Things workers say that you love hearing all the time

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Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
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Aug 20 2013 16:40
Things workers say that you love hearing all the time

O.K., let's flip this formula and give it an inspiring, uplifting spin.

On my very first day at work, about 1 1/2 years ago, a co-worker was giving me an orientation of my work duties and quick tour of the workplace. She was showing me the staff supply cabinet when the top manager walked by and barked "don't show him that stuff, tell him it must be requested." I could instantly tell that this co-worker had utter contempt for the woman who is the boss when she blurted out, barely beneath her breath, "FUCKING BITCH!" I almost laughed out loud because it was so brazen and I wondered if it was audible enough for the boss to hear -- obviously it wasn't. Later, I found out that when I needed supplies, I merely needed to make sure that the boss wasn't around and to take whatever I wanted -- whether for work, or to take home. Most other co-workers do this too. For the last 1 1/2 years, I also found that that co-worker would have any of our backs should we have trouble. Glad I learned that the first day.

Then last Friday, while doing work duties with another co-worker, she got candid and said "I FUCKING HATE [boss's name]!" I said "me too" and found someone else who'd have my back, while I made it clear I'd have hers. It's nice to have co-workers like that.

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Aug 20 2013 17:38

I had just started working in a fast food restaurant. The social grouping of my co-workers was pretty tight, and often times dry and sarcastic (especially my direct superior, not a boss, but the one who ran the shift.) Being a noob, I often felt on the out of a lot of jokes and jabs they made at eachother and myself. So I was unusually quiet most of the workday and would always work the register (we were terribly busy and in a mall) which only helped my sense of isolation.

One day, this customer, a person who worked elsewhere in the mall, came in and asked for a type of drink we normally had, but were currently out of. This was the third day in a row they had come here looking for it, and the third time I had to help them and explain why I, as a lowly wage earner, have no control over the inventory. They began to yell and complain about how unreasonable it was that we didn't have this and who did I think I was blah blah blah and my shift supervisor came over and asked them "Where do you work?" And they stopped their complaining and said, curious, where they worked. My supervisor replied "Ok, I'm gonna come to your work and yell at you then.You used to be nice, what happened to you?" The customer was livid. "You can't talk to me that way, how dare you! etc." But all my supervisor said from then on was "Leave. Get out of here. You're mean as hell, This kid is the nicest kid ever and you're gonna yell at him because we ran out of something." And she left.

He told me the boss confronted him later about it and said he can't do that. His response was "Write me up or fire me." The boss did neither. I also began to understand why he could be so sarcastic (almost seeming pretty mean) and yet have all my co-workers respect. He cared about them, and stuck up for them when push came to shove. He just has a dry sense of humor about it because he'd been dealing with the boss's and customers' bullshit for like 10 years.

(Also, excellent response to the other threads. A good inversion.)

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Aug 20 2013 18:48

First day on a new site recently and I needed the site foreman to have a look at a detail of something I was doing and make a decision about it. I found him and asked him to come and have a look and in a horrible nasal voice he said

Quote:
I'm eating a sandwich(holds sandwich in front of my face), when I've finished eating my sandwich I'll come and see you but right now I'm eating a sandwich.

Quick as a flash a young labourer said

Quote:
Andy, do you ever stop being a fucking knob?

He didn't reply but I've since found out that the answer is a definite no!

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Aug 20 2013 19:40

Two from my last job:

One woman, who I've actually written a bit about here, served as the sort of unnofficial union rep. We were having a problem at work and I gave her my private/political email address (which is not explicitely anarchist but makes reference to particular colors) and she responded positively, "So you're an anarchist..."

Another part-time co-worker had a reputation as a militant so I met him for drinks one night. We were talking about how shit the trades unions are and why and a couple of beers into it, I just asked him outright, "So what are your politics?" The response: "Well I guess I'd identify as a libertarian communist."

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Aug 20 2013 19:18

Webby, that's poetry btw.

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Aug 20 2013 23:33

My mom used to work in a parole office doing office/computer work (I have no idea of what exactly they were doing). They were all members of a trade union. One day, they made her an acting supervisor while the main supervisor was out. She didn't actually "supervise" as she was suppose to. You can say it was near anarchy. Everyone was just chilling, and playing solitaire the whole day. Long story short, when the main supervisor position was open, they gave it to somebody else who did the job well. I wonder how much her (and my life) would have been different if she had just imposed authoritarianism in the workplace like all other workplaces that day.

huli
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Aug 21 2013 02:39

On my last job, there was a small handful of us who took a lot of heat from the boss for organizing. The thing I loved hearing the most was when any one of us who was under fire thanked the others for showing solidarity, the others would always say something like "No worries! We know you would do the same for us." I wish we had lasted longer so we could build and deepen that bond of trust, but we were picked off one by one....In any event, that spirit of standing up for one another even when it was really risky is something none of us will ever forget, and it is something that each of us will carry to our next jobs. And, by the way, this was absolutely worth getting fired for. I would much rather get fired for standing with my co-workers than keep a job by betraying them.

bastarx
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Aug 21 2013 04:12

One of the older bus drivers at work said that in the good old days the drivers could take the buses home overnight as there was one bus per driver. Supposedly when management were trying to stamp this practice out a boss said to a driver, "I'm sick of driving home every day and seeing our bus parked outside your house". The driver responded, "you'd better go home a different way then".

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Aug 21 2013 07:15

Slightly different, but at that same last job, I went through a disciplinary relating to strike activity. During the run-up to the strike, the boss sort of surmised my involvement with SF (leaflets and what not). Anyway, when I received mgmt's documents outlining their case, one of the charges stated that my manager, having "read the industrial strategy of the Solidarity Federation" believed that I had "implemented every aspect of it" in our workplace. I'm still pretty proud of that one.

He was also concerned that the SF website linked to a document called "Stuff Your Boss" (although he hadn't read it, something that came out in the disciplinary itself when I brought in a copy).

I kicked the shit out of him in that disciplinary, btw. He wanted a final written warning, I got off with a meaningless informal warning.

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Aug 21 2013 08:34
Webby wrote:
First day on a new site recently and I needed the site foreman to have a look at a detail of something I was doing and make a decision about it. I found him and asked him to come and have a look and in a horrible nasal voice he said

Quote:
I'm eating a sandwich(holds sandwich in front of my face), when I've finished eating my sandwich I'll come and see you but right now I'm eating a sandwich.

Quick as a flash a young labourer said

Quote:
Andy, do you ever stop being a fucking knob?

He didn't reply but I've since found out that the answer is a definite no!

ha ha that's pretty good although if someone bothered me with work when I was eating lunch I would tell them to get bent! Workers didn't fight and die for decent breaks so we can work during them! (Although this would only apply in his case if he doesn't bother any people he manages while they eat, which is probably unlikely…)

PS you spell nob with a "K" you posh git!

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Aug 21 2013 08:37
huli wrote:
On my last job, there was a small handful of us who took a lot of heat from the boss for organizing. The thing I loved hearing the most was when any one of us who was under fire thanked the others for showing solidarity, the others would always say something like "No worries! We know you would do the same for us." I wish we had lasted longer so we could build and deepen that bond of trust, but we were picked off one by one....In any event, that spirit of standing up for one another even when it was really risky is something none of us will ever forget, and it is something that each of us will carry to our next jobs. And, by the way, this was absolutely worth getting fired for. I would much rather get fired for standing with my co-workers than keep a job by betraying them.

if ever you felt like writing anything, just a few hundred words or whatever, about this job we would love to host it here!

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Aug 21 2013 09:45

Most of my actual co-workers in my last job were a bunch of racist bellends.

But there was a good little bit of drama at the job when this awesome guy who had worked there like 20 years was made redundant. Horrific and horrible, but when we had leaving drinks, the boss who was responsible for this brazenly came along as if it wasn't her choice to get rid of him. Anyway, the guy's wife was there and started shouting at and insulting this dick-wank of a boss. The boss ran out crying. Hurrah!

The next day, the wife turns up again at our work and has another massive go at the boss, who then went home at like 11 in the morning because she couldn't hack it.

When I left this job I had some leaving drinks with a few of my more palatable colleagues. I did this on the Thursday night, my last day being on Friday. My boss found out and was furious she hadn't been invited - which was madness, obviously. For the Friday afternoon she'd booked a table and arranged this big staff drink up and dinner (not for me, just as a general thing). Only the two other managers turned up. Sweet victory. In the most petty way ever.

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Aug 21 2013 12:06
Quote:
One woman, who I've actually written a bit about here, served as the sort of unnofficial union rep. We were having a problem at work and I gave her my private/political email address (which is not explicitely anarchist but makes reference to particular colors) and she responded positively, "So you're an anarchist..."

Another good story from this same awesome workmate:

The day after the student riots in 2010, she told me '[Chilli Sauce] I got a call from my son last night. Do you know where he was?...On top of the Tory headquarters."

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Aug 21 2013 19:17

Don't want to get all arrogant, but does it count if it comes from your own mouth? This is perhaps he coolest thing I've ever said, and probably will ever do, so I want it recorded.

Edwina Currie - a former Tory MP for those who don't know - used to be a relatively frequent customer in a pub I worked in a couple of years ago. She came in one early evening, about three weeks after she made the "starving" comment on the radio. When she popped in, she always ordered food with a shitty Pinot Grigio. I knew this, and had a plan for the next time she decided to visit.

So one evening, she comes in, and orders the Caesar Salad. I told my colleague that when the food bell rings for her food, make sure I'm the one that delivered it. I was getting nervous and excited, this was the moment I had planned for weeks (I may possibly be building this up too much).

The bell rang, I picked up the food and walked to her table, very slowly, all the while picked at her salad, and eating bits of chicken. I placed it on the table, then said, "Sorry, haven't eaten for days".

Now I admit, I didn't really say it for any kind of social justice/protest or anything. I actually hoped to gain a bit of fame, or at least be in the fucking Metro or something. It was my last week there as well, so I didn't really give a toss. But nothing fucking happened, she didn't even complain.

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Aug 21 2013 21:06

One of my favorite stories ever involves a drunk libcom admin on a bus with a well-known MP. But it's not really my place to tell that one, so I'll have to leave you in suspense....

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Aug 21 2013 22:35

This happened about 10 years ago, during a period when I was unemployed and very poor. It happened around this time in August, on an extremely hot summer day.

I went into an ice cream place in the small downtown of the college town where I was living. It was a luxury that I rarely allow myself due to poverty. I had a load of books in my arms as I had no backpack or bookbag. On a whim I had spontaneously picked up several books at the public library a block away. The sole guy behind the counter asked what I was reading as he scooped up my ice cream cone. I somewhat apologetically said they were books on school desegregation in Boston in the 1970s. He didn’t ask directly, but was kind of trying to feel me out and alluded to what my interest in it was. I slowly, and deliberately, said I felt that white people’s racism in Boston was illogical and misplaced. I explained that I’d just read the introduction to one of the books in the library and how depressing the violence of that era in Boston was. He agreed and mentioned that being white himself, it made him ashamed of all the ugly history of this nation. I said I felt the same way. He then asked me if I knew a movie, whose name he mentioned and I’ve since forgotten. I said that I didn’t but asked what it was about. He quoted a line in the movie by an African American who said something like: “The black man and the white man have got to realize that they have more in common than either has with the boss, regardless of his race.” The ice cream guy said: “It’s all about the working class having unity.” I smiled broadly, grabbed my cone and as I walked out of the shop I told him: “Yeah, I agree, we’ve got to see that we’re all part of the proletariat.” He smiled and nodded goodbye.

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Aug 21 2013 22:02
commieprincess wrote:
When I left this job I had some leaving drinks with a few of my more palatable colleagues. I did this on the Thursday night, my last day being on Friday. My boss found out and was furious she hadn't been invited - which was madness, obviously. For the Friday afternoon she'd booked a table and arranged this big staff drink up and dinner (not for me, just as a general thing). Only the two other managers turned up. Sweet victory. In the most petty way ever.

This had me beaming with Schadenfreude. Thanks for sharing, commieprincess smile

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Aug 22 2013 07:46
Konsequent wrote:
This had me beaming with Schadenfreude. Thanks for sharing, commieprincess

Schadenfreude is now my new favourite word. Also, just to make it all the more Schaden-filled, this boss was the scummiest of the scum-farts - like properly was devoid of human emotion or empathy.

I actually forgot to mention that after I left, during a staff meeting she apparently read out a letter she'd written to everyone, with weird metaphors about how "we're all on an open top bus and if you don't like the route we're taking you can get off at the next stop" and how "there's less negativity in the workplace now" (ie less communism). However, she failed to see that basically threatening people into having drinks with her didn't exactly get people to feel particularly warm and positive towards her.

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Aug 22 2013 14:25
Hieronymous wrote:
He then asked me if I knew a movie, whose name he mentioned and I’ve since forgotten.

Blue Collar.

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Aug 22 2013 15:45
Black Badger
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Aug 22 2013 15:53

And the title song is priceless.

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Aug 27 2013 06:45

I may be broadening the OP out a little though I hope it is still pertinent to the subject.

I’ve been lucky that a fair percentage of the people I’ve worked with had a good sense of solidarity. My first job was in a factory, a machining facility, which employed about five thousand people. It was a closed shop and the works committee united all the blue collar unions via the election of conveners drawn from the shop stewards. The factory was surrounded by a very high wall and the firm employed its own security police mainly used for manning the main gates.

In the metalworker areas ‘the shops’ where I was the men soon inducted me into the ‘factory culture’.

A very few basics: if you’re going somewhere always inform the person your working with; when walking don’t saunter walk with a purpose if possible carry something - tools/a drawing; anything you do not want to ‘explain’ carry under your overalls (newspaper, etc.); if anyone enquires after someone in the shop who is absent, say they’ve only just left to visit the toilet, etc.; never criticize anyone’s workmanship – everyone’s good at something; if you don’t like someone ignore them; never be an arse-licker (‘a peehee’, if someone was thought to be talking to the foreman too long a chorus of “peeeeeeheeeeeeee” would start up); everyone carried a shopping bag of some description, in which you could carry a paper, a book, your pieces (sandwiches), though the main reason was so that the security would get used to seeing you carrying it in-out day after day – then when you needed to take home some ‘home rule’ there was very little chance of you being stopped at the gate; try not to attract unnecessary attention - never stand idle at your bench – always have some ‘alternative’ work to do – never take money from anyone for doing their ‘homework’ – expect a reciprocal arrangement (as everyone has contacts).

I got a lot of my politics from my workmates.

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Aug 24 2013 05:49

More of a thing a worker did than said. I tried to start a threw with this but no one responded(sob!). I still think it's a pretty amusing story though.

Quote:
So, I was thinking about an old friend of mine and remembered the time that whilst working in a butyl rubber factory(!) he was so moved by the sounds of The Rolling Stones playing on the works radio that he was unable to resist getting up onto one of the cutting benches and throwing himself into one of his(very impressive) Mick Jagger impersonations. Unfortunately, while he was leaping around the table, exhibiting all the symptoms of a St Vitus Dance sufferer, the factory owner walked in with a client that he was showing around. Needless to say, that was his last day as a cutter of rubber to line the garden ponds of the bourgeoisie!

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Aug 25 2013 21:44

I guy that employed me cash in hand many years ago (1995 ish) for a paltry 1.50 an hour, 15 quid for a 10 hour shift building PC's got a kind of comeuppance when I did a shit in the middle of his floor at his house warming party.

Matt
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Aug 25 2013 22:38

Is that the 21st century propaganda of the deed?

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Aug 25 2013 23:45

Stuntism

Matt
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Aug 27 2013 12:21

Dude, I like totally did a deed on his floor.

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Aug 28 2013 00:42

This happened when I was a young guy in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Earlier, lots of my high school friends were throwing themselves into the burgeoning LA punk scene, but it really didn't do anything for me. I was always more into jazz and the blues and I started to hang around clubs in Hollywood and the Sunset Strip that occasionally had open jams. Also, I became good friends with a saxophone player who introduced me to many of those musicians. She often sat in with their bands and would invite me along to hang out.

After one of the regular Monday midnight shows at a club on the Strip, I went with my sax playing friend and the band to join some of their friends at a diner called Ben Franks (made famous in Tom Waits' "The One that Got Away") down a couple blocks. It was open 24 hours and Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones and Chuck E. Weiss would often come there after playing local joints -- convenient since they lived at the legendary Tropicana Motel down a further few blocks. Frank Zappa was known to hang out there, as were lots of musicians. I was just a dorky wannbe Beat poet, but everyone treated me with respect.

Music was their passion, but it was work too and they did studio gigs whenever they could get them, in addition to their "day jobs" in whatever sector allowed them the flexibility to practice and perform. We all were sitting in a large booth, but other musicians would cruise into the diner and drop by our table to chat. One of these guys mentioned he'd started doing session work for someone recording an album, but he said he suddenly quit. The reason was that they were using drum machines. Upon hearing that, everyone went silent and demanded to know who the musician was. Once the guy said his name, they all -- to a person -- swore to never have anything to do with him ever again.

Back then I was slowly moving away from being an apolitical liberal, since I was still full of literary pretensions about being a writer. So as I left the diner with my friend, I asked her why all of them were so hostile to the idea of a drum machine. She grew serious and said "because it puts a musician out of work." I didn't get it and kinda shrugged and said "huh?" Then she got mildly indignant at my ignorance and said "it's taking food out of a drummer's mouth!" She didn't have to explain any further. I got it. They practiced the same kind of solidarity in sharing work among themselves as they did when they collectively jammed together at a club. They had a kind of class consciousness that I was just barely starting to understand. Looking back at them with hindsight, they were some pretty righteous cats.

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Aug 28 2013 02:18

Pro saxophone and anti drum machine?!!! Surely this must be some kind of massive typo? Either that or I've died and gone to hell!

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Aug 28 2013 03:55
Webby wrote:
Pro saxophone and anti drum machine?!!! Surely this must be some kind of massive typo? Either that or I've died and gone to hell!

No Webbly, it's like the old Wobbly tactic where rather than accepting individuals getting laid off, you give in and accept reduced hours and make sure everyone stays employed. All these people played acoustic instruments and made union scale for studio work. Like the Luddites, they rejected machines replacing them and driving down wages.

And different strokes for different folks. You like Abba and "Cheesy American soft rock." I like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. And I don't hate amplified or electric music; actually, I love the way Jimi Hendrix made guitar feedback beautiful and I really like the sound of a Hammond B-3, so I don't think Bob Dylan sold out when he plugged in at Newport in 1965. But jazz combos with drum machines suck!

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Aug 28 2013 16:42
Quote:
But jazz combos with drum machines suck!

Well I'm with you there comrade. The thing is though, they don't suck quite as much as a jazz combo with a real drummer!