People Speak Out About Their Daring Revenge Stories
24. You Have 700 Gallons Of Water In Your Living Room? Oh, That's Too Bad
“I deliver bulk water to people who don’t have access to city water or their own private well. For nearly all customers it’s a simple process, either they call for deliveries, or they have agreed to automatic deliveries. When I show up, I hook the truck up to the fill pipe and start pumping and either listen at the vent or hook up to an installed alarm in order to know when the holding tank is full.
This particular customer had their holding tank installed in a small utility room next to their living room and didn’t install a vent to the outside, and refused to allow us to install an alarm because they didn’t want us to put the 1/4 inch hole in the wall to run the alarm wire. Solution? They call when they need 2000 gallons of water and we show up and pump exactly 2000 gallons of water.
This procedure worked without flaw for over a decade. Literally hundreds of deliveries with no issue. Cue owner deciding to sell. We are contacted by the new owners and set them up as a new account and head over for our first delivery and meeting. We especially go over the issue of us being totally unable to tell when the tank is full. We offered to install the alarm again for free, but they declined.
So we let them know when they call for water they MUST be sure they have enough room in the tank for 2000 gal. Or to let us know how much water they have room for. We went over this several times and they laughed saying they understood and would be calling when they were below the 2000 gallon mark.
Two weeks go by, and we receive a message on our answering machine from the new customer, no gallon amount is specified.
This set off a warning bell though because it was a household of two, and it’s only been two weeks since we filled them last. That’s HIGHLY abnormal. We expected more like five weeks. So we call back just to double-check. No answer so we leave a message asking for confirmation. Couple of hours later we try again. By the next day, we had left four messages asking to confirm that they were ready for a full load.
No reply. Well, they did call so boss sends me out. I knock on the door as a last attempt, still no answer so I hook up, start the pump, and set the timer so I don’t overpump while reading my book.
15 minutes later I hop out to check the water meter, 1700 gallons. I’ll watch for the next couple of minutes and shut it down.
That’s when I hear the front door burst open and the woman who bought the house and had called us in yesterday is SCREAMING to shut the water down. There is water everywhere! What the heck are we doing! This woman has been ignoring our calls and even ignored me at her door and now she is screaming at me.
Apparently, she had called when the tank was half full instead of down below the mark showing where the 2000 gallons is.
And just disregarded all our messages and didn’t feel like talking to me when I knocked. So now she has 700+ gallons of water in her living room. Boss was called out so she could scream at him. Husband came home from work so he too could scream at us… for reasons I guess. They made a lot of demands about how we were going to pay to fix it… nope. Boss laid down how we saw the situation: you can keep the water free of charge just don’t call us for water anymore. You guys are too stupid to work with.
Never heard from them again. Broken heart.”
23. No Broom For The Ex, But She Got The Vacuum
“A little over 9 years ago, the ex and I split up. You can only listen to somebody tell you that they are leaving so many times before you agree with them and we were together for almost 25 years. More happened than that, on both of our parts. Like her response when I mentioned that I wanted to get another motorcycle (I sold my first one in 99 so we could move).
I told her I was thinking about getting another bike and she replied that at least the house would be paid off when I died on it.
She had left and taken the car that I was paying for (she had never contributed a dime to it). It was getting towards winter and I needed the car back. Yes, it’s Texas, but it still gets cold in December and January.
She finally drove it the 35 miles back to me and I agreed to take her back to my son’s place. She took the rest of her crap that was still at my house and also took the vacuum and carpet scrubber. I found out later she took all of my spoons too, but the blue box store is around the corner.
The first thing I told her when we got in the car was not to smoke.
I quit a couple of years before and really can’t stand the smell of it. She wasn’t happy, but she agreed.
Silent car rides suck and the radio wasn’t much help. I tried to talk to her and was getting one-word replies or just glares. I asked if she wanted me to just shut up and drive. She said, ‘That would be best.’ You got it, lady.
So begins 25 minutes of very uncomfortable travel.
I can hear her clenching the door handle so hard it sounds like it’s cracking. She sees a sign for a rest area coming up and tells me to stop so she can have a smoke. Fine, you got it.
She gets out and sits her butt on the little rock wall, smoking and looking ticked off. I sat in the car, playing on my phone and making a couple of calls.
I hear a knock on the window and it’s her. She tells me she wants her stuff and to leave her there. I ask if she’s sure, and she says yes. She can’t stand to ride with me anymore. Okay, if that’s what you want. I got her stuff out, including her vacuum, and left her butt sitting at the rest area, looking like a homeless maid.
Drove away, called my oldest she was living with, and told him he needed to pick up his mom. He laughed when I told him I left her sitting there.”
22. Not Allowed A Day Off Unless You're Sick? Suddenly, I'm Very Sick
“I worked for a grocery store in Australia for close to a decade. It wasn’t terrible, and management treated us with respect for my first few years there. If someone couldn’t make a shift they’d work with us to find a replacement, we were rarely short staffed so worst case scenario things would still run relatively smoothly even if we were missing a few on a given day.
Fast forward a few years, the good manager retires and an assistant manager from a nearby store is promoted to managing this store. Let’s call him ‘Brad’ for the sake of this story. Brad approached the position with an ego, treating the store as his to ‘fix.’ Even though things had been running quite smoothly for years before he was in the picture.
Part of his vision of fixing the store was stricter adherence to company-wide guidelines in terms of staffing numbers and leave requests.
For example, the amount of staff to be rostered on is determined by the number of customers through our doors each day. Staff who were actually experienced at this location knew that we needed more than what the company guidelines specified to be able to function effectively. Within the first month of Brad’s tenure at this store, hours are being cut dramatically across the store, causing chaos as nobody was used to the added workload.
When confronted about this by other members of management, he immediately dismisses them, quoting ‘company guidelines’.
During the same period of time, staff began to notice that any request for leave was being instantly denied by Brad. Now the company guideline is to give at least two weeks’ notice if you know you’ll need a day off. But it goes without saying, sometimes friends or family will make last-minute plans you’d like to attend, or you can’t work a shift due to compassionate reasons.
Prior to Brad if you needed some time off, it was as simple as honestly communicating your situation with our manager. Almost always were we able to come up with a solution, and taking a day off was never a big deal.
Keep in mind, these guidelines are just that. Guidelines. Not strict rules that must be enforced. Store managers are given a rather loose collar from higher management, as long as things are running smoothly, and staff is happy, upper management will usually take a rather hands-off approach.
They won’t micromanage each individual store ensuring every little corporate guideline is being adhered to unless there are obvious issues requiring their attention.
So now Brad’s about a month into his position, we are short-staffed throughout the store. Everyone is stressed, requests for leave are being denied due to the lack of staff that Brad caused in the first place, Brad quotes company policy each and every time he does this.
He won’t even allow us to organize someone else to cover shifts as it’s ‘too much paperwork’.
It’s a Saturday and I’m due to work my regular shift that same night. I get a call from a friend with a spare ticket to see my favorite artist’s sold-out show. I want to go, and I’ve spoken to a colleague who’s willing to cover my shift so I’m not screwing over my team.
I call the store and I speak to Brad. Tell him the situation and that I have someone to cover said shift. Brad predictably gives me the same response that he’s been giving everyone else. ‘Sorry, as per grocery store X’s staffing policy, you must give 2 weeks’ notice for any time off. It doesn’t matter if someone else is willing to take the shift.’
Cue malicious compliance.
For a manager who’s so into following rules, I was surprised to discover that he never took into account grocery store X’s sick leave policy. Staff is entitled to paid sick leave for a day without the requirement of a doctor’s note. If you take two days or more off consecutively, then you need a medical certificate. I call back an hour after my initial call, this time I tell Brad that I’ve come down with the most terrible headache and that there is no way I can work that night.
He doesn’t even reply to me, I can faintly hear him angrily mumble that he’ll have to call in a last-minute replacement before hanging up.
It didn’t take long for staff to catch on to this loophole. Staff needing time off with less than two weeks’ notice would no longer bring it to their manager’s attention immediately, instead opting to call in sick the day of each time.
Obviously, this ensured further chaos in terms of lack of staff, a problem I never experienced in my near-decade at the store.
Brad quit after about a month and a half of being manager. Replacing him was the old assistant manager that has been at this location for several years at this point. It took a while to reverse the damage Brad had caused but things got back to normal with someone who actually knew how to run the store at the helm.”
21. Hands Off Your Generators? I'll Put You In Your Place
“This was years ago, I was deployed to Afghanistan as part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team with the mission of helping the Afghan provinces rebuild critical infrastructures like schools, roads, and the like. I was part of the AF communications team whose primary job was to keep our team’s on-site communications up and operational so that we could always communicate back to headquarters. This meant it must be operational as close to 24/7/365 as possible as we were in the middle of the War in Afghanistan.
Our setup was a bit unique, as far as I know, the other teams’ sites were within a fortified compound where the team would live and work. Our site, however, was four walls barely 6 ft. tall on a tiny compound. We lived amongst the populace, in safe houses. The commo guys were housed about a 3-5 min drive from the compound in a tiny house.
The reasoning being that since we were the only ones required to be on-site 24/7 then we needed to be close. Plus, we were also the lowest-ranked and of the two houses, the one we stayed in was a dump. It was a run-down, white, 2 story, 4 bedroom, 2 bath that we shared. Think duplex house cut in half. No walls or gate. We had our own attachment of Afghan Mujahideen guards who not only provided us with protection but also, usually, our meals.
The other safe house, where the rest of the team stayed, was comparably a mansion. A beautiful 3-story, emerald green trim, stained glass windows, with large bedrooms, a huge dining room, living room, and a huge kitchen. This was where all the cooks, the higher-ups, translators, maintainers, etc all stayed. Problem being that it was a good 35-45 min drive away along some winding mountain dirt roads and mud-brick Afghan villages.
Were we jealous? Yeah, we knew we were getting the shaft but it is what it is and we made the best of it. In fact, my current love of Afghan cuisine stemmed directly from the Afghan guards cooking.
Anyway. We made it suck less by only having to work 8 hours as all of the commo guys would rotate to keep each other fresh. Everyone else generally worked 12s.
Since we were on site all the time we would do other people’s jobs, mainly things like refueling generators so we had power through the night as the diesel generators we used had fuel tanks that would last about 10 hours before needing to be refueled. Usually, it was the maintainer’s job to keep them refueled but they weren’t about to make an hour and a half round trip in the middle of the night to refuel the generator.
So we did it.
We operated like this for a good 6 months without issue… when one morning, after just doing turnover from my midnight shift, the E-6 in charge of the maintenance team barged into the commo room, ‘You, and you. Come outside,’ he points to me and my replacement before storming outside. With a raised brow at my colleague, we follow him outside.
‘I’m ordering you guys, right now, to keep your hands off my generators!’ he yells the moment we are out of the building.
‘You mean you don’t want us to do your job for you in the middle of the night?’ I almost ask but instead opt for, ‘Why? What happened?’
You see, our 4 man team had a teensy, tiny, small problem. To protect the idiot, I shall name him Airman UXO. You see, UXO was not the sharpest tool in the shed. He once picked up an old inert mortar round he found outside our safe house and thought it would be a good idea to HIT IT WITH A ROCK in an attempt to open it WHILE NEXT TO THE SAFEHOUSE we were sleeping in.
Hence, Airman UneXploded Ordinance had a reputation for getting into trouble when bored. Apparently, while UXO was on swing shift, in his infinite boredom, had done something wrong with the generator the night before as he was prone to mess with stuff he didn’t need to be messing with.
As per usual, the backlash landed on the rest of us. Which, fine, now we have even fewer duties to take care of ok.
But, I needed to verify exactly what he meant by, ‘No touchy’ so I asked, ‘Hey Tech Sergeant, uh, by don’t touch you mean don’t touch at all? You don’t want us to fuel them at night?’
He was still hot and with as much venom as he could muster he yelled at us, ‘No! I don’t want you idiots anywhere near my generators. I’ll fuel them before going home and will be back early enough to ensure they are fueled again in the morning.’
I couldn’t help but smile as I thought, yeah right, and responded with a crisp, ‘Roger that, Sergeant.’ I left to go find my supervisor to verify that the order was lawful and that I should obey it.
The thing about this maintenance lead was that no one really liked him. He made his junior do like 90% of the work while he fiddled around with this thousand-dollar camera he brought with him. That or he disgustingly flirted with the female translator we had. We barely saw him doing any work. My supervisor, upon being told what we’d been ordered just shrugged, ‘He ordered you all not to touch them, fine, his problem to deal with now.’
So a few weeks go by, of course, it isn’t the Tech Sergeant who comes in early to fuel the generators, but his subordinate who did the majority of the work.
So, the first day after his subordinate left to go on leave back to the States I reminded the Tech Sergeant, as I came on-site, that he would need to ensure he was back on-site at 0700 to fuel the generator. ‘Don’t tell me how to do my job. I’ll be here.’
I barely kept my eyes from rolling and gave him a ‘Roger that.’ Before going inside for shift change.
Shift goes without a hitch, but as the sun starts to light the sky of the valley I begin to wonder if the Tech Sergeant is going to make it in. I’m alone on the compound, having an inner debate on if I should just refuel them myself or not. On one hand, my mission was to ensure that communications remained up and operational. On the other, I had standing orders to not touch the generator.
The clock on the office wall kept ticking, seemingly louder and louder as I knew after the hands past 0700 that the generator could fail at any moment and the site would lose power and comms would be cut.
I went outside to the generator shack, the active and backup generators were inside. Without touching them, I went back over the crash course we had on them from earlier on how to flip them over in the event of an emergency.
Confident I knew how to startup and flip the power over to the other generator I made the decision to maliciously comply with the orders I’d been given. I know. I know. I could have easily filled the generator up with a little bit of fuel just to keep it running until he got there to do his job, but knowing him, he was messing around instead of ensuring his job was done.
So, now knowing a power failure was imminent, I reached back to HQ and informed them that a potential short outage could possibly occur so that they were aware. Told them that we expected it to not be longer than a half-hour as we could potentially have a generator issue. It would take a bit of time to transfer over to the other generator. Shortly after making that call, at about 10 after the hour, the tell-tale signs of a generator dying began to bring the power down to the site.
I go back out to the generator shack, snickering because I knew it will be a pain for the Tech Sergeant to fix the now empty diesel motor and get it back in running condition. Not like you can just refuel the thing like a gas motor and get it running again.
I reach the backup generator, flip the proper switches, give the key a turn, and….
there is no power to the backup generator. The car battery on it was dead. What. The. Heck. WHY isn’t this generator maintained properly! Tech Sergeant was supposed to be in charge of ensuring the backup was running at least weekly. This was supposed to be simple, power goes out, I followed orders, I then bring the site back up, no big deal. Now… my head races as I try to figure out how to get power back in under a half-hour.
I snap my fingers and grab the tool kit and head to the empty generator. I find the battery case for it and I start uncoupling it from the dead generator so I can put it in the backup.
And wouldn’t you know it, as I’m putting the last few turns to install the battery, Tech Sergeant finally rolls into the compound, half an hour late, and immediately notices me over at his generator with the wires hanging out.
I’m covered in grease and filth as I stand up, while looking directly at him, crank the backup generator and bring power back to the compound. He starts screaming at me. ‘What do you think you are doing?! Why are you touching my generators?! I told you not to touch them! I ordered you!’
I throw a wrench down at his feet and yell back, ‘Well maybe if you had been here on time to do your job and refuel the generators, I wouldn’t have to be out here fixing your backup generator so I can do my job!’
As I brush past him I yell over my shoulder, ‘Excuse me, I have to call HQ and let them know that we are back up and operational.’ As I go inside I see the compound commander with a red face go storming outside screaming for Tech Sergeant to come to his office. With a nod from my supervisor, I make my call.
Normally, I’m all mission first, but sometimes you need to put a pompous NCO in his place.”
20. Only Do What I Was Hired To Do? Sure, If You Say So
“I worked as a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Concept Artist, 2D/3D Designer, and Animator (getting the idea yet?) for a company called ‘Magic Memories.’ It’s one of those companies that sets up a giant green screen in front of attractions and takes your picture, then, when you’re coming out, tries to sell you a photobook with your pictures edited inside these templates tailored for that site. There are sets designed for each attraction and all themed to fit accordingly.
I was originally hired to be a Graphic Designer who makes the Photoshop documents used for the photo templates. That was it. I mentioned I could do 3D work and eventually incorporated that into my designs as well. After noticing my 3D capabilities, I helped out by working on the design & build side, creating architectural models for the set designs and sales areas for new sites.
Because I was skilled artistically, I was also tasked with creating the concept art for these new themed sets as well. It was like being a budget Imagineer if you’re familiar with Disney at all. Except I didn’t get paid over 35k a year to do all these jobs.
None of that was a formal promotion, nothing had documentation. Just ‘try this out, see how you do’ and then never actually turning into anything.
I wore every hat in the creative team and outshined every other designer in each department by a long shot. I was the only one who knew how to animate digital signage as well as a few other minor things, as well.
One day I was doing what I do, and this snake of a salesman comes up to my little cubicle and asks for help with some kind of marketing material for a pitch document.
It doesn’t take long and was fairly simple to do. I didn’t think anything of it.
A couple of days later, my manager (who isn’t the original manager that hired me, this is someone who got promoted into this position later on) pulls me aside and yells at me for not following protocol and not following the correct channels the design team goes through to get work done.
She ‘saw something’ in the work I did for the sneaky salesman and was mad she had to change something last minute before it all went out. If I remember correctly, it was something stupid like text needing to be shifted a little more to the right. She was also mad she didn’t know that art existed because there was never a design request created for it.
‘I don’t like how you went behind my back to do this,’ and more. ‘From now on, don’t help other departments, and just do what you were hired to do, I’m the manager, not you.’
I already hated this freaking company and wanted to watch it burn from the inside, so I graciously agreed. I wouldn’t do anything that wasn’t in my original hiring letter.
All the concept art for new sites halted, no new artwork for pitch designs to acquire more sites…
All video content for sales areas stopped, no one to animate the videos that loop on screens… Plan drawings and 3d mockups for different sites ceased, architects/builders had no idea what to make or what to build it out of. Sales didn’t get any collateral to help their pitches to acquire new sites, making it far more likely to lose bids for new attractions.
It takes a month (I’m honestly surprised, to be honest) for my manager to get back to me.
‘Hey, I noticed you’re behind on a LOT of your tasks on Asana.’ (It’s a website we used to track who’s doing what and due dates, etc.). ‘What’s up with that!? We have MANY urgent things that need to go out ASAP! Where are you at with X and Y? Z needs to be finished by this time to meet the deadline…’
I remember vividly that I just stared at my screen and deadpan said, ‘Oh, I wasn’t hired to do any of that.
I’m just supposed to make these templates, remember?’ and pointed at my screen while I wiggled this sea lion I had selected in Photoshop around.
Not long later, they tried to ‘formally’ raise my responsibilities. And when asked if a raise was to follow this increase in work, they offered a $500 a year increase. I accepted and then walked to my desk, wrote up a letter, and quit.
Forcing them to pay out my two months of PTO I had saved up with my newly increased hourly rate of like 2 cents because of the crappiest raise in history.
Company was bleeding money because the CEO and his best friends paid themselves a ridiculous salary and refused to take a pay cut in lieu of helping out the employees or the business itself. Things began to fall apart, I can only imagine what they lost after I ditched them.”
19. If You Were Nice, Your Services Wouldn't Have Been Cancelled
“I’m a customer services manager for a very large entertainment/broadband company. Part of my job is listening to calls raised to me by my agents in relation to complaints, etc.
One of my agents had a customer on the line going mental about her daughter’s phone and broadband services being restricted for not paying. Customer claims the last person she spoke to said her bill would be cleared and she didn’t have to pay.
So I listen to that call and the customer is awful from the get-go. Making fun of the advisor’s name (the name being Merlin, she was making jokes about her being a wizard and how stupid her name was mainly), shouting at her for over an hour about how we’ve committed fraud because we won’t read her daughter’s bank details out on the call to her.
She then starts going mad when the advisor tells her we couldn’t take payment because 3 different credit cards were declined on the account in 3 different months. This goes on for 1 hour and 45 minutes and I feel so bad for the advisor at this point… customer starts going mental that her daughter never has credit cards, again that we’ve committed fraud and she’s coming to the agent’s call center to find her.
When the agent asks how we could possibly have committed fraud the customer puts her foot in it, goes into a rage, and then tells her she let her daughter who’s only 17 go into the store and take the broadband contract with us and the customer knew she had to be over 18, how it was our fault and blah blah for not doing our checks and so on.
Her daughter came on the line screaming just as bad as her too.
Our customers need to be 18 and up to have contracts with us, we run basic debt checks to see if they have defaulted accounts with us, but nothing more.
After raising the account off to the fraud team I had the pleasure of calling them back to tell them they were canceled with immediate effect. Of course, she started screaming at me, until I told her I wasn’t here to be screamed at, it clearly wasn’t up for discussion and that I’d be hanging up.
If she’d been nice and not acted like she was on a pedestal and untouchable then the services wouldn’t have been canceled.
Don’t you love when loud-mouthed Karens shoot themselves in the foot?”
18. Divide Every Intervention In Two? As You Wish
“I work as a surveyor. In this profession, you often have to divide lands so that the owner can sell a part of it, or even delimit the entire perimeter or just a part of it. For example when two neighbors are fighting about where each of their lands end (‘Your fence is on my land! No you are lying!’ That kind of stuff).
Usually, we would make our own research beforehand, and often find some previously existing landmarks, property documents, and stuff like that.
Then get to the land on the day we appointed to everyone concerned, measure visible limits and landmarks, and if everything is clear enough, establish the limit for everyone with their accord. Meaning that you have only one travel on the spot, and the rest is just drawing the plan on a computer and creating legal documents to sign by everyone quoted before.
It works perfectly like 95% of the time, and the remaining 5% are either because we made a mistake and need to come back to change the limit (with everyone’s accord again), or because one of the neighbors doesn’t agree with what we determined to be the limit and wants to go to court to have it settled by a judge (this is between the two neighbors, and we have about nothing to do with it once they decide to go to that extent).
Sometimes though, the limit is not that easy to find, and we have to do it in two appointments (first to measure the land and try to find elements that would help us, then the second to show everyone where the limit is, based on our measures).
So yeah, it works well, and it is fast enough so that we can pass from one case to the other without losing too much time.
But here is the thing. With two appointments, clients have to pay more (of course). And our boss likes that. So one day, he decided that rather than doing everything at once when we could, we would systematically do it in two appointments. We tried telling him that it was a bad idea as we were already treating every case we had with just no delay, but he didn’t listen and made us do it anyway.
So we started doing as he said. Every case, even the easiest ones, was treated two times. The folders started to pile up on our desks because we had to go to each location a second time, but we also had to attend to the appointments of the new ones. Which themselves had to be taken care of a second time, while others were coming, etc., etc…
Now, clients are calling angrier and angrier, because they are waiting for our work to be done so that they can sell their lands. The boss came at us angry because he thought we were slacking off. But we just showed him the folders that we have to get treated, twice. He tried to argue, claiming that we were just taking too much time, but we reminded him that he was warned this would happen.
He got one really angry call from a notary last week, who was about to lose a sale because we didn’t work fast enough (at this point, we had months of delay). He then came to us asking to go back to the way we treated our case before. But I know one of my colleagues got really annoyed by his behavior and is actively looking for another job. While we are way behind on many cases.”
17. You Want Me To Travel Down On A Monday? Sure, As You Wish
“A few years ago I was given some plum shifts helping out at a supermarket clothing section, the staff for which was provided by the same merchandising company I worked for. It was day shifts a good few hours away from home, so I asked if I could have my hotel starting from the Sunday night in order to be there for 7 am as requested.
Now, this was a normal request for day shifts, especially for those who primarily use public transport like I do. Getting to somewhere for 7 am by train just isn’t doable for most places. However, on this occasion, it was denied, and I was only given a hotel from Monday to Friday. ‘Just get there as early as you can’ was the instruction.
So I looked at the train schedules.
And it wasn’t as bad as I feared. I could catch an 0605 London-bound train due into Loughborough at 0625, then an 0630 straight to Norwich. The only time of the day that such a combination was possible, as the Norwich trains only stopped at Loughborough that one time each day. This would get me there for about 9 am. I relayed this to the office, and they were fine with this.
The next available route also started at 6:05, but longer connections at Leicester and Ely instead added over an hour to the journey total.
Unfortunately, British rail companies have a reputation regarding reliability and punctuality, or rather the lack thereof. And with only a five-minute interchange between trains, even a minor delay between Sheffield (the start point of the London route) and Loughborough could lead to disaster.
The first week I just barely made it off the slam-door London train and across the platform to the Norwich one. I was literally pulling my case in as the platform manager blew his whistle. I told the office that this level of delay was normal for this route, as they expected to be able to make the time up between Leicester and St Pancras.
‘It’s fine, do what you can.’
The next week I missed the Loughborough connection, it was just pulling out as the doors unlocked on the London train.
I had to take the longer route. The third week there was no delay on the 0605 at all. The fourth week? Oh boy. Not only did I miss the connection at Loughborough, but the Stansted-bound train I was meant to catch to Ely instead was canceled due to a lack of drivers. As this train was (supposedly) hourly, it was a long wait for the next one.
And while it would have been quicker to catch the next train into London, find my way to the correct station (Liverpool Street?) and catch a Greater Anglia train to Norwich… I bought the cheaper ticket that was ‘not valid through London’. So that was a no-go. And that clause was important later on.
Even after this debacle, where I turned up at lunchtime, I was still getting told to travel down on Monday morning.
My unreliability was acceptable because it wasn’t my fault.
Now, my shifts were supposedly 7:00-19:00. I was being given merchandising length shifts, as I was employed as a merchandiser, not a clothing section employee. So I was meant to finish at 7 pm on a Friday, with a fifteen-minute walk to the station after that.
The train I caught on Monday morning ordinarily went through Nottingham, from whence I could catch another train back to my home station.
However, the last one of these departed at about 1900 – too early for me to catch if I finished at 7 pm. It was also the last train of the night, and any delays would have seen me missing the last connection home. See my previous point about reliability/punctuality. There were later trains, but they went through London and so I couldn’t use them.
This was deemed by the local staff, who I was there to support, as unacceptable.
Catching the last train home, risking missing my connection, and getting back rather close to midnight even if I made it? Nuh-uh, not happening. And they raised this with the area manager, whose response was ‘catch whichever train works for you.’
Oh? Is that so? Well, in that case, I’ll catch the second to last one, just after 1800. And I’ll leave at about 1730 to ensure I make it to the station on time, able to position myself to be one of the first ones on so I don’t have to turf a chancer out of my reserved seat.
This state of affairs carried on for about two months until they managed to find a local to fill the vacancy. And while I could have bought the more expensive London ticket… well, the cheap ticket was £90, and I had to buy it myself and claim it back on expenses.”
16. Stop Complaining About Your Neighbors? Okay, No Problem
“I moved into an apartment with a roommate last summer. When we first came in, the biggest part of the sale was the fact that the apartment was freshly renovated, and soundproof (This one is important, and you’ll see why), so when we got in, my roommate immediately fell in love with it, and I did too. When we moved in, we were very careful not to bother anyone, as we wanted to quickly have a good relationship with our neighbors (‘Oh, did you see the new neighbors? They only moved during the day, they don’t make sound during the night, what nice people’ kind of deal) and we can safely say it worked.
What we did not know, however, is that we were only three renters when we first came in; us on the floor, another family upstairs on the opposite side, and another one on the 3rd floor, with one empty apartment between us. Turns out the ‘soundproof’ statement was accurate, but only in regards to the inside-to-outside situation. When our upstairs neighbors moved in, it was a gosh darn nightmare.
Sound from 5 am to past midnight, five days in a row, dropping stuff, speaking loudly, yelling, or walking in their apartment with shoes on.
Out of frustration on the fifth day, I walk upstairs and meet my neighbor, at midnight. I ask them to cease their activities for the night. I have work in the morning, and I cannot be kept up all night. I understand they were freshly moved in, and they might have had a tight schedule, but midnight was too late to be moving stuff.
He didn’t reply and closed the door on me. I go downstairs, and the sound starts over again.
I notify my landlord, and he tells me he’ll handle it, and apologized for the situation, explaining to me my neighbor was just moving and that he probably didn’t understand what I was saying because of a language barrier.
The neighbors were extremely loud. I know a lot of Karens will use that as an excuse to shower their neighbors with hate, but when I say loud, I mean it.
There was no stop to their loud noises, it seemed like they couldn’t be bothered to hold something without dropping it or jumping up and down on the floor.
I recorded the event and even installed microphones in my home jacked to my computer, activating and recording every time there is strong vibration in the house. Over 98 events on Monday, February 14th. I was livid. I send that to the landlord and explained this cannot continue.
First, the apartment was poorly soundproofed, which meant we were hearing every darn sound at all times. Second, we notified the neighbors about the situation, and they ignored it. I have notified the landlord to awaken them to our situation.
I report the issues several times, and even advise my landlord that there were very heavy sounding thuds coming from upstairs, which worried me. He answered, ‘Stop complaining about your neighbors, already! I have other things to do!’
I answered, ‘Understood, sir.
Please be advised this will be my last communication and action to help you in that regard.’
You know when I said I heard loud noises? Turns out our upstairs neighbor was doing bench-press lifting in his living room, and the heavy thuds I kept hearing were him dropping his weights on the ground. I had warned my roommate about removing anything she didn’t want to be broken from the living room, and lo and behold; four days later, the first crack appeared.
Then another. The floor was giving up. I moved the couch out of the way and moved the TV and consoles into the bedroom.
Fast forward to three days ago; after another series of loud noises, I heard a loud crack, followed by an ‘OH SHOOT!’ followed by very loud noises.
I went to the living room, to see my neighbor on the ground, with several actually gruesome injuries due to the fact he just went through the floor and brought his bench and weight rack with him.
I called an ambulance and the police. The police asked me if I reported the issue with my landlord, which I could confirm, due to my communications being made via email. I sent everything, and I am now, of course, filing to break my lease due to an uninhabitable dwelling.
The landlord came in yesterday and just proceeded to explode. Told me I should have made him aware that my neighbor was doing dangerous things, to which I answered I had notified him about the very loud sounds and he never investigated, and that he also ordered me to stop complaining about my neighbors.
It was not my responsibility to go out of my way to protect his assets if he is unwilling to cooperate with me.
My neighbors, roommate and I are now residing in a hotel until we can find a new place to live. We are now also looking towards adding a bit more salt to the injury by maybe filing for criminal negligence against both our landlord and the neighbor, the first because the apartment was apparently having some flaws and the latter for endangering us (had I not caught up on what caused the sound earlier, me or, god forbid, my roommate could have been under that.)
Anyway, it was a fun week. And I do enjoy the accommodations of my hotel. Never went to a four-star spa-included hotel before. Turns out the chocolate on the pillow is a lie and I am very disappointed about that.”
15. There's Been A Loss In Production? I Was Just Doing What I Was Told
“In the commercial construction world, the management team on site is generally all salaried employees of the General Contractor. Superintendents, Asst. Superintendents, Safety Officers, Quality Control Inspectors, etc., generally anyone in the job trailer. 8 hours a week, or 80 hours; our checks are the same every time.
I’m a Senior Superintendent, and part of this role is ensuring that timesheets are filled out correctly, individual expense reports are completed, and we’ve got adequate manpower from laborers to tradesmen.
About 6 months ago, we had a Superintendent meeting at our office. Nothing new – we do this every month. However, one of the things that was discussed happened to be timekeeping.
We were told that our timesheets have to reflect 8 hours a day, regardless of how long we’re actually there, and they have to be sent in no later than 9 am on Monday, or checks will be withheld or late that week.
To me, the timesheets have always seemed redundant because our checks don’t change, and we usually look at an app we’re required to download, that clocks us in and out automatically, according to our location, relative to the site. Everyone always rolls in around 6:30 am, even though the day doesn’t start until 7 am. Most of us are there until 4:30-5:30 pm. It’s just the nature of the beast with $50M-$200M projects.
We get gates and doors open early for subcontractors, get set up for the day and we’re ready to go.
This time-keeping guideline was reiterated several times through emails, so I decided it was only right that we comply.
I have 2 Assistant Supers, a Superintendent 2, 2 safety officers, 2 QC officers, and 2 admin assistants in the job trailer. That’s 10 in the trailer, counting myself.
I also have a 12-man laborer crew, 14 carpenters, and 2 trade foremen.
That’s 38 timesheets, and altogether, and 13 expense reports, along with random mileage reports. 51+ individual reports altogether. That’s just one project. The entire company has around 40 projects running right now.
If you’ve used Outlook, you know that you can schedule emails to be delivered at a predetermined time and date, so here’s what we did:
We all (38) meet in a parking lot about a block away from the site.
(Our apps clock us in when we pull into the job site.) At 6:55, we all pull out and arrive on-site at 6:56-7:00, and then unlock the gates. At this point, there are roughly 200 other tradesmen standing there with tools or sitting in their vehicles waiting on walk gates to be opened.
Once they’re opened, these guys go to any one of 17 floors in the building, waiting turns for a very slow hydro-mobile construction elevator.
By the time they’re set up to work, it’s easily 8 am. At 3:30 pm, the walk gates are locked, and all personnel has to be out of the building and site, so they’re all rolling up around 2:45, in order to be off-site by 330. This reduces production from about 7 hours a day, own to around 5, or approximately 500 man-hours of production per day.
I also had our Asst. Supers and AAs start scheduling timesheets and report deliveries, one every minute, from 8 am until 9 am on Monday mornings. From what I hear, other Senior Supers I told about this, began doing the same type of thing.
The loss in production, and the annoying chime of new emails every minute, had their new guidelines squashed in 3 weeks, overtime approved for hourly employees, and Saturday work approved for subcontractors, so we could get back on schedule and make up for the approximately 7500 lost man-hours of production, just from our project alone.
When asked about it, I simply stated that I was following instruction, precisely as it was given.
There’s been no more micro-managing.”
14. Threaten To Cancel Your Account? No Problem, Buddy
“A couple of years ago I used to work at a call center for a popular company by the name of Netflix. (I’m only name-dropping because nobody works at that center anymore due to the fact they laid everyone off who didn’t want to move to another state). You would not believe the amount of horrible behavior and stupidity I would have to deal with (unless you’ve worked at a call center that is) on a day-to-day basis.
Questions could range from ‘so when do you guys install the Netflix?’ to ‘can’t you just make an account for me?’ With my personal favorite being ‘what’s this email you’re talking about I only have Gmail!’ And the worst being ‘how could you take funds out of my account, now I can’t feed my children!’
Anyways, dealing with abusive customers and having the entire site close down eventually takes its toll, and near the end, I had little empathy for customers who were rude to me.
There was one thing I LOVED about working there, however: we never had to try to keep customers or upsell them anything. And, as long as we did the job correctly, our Team Leads would almost always back us up if a call was escalated.
Then Netflix had its price hike and wasn’t able to stream on older devices anymore due to technical issues. You could not imagine the number of people calling to threaten to cancel because they believed we had the power to individually accompany their wants and needs.
Cue malicious compliance: I had this particularly nasty lady whose account was on hold due to lack of payment. She initially called because she was outraged she would have to pay 2 extra dollars in three months when the price hike took effect. Once I informed her she couldn’t stream anyways due to lack of payment she yells ‘what if I just go ahead and cancel my account then huh?’ And, like everybody else who threatens this, they severely overestimate my ability to give a crap.
She had already stated that she wanted to cancel the account and that was all permission I needed to close it. So, after her threat, I tell her ‘there’s no need ma’am I’ve already taken care of it for you!’ In my cheery call center voice that I only reserve for children and irate customers.
She EXPLODES at me and demands my supervisor. Now like most call centers all our calls are recorded, and our supervisors can go back and listen to any call.
Since she had stated she had wanted to cancel (albeit maybe a little sarcastically) I was in the clear.
Turns out she really didn’t want to cancel, but since her account was officially closed she would not only need to pay the original amount to restart it, but the new price hike as well since the system recognized it as a ‘new account’ whereas old accounts were slowly being price changed.”
13. Don't Throw Anything Away? Okay, You Got It
“This happened when I worked at a convenience store many, many moons ago. The original owner, the woman who hired me, basically left the shift managers to run the shift. If there were out-of-date products, the shift managers were allowed to throw them away without specific permission from the GM or the owner. The GM and owner trusted the shift managers’ judgment.
About six years into my employment there, the original owner sold the business.
The new owners kept on all the staff but we were basically told that the owners were in charge and the employees were to do nothing without permission. Even the shift managers were not allowed to throw away anything without the owner’s permission. The new owners were notorious for ‘recycling’ old, outdated food. It was disgusting. If there were outdated sandwiches, they made the employees take the deli meat off the stale/soggy roll, put it on a fresh roll, with fresh lettuce & tomato, and put it back out for sale.
The same with outdated canned foods and such. They would make the employees cook the outdated canned food for the hot food bar.
It didn’t take too long for them to decide that I was throwing away too many products. Basically, because I absolutely refused to ‘recycle’ the sandwiches. I was told that I was not to throw anything away without consulting one of the owners first.
Enter the malicious compliance.
I got a box and put everything in it that I was going to throw away for the entire shift. If I swept the floor, I dumped the floor sweepings into the box. Customers didn’t want their receipts — in the box. Bank wrappers from the $1 bills — in the box. Remnants from my dinner — in the box. Every last paper towel I used to wipe down the counters.
If I was chewing a piece of gum. Yeah, you guessed it — everything went in the box.
I marked the box — Do Not Throw This Stuff Away Before (the owner) Looks At it.
After the first night of doing that, I was told not to do it again. I kept right on doing it. After about a week, the owner threw away my box, gave me a specific list of things I wasn’t allowed to throw away, and told me to stop being a smarty pants if I intended to keep my job. I didn’t work for them long — they were selling illegal products that could have resulted in the staff getting arrested. Before I quit, I did get the chance to tell the owner that she needed to stop being an (expletive) toward everyone and that she and her husband needed to quit being shady.”
12. Not Paying For Our Tools Anymore? No Problem, I'll Take Mine Home
“I was working as a shipwright at the time, which if you’re not familiar with the term means I was basically a nautical carpenter. A carpenter in a shipyard.
Well, it was a union job, everyone in the yard got paid the same, but since shipwrights generally bring bags of their own, personal tools to the job we got paid an extra 15 cents an hour to compensate us for wear and tear.
You’d just write ‘OT’ on your time card at the end of the day so the payroll department knew to put you down at the ‘own tools’ rate. Anyway, it seemed to me at the time to be a fairly reasonable setup.
So one Friday the foreman says that the yard isn’t going to be paying the own tools bonus any longer. Seemed kind of petty to me, but there wasn’t anything much to be done about it, so at quitting time I just took my bags with me and went home.
In other words, I took home all my saws, squares, driver guns, and basically everything that is required to do any shipwright work.
I didn’t really give it another thought until Monday morning rolled around and the foreman was assigning tasks for the day. He tells me. ‘Ok OP, the some-such-boat is sitting out behind Drydock 9, they need a cabinet of some sort built in their wheelhouse, go ahead and get after it.’
I say ‘No problem, I’m just going to need a saw, a square, a driver gun, a pencil,…’ You see where this is going.
So the foreman just stares for a second and says, ‘Where the heck are all your tools?!’
‘Well you said we weren’t getting paid to bring our own bags anymore, so I took mine home. What’s the problem?’
This guy spent the better part of two days searching for enough equipment for me to be able to go get this project started, and even then the tools he found were just worn-out junk so everything took three times as long to accomplish. I spent the two days methodically sweeping out the shop, about 35 times.
We were getting paid roughly $40 an hour at the time, so I figured the yard spent around $600 paying me to sweep the shop repeatedly, in order to avoid paying me $6/week to keep performing my actual job. If that’s not good management I don’t know what is.”
11. Screw Me Out Of My Hours? I'll Game The System
“About 10 years ago I worked as a press operator for a company we’ll call WSPG (because those are the actual initials, screw ’em).
Some backstory – When hired on you’re told that there’s ‘occasional weekend work’ that’s typically voluntary. Maybe in the ’80s, but ever since the mid-’90s you’re working your 40 plus every 3rd weekend at a minimum. The policy stated that without adequate volunteers you’d have to cover every third weekend with the other two weekends being ‘free’.
There was also a policy for low-OT (start of year to date overtime hours accrued) and low-seniority coverage of weekends when they were really short. Nobody had a designated ‘home machine,’ we all floated from machine to machine with the intent to keep fresh on everything, but with a reality of sticking the best operators on the most technically difficult operations regardless of which machine it was on.
This resulted in a lot of the time getting a crash course for 4 hours on Friday so that you could keep things going on Saturday and Sunday with mixed results. As busy seasons picked up it wasn’t unheard of to work 48-60 hours on Monday thru Friday for several months at a time while also working 8 hours a day on 1 out of 3 Sundays and 2 out of 3 Saturdays.
Nice checks but miserable workers which led to people calling in just to get a day off which led to more OT and a vicious cycle started.
They’d recently started up a swing shift to get 24/7 coverage on a new press because the cross-training wasn’t coming along very well and they needed a long-term solution to the poor workmanship and shoddy attendance. I volunteered because the incentives seemed amazing at the time.
With a constantly changing schedule as vacation coverage and customer demand waxed and waned, the swing shift was a set yearly calendar.
Only work your scheduled days. FULL STOP.
No vacation coverage, no extra hours for business needs. You’re already scheduled off for half the year, and taking vacation means you’re always working less than half a year. Dream come true.
The actual weekly schedule was a weird home-brew by a middle manager to minimize weekly OT and to try not to pay any double-time for Sundays.
(The rule for Sunday was you only made double-time if you worked the previous 6 days and had 48 hours in before your shift started). Holidays were a different animal though as those were always paid at a double-time rate for hours worked during the holiday plus 8 hours of holiday pay.
Our story occurs around one such holiday. I was scheduled to work on Independence Day (America) and also the Sunday in the same week.
So I volunteered for shifts here and there on my days off to load up on OT and guarantee a healthy amount of double-time as I had to hit all 7 days worked. When payday came around my check looked light so I looked into it. I was working 7 pm the night before July 4th until 7 am the morning of July 4th, what’s considered by everybody there to be a July 4th shift as most of the hours fall on July 4th.
Payroll saw it otherwise though. After much back and forth I found out that our clocking system just looks at a punch-in time to declare the date of the shift. A little experimentation and I found out the cutoff was set at a strangely arbitrary time of 8:30 pm.
If you punch in before 8:30 pm it’s considered a shift during that day. Anything after is considered a shift for the next day.
Cue the malicious compliance.
I was also scheduled for another holiday later the same year, New Year’s Eve. I was supposed to work from 7 pm to 7 am Dec 30-31. I called ahead and said I was having some issues at home and I’d be a little late for my Dec 30 shift but it shouldn’t be more than an hour or two. I rolled in at 9 pm, punched in, and got right to work.
(missing less than 4 hours of your shift was also only half of an occurrence). I punched out at 7 am like normal, got some sleep, and came back in at 7 pm for my Holiday shift. Except the payroll system tracked both shifts on the same day. So rather than working 24 hours across 2 days and getting paid for 36 hours, I worked 22 hours and got paid for 44 hours.
My coworkers were a little miffed at how I gamed the system as I worked less than them but got paid for an additional 8 hours. But payroll was done at the corporate level, and in my eyes, I was just paying myself back for the hours they screwed me out of earlier in the year. I’d like to say it ended there, but there were several other times throughout the next 6 months where I was ‘accidentally late’ and ended up making more because of it. That place was a nest of vipers though, no regrets for trying to get what I could out of them.”
10. Buy What I Can Afford? Okay, I'll Do That
“Last month, I was shopping around for a washing machine.
For context, I’m in Nairobi, Kenya (Yes, it’s a place. Yes, it’s in Africa. Yes, we have electricity and running water) and I’m a bit of a late bloomer, so I look more like a 23-year-old but I’m 32. Also, I’m a photographer and I dress for comfort, so I more often than not look homeless.
Back to the story.
I looked up what I wanted online and saw it was available at one of the major chains, but since I was free, I decided to go to the store in person. I went straight to the section with laundry equipment and one of the salesmen came to me. I was busy checking out the model I wanted, opening the door, reading the spec sheet, and whatnot, so after he greeted me, we started talking about it.
He asked if I’m interested in buying it and I told him I’m considering it and asked for the price. It was just shy of $900 (I knew from their website) but since I was in the store, I asked if they had in-store discounts or discounts for return customers and inquired about their payment plans. I had bought a cooker there a few months before, so I knew all these things existed, and while I could afford to buy the washer outright, it would have left me a little cash strapped and I wanted to spread the payment over two or three weeks.
Also, I’m frugal so I always look for discounts.
At around this time, a well-dressed couple came into the same section, probably looking to buy something as well, and as soon as the salesman saw them, he walked to them and left me hanging.
I called to him like ‘Hey, I wasn’t done.’ and he said ‘I’m serving a client now. I’ll come back to you in a bit.
In the meantime, look around for something you can afford.’
I was furious, but I’m a bit of a coward, so I walked away and went to the customer service station and started making my inquiry all over again. The attendant offered to call a sales agent for me (same guy. Apparently he’s the go-to guy for washing machines) but I declined. I told her I already knew what I wanted and I just needed someone to help me with the paperwork and payment and I’ll be on my way.
She did just that, I paid the full amount out of spite, and as we were finishing up, the salesman came up to her claiming I was his client, which I denied, and the attendant listed herself as the sales agent. It turns out they earn a 10% commission from each sale and the guy just missed out on a decent bonus. Salesmen earn around $300 plus commissions monthly.
As I left, I turned to him and said ‘Turns out I could afford it,’ with the biggest grin I could muster. Felt good. Best part? The couple he ditched me for left without buying anything.”
9. Want Me To Mop The Floor Instead Of Do My Job? I'll Be Mopping All Night
“I was a first-term airman working in a back shop. I worked on aircraft parts in a room all day and we also, at the time, took care of semi-annual aircraft inspections. It was a great way to learn one side of the big picture. Roughly 1 month before this we received a new inbound from a different base. He was one rank higher than me, had a promotion incoming, and had been in for a few years more than me.
This guy was a piece of work, let me tell you. He was one of those that thought he was the best of the best because he came from overseas. (Side story: Our safety supervisor on our flight called him out on his boots not being safety toed. This guy straight up lied to him saying, ‘In Japan, I had these specially made. They put the steel toe in them’.
This is when the safety bro took his thumb and pressed hard right in his mirror-finished shined boot and cracked the ever-living crap out of the shoe polish. Safety bro then told him he could not wear non-safety-toed shoes in the shop and walked off. Safety bro was a straight G.)
The day in question was a Friday. We always swept and mopped on Friday. This Friday was one of those you didn’t want to happen in aircraft maintenance…
It seemed like everything broke so we got slammed with parts. Not a problem for me. I just did my work and by the end of the day(s) when it was time to go… This stellar Airman had the gall to tell me to mop the floor.
Not exactly the words as it went down as this happened like… 20 years ago.
‘Airman, Mop the floor so we can go home.’
‘Why don’t you do it.
I’ve been busy all day and you’ve been in-processing.’
‘Because I outrank you and you are a new airman.’
By this time it’s 15 minutes until the end of our duty shift and my flight chief has explicitly made the rule that no one can leave until he checks the daily checklist.
Cue the malicious compliance.
I proceeded to get the mop, take the time to fill it and find simple green.
(If you’re prior mil, you know sometimes you just don’t have… well, anything). Bring the mop into the office and mop as slow and thorough as I possibly can. Already by the time I got back, he was impatient.
I get about 1/3 of the way through with the first section of the office when he tries to grab the mop from me saying, ‘You are taking too long.
I will finish mopping.’
I keep a firm grip on the mop and say, ‘No, you wanted me to mop the office. I am mopping the office.’
By this time my Flight Chief knew exactly what I was doing and yelled from his office to let me finish what I started.
After all of this, I probably kept him over by about 25-30 min as the flight chief was the one who dismissed us.
I will say, he never made me mop the floor again if he could help it!
For some additional info, this guy didn’t last long in the back shop. I don’t remember where he went, but it wasn’t on the same aircraft on the base!
I was now a Sergeant in charge of my airman for a shift on the flight line. For my career field, it’s really feast or famine when it came to workload.
This day, with me being the highest-ranking and the only person able to sign off my guys’ work for 2-3 other guys, it was a feast of a day. We had enough broke jets for all of us to work at the same time. Granted the guys knew what needed to get done, but we had normal shift work plus what broke that day to work on as the flying was not done during the…
normal timeframe. I had already had a plan in place and we were ready to hit the line to get it all knocked out when in comes the expeditor (guy in charge of maintenance for the squadron).
Again this is not how the conversation went down… going off of memory.
‘Hey Sgt. I need one of your airmen to clean the hangar, it’s a mess and it needs to get done.
‘Are you serious?? Do you know how much of a workload we have tonight? Why don’t you get one of the airmen in the different career field to do it? He’s literally on the computer looking at bull crap!’
‘I don’t care… as a matter of fact, YOU mop the hangar.’
Cue more malicious compliance.
The aircraft we had fit two in a hangar… We were in charge of one bay.
The hangar was roughly 160′ X 70′. So I was ordered to clean an 80’X70′ area. I decided to do this by hand. The floor was broken up into rectangles. From memory, I think it was 5 or 6 rectangles deep (70) by 3 or 4 wide (80).
I mopped each rectangle with one mop bucket and then proceeded to change out the water. Obviously, this took almost the entire night.
Not sure if he got talked to about having the only qualified person to sign off work… besides the production supervisor (by the way, he was in charge of the expeditors) mop the hangar while there was work for us to do.
That evening he did give me props for how well I cleaned the hangar. He even said something about the fact that it was spotless, but I never got asked nor did he ask for someone from my career field to clean the hangar again.”
8. Wonder Why We Aren't Doing Work? I'll Tell You Why
“During my time in the Navy, I absolutely hated getting posted ashore.
The shore posting I got sent to was a workshop on the base that had too many people and not enough work.
On my second posting there they had got rid of most of the useless people but there were still too many people with not enough work. I got assigned to one of the subsections where, for the most part, we got left alone as long as the work was done, so that was cool.
About two months in at our after lunch muster (the only way they could keep track of us all was to have us muster several times a day to micromanage us) the 2IC for the seg (A Petty Officer we will call T) says that too many people are either going to lunch too early or coming back too late.
‘Your break times are listed, you must follow them to the letter.’
Two days later.
1000 comes around. Time for stand easy. The guys I work with usually just had our short break in our workshop as we got left alone out there. 1002 a new Seaman to the unit comes in and says to me ‘PO, T wants to see you.’ I gave him a thumbs-up as I had a mouth full of biscuit and watched him walk away. I then reached for my next biscuit.
My teammates asked if I was going to see the PO.
My reply? ‘After stand easy.’
At 1019 (Stand easy ended at 10:20) I walked into the office. The first thing I heard was, ‘Where have you been? I sent SMN Newbie out to get you 20 minutes ago.’
My reply: ‘But you said on Monday we had to adhere to our break times.’ Everyone else in the office had that ‘Oh no he didn’t’ look and I could almost see the smoke coming out of PO T’s ears.
Until we heard the Chief laugh from within his office.
Fast forward a few months. I had been moved to another subsection there, again 90% left alone and self-managed. The Manager of the collection of workshops we belonged to (Lieutenant Commander usually engineering) rotated out. The new boss was doing a quiet walk around to get the feel of the place. He saw the number of guys sitting around on their phones.
Next morning, ‘New directive from upstairs. Anyone on their phone during working hours will be disciplined.’ When the boss walked around the next week he looked into my little space. Three of us sitting there reading books.
Our chief comes down 10 minutes later. ‘The Boss wants you to be doing work not reading books.’
The next time the Boss came through, we are all in exactly the same positions, this time we are reading service manuals.
When he asked ‘Why aren’t you working?’
My reply was simple. ‘We have done everything there is for us to do today sir. Now we are using the rest of our day to build our knowledge to do our jobs better. AB Smith here is refreshing his knowledge of refueling at sea, AB Martin is learning about the new paint scheme we are starting to use and I am looking through the Pay and Conditions Manual to find out if the workshop out the back that I used to work in gets hot enough to qualify for heat allowance to be paid.’
Needless to say, the Boss stormed off muttering.
The next day the Chief informed us that as long as we had our work done and were being quiet and discreet we could do whatever the heck we wanted.
Gods it was good to get back to sea and do some meaningful work.”
7. Don't Bother You With Admin Work? Don't Worry, I Won't
“Years ago, I worked as a Registered Nurse in a High Dependency Ward. Whereas on a normal surgical ward for a morning shift you would get 6 to 8 patients, on our ward you got a maximum of three. Think involved patients with multiple conditions – it was not unusual (as an example) to have a physiotherapist, two nurses, and a wardsperson (or two!) to help walk a patient (using a rollator) to the bathroom in the morning for their shower.
Not because they were heavy – just because of all the pumps and drains that had to come along for the ride. And for their safety.
We had a pretty high turnover of staff – about 50% per annum with the average time someone stayed with us being 12 months. Some left after a year because they could get easier and better-paying jobs elsewhere. Some left because of the workload.
I left after three years because I moved 200km away.
But two people were constant in our ward. One was one of our wardspersons (not the object of this story) and the other was our ward clerk – Sue. I’ll use her real name as I’m pretty sure that was her name (it has been more than two decades!) and it’s a fairly common name. Sue had been there for years and she was really, really good at her job.
She knew how the place ticked.
One morning shift, Sue got absolutely upbraided by one of the new RNs on our ward. I can’t remember her name – it doesn’t matter. So let’s call her RN Myopia. Whatever it was about, it wasn’t actually important – and I was there. I was well past my 12 months there so I was an oldie.
The organizational culture in that ward was that we were a team.
Remember the story above about taking a patient to the shower often needing four (or more) people to help? It was not unusual to come back after one of those shower trips to find that for your other patients, other nurses had done your dressings for you, made a bed or two, showered one of your other patients, and gave out meds, whatever. You didn’t have to ask – it just happened.
You did the same for the next person when they were tied up – that’s just how the place was.
Best. Ward. Ever.
That team approach extended to the wardies and the admin team. They did their work, so you could concentrate on yours. You looked after them and they looked after you.
And correct me if I’m wrong. But the admin officer on a ward can wield power.
You may not think it. But they can.
Anyway. Sue got roasted over something that didn’t matter and RN Myopia finished off with words along the effect of ‘You just concentrate on doing your admin job and I’ll do my job as a nurse.’
Mistake. Such a big mistake. Those of us who had been there for a while on that day took a mental note, Sue would not let this one slide.
Next day, we had almost the same team on deck. Normal weekday morning, busy ward. In the middle of showers, dressings, meds, mobilizing, attending to activities of daily living, making beds, tests, ward rounds, and everything else, a theatre orderly shows up for one of RN Myopia’s patients to take them to theatre. But they aren’t ready – the one person who could answer the phone didn’t pass the message that theatre was coming down for the patient for surgery.
We watched with amusement (side eyes!) as RN Myopia dropped everything to try and prep the patient while the orderly waited – quick shower with chlorhexidine soap, run through the pre-op checklist – the whole shebang. We made sure her other patients were looked after, but there wasn’t any way we were going to get involved between her and Sue.
Just as some 15 mins or so of work was finished in 5 minutes, Sue comes around the corner before the wardie heads off with the patient and squares off with RN Myopia (beautifully timed!) and says ‘Oh! RN Myopia! Theatre has called for your patient.
I was going to come and let you know earlier but I got caught up with my Admin work. I see they’re here so I’ll leave it to you.’
Didn’t wait for an answer or reply, just spins on her heel and goes back to her desk and phone around the corner.
It was beautiful.
RN Myopia didn’t last much longer. But Sue did until that ward was closed a few years later. I still miss that ward and the people after 24 years.”
6. That Yard Went Out Of Business? No One Seemed To Care If I Helped Anyway
“By this point in my life, I’d moved to another city and become a tugboat captain. I eventually built the show up enough that I had two boats and three guys working for me. It was a difficult business to keep functioning, but I did my best.
We primarily did ship assist work and shifted dead ships around in various yards. A dead ship refers to one that isn’t currently crewed up and running, so it’s unable to move around by itself.
Anyway one of our customers was a great big shipyard that was constantly shuffling things around. They had five drydocks, a dozen whirleys (cranes), and several thousand feet of pier, it was a pretty big show.
Well, this yard was in the habit of moving boats around on pretty much a daily basis. We’d get told ‘Boat A needs to be under Crane #6 at 0700, Boat X needs to enter drydock #4 at 0930…’ things like this.
The problem was that nobody there coordinated anything with each other. The superintendents barely talked to the shop foremen, the foremen didn’t care what each other were doing, so we’d get these marshaling orders that didn’t make any sense. If we did exactly as told things would take all day, so I’d say ‘Hey, if we do these in the other order, or hold this one move up by ten minutes, then everything will work out a lot more smoothly and we can get out of here and quit billing you.’ Because keep in mind this wasn’t our only customer, we had other yards calling all day who needed their own work done, so to keep everyone happy we had to try and be as efficient as possible.
Well, this was all fine and things operated along these lines for many years, with me being the de facto coordinator. One day though they hire this new yard superintendent, the boss of the whole yard, who in the space of three weeks royally screws everything up.
This guy calls me on the carpet, as much as you can with a subcontractor, and tells me to keep my nose out of it and do like I’m told.
I say ‘You got it, Boss’ and honestly that was probably the greatest day of my life. I went back out to the boat, climbed up in my wheelhouse, and spent eight hours doing two hours’ worth of work. I figured that this was going to get real expensive real fast, and once I had turned in an invoice or two, someone was going to raise chaos.
Here’s the thing though, no one ever did. Ever. We’d get told to do job X first, then do job B. Well that’s fine and all, but if done in that order we’d have to sit there and wait for five hours because X being in the way precluded B getting done. Five hours. At $900 an hour for our two boats. It was ridiculous. It got to the point rather quickly where we’d get all set for the next part of the job and then just shut the engines down and relax.
This went on for 15 years, until surprise surprise, that yard went out of business.
I should mention too that isn’t how I normally roll. I can’t stand dragging my feet on purpose. In this case though, I had to stop and say ‘Christ, no one appreciated my help when I was helping, and they don’t even notice that I’ve stopped, so why am I trying to cut my own income if this customer doesn’t even seem to care?'”
5. Manager Told Me To Stop Talking, So I Complied
“I worked at a very popular fast-food fish restaurant that shall remain unnamed. I was 16, it was my first job, but I ran circles around some of my coworkers because the owner did not know how to hire people.
There was a transfer from another store, a manager was sent to ‘fix our times’. This was annoying enough, but I’m pretty sure he was misogynistic as heck.
In order to get a raise I had to learn how the kitchen works, so the owner told me I could work there till it got busy. I switched with a kitchen worker because he wanted to learn cashier. The manager spent the entire time I was in the kitchen making comments, trying to get me to leave, saying I shouldn’t be there. Next thing I know, it got really busy really quickly and I was told to handle both drive-thru and front screens and make all the food.
I ‘noped’ it out of there and told the other guy to switch back with me. We stopped taking orders, I handled the front and drive, and the kitchen got everything working.
Cue the manager showing up and taking more orders. Now I know I shouldn’t have, but I asked him if he thought he should be up here making the problem worse instead of fixing it in the kitchen.
His only response was it was my fault for not switching back sooner. I said I get that, but right now, you should be back there. And he sat and argued with me in front of all the customers over it being my fault. I was still working while he was standing there, so as I went to give someone their food out the window, he said ‘Just stop talking.’
Mm, okay. I didn’t take another order on that headset until my other cashier left, one hour before closing. I didn’t say a word to that manager for days. I completely stopped talking that night and refused to acknowledge him.
And I unwrapped all the coins in the register so he had to count them by hand at the end of the night.”
4. Talking Smack About The Doctor? That's My Mom
“So, some years ago, I was doing a summer job, working for my mum as her secretary. She’s a doctor. I never looked like my mum and nobody knew I was her daughter, patients just thought I was some intern or student.
During all summer, this mean old lady came to the office almost every two days. Not to see the doctors each time, but to sort of hang out in the secretaries’ office and chat, or ask for test results, or whatever.
But mainly to spend time and complain about everything. The usual secretary often indulges her because she’s a ‘regular’ but she was on her holiday and I was the only one she could talk to. And talk she did! She was racist, anti-everything, hypocrite, and above all, like I said, just plain mean. I always put up a façade with her, polite and smiling, and she seemed to love to ‘teach life’ to a young girl like I was.
One day, she decided to talk very badly about her doctor, my mum. She thought I was new and didn’t know my boss very well and was bolder than usual. She said all sorts of horrible things about her, trying to spread rumors about her carelessness or bad practice. Then she asks me a medical question about her test result. Sweetly, I ask her if she wants me to call the doctor to ask the question since I’m not allowed to look at her file.
Her: ‘Oh no, don’t bother, the doctor never answers her phone, she just doesn’t care.’
Me: ‘Mrs. D, your well-being is important, you should have the answer you’re looking for. Let me try, if she sees her secretary’s number on the phone, maybe she’ll answer.’
So I picked up the phone and called her. When she responded (because she always responds or calls back) I looked the old lady in the eyes with my biggest smile and said, ‘Hi mum! I just had a long and interesting conversation with Mrs. D, she has some questions, could you talk to her?’
The face of this old hag, when she realized she talked crap about the doctor in front of her daughter, was priceless, and my favorite memory of this summer.
My mum said to me that she didn’t come back for 3 months and never talked again in front of any secretary!”
3. You Want Me To Do Your Presentation For You? Sure, But You Won't Be Asking Me Again
“I’m doing a rotation and the resident came up to me asking me for a favor and I said sure. He was super busy and wanted me to put together a presentation for him that he has to give tomorrow so I said yeah why not, I can squeeze some time today and put it together. He’s super thankful and says we’ll catch up in a few.
This dude comes up and has nothing. Like no research, no notes, absolutely nothing, and wants me to do his work for him, summarize it and put it together. Not only that, but he wants it by ‘No later than 9 pm today’ with a sly ‘keep this between us’ look. I was so caught off guard and was so close to telling him to go screw himself, but then a wonderful idea crossed my mind.
Malicious compliance time:
I wrote up the crappiest presentation I could humanly muster. I’m talking typos, incorrect facts, obnoxious slide colors, a transition between every transition, and random sound effects in random slides like some PowerPoint landmine. An absolute atrocity. It was beautiful.
9 PM rolls in and my phone is blowing up, the resident is asking me about the presentation.
Me: ‘I’m very sorry I’m almost done with it, but I need to finish some questions in my block and then I’ll wrap it up and send it right away.’
Resident: ‘OP, that’s very unprofessional just so you know.
You should’ve prioritized it first and then worried about your block. The presentation is at 10:30 AM and I need to spend some time going over it.’
Me: ‘Again, I’m very sorry. I’ll send it shortly.’
I turn off my phone and send it to him at 1 AM, giddy as all heck.
At this point I should mention, he’s expected to do this presentation himself and not delegate it.
And if it’s found out he had someone else do it, he’ll get in trouble and get chewed out, so he can’t even blame me. (IMMUNITY!)
I walk into the hospital today at 8 sharp and I’m greeted by him, and he looks furious. It legit took every fiber of my being to not burst into laughter in front of him. I was DYING. As the day goes on, he disappears for an hour or so.
He had to redo everything in a panic but still managed to come up with a material/presentation in almost an hour and did okay, which honestly was pretty impressive. He had it in him and could’ve done it easily, but was lazy and tried to take advantage of me. The good thing is now I know for sure he won’t be asking me to do his work for him anymore and leave me alone.
Today was a good day.”
2. Not My Department? Okay, I Won't Help You Out
“Once upon a time I was part of the Orders department. Our primary role was to enter orders. We didn’t enter all the orders, just most of them. The rest were entered by the Call Center.
As common with these stories, we get a new manager, promoted from the Call Center, who is inexperienced and gullible. Let’s call her Patsy. The Call Center manager, Weasel, sees his opportunity, swoops in, and fast-talks Patsy into making the Orders department responsible for all orders with a ‘these orders aren’t really the Call Center’s department’.
I can’t say I disagree with him but neither Patsy nor Weasel realized the sheer logistical difficulty caused by suddenly dropping all this extra work on the Orders department.
I complain to Patsy, telling her this is a bad idea. Unfortunately, Patsy still thinks like and has a loyalty to the Call Center and her former boss, Weasel. But the Call Center and the Orders department have entirely different cultures.
The Call Center sees lots of turnover with people rarely staying more than a couple of years. The Orders department sees very little turnover with some people staying a decade or longer. Also, the required Call Center skill set is smaller than the Orders department. Patsy doesn’t realize I’m a senior team member and coming from a group that experiences rapid turnover tells me, ‘It’s not the Call Center’s job to enter orders.
If you can’t handle it you should find a new job.’
Now, I’ve been with the Orders department about 3 times longer than Patsy has been with the entire company. The Call Center has been pulling this kind of garbage on the Orders department for years and I can anticipate the approaching storm. This is a major coup for the Call Center compared to most of the shenanigans they’ve got up to in the past.
So, I quietly let HR know that I’m interested in a position in the Call Center. With Patsy’s promotion I know there’s at least one opening, and like I said, the Call Center has a high turnover rate.
Two weeks later I have a new job in the Call Center and the fecal matter is starting to fly in the Orders Department. And it’s not as bad as I thought it would be, it’s worse.
Beyond the bulk of extra orders, over the past two weeks, Patsy has been making ‘improvements’ to Orders department processes at the suggestions of Weasel and other department heads, who’ve decided to take advantage of the naïve Patsy. Add in the fact that the Orders department is starting to hemorrhage senior team members who have also seen the writing on the wall. Now Patsy has to unexpectedly fill a bunch of vacancies for a department that had a history of a low turnover rate.
She doesn’t know the job so she doesn’t know who to hire. The remaining senior members can’t help because she won’t listen to them and they’re too busy being overwhelmed and burned out by all the extra work they have to do to cover the missing team members and they don’t have the time to train the new people. The new hires come in but they don’t stay because the Orders department only looks like an entry-level position, so even more turnover, and more senior team members leaving when they’ve had enough.
Meanwhile, I now have it easy over in the Call Center. I’m full-time working from home now with a better shift and unlike my colleagues in the Orders department, I’m no longer considered an essential worker so there’s a lot less stress for me. The skillset needed for the Call Center is both smaller and simpler than the Orders department and I already had most of it from my time with the company.
I’m underworked because all the orders that the Call Center was previously responsible for are being passed to the Orders department. The Call Center turnover rate has dropped so we’re actually overstaffed. Oh, and I got a nice raise to boot. I’m the Call Center’s new unofficial expert on how the orders are processed.
Weasel, now my current boss, is getting worried. His protégé, Patsy, is failing hard.
He was the one leading the charge to ‘improve’ the Orders department, so he can’t back down without looking stupid. The Call Center and the Orders department work closely so upper management is ‘encouraging’ him to pitch and help out. Patsy has begun to realize how Weasel has screwed her over so is refusing to make any changes to the Orders department unless she comes up with them.
She’s willing to accept Weasel’s help on her terms.
So, Weasel has started asking us to shoulder the burden and help process orders. This is, unsurprisingly, not met with enthusiasm. No one wants to do extra work for no extra pay. As well, the Call Center team isn’t trained on how to process the more complicated and esoteric orders. The Orders department is down to two remaining senior team members who have that knowledge.
Oh, and there’s me. I can process the easy orders the Call Center was doing and quickly. And I have the skillset to crush complicated and weird orders. And Weasel knows that I actually enjoyed working in the Orders department.
‘So, whatever say, OP, can you help out?’ Weasel asks, insincerity dripping from his words.
I ponder his request, ‘Well, Weasel, I think you’re right. Being in the Call Center now, entering orders is not really my department, anymore.’
Free at last!”
1. Make Me Work Three Roles In One? I Won't Be Coming Back
“So I worked at a great engineering place for a few years. I ran a small team doing hands-on work often directly for design engineers.
We got a new manager who turned out to be a total disaster and particularly hated the close and casual communication between my team and design (felt it was going over his head). He first put rules in place requiring going through several people to relay issues back to design and similar fudge.
My team was cut down to just me and one other quite new guy. We weren’t hugely busy so the main trouble being if I went on holiday I’d come back to a lot of rework. He also did clever things like standing outside the toilets to ensure nobody washed their hands before breaks (some oily work for some guys so washing could take a few minutes) instead everyone washed up 20 min early then did nothing until break.
So in quiet periods, I started grabbing a spare computer and typing up work instructions. Not surprisingly super manager couldn’t resist making comment on this but when I explained the issue he said it shouldn’t just make work instructions and then promised to send along the official work instruction format.
He never did but I shrugged it off and said nothing. Cue months later and the company was bought out by an international firm and the inevitable major redundancies.
My name was high on his hit list (I had a good idea due to history, even though everyone else was sure I was safe and effectively essential, especially with my ‘team’ being just me by then).
Anyway true enough I was made redundant. But had a fantastic exit interview, one of the principal engineers had offered to attend with me. Super manager and HR listed off some laughable reasons to make me redundant such as my rearranging doctor’s appointments to stay late and my coming in to work night shift on a holiday (I still don’t know how they thought these made sense), after that I just quietly listed off the various roles I was solely covering for them, technical skillsets like fiber optics and HV, etc.
But happily accepted my redundancy payout and signed off IP and such, then super manager, not feeling entirely comfortable with the looks the principal engineer was giving him, asked me for the work instructions and I had to answer, ‘Oh you told me to stop writing them until you gave me the format you wanted.’
They rang me and offered for me to come back but I politely declined.
I heard later they had to hire three people to cover my work.”