Job Stories and Tales

Read stories from the job front shared by your fellow working world folks.
Municipal worker - Where did I go wrong to be working in a sewer By Athena

I've been disappointed with the way my life has been going for a while now and I decided to write about it here because no one I know seems to want to hear it anymore. It's not the worst case scenario for sure so sometimes I feel like I don't even have the right to complain about it because I know that so many other people are in much more difficult situations than I am. I mean, I'm healthy and I make good money so what do I really have to complain about? The guilt of that makes me feel like such a whiney entitled person because I really don't have it all that bad.

I've been working in water/wastewater treatment for over a year now and it's something I got into because I thought it would be a stable career that I can eventually use my biology degree to advance in. I have done sales, retail and customer service and a bit of environmental consulting in the past and everything I was doing just seemed so meaningless to me. I had never grown up with an idea of what I would like for a career unlike my friends who had aspirations of being a doctor, teacher, etc. I just felt lost and like I couldn't commit myself to one thing like that. I went for a biology degree being a person who is interested in nature and environment and I guess I just never pictured how it could all come together in a career for me.

Today, I just feel so discouraged and hopeless. I know I'm not the only one who works here who feels like they're not able to make a difference or have a good feeling about coming to work or are able to advance in the company. This just isn't that much of a team atmosphere here and the bosses dont want anything changed at all. They've been doing it the same way for over 10 years and it seems like they don't want people learning more about their jobs than they need to because so many people have come and gone here that their attitude is "why would we put the effort into training you. You're just going to end up leaving soon anyway". It sort of makes it a self fulfilling prophecy I feel.

It doesn't help me that I'm a female in a predominantly male work force and that I'm the youngest person there by 20 years. I feel that I don't belong and this is alright because this place is really just a stepping stone for me anyway. I find it difficult though because my boss is very condescending towards me and will even make offhand comments that make me feel uncomfortable like talking about my body in an indirect way or talking to me about how all the young girls wear yoga pants these days while looking me up and down. He's very condescending towards me too and will refer to me as "her" right in my presence as if I don't warrant enough respect for him to speak directly to me. It's a small municipality too so I don't feel comfortable reporting this or even bringing it up to him because I don't even think he knows how to not be like that because he's so old that calling me "young lady" is just natural for him. I feel very disrespected and I don't enjoy his company at all. I cringe whenever we have to be in the room together. It's especially bad when he's in the company of other people and not so bad when we're alone together oddly enough.

The nature of this job makes me feel belittled and dirty and like I've failed in my life to end up doing this for a living. The job at this level is the most unglamorous thing I ever imagined myself doing. The other day for example, we had to transfer large chunks of frozen, dark brown sewage with bits of hair and garbage embedded in the ice up a hill from one tank to the next. That's just the way they wanted it done and actually the way they do things around here isn't right and is technically illegal due to contamination of the surrounding area when we were flipping the chunks of ice out of the clarifier. The reason we ever had to do that in the first place is because the process has been upset and this would have never happened if another piece of equipment wasn't down for the last 2 months. They don't even seem to care when there are vital pieces of equipment down or they don't seem too eager to fix things even when it makes our job that much harder.

Being new in the industry, I have little knowledge on what I can do to make things easier. I don't get the mentorship I expected from my superiors and they seem to not care if they develop other employees in order to have the place running more efficiently. The only person around here who allegedly knows how to do all the mechanical work necessary doesn't seem to want to get it done or teach anyone else how to do it so it's like a standstill. Day in day out we just do the same daily routine while the whole place is falling apart and nothing gets fixed. It isn't even always a case of not enough in the budget but usually it's the laziness and apathy of the people in charge.

I feel like I haven't even been given a fair chance to like this industry because of the place I started and their poor attitude towards teaching employees what they need to know to do their jobs. The people who care about me say that I should just go do something else but it isn't easy. I feel like I have no marketable skills and I've already put over $8000 into courses for this industry and I'm going to be doing exams in 6 months to get another level of certification so I feel like I need to see it through. It's just so hard to be in the present here and enjoy my life and feel like I'm making a positive contribution to society when I'm doing something as low down as cleaning used feminine products and rags our of a sewer by the stinking bucketful and that's all I get to do at work besides sit around waiting for the clock. Whenever there is anything technical to be done, I'm never the one who gets to have the experience, they always send me to do the horribly nasty jobs because I suppose I don't complain because at least it's something to do other than sit around and be bored.

My sister says I should go back to school for something but I don't even know what. I feel like if I just up and leave this without waiting to get the next level of certification it will just be another thing I've failed at. I know it doesn't help to make comparisons but my roommate is a teacher and just loves her job and what she's doing is something that actually matters and I can't help but to feel like where did I go so wrong??

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By MD Specialist

I'm retired now, but still have dreams about most of the workplaces I passed through during my career in corporate communications. I thought I'd share one from early in my career.

The job was that of patient relations assistant for a 200-doctor medical group. I was interviewed by HR, then the nurse who ran the patient outreach department. It took more than a month to get hired, which should have been a warning to me, but I wasn't that savvy at the time.

The job was supposed to involve (1) helping patients find the right doctor and (2) helping them resolve complaints about doctors, staff, etc.

But on the first day, I was told I would be the telephone backup for the entire department. Not a big problem for me, as I knew that small companies and departments often relied on lower-level staff to backup clerical staff. But then, I was told the entire department staff would be leaving at noon for an inservice, to which I was not invited, and I would be left holding down the fort and answering phones. On my first day!

The person who was leaving my new job was there on my first day to "train" me. She basically told me what she did, and then briefly described an issue that was pending. She described her idea for a solution and then said to me, "Draft a letter telling them...." and left.

So I answered phones, greeted foot traffic, and locked up the office at the end of the day.

It only got worse. My phone rang constantly, and most of the calls had nothing to do with my job duties. I quickly learned that my phone was the main phone for the entire clinic system and that I was in effect, the company switchboard. I also learned that higher ups did not know this!

Then there was the department secretary. She resented me because she had learned my salary, larger than hers, from a pal in another department. She did everything she could to sabotage me; eventually I decided that my best course of action was to befriend her and be supportive. She was obviously a troubled person. Eventually she left, and the person who replaced her was wonderful to work with.

Next came the boss. She had been passed over for a promotion, and reported to a younger, savvier woman. She compensated by doing whatever she wanted, and letting staff pick up the slack. Her favorite ploy was leaving early on a Friday afternoon, after having written "university hospital seminar" on her calendar.

Now I'd worked at the university hospital and knew full well that seminars were NEVER scheduled for Friday afternoons in summer. Several times I called a former coworker to confirm my suspicions that no such seminar was being offered.

Early on in the job, I approached the boss and asked why the advertised job did not reflect the clerical nature of the actual job. Her response was that I could accept it or leave.

I did eventually leave, but not after doing a few quiet things to ensure that the next person to hold the job would not have clerical duties.

It was an interesting lesson for me.

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employee # 26 By doormat#26

[Name removed] has got to be hands down the most inane waste of sperm this earth has ever encountered. he is an easy to anger, frustratingly ignorant, absurdly arrogant, lies through his freaking teeth, idea stealing son of a bitch. comfurtcompany is the worst company to work for and hands down the most backwards thinking place of employment that I have ever had the misfortune of working for. I hope it goes belly up if only for the very reason to save other poor souls from ever having the misery of employment there.

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stop complaining to ME By go_away_forever

As a female employee, this is going to sound sexist but I just don't care. I hate working for women. Women. All women. I work for a department full of women. It's hormonal and it drives me insane. Estrogen battles are constant in this office. She did this, they did that, blah blah blah blah. Shut the hell up and just do your job.

You don't like the program we're using? Well, unless you can find a better software at the contracted price we have, I suggest you suck it up and LEARN THE SYSTEM. Not just half-ass learn it, but learn it inside out like the back of your hand. When you get frustrated about it not doing this, or that, or blah blah blah, your whining and complaining doesn't do except adding to the mounting personnel problems we have here. I'm just the work minion okay? SO WHY THE AM I DOING ALL OF YOUR WORK THAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING. Don't ask me to do MINUTE things that YOU have access to. Plus YOU'RE NOT MY BOSS. Oh, and you need to stop writing emotionally charged emails to everyone because no one APPRECIATES THAT CRAP.

You want to come to work impaired? That's fine, but if you keep coming to work all MESSED up, someone's bound to notice. WAIT A MINUTE. TOO LATE. Sauce it up AFTER you leave work, there's plenty of time for you to get wasted when you get home.

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By haterlover:

Wow! Your situation sounds very interesting almost similar to a friend of mine, except in her case it was rife with jealous, insecure women. Women of all shapes sizes and colors are territorial by nature and extremely jealous to the bone, especially when they think and or feel another woman is receiving more attention than them or benefits it they are; whether it be from their looks, charm or education.

In my friends situation it was all of the above and they talked and spread so much garbage about her because of JEALOUSY..Was SO jealous of this woman they could not see straight. There are times I felt so bad for her as she had to put up with this everyday. There was this one woman she told me about that was so awful but she did not find out about who she truly was until it was too late..

You see my friend is a kind hearted and very friendly by nature and will just turn the other cheek so to speak when it comes to people and conflict but despite that she is a very strong person and defends her character if it comes down to it..Well, this woman pretended to care about her situation and acted like she wanted her on the team and at the company but realized that the woman was backstabbing her, telling lies and also contributing to lies that other people were telling. Sad.

I was shocked to say the least, but she told me she was not surprised and suspected it all along but she never said anything to the woman ..She just tried to give the lady the benefit of the doubt and still treated her with respect and kindness....It is AMAZING to me how people who are guilty of doing F**CKED UP stuff to people never take accountability for it and it is that persons fault that they are the way they are to them..ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS!!

In the end people like that always get there just due because they are cowards and lack the decency to treat ALL people with respect and kindness. It is also a shame that women who are strong and intelligent do not stick together and support one another. Well ultimately in my friends case she is a very strong, intelligent and talented person and I know she will be okay. I will always support her all the way!!

By PeonWithATude:

This is a very funny post because I feel the opposite, I work with a bunch of men and have not wanted to say anything for the simple reason that it is sexist and not right to pigeon hole people based on any "category". But for the record, I had a guy I worked with that dumped all the work he did not want to do which was most of the administrative work on me and whoa talk about the backstabbing, of course, when a man says it is just in jest, right? As for anyone not learning your software you were not real explicit, but if it was in-house and not COTS, then maybe the "users" want to make improvements, but obviously you were not the one to take that ball and run with it. In general, we are all different and come from many different paths or categories, whether it be gender, religion, or plain old different work ethics. The real issues are the supervisors who let these issues occur. I mean when is the last time a supervisor had a talk with anyone who was out of line? Not to be sexist but if it is a man does he not just expect it to go away? People today head towards behavior to make changes. The last time I checked this is a free country and people do have a right to their opinions, however, the opinions should stick to the subject matter, such as work related issues at work and most importantly have facts to back it up. In other words, for the record men have never been categorized in the "jealous" category, they fall into the "ego" category, which is really the same thing. So in general we are all different and we should accept that, however, if someone is complaining about software which seems to be your "main" justified complaint, then maybe you should either pass the message on to the correct party, or steer the complaint back to them, and ask how they would fix the problem? Also, for the record, I personally have pet peeves about software programs or web sites that ask me to click all over the place when it could be better organized, and yes that is an opinion....

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Stuck By HaveaDamnNiceDay

Hey Y'all.... It's me again. I know it's been awhile.

I've been at my contractor office job for about three and a half years now. Granted, I'm treated reasonably, fairly compensated, and not harassed. You'd think it would be a virtual paradise, right? Nope.
See, I'm also an art student. I'm a thirty-something that didn't understand her talents until one day somebody suggested doing art for video games. I've been on a mission to do that ever since. So, I'm a little older than my classmates, and my resources are limited because I'm married and have a mortgage to pay.
Art is my existence. It is my BEING. I can't go long days of drudgery without doing it and progressing in some way. I've been an Admin assistant or in a similar position for probably 10+ years. I'm tired. I'm tired of doing this. Day in and day out. It's frustrating. I feel like I die a little every day because instead of doing art, I'm banging on my calculator and keyboard all day, pretending to be nice to people that walk into the office, and all that other general office stuff. I feel like a damned ornament sitting there up front. I feel like I'm not fulfilling my real value being there. Problem is, I'm stuck. I can't leave. It's a guaranteed paycheck. It helps me pay for school. I'm too comfortable, though. And my husband has come to rely on my steady income (as well as the benefits), as his has peaks and valleys season to season. He's a personal trainer with a steady client base, but even those die-hards sometimes have to take short breaks.

You'd think that in this economy I'd be grateful to have a job at all. I am, but I'm also miserable. It's hard to be grateful for misery. :P

Also, last year my boss quit and took another job, and her replacement is almost worse than she is. She's an absolute nutcase and she makes it really hard for me to be at work sometimes. I'll have to tell you guys stories about her later...

I did apply to an admin position at a nearby gaming company some weeks ago, but I haven't heard from them and there aren't many game companies around here. Moving isn't an option, so I have to be careful not to turn any of them off of me.
Also, all my teachers want me to apply to this super-awesome super-duper-expensive nearby art school and I'm not sure how I'll be able to afford it without already going into massive debt. I've already got a mortgage. I don't need more financial obligations.

To boot, the kinds of art jobs I wish to do don't necessarily require a degree, really, so to me going to an expensive school (which I would honestly LOVE to do), is sort of pointless. A positive AND a negative.

I have so many things weighing on me and it's making me crazy and depressed. I'm awful to be around as of late and it's making me feel like isolating myself and then hating myself for it, and then feeling sorry for myself because I'm lonely and depressed.

I feel like I'm strung up in a web of things I wasn't entirely on board with, and now I have to suffer so others don't have to. I feel like I'm dying. I don't like that feeling, and I don't like entertaining thoughts about driving my car off a bridge.

I don't belong at my job. I just don't belong there. I don't fit in with the general culture (I'm weird to them), I can't relate to anybody there, and when I try to join in on their sports conversations (one of the very few points I can relate on) they all run away or change the subject. I know they don't hate me, but I get the impression they're weirded out by my wanting to discuss sports with them, and that really bothers me.

I just want to get out. Somebody please just shoot me.

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By econobiker:

"I'm a little older than my classmates, and my resources are limited because I'm married and have a mortgage to pay.
Art is my existence. It is my BEING. I can't go long days of drudgery without doing it and progressing in some way I've been an Admin assistant or in a similar position for probably 10+ years."

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Real racers figure out how to race; everyone else is just a wanna-be talking about racing.
Either you can do the art thing or not. Make a plan and jump in.
F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing Real

By AnonymousTruthSeeker:

This story is full of holes. I would be inclined to sympathize with you if there was perhaps an ounce of truth to it, but it appears that you should instead go into a career of writing. Actually, writing fiction novels, because your story sounds like fiction or better yet a story on the basis of trying to pretend to be someone else to shed them in a certain light or bad one, Perhaps..It's too dramatic to say the least..And if you are married, how can you be lonely and depressed? Should not your husband you say you have be your company and support...Does not make sense as well as some of the other information you noted...I am just saying!! Anyone who reads this if they had half a brain in their heads would see right through it..but I could be wrong and if I am , I stand corrected..I will let others be the judge. And this econobiker, appears to be some admin or whatever for this site..Just seems too suspect to me..

By haveadamnniceday:

Wow guys. I've been a member here since 2006 and this has always been a place of support. I can see some things have changed. And no, Anon--Econobiker is NOT a mod here. The rest of your comment an uninformed assumption, and it's not worth my time.

I don't need to give you all details of my personal life just so that you can pick them apart to deem my story "worthy" or not. There are lots of complicated underlying issues and everyone has them. What I'm frustrated with is the constant balancing act. I'm tired. Yes, my resources are limited. I don't have mummy and daddy to throw money at my problems or buy me an education. I've had to scrape and claw and sometimes maim for what I do have.

For the record, it's been over a month since I've posted this story, and I've done lots of thinking. I probably WON'T be continuing to attend school. After my painting and portfolio courses, I'll be bowing out to make work for myself. I need the time to do so, and school frankly eats it up. However, I HAVE learned tons about myself as an artist there--Very invaluable things.
I just won't be seeking any kind of degree. I don't need it. What I DO need is a good portfolio. I've been seeking resources on how to do just that. So, I'll be getting a more *unconventional* education.

Anyhow, that admin job at the gaming company ended up going to a close friend of mine (I applied too late), so I'm actually happy for her. She'd been unemployed for almost 6 months and was going nuts trying to find work. Now that she is working there, she has started trying to find ways to get me a job there too (she gets a little bonus if I get recruited). The long short of it, though, is that she is almost guaranteed a promotion of sorts in a year's time, to whatever department she fits into. Then, they hire a new admin... I am trying to be patient. The dinosaurs I work for are making it difficult to be so. But the good news is that now I have a true insider who can help me get my foot in the door.

This website used to be about supporting each other and getting our heads together on how to deal with the wrenches work throws into our lives. Work sucks, damn the man and all that stuff. This was a place for people to vent their frustration and be understood and related to. I guess everyone has forgotten that. I've been gone way too long, apparently.

By wage slave:

It not you it's them. I stopped posting because I didn't get any response or irrelevant advice. If you can't get a job at the gaming company. Would you consider getting a job at the Art School?

By PeonWithATude:

I can empathize with you because I feel like I am in the same boat except I already graduated (as a 40 something) but feel it was a waste. My first question is do you not feel a little put off that you are a contractor and have been there three years? I realize you probably make more than your counterparts, but do you really? Benefits could for a lot and even the matching on some business plans. I also feel like an outcast and literally hate my job....only lately I feel like I am going to loose the "semi-nice" guy attitude. My boss is nice but there are so many things not what I was looking for. I have a fancy title and am basically the peon that gets all the work that "no one else wants to do", not to mention are too lazy. I do not know where the work force is heading but those of us who want a career and not a job, at lease deserve it. And if you do not want to offer it, then don't say you do! Promises are so empty.... and people wonder what is the matter with communication these days.

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Cultural By dendie81

I was hired for my years of experience in Human Resources...for a foreign based (start up)company.

Get benefits for this company who hope to attract and retain skilled workers.

10 days vacation for first five years of employment no rollover from year to year.
no sick time at all
no bereavement at all
no jury duty recompense at all, in fact this should be addressed after hours....LOL. Tell that to the federal government.
you must call in and ASK permission to stay home if you are sick regardless of illness or contagious factor.
you must pay for all company travel and business expenses
When recruiting the applicant must be willing to start the next day without notice given to your previous employer. however they are trying to enforce a necessary two week notice when you leave their employment other wise they instruct me not to pay out their vaction or final pay for hours worked.

When I explained legalities involved I was told "we worry about it if we get caught"

Needles to say...I am looking.....and on my way out...I am calling IRS...EEO...OSHA and Immigration, they have people working on visiting visas...

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The free toilet paper saga... By econobiker

I knew someone who got toilet paper from an employer……

Welllllll, so I knew this guy, someone from my past, who once worked for a grocery store over the summer during college.

With each regular grocery truck shipment, the store also got "in store use" store supplies which were generic cleaning, register paper, grocery bags, and other items -not the consumer brands. One of the typical items was the cheapest toilet paper rolls known to mankind. This generic toilet paper was very rough but had far more feet per roll than the usual consumer brands sold by the store. Because of the extra length, this paper lasted a lot longer IF you could tolerate the feel on your nether regions.

Of course, none of the women in the store wanted to use the rough "in store use" toilet paper. And there were always rolls of much softer consumer brands toilet paper roll packages that had been damaged by customers or come open on the shelves due to defective packaging. The female assistant manager would write-off the packages of the much softer consumer paper rolls as “destroyed/discarded” and then put the good rolls from the packages in the ladies' bathroom.

The “in store use“ store supply toilet paper rolls kept building up in the janitor closet since the company sent 4 to 6 rolls per week on the freight trucks with other items for "in store use". It never got used very much except to resupply the men's bathroom which still didn't have the same level of use as a ladies bathroom would have had due to obvious reasons. So this guy figured out about this nice, large, source of toilet paper rolls that were not counted in the store's regular grocery inventory. This meant that the rolls wouldn't be accounted for or missed during inventories. And the weasel-like and balding store manager never, ever went in the janitor closet since it was -below- him to do that.

So the guy started to bring about 8 rolls of "in store use" toilet paper out of the store in ~empty~ 2 liter cola cardboard boxes each time he got the "empty" boxes. He was getting the boxes in order to move his belonging to college for his 2nd year. By the time the summer had ended, he had exhausted much of the over flow of "in store use" toilet paper rolls from the janitors closet and this was even while using the "in store use" toilet paper in the men's bathroom all summer long. The weasely-bald manager, as a man, never ever knew that the ladies room had not gotten an "in store use" toilet paper roll put in it for months.

In fact, the guy had gotten 96 (!!!) rolls of the “in store use” store supply toilet paper for him and his 3 college apartment roommates to use. One roommate complained about the rough toilet paper just after moving in to the dorm apartment in September, at the start of the college year. This guy told that roommate to spend money to buy his own soft toilet paper or jump in a lake if he didn't like the free toilet paper. As the complaining roommate was also very cheap, he ended up quieting his complaints and never spent his money on soft toilet paper. The 96 rolls of toilet paper actually ended up lasting the entire college year in that dorm apartment (only with males using it, though) because the rolls were so much longer than regular consumer brand toilet paper. There were still about one or two rolls remaining plus what was in the bathroom when the college year finished in May of the next calendar year!

The guy took the extra rolls with him to his summer rental house down at the beach where he had a different and much cooler summer job than the grocery store job. The grocery store was torn down about 14 years later but the wrecking crew probably found more unused "in store use" toilet paper rolls in the rubble...

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By econobiker:

Everyone has to love the s.p,a'm posters on this near dead web blog!!!

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Gas Station TV - By "One day and out"

I worked for them for ONE day of training and knew it wasn't for me. The other folks (all men, BTW) who started with me that day are all gone, except for one.
Anyone care to share???

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By econobiker:


Sounds like you are among the typical turnover for that company...

By labtech:

Unless you need the money, go. There's nothing worse than working a job you hate, everyday.

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Deerfield Illinois Library - Library from Hell By Death watch

Deerfield IL. Library has the highest turn over rate in the last five years . Why do we ask? The Head of the library is only concerned with herself and the construction of her new Domain. The board couldn't care less . They don't give a crap if they lose some of the best educated employees and dedicated staff.

Remember in less than a year the new Pergander library will be opened and that is the bottom line.

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Thank you for calling the psychiatric hotline.. oh wait... By dizzblnd

Friday, right before lunch a call came into me. I said my intro and then the voice on the other end just started speaking in tongues. I was getting ready to ask him if he would like a Spanish rep, (although I was not quite sure if that was his language) when he started speaking perfect English:

"There are people out here digging on my lawn all the way up to my house. They are not supposed to be here. They are not the same sewer trucks that were her yesterday. These are the same trucks that were reported stolen to the county. This is a conspiracy, I have written Washington DC about this and I am suing the county"

I got the attention of my teamleader who sits right in front of me. She logged in to my phone to listen. I broke in to his ramblings, trying to contain my laughter. "I'm sorry sir, you have the wrong number." I explained to him who were are and what we do. I then asked him if he took his meds this morning how I could help him.
He yelled, "I already told you how you can help me, you need to call in somebody rich to come get me. This is a conspiracy". I replied, "Sir if you feel like your life is in danger, you need to hang up with me and call 911"

"I told you this was a conspiracy, the cops are in on it too, that's why I can't call them. I explained again that there was nothing I could do to help him. He mumbled something in tongues and hung up the phone.

While I was at lunch, he called back. He got a male representative who reminds me of "The Stapler Guy" from Office Space

So "Milton" answers the phone, and the same guy just starts spewing weights of the trucks and numbers. Milton explained again who we are and what we do. The guy said, "Yes I know who you are I OWN this company." Then he hung up. Next, he calls back and gets the girl that sits right next to Milton. She, too explains that he has the wrong number. When he starts cussing her out, she said "Sir, you do not have to be so inappropriate" My team leader IM'd her and told her to transfer the call to her.
When she did, he starts cussing, my TL out as well. She copied down down his number before he hung up and had our tech guy block his number.

It is quite obvious the guy was mentally ill. I don't think THAT in of itself is funny. I am not making light of mental illness. But the conversation was too hilarious not to share.

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