Today was Grandma Airplane’s last day in the office. While everyone assumed she was completely unemployable, somehow an airline hired her and she’s not going to work with us anymore.
I worked with Grandma Airplane for nearly two years. In those two years, she has reported me to HR for taking the Lord’s name in vain and reported everyone to HR for cursing and talking about sex all day. The cursing is somewhat true but nothing like she claimed, and besides, it wasn’t the use of the words that bothered her so much, it was the fact that people were saying them even though she told them she was a Christian. I know that my atheism will make what I’m about to say seem biased, but I think that if an individual was that serious about attempting to become more Christ-like, perhaps they would start by, um, not working for a corporation. I know we’re not the actual moneylenders in the actual temple, but allowing for modern interpretation and everything we know about multinational capitalism, we’re close enough.
Also in those two years, Grandma Airplane has managed to not learn one goddamn thing about the job. It’s remarkable, actually. How a person can show up nearly every day and do the same job without ever absorbing any information about it has to be some kind of a superpower. I couldn’t do it. There’s no way my brain could possibly continue to resist the same information being launched at it day in and day out for two whole years. It’s just amazing.
I’ve had a few opinions of Grandma Airplane in the past two years. It’s not that my opinions about her have changed, it’s more like I’ve spent some real time wondering which of the following best fits her personality:
1. Crazy. Like truly, psychotically, should-be-committed-because-medications-would-not-work-on-her crazy. Evidence for this includes her animatedly talking to/arguing with herself, making up situations and being totally convinced of their existence, and displaying completely different personalities on a sometimes hour-by-hour basis.
2. Stupid. When she’s not acting like a fucking lunatic, Grandma Airplane is usually acting like an absolute idiot. See that part about not learning anything about the job in two years as an example. And what’s more is that she’s proud of being an idiot. She’s proud of being, in her words, “slow” and “simple.” I have never met another person in my life who wears their stupidity like a badge of honor, as if behaving like a child with a crayon jammed in its brain is somehow nobler than someone who can read. Speaking of, I’m pretty sure that she’s functionally illiterate. Her interpretation of the written word goes far beyond the occasional mispronunciation and skews into “you are looking at the words but you are making up what they say” territory.
3. Evil. Very rarely, Grandma Airplane drops her lunatic idiot act and becomes a sociopath. When she decides that she hates you – and the reasons vary from cursing, atheism, not being white, or becoming frustrated with the fact that she can’t do her job – she begins her campaign of evil. She turns vicious and manipulative on a dime and actively schemes to get you in trouble. I’ve seen her try crying, I’ve seen her bring up the God thing again, and I’ve been questioned by my boss about her allegations to HR. She’s been very calculating in all of this, so it’s quite possible that the lunatic idiot act is just a disguise and she’s planning on murdering everyone on their lunch breaks.
I’ve also thought that it’s a combination of all three. Like many people who can’t read the dictionary, she doesn’t know the difference between being principled and being a liar, and she’s deluded enough that any of the criticism she has undoubtedly received in companies besides mine (and mine asked for her resignation based on the behavior noted above) has probably gone right over her head. In there, she is the victim, the hero, and God’s Chosen Grandma.
Oh, and? She doesn’t know how to use Google.
She doesn’t know how to use Google.
Yet she’s also a travel agent (she says), which leads me to believe that paying her money to send you around the world is like asking someone to please send you to a Thai prison for drug trafficking charges, and while you’re there, you’d prefer not to actually learn Thai, but rather to give your requests to a guard in progressively louder English.
None of this is my problem. I mean, it is, but it’s not only my problem. Everyone knows these things about her. It may have taken some people longer than it took me (and at least one person knew all of this before I did), but somehow, even through all of this bullshit, she was allowed to keep her job. Shit, someone bought her a cake today. I mentioned to a friend the other day that I’d never expect to work at a job where no one yells at me, where I never have to do anything stupid, or where the only people I work with are my friends. That’s just ridiculous. What I do want is for things to make sense. I want to work with competent people who are not out of their minds and get compensated for the work I complete in a proficient manner. I’ve been trying to achieve this for years in the hope that someone will pay attention, but so far, people like Grandma Airplane are allowed to stay, and the people who do the least amount of work are the ones who get promoted.
I’d like to have a talk with all of the people who raised me to believe that working hard and being smart were going to get me anywhere in life. Maybe this is still true for professions like firefighting and personal assisting, but where I work, these qualities are demonstrably unnecessary to succeed.