People Publicize Their Most Alarming Malicious Compliance Revenge Stories
15. I'm Not Instructed To Perform IT Repairs? Then I Can't Fix The Scanners
Apparently, they only want their employee to perform IT repairs when it’s convenient for them.
“Several years ago, I used to work at an agency that hired us out as short-term temporary workers/contractors. These jobs pretty much consisted of stuff that company employees couldn’t be bothered to do and so got someone in to sort out.
It wasn’t great, but I had to make ends meet.
Anyway, one of these jobs was for 150 hours at 5 weeks of “office administration.” There wasn’t much more information to go on, but a job’s a job.
The office turned out to be quite a small, stuffy little building at the back of an industrial estate. I was told to report to “Beryl”. When I turned up, I was met by a rather grumpy-looking old lady having a smoke by the front door.
This was Beryl. Beryl didn’t even say hello or ask me my name, but showed me in, pointed at an enormous pile of boxes full of paperwork, saying “this all needs to be scanned in, there are two scanners connected to a computer there, off you go.
Let someone know if you need help”.
So, off I went. That pile of boxes was to be my job for the next month and a bit. Joy.
The office was predominantly young men, with Beryl being the only other woman.
She was in her 50s and spent more time smoking than working, and without being rude, clearly didn’t look after herself. It was quite flattering to have a bunch of these guys pop by my workstation for a chat occasionally.
After a few days of scanning, Beryl visited my cubicle. She wasn’t happy that I spent too much time talking and not enough time working. I was confused – while I didn’t have any metrics or targets, I was pretty consistently working through this mountain of paperwork.
I got the impression that Beryl didn’t like the attention I was getting. I pointed out to her that I haven’t left my desk apart from going to the toilet, if someone’s over here to talk to me then that’s fine, as I can talk and scan at the same time, like I’m doing right now.
She wasn’t happy and turned away, calling out “just do your job” as she left. Some of the other guys had heard this and they popped by my desk later and said not to worry.
They’d had agency staff before and Beryl always hated it if a young woman arrived, because she was “grumpy and jealous” (not my words!) In fact, a few years ago one young woman had left the office in tears because Beryl had torn her a new one for going for lunch with some of the other guys.
Naturally, this annoyed me, particularly because Beryl thought she could bully/disrespect agency staff, and I certainly wasn’t going to leave the job because of an angry witch.
Malicious compliance #1: for the rest of my time there, I made sure to get dressed up.
Makeup, curls, a midi office dress, stiletto heels. When Beryl saw me clicking my way down the office the next day, fully dressed up just to scan some paperwork, she scowled at me but didn’t say anything.
The next week, Beryl took some time out of her busy smoking schedule to visit me in my cubicle, the second time she’d done so since I’d started. Some of the paperwork I was scanning in had been stapled together, so I’d asked someone in the office for a staple remover and a stapler.
I used to pull out the staple, scan the document, rename it on the computer, then re-staple it and put it back in the box. I was just pulling a staple out when Beryl walked by.
Beryl’s first words to me were “what are you doing?” I replied that this document was stapled, and if I put it in the machine it’d jam. She raised her voice slightly and said “nobody told you to do that, just scan each page in separately.
Leave the papers alone.” I could almost hear her eye roll as she walked away.
Malicious compliance #2: so I did. Scanned everything with staples just folded over, and then created folders called Document 123, and each scan went in as “123-page1.pdf”, “123-page2.pdf” – you get the idea.
This slowed me down a lot but hey, it’s what I was asked to do.
At some point, Beryl walked by and saw me flipping pages like that. I’d put my hair in a bun and take my heels off, and she smirked.
She thought she’d flustered me and that I didn’t see her reaction. Don’t worry Beryl, you didn’t, and I did.
The paperwork I was scanning in was boxed up as newest first, so as I got to some of the older papers, these had been moved around a couple of times and were slightly scrunched up or folded or similar.
A jammed scanner wasn’t an issue, it had happened a handful of times before, but as I got to the older papers, the jams became more frequent. It was easy to sort though, just open the back door of the scanner, roll the paper out, cancel the job, and re-do it.
At this point, I’d gone back to unstapling and re-stapling because Beryl had given me some space thinking she’d broken me, and I just wanted to get the job done so I could leave.
Beryl walked in one day. This would have been my 4th week there. She saw me un-jamming the scanner and flipped her top. She yelled, “OP, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” (at this point all heads in the office turned to where we were).
I calmly told her “the scanner’s jammed, I’m just pulling the paper out so I can re-scan it. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.”
She continued yelling, “AT NO POINT WERE YOU INSTRUCTED TO PERFORM IT REPAIRS.
WE HAVE SOMEONE FOR THAT. STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GET SOMEONE TO HELP YOU. I ASKED YOU THIS WHEN YOU STARTED, WHY CAN’T YOU FOLLOW SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS?”
It took a lot of patience not to argue back with her, which I thought was what she wanted, but I said “okay, fine.
Can I speak to the IT guy to sort this out?”
I couldn’t have choreographed her response better. I then knew that she did want me to argue so she could kick me out because she hesitated and said “um, well the IT guy is off for the rest of the week (this was a Thursday).
Ahem. Use the other scanner! If you jam it, let me know!” and stormed off.
Malicious compliance #3: I knew her diary and knew she was off the next day (Friday). I carried on with the one scanner, making sure it didn’t jam that day and waited until the next morning.
Coincidentally, the scanner jammed on the first piece of paper I fed into it. Who’d have thought?!
Obviously, I rang Beryl. She didn’t answer her phone and as she wasn’t in the office, I spent the day sitting around without much to do.
Whilst talking to the guys in the office, I learned that the company had been bought by a much larger IT firm and they just wanted the rights to the proprietary software that they had developed.
It also turned out that the CEO of the small company basically paid himself into retirement and appointed Beryl as the director. Beryl knew that her days were numbered, so she was even more bitter toward the staff.
The guys working there had committed to various levels of careers within the new IT firm, which they were happy with. As I was told, “120,000 employees. 30 dev roles are easy to find.
1 director role is not.”
Anyway, when we returned (on Monday), you could almost see the vein in her neck throbbing. She’d wasted an entire day of whatever her company paid my agency because little old me wasn’t trusted to fix a paper jam.
I used to get in a little later than the rest of the staff, agency perks woo!, but when I got in she’d had the “IT champion” perform the skilled job of opening a scanner and pulling a piece of paper out.
She didn’t even look at me when she said “scanners are fixed, get on with your job and don’t mess around.”
At this point you may be thinking “OP, this is a lot of text for some pretty trivial MC”.
Well, you’ll like the final part.
My last week there coincided with a new contract that the company had been given by their new owners. I assume it was some sort of litmus test. Whilst I don’t pretend to understand what it was, the job involved a lot of scanning documents that had been hand-written.
Hooray, more boxes! At the same time, a few of the guys who worked there were going on a visit to the new parent company, which was based in the USA (I live in the UK).
The “IT Champion” was one of these guys who went.
When the boxes were delivered to my cubicle, Beryl popped by and said “these take priority. All of what I said to you is more important than ever.
Do NOT mess around otherwise you’re out of the door. Am I clear?”
The paperwork delivered was from the USA. Our paper sizes are different. The first piece of paper I fed into the scanner jammed it – a safety lock, because it expected A4 and got US Letter instead.
I “jammed” both scanners. Beryl, not being one to turn down a free trip to America, had gone with them. I rang her at 11 am UK time, which was 5 am their time.
She picked up and was not impressed. I felt sorry for the folks adjacent to her hotel room when she screamed down the phone “YOU’VE DONE WHAT? HOW? WHY?” (I tell her about the USA paperwork) “CAN YOU NOT FIX IT?”
Final malicious compliance: “No, you’ve told me many times that I can’t fix these machines.
What’s the business continuity plan?”
(side note: my brother told me that phrase and he still doesn’t quite understand why I turned up at his house a bit later with a few pizzas and a box of beer.)
Beryl had no idea what to do.
She was clearly flustered. “Can you just do what you can, we need this done.”
“What would you want me to do?”
“Can you fix the scanners because this is really important!”
“I’m sorry, you told me I can’t do that.
I need simple instructions to work with.”
“JUST FIX IT!”
“I’d be happy to show an IT specialist where the scanners are, if you can get them here to fi-” (hangup tone)
Well, that’s that then. I spent the rest of the week chatting with my colleagues, updating my CV, and applying for jobs.
Nobody turned up to fix the scanners.
When my final week finished I said bye to the guys I’d worked with, wished them luck and left with none of the “critical” paperwork scanned in. When Beryl got back from her “business trip” I learned that she’d spent one day at the parent company and left it to the other guys.
When the crap hit the fan because nothing was being delivered, they wondered where she was. This was day 2 into the 5-day business trip – she was at a spa, phone switched off.
She flew out early on day 5, without seeing any of her colleagues or the parent company.
I kept in touch with a few of the guys afterward. After this, the dev guys were transferred contracts to the larger IT firm.
They all got a very small salary increase but were also able to work from home. This was a few years back so was a bit of a rarity back then.
Beryl, meanwhile, didn’t fare so well.
She was initially offered redundancy (paid, including pension deals) but when someone complained that she’d not been present for the meetings, which I think was their “IT champion” they found out she’d been sightseeing, shopping, tanning, and getting her hair done on company time.
She ended up being fired. No bonus, no pension, nothing.
I quit the agency not long afterward and after one or two moves, ended up in a job I’m very happy with. The agency was none the wiser about any of this, they just wanted their money, and aside from one initial checkup call, left me to it.”
14. Don't Leave The Patient? Okay, But You'll Get In Trouble
“I used to work as a Patient Monitor at a hospital a few years ago. My role was to take take care of, mostly, psychiatric patients. For example, monitor them, talk to them, chart it, etc.
We are told to always stay 1:1 with patients until someone relieves us and exchange reports before we leave.
One day I got assigned to take care of a psychiatric patient in a specific wing of the hospital who happens to also be contagious.
No surprise here, I am trained on how to handle this.
(For some annoying and unintuitive reason, the hospital nursing office has this thing where if there is a patient monitor watching a sick patient, then every two hours, they must switch with another patient monitor who would watch a NON-SICK patient…Wouldn’t that expose more people?)
So this meant that I would have to switch after the first two hours of my shift with another patient monitor, who happens to be in the Emergency Room.
I would also like to add that my first patient was very aggressive and worked up as he wanted to go home.
I was a bit on the nervous side because he punched the wall and kept jumping out of frustration. After an hour and forty-five minutes, I had to push the panic alarm, which calls security, since he was being so restless.
Since it was almost time for me to leave the nurse told me to step outside of the room, and he’ll stay with him as security talks to the patient. Eventually, we were able to fulfill the patient’s request and start the discharge papers.
Now I’m not sure how many of you know this but discharge paperwork takes a bit of time. Maybe an hour or two depending on how busy the staff is. But anyways since it was two hours in for me, it was time to switch with the other patient monitor as protocol like I mentioned earlier.
When I went to the ER, where the other patient was located, I warned the other patient monitor about the aggressive patient and that she should be very careful. Another two hours pass by and I have to switch again with this patient monitor.
But someone has to watch this ER patient til I go and switch so I kindly ask this patient’s nurse to watch him until the other patient monitor comes back.
This is where things go downhill fast…
I had just gone to that wing of the hospital where I was taking care of the first patient and I still see the aggressive patient being so restless and wanting to go home.
The paramedics came to take him on a stretcher (a hospital bed that can be easily moved around) to take him to the ambulance and take him home. When I was walking to this patient’s room, his nurse tells me that he is NOT a 1:1 anymore.
Which makes sense, he’s going home. But I still had the ER patient’s report in my hand to give to the other patient monitor. So I still stop by and give it to her.
At this point, the patient monitor was not responsible for this patient as of this point and neither was I. The other patient monitor was supposed to leave this patient and go back to her other patient in the ER.
Because of that I just went back to the nursing office to see if there was a new assignment.
I do get a new assignment and I’m with a new patient.
FIVE MINUTES IN…
The nursing office calls me and needs me downstairs immediately.
When I get there they asked me “didn’t you say that the patient was leaving and got downgraded?” I say yes and that the other patient monitor should be back to her original patient in the ER.
But they tell me that she isn’t. At this point, the nurse from the ER is asking where is the other patient monitor? The nursing office tried calling her and no answer. I was told to go back to the ER patient until the other patient monitor returned and I comply.
After 15 to 20 minutes of being with the patient in the ER the other patient monitor returns, and I ask her what happened, and she told me that she was just staying with the aggressive patient til he left.
I told her that she was supposed to be here with her original patient and that either way she way passed her two hours with this sick patient. But now the nursing office wanted me with the ER patient for the rest of the shift and to see the nurse manager after my shift.
I was so fed up at this point! The other patient monitor went back to the nursing office and went to a new patient.
Fast forward to after my shift was over. The nurse manager wanted to speak to me and the other patient monitor because of that wild confusion and how we left the ER patient alone for five or ten minutes.
We both explain our sides of what happened and the nurse manager thinks that it was my fault that the ER patient was alone and that he could have harmed himself.
I respectfully asked his ER nurse to be in charge of him until the other patient monitor arrives.
The aggressive patient was discharged so no more 1:1 so the other patient monitor needed to leave and proceed to the ER patient.
I did everything that was told.
The nurse manager still applauded the other patient monitor for staying with a non-1:1 patient til the last minute.
And talked down on me for basically following protocol. Telling me that you should have never left that ER patient.
Not even one week later, I was with a patient who was getting discharged, and I did exactly what the nurse manager told me to do!!! Stay with the patient til the last minute, even when they aren’t 1:1 anymore.
This time the nursing office knew that this patient was leaving and that they were expecting me back at their office soon. But the discharge papers aren’t done and three paramedics were with the patient waiting and told me that it was ok to leave as well as the nurse.
I told them that I needed to stay until the last second. The nurse manager runs into an issue where she needs me with another patient. She tried calling me. “Where are you? The patient you have is getting discharged and we need you here.” I tell them, “Oh, but I should stay with the patient til the last minute just like they disciplined me a couple of days earlier.” They kept trying to tell me it’s ok and that they need me, but I said, “No, it’s ok, I insist.” They tell me fine and to come as soon as the patient leaves.
Half an hour goes by and the patient still didn’t leave, and the nurse manager calls me back as she really needs me, but I tell her I can’t, and I also say, ”What if the patient hurt themselves? Hm?” The manager gets annoyed and hangs up.
Later after I left the patient as she left, I went back to the nursing office and the nursing manager can’t make eye contact with me…
Apparently, they had to pull someone from a different role to watch the patient cause I was “busy.””
13. Track All My Activity At Work? I'll Waste Your Time
“A few months ago, someone got a bug up their bottom and decided that my department was not being… productive enough. Mind you, I work in mental health. We run a therapy-type group from 9 am to 1 pm Monday through Friday.
Thusly, we are clearly indisposed during those 4 hours. Not a lot of productivity to be had other than herding cats.
Post-group time is paperwork catch-up and, as long as we don’t get caught and have work done, goof off time.
Mind you, I’m terrible at the goofing off part. In spite of being ADHD, I have this terrible part of my brain that hates having things to do. If it’s there it either needs to be done now or I’m not allowed to do it ever.
Unfortunately, at this point in time, I was still wet behind the ears so my tasks took longer to complete than others. These tasks included group notes, individual notes, case notes, treatment plans, e-mails, case management tasks, documenting the case management tasks, creating PowerPoints/group presentations for the clients, etc.
You get it. An unending slog of tasks. I was doing my best to keep up with it all and, frankly, felt like I was rocking it out with my socks out.
Someone (namely the only other person who worked in the department who wasn’t my boss, seemed to be bothered by the fact that I received lots of phone calls at this time due to the fact that my children sometimes got sick, or in the youngest’s case had behavior issues occasionally, or I had doctors appointments.
I have several chronic illnesses and a crap ton of doctor appointments) decided that they felt I was on my phone too much and not getting enough work done quickly enough. Boss pulls me in and asks me to be mindful of it.
Boss says, “I don’t want you to think you’re in trouble but some of the clients have said they feel like you’re on your phone an awful lot and I don’t want it to be a problem and distract you from your work.” I responded that I did not feel that it did as I was getting my work done as quickly as possible for my experience level and Boss nodded and asked me to keep that in my mind.
I walked out mildly irritated.
Boss pulls us in for a team meeting. Including Boss, Me, and Bootlicking Coworker who did not like that I was on my phone for necessary things but felt they should have constant access (BC; I’m sure you can infer the bootlicking part) for a quick conversation.
Boss: The higher-ups have really started to feel like our productivity isn’t as good as it should be. They said that they want us to use the same activity trackers we use when we work from home to track what we do throughout the day so that we can be more mindful of how much time we’re spending on tasks.
BC: Really? Gosh, I hate that they think that. We’re really doing our best. We’ve got so much we’re already doing. You know how I love doing paperwork, though! (No, this was not sarcasm.
This is really how BC talks. I was not kidding.) I’m more than happy to do it! Do you want me to send them at the end of every day?
Boss: That’s fine or the following morning.
I hate to make you guys do this because I know we’re already so busy but you know how CEO can be.
Me: Just for clarification, you want us to track from the time we clock in to the time we clock out? Like, all of it?
Boss: That’s what CEO said.
He wants to see what we’re doing with our time and make sure we’re mindful of how productive we are.
Me: Gotcha, Boss.
Let’s bust out the Hammer pants because it’s MC time. The next 3 days I track, down to the minute, every single task.
8:07 Check e-mails, prepare for group
8:45 Greet clients
9:00 Start group
You get it.
Every single minute was accounted for. Keep in mind that I drink a lot of water. And sometimes dawdle in the bathroom because why not.
Timed every break. For 3 days. But I’m also ADHD so I forgot to send them until the 4th day. I send them in before the group begins. Half an hour later, Boss yells for me and I head to Boss’ office.
Boss: You know you don’t have to track it down to the minute, right? You can do it in, like, half-hour increments, right?
Me: I just wanted to make sure you know I’m doing my best.
I really don’t mind doing it. It really doesn’t take me long at all.
Boss: Well, it takes me forever to add up all these minutes and I hate math.
Boss laughs and then asks me to please remember to just do half-hour or so increments which, you know completely defeats the purpose of these but okay.
Just to be safe, I continue my malicious compliance for a couple more days and feign that I forgot to just track by half hours because I want the full understanding of the pointlessness of their own micromanagement to set in.
Boss asks me again to stop, still amused, thankfully because we’re all goofy in this department. She finally admits that she knows how stupid the activity trackers are but knows that since CEO demands them CEO gets what is demanded.
These continued for about a month before Boss finally gave us permission to stop. BC played on her phone less. I seemed to be more productive simply because I got better and faster.”
12. Need A Woman To Help You? Don't Come Back To Me When A Woman Isn't Available To Help
“Many many moons ago I worked in a department store. It was a weekend contract gig while I was at university. It had departments for a variety of things, and for no particular reason I ended up in the basement on homewares.
No grumbles from me – pay (even if it is minimum wage) is pay, work was easy, and my team was awesome. First week there I recall someone saying “Retail would be great if it wasn’t for the customers”.
I was saddened. What a morose mentality to have for the place you spend most of your waking week. It took me a few years to figure out it was 100% true: the amazing customers absolutely do not outnumber or overshadow the monsters.
One thing in retail I didn’t realise was how amazingly helpful a good memory is. And believe me – back then especially – I had a phenomenal memory. We had to type in dissection codes and prices into a printer for barcodes and place them on stock.
I very quickly got a reputation. See most people would remember their speciality codes. They were 15 digits long. That is still good. A few seasoned withered husks with manager name tags would remember a few other specialities codes.
I had them memorised for the entire basement, 7 departments, and hundreds of codes. They were formulaic per department, so once you remembered each department’s formula, you just had the last 4 digits per dissection.
After a while of being noted for this, I got moved from the cookshop (Global knives, Alessi teapots etc) into home care electricals (vacuums, pressure washers and irons). You think a good memory is helpful for printing labels? I was like a walking thesaurus on that crap.
I didn’t gloat but colleagues would use me often. Quicker to get OP than go into the office and check the catalogue or Google something. Warranty info, user specs, power ratings, and maintenance routines.
All of it.
And I enjoyed the prestige. I wasn’t a jerk about it – I happened to be perfectly positioned to excel in this because of my memory.
I would gladly help out people rather than salesperson them, if I could.
That £900 machine? What would you use it for? Yea, you can get that from this £100 machine instead. I didn’t get commission and I brought return customers who liked me helping them. People liked a passionate teenage man helping them with all of the knowledge I could muster.
One woman even wrote me a letter saying she would send flowers but didn’t for fear of upsetting my wife if I had one (lol). She was about 7 decades older than me, bless her heart.
But I digress…
Malicious Compliance Time
One day a woman came in. This was the 00s but by today’s standards, a Karen. Instant hatred of everything and everyone. My job is to help customers so her distaste for existence and pleasure for misery really mattered not at all.
She is picking up various generator irons on the shelf, inspecting them and looking out of her depth. These things can be used in home and some of the models we stocked you could use professionally.
They started at expensive and went up to crazy numbers. It was pretty normal I would have to go through all of the specs for customers. If you are going to part with $300 for an iron, you want to know what you are getting for your buck.
I get it. So I walk over to her to help:
“Anything I can help you with today, madam?”
She looks at me like I am a fart that has just gotten into an elevator with her.
“I want to buy an iron.”
Way to state the obvious, but the customer is always right so I smile and go on:
“What type of iron are you looking for? Are you using it at home or professionally?”
“It is for me to use – I am the woman of the household.”
Now the way she stressed woman wasn’t a gripe at her lot in life.
It was more like when someone reminds you this is their turf. Their speciality. Their baby. Hey, no problem by me, I’ll see if I can help with that:
“No problem at all, this model here is normally used commercially and you can not access the water tank.
Since it generates such a lot of pressure you have to buy these Kalstop cartridges to prevent limescale buildup. Otherwise, the machine can break and won’t be covered by your warranty. The benefit is the dry steam boost function for doing dresses, curtains, etc.
without soaking them. By comparison, this one has a cartridge water chamber which is easier to manage, however…”
“Yea, can you get me a woman?”
Perplexed, I wonder what I said wrong? I needn’t wait long to find out.
She saw the look on my face and went on:
“It’s just a woman really gets these things – you clearly wouldn’t know.”
I am chanting in my head ‘Customer is always right’ and managing my breathing to stay composed.
“No problem, madam. Allow me to get my colleague Doreen to help you then.”
Now the department was built around a big pillar – irons on the east face. Vacuums on the south and west face.
Till and accessories on the North face. So I walked around the corner to the till and got Doreen to go help this delightful woman who decided I didn’t know what I was talking about.
I headed around to the west face to cover vacuums. Not 2 minutes later, I hear Doreen heading towards me saying:
“…honestly, you need my colleague – they are the absolute expert on irons and they know so much more about them than me.
They will be able to find you the perfect iron.”
That woman’s face as she realised it was me she was being brought to as the expert on irons was priceless. She fumbled a quick question on a Morphy Richards unit to justify coming back to me and then quickly hit the escalator to get the heck away from the awkwardness she had generated.”
Another User Comments:
“This is the delightful opposite of what my male coworkers had to do with me when I worked at the Apple Store Genius bar.
I had a number of customers put off that a girl was trying to fix their tech. But this one man was just so aggressive about wanting a guy that I sighed and grabbed my coworker to take over.
He immediately assessed the problem and told the guy that he needed me to come over and take care of it because I was the one who specialized in this problem and knew better how to fix it.
I never felt happier with my coworkers. I think I had each of them get a chance to throw it back to me at least once.” P00perSc00per89
11. Only Authorized Personnel Can Do This? I'll Remember That
“I work for a kind of ISP doing in-house testing of systems to design new solutions for customers. This sometimes requires an active internet connection, which had to be activated by our airtime department, as it could be quite expensive in theory.
Only the accounting part is done by the airtime department, the actual activations are something we can do ourselves, but not allowed to do so without airtime consent.
Previously I had merely asked our local airtime team to activate a system for the duration of the test and then deactivate it again once the test was completed.
And this is where our story begins.
A change from upper management meant that our local airtime department got canceled and all its functions were moved back to HQ in another country.
This worked out ok for a short time until someone in management brought in a new boss for the company’s airtime department.
Meet “Powerboss”. A new boss with little insight into how operations work, but with an extreme desire to make sure every little rule is followed to the letter, does not matter if it makes sense or not.
I quickly started to get a massive dislike towards this boss. We have all sorts of little conflicts.
I file a request to have a system activated within the current week as we have a MAJOR (one of the biggest companies in the world) customer coming by to see the systems late in the following week.
It takes time for the databases to fill up once the system is activated, so it is important that this is done in good time to allow for this.
I hear nothing during the week but assume all is ok.
Until Monday morning when I found out the system is not activated. (for data to fill up, only airtime can do this portion of the activation.)
I call the airtime department and ask what is going on, and why it has not been activated.
“Powerboss” decided to take the activation out of the standard queue to show it to the team for internal training on how to do activations.
I am of course furious at this point, why they have not called me or informed me about this as this is a major problem? I insist they do this now.
“Powerboss” informs me that this is his decision and he is ok with this.
At this time I kind of lose it and inform him politely but firmly that he has one job and that is to ensure that systems get activated, and he best do that job, if not I will have to take it to his superiors in order for the system to be activated ASAP so it can be ready for presentation with the potential customer.
System gets activated during that day, but the following day I learn from one of the upper management bosses that “Powerboss” had reached out to HR and threatened to file a personal harassment case against me.
HR denied this though as they saw no reason for it.
I am like “What the heck?” A harassment case over asking someone to do their job?
I need an urgent activation of a system, and for this, we – with the new system – have to file activation reports with all details, quite tedious for something purely internal and temporary.
Nonetheless, I do this and send it over.
It gets rejected by “Powerboss” because it has not been signed by one of the VPs who is the only one authorized to activate a system for a customer with a writeoff in the thousands of USD.
Though it is kind of a theoretical thing, as the internal cost is basically nothing. I try to argue that it is quite a lot of work to chase down a VP for a signature when it is a very limited time and purely internal.
“Powerboss” denies this and says very firmly “Only people on the list at the bottom of the activation form are allowed to approve this. Your name is not on this list, so you cannot approve.
Talk to a VP.”
Hmph! It takes time but I chase down a VP in another country and get him to sign the document and get the system activated.
A couple of weeks later, “Powerboss” is in our new call center in Asia, out to do a demonstration on how the systems work and what it looks like in real life.
Turns out that “Powerboss” needs a system activated and calls in and requests this. By some stroke of absolute luck, I pick up the phone.
PB – “Hello, I need system XX activated.”
Me – “Do you have a signed activation form?”
PB – “I don’t need one, I am telling you to activate the system.”
Me – “According to yourself, all activations MUST have an activation form.”
PB – “Fine I am sending it in now.”
Me – “I do not see any signature on this form, it needs to be approved by a VP.”
PB – “But I am head of airtime, this is me writing these forms, I decide who can approve and who cannot.”
Me – “Your name is not listed on the form as one of the people who are allowed to approve.”
PB (who at this time is yelling at me) – “CLEARLY THAT IS A MISTAKE ON THE FORM, JUST ACTIVATE!”
Me – “Only authorized personnel can do this; your name is not on the list.”
PB – “FINE!” Then hangs up.
My God, it felt good.
Powerboss obviously complained to one of the VPs about this, but they merely shrugged and said that he himself had made the rules and the documents, that I was merely following the rules that he himself had set.”
10. Change Your Policy? Good Luck Having Enough Staff To Cover Shifts
“I’m from the UK, but have worked in the USA since 2001. I worked for a smallish company (I was around the 100th employee) that was growing steadily.
This story concerns “Personal Time.” This is 5 days a year you would accrue that could be used for when you are ill or even extra vacation days.
– You could only accrue up to 120 hours max (3 weeks).
I hit my maximum after 3 years and rarely used it, just left it topped up. My thought was that I have parents getting older in the UK, so I could use this time in case of an emergency – so I kept my bank full for this purpose.
Note – you stop accruing this when you hit 120 hours and don’t get it back so I gave up some days available to keep it topped up.
Sometime around year 5, I did take a personal day.
A couple of weeks later I noticed in a paycheck that my personal time had not changed – it was still at 112 hours (it should go up about an hour and a half per 2 weeks of working).
Waited until the following paycheck, and still at 112 hours.
I call HR to ask. – It appears at some point the previous year they changed the policy to max out at 80 hours. Anyone with more would not lose it, but would not start accruing until they were below the new lower maximum.
Obviously, I wasn’t happy with this. Cue compliance; immediately take 5 personal days off, which got me to 72ish hours. From this point on, every time I was about to max out my personal time (every 5 weeks or so), I would schedule a day off, or use up multiple days over Christmas to extend vacation when visiting my Family.
I would game the system between what vacation I could carry over vs personal time. They never gained an extra hour out of me in personal time again.
Then in 2011, we were bought out by a larger company.
In April 2012 my wife and I had a huge vacation planned. A 16-day African Safari gifted by the tour operator my wife worked for as her 10 years of service award. This was planned at least 12 months ahead of time, as I needed to plan out my vacation time.
Up until this point we were allocated all of our vacations for the following year on April 1st.
Mid-December, the new company HR drag us all to a meeting, where they announce they are making changes to vacation and personal time to bring us into line with theirs.
As of April 1st, all Vacation time is now accrued. You can “borrow” up to 5 days in advance with prior approval. Also as of this date, personal time is no longer personal time – it’s sick time.
You need to be sick to take it or use it for doctor’s appointments, on the plus side they are increasing it to 7 days per year. (Though not much use to me as I haven’t taken a day off sick in 15 years).
You will need a doctor’s note for 3 days or longer of illness.
I pointed out to them that, unlike the company that bought us, we actually had a production facility, that manufactures actual products, at a rate of over a million per day.
The reason we had personal time and not sick time was from experience. They are not interested. This is the policy. We know what works for you better than you do.
At the end for any questions or clarifications, I raise my hand and also ask “I have a vacation that’s already approved, and been planning for over a year that starts in April, because that’s when we would get our full allocation – but it’s longer than the 5 days I can now borrow, and you have also limited the use of personal time, what do I do?”
I’m expecting them to say come see us, we’ll work something out.
What I actually got from these fools was literally a shrug of their shoulders with faces that said “ tough crap.”
As my wife worked for the tour operator, and as there was still some space available, they helped us to move up the vacation into March.
I calculated my personal time to max it out just as we were traveling. I blew all 10 days of personal time on the last 2 weeks of March (zeroing it out just before the policy change came into effect), and borrowed a couple of days’ vacation from the following year to complete the end of the trip.
After that change in policy, the production facility ended up with machinery being shut down multiple shifts per week (we had 10 pieces of equipment that took 2 to 4 personnel each to run them).
As operators or helpers were “sick,” then some machines had to be shut down – 1 person out of a team would lead to a couple of other personnel having nothing productive to do on the shift, which ultimately increased costs and customer lead times.
It’s easy to schedule around a personal day that was booked in advance, but if you run a lean shift to maximize profits, it’s impossible to schedule around someone calling in sick.
Rather than amend their policy (and admit they didn’t know best) they hired a couple of extra people each shift to cover for their policy/sickness.
Office Staff around the company would be mysteriously ill every 2 months or so for a day or 2 at a time. Most weren’t even subtle about it and are always sick on Fridays or Mondays.
I left around 4 years ago, and that policy stood, and staff works it for all it’s worth – the resentment of that policy change ran deep.
Reap what you sow.”
9. Want A Replacement TV? We'll Replace It, But It Won't Be What You Expected
“In my youth (approximately 20 years ago), I was the delivery driver for a furniture company. We delivered all sorts of things… appliances, Electronics, and furniture. There is a misconception, that if a delivery driver breaks something on accident (not what they are delivering, something that’s already in the house) that the company they work for will replace it with something new.
Therefore, people will tend to call and make up false reports, or attempt to sabotage said drivers, so that they catch the blame for something that is entirely not their doing… so let’s step into the way back machine, and look in on someone trying to get something, for nothing.
My partner and I arrived at the location for a bedroom delivery. We knocked on the customer’s door and made introductions. After making introductions, we asked her to show us which bedroom the furniture was going in and asked her if she had any preference as to the layout.
At first, everything seemed to be going smoothly. She wasn’t worried about how we set up the furniture, as long as everything fit. Which was good, because in general with apartment complexes there is only one really good way to put the furniture in, and my work buddy and I had been delivering long enough, that we could generally pick the best spot for each piece of furniture at a glance.
We told her that we were going to be unboxing her furniture in the truck and that we would be bringing it in shortly.
The first thing to note about this apartment is that there was not any other furniture.
This isn’t unusual, a lot of people start off slowly. But, in the living room, she did have one folding chair and three standard milk crates stacked vertically with a 19-inch box TV sitting on top of them.
For those of you who don’t know why this is a horrible idea, 20 years ago, 19-inch televisions were bulky, and although not particularly heavy, would be extremely top-heavy sitting on the top of three Hollow milk crates…
more about this in a minute. Work Buddy and I started carrying the furniture from the truck, into the apartment. Every time we walked by it, we gave the leaning tower of TV a wide berth.
We didn’t have a deep conversation about it, but before we started bringing the furniture in, we did speak about it briefly to make sure the other one was aware.
As we came in with the last piece, the dresser, we mentioned to the customer that this was the last piece and that we were going to start assembling her furniture.
We made it down the hall, and into the bedroom. As we were setting down the dresser, we heard a crash in the living room. Immediately following, we heard a string of cussing. We went back into the living room to make sure everything was okay, and…
I’ll give you three guesses, but you’ll only need one… the television, was on the floor, laying on its side and actually sparking. I quickly stepped up and unplugged the TV, and its life force fizzled out.
She began to rant and rave about how we broke her television, and the store owed her a new one. We tried to explain to her, that we were in the bedroom when the television fell.
That we weren’t responsible… and when all of that failed, we told her that she should probably contact the store, that we cannot promise her anything. Work Buddy called the boss and explained the situation to him before she could, so when she called him, he would have our side of the story first.
Work Buddy and I went and put the bedroom set together as quickly as possible. We got the customer to sign for the delivery while she was still talking to our boss, and we got out while getting was good.
We got back to the store and met our boss in his office. Somehow, the customer managed to convince him that despite the fact that we were in a different room, and that she had the TV basically in a Joker Style hero trap…
that it was our fault. And basically, the boss said that it was our responsibility to replace the television. That we had to get her something equal to or better than what she had.
Neither Work Buddy nor I was happy with this, but essentially we were over a barrel. I went home that night, angry because I was getting ready to upgrade my own television and now I was going to have to spend the bucks on replacing this crazy lady’s TV.
I went home, had a decent meal, went to my room, and started to turn on my television when I had an epiphany. My hand had stopped just before I hit the power button because I realized that I was staring at her television.
Now, I don’t mean that it was just a television I was going to give her, I mean it was the exact same RCA model and size as the TV that fell off the tower.
It was quite literally the exact same television people! And this is where the malicious compliance came in. The next morning, I brought my television with me to work. I put it in the back of the work truck, and ask my boss if I could take Work Buddy to go pick out a TV and deliver it to her.
I got the green light for that. We went to a pawn shop, that I knew well, and find myself a nice 36-in flat screen tv. (not completely flat, like LCD just an upgrade from the tube…
remember folks, we were still working with flip phones back then.) Work Buddy thought I was buying it for her, and tried to argue that it was way too nice and that we were spending way too much.
I told him just to give me 20 bucks, and not to worry about the price. He saw why, when we opened up the back of the work truck. And his grin was as big as mine.
I did deliver that nice bigger TV, to my house where I placed it where the other television had been. I spent the time driving explaining to him that I already had the television to replace hers at home, and we both knew that she was going to be furious.
But my boss did say equal to or better, and you can’t get more “equal to” than the exact same television.
We delivered the television. When she answered the door, I set my TV next to hers on the ground, Work Buddy already had his flip phone open with the camera engaged.
I plug it in, showed her it worked, and Work Buddy snapped a picture of it. The lady immediately started going on a tirade about how she was supposed to get a new television.
She told me that my boss had promised her a flat TV… then I explained to her the fact that I was only responsible for giving her the equivalent of what she lost. When she realized she wasn’t winning the argument, and we were on our way out…
she actually had the nerve to ask us to put it back up on the milk crates for her!
We told her that if she wanted it up there, she can get it up there herself, our responsibility to her was over.
Work Buddy and I loaded up into our box truck and rode into the sunset. Never to darken her doorstep again!
P.S. she did call the store and complain, a day or so later. But I did explain to my boss exactly what happened, apparently, the idea to make us replace the TV was his Boss’s call…
and he didn’t exactly agree with it either. But, with the picture, and the receipt which just said RCA TV, not the size or anything. That’s why I love pawn shops… he also explained to her that we were only responsible for equal value.
And in the end, I was only out the number of bucks I could have gotten for that TV on trade… which I found out later wasn’t much.”
Another User Comments:
“I find the fact that you have to replace it out of your pocket to be completely wrong, maybe illegal.
It certainly should have been illegal anyway.
In your case, I would probably be tempted to take your TV in; take a picture of it working next to the broken one; then pick it up and put it back in your truck.
You have evidence of it being delivered and if she calls to complain again – who can say that she did not break the new one in the same way as the old one?” ElBodster
8. Make Me Write A Stupid Document? It Will Take A Lot Longer Than You Think
“I work in the events department for a large company. Projectors, microphones, computers, etc. If it’s required for an event then we handle it and it probably passes through my workflow for helping to organize.
My department also handles catering for events – while it’s not my team specifically, we work side by side. The associate director runs the catering and event coordinators. My manager only runs the AV side – and doesn’t report to the associate director (Don’t ask – it’s a messed up org chart that nobody can make sense of).
Despite not being specifically part of my job description, I also do the technical side of getting new staff members online within our system – getting their staff account created and also getting Teams and Onedrive online on their mobile so they can see all their paperwork.
And the reason why I am happy to do this is because with the catering team being a revolving door of staff (Normal in my industry), getting them online needs to be done immediately and fast.
You can go to the greater IT team to do this, but you can be waiting days for them to get it done. Whereas I can do it within five to ten minutes with them.
And the staff that isn’t online on our system can’t work (H&S forms are part of this setup), therefore they wouldn’t be able to complete the assigned shift (And IT won’t touch the request until they show up for their first shift…
at which point you’d then wait days for them to get onto it… See the flawed logic here?)
Note: Setting up a new account also involves setting up their personal work email, group email access, system permissions access, and to a limited extent, their access card swipe permissions.
Normally this would be done by the security team, but ten years at a company really comes with its perks of being connected to the right people and when you want to get something like this done fast, it’s often easier for one person with permissions to do it as opposed to multiple people in their own workflows…
Second note: If you’re asking why a rotating door of catering staff needs personal work email and group work email, this account setup is supposed to encompass MORE than just them…
Alright, enough setup, onto the story.
Recently, my boss has thrown another bout of trying to micromanage the heck out of my team. We all hate it but I guess we can just ride this wave out again… The associate director asked me to go to one of our other offices on the other side of the city to set up a group of new staff in one large batch order.
My own manager looked at the request and got one of those “time for some micromanagement shenanigans” faces.
Me: “Hey boss, the associate director wants me to go to the other office to set up some new staff in the system next week on Friday.”
Boss: “Uhhh nope.
I need you here in case something happens OP. Very busy day on that day.”
Me: “There’s nothing on the roster for that day and I’d still be available remotely…”
Boss: “Just write the associate director a document about how to get people set up in the system and he can do it himself.”
are you sure? I do it fast because I’m trained on the system and he doesn’t. Including travel, I’d only be gone for about 3-4 hours. Writing the document on how to get someone set up in the system would take much longer.”
Boss: “Write the document and put everything he needs to know in it.
It only needs to be, what, half a page? Can’t be that hard.”
Everything? Alright. Cue malicious compliance.
What my boss expected, was a half-page instruction manual on getting a new account created within the system.
I don’t think I could have kept it that short even if I tried.
What followed was a three-day project writing out the instruction manual for how to get someone set up in the system which comprised of 34 pages – not half a page.
Large portions of it are troubleshooting steps, accounting for different models of phones and likely fixes when they do weird things (Iphones are great because they work – the infinite variations of android phones can sometimes throw up strange errors either on the system or within the phone itself).
Most of the information in here was collective knowledge I’ve built up over the years, as well as who else to phone in IT for the most outrageous issues that had to be resolved that I didn’t have permission for and who could generally do it immediately.
I warned the Associate Director that this was going to be a very large technical manual and he should probably read it before heading to the other office.
AD: “Isn’t it half a page?”
Me: “My boss said to put everything in it.”
AD: “Oh no.”
What followed was the Associate Director attempting to take somewhere between ten to twenty people through this very technically written manual about getting someone set up in the system.
To anyone not technically inclined, it could have all been in a different language for all they could understand it… After 30 mins, he called me, put me on speaker phone + camera to the new staff and said: “just do it”.
Sitting at my computer, I spent the next 40 minutes getting everyone online (Technical support over a phone can be straining, you all know what I mean) and they were fine to start their shifts.
Finally, the Associate Director asks me something in private afterward…
AD: “OP, did it need to be this complicated?”
Me: “Actually I summarized some sections to make it easier. Didn’t want to make it difficult for you – wasn’t the intention, but my boss told me to write down everything so I did.”
Ad: “Good to know, thanks.””
7. Don't Have Time To Go Through All Your Computer Files? We'll Handle It For You Then
“I’ve been working in IT for 15 years now, and I have yet to find anything that tops this. I work for a small shop, with 3 employees, but we service multiple companies in the area, a number of those companies being doctors’ offices.
At one of the doctors’ offices we serviced, they had a policy when changing machines out for upgrades, that only relevant information was transferred to new systems, and to remove anything you did not want IT to go through on the machine before it was replaced.
Confidential patient data was secured on the servers and not on the local machines, so this was a way of purging unneeded old word documents and cat memes that had been saved. It was also policy to ensure that there was nothing on these machines that should not be there like say using your work equipment for adult entertainment.
It was Dr. Johnson’s turn to have his machine upgraded to a brand new one after his old machine had been in service for about 3 years, we informed him a week prior that we’d be changing his machine in a week and scheduled to do so on a day when he was not in the office and sent him a copy of the Practice’s policy for equipment changes.
In most cases there is nothing remotely interesting or strange about doing these transfers, the most we noticed over the years was that people seemed to collect a whole lot of garbage downloads from the internet that are not needed anymore, and some word and excel documents that were archived off to cold storage and not moved to the new machines unless they had been accessed in the last 6 months unless requested otherwise.
The day came for the transfer, I showed up at the office and started to get an idea of how much data we needed to move. As usual, for most people in this office, Dr.
Johnson left a post-it note on his keyboard saying he never had time to go through anything and for us to handle it. I open file explorer, browse to his profile path, right click it to find the folder size, 347 GB of data, which seemed extreme.
I started going checking the folders in the profile, and 297 GB of this data was on the Desktop. I drill down further until I find the culprit, a folder on the Desktop named “Fun Stuff”, thinking it was the install for some game or another I opened the folder, to this day I still wish I had not.
I was greeted by several thousand high-resolution images of Dr. Johnson in his office, doing inappropriate things. Oddly a number of these were also animated, and there were video files (I did not dare look at these) and even some bizarre shots from under his desk, no pants, and from the mirror behind him a possible patient in the room.
I locked the screen and went to the head of the practice to discuss what I had just found, who could not believe someone who was in the process of becoming a partner in the practice would be doing this with company equipment.
I showed him the images, to which he took out his phone and called the other two partners into the office to come over. They thanked me, asked me to pull the machine, and not transfer anything, and to put the old computer in one of their offices.
I installed the new machine, (I got some medical gloves before touching anything) set up all the applications, and left the office for them to handle it internally.
The next day after Dr. Johnson had come back to work, I guess things did not go over well with the others at the practice.
He called our office, demanded he talks to me, and started to yell at me over the phone about what an invasion of his privacy I had committed. That he planned to sue me personally over it, that I had cost him his chance at becoming a partner at the practice, his position in the practice, and apparently his wife because she was good friends with the wife of the head of the office and I guess gossip happened.
When he was done yelling, I asked him calmly if he had anything else to say, I reminded him our office records all calls in and out, then asked him 3 questions:
Did he receive the email explaining the process of replacing his machine per his own company policy, that we would be sorting relevant and non-relevant data, and anything he did not want us to see he would have to deal with on his own ahead of time? (He had replied to this very email that he would try and go through stuff if he found time) Answer: Yes
Did he remember leaving the note on his keyboard saying he didn’t bother to do any cleanup and for us to do it? Answer: Yes.
Which did he think would go over better, him shutting up, dealing with the problems he created himself by being a disturbing person to be a doctor, or trying to sue me personally for following his practice’s policy, and having all the details made public? After I asked this question, he hung up the phone.
All the other doctors in the office started to refer to him as Dr. Spanky or Dr. FeelGood. Last I heard they turned him in to the state medical board, and he lost his license to practice medicine, was divorced, and was under a criminal investigation within a few months of this happening.
I lost track of it all when we distanced ourselves from that medical practice for several unrelated reasons, mostly they loved to order things and then try to take as long as possible to pay for them.”
6. Can't Do Anything Unless I Have A Medical Reason? But I Do
“A few years ago, I worked under a terrible boss whom I shall call Tiff because of all her tiffs. Unfortunately, I am not exaggerating when I say terrible. She had HIPAA violations on record, writing people up for stuff that she told them to do, writing them up for things that happened when they weren’t there, changing people’s schedules with no notice, and then getting them in trouble when they didn’t show up for the changed schedule, trying to write people up for using FMLA, the general yelling and petty bullying bad managers do, the works.
Senior management knew about all of this and aided and abetted her.
Anyways, after being hauled into a meeting with her and a senior manager where she lied about me and did her best to paint me as lazy and a generally terrible worker, I’d had enough.
I went to the other senior manager (who shall be called Spineless, for reasons you can probably guess) and told him that I couldn’t deal with this anymore and that I had to be transferred to another department in the store.
(I had experience in a few other areas which were in high demand, so it wouldn’t be hard to find a place for me, it would just be hard to fill my spot in the bakery, especially given it was late in the year and we were always incredibly busy over the holidays.)
Spineless said no.
Well, actually he said that he’d see what he could do but it wasn’t likely to happen because I was too important to the bakery to lose. I pointed out that it was so stressful that it was affecting my health and I really couldn’t continue.
If I had to, I was going to be calling out.
He still said no. “We can’t do anything unless you have a medical condition.”
Now see, I knew what he actually meant was that there was no way in heck they were actually doing anything so I should just shut up already.
Unfortunately for him, I don’t like sub-texts like that, and I didn’t feel like dealing with the mistreatment anymore.
So, I sat there for a moment, debating, and decided to give him what he said he needed.
See, I have a few medical issues that are annoying but unless they actually keep me from doing my work, I think it’s kind of a cop-out to bring them up. But, under the circumstances, management was being completely unreasonable, so cop-outs it was.
So, I explained that I had an official diagnosis of anxiety and due to the reasons above, I couldn’t work under her. Spineless kind of stopped and looked at me, then said, “Uh…okay. We’ll see what we can do.
But we’ll need you to at least get through the holidays.”
I told him I would do my best, but I couldn’t handle the constant threats of write-ups, so he would have to keep her from enacting any disciplinary measures against me.
He said, “Sure.” I also added that I really, really didn’t want anyone else to know about my anxiety, as I don’t like my personal life being spread about.
About a month later, something else happens where a bunch of cakes was ruined and I was the last one who touched it.
They were someone else’s responsibility as soon as I was done with them, the other person just hadn’t done their part and Tiff was trying to get me in trouble however she could.
Tiff hands me a write-up to sign.
I’m furious, but I carefully write down in the comment section that I have a medical condition interfering with my work which I had already notified senior management of. Then I insist on having her give me a photocopy of it (which they’re supposed to do but often don’t).
I heard from the supervisor who was also present that when she saw what I had written, Tiff had an appropriately shocked Pikachu face and asked if Sup had known anything about my mysterious medical issue.
For once, Spineless had followed directions and not shared private information with the world.
I probably should have just escalated to corporate at this point, but I ended up not. Just wrote a nicely worded letter about how I had requested ADA accommodations (Because anxiety technically can count as a disability.
I had already looked it up) and they had done nothing. I stuck copies of the letter along with the write-up and a note from my doctor in Spineless’ mailbox and in the store manager’s mailbox.
I should probably point out that by this point about 4 other people had left the bakery due to medical conditions which were directly related to Tiff. (They were legit medical conditions, but either exacerbated by her or used as an excuse to get away from her.) So I certainly wasn’t the first person to do this.
Lo and behold when you stuff enough legal terms along with relevant meeting recaps and dates into a letter, people do something about it. I had meetings with both the store manager (who insisted he had heard nothing about this) and Spineless and they offered to get me out immediately but asked if there was any possible way for me to stay through Christmas which was about two weeks away.
I didn’t really want to be working in a different area when everyone else was already crazy busy with no time to catch me up, so I agreed under the condition that they changed my schedule so that I was not scheduled with Tiff at any point in time.
And what do you know, they got me out right after Christmas.
So, yeah, ask and you shall receive, jerks.
Hilariously enough, come February, Tiff went on vacation and the bakery supervisor asked me if there was any way I could come back to help cover, which of course I could do! Figured I might as well stick it in their face that the manager was the problem, not the department.
Sadly, they didn’t do anything about her until she transferred to a different store where she is no doubt still wreaking havoc. But I escaped with my sanity mostly intact, so it was a win for me.”
5. Stay In My Section? Okay, I'll Go Back To Doing Nothing
“My brother (20m) and I (22f) worked for a furniture factory last year. We were what they called summer technicians – meaning we were only scheduled to work for 3-4 months. He had been working at the factory for a couple of weeks before I joined.
We worked in different sections of the same department. This department had five or so sections. The important ones are the press, the saw, edging, and touch-ups. (I forget the actual names for what we actually called what I’m calling the press and touch-ups).
My brother worked with the press. His section dealt with gluing laminates on blocks of wood (basically what his section did was glue the wood-looking fake sheet of laminate that goes on the top of tables to make the tables look like they aren’t just made of wood chips packed together).
His section produced about 800 parts on average during the first shift alone (the shift we worked).
After gluing about twelve or so tables, they would be moved to the saws to be cut up into specific table shapes.
This section had a lot of backlog because of how fast my brother’s section worked.
My section was edging. Here one person glued rubber strips around the edge of the table and another trimmed the rubber so that it fit the table (as in didn’t cut into the wood and wasn’t too much left on).
My position in edging was as the second person. Our department produced about 300 parts on average during first shift. Edging always had the most backlog out of all the sections because of supply issues and the number of table sheets my brother pushed out (he was the one always pushing his section to work faster because if they maxed out table space, they’d be able to go home early).
After trimming the edging, the tables would be given to the next section to undergo inspections. Here, people would touch up small mistakes and scratches, outright reject the table if there was a flaw, and pass them on to be shipped.
This section also always had a lot of backlogs but not as much as edging since these people also expected the edgers to touch up the tables before we passed them on (I got into many fights over this).
Throughout the three months I worked there, the edging section was always the section that got the most crap for being slow. It also didn’t help that second shift didn’t produce as much as they should’ve been leaving us first shifters to carry the weight.
The day this happened was my brother and I’s last day there. Miraculously there was no backlog in edging. The tables we were able to work on came in shipments of twelve or so every other hour.
We flew through those. As a result, the people in my section were left either doing nothing, cleaning, chatting, some took an early lunch break, etc. Basically, we were bored and had nothing to do.
Also because we didn’t have any table to edge, the touch-ups section behind us didn’t have any table to work on either. That’s two sections being paid to sit and twiddle their thumbs.
I decided to instead go over to my brother’s section and help out if I could.
My brother showed me what they were working on, how the machine runs, what to look out for, what they did to prep, everything. He told me I could help with the prep since the section needed experienced people to work with the press.
His entire section was cool with me helping out, so we figured we were in the clear.
Not even a couple of tables into me helping, the department manager (DM) comes over and says “OP why are you over here? You’re distracting them.”
Me: “I’m helping them out.
There’s nothing to do over there. We don’t have any tables to edge.”
DM: “yes you do. Saw 5 and just finished a batch. Stay over in your section and do what you’re supposed to do.”
With that, I said bye to my brother and his section and went over to my machine.
Much to no one’s surprise, there weren’t any tables there. Saw 5 wasn’t done with the batch yet. My coworker working on the machine with me wasn’t there also. He was chatting with the ladies who worked in the touch-up section.
The DM seeing that there aren’t any tables ready goes over to saw 5 and lingers there until he’s able to load up the tables and deliver them to my machine.
After a couple of minutes of looking for my coworker (the edgers were hard to find that day because of the lack of work to do), we get to work on the stack.
The batch takes us about a half hour to finish edging. With nothing to do again, my coworker and I just talked with each other and the other touch-up girls. I even took a half-hour bathroom break just for fun.
For about the last two hours of my last shift, there was no work to be done and instead of letting me help out other sections, I was paid to sit around on my phone, talk to coworkers, and take an extra lunch break.
Before anyone comments that it’s a safety concern! I had seen people go from section to section helping people. The job I was going to do to help was separating the table laminates, so I wouldn’t have even been near the press.
I don’t know why that day our DM was all up in arms about me being over in that section. Maybe he thought I was just there to distract people – I don’t know though.”
4. You Want Your Chicken Sandwich Extra Spicy? Gotcha
“I used to work for a big local fast food chain in the Philippines called Jollibee. I worked as a dining crew there and my job was to serve the customers. I was just fresh out of high school back then around 2016.
Our store operated from 6 am to 12 midnight, and one day, right when we were about to close down for the day, a woman, in her mid-20s came in with another girl. This woman was a bit tomboyish and just looking at the way she moves, I can tell she was a hotshot.
After she got her order, she and the girl she was with sat at the seat at the most isolated corner of the dining area.
After a few minutes, her order came out and I served it to them.
It was one spicy chicken and one classic chicken both with rice and drinks.
Just a bit of context, our spicy chicken is actually just your regular chicken sprinkled with very hot chili powder.
The tomboy, who clearly is the one who ordered the spicy chicken for herself took a look at the chicken and with the most alpha male energy she could muster to impress the girl she was with asked me to return the chicken to the kitchen and make it spicier.
I just wanted things to be done so I can get back to cleaning so I just took the chicken back to the kitchen and asked the fryman to add more spicy sprinkles to it.
The PC (the one in control of the whole kitchen) interrupted and offered to make the chicken spicier instead.
Apparently, when the tomboy made their order earlier, they were very rude to the cashier which made the PC mad because the tomboy acted really arrogantly.
I guess this is where you cue malicious compliance.
The PC got a plate, put on some plastic hand gloves, placed the chicken on the new plate, and poured all the content of the shake can on the chicken.
The chili sprinkles in the shake can were going to be disposed of after the shift ended anyways, so the manager who was watching everything didn’t really say anything. The PC then proceeded to roll the chicken around on the bed of spicy sprinkles and by the time he was finished, the chicken which entered the kitchen with a golden brown color was now reddish.
It just looks like a lump of chili sprinkles.
I brought the order back to the tomboy and her girl and left them be and went out to clean the glass panels. It was near closing time so I was in a hurry to do my cleaning.
After about almost half an hour, I saw the tomboy leave. She was beet red as if she just had a fight with someone. There was no commotion so I doubted that was actually the case.
I went back inside to collect the dishes. When I got to their seat, I ended up laughing when I saw the tomboy’s plate. On it was the breading of the chicken, some chewed-up chicken that was spat back into the plate, and a ton of chili sprinkles around the table. She clearly tried to shake off the excess chili powder but wasn’t too successful in doing so. The chicken was also only half eaten.”
3. Give Me A Uniform That Doesn't Even Fit Me? I'll Wear It Anyway
What a nice boss.
“I used to work as a pastry chef for a catering company in Siberia. It had a very outdated, provincial charm, like almost anything in Siberia. But that doesn’t mean that my boss didn’t sometimes desperately try to up his game and be modern and experimental.
No, not with the food. At some point, he figured that it would be a good idea to send some chefs to the events and let them plate the food they made in front of the customers for entertainment.
He also wanted to incorporate plating gimmicks like beetroot foam or some nitrogen tricks that had to be made on the spot so he needed us chefs there, not just servers. This meant that he introduced new uniforms that are supposed to be more elegant looking for customer events.
When he got the new uniforms he gave them out to the chefs who were meant to go to the events and be seen by customers and I was one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I loved doing catering at weddings and so on cause you can witness all the family drama without having to worry about your family or feeling embarrassed for anyone.
It’s like watching trash TV in real life. But the thing is, I am very tall (199/6’6) and very thin (55/120), and alter all my uniforms to make them fit me better.
My boss came and gave me the uniform.
I asked if I should try it on and he said no time for that, just try it on at home and wear it to the event. He said he gave me the biggest size so it has to fit.
I could already see that the chef pants had a thin material and the legs were super wide but didn’t look that long. I asked my boss if I could alter them to fit better and he got mad and said it’s company property and I can’t alter them cause someone else has to wear them.
I go home and lo and behold, the pants are so wide they will barely stay on my body but end way above the ankles and the chef jacket is also too short. I figure that I could use a safety pin to make the elastic waistband a bit tighter and then pull the pants up to my belly button and then the chef jacket will cover everything, apart from a part of my heavily tattooed lower arms.
Ok, maybe I can wrap a towel and no one will notice. And for my legs, maybe I can wear boots that are a bit high cause since we are not actually really cooking or in the kitchen I may not have to wear safety shoes.
Next day at work we prepare the van to the location. My boss won’t join so before we go I tell him about my plan to make the uniform work for me. To be fair my boss is stressed cause as always everything was an uncoordinated mess.
He just started yelling at me that safety pins damage the fabric and it’s a safety hazard (why is it called a SAFETY pin then) and that I have to wear safety shoes and that this is professional chef attire and we should all look the same cause we appear as a brand and that it’s not about my fashion choices.
Ok, fine. I’ll comply.
I go to the event and put on my new uniform in the changing room. The chef jacket sleeves end in the middle of my forearms. It does not cover my belly cause the pants sit dangerously low on my hips because that’s the furthest point they can slide down to.
Basically, I look like a mixture between a chef and an early 2000s pop star with their low-rise jeans. I looked like I was one wrong move away from accidentally flashing someone. And for my legs? I decided that I can cover my legs by wearing Christmas stockings.
Yes, very obnoxious ones with grinning Santa and ornaments and whatnot. They were sticking out from my safety shoes. Boss didn’t say anything about socks, so I guess it’s fine.
I go out, do the job but am kind of preoccupied with keeping my pants where they are meant to be.
And guess what? Guests actually complained about how I was dressed. The next day after the event, my boss had surely heard about it. Boss called me over and got mad at me for not dressing how he told me to.
I said, “But I did, you wanted me to wear the uniform that does not fit at all and you didn’t want me to do anything about it.” He said, “I want you to figure out a way to wear the uniform without showing your belly and without damaging the uniform.”
OK, say no more.
What if I just wore one leg of the pants, like a skirt? I can tie the other leg around me and it would cover my belly and not damage the pants. So that’s what I did for the next event.
Did I have much legroom to move in? No. I walked up and down the display in tiny steps, like some cartoon grandma.
Of course, my boss wasn’t happy with that either. He was so mad at me but I kept saying “Give me a solution then” and he just couldn’t give me one.
He was super annoyed and told me that it’s not hard to figure this out. I said, “I’m a chef and not a fashion designer and if it’s not hard to figure out then give me a solution because I did what I could, and if you don’t want me to do what I can then tell me what to do about it.” He yelled at me that I should know what’s appropriate and what isn’t and I shouldn’t play dumb so I said, “Maybe I am actually dumb though” and left.
Just so you know, I was not scared of getting fired cause I was confident in the work that I was doing and my boss would have been insane to fire me over a uniform when we were already understaffed.
So it was just satisfying that he had to put up with my stupidity regarding that.
But honestly, what could I have done? If it doesn’t fit then it doesn’t fit. I ended up being allowed to alter it, but only to make the waistband smaller without cutting it by sewing a loop together.
As for the chef jacket, they got me a bigger one which wasn’t the same brand as the others and had a different button color, but they made me change the buttons.”
Another User Comments:
“So you came to him with a problem, and he refused to solve it.
You came to him with solutions, and he refused to accept them. The issues both started and ended with him, for what it’s worth I would have loved to see the “pants as a skirt” getup.” Stabbmaster
2. Want The Project References? Here's A 831-Page Document
“A small farm, in European Union, was applying for an EU agricultural subsidy for a storehouse. Big enough for storing a couple of farming vehicles and odd bits of this and that, otherwise lying around the farm like orphaned rounds of cheese.
EU is notorious for the exhausting amount of paperwork needed for any kind of agricultural subsidy. The process is usually both long and tedious. Ask any farmer, if you don’t take my word.
On top of that, you have the local government adding its mostly unnecessary and confusing bureaucratic sprinkles to the cake. Because who just doesn’t love good old paperwork, yay?
Does it really exist? The building is already there and in use.
Farm Boss has been engaged with the subsidy application process since the beginning of the project, over 2 years. Literally, hundreds of emails, calls, and letters have been exchanged between various instances. The application process is like this, nothing abnormal about that.
A Bureaucrat had to be convinced that a building has been built and it was for the intended purpose. Note: a building permit, proof of a bank loan, the building inspector’s report, and photographs of the actual building were not enough evidence.
Apparently, a storehouse doesn’t stand on its concrete foundation, housing farming equipment, and material, before a Bureaucrat acknowledges the matter. An existential crisis of architectural sorts, I suppose. Finally, after much struggle and convincing, a Bureaucrat acknowledged officially, that a storehouse has been built and it’s used for its intended purpose.
The aforementioned part of the bureaucracy is not essentially part of the malicious compliance story itself, nor was it the only one. But before proceeding I wanted to give you, dear reader, a palpable example of a mucus-oozing snail, that is a bureaucrat.
Was it really paid for? Now another Bureaucrat wants to know if all the costs claimed in the subsidy application have been actually paid. Makes sense; you don’t want to assist scammers, who forge fake invoices and payments.
In this project, there were some 150 (give or take) financial transactions involved for material, labor, insurance, permits, etc. Want all the invoices? You got it. Want all the receipts? Okey dokey. Want the bookkeeping statements? If you say so.
This last one has special significance. Bookkeeping statements contain a legally binding track of every single invoice and payment. Bookkeepers swear on the blood of their firstborn baby it’s correct. Even the tax office is happy with that – and they are not easy folk to please.
But the local government sitting on top of the EU finances (which even isn’t their finances)? Nooooo, not enough for them.
They want to be super duper extra hyper-sure how every single last nut, bolt, and screw was paid for.
Because maybe Farm Boss is just a scammer who likes to spend 2 years on paperwork. Regardless of the fact that the little storehouse stands proud and stout in a farm, which has existed for decades in the exact same location.
Enter Smaug’s lair: Like a dragon hoarding gold and treasure to sleep upon, a Bureaucrat hoards information and documents (apparently to sleep upon, too). Local government Bureaucrat wants to be able to track every single financial transaction.
Not by invoice number. Not by invoice date. Not by invoice sum. Not by a combination of these.
No, they want the project references (not sure about the exact translation of this) combined with the actual payments.
It’s a 10-digit code attached to each part of the storehouse building project. For example, the roof has its own code under which all parts, labor, etc go. After some hassle with the accountant agency and the bank such a list was materialized.
It took only 2 weeks, so it was a quickie compared to the whole process.
It was an impressive 831 pages long PDF document. So big because of dozens of payments, small and big, far and near, accumulated over the time span of 2 years.
Every single financial transaction. The information needed for the subsidy application is spanned through the document, maybe some 50-odd pages. Just deliver the 50-odd pages, easy-peasy? The bureaucrat says no. Obviously one can’t omit the unrelated pages, because Bureaucrat wants to observe the document both consistently and continuously.
In other words: if the total page count is 831, that’s how many pages there have to be. End of discussion.
Happy bunny now? Ok, you’ll get the whole document. Happy now, Bureaucrat? No. All the information is there, how come? Nope, we Bureaucrats want to find the information “easily”.
But we have already provided the cross-reference list with all project references and invoice numbers, how’s that? No can do, we Bureaucrats want “easy”. How about pressing CTRL-F (search), that’s easy as 1-2-3? Nope, we Bureaucrats want to have project references highlighted.
On paper. Because that’s “easy.” But it’d be a ton of paper, wouldn’t it surely be easier to use the electronic format? -Sensible arguments overwhelmed by angry bureaucratic noises- No-no-no, absolutely no. Highlighted. On paper.
Now you, dear reader, already know what time it is. It’s MC o’clock! Farm Boss goes through the PDF with CTRL-F and uses the marker tool to highlight the project references with pretty yellow.
One day’s work. Then sit back and print. Numerous coffees and one color cartridge later there is a nice pile of A4 sheets. 4,2 kg (9,3 lbs) to be exact. Neatly stacked and boxed.
Sent as a registered letter (also a bureaucratic requirement) to the Bureaucrat in need of “easy” documentation. Have fun browsing through papers and searching for the project references, one by one, all by hand!
Aftermath: For Farm Boss, this was just another day in the never-ending bureaucratic jungle, exhausting and stressful.
If you think being a farmer is easy, you apparently don’t know any farmers. I take my hat off for them any day of the week!
What comes to this particular Bureaucrat in question, well, they never asked for a single document more.”
1. Help Myself To Anything In The Office? Sure Will!
“When I was between undergrad and grad school, I worked for a year as a secretary in a Wealth Management Firm. Now, if you’re like me and thinking ‘what is that’ the answer is that it’s a bunch of suck-up wannabe stockbrokers that mostly kiss the butt of ultra-wealthy people and do kitschy things like golf with them and throw them elaborate holiday parties so that they can take a percentage scraping of their portfolio’s interest that year.
Sounds harsh, I know, but these are NOT high-yield or unstable portfolios that require a lot of tending. These are “here’s forty million dollars, please put it in a low-risk investment account and send me the interest as my annual income, plus half a percentage (or whatever) for yourself.” Most accounts were reviewed annually.
Now I was 23-24 and a woman. I was younger than most of the partners’ children, which made me the perfect target for all sorts of gruntwork, sexist nonsense, and being hit on (things like take my car to be washed/go buy me a salad and pick yourself something sweet/bring me a coffee and crawl under my desk to fix my printer/pick up my dry cleaning/buy my kids Christmas gifts/oh your hair is so soft/I like the way that dress looks…on your body.) Some aspects of my job required data entry, spreadsheets/basic excel, basic budget/finance, outlook, and client relations (e.g.
making coffee for wealthy people and offering to change the tv channel in the lobby). I made $18 an hour and I’ll happily admit all my “work” for the entire week could be accomplished in 2 hours in one day, or in 20 minutes every morning.
This led to me writing a lot of fanfiction, devouring PDFs of books for hours (I read all 42 Discworld novels back to back), and just generally clicking through popular social media of the day.
Mid-year, the entire office staff (15-20 people) including the only two other women in the office (office manager and “marketing” person – e.g. a wife, both 50s) flew from the US to the UK to woo a huge, super wealthy client.
There was absolutely no need to take everyone, but the head owner of this firm, who I will call ‘Howie Jim’ and willingly went by his first/middle name & abbreviated to HJ unironically, decided that it was a good ‘morale boost’ and ‘bonding experience’ for everyone.
Partners were also encouraged to bring spouses/children as desired. Everyone was excited to go. Everyone, of course, but me.
Oh, a ton of excuses were made; “this is a family trip,” “this trip was planned a year ago before you were here,” and “all of these people are paying for their families, it’d be unfair if you were paid for by the company” etc., etc.
But the reality is there would be 0 excuses for me to do anything on the trip except order more company lunches and chauffeur them. Delightful as traveling would be, the idea of traveling with 60+-year-old wealthy jerks as their built-in on-call servant was not enticing.
I honestly genuinely didn’t care, but everyone walked on eggshells like I might start crying because I was so excluded. The only thing they wanted me to do while they were gone was unlock the building, sit there for business hours and turn anyone away who came in, and lock up again.
10 hours, to be sure, but I could literally watch Netflix or read or even skype people the entire time.
As a last-ditch attempt at comfort, HJ told me before he left that I should ‘help myself to anything I wanted in the office.’ What he meant: coffee creamer, stale muffins, office supplies.
What he didn’t think about: the customer gift closet.
Now see, in even more blatant attempts to suck up to rich people, this firm has an entire closet full of embroidered & personalized gifts that we assured clients we had made “just for them.” When a client left their annual review, they would leave with a gift bag full of goodies that I put together for them.
(Now if I REALLY wanted to be good at my job, I would have suggested taking notes on favorite candy, hobbies, names of children, etc.) But the gifts weren’t actually personalized; that would be too much work.
In reality, we just had a bunch of A-Z branded things; lettered marble coasters, sherpa blankets, silver picture frames, desk clocks, bronze desk statues of famous American war heroes, ash/jewelry trays, whiskey glasses, and other pointless nonsense.
So I complied with HJ’s suggestion and helped myself.
I found the key to the closet and had a good time looking through it, and shaking my head at some of the insane stuff they bought.
To be honest, I could have ‘stolen’ it all or whatever, but since I still continued to work there for another six months, and because I knew what HJ meant, and because even though I was feeling fed up and petty, I was (hopefully am) still a fairly rule abiding person.
I did not take the clocks or silver picture frames (also they had the stupid firm’s logo on them so no thanks). I didn’t even take a sherpa blanket, though I really wanted one.
It was like a $200 blanket. Instead, I took a small stack of marble coasters with the initials of my first name. I’ve seen similar stacks of marble at tile depot warehouses sell for ~$8.
It’s been almost 10 years and I still have 3 of the 4 (one did break at some point). They’re very faded, water stained, and the letter is almost completely rubbed off, but I still love them.”