I’m on a conference call with about a dozen people from North and South America when the project manager asks me for a status update for my group’s task. After I finish bringing everyone up to speed, the Raptor gets on the line and questions the one issue that I mention was being taken care of as we had agreed. Naturally, that is not convincing enough for him and he starts raising his concerns going right over me. I stay silent and let him get worked up and feel important over a minor problem that will get sorted out in no time at all.

The Raptor then starts an email thread on the topic and within five minutes of the end of the call the issue is resolved. Once again, feeling self-important and needing to throw his weight around, the Raptor manages to make me look bad for a moment while making himself look worse for a day. Or at least I hope that is the case, but he plays the politics game well and for some strange reason, people seem to like him. Of course, these are people who do not work for him. Similar to how socialism is popular everywhere except where it’s practiced, as Henry Kissinger once stated.

We have a staff meeting in the afternoon to discuss a recent―and appallingly bad―candidate who only scored the interview because his brother works in our IT department. This individual gets taken to the cleaners quickly and is dropped for the time being. However, knowing the current state of affairs (e.g. weak candidates, subpar reputation of the company, cronyism etc.), he will likely come back for a second round.

The Raptor moves on to vacation requests for the holidays and expresses his surprise that I do not take time off for Christmas since he assumes that I’m Catholic/Christian due to my Hungarian background. He keeps pressing and ends up asking me what my religion is in front of the team and I do mention that I’m a Christian. The fact is that my religious convictions are none of his―or my coworkers―business and I make yet another note for the benefit of our Human Resources talent.

His final brilliant move is to confuse Budapest with Bucharest, which I immediately―and vehemently―correct. The Raptor is surprised at himself for making such a stupid mistake and gets up to verify on the map hanging on the wall of his office. It is as if he doesn’t even trust me to know what the capital of Hungary is despite being from there. He mumbles an apology and notes that mistaking Hungarians for Romanians is like the Dutch being confused with Germans. I said it was worse, amid the laughter from my coworkers who seem surprised at my strong response to the latest Raptor attack.

 

This is a post in a series based on my time working at a Fortune 500 company. These posts are taken directly from a journal I decided to keep after witnessing numerous unbelievable and ridiculous incidents. All names have been changed to protect the privacy of the innocent―as well as the guilty. The head of my department is referred to as ‘Raptor,’ which was the nickname given to him by one of my coworkers. Last I checked, Raptor was still employed in the same role at this company.

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