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Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Three Pete's

Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Photo by myself outside the Bedford Avenue subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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This weekend, Mark and I will probably take it very easy. Mark is working today, so I'm taking Monday off, which is an optional holiday for us.

Both Mark and I are low energy. He's caught a lesser strain of my cold. Plus, his knee will have to be operated on soon. It's supposed to be a short procedure, less than an hour, to repair a torn ligament. Hopefully then, he'll be as good as new.

Meanwhile, I'll be taking hot baths, lounging with the cat and cleaning my apartment. It'll be nice to hibernate and patter around.

I've been thinking about how minor my speaking issues are. I could be a slacker, a compulsive liar or a substance abuser. There are more difficult things to overcome.

A couple such people passed through our office since I've been there. I have to wonder whether it's just New York, or whether these people exist everywhere.

One guy, whom I'll call Pete, was a compulsive liar. Pete made up all sorts of excuses for days he took off, and some were quite insane - beyond the usual cold, flu, stomach ache, food poisoning and locking oneself out of the apartment, Pete had to take a day off to prep for the Gay Pride parade, he had impromptu jury duty, and he threw up on himself at Starbucks and had to run home and change his shirt.

We were desperate for help at the time and kept Pete on, until my coworker who worked with Pete was granted access to his office email. Then we found that Pete emailed many of the office drawings to a personal email account. That was the last straw. Pete was canned, and the office warned that it would pursue litigation. Our lawyers were notified but for whatever reason, nothing came of it. The rest of us fumed over Pete's daring.

In my years in New York, I've worked alongside three Pete's. Another guy sat next to me and during our first conversation, told me he worked at a particular well-known office.

'Oh really?' I asked. 'I worked there, too. When were you there?'

'Um, I didn't actually work there. I worked at (another smaller, unknown office nearby).' He had basically lied.

I told one of my coworkers who chalked it up to insecurity. It turned out to be a red flag. Pete II turned out to be a slacker who completely messed up a project and lied about the hours he worked. He was later canned, but we heard through the grapevine that he'd landed a titled position at another very well-known firm. Incredible.

Pete III happened years ago, when I worked at a smaller company. He decided not to come in one day. He missed meetings, and days of work. He returned a few phone calls, but nothing happened. Eventually, weeks later, he was canned. Reportedly he said to the boss that he was just waiting to be let go. Incredible.

I wonder how these Pete's sleep at night. Why is it that I think they sleep much more soundly than I do?

9 comments:

Reluctant Blogger said...

Yes, there are Petes in all walks of life I suspect. I had one recently, well, she was a Petra I suppose. But she was employed as a research assistant, working on something she claimed to have a burning interest in, given an office etc. The only conditions of her contract were that she did the research, completed and submitted her PhD (she claimed to be writing it up when we employed her) and produce a few articles for some relevant journals. At her review she claimed to have submitted her PhD and the articles. It later transpired she had done neither. What amazed me was that she could lie when it was so obvious we would find out and not only would she lose her job but would not get any sort of ref from us. But she too was quickly re-employed, in a better job elsewhere. I have no idea what she said to get that job!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I had a 'Pete' working for me for a while. She had zero attention to detail and made tons of mistakes, she would also go home for the afternoon if I was out at meetings. I don't know why she seemed to assume it wouldn't get back to me. She's actually still employed at the company, but works for someone else now. For some reason our manager is reluctant to get rid of her!!

I occasionally suffer from similar performance to the ones you mentioned. I occasionally corpse in front of senior colleagues, when they are not in the room I do fine, I just get anxious, even though I know my stuff. I've realised the expectations I was trying to live up to were really my own, so I try and be as prepared as I can and not let it faze me. Yoga classes really helped me relax.

Kitty said...

RB, I have to wonder whether these folks have an illness called 'denial'? Same goes for the guy who wrote fake articles in the New York Times.

They don't think it through to the long term because they compulsively do whatever they do. And so because it's compulsive, it's hard for them to stop.

I have to wonder whether people actually check references these days. I don't think many companies do.

Fish, it's nice to know I'm not alone. The yoga sounds like a great idea. I have to get back to that.

haha, I love that term tho, 'corpsing' out. Makes it less dreadful!

Spandrel Studios said...

The "Petes" that I've worked with have had exceptionally high levels of confidence that mask their incompetence, for a little while, at least.

A very wise boss once told me "What goes around, comes around... and the longer that takes to happen, the harder it hits when it does."

So, eventually, these guys will get what's coming to them!

Carrie Smith said...

Hey Kitty, it's been too long since I've visited your blog. Things have been crazy since Christmas. So finally here I am.
There is nothing better than having a day to relax. take care and enjoy your hot bath.

mama's got moxie said...

oh, pete... i had a not-so-great dating experience with a pete while i was living in nyc. something about those guys named pete. :)

Tammy said...

Enjoy your bath and day off. You deserve it! Take care my friend!~Tammy

Kitty said...

Spandrel, I'd like to think things catch up to these people. Sometimes I'm infuriated they exist, sometimes I feel sorry for them.

Carrie, I hope things are okay? Hope so. I'll visit your blog tonight!

Moxie and Tammy, lovely to see you as always!

penpusher said...

I, on the other hand am trying to convince this Pete to consider me for a job opening in his team.

So fingers crossed that this is the good Pete! :)