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Okay guys, grab your popcorn and settle in for a lovely tale of my garbage workplace and the nonsense that happened yesterday. If you’re averse to such discussions, maybe you might want to hold off reading this post and wait until the next fluffy Foto Friday. I feel petty and dumb for even writing this, but I need to put it somewhere and get it out of my busy brain.

I work for a large hospital in a department that oversees the research that’s done here. Every year, our department foots the bill for us to attend our annual industry conference, which is always a clusterfuck of assorted sundry nonsense, histrionics and awkward avoidance of the people I work with for like 4 days. Each year, it’s in a different city, and this year it’s far enough away that I was granted permission to dial in remotely to the web broadcast, rather than leave my husband and young ones behind and try to go to Texas. My colleague, the specialist snowflake to ever exist, however, is rabid at the opportunity to go, mostly because her homelife is less than satisfactory and getting out of town for a few days on her own gives everyone a much needed break.

In the past, we’d send our request for the fees associated with registration, travel, and lodging on a paper form to the Accounts Payable department. However, now that we’ve adopted an electronic system, the process for doing this has become less clear. Our Special Snowflake (SS) decided to wait until the last minute to register for the early bird rate, and was given specific instructions on how to go about getting the check cut for this cost. Our boss told her that since only one person in our office, his right hand (wo)man, the Executive Assistant (EA), has access to the new electronic reimbursement system, please fill out the paper form as we had done before, give it to her (EA) for entry into the system. Easy enough, right? No way that could go wrong, right? Ah, sweet summer child…no…not really…

Our EA had a terrible migraine the day this paperwork was due to her for entry into the system, which fell on the last day for early bird rates. So, rather than wait for her return, SS decided she was going to take it upon herself to find a way to circumvent the process. She began calling every single person in the Accounts Payable department to see if they could give her access to the electronic system, but unfortunately, those folks never answer their phones. SS was frustrated but not deterred. She then called a person in another department, who, while knowledgeable about the old system, wasn’t so much on the new one. This person gave her incorrect information, and helped her put a request into a different electronic system (reserved for corrections in one’s paycheck or getting reimbursed for things after the fact, not the proactive request for funds, dumb I know, but that’s the way it is).

One thing that was needed to do all this, was our department’s cost center. This number is held by our boss, and is only to be used with his permission. It’s like our department’s debit card. And, well, since SS didn’t have it, she just left it blank, which meant that it would either go nowhere or be assigned one from whomever is processing this request, and very likely not correct. The boss got wind of what was going on, and realized that this would now create a ton of work for him to personally correct because he would have to now override the error, and try to make sure his budgets are in line with what they should have been. What she did bordered on fraud, but without negative intent, it’s just stupidity.

So, naturally, the boss was upset, not only because she created this mess, but because he was going to have to spend a ridiculous amount of time to fix it, and it was all because she refused to listen to basic instruction. He went into her office yesterday (across from mine), closed the door, and then began to discuss it. His tone was stern, but soft. He wasn’t thrilled with her, but he was a lot calmer than I think I would have been. Our SS, however, was not calm. She began pitching a loud tantrum, audible through our paper thin office walls about how she’s “not as stupid as everyone thinks” as the boss tried to diffuse the situation. He asked her to “just please listen” and she started slamming her desk drawers and packing up her bag to leave, saying how “she didn’t want to listen” and then logged off her PC and stormed out.

This took place around 2:00 in the afternoon. I figured she took a walk to calm down and would come back. Nope. She didn’t come back for the rest of the day. Everyone was just like Wat. Tha. FUCK?! and that sentiment has carried over to today. As I type this, there’s no resolution. She hasn’t called out or emailed the rest of the office as to her whereabouts, although perhaps the boss has been in touch. He isn’t here yet (he’s got a lot of meetings today), but the office is so very tense and uncomfortable. I honestly am hoping she is either fired or quits with this walkoff nonsense but who knows?

It would be too much to dream that she would be gone. She’s a destructive, toxic presence, but those people are particularly difficult to extricate from one’s life. She’s also the kind of scorched earth, hell hath no fury, sort of outlook on life, so who knows what she’s got planned for the inevitable plotted revenge. It’s likely that she’ll at least file a complaint to Human Resources saying how she was bullied (you know by being corrected on a mistake is being bullied), but hopefully they’ll take it with a grain of salt. I just don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I definitely would rather be anywhere than here today.

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