People Amuse Us With Their Malicious Compliance Revenge Stories
14. I Need To Improve My Numbers? Will Do
“This happened to me a few years back. I was working in the IT helpdesk of a well-known restaurant based in Chicago. I had gotten the job with the help of a friend of mine, who was the help desk manager at the time.
My friend was very adamant about checking in on the help desk ticket metrics and making sure that everyone on the team was pulling their own weight. Basically, for those who don’t know, most helpdesks use a ticketing system to keep track of all IT requests that come in.
Anyway, my friend was known for being good about his particular ticket metrics tracking and being able to decipher them and later present them to the leadership team. However, he was laid off due to a squabble he had with one of the directors of a different department.
This happened at the same time that a new CIO was hired. In comes a new IT manager, who had eventually admitted to me that he was actually close friends with the CIO and had never held a management position ever in his life.
I found out that his skillset was in programming and scripting, but his weakness was confrontation as well as other management procedures. However, his biggest flaw was that he followed processes and procedures to a T. One of those being that, for some God-awful reason, we were not allowed to discuss ANY tickets with anyone.
This was supposed to be interpreted as the helpdesk not being able to discuss tickets with other individuals outside of the IT department due to the sensitivity of their nature. If I brought up a ticket to my manager, he would shut me up and say he didn’t wanna hear about it.
About a month went by when the time came for metrics evaluations. I was escorted into a conference room by my manager. He tells me that out of all the individuals of the IT helpdesk, I had the most re-opened tickets in the queue.
I should mention that, by this point of my time working there, my manager had decided to push my shift from the regular first shift, 9-5, over to second shift, which was from 1-10. This was to provide coverage for shops outside of our time zone.
I explained to him that there were a plethora of reasons why I had opened tickets. One being that every day that I came in, I was stuck working at the mass amount of tickets that the morning shift neglected to touch, I was on my own working from 6 to 10, and ultimately, the main reason for my re-opens I could not discuss, “per his policy.” He got really angry with me and said that I needed to improve my numbers and get fewer re-opened tickets.
Instead of arguing, I simply complied and went on my way.
Another month went by and by this time, I had accrued MORE tickets in my name, which also meant more tickets being re-opened. I get called into a meeting again and this time it’s with my boss, the CIO, and the head of HR.
They bring up my re-open ticket count, and I again explain the same gripes from the past. They placed me on a corrective action program, and simply told me, “if you can’t fix it by the next time we meet, we are going to have to fire you.” My immediate response was “Well, if you fire me, I will seek legal counsel.
I told you that I cannot discuss my tickets with you thanks to my manager’s strict policy guidance. He has the ability to go look at the tickets, but refuses.” The CIO threatened to get the Ticket System vendor to send a specialist to get a fully detailed report to see “just how bad I was doing.” I kept my cool and simply said “Sure, let’s go with that.
If you see that I really have been failing, then I will voluntarily quit.”
The following week, the vendor shows up and he is set up in one of the conference rooms. I would swing by from time to time, asking if he needed anything.
He knew who I was by this point and all he would say is “this is funny as heck…I can’t wait to provide this report.”
Toward the end of the day, I get called into the conference room. I see my manager, the CIO, the head of HR, the vendor, and now even the CEO of the company.
My manager is pale as if he’d seen a ghost. The CIO couldn’t look me in the eye. and was at a loss for words. I broke the silence and, without trying to appear smug, ask, “is everything alright?” The vendor, excitedly announces “well kid, the only thing you are guilty of is being a darn good employee!” The CEO immediately interrupted and apologized on behalf of the company for having put me through so much crap.
At this point, I knew exactly what happened, but I wanted to hear it straight from the source.
I look at the vendor and ask him to read out the rest of the report. He then says “with you being the only individual to close the most tickets compared to all of your colleagues combined, you have a re-open rate of about 95%.
Out of that 95%, only 2% are re-opened due to the fixes not sticking or due to a completely irrelevant issue, which you all should let your employees know to create new tickets for rather than re-opening a previous ticket. As for the other 93%, they are all people responding, thanking you for your work!” He almost couldn’t contain his laughter while presenting the physical report.
He further went on to mention that all this could’ve been avoided had I been able to discuss these tickets with my boss, or if my boss even bothered to actually go look at the tickets themselves.
About another month later, my boss tells me that he wants to promote me to the IT lead position as well as give me a raise.
I turned it down. It was the perfect opportunity for me and told him I was putting in my two weeks’ notice. He tried talking me out of it, but there was no way he could convince me. I basically told him that any confidence and trust I had with the company was destroyed during my earlier debacle, my raise at the time was withheld due to his own mistakes, and there was no way the company would be able to match the offer I was being given at the new gig.”
13. Mess With My Son's Medication? Sure, I'll Take It Up With The Manufacturer
“This happened in 2012. At the time, I (38f) and my son (11m) were on Vyvanse, an ADHD medication. I had been on this medication for maybe 2 years? Not sure. Prior to that, I had been on Adderall for years, but I didn’t like that I felt withdrawal symptoms at the end of each day.
Switched to Vyvanse, and it has worked great for me ever since.
My son had only been on it at this point for at most a few weeks. So I started to notice that on certain days it didn’t feel like I had taken my pill.
I was on 60mg/day, my son on 20mg/day. Now my son was adjusting & his behavior & focus seemed worse at times. (Eventually, I stopped that med cuz I realized it wasn’t working for him but not really relevant to this.)
I began thinking I was forgetting to take my pill.
So I’d count the pills and sometimes it might seem like I was 1 short, however, I couldn’t be sure as I might have filled that RX a day before I was actually out. I often asked my son how he felt about taking this medication & he felt conflicted for multiple reasons.
So one day after asking this he said today I don’t feel like I’m even on the medication. I inquired deeper & it seemed as though we were both experiencing the same thing.
This med is in capsule form so I decide I’m gonna start opening capsules to see if they are filled to the same level.
Some capsules were full, some were filled halfway & some even lower. All these variations in both our meds. So I’m confused, but think ok, maybe there’s a reason for this. I’m not naive at all but I’m not jumping to conclusions.
So I decided I should go to my pharmacy & ask. I get to the consultation window & pharmacist is on the phone. I know he’s the pharmacist cuz pharmacies have the picture of the pharmacist displayed. The pharmacy tech is next to him presumably filling prescriptions.
Idk exactly cuz the first thing that grabs my attention is that the pharmacist, while on phone can’t stop moving. Have u ever seen a tweeker? I have.
Background: many yrs ago I had tried quite a few substances. I had a colorful life, if you will, so I’m no stranger to recognizing this sort of behavior.
I was instantly filled with rage! Now I know my questions are about to be very different than I had thought. I’m honestly glad he was on the phone for about 5 minutes so I could collect myself internally & think about how I’d approach this situation.
I’m certain at this moment he is the reason our meds vary in volume so wildly.
He gets off the phone & greets me. I’m not confrontational & I certainly have never created a scene in public. I’m quite laid back. So I present both bottles of Vyvanse to him & I explain how it felt wildly varied from day to day to the point that some days it felt like I hadn’t taken the meds at all.
His response is that is an issue to take up with the manufacturer. Now I’m saying this calmly & quietly. I wanna read reactions. Now I see the pharmacy tech side-eye me several times. I see her getting visibly nervous.
His response made me even madder, so I said, still remaining calm but slightly louder that I in fact opened the capsules to check on mine & my son’s current bottles & I firmly believe that “someone” here is tampering with our meds.
I swear the color in his face drained instantly. He couldn’t make eye contact. He’s still moving and twitching hard. The pharmacy tech also went from nervous to oh crap. I’m so livid that I’m seriously about to commit a felony.
He says, with his head hanging low, no eye contact, that I’ll have to call the manufacturer of this medication & he provides me with the 800 number. I think I said something else but I’m blind with rage at this point so I go home.
This is the malicious compliance. Tell me to take it up with the manufacturer? Ok, then I will.
So, I’ve never in my life called a corporate office to complain about service or anything. Get the wrong order from Amazon? Guess I’m giving that away.
Food order wrong? Well, that sucks, but I’m gonna do nothing bout it. Why? I’m terrible at adulting & it’s too much effort for small inconveniences.
This however is my son’s medication! Also mine but I’m not as concerned about me. So I call this number & I’m not hopeful at all & I figure it’s 10 minutes of my time.
Oh, how wrong I was! This phone call lasted 45min to an hour. First, I quickly realized this was a CYA line of questioning. So at first, I feel like this is a waste of my time & of course pharmaceutical companies don’t care.
I mean this lady is interrogating me as though I’ve committed murder. She’s asking me many repeat questions but worded in different ways. I explain to her I have no complaints about my medication itself. It has worked so well for me.
I tell her everything I’ve written here but in much greater detail & then she asks more questions in a similar interrogation style based specifically on my accusations against this pharmacist & tech.
At some point during this, I swear I started to feel that they are taking this very seriously even though they are still covering their butt.
I insisted throughout that I’m certain the pharmacist & at least that one tech was tampering with/stealing our meds.
So I’m internally filled with rage for days & I obviously changed pharmacies. A couple of months later when it was time for another refill, my new pharmacy & others in my area did not have my meds available.
Over the years with this particular med there are times that pharmacies don’t have it on hand. Guess which pharmacy did have it on hand. So I say screw it & hope for the best. (By this time, I had stopped this med for my son as it wasn’t right for him.)
I go to pick it up & there’s a new pharmacist.
In fact, the entire staff is unrecognizable. The nice man gets me my prescription & I say, so ya got a new pharmacist huh? He says, yeah, actually umm well everyone had to be replaced cuz there were some issues. I was grinning from ear to ear & I almost told him I knew exactly why but instead I just walked away feeling so very satisfied.
Obviously, I know they all lost their jobs, but I don’t know what else happened. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had their meds stolen like this, but I don’t know if anyone else confronted them or called. Judging by their reactions when I confronted them, I’m certain I was the first.
Does anyone know how pharmacies are investigated in a case like this? This happened in Indiana for you sleuths. I would love to hear your insight on this. So, this how I helped get an entire staff in a pharmacy fired.”
Another User Comments:
“I work as a pharmacy tech in another state, but I will tell you, yes they take this stuff very, very seriously.
I know the conversation on the phone was tedious, but each question was important because some people will falsely report a pharmacy or a person within one. Manufacturers for schedule 2 medications (that are on a high risk) are very hard on the job since the DEA is watching them like a hawk. Good on you for calling it out, I am definitely sure other people were being shorted and that ex-pharmacist might have also been selling some on the side.” Thinking_of_Stars
12. Claim You're Parked In The Correct Area? Fine, But Your Car Will Get Towed
“This happened around 2013 or so. I had a part-time gig as Event Staff for a local university. I really enjoyed it because it brought in extra pay, broke up the monotony of my “full-time” retail job (I could request Game Days off well in advance), and it was sign-up per gig so I didn’t have to work if I didn’t want to.
The city this university is in was not designed to handle the massive crowds that attend college football games nowadays (super old city, like Victorian houses are everywhere), so traffic is a nightmare anywhere near it. Most people opt for shuttle buses or pay like 20 bucks for game day parking at businesses and even people’s driveways, but for those that have season tickets, they get special assigned parking areas on campus.
On regular days, these areas are free for students and guests to use, but if you’re in those areas on game day, your vehicle will be towed at your expense.
So game day rolls around and I’m in charge of Lot D.
Only tow trucks and anyone that has a D hanging from their rearview mirror get in, a movable plastic barricade was the gateway. As always, traffic on campus becomes bumper-to-bumper as fans inch their way to their assigned lots. So slow in fact that I can easily help point people in the right direction if they are lost (I kept a notepad and a map with me so I could jot down left, straight, straight, left, right for them) without ever leaving my post.
So everything is going smoothly, people are frazzled by the traffic, but very polite when talking to me throughout the day. I had just let in a vehicle and was moving the barricade back in place when a new, very ritzy white SUV whips in preventing me from fully closing the entrance.
I immediately noticed that their mirror sign thingy did not say D, but instead said Brad Pad. I walk to the driverside window and see a young college-aged man with an “I’m so done with this crap” look on his face.
In the back middle seat was his very annoyed father and the passenger seat was occupied by his very angry-looking mother.
Me: Hi, yall folks need some help?
Dad: Yeah, we can park here right?
Me: I’m afraid not sir, this is for D vehicles only and your pass says Brad Pad.
Dad: But our pass is blue and this lot is blue on the map! (Quick note about the map, parking areas were colored to make it easier to visually separate one lot from another as the same colors never touched. There were like 3 blues, 3 orange, 2 yellow, etc., but they had nothing to do with the parking areas at all.)
Me: Oh, the colors don’t matter sir, the only thing that matters is the letters and I can’t let you in without a D or your vehicle will be towed.
Mom: Then where the heck are we supposed to park?
Son: Mom, calm down!
Me: That’s a very good question because you’re the first “Brad Pad” I’ve seen, so let’s see… (I begin scanning the map)
Dad: This is freaking ridiculous.
Son: Dad, he is trying to help us.
There is nothing on the map that says Brad Pad, but the basketball stadium is named Bradford So and So Stadium and indeed has an assigned parking area around it (no letter, just a grey parking area), so I make an educated guess that that’s where they are to park.
The problem is it’s on the other side of campus in the opposite direction they came from.
Me: I believe you guys are supposed to be at the basketball stadium back that way. I’m not 100% sure, but that’s your best bet.
(The son rested his head on the steering wheel in utter exasperation)
Dad: The basketball stadium is in grey! And our pass is blue!
Me: Sir, the colors do not matter. I have no idea why the university thought the colors were a good idea, but all that matters is what your pass says, not what color it is.
Mom: (Screaming at me) No! Our pass is blue and that means we can park anywhere that’s blue! So let us in NOW because YOU are WRONG!
Son: (Snaps his head up and looks at mom) Mom, shut the heck up!
She didn’t acknowledge her son’s outburst and just kept staring at me with a glare that could melt porcelain.
I have dealt with rude customers before, but have never been yelled at like that before. I was stunned. After about 5 seconds that felt like an eternity, the words just flowed out of me.
Me: Ughh, pfft, okay, go on in.
(I said this in a very “okay, but you’ll be sorry” tone)
Mom: See, that’s better!
Now, what I meant to do was watch where they parked so I could wave over the son and tell him to get his parents into the stadium and come back to move the SUV because none of this was his fault at all, poor guy just wanted to enjoy a nice game of football with his loved ones.
However, at that moment people that actually belonged in Lot D started arriving in rapid secession and I had a job to do. I also didn’t see where they parked.
Sure enough, about 45 mins later, a guy in a university golf cart pulls into the lot and starts walking around cars.
30 minutes after that, three tow trucks come rolling in. Each with different company names on them. Two students’ cars were removed as well as a new, ritzy, white SUV. I watched as they towed it down the street, Brad Pad sign dangling from the rearview mirror.
About 30 minutes after the game started, the barricade was taken down and I was picked up by an event staff truck so we could start picking up traffic cones, so I never got to see the unfettered rage those people had to be in when the game was over.
Also, the university does not keep track of what company tows what vehicle so I’m sure that was even more fuel for the fire.
After that day, I found a better job that paid more for 40 hours and paid overtime, so that was my last Event Staff gig.
To the college guy driving that day, if you are reading this, I’m very sorry your SUV was towed, but I hope that your parents paid to get it out of hock for you and learned something that day.”
11. Wanna Talk Honest Trash? I Can Do The Same
“Geico is a terrible company to work for. They micromanage you to the extreme, set impossible expectations (I was graded an F on a call once because I sneezed. Seriously. You only have four graded calls a month and this is what determines your ranking as an employee), and expect you to put up with the scum of the earth.
I once kept a week-long tally of how many times customers cussed me out every day. I did the math and realized I averaged being cussed out about 15 times a day. Of course, if you work for Geico this is something you’re all aware of.
I worked for this heckhole at the height of the recession. I sat at a computer all day answering phones, then went home and filled out applications until 9:30-10 at night with nothing to show for it for over a year.
I’m not the type of guy who gets depressed or lets things get me down, but working at this heckhole ruined my life so severely that I started puking every morning before going into work. I had to call my mom, as a grown adult, on my way to work most mornings and ask her to convince me not to turn around and go home.
Something about me: I never call out of work. I’ll go to work feeling so sick that I feel like I’m going to die, but I don’t call out.
Except at Geico. I hated the job so much and was done being treated like dirt, done with the insane micromanagement, moronic managers, computer programs that crashed every other minute, and customers who were calling directly from Satan’s butthole.
I was finishing my Master’s/Teaching Credential Program at the time and realized that after a year of looking for another job, my student teaching internship was 2 months away. So I just stopped caring.
Don’t get me wrong: I understand the average customer did nothing wrong to me and I always treated them right, but if somebody cussed me out I hung up on them.
If somebody gave me an attitude I’d put them on hold for 10 minutes while I went to grab a coffee. I purposely stopped following the corporate script and never upsold anything, ever.
Then I realized that the morning nausea and vomiting I had been experiencing would go away if I simply didn’t go in to work.
I had plenty of sick time saved up and would just call out if I felt like it. If I didn’t feel like it I just wouldn’t show up. I ran out of sick time pretty quickly doing this. My logic was simple, and I’ll explain that in a bit.
One day I had it scheduled to miss the first half of the day to attend a mandatory meeting in regard to setting up my student teaching internship. I told my supervisor I’d be in around 1 or so, depending on how long things took.
The day was awesome and I was feeling super enthusiastic about this new chapter in my life. Until I started driving north to go to work. Then that Geico-ey feeling of misery hit me, but only for a minute. I called my wife and told her I was hungry.
We should get pancakes.
So we did. We took our time eating. I had a cup of coffee. Then another. She asked me if I had to go to work. I said “Yep” and asked for a third refill. She asked if I was planning on going in, to which I responded “Nope.” She asked me if I had called to tell anyone and I said “Nope.”
That was that.
I took the rest of the day off and loved every minute of it. My supervisor called at least three times and I hit the ignore button every time. He left three messages about how my behavior was unacceptable too. I deleted all of them.
The next day I woke up feeling a bit better, only to have that nauseous feeling hit me the second I realized I had to go to work. So I took my time getting ready, waited 45 minutes or so for traffic to clear, and slowly made my way into the office.
The boss was waiting for me and as soon as I clocked in he asked me to meet him in a side office. We sat making small talk for a couple of minutes until a higher-up came in. Not his boss, but his boss’s boss.
That would make him my boss’s boss’s boss.
The two of them started tag-teaming me telling me how my behavior was unacceptable, how I should be ashamed of myself, how I needed to be a team player, I was on thin ice, and blah blah blah.
I waited patiently until they were done, and no crapping you, the first thing I said was: “You guys done?”
“Ok good, ’cause now it’s my turn. Here’s the thing: I hate this job. This job sucks. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, and if the economy wasn’t as awful as it was, I would have been out of this heck hole a long time ago.
But the economy sucks, almost as bad as this crappy job, and I don’t have a choice but to work here.”
It’s been years since this happened so that’s not a verbatim quote, but it’s pretty darn close to what was said.
I continued: “Here’s the thing: you have nothing on me. When I say I don’t give a crap, I need you to understand exactly what I mean: I don’t give a crap about this job. I have my student teaching internship in two months and I’ll not only be done with this crappy job, but I’ll also be done with the bullcrap customer service industry forever.”
“But here’s the thing: I tried finding another job, but there isn’t any other work out there.
So I’m stuck here. And you’re stuck with me. But here’s how I see things: you can fire me now, two months before I quit, and that unpaid internship will turn into a fully-paid internship thanks to unemployment benefits. I’ll have corporate sponsorship of my student teaching.”
“If you don’t fire me I’ll tell you what’s going to happen: I don’t give a crap about this job.
I hate it and I’m not going to follow your nonsense micromanagement, use your garbage corporate script or upsell anything. If I don’t feel like coming to work I won’t. If I feel like coming in a little late, I will.
I’ll still do right by the customers because they didn’t do anything wrong. You can trust me on that; I won’t screw over innocent policyholders, but this company can go suck a big one.”
I then sat back like Peter Gibbons and said “ball’s in your court, guys.
I gotta tell you: I’ll support you either way on this.”
Honest to God this is exactly how it went down. Just about everything was paraphrased, but more or less accurate to what happened, with the exception of that final line “I’ll support you either way on this.” That’s a verbatim quote and line I’ll always look back on with pride.
My boss and my boss’s boss’s boss just looked at each other and had absolutely no idea what to do. Eventually, my boss’s boss’s boss looked at me and said:
“Well, I have to say, usually people aren’t that honest. I appreciate you being so direct and honest with me.
I guess you can go back to work now.”
So I did. Of course, being the little crap I am I shook his hand before I left and said that it was nice meeting him.
I spent the next month more or less doing what I wanted to at the company.
I still treated customers who deserved it with respect (except for the very last one, but that’s another amazing story), but now I didn’t use the corporate script, upsell anything that wasn’t relevant to the customer, or worry about any of the moronic scores or quotas.
I kept to our bargain and stayed home on days that I felt like staying home and usually rolled in 30-45 minutes late to avoid rush hour traffic.
Eventually, my last day came and I did a final no-call, no-show, which was perhaps the best one ever.
I ignored all 5 of my boss’s messages, took the weekend off, and started student teaching the next Monday. I’m now on my 8th or 9th year teaching and there has never been a time when I didn’t look back at the end of my tenure at Geico with anything other than pride.”
10. Want Me To Deliver Different Designs? As You Wish
“I am an artist and graphic designer. I’ve worked on comics, video games, webtoons, and the like, and I’m pretty successful at it as a freelancer. I’ve recently left my design team and have been flying solo with some decent success.
Got a fairly big project from a group making a sort of Adult Choose Your Own Adventure interactive comic; I’ve been hired to design the girls, monsters, and some items based on guidelines from a scenario book. Since it’s easy enough and adult projects pay well, though don’t go into my main resume, I took it.
The cost of the project broke down like this, each character was determined to be 250 for a figure. So front, back, side, are each 250. With accessories, outfits, and stuff being an additional 100 to 250 depending on difficulty. There are multipliers and caveats for character difficulties, like hair, curls, lace, and things that will take more time.
Request, redraws, and all that is extra after the initial sketch work has been approved and anything outside the scope of the guidelines.
So if you ask me to design a freckle-faced redhead, and I do that, and you decide she should be blonde or raven-haired, I’m gonna charge you for that.
There were 16 characters, 12 monsters, and a whole lot of treasures, trinkets, and accessories to draw. So this was a big project for me and about three weeks of solid 9 to 5 work. I got right on it.
Now the scenario writer, we’ll call her Jessica, was cool.
Her notes were clear. She was very organized. Had a spreadsheet and pdf with hyperlinks to examples and visuals. Was everything you wanted with doing this kind of work. No mystery, no guessing. I knew EXACTLY what she wanted.
The other guy, the lead writer…
Yen, this man was a headache and a half.
My contract covered everything I discussed above and some more. Royalties and whatnot. But specifically spoke about changes, fixes, and alterations outside of the scope of the guidelines. Something someone apparently did not tell this idiot.
The first 8 designs went well. Working with Jessica was easy. She approved everything quickly, though didn’t sign off on them. I think it was because she was to present them to someone else for final approvals or something. She only wanted minor changes, and commended me for sticking close to her vision from the guidelines ‘she’ created; then she got sick and the project’s director told me Yen was going to be approving the designs from here on out.
Yen did not like anything and wanted me to change everything. This character is African American, why does she have that hair? Why don’t you give her an afro or cornrows? Not only a bad idea but also kind of offensive.
Don’t we already have a blonde, why can’t this one have purple hair and a thicker body? Why is this one ‘fat’? She was not fat, she was like Mei from overwatch, and personally the scenario writer’s favorite design. There were notes about every little aspect of that character and I knew I got it right.
In the end, all of the changes he asked for would make the girls look kind of the same, just pallet swaps, with very little difference. Like they were all to his own personal aesthetic, not like a balanced roster like Jessica wanted.
I tried to explain to him about the changes, the contracts, and all of that. But he was rude, condescending, and disrespectful. He even said ‘they didn’t know why we were paying me so much, there are better artists on Deviant Art.’ which, I’ll say yes there are.
But they wouldn’t work with you jerk.
He demanded more changes, and more fixes, and a lot of stuff outside the scope of the project. And threatened to terminate my contract using one of the clauses, which would say that I was not working up to the ability and aesthetic displayed when I was hired.
Basically, my art wasn’t at the same level as my portfolio and gallery. They’d only pay for half of the total work no matter what was done, and everyone would cut their losses.
He brought this up almost every time I brought up how his changes were against the contract, he’d say he read the contract, but I didn’t think he had; cause he was also disapproving designs that Jessica had already approved; and told me to just do what I was told or he would find someone better.
When I complained to the Project Manager, they differed from the writer and didn’t really wanna listen to me about the contract. So if they didn’t care, I didn’t care.
I did all of his stupid designs. All of his accessories and changes, everything that he wanted.
I was happy and enthusiastic. All of those great designs I did for Jessica were replaced and I got written confirmation that he was rejecting the designs and that he wanted the new ones. I did everything I was asked, cause I knew how this was going to go down.
Eventually, Jessica returned and was livid about the new designs. The other person above her and the writer, was also upset, as they had liked all of the original designs and, according to the contract, I was to be paid a crap ton more for all the changes and edits.
But here is where my compliance became malicious.
In the contract, I specifically write that I can keep any rejected designs. This is a hard point that I write about in all my freelance contracts. I do not want you keeping good designs you didn’t pay for, or hitting me with a, you made it while working for us type deal.
I keep and own any rejected design. So, all of those ultra-specific great designs Jessica wanted were legally mine.
Apparently, not only did the rest of the folks working on their team not like the samey and frankly pedestrian look to all the girls I designed, he didn’t care at all about the beasts, monsters, and men; but they’d seen most of the ones I sent to Jessica.
But I had in writing the rejections for those designs and the acceptance for others. When they wanted them back, I charged them, full price for those designs, except the one with the curvy Mei girl, I gave that to Jessica.
They ended up having to hire me to redesign the girls according to the guideline, as my art would be used in areas of the game, promotion, and apparently the companion book, and they didn’t want to use the lame designs or switch out to another artist who could recreate my style.
They ended up paying me almost double what I was to be paid for the entire project, and despite hating to fork over the bucks, ended up paying me a retainer for some more work down the line.
Yen was demoted to being a scenario writer for this project and no longer allowed to talk to the artist.
I know this cause the new lead writer, Jessica, told me. Also apologized for Yen’s behavior and stuff. Yen spent the entire time doing all this blaming me and sending me passive-aggressive texts, but I told him if he didn’t like it, he could always go hire an artist from Deviant Art.
Moral of the story is. If you want to tout ‘following the contract’ or threaten me with our contract, you best have read that contract more carefully. You might not like my compliance.”
9. Concerned About Finances? Our Meetings Are About To Get Funner AND Cheaper
How can he be mad now?
“In the early teens of this century, I was the Chief Information Officer of a large organization in my country. As a result of my “problem-solving skills”, the Managing Director, let’s call him, Paul, once in a while added “problematic departments” to my responsibilities.
I even ran the Communications department for a while. My star within the organization was rising, and at a certain moment, I was informed that I would get a new office. Right next to Paul: “for easy access.”
I also struck up a good working relationship with the Chief Human Resources, Harry, and one of the Senior Directors, Pete.
We’d regularly huddle in so-called “working meetings” where we would drink coffee, discuss work and life and watch hilarious YouTube videos.
One of the topics that regularly came up was the meeting room situation. The Board had decided that the meeting rooms were outsourced to a third party to rent out and the third party paid a monthly fee.
However, the third party charged us as well. So every time we wanted a staff meeting we had to pay for the pleasure. This was a regular peeve, as every extra would cost something. The coffee on every floor was free of charge, except in the meeting rooms.
The big supporter of this was our own Chief Financial Officer, Marc. Much hated by all, he would check everyone’s spending line by line and would hammer you on every mistake, but if his department made a mistake he’d send an email along the lines of “mistakes will be made, deal with it”.
The man had zero friends within the organization.
During one of the management meetings, Marc went off on a totally off-topic rant concerning financial waste. Much sighing and irritated looks from all around.
Paul, aware that we disliked Marc, did defend him by stating that we should cut back on spending and look at cheaper alternatives for everything.
All of us concurred: we just wanted Marc to shut up.
After the meeting, Harry and Pete walked up to me: “go for lunch?” So we did. Harry started to say that he had gotten an idea. He explained it over lunch.
Our eyes twinkled out of sheer maliciousness… Pete would talk to Paul to get him to agree on principle, without explaining the details, and we would execute our plans.
A day later Pete passed by my office and, broadly smiling, just said “we have a go!”
And thus the wheels were set in motion.
I write a mail to my departments that the next staff meeting will be held in a nice bar next to a lake, and that the drinks and snacks will be on the company. First, we will have a staff meeting, which I hope we can keep to the bare essentials, and afterward, it’s a free for all.
Prospects are it will be sunny, so bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Airbeds and beach balls are obligatory; office dress is voluntary. If people want to swim afterward, that’s their choice. The positive reactions from employees are overwhelming. Harry has done it in his department as well, the same result.
In the next few days, a vibe goes through the departments: people are happy, motivated, and seem to be a bit giggly.
The day arrives. Sitting on a beach under a warm sun, with cold drinks in hand (because we’re not barbarians), my staff and I work through the staff meeting in record time.
All departmental heads have prepared written reports and distributed them via mail in advance. So the only thing I do is “Comments?, no comments? Next item”. The rest of the afternoon is seeing grownup people behave like kids, splashing water all over the place, sunbathing, and enjoying a drink.
Two days later I am called into Marc’s office. I walk in, doing my best impersonation of a saint, filled with an air of holy innocence. A vein on his beet-red head is bulging. I position myself strategically at the meeting table so that I can duck when his head explodes.
“What in the heck is this!” He throws down the bill for the staff meeting. I glance at it: 800 bucks or there about for thirty-odd people. Drinks, snacks, and the rental of some beach beds. Well within limits.
“That is a bill for my staff meeting”.
“That’s not a staff meeting, that is a staff outing, and that should be authorized in advance by Paul with a budget!”
“No, that is a staff meeting. I would like to remind you that how and when I conduct my staff meetings is my sole responsibility.
Furthermore, you emphasized during our last management meeting that we needed to cut back on costs and look for alternatives. So, I did. Let me ask you, if I rent a meeting room for 30+ people here, for half a day, with coffee and tea, a projection screen, access to the network, and a projector, how much does that come to?”
He does some quick calculations and comes to roughly 1,200 bucks.
With an angelic face, I look at him: “So, I saved about 400 bucks, now what exactly is the problem?”
The way he contorts his face makes me fear we will have to get an ambulance. “The meeting room rental is a source of income for us, we must support them! I will not stand for this! We are seeing Paul right now!”
“Sure, whatever floats your boat.”
So off we go and march into Paul’s office.
There Marc explains the whole affair, while I keep looking innocent. Paul lets me explain my side of the story and I reference the calculation.
Paul smiles: “In my opinion a very creative way to cut costs and enhance morale, I wish more people would think this way.
And may I remind you, Marc, that it was you yourself who stated that we should look at everything. Maybe you should try it as well”. With those words he makes a subtle gesture we all know means “you are dismissed”.
As we make our way out of the office, Paul calls me back: “Oh, can you stay for a moment, and close the door, I would like to discuss something with you.” So, I close the door and sit down.
“Of course, Pete had already briefed me, and I personally signed off on it, as I really think it is creative and hilarious.
I’ll allow it, as it has a positive effect on employees. However, don’t force Marc to have a heart attack, he is a bit of a jerk.. I know, but he’s also good at his work.”
“So you don’t mind if we yank his chain once in a while?”
“Yank away, maybe he will loosen up.”
“Well, ehm, you also know that Harry has done the same?”
“I know, I’m looking forward to the tantrum with the bulging vein already”.
At that exact moment some pretty salty language makes its way through the door, and about as dry as a martini, Paul says: “I think Harry’s staff meeting bill has turned up.”
From that moment on Paul became a regular participant in our “working meetings.” Our staff meetings became pretty well visited after that, with a soundtrack of the gnashing of teeth of one certain colleague.”
Another User Comments:
“Don’t understand what setup you had that allowed meeting rooms to be outsourced.
I can’t imagine my place allowing non-employees to use our meeting rooms. Other departments who had their own buildings did, on occasion, but no outsiders.” Zoreb1
“Apparently the organization had in the past gotten quite a few requests for the meeting rooms. Representative building, ample parking, and an almost palatial entrance. So, being Dutch: we could earn some bucks here…” ReneBekker
8. Are You Sure You Want Me To Re-Grade Your Work "Accurately"? Sure, It Looks Like I Made A Mistake!
“As much as I’d like to start this off by saying things like “Let me tell you a little bit about me”, or “I’m so petty I performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2008” and then go into a diatribe about just how petty I could be, this is far from the truth.
Perhaps in some alternate petty-verse where over a dozen college students were playing the part of (and absolutely nailing) whiny middle school students complaining about course requirements… or if they happened to begin to repeatedly harass me by way of being on ingrate demo mode, or spinning the wheel-of-you-suck-at-teaching to come up with yet another complain-sult wrapped in a thinly veiled “question” about me and how I run my course….perhaps then I’d let nature take it’s “course” and let my pettiness bloom, like a flower transplanted from an artificial habitat to a campus-bordering field, in the form of malicious compliance.
And wouldn’t you know it? Somehow. Some way. Petty finds a way.
That being said, I really try to be a positive, supportive, caring, empathetic, far-from-sardonic college instructor. My clientele, as referenced above, are mostly college-age students who enroll in what is basically a Pre-Algebra course my community college likes to call “College Math”.
I have the occasional young whiz kid who enrolls in my course to be super advanced. But for the most part, young adults in their 20s and 30s are who I teach, and Solving Systems of Equations by Substitution is currently what I teach them.
I have many students who struggle and require additional tutoring, and I’m always happy to oblige. There is this one student who I wish would show up to our makeshift tutoring group but never does…. let’s call her “Mara”.
Mara seriously acts like we’re back in high school, and interrupts my demonstrations (miraculously, because I literally direct instruct for 3-5 minutes before I popcorn around the room and treat it like a very large standard tutoring session).
“Mr. OP, my Dad says this isn’t the way to solve it…”, “Mr. OP, why don’t you teach at ASU? (our partnering major university we transfer students to) What did you do wrong that you’re teaching at this place?”, the list goes on and on.
For brevity’s sake (ha) I’ll make sure this story doesn’t.
We have an exam that about half the class got a 90 or better on, followed by most of the rest getting Bs, Cs, etc. I know that this community college, despite its cheap cost, still has many students on full scholarship for one thing or another, whether it be sports, personal hardships, activities, etc.
That being said, if I notice a student tanked the test I may just grade the thing on a curve to allow them to get the most points possible. This is what I chose to do for Mara, and she wound up with an 18/25 on her exam.
I typed in the score, took a glance at her paper afterward, and realized she actually missed yet another question, a major one, that would have brought her grade super super low. I decided to look the other way. Part laziness, part…
being nice. Let’s not say how much each part’s worth, but they ain’t equal.
So it’s time to return the tests that I already had graded in the system when Mara starts up with her questions again. They are literally too tiresome to include.
I will say her final piece, however: “Mr. OP, I noticed that you gave me an 18/25 on my last test, could I take a look at the test and see what I got wrong? I definitely didn’t miss that much.”
I tried to use inflection to let her know that she should probably just be happy with the 18, by saying “Yeahhhhh I thiiiiink I’d be happy with the 18 there kiddo.”
Then she suddenly dropped a petty pebble at the top of a snowy hill…
She continues…. this time standing, walking toward me, and pointing her Cruella de Vil finger at me, saying
“NO! You can’t just put WHATEVER you want for my grade, 18 out of 25 is not even possible!! I need to keep my GPA high because of all my scholarships!! You need to grade my test ACCURATELY!”
Enter PettyLicious Compliance.
I knew good and well that she did NOT deserve, by any stretch of the imagination, anywhere NEAR the 72% that 18/25 is. She didn’t master 72% of the content. She didn’t get 72% of the questions correct. I’ll be honest and say that when I grade dozens of exams I tend to look at the most important questions on each test and ensure these are 100 percent accurate.
I always pepper in some spiraling thinky-type questions, you know, stuff with rigor, but I don’t grade against it. If I ever make an error in grading, 150% of the time it favors the student.
I took her particular course’s papers out of my Blah-tache case, file through the exams and find her particular one, and look at it…
quizzically… then I look back at her while my head is still positioned toward the paper. I’m trying so hard to give her an out…she wouldn’t budge…
So I say “You know what? You’re right… I did make an error… oh, crud, more than one…
I then behind my desk where the students couldn’t see what I was looking at graded her paper right then and there. By this time I had memorized the answers to the exam without even needing to pull out the key, but I did so I made sure she knew I was grading it thoroughly…
you know, ACCURATELY.
She wound up with a 14/25. I handed it back to her right then and there, and let her know that I had changed the grade accordingly in her grade book. That 14 she got (one of the solutions to the system she just managed to solve for Y but not for X) turned her High C to a solid D.
She looked through the exam, scouring it, looking like the toy man from Toy Story, using an infinitely increasing series of overlapping lenses to look for one minuscule error on my part. I also made sure I took a picture of the test before handing it back, so she couldn’t pull the “See, I made it negative…
it’s right” sort of thing. She’s done that in the past.
She quickly whipped out her phone to see how much this grade impacted her overall. She was livid without a direction to hurtle it toward. I could see that this act of Petty MC on my part was a little too far…
I actually feel bad for “Mara.”
As she looked up at me I could see her eyes well up a little bit… it was that “too quiet” right before something bad was about to happen… My spidey senses were tingling (side note, this is why I hate Avengers End Game…
Spider-man looked surprised at his death… he should have sensed it, right? But I digress). Before she started to take her clenched arms (that she looked like she was trying to remove the top of the desk from its connected chair) and turn them on me, I offered a solution.
“Look. Mara. Remember you can do corrections on the exam for a fourth of the credit back, right? That will get you almost all of the points that you were gifted in the first place. Whaddya say?”
She sheepishly agreed, wound up with a 17.5 out of 25, and has yet to give me a hard time since… but I’m pretty sure my semester survey will suffer greatly.”
7. Undo All The Work I Just Did? I Guess I Can Do That
“This takes place several years ago at my former place of employment.
Working in an office setting is wild. I’m sure everyone has worked with someone or knows someone who has been at a company for a long time. Those people tend to be very stuck in their ways and view new people (people there less than 5 years) as at best an influx of new blood and at worse a temporary annoyance that will be gone in a few years while they will still be there.
Plugging away. Then you had the employees that hadn’t been there all that long but felt like they ruled the world due to their position. That they needed to know every bit of the goings-on, big and small, no matter the department.
And then there was a sprinkling of normal I just want to do my job type of people, the neutrals. And finally, the people who really loved their job. Those types of people were the nemesis of the unhappy because how dare they have so much enthusiasm for something that makes half of the office miserable.
I really loved my job. I was working at a non-profit helping our community. The agency did a lot but our main bread and butter were assisting the population with getting work. Not my department but I saw our agency as a body that needed all parts to work well.
We had a lot of resources including a “clothing store” that in theory had everything a person needed to look smart at an interview. In reality, we accepted any and all decorations no matter the size, age, brand, or style. This was a huge problem because half of the things were unusable for our target population.
For instance, Grandma dies and their well-meaning relative donates all her going-to-church clothes. 1980s skirt and blazer sets, stuff that’s wildly too big or out of style. Or a church had a clothing drive and someone gives all their teenage son/daughter’s outgrown clothes, which aren’t exactly work-appropriate or the correct size for our clients.
Our store looked like a second-hand store after a sale. It was packed, disorganized, and overwhelming. The worst part it was really no one’s job to maintain it. It was loosely under our marketing officer, who solicited donations, and apparently the manager of career services (which I didn’t know at the time).
The maintenance staff would cart stuff in there and random staff members would put stuff away when we had free time or needed something brainless to do. Every once in a great while we had volunteers come in and organize. That was it.
Now all the background is needed for the malicious compliance I was forced to hand out.
Our CEO was retiring after 4 decades of service to the agency. We were having a huge free community event; with bounce houses for kids, food, and building tours.
The day before all regular business concluded and we began preparing for the event. Which includes straightening our cubicles, decorating classrooms, etc.
I asked the marketing officer if I could straighten the clothing closet. She gave me the go-ahead, so I jumped in.
It took me all afternoon but when I was done everything was organized by men’s, women’s, type of clothing, and size. Like a normal store. A person could walk in and browse the racks and find things they could actually wear to a job interview! Throughout the day, I had many staff members stop in and remark on the change.
There were a lot of compliments and looks of disbelief at what I was able to get accomplished. The only issue was that I had a huge stack of trash bags full of clothes that would need to be taken to our fellow non-profit that dealt in more relaxed clothing standards.
I had arranged for maintenance to help me take the clothes in my car and his truck the next morning to their building. I felt all around good at what I was able to do and how I figured out everything so no one else had to worry about it.
Unfortunately, a load of crap was headed my way in the form of the manager of career services.
At the end of the work day, she came in and was upset that I completely went over her head and “emptied” the closet.
Organized is not empty and when I tried to explain that she didn’t care. She said that it was embarrassing because it looked like we had no clothes to offer our clients. One-half rack was empty except for hangers. I went on to say that the clothes I took out weren’t work-appropriate.
She said it wasn’t my job to decide that. She wasn’t wrong, but also it was a volunteer activity; it was no one’s job.
She was also mega mad at all the trash bags sitting in the hall full of clothes. The ones I planned on donating to another agency the next morning.
She said I couldn’t make those decisions that I was way overstepping my job title and that I had no respect for other departments. It was heartbreaking, here I thought I was helping by taking on a huge task and I actually created more work for other people.
Plus I was embarrassed and mad that such a huge problem was ignored till I was finished. Like why not stop me an hour in? Several people stopped in to look I know they went back and told her what I was doing.
I asked her what she wanted me to do and she said put it back.
So I did. I stayed over and emptied every trash bag and box I had carefully filled. That half-empty rack of hangers. Full to bursting, no rhyme or reason.
And while I was organizing new donations had come in. So they will have to just stay in their trash bags since I’m not qualified to know what is work appropriate. In the end, it looked exactly like it had before.
Actually, it looked worse if I’m being honest.
The next morning when she came in she was again so so so mad at me that it looked like chaos in there. I just shrugged and said you wanted me to put it back.
There wasn’t much room so I made it fit the best way I could. The CEO was super embarrassed and made sure when we did our tours we just stood in the doorway and explained what the store was for but didn’t let people go in.
I got in a load of crap from my manager and was generally disliked by that manager and a few of her team from there on out. I didn’t step foot in that store again and two months later they had a personal shopper donate their time and do exactly what I had done but somehow that was ok.
It was infuriating and I obviously didn’t decide to stay with the agency. I couldn’t take the pettiness. That whole experience really made me dislike coming to work and question why I put in a lot of extra work outside the scope of my job, which I also just dialed back to doing the bare minimum.”
6. Want Me To Stand To Wash Dishes While On Crutches? Sure, Manager
Sounds like a potential lawsuit.
“This process was built up over several incidents, leading to one, final, nail in the coffin.
To set the stage, this was an on-campus cafe almost exclusively staffed by student workers as work study. The only other people working there were the managers who had to be non-student workers (this is important for later).
The managers when we started were Day Manager (Brenda), Night Manager (Chris), and Flex Manager (Trudy). There was only one other non-student worker (Sandy) there at the time, who was hired to work the sandwich bar they installed that no one used because what college student is going to order a sub-par (ha) sandwich instead of french fries and a burger, or mozzarella sticks.
Brenda regularly gave special treatment to the day crew, insisting that the night crew were all lazy and didn’t do the job properly (despite us regularly having to clean up after the day crew who didn’t want to do any of the end-of-shift work).
One of those, “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean” types. Literally made us clean ceiling tiles once.
Chris was a fantastic guy. Really cared about the workers and the job, but got a lot of flack from Brenda because her crew could do no wrong and his crew was barely worth the little pay we got.
He eventually got a better job and we were super happy for him. HOWEVER, that meant that the night crew had no manager. And as previously stated since managers had to be non-student workers, and they couldn’t hire anyone new on such short notice…
Sandy got promoted to be the new night manager.
Sandy did not take the new position with grace and did not make any attempt to learn how the whole kitchen worked, she just made up rules on the fly as she thought it should be done, and attempted to enforce them, regardless of how absurd it would be (ie recipe changes, cook times, serving volumes, etc).
We, collectively, ignored her idiocy, but as I was the only white female on the night crew, she singled me out as the subject of her power-tripping nonsense.
While I was frustrated at the absurd rules she gave me, I followed them because I was 19, freshly out of a toxic relationship, and really needed the money.
First, I wasn’t allowed to be at the counter calling out and handing out orders because I “spent too much time talking to my friends” when in reality I was making small talk with the people ordering, you know, as one does in customer service.
Second, I wasn’t allowed to work in the kitchen, because I spent too much time talking and not enough time working when it was just that we all got along really well because the night crew was all friends outside of work, so we could chat and work really efficiently at the same time.
Lastly, I wasn’t allowed to work the front counter because that’s what she wanted to do.
So what did that leave for me to do? Minor cleaning, which did not take long, dishes, which also did not take long, and nothing. At one point I sat in the back next to a cooler for 4 hours on my phone because everything that I could have been doing I was expressly told not to do.
So I did as I was told, and did nothing.
During the middle of all this, she had taken over a mid-shift from Trudy, who was awesome and really understanding. There was an error on the schedule that showed me starting an hour before I actually came in.
I had addressed this with Trudy and Brenda, and both were fine with me showing up after my class got out, which put me in exactly one hour after my “start time.” Sandy called me multiple times that day she was filling in, but I did not answer as I was in class at the time.
I came in for my regular schedule and she refused to let me clock in. I had to call Brenda and leave her a message explaining the situation so that I didn’t get fired for not showing up for a shift.
All of this came to a head after I injured my ankle and was on crutches for 2 weeks. I don’t remember why, but I only had one shift during the 2 weeks I was on crutches. I spoke with Brenda and she told me and Sandy that I was to sit on a stool and work the register for my shift.
The stool was brought up, and on it, I sat for 3 of my 5 hours before Sandy decided that she had not inflicted her bullcrap on me that day and had to rectify that.
She told me I was no longer allowed to work on the register, and that I was to spend the remainder of my shift in the back standing and washing the massive pile of dishes.
Could I have fought her and insisted upon what Brenda had said? Sure, but I was in no mood to get yelled at in front of a long line of people, and I was in pain. We had already complained to Brenda and Trudy about her behavior toward me, and I had finally had enough.
Cue malicious compliance.
I put on a fake smile and said “of course, I’ll go back and spend the rest of my shift standing doing dishes” and hobbled my butt to the back and stood on one crutch for 2 hours washing dishes.
My friends who were waiting on me tried to get me to push back against her, but I told them that I was just going to do what I was told, and we would deal with it afterward.
The next day all 4 of us from the night crew wrote individual letters to the General Manager going over everything she had been doing to us during her time as a manager, including the incident from that night.
We finally had something happen that they couldn’t ignore or push to the side as a difference of opinion.
They gave her a stern talking to and told me that they didn’t say any names. But we all knew that she knew.
She refused to talk to me from then on, I could do what I wanted and actually do my work… for about a week until the power-tripping started again.
After that, within the span of a week, all 4 night crew members put in our 2 weeks’ notice, and after we left, the whole place was in shambles.
During the final 2 weeks that we were there, we were all very vocal about our issues with Sandy, and one day after a particularly brutal reprimand from what we heard, she just stopped showing up, but management had shown their true colors and we were over it.
The day crew didn’t know how to do prep, and the one person they pulled to do the night crew was so inefficient that they couldn’t keep up. They barely managed to stay afloat through the end of the semester.
The next semester a new company had taken over and revamped the cafe with most of the same food and such, but new branding and some new things added.
They also had taken over the cafeteria, which had originally been managed by the original company that ran the cafe. I felt bad for Trudy because she was awesome, but it was so satisfying watching a company’s downfall due to poor management and a little bit of malicious compliance.”
Another User Comments:
“You talk a lot about the shift manager but only mention the GM at the end.
Were they not made aware of the problems of the day shift not doing their job? Were they not made aware of the new night manager treating employees poorly? How did this go on for so long without the GM being involved?” Ranos131
“Upper management was very hands-off when it came to the cafe.
They were primarily concerned with the cafeteria. Their offices were in the same building as the cafeteria, but across campus from the cafe. Also, most of the issues that came up were during the night shift and on weekend shifts when they were not in, so it was hard to communicate in a timely fashion with them regarding those issues.
And even when we did communicate with them, they always deferred to DM when it was a “he said she said” situation. To them, it was just petty squabbles, and it seemed like they felt the issues were beneath them to deal with. Night crew at the cafe was the black sheep the entire time we were there, but until NM left, we at least had an advocate for us who gave a crap.” BrokenButStillGoing
5. Don't Care Which Saw We Use? Okay Then
“I (m18) do tree work for a living and have for around 2 years now. My boss (who I’ll call Duncan) is a 32-year-old hotshot and the owner of our small company, who can sometimes be a real tool when things aren’t going fast enough on a job.
Now Duncan has an old family friend named Fred. Fred worked with Duncan’s stepfather at a cement plant for 20 years and is his stepfather’s best friend. Fred also retired from said cement plant. Fred is the kind of man who would give you the shirt off his back while being an absolute vindictive smart-aleck about you not having a shirt.
However, Fred was working for Duncan as a favor, since Duncan was understaffed at the time. Because of this, Fred couldn’t give a flying crap about his job or what Duncan said or did. Fred took as many breaks as he wanted, when he wanted to, and wouldn’t hesitate to tell you where to stick your opinion if you said something about it.
Fred is also a complete bull of a man, who stands at a hearty 6’3 and 275 lbs, and easily makes Duncan (5’10 and 160 lbs) look like a shrimp, so usually, Duncan isn’t too quick to bother him.
So one day we were all doing our thing on the job, we had a big ole pin oak to take down, so we were all in our usual positions.
Jake up in the bucket truck, James running our loader, and Fred and I chipping brush and shooting the breeze (although I’ll admit we were slightly slacking off). Duncan decided he was going to sharpen all of the chainsaws that were not currently in use, so he gets to work.
Now for those of you who don’t know, sharpening a saw takes a while, and on top of that all of our saws were extremely dull, so they took a lot of sharpening… in 95-degree heat… while being stooped down on the door of one of the boxes on our bucket truck.
Duncan was sharpening saws for the better part of two hours (8 saws).
When he finished we had the vast majority of the tree cut down, all of the branches were off and Fred and I had long since shut down the chipper, and were taking our lunch since we had nothing to do, as wood is moved from the ground to the dump trailer by James in the loader.
For some reason, the fact that we had 20 minutes more work infuriated Duncan. This is especially odd because the tree was coming down very quickly compared to usual, as it was Friday and we were all hoping to cut off early as we sometimes did.
Duncan flew off the handle, screaming at us for the better part of 10 minutes (which ironically extended us to 30 minutes more on the job rather than 20) and he ended his tirade with “I’M LEAVING TO GO DO ESTIMATES FINISH AND GO CUT FIREWOOD AT THE YARD, YOU WILL NOT BE CUTTING OFF A SECOND BEFORE 330.” As Duncan stormed away Fred piped up from the back of the group just as sweet as pie with anticipation dripping from his voice “Hey lipstick which saw do you want us to use?” to which Duncan replied, “I don’t give a crap” and stormed away.
Fred and I smiled at each other, thinking the same thing.
When we arrived back at the yard we began getting saws off the truck, from the smallest of trim saws to the largest brand spankin’ new Stihl MS 881 Magnum with a 42 in bar that we use to cut particularly large stubs.
Fred and I both grabbed a saw and fired them up. We began to cut, and cut, and cut, and cut. For almost 3 hours we cut firewood, making sure to hit the dirt with the saws as much as possible, and going through every saw until they were almost unusable from how dull they were.
Trust me if anyone knows how to dull a saw quickly, it’s a tree professional. Fred and I were having the time of our lives, dancing and singing and cracking jokes while we cut while screaming to be heard over the painful wailing of saws being tortured.
When 330 rolled around we threw the saws back in the truck and went home, and I still swear to this day that I heard Fred singing at the top of his lungs as he rolled out of the lane in a cloud of black smoke, which may have been his crankshaft eating some gaskets.
Monday when we got to work, we rolled out to the job sight, and Duncan fired up the mammoth Stihl to crash a huge hickory tree in the middle of the woods, he began to cut, or should I say grind, the tree.
The wood was smoking from the terrible amount of friction from a saw that was as dull as it could get. Duncan stopped, he checked the chain, he got another saw and checked the chain, dull. He went through every saw and checked chains, getting redder and redder.
He walked over to me and Fred. “Fred, Blake why is every saw dull?” to which Fred responded “well Duncan you told us that you ‘don’t give a crap,’ which saw we used so we used them all, that shouldn’t be an issue right, since you ‘don’t give a crap,'” to which Duncan sighed knowing exactly what we did, and walked off to sharpen all the saws again.
Fred was, is, and always will be my hero and my best friend. He is currently back to living the retired life of working on cars and fishing. Many days I miss him and his offhanded comments, but I am carrying on his legacy of smart-aleck-ery.”
4. Suddenly Make Me Pay For Everything For The Car If I Want To Keep It? Then I Don't Want It
“I am one of the youngest from a very large family. My mom passed away when I was 10. My dad, bless his heart, was from the generation where the man worked and the woman took care of everything at home.
When my mom passed away, the responsibility of “everything at home” fell on the kids. By the time I was 11, I was regularly cooking dinner for 8-10 people. I had a long list of chores. Truly, it was fine. I’m sure I pitied myself some because my friends didn’t have these responsibilities, but I really had a great childhood, minus the dead mom thing.
When I was 16, my dad got me a car. I paid for gas with babysitting money; my dad paid for insurance and maintenance. I had to get my little sister and myself to and from school. I had to do the grocery shopping.
I had to get the two of us to practices and meets. I had to run chores. I was responsible for driving her wherever she needed to go. My day consisted of getting to school, getting home, grocery store, making dinner if it was my turn, homework, practice, and bed.
Meets were on weekends. I NEVER went out. I was never in trouble. I was an honors student. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but I was a good kid. All was well, relatively.
AND THEN: my dad got a new partner.
Her kids were in high school with me. She told him that if I got to have a car, I should be fully responsible for it. After all, HER kids were. So my dad sat me down and said, “I’ve decided that if you want a car, you have to pay for it.
I expect you to take over payments, maintenance, and insurance.” I told him I couldn’t afford that. He told me I’d have to get a job. I said I had no time for a job. He told me I’d have to figure it out.
So: cue malicious compliance, I guess. I went and got my keys and handed them to him. I told him I didn’t want the car anymore. He was a little shocked, but I guess he thought I’d come crawling back for it soon.
The next morning, my sister and I “missed the bus”. I had to wake him up so he could drive us to school. He was MAD. We got a ride home from school. At 5:30, when dinner was supposed to be on the table, I was reading on the couch.
He came home, “where is dinner?” I said, “oh, I didn’t have a car to get to the store. I’m sure there are some leftovers you can heat up.” He told me I’d have to start walking to the store. I told him I didn’t have time! Finals were coming up! Didn’t he care about my grades? An hour later, I told him it was time for practice.
My sister and I needed a ride to and from practice. He told me to call a friend. “Sorry, I can’t. No one on the team lives in this town. It would be really out of the way for anyone else.” He drove us.
Then he picked us up, silently fuming the whole way.
The next morning, oops! We missed the bus again! I had to wake him up AGAIN, plus he had no orange juice in the morning, on account of no one going to the store.
Once again, no dinner on the table. He had to drive me to the store when he got home. Once again, we needed a ride to practice. I informed him that the meet that weekend was an hour away and we had to be there at 9.
That was enough for him. It was probably the most parenting he’d done in 30 years of being a father. He called me to the top of the stairs. He tossed my car keys up to me. “I’ve decided you can have your car back.
I’ll pay for half of the payment and half of the insurance. You can only use it for school, practice, meets, chores, and driving your sister.” I laughed, tossed the keys back, and said “that’s all I use it for, anyway.
I don’t want the car. Sell it.”
Five minutes later, he’s SCREAMING my name from the bottom of the stairs. He overhand whips the keys up the stairs. Y’all, my dad never got mad. His new deal was he’d pay for everything but gas, but I wasn’t allowed any personal use of the car.
I said “so, I have to pay to do chores and I get no benefit from it? No, thank you” and I tossed the keys back down the stairs.
Half an hour later, he demands my presence in the living room. He calmly said he would pay for everything but gas, I can use the car when I wanted but…I had to do all the stuff I’d previously been doing without complaint until his girl got into his head. He didn’t phrase it like that, of course. Then he said, “I hope you learned a lesson here.” I did. Lol, I certainly did.”
3. Don't Give Me Enough Time To Get A Project Done? Your Labor Costs Will Be Higher Than Anticipated
“Years ago I worked for a big box office supply retailer in Canada. During my last three or so years there, I was a member of what they called the Project Team. The purpose of this team was to travel the country and work on the physical appearance of different locations.
One project might be a week-long $500k “minor” renovation to modernize the looks, physically move one or two aisles around, and rework some of the planograms. The next project might be a multi-million dollar new build that would take many weeks and would involve taking over operations once our construction contractors were nearing completion and we were expecting a couple dozen fully loaded trailers of merchandise to arrive.
Occasionally, though far less often than one would think, we would come into a store that was being shut down and help facilitate the movement of products to other locations before turning the lights off for good.
This particular project was one of my first major ones since joining the team, so I wasn’t terribly familiar with timelines and how long things should take, but this one was a relocation job.
We were shutting down one store and reopening it in an old Chapters building a few blocks away. The time given was three weeks (I believe, though might have been four… It’s been a decade since this happened) to open the new location, and the closure would take an additional week.
We also had a brand new hire working as our Project Coordinator, though the two directly below him were experienced members and would help smooth out any wrinkles, but the PC had the ultimate say on how things would proceed. The hard opening was scheduled for Day Zero and Home Office had hired a local radio station to host a couple of their morning DJs there, had set up a traditional Chinese celebration including dragon dancers, and a couple of local politicians were to cut the ribbon.
So we couldn’t easily reschedule should any major issues arise.
The first couple of weeks went smoothly. We brought on two dozen temp workers to help put the shelving units together and start setting up products and planograms. I was put in charge of receiving the seemingly endless train of trucks dropping off new products and ensuring there were no discrepancies.
A few small hiccups occurred but nothing that couldn’t be quickly solved with a polite, yet firm phone call to the offending freight company’s dispatch team to run traces on missing pallets and to hotshot them here asap once found.
By now we were starting the third week of six ten-hour shifts and we discovered things were starting to slowly fall apart during our Monday morning scrum.
We had finished installing the networking gear and set up the store computers and POS systems, but nothing would connect or talk to one another. This meant none of the products we had received could be properly put into the system to show on-hands.
Registers wouldn’t talk to anything, so even if we could show stock, we wouldn’t be able to charge any customers. Even the internal network that would allow the copy center to print to different printers wouldn’t work. Then we realized we were starting to fall behind on getting planograms set up, there was a furniture pad that had yet to see a single desk or chair constructed, and a million tiny tasks had yet to be addressed.
It basically amounted to two weeks’ worth of work needing to be done in one. We warned Home Office but couldn’t get an extension on the opening. It had to open by the end of that week, no excuse.
Ten-hour shifts turned into twelve, which quickly turned into fourteen-hour shifts.
The hotel staff were fantastic and took pity on us, allowing special outside hours access to the rooftop hot tub as we usually didn’t get back until after it normally closed and we needed nothing more than a hot soak and cold beer at the end of each day.
The final day of prep rolled around and we’re still at least a day behind. That morning at seven we load up on Starbucks and Red Bull and warn our temps that it will be a long day. We tell them that if they’d like to stay, it’s guaranteed double time pay for whatever extra time they put in, but no hurt feelings if they just want to bug out at the normal time.
Five rolls around and the majority of the temps take off, leaving just six behind. A couple more leave after two or three hours as they have other obligations. We’re now down to four temps and our core internal team of six.
Midnight decides to arrive and our network finally goes online. The mad dash to finalize all that. Two in the morning makes a shy appearance, only to find all of us passed out on chairs for a quick nap. Mind you, we’re still all punched into work since seven that morning.
Short nap finishes and we make a mad dash to at least give an appearance of a finished project. A few hours later around seven, we start seeing regional and district managers showing up, along with the staff that will work at this location.
We’re basically delirious from a lack of proper sleep, yet we’re not done. Next up is to put on our manager uniforms and help with the grand opening, just in case something pops up that needs our help. Ten in the morning finally arrives and our PC tells us to go home, and that he’ll explain to Payroll why we just pulled a twenty-seven-hour shift.
Understandably it took a bit of convincing from our leadership team to actually prove that our punch times were correct and even more finagling to override the payroll systems to ensure we were properly paid as whoever had programmed the software had never considered any sane person would work that long in a single shift.
Needless to say, my next big project with a similar scale was miraculously expanded to run for six weeks instead.
It was a nice paycheque, though.”
2. Just Make Up A Number? I Can Do That!
“I was working at a big public transport company. One of my duties was to check passengers at our means of transport (I will refer to them as units) and patrolling at our region. Sometimes at our own discretion and otherwise we had to check particular sections or a subsection based on different circumstances and information.
For administration purposes, we had to log the number of passengers of every unit we checked or travelled within our daily report. At some point, there was a change in how a certain subsection was operated, which caused more trouble and aggression to coworkers and other people.
This situation had the attention of our headquarters and even national politics. So we were supposed to patrol and check this subsection on a daily basis.
While this wasn’t always fun to do, we did what we had to. Checking some units during our patrol and log some numbers if we encountered any passengers and if not we only logged the specific unit we checked without a number of checked passengers.
No big deal, until they changed something in our logging system so we had to log a number, zero was no longer an option.
I immediately noticed this and went to my manager. The following conversation went something like this.
Me: Hey manager there is a change in our logging system and now I have to log a number of checked passengers, even if I didn’t see anyone or didn’t check that unit.
What should I do?
Manager: Hey OP, yeah I heard something about this. No big deal, just log a number as you see fit. It doesn’t matter.
Me: So basically you want me to make up a number and to lie in my daily report? Or expect you I count every single person?
I don’t say you have to lie but you have to log something, and I don’t expect you to count every single person if you do check a unit.
Me: So you want me to make something up, right?
Manager: Yeah, just use your own best judgement.
Me: Okay, but if I have to make something up I will do it in such a way it’s very clear and obvious. Agreed?
This is where my malicious compliance started.
So the next time I had to patrol and check specific units, I made it clear the number of checked passengers was not realistic.
For every single unit I travelled with, I logged 9999 or 99999 checked passengers. Clearly a made-up number. I made it my goal to mess up the numbers.
As it is a very big company, numbers are a bit too important for them sometimes and I hated that.
I continued with this style of logging for months and even encouraged one or two coworkers to do the same, especially when patrolling at the before mentioned high-risk subsection.
Months goes by without any change or questions and maybe half a year later my manager called me in.
Manager: Hey OP, headquarters called me because they got questioned by the department of transportation after someone in the house of representatives (or whatever it’s called in my country) was asking how it was possible the number of (checked) passengers, at the mentioned subsection, has increased with millions.
(To be honest, based on the maximum capacity, this wasn’t even possible.) Do you have any idea why I called you in?
Me: Yes, I know exactly why this is possible. (Meanwhile grinning like a lunatic) As I told you something like half a year ago after our logging system changed, I was going to make sure every time I checked a unit and had to make up a number, I was going to make it very obvious that it was not a realistic number so it should have been obvious it was a lie.
If I remember correctly I logged 9999 or 99999 at every single unit I was on during my patrol. But I guess you want me to change this? (Chuckling a bit)
Manager: YES, please stop what you were doing and make it more realistic.
I had orders to write you up and give you a formal reprimand, but now you mention it, I do remember we talked about it and you told me what you were going to do. So in good faith, I cannot give you a write-up or something worse, but please don’t do this again.
There were too many higher-ups and members of the department upset about this.
Me: Okay boss I got it, no problem. From now on I will log only 1 single person a unit.
Manager: NO, please don’t, keep it more realistic and guess upon the maximum capacity and the percentage of people in it.
Me: Okay, also not a problem. I will keep it more realistic from now on.
Manager: Thanks, and please don’t ever put me in this position again. You are probably the first employee who caused this much trouble with the house of representatives, the department of transportation and headquarters just by himself.
Me: Ooh my gosh, really? Hehe (meanwhile laughing and grinning.)
Manager: Yes, really. (Also laughing at this moment.)
At this point, the numbers were so messed up they were no longer useful for anything serious. The upside was, there was a lot more attention to the issues we encountered in that subsection.
Even now, a few years later, I can have a good chuckle about it.”
1. Work Even Though I May Be Sick? I'll Still Work My Shift Like I Was Asked
It’s shocking how many managers are like this.
“This was last summer when I was an Assistant Manager at Drama-nos. My state was one of the worst ones affected during 2020. Yet, we were one of the ones who didn’t completely shut down.
We had a curfew, but hardly anyone enforced it.
My youngest child’s father and I have a 50/50 custody agreement where we basically alternate having her three to four days a week every week. I’ll have her the first half, he the latter half.
Now, this was a Wednesday and I would go drop my daughter off at her paternal grandma’s house. When I got there, her dad was there, and I was met with a blunt, “So we’ve been exposed to a contagious sickness,” as I let the two-year-old run in.
No text message. No call. Nothing to tell me AHEAD of time to tell me TO NOT BRING MY CHILD OVER.
I asked how, and apparently, he and his mom had a lady who lived down the street whom they would help out.
She had a medley of health problems, and I guess she was too ashamed to tell them she tested positive? I don’t care. No excuse to put people in danger.
I freaked out, like, “Why would you tell me fifteen minutes before I have to go to work?” They kinda just shrugged and didn’t say anything.
I don’t like arguing with these people, you can’t fix stupid sometimes. I decided to leave our daughter there since, if anything were to happen, they lived five minutes from the hospital, whereas I lived in the neighboring town that had no big hospital.
I got in my car and called my GM.
Now, for a little backstory, my GM is an absolute piece of work. He’s a nice dude, but he absolutely sees his job as a title and a perk as opposed to being a responsibility.
He’s a year younger than me, can’t manage his finances, and has a knack for nepotism. That being said, I WAS his friend before getting hired, but he wasn’t the GM at the time of my hiring. I actually almost didn’t get hired because of that, but I proved myself, and the old GM and I are still really good friends.
In the last year, he had hired his mom, his partner, his baby mama, and his best friend. All of which lived in the same house. We also moved to a new location, which was nice, but also stressful. He and his girl welcomed her first, his second child, a son, that February, and he had a five-year-old with his baby mama, who he made his other assistant manager.
In her defense, she used to be the GM of Taco Bell but quit and came to Drama-nos, so she did have some experience, not that she gave a crap. Nor did he. He was the type of manager who was friends with everyone, but if it came down to confrontation, he absolutely couldn’t do it.
If drivers started throwing cussing tantrums in front of customers, instead of writing them up and sending them home, he’d scream and cuss back. He had no issue nit-picking me for stupid crap like leaving half-full pans in the cooler…like you’re supposed to, just because he didn’t want to make extra trips to fill things in the morning…which is literally his job.
Now that we’ve laid the scene of where I worked and who I worked with, I give him a call to explain what literally just happened. “Hey, GM, I just found out that I may have been exposed to sickness in the last ten minutes…uh…yeah…so…yeah…” I wait.
“Um….wow…okay…uh…you’ll have to call (baby mama) and see if she can take your shift.” Me, rolling my eyes knowing darn well she’s lazy and plays the pregnancy card. Oh yeah, she is also pregnant with HER man’s baby, who also lives with them.
(Meaning their five-year-old got two new siblings in the same year). “Okay. I’ll let you know.” I call her. She doesn’t answer. I call her on Messenger, and she answers and hangs up. I message her and tell her it’s me.
She calls. I answer, I explain. When I say, “Would you be able to cover for me?” Click.
Really? Now I’m mad. You CAN just say no instead of playing phone tag with me. I message the GM and head home. He tells me, “Well, if she can’t come in, you have to work.”
“Are you freaking joking right now? I have to go get tested!”
“Do you feel any symptoms?”
“…IT LITERALLY JUST HAPPENED AND YOU CAN BE ASYMPTOMATIC.”
“Yeah, but, you’re an essential employee.
You can work while sick.”
At this point, my professionalism went completely out the door. Again, I couldn’t believe how stupid people can be.
“A. I’VE NEVER RECEIVED ANY FORM OF DOCUMENTS STATING I’M ‘ESSENTIAL’. Even though I’m a food worker, I call bullcrap.
B. Even if I AM, THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU WORK WHEN YOU’RE SICK, YOU IDIOT. I CAN GET EVERYONE ELSE SICK. WHAT WILL YOU DO IF EVERYONE COMES DOWN WITH ILLNESS BECAUSE YOU MADE ME COME TO WORK?”
Again, this was all over messenger, so I couldn’t hear his tone, but I could sense the smugness.
“If it happens, we’ll figure it out. Be on oven. Just wear a mask and gloves and try to stay six feet away from everyone.”
I’m livid now. Being on oven means CUTTING the food. Not putting it in a 350 ° oven to kill germs.
And the oven is three feet away from the computer drivers need to sign in and out on. Also, the heat rack is right next to the cutting table. There is no possible way that his logic will work.
Well, as said, he also hired his girl.
Who had just had a baby five months prior. I also had a few other employees who had elderly parents and children, who took sickness as seriously as I did.
Cue malicious compliance.
The people I mentioned were ALL on shift that night.
So I went. I put on a mask and some vinyl gloves I had at home, opened the back door, knowing people would come to me, since I was in charge. I find out GM had left before I even let him know the status of his baby mama.
He literally left because he didn’t want me to confront him to his face. Which was fine, his girl was on her way in.
The first one that walked toward me was a driver who never keeps his mouth shut. Perfect for my plan.
“STAY AWAY, I’VE BEEN EXPOSED.” His eyes widen, and he immediately turns and walks the other way. I stay in the back, in the office, and wait for everyone else to come back, especially after being told what I said.
My closest friend there comes to the back, looking puzzled.
I tell her bluntly what happened, and showed her, from afar, the exchange between GM and me. I was in tears because I knew how mad everyone would be for me showing up, but I was making a point. She immediately told me to hang on and called GM’s girl, who was pulling in at the time.
Again, she had a brand new baby. When she was told, she was even MORE furious than me. GM came home and didn’t even bother telling her or giving her a heads-up. So she called him and cussed him out. I, being the one in charge, asked them, “What do you want me to do.”
We’ve got this. Sorry GM made you come in.”
“No, I’m sorry for coming in and putting you at risk, but he literally told me to.”
I was gone for a week, negative test, and EVERYONE was angry with GM. He never owned up to it or apologized, and I was out of line for coming in in the first place and risking everyone, but gosh darn, why are people in authority positions so ignorant to common sense?”