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flubbernugget

Working with people with mental illness

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Today at work I was performing a backup service on a hard drive for an older gentleman. The backup service cost $125 ($70 backup fee and a $55 1TB external hard drive). I went off on break mid-backup and came back to notice a set of recovery disks on the computer. My manager left a note that the gentleman left the disks for his system to be wiped and reinstalled, an additional $130 fee. It wasn't notated anywhere that this fee was discussed with and accepted by the customer. I called my co-worker who had actually taken the computer in for service to see what was going on, and he told me that the customer wanted a new hard drive because his old one was failing.

Where I work, hard drive replacements are fairly expensive. It's $105 for a hard drive of equivalent speed and size of what the customer already had. We charge $100 to put an OS on the hard drive, and another $40 for the physical installation. $245 on top of the $125 the customer owed. $370 total.

I asked my co-worker if the customer was aware of the cost of these services and he began to skirt around my question. It infuriated me to the point where I was yelling at him over the phone in front of customers to try and get a straight answer as to what this customer knew.

I called the customer to let him know what was going on. He said that he was unsure of the specific services he was having performed, but that my co-worker had spent several hours going to great length to explain the cost of all the different services available to him. He was under the impression his computer repair would cost no more than $250, incredibly close to the cost of the hard drive replacement without the backup.

I was baffled at why my co-worker documented the service as a data backup while telling the customer we were performing a hard drive installation. We make no commission, and have no personal incentive to rip off a customer or be financially dishonest to them. Yet he fucks up orders like this all the time though. It's left to me, another tech, and my direct supervisor to clean up after him, and it makes my job miserable. It's probably doing the same to the other techs, though I haven't actually discussed much with them.

One of my managers had told me that these "fuck-ups" (for lack of a better term) were the result of him having OCD, and having to fight urges to get his work done in certain ways. He is medicated for his issues and acquired his employment with the assistance of some third party.

It puts me in a really nasty situation. I was lucky not to have an abusive customer this time, but I'm constantly leaving work drained having to explain things like this to customers and clean up after him. It's starting to take a toll on my family at home. But at the same time, I don't know the battles my co-worker fights to earn his privilege of working at a job he genuinely enjoys, and it creates tensions between co-workers and management to give him a chance at life, while still turning a profit deemed acceptable by our corporate office.

Has anyone else faced a similar struggle? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

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flubbernugget said:

One of my managers had told me that these "fuck-ups" (for lack of a better term) were the result of him having OCD, and having to fight urges to get his work done in certain ways. He is medicated for his issues and acquired his employment with the assistance of some third party.

It puts me in a really nasty situation. I was lucky not to have an abusive customer this time, but I'm constantly leaving work drained having to explain things like this to customers and clean up after him. It's starting to take a toll on my family at home. But at the same time, I don't know the battles my co-worker fights to earn his privilege of working at a job he genuinely enjoys, and it creates tensions between co-workers and management to give him a chance at life, while still turning a profit deemed acceptable by our corporate office.

Has anyone else faced a similar struggle? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?

When one employee is doing a poor job, wasting time and making it signifigantly more difficult for others to to their job in an effective and timely manner, they're a liability rather than an asset. The truth is he should be apporached about his behavior, given a '3 strikes and you're out' warning. Businesses - especially small businesses - don't have the time and money to waste on someone who makes work difficult for other employees. It isn't conducive to a happy and functional working environment.

Quite frankly his OCD excuse is pretty weak. I've known people clinically diagnosed with OCD and they were still able to do their jobs without leaving a shitload of unnecessary work for the other employees to clean up, let alone customers. You shouldn't be having to jump through hoops of fire to contact a customer to warn them about being overcharged several hundred dollars for a service they didn't even want.

I urge you to bring this point up with your manager in a calm and concise manner, and discuss the effect it's having on the other workers. It's taking a toll on you emotinally and on your employer financially. Not a good recipie.

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I think people need to learn what OCD is. Like flossing your teeth over and over for 4 hours after you've flossed them 10x.

I chalk this situation up to social anxiety on his part. A lot of people with social anxiety needlessly lie or skirt around issues in face to face situations. This comes from my girlfriend, a mental health councilor. There is medication for social anxiety, but I don't know him and I'm not a doctor.

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It's not a small business so I could care less about the actual profit.

The customer did want both the data backup and the hd replacement, he just (I think) wasn't aware the data backup was an additional charge.

The manager is aware of the issue in its entirety.

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It's important that mentally ill people are able to provide for themselves and have a meaningful and productive life, but I draw the line at when they're just simply no good to keep around. I mean, that can't possibly be good for business with not only internal tension but also losing the trust of the customer.

I hope you guys can work something out. He needs to have clear and practical boundaries despite his illness.

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[he] acquired his employment with the assistance of some third party

These sound like the people his manager needs to be talking to. If he has a diagnosed mental health problem, showing him the door could be a messy process without carefully researching what the law says about unfair/wrongful dismissal, discrimination and all that stuff.

Best of luck in the meantime. Hopefully you can work something out that keeps everyone happy.

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I think I just got schizophrenia and I am seeing things that are not real.

Or is this a dream?

Seriously..
"We charge $100 to put an OS on the hard drive, and another $40 for the physical installation."
What the hell? Can you please explain it more? Where are you working and living that it cost so much? Do you use 1$ paper money to wipe your ass instead of toilet paper?

I can install OS and install hardware into computer in few minutes on my own and free of charge. Why would someone pay 140$ for it?
I understand that some people think it is too complicated and I feel sorry for them. Your company is *screwing* over them.

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After going to California, I've been trying to teach myself, just don't give a fuck like they don't. Perhaps you shouldn't care as much. Its not your store / company. I mean its great that you care, you're a good employee that you actively sort things out, but just stop caring :-( Shut that part of you off and just become a work zombie.

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It's a retail store. That probably explains 90% of the issue. But I'd rather not say much more because I already feel like I'm invading another individual's privacy in my venting.

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flubbernugget said:

I already feel like I'm invading another individual's privacy in my venting.


I have to compliment you on your caring and professionalism about this even on a Doom forum. It speaks volumes to your character in a good, positive, trustworthy way. I hope your boss realizes this.

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Can you free lance on that shizit and keep 100% of the profits, possibly excluding tax theft, and not have to deal with any other tards tarding your shit up? Everything digital has been hijacked by the power elite so no use advertising computer fixit fag on craigslist, I guess its back to sticking flyers on car windshields. They haven't figured out how to shut down all their competition in physical reality 100% yet. I've thought about doing that or mowing lawns since john donahoe the white collar criminal sociopath fascist china double agent has shut down my business and many others, the former sounds way more lucrative and I bet computer noobs would pay a lot for you to do easy dumb stuff you can just google the solution to.

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flubbernugget said:

I'm more concerned with ideas for harmony than I am with getting anyone canned.

Then have you tried befriending him instead of seeing him as a problem? I'm sorry to be blunt, but yelling at him over the phone isn't friendly, and it's not a good way to create harmony in the workplace. Given the details you've given us, it's a completely understandable and justified reaction to his overproductivity. But your frustration is only going to escalate from here on unless you change your approach.

But if you're already past this, you could talk to your manager about changing the duties around so you don't have to directly work with him anymore. Tell your manager exactly what effect it's having on you, repeating what you've already told them if necessary. He'd be someone else's problem and a problem for the company, but at least you wouldn't be personally responsible for cleaning up after him. Out of sight out of mind, I guess.

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The head manager is a dollars and cents kinda guy, so I'm trying to frame the issue in terms of its cost to the company to get my voice heard. That being said, you are right that I do owe him an apology.

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