Things That Left Me Shaking My Head

Today’s post is a hodge-podge of strange employee behaviours that make me worry about the intelligence of humanity.

Thinking back to a previous post about too much information, I was reminded of an employee I’ll call Elizabeth. She was a middle-aged phone rep. (Which is often the first clue there might be something wrong with the employee. Call centres are more of a young person’s game.)

Elizabeth was one of the chattiest employees I’ve ever had. She had a penchant for regaling people with boring stories about every topic under the sun. She reminded me of Norm from the ’80s sitcom Cheers. She also liked discussing her very busy sex life.

Unfortunately for me, Elizabeth loved sitting in the desk right beside mine.  I don’t really want to know about anyone else’s favourite sexual position, but I couldn’t seem to stop her from telling me. She drove me nuts. No one else could stand her grating voice or intimate stories either. When she left for a “better” job, we actually went out for drinks as a management team to celebrate.

Her new job turned out to be not so great, so she called us one day asking if we needed phone reps. We did, but I sure as heck didn’t tell her that.

The other nutty stories for today come from Julia, an employee I discussed earlier on this blog. She’s a treasure trove of great anecdotes.

I was sitting at my desk one day when a high-pitched barking sound started. I knew we hadn’t let a dog into the building, so I went to investigate. Yep, it was Julia.

I asked the obvious question, “Why are you barking?”

“Oh, I always bark when I get nervous. I just can’t stop myself. Arf, arf.”

I didn’t bother asking the follow-up about what made her nervous. I decided I didn’t need to know.

My other favourite Julia story happened on a busy day in the call centre. She disappeared on an unscheduled break, which usually meant someone was making a trip to the bathroom. But Julia didn’t come back for 30 minutes.  Another team leader got curious and went in search of our missing employee.

No Julia in the bathroom. No Julia in the lunchroom.

Then another phone rep came in for the start of his shift and mentioned that Julia was outside the front entrance snogging with some guy. Apparently it was getting pretty hot and heavy and they were pressed up against the side of the building by the doors. So the team leader went downstairs to retrieve Julia.

We probably should have fired her over this or her many other crazy stunts, but Julia was such good comic relief and she was a fine employee when she actually got on the phones to do her job. No one had the heart to fire the moron with a heart of gold. Sometimes she was the only laugh we got in a day.

I’ve learned something over the years about the kind of employees I can handle. And I would take 10 Julias over one Elizabeth any day of the week.

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