Remember in college when the professor assigned group work? Everyone gets anxious because there are always the people who don’t show up, do no work or (even worse) do a shitty job. Group work may have sucked, but it taught me many lessons. Most importantly, if you have no expectations, you can’t be let down.
(Un)fortunately, group work still exists. In an ideal world, if you do a shitty job or don’t do your work, you get fired. Conversely, if you’re just learning the ropes, there is some wiggle room or help from a kind mentor and a moment for one of those “I learned something today” moments.
I’ve actually grown to enjoy group work. Have a meeting, delineate who does what, send around your work, put it together, have a closing meeting, it’s over. The process is almost surgical in nature. For the most part, my coworkers are all educated, professional, and most of all, dependable. It’s a big step up from college groups in which at least one member is drunk or high the entire time and almost everyone is lazy and/or uninterested.
However, there is one old soul in my office who no one wants to work with: Fuckin’ Rob. I’d take back those drunken dead weight members of my college groups in a second if it meant I didn’t have to work with him. Working with Rob comes with a surefire guarantee that I’m going to drink heavily after work.
He’s been here since the beginning of time, so he is unfireable. This salty old guard is the living, breathing stereotype of Baby Boomers.
Ever since I started, Rob has been a pain in the ass. Rob should have retired about ten years ago, but he is “so committed” to work that he just can’t. Technically, he did “retire,” but he missed work so much he got a nice senior temporary position to act as a “contractor.” If I had to guess, his wife is making him work so she can sail off into post-menopausal life without having to hear his Elmer Fudd-like voice all day long.
Rob wants to be the leader of everything we do. We have a mutual boss that he treats like an underling. Just because he’s old, he thinks he’s smart. You aren’t the boss for a reason, Rob. He is the first to volunteer to drive to conferences, even though he is a terrible driver. Rob almost drove people off a bridge due to swerving around a pothole several years ago, and we now have an elaborate office ruse to keep him from driving — two of my coworkers get “carsick” and have to be in the front.
I wouldn’t mind one bit if he had any workplace etiquette. You see, Rob works when Rob wants to work. Being that he is a geriatric, this begins at 5:00 a.m. When I am tasked to work with him, I already have three emails waiting for me; he makes sure to let me know when I have to call him, what he’s doing for the day, and he outlines anything that “we” (he) messed up that I now have to fix. Rob is also a vegan, which means he eats black bean burgers and tofu mystery meat. His hummus farts are like sarin gas.
One time, my boss and I had a meeting about some stupid idea he had to delete a bunch of graphs that he no longer had record of. He annoys her constantly, and she made a New Year’s Resolution to be more patient with him and complain less about his “faults” because she is the ultimate professional. During the course of him doing mental gymnastics and failing to understand basic concepts of “saving your data,” he burped in my face. The worst part was he did not excuse himself and he continued on talking without missing a beat. The smell of pickles and onions will forever be burned into my nostrils.
Working with Rob wouldn’t be so bad if he actually did his job. I’m sure he’s getting a nice chunk of change to offer his “guidance,” but really all he does is mess everything up. He’s the only one with a Mac, and he forgets to update his computer so it turns off and updates halfway through our meetings. He does not know how to connect to Wifi. He types with two fingers and has no idea how to work Microsoft Excel. This is an enormous problem because the lion’s share of the project is graphs and statistical analysis. I once spent an entire week fixing 70 pages of Excel graphs and putting in confidence intervals because he didn’t take the time to learn to do it correctly.
Rob plays to the “You’re young and you know how to do it” card. He even makes sure to give a condescending “hehe” after as if it’s a joke. Thanks, asshole, I didn’t pay $800/credit hour to be your Excel monkey because you don’t know how to select the correct graph. He always wants everything to be a pie-chart and for it to be in 3-D. A pie-chart is not the best graph for everything, you geriatric fuck. Take a goddamn class like I had to. Being old is not an excuse to continue being unable to do your job.
The older people in my office think every young person doubles as an IT person, though. Most of my work involves filling in the gap for technologically incompetent older people. Want to know why we have so much wasteful government spending? Because no one over the age of 45 has any idea how to use technology, and they do things “the way they’ve always been done.” These are the same people that generally make the most money. Google “the Peter Principle,” and you’ll understand. They won’t, though, because they don’t know how to use Google.
What really makes me hate working with Rob is when anything is wrong, and it often is, “we” have to fix it. Why? Because Rob is constantly out of the office, visiting Monticello, traveling the country to go to different baseball parks, flying to France, or traveling to the Grand Tetons. He constantly throws people under the bus. Sometimes I feel like he is doing it on purpose.
Whenever we meet, I go to my happy place and wait until he’s done being bossy and clueless so I can go figure it out and get our portion of a project done. Going back to the group project college days, sometimes it is easier to do it yourself because at least you know it will be done correctly. It’s allllll in the hips..
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