was very little chance HR would have seen it. it’s all good, I’m sure it’s fine.
Curt is still standing there in a panic attack, breathing heavy, saying “OMG I’m going to get walked out of the company, I can’t believe you did that.”
Now, I’m laughing too hard to really reply, but Curt went to get more coffee and Kyle sat down and got his laughter under control.
I gave it enough time for Curt to come back and Kyle to get tucked in next to him going over something else, and then I quietly got up and walked on over to the HR office, poked my head in and said, “Hey, did you happen to see a pop up IM window a few minutes ago?”
Lori looked at me and replied, “Yes, but I don’t know what that was about.”
So I explained. In detail. In loving detail. The whole story.
So she lost her shit too, then she got her ‘I’m professional, no really” face on, and walked out of her office.
I’m still standing there in the corridor outside my office when I hear her walk in and annouce, “Okay, what exactly is going on in here? That was completely inappropriate in the office.”
Now Kyle has enough of a clue to start asking her if she’s serious, halfway laughing and halfway worried, but Curt went from gently vibrating to over the edge freaked in point two seconds.
Lori played it perfectly straight as long as she could, coming down on them like a ton of bricks, denying I’d said anything to her and approaching it as if she was at her desk when the “SUCK IT FU&$^%*” IM popped up and she was now investigating.
So BOTH Kyle and Curt are now losing their shit, and I’m out in the hallway and i just cannot control my laughing. I thought I was going to pass out, I was laughing so hard.
Lori finally couldn’t keep it going and broke in laughter, and i went in and we calmed Kyle and Curt down somewhat.
Curt needed a bit to climb down off of the ceiling, but eventually I think he was getting back down to normal. Somewhat.
I immediately follow up by texting my boss, who is on a plane somewhere winging his way back to us, and let him know that there are high tensions between Curt and kyle in the office. I think they’re having some seriousl personality conflicts.
Then about half an hour later, I text him again telling him there is no longer an issue, that HR had to get involved and Lori straightened everything out, but my boss should probably find out what HR had to do by calling Lori when he landed.
Shortly after his plane landed, I get a panicked text from my boss, now he’s freaking, what happened, did Curt quit? Did Kyle quit? What’s going on?
I repeat my text saying he needs to call HR, no I’m completely serious Lori had to straighten it out.
Now, I know my boss. I know HE’S now freaking out.
I walk around the corner to the HR office, just in time to catch Lori fielding a call from my boss.
And he was taken like a suckerfish, hook, line and sinker. He bought the whole thing.
By the time the real story was shared with him, my boss was about ready to piss his pants in panic over trying to fill TWO sudden vacancies just when both of them were about ready to be kicked out into the real world and make some money.
Then came the capper.
Since today is Friday, it was the FNG’s first payday with a real physical check.
So when Curt came in to the office, he found a paycheck in a white envelope waiting for him on his keyboard, with a note from HR telling him it was his severance pay and to clean out his desk.
I think a lot of important training got accomplished.
In a very short period of time, I managed to teach both the new guys and remind my boss what will happen if you fuck with me.
Also, I taught a very valuable lesson on the importance of logging out of your desk when you step away, because you really don’t want anyone else to be able to send message from your keyboard.
Like, you really don’t.
Now I get to wait and watch for when some or all of them try to get me back.
Hey, if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out, right? I can hardly wait to see what they come up with.
Best pack a lunch, me boyos.