People Disclose Their Amusing Malicious Compliance Revenge Stories
27. Prep The Whole Arm? I Was Told Not To Do That But If You Insist...
“Being a travel nurse in the operating room has its benefits; the pay, the ability to take time off between assignments, and the bits of malicious compliance that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Been at this hospital for two months.
I’ve worked with this particular surgeon a handful of times, but it’s always been the same procedure so I know what he wants for every step of the case. I’m about to start applying skin prep (another layer of antimicrobial security to prevent postop infection) to where the surgeon is going to operate; he always wants the armpit, front shoulder, and breast/chest of the specific side prepped.
We’re operating on the patient’s right side. They’re already asleep, and their right arm is padded and secured on an arm board. Before I start prepping, the scrub tech immediately says ‘You need to undo their arm (from the board) so that you can prep the whole arm.’ I tell them no, the surgeon wants it prepped this way, and the arm stays on the board.
This scrub tech hadn’t done this case with this doctor in quite some time either, but they still decided to explain how the whole arm should be prepped for this procedure. I ignored them.
I begin my prep. Less than a minute later, the charge nurse comes in to log in to a portable X-ray device (we travelers don’t often get credentials for those), and the scrub tech decides to ask the charge nurse how the surgical site should be prepped for this case, right in front of me.
The charge nurse backs up the scrub tech and tells me I should be prepping the whole arm in addition to the sites that I mentioned earlier. I protested, ‘But Dr. X doesn’t want that, he always wants the same areas prepped and draped accordingly.’ The charge nurse wasn’t budging, and they demand I unfasten the arm and do it their way instead.
I sigh and say okay. Cue malicious compliance. I prep the whole arm and am holding it in my sterile glove while waiting for the drapes and stockinette to be applied. All of a sudden, the most glorious thing happens: the surgeon arrives with the charge nurse still in the room.
‘Did you prep the WHOLE ARM?!’ he asked me.
‘Why did you do that? You’ve been here two months, how do you not remember the prep by now?!’
‘I was told to prep it this way.’
‘By who?! Who told you to do it this way?’
The surgeon was mad due to this delay; as a traveler, I’ve learned to take the heat for making small mistakes, and I was contemplating taking the fall for this so that we could just move on with the rest of the day.
But before I could speak, my charge nurse was actually humble and admitted that they told me to prep the whole arm. The doc looked at me. ‘Did you tell them how I prefer it to be done? ‘
The doc turned back to the charge nurse and proceeded to lambast her for delaying the case.
The scrub tech just stared blankly at the wall. But I didn’t look or listen, I just stood there enjoying the moment with the biggest menacing grin under my mask. It’s a nice day when someone else proves you were right.
Needless to say, I didn’t renew my contract at that hospital.”
26. Deal With The Requests While I Enjoy My Lunch
“I work in contracts, meaning my department audits signed documents to make sure everything is legal and compliant with our policies. We have a very old system that we use (think early disk operating system. Like a black screen with white words and you type everything manually.
Looks like Pong).
So typically what happens is I would get a contract for specific mechanical equipment and I would review it to make sure it’s possible in a physical sense and that the finances also make sense. Occasionally we will encounter a situation where we need to update our system to allow a contract to go through.
This would be if we sold an older piece of equipment that we no longer build but had a few spares lying around. Or if a client bought our equipment from a 3rd party provider but wants us to service it since we’re the official company that makes this stuff.
It’s kind of like a car dealership selling a used car that they don’t make anymore. It’s still part of their brand but they might not necessarily have software to support it since it’s so outdated. Trying to explain as best I can.
When we have these types of contracts with older equipment, all we have to do is send a note to a person in a specific department and ask her to open the system temporarily to allow these devices to be added and serviced.
The way we send this request is that we fill out a form and submit it to this lady.
This lady is… Something. She’s a combination of a power-hungry overlord and a scared pathetic mouse. It’s very interesting to see. I sometimes play a game to bet on which mode she will respond with.
She’s very much a bully who cries when she gets called out for being a bully and then says she’s being bullied… yeah. She’s fun.
So anyways, one day I received 85 new contracts (same client) all for used equipment that we don’t make anymore and have not for years.
Someone found a whole bunch of them for dirt cheap and bought them and now wants us to service them. Cool. Good find mister client. We will be happy to help.
Typically you submit 1 request form per device. Filling out the form is a bit of a pain because it’s a very manual process and a bit time-consuming.
I like to be efficient and make life easier so I did some reviewing and noticed that there are really only like 5 models of machines. 85 different serial numbers but only 5 types. So I sent off a quick email saying the following: ‘Hi, Lady! (Not her name but I’m calling her that here) I have a whole bunch of machines to add to the system but I don’t want to submit 85 different tickets to you lol.
I checked and saw there are only 5 model types. Can I send you the request in batches by model? Might make our lives a bit easier than going one by one.’
Now, this lady is notorious for sticking to the rules.
I don’t usually mind because rules exist for a reason HOWEVER they were also created by people and therefore can be changed by people. In this instance, I was hoping Lady would understand that I’m trying to save us both some time.
Nope. Her response was: ‘It is unacceptable that you think you have the right to change the way we do things. Especially since you don’t even work in my department and have no concept of what it is that I do.
We do not work however we want. We have procedures to follow and if you are unfamiliar with these procedures then it is clear to me that you need training.’
A new level of witch has been achieved.
You want me to follow procedures? You don’t want to understand that I’m trying to help us both? Let’s go then.
I spent the next three hours creating my emails/ticket requests. But I didn’t submit them as I went. Oh no. I waited until I had 85 of them ready to go. Once they were loaded I spent a hilarious moment clicking send.
It was like I was launching little torpedoes every time I clicked send. Each causes small devastation as they build up in her inbox and overshadow anything else that might have been in her queue. Also, I know she keeps the volume on so I know she was hearing that DING! that has traumatized Outlook users everywhere.
One by one 85 different requests were running to her inbox like moths to a flame.
I waited for the inevitable tantrum.
‘Hey, I see you’re sending me a bunch of requests can’t you just bunch them together? This is a lot and it’s messing up my system now due to the constant influx of emails and tickets.’
Did I forget to mention that our laptops are also super old? That many emails in one shot most definitely froze her Outlook for some time.
I replied: ‘Oh sorry that you’re having a hard time. I was just following the procedure as per your request. I already sent them all so nothing I can do.’
‘Well, how many requests did you send?’
I then put my status to ‘out to lunch.’
Have fun lady. I’m getting a sandwich.”
25. Brush Off My Concern About The Machine? Increase Your Expenses
“I worked in a plastic manufacturing plant and I was told I didn’t understand business. We had bought a machine brand new for $750,000 US dollars and it was making us a fair amount of money. My bosses didn’t want to do the regular maintenance on it though so as expected it began having issues.
I was running the machine one night and noticed it began leaking either oil or hydraulic fluid, can’t remember which. I immediately told my boss we needed to shut it down because not only was the machine getting worse but it was starting to spray fluid all over the parts.
I was told no, this machine had to run or we would lose $500 an hour. I suggested placing the mold in another machine but I was told no, and further told I didn’t understand business.
Well as expected it had more problems which I reported but was told they might take the parts despite being covered in the fluid, and not to worry about the machine now spraying fluid like a bad horror film sprays blood.
I asked if he was sure they wanted it to keep running, they looked at me and firmly said yes, so I did.
Eventually, the grinding sounds hit and the machine shut down. They freaked out for a moment trying to fix it but it was no good.
They moved the mold into a different machine, had to rerun all the parts, and remember that $500 an hour they lost for the machine being down? Well instead of being down 24 to 36 hours costing them about $18,000 the machine was down 3 weeks costing in production $252,000 plus another $45,000 for a new motor. Clearly losing almost $300,000 makes way more sense than $18,000. They’re right I don’t understand that kind of business.”
24. Bridezilla Mistreats One Of Her Bridesmaids? They'll All Walk
“My friend (Jemma) tells me about how she and an entire group of bridesmaids left a wedding after their friend dared them to.
So this all happened a few weeks ago, a long-time friend of Jemma’s group was getting married in another state but on the day of the wedding she suddenly had a problem with one girl who wore glasses, which she didn’t have an issue with beforehand; the glasses girl told her she wouldn’t wear them during the vows and pictures but the bridezilla didn’t want her wearing them at all and was screaming at her to not put them on for the rest of the day, obviously, she couldn’t do that since she needs to see.
The argument got more heated until bridezilla gave her the ultimatum to take them off & keep them off or leave. This is when Jemma and the other bridesmaids stepped in and told bridezilla she was out of line, and that they would all leave if she forced the girl with glasses to leave; Bridezilla called their bluff and, being maids of honor, the bridesmaids left the wedding and decided to celebrate and eat at a restaurant before they head back home.
Bridezilla called them several times after they left, telling them that she didn’t care about the glasses anymore and begged them to come back to the venue, but they not only refused but also chose to end the friendship with her altogether.
Jemma said that the wedding proceeded as follows, just minus the bridesmaids and a few awkward stares because everyone heard the bridezilla’s screaming from earlier.
Jemma told me that the bridezilla has always been like this, throwing a tantrum when she doesn’t get her way and that the meltdown at the wedding was just the last straw for them. Personally, I think she’s got a monk’s patience if she put up with her for that long.”
23. Want The Hedges Gone? Hope You Don't Mind Losing Your Privacy
“This story happened about a decade ago when I was still a teenager and used to live in my parents’ house. We are migrants and are on good terms with all the neighbors since the 90s but we do have a reputation in the neighborhood of frequently undertaking ambitious DIY home improvements and in an atypical manner to what locals expect.
Our house is separated from the neighbors with a living hedge wall of cypress trees that grow on our property. At the time of this story, we already lived in the house for the better part of the decade with the same neighbors and the same cypress trees.
One day out of the blue, one of the neighbors sees my mom working in the garden and starts complaining about the state of the living hedge on her side of the property. We usually trim the hedge only from our side and most of the top that we can reach.
The neighbor complains and demands we trim the hedge from their side as well. In her eyes, as the hedge wall is planted on our property, it’s 100% our responsibility and they are tired of maintaining it from their side. The altercation is very brief as my mother surprisingly quickly replies ‘OK’ and walks off grinning.
Unbeknown to the neighbor, we already were planning to cut down the hedges to the stump so that they could regrow anew, as the existing hedge was very old and was not particularly sightly. Previously we postponed this work as we did not want to upset the neighbors, but this demand provided the perfect excuse.
So the next day while the neighbors are at work, we cut down all the hedges surrounding our property to barely above ground.
As we are finishing clearing up the trimmings the neighbor comes back home from work shocked to discover the hedge practically gone.
They look around and realize that with the hedge wall gone, their whole backyard, kitchen, living room, and bedroom are on full display through the windows.
The neighbor questions what have we done and why as they would no longer have any privacy in their own home.
My mom without missing a beat replies ‘we fixed the problem, the hedge will no longer need trimming from your side’ and goes back to clearing up.
Within a week the neighbors came back to us and asked for permission to construct a wooden fence on our property to protect their privacy.
We happily agreed as long as they paid for it all, as we didn’t mind waiting a couple of years for the hedge to regrow (our privacy was much less impacted). They built the fence within the week and it provided a good surface for some vine flowers to grow instead of the cypress trees that my mother had wanted to plant for a long time.”
22. Don't Want Help? I'll Watch You Make A Fool Of Yourself
“I work in theater and right now I’m in a small community show. There is ‘the kid’ who has never done anything like this before, and I have been trying to give him tips and help him out here and there without overtly giving another actor notes.
(A big no-no in most theater settings and also just annoying.)
Usually, he ignores advice from anyone, but people are genuinely trying to show him the ropes and also there are a ton of unspoken rules in theater – and it’s not fair to be annoyed by someone who doesn’t know them so people either give you the occasional heads up or sit back and watch you make a fool of yourself.
Well. Today he was not paying attention and the director told him to do something, I nudged him and told him what she said (I genuinely thought he didn’t hear her) and he yelled ‘I know what she said! I’m doing something! Don’t tell me what to do!’
Okay. Also, it’s worth noting that unless you’re bleeding out – when the director tells you it’s time to do something all other activities and side convos should immediately cease – and in general you shouldn’t be doing anything but listening for direction anyway.
A little bit later we were told to run a bit of fight choreography and he was goofing off and joking around. I asked if he would like to keep it half-speed or full and he was joking saying the director told us to ‘speed the whole act up.’ I was trying to say that it wouldn’t apply to a fight because safety is more important and we can keep it half-speed if he is more comfortable – he interrupts me to tell me he has never felt unsafe about a piece of metal that isn’t even sharp.
(A stage combat rapier)
So normally during our first fight, I suggest we take it slow. The director tells me I should be practicing more and it’s time to speed it up. I don’t argue or throw him under the bus…
but I’m very confident about this piece. I just agree and move on. During this, I also tell him what’s coming next when he gets stuck – which happens about 3 times.
We begin our fight at full speed as he requested.
We get 3 moves in before he is stuck. I do not ‘tell him what to do’ and just stand there looking at him until he figures it out. 3 moves later and he is stuck again and I just stand there, waiting for him to do the thing I need to react to.
Next, he goes for the wrong one which could have been dangerous if I didn’t block it so I call hold and request we go back to half speed.
It ended up looking obvious that I know the choreo and he was getting lost since we were not doing it slowly and he was pausing to think.
I won’t be telling him what to do anymore. Sure was pushy of me.
Edit: Stuck doesn’t mean ‘got stabbed’ it means he didn’t know what to do next. In stage combat, you are always aiming and putting energy beyond the assumed target. Safety first.”
21. Don't Appreciate My Act Of Kindness? Small Fries For You It Is
“In my daily dealings with customers going through the DRIVE thru we will encounter many people who walk up to our particular ‘Mendy’s’ location and either beg for food or beg to be able to order. When this does happen, I want to encourage hitchhiking.
Anything to prevent us from having the bejeezus scared out of us when they pop up like whack-a-mole. It doesn’t help that everyone seems to be wearing earth tones. Phoenix is the next Oregon, evidently.
It’s usually a fifty-fifty proposition, and 100 percent manager-dependent.
I don’t wanna be liable for someone getting run over.
This time my manager said okay.
I try to ask what he’d like but he interrupts to have a lecture about lobbies being closed. I explainogized the best I could, then finally got to get his order.
‘Yeah gimme a burger and fries.’
‘Okay, so a small?’
‘Okay that’ll be$ 9.21.’
He takes offense to this ‘aww heck no don’t you got a cheap burger?!’
‘That’s our junior cheeseburger. Would you like that?’
‘That’s what I said, isn’t it?!’
It took all I had not to say anything outside of the total, which was a merciful $5.41.
I told him it’d be right out, we need to make fresh fries so it’ll be a second. He said, ‘Whatever’.
Not Thanks. Not No Problem. Not Hey would you like me to wait out of the line of traffic seeing that I’m causing a safety hazard? Just ‘Whatever’.
At least it wasn’t swear-riddled in this particular sentence.
As the fries were being cooked I thought about getting this guy out of the drive-thru quickly so I watched the fries like a hawk. Our fryers tend to overcook the fries for most people’s taste so we pull thirty seconds early.
I decided to tai chi the situation and fight anger with kindness. I gave him a medium instead of a small one.
No soon as I’m handing the bag out is he rummaging through napkins and ketchup to amazingly find something to yell about.
‘Hey, my MAN yo my MAN!’ He yelled directly at me trying to get the attention he already had.
Then things got interesting. He turned to his imaginary passenger in his very-non-existent car and said
‘See? What I tell you? This idiot put in medium fries that’s why this is too expensive.’
He then turned back to me and said ‘my man! I said small fries! Now, what’re you gonna do? You’re gonna make it right that’s what!’
Enter malicious compliance.
I asked if I could see the receipt. Even though I knew what the problem was, I pretended to really scan this baby. I then had a sudden ‘epiphany’.
‘Ohhhhhhh I see what happened sir could I see those fries?’
I took them back and tossed them, then got him what he ordered; a small container of fries.
In my syrupy voice, I apologized sincerely and made it right.
‘I don’t know WHAT I was thinking of giving you a medium instead of what you ordered. Have a great night!’
I’m not sure how this guy’s imaginary friend reacted, but the look on HIS face was classic, and all I hoped for.”
20. Can't Install Cameras On Our Home? You Didn't Say Anything About Installing Them On A Post
“We installed cameras in front of our home that were looking at our vehicles. Part of the camera angles did overlook parts of two neighbors’ properties (one backyard and one side yard).
The cameras were battery-operated and had a function where you could ‘gray out’ areas that you didn’t want to film.
When motion occurred in the grayed-out areas, the cameras would not be activated to film.
The neighbors’ entire properties and several bushes on our property were grayed out – we did this when installing them.
One of the neighbors was a friend – and had no issues with this whatsoever (we showed her the camera angle – and she said she didn’t care whether or not we grayed out that area – we still left it grayed out over battery life concerns).
The other neighbor’s name was Karen (not really, but we all know why I chose that name). Karen was on the HOA board and, as you can imagine, we didn’t get along with Karen or the HOA Board. We told Karen about the camera and showed her the grayed-out areas at the same time that we told our friendly neighbor about it.
It was simply an FYI conversation (we are not on friendly terms) – not an ‘asking permission’ conversation.
She told us to take the cameras down immediately or we would regret it.
About a week after we hung the camera up, we got a notice from our HOA that we were violating the bylaws.
The bylaw in question? A ‘nuisance to your neighbors’ bylaw. There wasn’t a specific bylaw preventing the placement of cameras, so this is all they could find to try to punish us.
We responded with a letter detailing how we were not violating any bylaws or laws in general – and asked them to cease and desist.
We all know how these stories go though. They did not cease. And they did not desist.
Their first response?
‘The HOA has the right to enforce these bylaws. Try to stop us, if you think you can.’ (These types of responses were, unfortunately, quite common from this board.)
We entered this battle with one goal in mind: to cost them as much money and time as possible.
The HOA hired a lawyer specifically to fight us. To my knowledge, this has not happened to any other residents. In the following 4 months, we ended up costing the HOA over $4,000 in lawyer’s fees fighting this battle. For reference, the entire HOA income was ~$25,000/year.
When it came time for our official HOA hearing over the matter, we had successfully postponed it (thanks to an attorney friend) 3 separate times. There were over 100 back-and-forth emails between the HOA attorney and ourselves. Each one of those emails was a 15-minute expense for the HOA.
And I was happy to follow up a follow-up question with another follow-up question if it meant the HOA attorney was going to keep billing them (Did I say ‘follow up’ enough times?).
We didn’t actually want to take this battle to court, so we ended up removing the cameras the day of the hearing (to prevent being fined – even if the fine wouldn’t hold up in court).
The HOA decided in the hearing that we were guilty (surprise, surprise) of violating the bylaw. They couldn’t fine us – as the bylaws don’t allow a fine until after a hearing has been held – and the cameras were already removed.
In the end, the punishment was a sternly written piece of paper on the attorney’s letterhead (delivered via certified mail) that stated that we were ‘… not allowed to place a camera on our home that had the potential to invade a neighbor’s privacy.’ Keep in mind, the letter specifically stated the camera could not be placed ‘on our home.’
We left the cameras off of the home for about 4 months – until the annual HOA meeting.
You should have seen the look on the HOA Board’s faces when I asked them to explain the $4,000 line item for attorney’s fees that simply stated ‘Title searches – Attorney fees.’
The Board actually tried to hide the fact that they spent $4k trying to fight us over a couple of cameras by putting the fees in as ‘Title searches.’
Needless to say, that meeting did not go well for them.
About half of them lost their positions on the Board. The other half (including Karen, unfortunately) remained on the Board.
About a week after the annual meeting, we installed new cameras – facing the same direction as the prior cameras – only this time, we installed a post in the ground and mounted the cameras to that post.
The admonishment we received after the hearing specifically stated that we were not allowed to install cameras ‘on our home’ – and said nothing about putting them on a post.
They did send a letter to try to tell us to remove the cameras, but a sternly worded response indicating that we were prepared to fight them actually worked this time around. I guess they didn’t want to spend another $4k fighting us. We didn’t receive any follow-up responses. And the cameras on the post are still installed to this day (over 2 years and running strong).”
19. I Stayed Within My Line Of Work
“A few years ago I had recently been promoted. I was expecting a higher promotion given the fact that I was working at that higher level. How do I know that I was operating at a higher level? Because I was covering for the individuals that couldn’t get through their daily work.
These individuals were getting paid $20k more to not do their job. My manager knew this at the time because I had set up multiple meetings to let them know the work that I was doing. I was ‘promised’ a promotion to this higher level by said manager.
To be clear, I wasn’t expecting $20k more, the new level minimum was only $5k over what I was making.
Cue meeting with HR and the manager… in which I am told that I was not completing the functions that I said I was completing and I should only be doing the functions within my new ‘job profile’.
If I was doing any of these functions I should stop.
Background here, this is financial operations, so we are talking about people/clients’ money. This isn’t something that you mess around with and making errors or delaying a process could cost a client funds that they would then push to my employer.
Additionally, this is a huge reputational risk with clients to just not complete a processing function for them and could impact future contracts.
I did exactly as they stated. I pulled only my client’s work. I processed only the functions that were assigned to me, for the most part.
I still went above and beyond with assisting others within my same level, but not the higher level processing and clients. I don’t mean to gloat here, but I was great at this job. Some of those upper-level clients started reaching out directly to me asking why I wasn’t working on their account anymore and the complaints started rolling in.
I know you all are hoping that the manager came around and promoted me, but you would be wrong. They eventually ‘restructured’ the processing so these clients would fall within my job profile.
As part of the overall restructuring, we were to be merged with another team.
This manager also assumed that they would be given a promotion. But due to the overall client satisfaction, senior management decided to hire another individual for that role. That new manager really knew how to run her teams and has been a great mentor to me ever since then.
My direct manager eventually quit and went to a competitor. I have now had 4 promotions in 5 years and am well above my old manager’s role. The company overall is a great place, but it only takes that one crappy person to negatively impact your career.
I think back on that interaction often as that manager leaving the company ultimately skyrocketed my overall career.
Hopefully, this story inspires others to stand up for themselves. You might not see the impact immediately, but if you can wait it out your time might come!”
18. I Wanted Extra Spicy, I Got Extra Spicy
“There’s this one Japanese food place not too far from me. I absolutely love it because there was a time when sushi gained massive popularity and it seemed sushi buffets were popping up like Starbucks. But THIS place wasn’t strictly a sushi buffet, they had all sorts of Japanese dishes I couldn’t find anywhere else (in addition to the best sushi around).
The only place I’ve been to where I’ve gotten Japanese food around the same level as the stuff I got in Japan. I don’t have the time (or money) to go in as often as I like, but I guess I’m enough of a regular because the owner eventually began to recognize me at a glance.
My second favorite dish there is spicy tonkatsu ramen. Now, to clarify, I’ve grown a solid taste for spicy food, but I’ll also freely admit I am not an absolute spicy veteran. ‘Ahead of the curve’ maybe (survived the one chip challenge, took The End challenge without puking, etc) but not one of those guys chowing down on raw ghost peppers or ordering a dish with the sole purpose being ‘I want to be in PAIN!’
So I love this one spicy ramen dish, but after the second time I start thinking ‘I think it could actually stand to be a bit spicier.’ Next time I order it ‘extra spicy.’ Bit of an extra kick, was absolutely amazing.
So naturally, every other time I order it ‘extra spicy.’
So they complied. But it seems when I said ‘extra spicy’ they took that as ‘I want it spicier than last time.’ One day I get a bowl, and it clearly had a whole handful of Thai peppers stewing at the bottom of it.
Gotta say, it was still super delicious, but holy crap that thing was HOT! Partway through eating it I’m sweating and tearing up (natural). A bit further into eating it… I get pins and needles all down my right arm. Had a genuine moment of panic thinking I was having a heart attack until I remembered it would be my left arm going numb if that was the case.
Took a breather, let my system calm down, and finished the bowl (it was still delicious after all). Just obviously skipped the extra pile of thai peppers staring at me from the bottom.
Now again, I don’t know if this was exactly ‘malicious’ compliance.
The staff was always friendly, and I never put forward a rude ‘It wasn’t hot enough last time, I said make it SPICIER!’ attitude. It could just be they assumed I meant ‘hotter than last time’ every time I said ‘extra spicy,’ and acted accordingly.
But considering the jump from ‘a bit extra spicy’ to ‘here have a whole handful of Thai peppers,’ it seems like maybe someone in the kitchen first (mistakenly) assumed I meant ‘make it hotter than last time,’ AND took it as an arrogant affront to his cooking.
I still go there whenever I can, the best food on this hemisphere of the planet, in my opinion. Had a laugh with the owner once about the experience, and clarified for the future that my ‘extra spicy’ is just me commenting off the base, not challenging them to keep amping it up and up and up until the spice boils my circulatory system.”
17. Accept Requests Despite The Possible Legal Issues? Alrighty
“I (M22) work as a teacher at my college’s application school. We work little hours and we get paid a small amount too. It’s like an internship. For the past semesters, I’ve been dealing with a supervisor whom we’ll call ‘Sheila’ (F40).
Sheila is one of four supervisors at the school. The supervisors usually drop by your class once in a while to check if the students are having their needs met or to solve any issues (like a student that wants to retake a class, etc).
My issue was that Sheila has a strange interest in me and, for some reason, focused way too much on what I did in class, to the point of obviously overlooking other teachers. Because Sheila isn’t a professor from my department, she only knew about me from colleagues or rumors around college.
Such rumors include: I bring whole meals to college instead of eating at the cafeteria like everyone (???), I was supposed to be in another college (why?), I’m not actually from the state (this one is true) and so on. She confronted me about these rumors in front of colleagues but I brushed it off, which seemed to annoy her.
Sheila then began to try and find out things I wasn’t able to do. She asked me questions about buying a very specific device (imagine something like a wifi camera) which I, of course, wasn’t able to answer. She giggled and looked smug after that.
I, however, managed to answer her other questions, even if they didn’t relate to my field. Which made her slightly upset.
In one of those semesters, an older student (that is a lawyer) whom we’ll call Amanda (F60), started to request some things from me that I wasn’t able to nor had permission to give.
Such things include a FREE (school approved) GOOD digital dictionary, extremely detailed and personalized exam, AND exercise corrections, detailing of my methodology, explanations of the goals of every lesson, and audio transcripts of exam materials.
Due to Amanda’s lawyer occupation, she worded those requests to me in a very formal way.
Our school is careful with law students due to some legal issues that happened in the past. Because I wasn’t able to fulfill her requests due to a lack of permission (and I’m not interested in going to court), I asked her to forward her requests to my superiors.
And guess who answered them? Sheila.
Sheila didn’t even bat an eye at Amanda’s requests and started forwarding them to me, saying that I should comply. Because Amanda got what she wanted, she began sending more and more requests, to the point that Sheila just told me to accept all forwarded requests and be fast about it.
So, I did it. I sent materials, transcripts, and the like, all in the name of the school. Amanda was very happy and Sheila was loving the extra work I was doing. She thought she was smart and had the upper hand.
Well not until Sheila tried to embarrass me in front of my class. She said that despite my ‘excellent work’, I’m ‘standoffish’, and that’s ‘funny’. My students tried to correct her statement but she just ignored them by saying ‘really?’ and swiftly left.
She tried to pull this again at an online class and another group of students shut her down again. I e-mailed her shortly after that saying that I would prefer her observations about my work to be done in a private setting, rather than in front of the whole class.
Sheila replied immediately, denying everything, and said that I was imagining stuff. She even tried to manipulate me by saying that she was the ‘most vocal’ supervisor in ‘my favor’ and was ‘ceaselessly requesting’ a promotion for me (which I never got).
In the end, she assured me that no further comments would be made.
That’s what I foolishly thought.
During a meeting, my boss addressed to all of us a ‘concern’ from an unnamed supervisor that said we teachers were getting embarrassed by her PRESENCE.
My boss said that such behavior was unacceptable and they are there to help. At that moment, I saw red. I couldn’t believe Sheila had twisted my words and told my boss about the email exchange portraying me as the bad guy.
At one point in the meeting, I asked the other supervisors if we teachers were supposed to do everything I was asked to do for Amanda. They all replied a firm ‘no’ and even gasped when I mentioned transcripts. Basically, our school doesn’t have the authority to provide transcripts and students could legally contest test results if a mistake was present in the transcription.
I then requested a meeting with my boss and another supervisor about this. In the meeting, I pointed out that they said that we weren’t supposed to be doing those tasks but I was being ordered to do them anyway. My supervisor quickly opened the email and discovered that Sheila was ‘sniping’ emails from me and my students and exclusively replied to all of them using her personal phone before others could do or see anything.
We also discovered that she was archiving some of the requests so they wouldn’t be found easily. I helped them dig everything up and my boss and the other supervisor said it was inappropriate of the supervisor to do that and that they would talk with her about this.
I left the meeting feeling relieved and hoped something would be done. After a few weeks, I saw the supervisor in person but she just said ‘excuse me’ and quickly left to another room. I kid you not, this woman treats me like I’m the plague now.
She avoids me, doesn’t address me directly anymore, and, best of all, was apparently assigned to another role that doesn’t involve the supervision of teachers! Even though she hasn’t been greatly punished, I bet she’ll think twice before making her comments again.”
16. Flag More Orders? There's Really No Point, But Ok!
“I was working at Widgets International in their Order Entry department. Widgets would come in for repair, I would type them up and move them along. One step in my process required me to flag for Quality Review any repair that had a significant enough complaint.
This is a step I rarely followed. Why you may ask?
In my first month working there I flagged maybe three orders out of several thousand. I was told that I was flagging too many. Turns out that Quality Review screens and pre-flags all the repairs they want to look at before they even come across my desk.
My flagging orders was a waste of time. My time if the order was already flagged and Quality Review’s time if I flagged an order they’d already determined they didn’t need to see. So I stopped.
Then we got a new manager, Portia.
Portia was hot to make her mark on our team so she reviewed our process and decided that we should be more active in flagging orders for Quality Review. I explained to her what I explained to you in the previous paragraph, that there was no point in our flagging anything.
Portia refused to believe me and insisted we follow the process. (sigh) Okay, Boomer. So we started flagging more orders.
Two weeks later, Portia tells us that the Quality Review team has come to her in a panic because of all the orders we were sending to them and could we please stop sending so many? I go back to not flagging anything and everything goes back to normal.
Portia is happy that she made an impact and Quality Review and I are happy to dispense with the extra work Portia created.
A couple of years later we get a new manager, Stanley. Stanley was brought in because the team had recently expanded.
We went through the same song and dance with Stanley that we had gone through with Portia; Stanley wanted us to flag more orders for Quality Review. The new team members nodded fearfully and went along with it; Stanley was not a pleasant man.
We, senior team members, rolled our eyes, agreed, and started making bets on how long it would last this time. I bet a week but continued on my merry way not flagging orders.
A week later (called it!), Stanley tells us that the Quality Review team has come to him in a panic because of all the orders we were sending to them and asked us to stop sending so many. With the information from the QR team, Stanley singles me out. He tells my team, ‘OP is the only one who isn’t flagging too many orders. The rest of you should be like OP.’ No work is best work.”
15. This Is How I Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
“I had a friend who worked as a processor for a small mortgage company… small in that they had around 15 offices scattered throughout North Carolina. She found another job and put in her two weeks’ notice. The person they hired to replace her quit 2 days before her two weeks were up.
So her office was in a bind!
In walks me. My friend told her boss she knew someone who could do the job, and that, since she was friends with this person, she would be willing to train her after hours and on weekends, plus, if possible, take calls during the week.
That taking calls during the week is important! So I was hired.
The manager wasn’t too happy about it as I had no actual experience in an office setting, just college knowledge, but as long as my friend would help me, she said OK.
But because of this, whenever I would ask my boss a question, she would immediately get upset and tell me to call my friend. Even for simple things, like, where do we keep the stamps?
Please keep in mind that this was the early 90s, and all our computer systems were DOS-based and quite difficult to master.
The number one mortgage software, at that time, was a system called Contour, which was pretty non-user-friendly for such a costly program. I was trained that if an issue came up, I was to fix it myself and not contact Contour.
I was given a list of common errors and how to fix them.
I’m on my 4th day, and an error pops up on the screen that I had never seen before and is not on my list. It states I am to call this 800 number and speak with a Contour Technician to help clear it.
I immediately call my friend, but she is not available right then as she is going through her own training. So I go to my boss. She tells me to call my friend. I tell her I tried, but she can’t talk right now.
She gets mad and starts swearing that she knew hiring me was a bad idea. I asked if there was anyone else I could call, and she said, ‘Just call IT.’ I reiterated to her I was told not to call Contour.
She says call IT! So I did.
The Contour Technician was a sweetheart and walked me through how to fix the problem. To help in the future, the technician asked me to print a diagnostic page and fax it to him so he could see if there were any other problems being as I was new to the system.
So I did. He thanked me and told me he didn’t see any other issues but to call him if I had any more problems.
Cue the next day… my boss called me into her office and was livid! According to her, I just caused the company to have to pay 30k in licensing fees.
It appeared the company had only bought 4 copies of the Contour program but had installed it in way over four computers. My faxing the diagnostic page let the cat out of the bag. But since she told me to call IT, and the fact that firing me for exposing the company doing something illegal would also be illegal, all she could do was rage at me.
She then called my friend and raged at her. From then on out, I refused to call my friend if I had any questions and just bugged my boss.
She never did fire me, and towards the end, we became, if not friends, not enemies, until the company closed under mysterious circumstances a few years later.
Edit: some clarification: When I started, there was no IT division. They had one guy in corporate who either mailed you hardware or authorized you to buy it yourself. I had to install any new software from floppies. Any problems were figured out by trial and error or by calling someone.
I developed (after that first disastrous week) lifelines with other processors in the other branch offices. They eventually set up an IT department.
In the mortgage industry, processors are the ones who gather all the documents from borrowers and print needed loan documentation.
This company took it a step further by having the processors also act as the receptionist and general office gopher. I did all the purchasing of office supplies, ran loan packages to attorney offices, processed loans for eight loan officers, played administrative assistant to the manager, processed payments from customers, and on occasion, marriage counselor to my boss and her husband, our regional manager! It was a tough place to work, but the pay was really good!”
14. I Can't Carry Them So I Dragged Them
“I work in commercial construction, that is to say, I build offices and the like, not the buildings themselves but the office space within said buildings. There are certain groups of people that I have to face at the start of each job, the front desk security teams, the building operations managers, and the like.
Typically, any materials need to be brought in through the building’s loading dock and moved into their freight elevator. That’s fine. Things can be a little different if working on the ground floor, but usually, all materials come in through the loading dock.
One job recently was only 20 feet from the entry door leading into the construction site. We did not try to buck the system place and still brought all our materials through the loading dock. We even took the opportunity to bring the majority of our needed tools, along with a vacuum and brooms, and anything else we could think of.
After parking, I brought my lunch bag and tool belt (no drills) over my shoulder through the entry door, then the magic happened. The security guard was there and told me to walk around the building because I knew better than to bring tools through the entry door.
Me: Is my tool belt the issue?
Security Guard: Yes!
Me: So I can’t carry it the 20 feet?
Me: So as long as I don’t CARRY it, I can come this way?
SG: 3 for 3!
So I make sure its contents are all securely in place, place it on the floor and drag it the 20 feet and then pick it up.
Me: Have a great day!
SG was hopping mad.
EDIT: As far as fallout goes, the security guard always went out of his way to make sure he was there at that entry door to make sure nothing larger than a tool pouch was permitted.
His direct supervisor approved that tool pouches and any tool bag that could be carried by ONE hand, but no more than one bag per person could be brought in as long as everything was secure with no chance of damaging the glass doors.
The reason I found out about the loading dock only rule, was that during the course of the life of the building to that point, 7 glass doors had been broken/replaced by material deliveries or tenet deliveries. So on a whole, I do agree with this rule, but as others have pointed out, common sense should have been able to play a part in this.
On a side note, the leasing agent thought it was hilarious when he heard about it!”
13. Explain My Gap In Employment? Ma'am, It's Called A Weekend, But I'll Come Up With Something
“1986, buying our first house, applying for a mortgage. Young lady preparing all the paperwork to submit the loan application to the bank. We were told she was the best. Never had a loan turned down. We were to do as she said.
We submitted pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, employment history, etc., etc, and tried to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts. When we thought we were all done, she explained that we needed one more thing. I needed to write a letter explaining a gap in my employment.
What? A gap? What gap?
Well, it turns out that I had indicated in one of the forms I submitted that my last day of one job was a Friday, and my first day at the new job did not begin until the following Monday.
I politely indicated that was nuts, there wasn’t a gap, that was a weekend, which is a pretty normal thing. She insisted, however, that she was the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time; or the 1980s equivalent of the GOAT), that we knew nothing about the process and she would not be denied if we wanted our loan.
Annoyed, I complied. I wrote a letter explaining the gap in my employment. To whom it may concern, about that gap in employment from Friday to Monday, I was engaged in running guns for the Nicaraguan rebels the entire weekend (running guns for the Nicaraguan rebels was kind of a thing at the time).
Signed it and submitted it. Don’t know if she ever read it or not, or even included it in the loan application package. We got the loan. Her record remained perfect.”
12. Don't Want Me To Follow The Instruction Manual? Enjoy Your New Rusty Machine
“I used to work at a deli shop-slash-cafe place, just to make ends meet while I went to uni, and the owner of that place was a real piece of work. If you got on her bad side, you were on the crap list, and she would be both openly and passively aggressive with the general vibe that you were an incompetent idiot no matter what you did.
I heard that woman scream at a fifteen-year-old on her second day because she had mixed up coffee and tea cups, which differed in size by about an ounce, just to give you an idea of her personality.
After this whole experience my dad told me that, as a general hint, it may be good to be suspicious if a workplace hires exclusively teen girls with no experience because they’re very unlikely to recognize crappy workplace treatment.
There were two people in this place who didn’t take her crap; me, a mid-20s recovering addict who’s seen way worse, and a 45-year-old Iranian man who told her she could go screw herself when she berated him for not being willing to come in early to his eleven-hour shift to prep ingredients (off the clock, of course).
I liked that dude.
With the stage set, onto the malicious compliance. When I started, this place desperately needed a new wheel meat slicer. The one they had made a constant screeching noise and drove everyone crazy. About a month and a half into my employment, they got one.
Industrial grade, cost five thousand bucks, both looked and worked accordingly. Amazing piece of kit.
As we were all celebrating and unpacking it, I flip through the instruction booklet to look up how it works and specifically how to clean it as there were quite a few parts.
Manual says to clean everything detachable thoroughly, but that the wheel itself should be cleaned by letting it run on very low speed (with safety precautions) and using a cloth and cleaning agent on the exposed part. There were some pictures and detailed instructions on how to do this, and it explicitly stated not to take the whole wheel off and deep clean it as this would remove the wheel lubricant/anti-corrosive agent and risk damage to the machine, and to especially not let water or any cleaning agents get into the machine without making sure to thoroughly replace any lubricant.
I was working the evening shift, so 99% of the time it was up to me to clean it. The instructions are how I clean the machine because I trust the designer to know how to clean it. Or, I do for about two days until my boss sees me, and asks what the heck I’m doing and why I’m not taking the wheel off to clean it.
She berates me about food safety and hygiene standards, telling me how disgusting I am for doing it this way. I stand my ground and inform her I do it this way because of the instructions, that I’m following the manual, and explain the reason behind it.
If we scrub it down, especially the inner part, the grease will go away a lot faster and we’ll risk damage to the machine. She basically tells me to shove it and to do it her way.
Now, I’m not gonna ruin a 5000 dollar thing because one woman doesn’t understand how lubrication works, but the very next day my manager sees me clean the machine and gives me an extremely condescending talk-down on how ‘this isn’t how we approach hygiene’ and how ‘boss told me you don’t seem to understand food safety.’ My explanation falls on deaf ears again, and I’m also informed not only am I expected to take the wheel off and scrub it at the end of the day but after every use.
Boss also wants me to make sure I spray off the inside section to insure there’s no bacteria in there, with some hints that there’d apparently been a whole colony of life growing in there due to my two-day negligence.
She wants me to spray soap and water mixture into the cogs of a machine they just bought.
The blade is stainless steel, but the cogs aren’t. Fine. If that’s what you want me to do, that’s what I will do. Every day, five times a day, I take that machine apart and scrub it down. Every day I see that lubrication disappear more and more, and after a week it’s all gone, eventually becoming replaced by growing patches of rust.
I feel bad for the machine, but I do as I’ve been told. I only work six days a week, so every day I come in after my break thinking that surely yesterday my manager would’ve reacted. Nope. She takes it apart just like I do, cleans it like I do, and doesn’t seem to think twice about the fact that this brand-new machine is rusting apart in front of our eyes.
In fact, she goes the extra mile and also scrubs the cog itself, which is probably why a year or so worth of lubricant disappeared in one week.
The thing about rusty machinery is that it usually works up until a certain point, but once it reaches that point, there’s no going back.
One day, I turn it on, and it makes a screeching noise I can only imagine came from the soul of this bit of kit wondering why God has forsaken it, and it’s like the clocks all stop. My coworker in the pastry section comes over to ask what the heck that noise is, my boss and manager come into the room with the same question, and I just shrug and slice my salami.
Boss tells her co-owner to go get some lubrication for the gears, and after a minute he puts some spray-on oil lube in front of me and tells me to lube the gears up. I ask him where the lithium lubricant paste is, since according to the instructions that’s what you need, and he seems flabbergasted that putting something made for hinges and ball bearings isn’t appropriate for a meat slicer.
Two days and some tinnitus later, he’s acquired some grease, and then proceeds to be stumped when I let him know I’m not gonna stop doing my regular job to spend thirty minutes greasing up this machine unless someone else takes over my station or they pay me overtime.
My boss is meanwhile demanding to know why I haven’t told them we needed to stock up on lithium grease, which I don’t even bother to respond to. I make sandwiches. I’m not your mechanic.
I left that job a few weeks later, and when I did the machine was still crying the song of its ancestors every time we turned it on.
And we were still scrubbing it down from the inside out daily, of course. I have since then gotten a sneaking suspicion I know what happened to its predecessor, and my dad – who is actually a mechanic – and I still laugh about it sometimes.
My boss did ask, rhetorically, at one point how the heck the machine got to that stage so fast. I answered that it’s probably because we’ve been scrubbing the lubrication and corrosion protection off several times a day, and I take great pleasure in the memory that she completely ignored me.
It’s the only time while I was there that she didn’t snap back at me, and I like to think she remembered back to when I explicitly told her that if we clean this thing in that way, this is exactly what would happen. Overall I don’t think a 5k machine would make or break anything, but darn did that feel good.”
11. Need Me To Punch In My Hours? My Monthly Income Will Get 30% Higher
“I (31M) started working for my uncle two years ago, he has a company with some business partners of his, and my work is now being directly under him, learning every perk of running the business and also being a personal assistant to him.
We settled on a contract in which I’d receive a fixed monthly amount with a bonus of an additional salary by the end of every year, and while I had no overtime pay, I had total control of my work schedule, and by total, I meant TOTAL, where I could come to the job just 3 days a week as long as I delivered results.
My uncle knew my work ethic so it was kind of a win for him since when needed I’d work 60-65 hours a week and also I could work during a holiday (we have around 10-12 festivities days that are non-working days – if I were to put it into an American perspective, it’s as if we have over 10 July 4th holidays during the year), also I was available on call nearly 24/7 if anyone needed anything from me related to work.
Work was running great until September last year when my uncle took a couple of days to travel to another state to meet new clients and one of his associates (let’s call him Gordon) took his role in the company for those days to support some of his roles.
Due to having worked a 14-hour shift the day before the travel, and also have 2 12-hour shifts the week before I was dead tired, and since we had little to no work piled up I took an early leave the first day he was there, and arrived way after lunch the day after, then started working normally from the 3rd day until he came back a week later.
He was furious at my ‘attitude,’ berating my uncle for even contracting me in the first place, since I don’t even work full regular hours and demanded among the other business partners (the company has in total 6 owners including my uncle), that I at least punch in my working hours and if I don’t meet the ‘quota’, those would be deducted from my monthly payment.
There are a ton of labor laws where I live. Employees have a certain amount of hours required to work each month, every hour short of that is deducted from the monthly payment, and every hour beyond is paid as overtime.
Other partners backed up Gordon’s Claim stating that I needed more supervision on what I was doing, which my uncle was forced to comply, his only remark was ‘since we’re doing it by law, it means that we also will pay him overtime according to the law, right?’ – they all agreed and from October forward I would start punching my hours on the job every day.
Cue the malicious compliance. That was exactly what I did. Gordon was expecting a decrease in my pay due to being in the company at my least busy week since I arrived, when in fact I usually pull a crapload of overtime.
Also, if they need to call me after I left they have to punch in the hours from the moment I left until I finish the call, resulting in ‘free’ overtime pay.
One more thing, by the law the rate of overtime pay increases the more overtime is done in a month, it’s a really weird formula, but to simplify my average overtime hours pay is 1/3 higher than the average overtime hours of other employees that have the same monthly salary as me.
My monthly income is now 30% higher due to the overtime I started receiving and in a busy month that could get even close to 50% higher even though I am actually working a little less than before and Gordon can’t go back to the same situation as before, since my uncle made sure that once I started punching my hours there was no going back, and all partners approved.”
10. We Can't Use Headsets? I'll Use The Speaker
“Aside from my actual job, I was assigned as the document custodian and the secretariat for our office’s ISO certification. My boss was the office’s Quality Manager – so she leads the internal audits. Whenever we have an audit, we usually take an entire day of meeting to discuss the results the next day.
My boss has assigned me the drafting of the minutes for this whole day’s discussion. And mind you, she wants detailed minutes. We don’t just write what was agreed upon, she wanted me to capture the debate and rejected suggestions before that.
Suffice it to say, I need to listen to a recording to draft the 10-15 paged long document.
One day, while I was drafting these minutes, I did not realize that she was calling me. I was so engrossed in the headset and was intently listening to the recording that I did not hear her until she has risen up and walked to my desk.
This annoyed her. She did not realize I was listening to the recording. She thought I was merely listening to music. She nagged at me in front of the whole office for needing to be called 5 times and being so unresponsive.
Then, right there and then she angrily announced to everyone that nobody is allowed to use their headset anymore. She even strutted to the IT room to tell the IT guys to quit using their headsets as well.
Being the obedient assistant that I am, I took off my headset and then connected my computer to the speaker.
Then listened to the recording at full volume of voices of everyone in the office debating and talking about the audit. The worse, I was not just listening to the conversations in the meeting, sometimes I would stop and then replay certain parts of the recording at least five times to capture what was being said.
Everyone in my immediate vicinity just could not stop snickering. Some of the teams across the office who had no idea what happened asked what was going on annoyed that they can’t focus at work. Some people cringed at their voices.
I just told them it is a new policy and they just have to live with it. My boss on the other hand pretended she wasn’t hearing anything.
I did this for a few days until it got old and I finally returned to using my headset.
EDIT for clarity: my boss and our team has a different job. ISO certification was just added to our responsibilities. Government offices in the Philippines are required to have ISO certification so we were bound to get one as we are a national agency.
The IT Team and our Team are sort of connected so my boss does talk to them a lot. The thing is, our IT team is closer to my boss and they actually gift her with stuff during Christmas. She was annoying most of the time, but she does connect with them, I dunno why. The IT team also would not sabotage her as doing so would mean sabotaging their work as well since our real jobs are connected.”
9. Okay, I Will Leave The Water Jugs Alone
“I was waitressing in 2018 to put a bit of money aside (not in the US, it actually pays a living wage where I’m from). Restaurants are very often chaotic, but man, this one? I’ve never seen something quite like it.
The owner would come in and tell the customers they were filthy to their faces, all the while ignoring the fact that there were rats and roaches crawling in the place. Anyways.
So one day, after we did dinner service, things slow down and for the first time this day, I actually have time to go empty and clean my tables.
I’m in the front of the outside sitting area, so I start taking some of the water jugs that are on the tables, intending to drop them by the bar as I go fetch my trail. Because you know, an empty voyage is a wasted voyage in this kind of job.
The day manager sees me taking jugs in my hands (like, 3-4 by hand to make the most of it, it didn’t look like me being the ‘pretend you’re busy’ kind of lazy). And he goes red in the face and asks ‘what are you doing? We need to clean the tables so we can sit more people.
Leave the water jugs alone and clean the tables.’ I start opening my mouth to say that that’s what I’m doing, and that part of getting the tables clean is removing the stuff that’s on it, and also that the barman just told me a few minutes ago that he was out of jugs so we couldn’t refill water.
He doesn’t let me get a word in, scolds me for even trying to talk back, and reiterates to ‘leave the jugs alone and clean the table!’
So that’s what I did. I cleaned every item on every table but left the half-empty jugs on the tables.
Half an hour later, I heard three groups of potential customers pass on us because ‘these tables look like there’s still someone sitting there’ or because ‘look, they can’t even get their tables clean and they’re barely half full, I don’t want to eat here’.
That’s the time it took for the day manager to realize we had no water jugs anymore to give to people. He was very mad when I explained why, but he couldn’t fire me for following directions (I quit the following week anyway).”
8. All You Need Are Some Empty Bottles? I Know Just Where To Find Them
“When I was 3, my family and 6-year-old sister lived right next door to a very small corner store in a very small little town.
From the grass of our front yard, the front store entrance was maybe 10 feet away. You could also get into the fenced storage area outside and behind the store from the side of our yard, which the public could not see and didn’t know about.
This will be relevant later.
One day my mother, observing us from the front porch, let my sister and I return a 6 pack of soda bottles at said store, and use the funds to buy candy.
I didn’t understand the exact process, as my sister handled the deal, but the store owner was very nice, and I thought I was somehow getting free candy, and that this arrangement was now permanent.
The next day, I had run out of candy from my stash, and without waiting for my sister, since I was a big boy now, I went from playing in the front yard, back into the store to get another free supply of candy.
So I smiled and said hi to the owner, grabbed my free candy, and headed out the door. The owner thought otherwise. He made what seemed like a big fuss, gratuitously gesticulating, and loudly scolded me on how candy isn’t free, and I only get some candy if I trade him some empty bottles.
He then pointed to an open door, that led outside to the storage area in the back of the store, where there was a stack of maybe twenty empty soda bottle six-packs, to make sure I understood. You may know where this is going.
So the next day, from my secret side yard entrance, I went and grabbed a 6-pack of empty bottles from his stack. Then returned to my yard and then to the front of the store. Where I returned the bottles for candy.
Just as the owner had instructed.
I did this again and again. I pulled this magical candy trick off maybe 3 times that day, and maybe 3 times the next, and was growing an epic stash of candy back home. I was very pleased with myself and thought life was good.
All before the owner finally realized his stack of soda bottles was not growing and waited in the back and caught me.
I wasn’t sure what happened wrong, or why I was suddenly in trouble, as I was only following the owner’s instructions.
Bottles for candy. That was our deal.
When confronted, my mother of course apologized and paid back the missing money. But it was highly amusing to everyone after (all but the store owner).
Thus this story became often repeated family lore, of how the baby easily and repeatedly managed to steal candy from the adult.”
7. Pour Out The Cups Before Tossing Them? You Never Said Where
“I’m taking orders, minding my own business when the grill guy, let’s call him ‘Kevin’, starts getting himself riled up. He does this a lot. He skips around mumbling to himself instead of telling his boss (who is also his scooter partner and roommate) about the issue.
So anyway this time he’s mumbling as he goes by me, then picks up the volume surprisingly… ‘AYO SOMEone needs to stop his fat butt from putting full cups in the garbage!’
I immediately turn to him (along with everyone else who heard this nonsense) and say ‘excuse me?’
Now there’s trouble in river city.
He then said ‘look everyone,’ he backpedals, ‘needs to pour out the cups before they put them in the garbage. I’m tired of cleaning up fat people’s fat mess”.
Wow. Thanks for doubling down man. Time for some malicious compliance.
First off, this was not ever me.
Any stray cups I pour out outside the window or in the drain. But this time? I’ll pour the cup out before I throw it away.
Every single order mess up or car that forgot their drink came to me, and I poured each one out first…
in the very trash can, he was complaining about cleaning. It was gloriously, disgustingly heavy.
Kevin was livid, swearing up a storm about the bag leaking everywhere swearing never to do the trash again.
I then chime in ‘oh bro did you mean to empty them somewhere ELSE? Maybe it’s all that FAT in my ears I probably didn’t hear you right’.
We stared each other down, making internal decisions that led us to not fight right then and there.
Things cooled down and I turned to my drive-thru counterpart stifling the remnants of pettiness as much as possible.”
6. Think You'll Get A Better Deal Not Paying Me Hourly? I'll Prove You Wrong
“I have always been interested in electronics and did a lot of reading and studying on my own, and I was very good at buying things at swap meets and repairing them and reselling them as a teen. In my first real paying job, a friend of my mom knew a guy who ran a place that supplied answering machines to businesses.
They were new tech back at that point in time. She said he was desperate for someone who could fix them as he had ones with issues spilling over the shelves. So I went to see him.
It was an interesting meeting, a middle-aged businessman and me, I was, geez, 15 or so.
We kind of eye each other and he asks me if I can fix them. I was pretty sure I could, and when he pulled out the service manuals for them, he had a couple that were based on the same base, I was quite sure.
So he asks me what I wanted for an hour, and I was used to getting $3 an hour for watching the kiddo next door on occasion so I asked for that. He pondered that for a minute and made me an offer I could not refuse: $10, for each one I fix.
I quickly agree and agreed to stop by after school the next day with my tools to dig in.
The next day I show up and he takes me in the back and sure enough, he has a couple of big sets of industrial shelves overflowing with things.
I start pulling them off and looking at them, He gives me a smile and drifts off, and leaves me to it.
I quickly discovered this guy had no tech skills whatsoever. None, nada. Most of them had a brainlessly simple problem: The outgoing message was kept on a big loose loop of tape with a metallic splice at the end/beginning that went past two posts and that told the thing the tape had gone all the way around and to stop and turn on the cassette recorder for the incoming message.
The splices and the posts got dirty and did not make good contact and the tape would just go on forever.
About 3 minutes with some drinks and a Q-tip cleaning those parts as well as the other things in the tape path not only had them going again but sounding like new.
I cleaned the front panels up with some spray cleaner and hit the wooden cases with some lemon pledge and they would look like new. I spent more time carefully coiling up the power cords than repairing them, but when I was done they looked and sounded like new.
The owner came back to check on me a couple of hours later to see if I was going to be able to ‘crank one out for him that night’ and I pointed to a pile of 5 or so and told him to check them out.
His eyes just about popped out of his head. I got nearly 10 done a night for a while. It did slow down a bit once I got the easy ones knocked out, but I just kept picking the low-hanging fruit and learning more and more about them and getting deeper and deeper into them.
He also had units coming in all the time so I did still have some easy ones mixed in with the bunch.
I thought he was going to soil himself when we settled up at the end of the first week, I had spent like 3 afternoons there and got nearly 30 of them fixed.
It was a really good payday. He was not super happy with our agreement but he had proposed it and he had someone who was kicking butt getting them fixed so he was cornered into honoring it. It was not lost on him that he could have been paying me like $12 a night and I would have been happy with that, but he thought he would get the better of me.”
5. Want Us In The Office? Okay, I'll Be There
“The higher-ups want us back in the office. It’s extremely unpopular and is being met with a lot of pushback. No one, not me, not my boss, not my boss’ boss has been complying.
So there’s this huge conference call where HR is going fire and brimstone on us saying if we don’t go in we show up on this report which with enough occurrences could lead to disciplinary action and termination.
A friend of mine is a bit higher up than I am, and he tells me they’re monitoring this through badge swipes. They came up with some arbitrary number of swipes a person needs to make in order for them to be considered ‘in office’.
So, you see, I work as a fraud analyst for a massive bank. You need to swipe your badge every time you go to a different floor, as well as entering and leaving the building. But the report isn’t based on dates or times.
Only badge swipes.
So I go into the office one day and swipe my badge. But oh no, that coffee went right through me, so I gotta go to the bathroom. Oh, but it’s on the other side of the floor, better cut through the elevators and swipe my badge to get there quicker.
Oh, I’m out of water. Gotta go two floors down and swipe my badge to grab water. And then I had to use the restroom again. Then lunch. Then someone on another floor needed to speak with me. Then, I needed to return a cable I borrowed, but that person was away from his desk.
And so on and so forth.
This went on for most of the day. I’m required to be in the office 2-3 days a week every week. I’m the only person on the report that’s been in 4 days a week for my team since January.
I’ve been in office twice.”
4. New Rules That Cause Problems? Get Fired
“I work for a subsidiary of a fortune 500 as a manager of a dev team. I have 7 people under me, very knowledgeable and driven to solve issues. We’re all remote. I’m lucky my team is mostly great and we achieve the objectives we are given.
One day, the new security manager decides that devs are not allowed to be administrators of their laptops. He writes a new company policy for it. It’s a crap show for us. It means my team can’t work on some applications that require administrative rights.
Also, as devs know, some bugs need my guys to install/uninstall/reinstall the applications many times to make them work, changing only a few parameters each time. So I try to push back saying it might impact our service level agreements but the security manager doesn’t want to understand and just sends me emails with ‘NO’ in bold and caps.
His boss is away for health reasons so I can’t escalate as I would have.
The only way to make my guys work is that we need someone with admin rights to unlock them when they need it. That admin is part of the support center.
So, cue malicious compliance, I ask my team to create a ticket each time. They’re not happy about it of course. The support center manager isn’t happy either, because we create a lot of tickets and his team has been understaffed for a while.
I also tell all the other managers in my department to do the same, and even though they create a lot fewer tickets than my team, it helps.
Of course, this is my plan. If my team is unhappy, other people in the company are going to be too.
So pressure piles up. The support center manager is unhappy, his boss saw the numbers increase too so he’s unhappy too. He talks to my boss but hey, I have emails from the security manager.
The support center manager asks me to be reasonable and asks for a number of hours per week.
I’m a team player of course, so yes, I want to help him. I ask for 20h/week for a guy from his team to sit around waiting for my team to need him, unlock their installation, and then wait some more.
I’m guessing the admin is pretty happy about it because it’s way less pressure than his normal job and there’s not much to do but type in an admin password once in a while. It helps reduce (or not increase) the number of tickets, but the support center has fewer people so they resolve fewer tickets than before.
Then comes the climax, one application has a critical bug outside of the hours of the support center guy. So I tell them as per my agreement with the support center manager and obeying the security manager, my team can’t work on it yet, we’ll have to wait the next day.
It’s a healthcare product so it means a lot of our customers are going to be upset about it (can’t say too much, don’t want to be found).
Of course, I’m a reasonable guy, the support center manager is too, so we find someone with admin rights and put my guys to work.
The resolution of the ticket takes much longer than usual to solve because of all the back & forth between the admin and my team. During the postmortem, it is found that the new security policy was the main delaying cause (every member of my team told the postmortem woman that, as I did).
I have all the emails I sent to the security manager highlighting the risks of this new policy, and him saying he didn’t care for it. I sent that to the postmortem woman and let her find her way in politics.
3 months later, the security manager doesn’t work for us anymore, and most members of my team (but not all) have admin rights on their machine. I learned that the support center manager has made it his mission in life to complain about the security manager to everyone who would listen and have him fired.
And the support center manager knows a lot of people in the company. His director agreed with him and with the postmortem woman (or her boss, not sure at that point), they convinced the VP to fire the security manager even before the security director came back from his health issue.”
3. Don't Upload Until You Tell Us? If You Say So
“This company has a production process, and there are cycles of this process throughout the shift. At the end of each cycle, you do an ‘upload’ (not the actual thing). This upload has to be coordinated across multiple work teams, and the person who does it has plenty of other duties, but this is one of the most important ones.
Let’s call this person’s job title ‘upload operator’ and I will call the person Rockstar. If this isn’t done correctly, it can really slow down or even stop production. So the upload operator is typically pretty tenured and on the trajectory of being promoted.
At this company, when we get new members of management either external or internal from a non-production role, it is not unusual for them to go through a phase I personally like to refer to as ‘knowing just enough to be dangerous’ or ‘dangerous phase’ for short.
We had a new manager join the company, let’s call them Beavis. And they were assigned to the night shift, which had become quite reliant on Rockstar in the interim.
So Beavis went through a humble phase initially, and everyone really liked them and thought they would do well.
Now Beavis had actually taken a step or two down from their previous role at another company wanting to do something less stressful. I only mention this because it seemed to fuel the hubris that was ultimately Beavis’ demise. So, once Beavis reaches the dangerous phase, the change from humble newby to overconfident jackwagon was jarringly sudden.
One evening, Rockstar is doing what they do, and one work team was struggling to be ready for the upload. Now, this happens sometimes, but it’s one of the only teams that doesn’t necessarily stop production if they don’t upload on time.
Nevertheless, Beavis freaks out on Rockstar for uploading without them and as Rockstar is trying to explain that we had to upload, Beavis tells them that they ‘don’t upload until Beavis tells them to upload, period, end of discussion, do you understand me?’ Cue malicious compliance.
For the rest of the shift, Beavis is paying zero attention to the operation. Not sure why they thought that was a good idea after such a contentious exchange, but here we are. All night long, team leads were calling Rockstar asking what was going on and why we hadn’t uploaded so we could go on to the next cycle.
Rockstar just kept saying, ‘I’m waiting for Beavis to let me know we can upload.’ And all night long, Beavis was blissfully unaware of the storm he had initiated.
Towards the end of the night, Beavis finally decides to take a look at some operational ‘dashboards’ and realizes something is really wrong.
Now, this situation might have resulted in Rockstar getting in trouble, possibly even losing their job, if not for the bonehead decision that Beavis makes once they’ve realized what has happened. They shut down the shift and went home, without notifying anyone of the debacle or telling the night shift employees that they would need to come in the next day to finish the week’s work that didn’t get done because of him.
When the day shift came in and was told they would have to come in on a weekend, there was a lot of backlash. Rockstar was ultimately told don’t ever do that again, but was also immediately promoted to Beavis’ position when Beavis was terminated post haste.”
2. Don't Want To Be Bothered? You'll Be In For Quite The Surprise Come Morning
“I worked in a vegetarian/vegan food factory. It was the worst job you can imagine, the place smelled like rotting food at all times, the employees rarely ever do anything to prevent spreading illnesses (they would regularly show up sick even during the global crisis) and management was just the worst.
I quickly adopted the policy of doing the least irritating job I could find and trying to avoid listening to my shift lead since he was a jerk. For the sake of the story let’s call the shift lead ‘Jim’. ‘Jim’ was a by-the-numbers guy, to the point that if you argued with him using logic he would instead tell you you’re wrong, and ‘his math’ (yes he would point that phrasing out very deliberately) was what they were going to use and to ‘not think above your pay rate’.
So on this particular night (I worked from 7 pm to 5 am) Jim decided he wanted to be really lazy since the building owner was going to be gone for the week and he wouldn’t have to report anything to him for days, he spent his whole night just sitting in the office playing games on his phone ignoring our calls because we needed assistance.
After about 8-9 pm rolled around and me finally getting annoyed enough to care I ask my department manager if he could cover me for a couple of minutes to get Jim in there to help (we needed him to go get maintenance because the machine sealing a product called Tempeh was barely sealing any at all and we where throwing away about 70-80% of all packages).
I get into his office and before I can say a single word Jim says very loudly ‘Whatever it is I don’t care, just leave me alone tonight!’ I tried to get in a word but he just glared at me and said ‘Just get out and don’t bother me again!’ Then an evil thought crossed my mind.
Cue the malicious compliance, ‘You want just me to not bother you, Jim? Or does that mean everyone?’ I asked and he says the words that screwed him over ‘As long as I’m not bothered I don’t care!’ Alright, I say and leave with a grin that most anime villains dream of doing, I get to my department manager and tell him that ‘Jim doesn’t want to be bothered at all tonight’.
My manager looks at me kind of confused at first and asked what does that mean to which I just told him ‘Jim doesn’t care what happens as long as NO ONE bothers him,’ putting a big emphasis on the last part.
Now my department manager was the guy you go to for getting information around the build fast, he’s a fast talker and quick on his feet. He lets me get back into my spot and very quickly starts darting around to each department to inform them of what transpired.
Needless to say, Jim wasn’t bothered at all the entire night, he even had to be woken up at 3 am to do his nightly paperwork because he fell asleep. During the night the machines packaging the soy hotdogs also started sealing poorly but we couldn’t get any maintenance out there until it’s been approved by Jim so we just ran it all night.
By the end of the night, my line (I worked in the boxing department, boxing up the Tempeh) had thrown away roughly 4 tons of Tempeh, we used large red buggies that would hold at least 500 pounds and we chucked 17 of those suckers, I won’t even try to count up the dogs that where thrown out too.
Needless to say, this was going to hit the company HARD!
The next day, my shift comes in and to no one’s surprise Jim is on my butt right away ‘Why didn’t you inform me that we were losing so much product!’ He starts screaming into my face, ‘The owner looked at his email and saw that we lost nearly $15,000 in product alone last night!’ I simply smiled at Jim and said to him ‘I would have said something but you told me not to bother you all night.’ Jim realizing he could be in trouble for this doubles down on trying to blame me ‘You had a duty to tell me even if it’s against my orders!’ He shouts.
I calmly put my helmet on and colored coat, smiled, and said ‘Sorry I didn’t think because it was above my pay grade’ and then I went out onto the floor quite happy that I knew he was either going to be in a ton of trouble or fired.
Sadly he wasn’t fired only in trouble, his position was nearly up for grabs and he had to work every day for 6 months after that (with only Sundays off) before they eased up on him. Did he learn from this? No, he was still a total jerk that the whole staff generally acted nice to but hated with a passion.”
1. Want All The Docs? It'll Jam Up Your Inbox But Sure
“In the mid-2000s, I was a Business Development Officer (BDO) for an Asia-based commercial bank in the US. Getting deals booked required the usual internal sales versus credit fight. I wanted to build a book per lending guidelines and credit always boohooed every potential deal.
I tried to get along with that team until the bank brought a new head of credit. Turns out she got her previous bank (a huge Asian bank) fined $50 million for booking crap deals by US banking authorities and placed under other restrictions.
So she wanted her claws in everything, currently on or about to be booked into the portfolio.
Prior to her reign of madness, sales and credit had access to a shared folder that contain sub-folders of all active, completed, or pending new deals and their respective documentation.
She had her team go through everything to report issues if any (none really at that time); namely, those booked already and those closed to see if there were mistakes to learn from. I get her point of view and could only laugh when her team griped to me on the sidelines.
I managed my folder in the Impending folder as I worked on a slew of active new and secondary market deals, prior to moving booked to the active folder. We didn’t hit it off well as she questioned why I had so many deals ongoing and why she wasn’t clued into what I was doing and that we needed her nod to proceed.
I don’t work for her and my boss was mad as it seemed that she wanted to merge BD under her control. We complained to the general manager who sorta shrugged and said that she wasn’t wrong in trying to protect the bank from giving her $50 million oops elsewhere.
Each deal’s docs (and there were a LOT of docs) made each deal folder come in around 15-25 megabytes. So I blasted her and her team each deal folder one at a time (including those under consideration). It also included the GM.
I jammed up their Outlook inbox for weeks which delayed new business to the point that the GM told her she was clogging up the servers (IT complained about storage overload, mind you that disk drives were kinda expensive back then) and flat-lining his business growth (Head Office questioned his deal fall-off).
She fought to keep this madness for 6 months.
The other BDOs did the same as I did. We kept at it until the GM shut her down. During that time, she lost two analysts and couldn’t replace them for over a year. She ended up doing A LOT of the work herself since the remaining analysts were a bit too junior for her tastes.
Ask for trouble and thou shall receive.”