People Tell All About Their Menacing Revenge Stories
25. You Want To Talk To My Manager? Sure, Go Ahead
“This happened about 13 years ago. I was a field service engineer for a national retail chain. Basically, I was the IT guy who drove around in a company vehicle, servicing the computer networks in the stores. The way the company was organized, there were ‘corporate’ employees and then there were ‘retail’ employees. Being a ‘corporate’ employee, I received corporate stock as a small part of my salary.
And my starting pay was three times the rate of any store manager. Because I was always ‘putting out fires’ I often found myself in the awkward position of dealing with store managers who honestly thought that they were the store owners and that I was just the hired help.
(This was truly ironic, as I actually did own a very small piece of the corporation, whereas the average store manager did not.)
One day, I got orders to replace a server in a store not too far from my house (I worked out of my house, but kept parts in the truck…and also the back room of another store nearby).
So I show up at the store where the server needed to be replaced. It was my 2nd stop of three scheduled that day. I walk into the store wearing my very obvious corporate uniform and name tag with logo. The store owner (err, retail manager) instantly DEMANDS to know what the heck I am doing in ‘her’ store. I get this all the time, nothing new.
I calmly explain that my boss wants me to upgrade one of the store servers (hardware replacement) and I even show her where it is that I will be working. I explain that it will take about an hour and that the (POS) registers might go offline for about 5 minutes.
She isn’t happy, but she reluctantly allows me into the room where the server is and I start working.
When I’m just about done, the (POS) registers go down as I am switching them to the new server, which is not fully hooked up yet. It was at this point that I realize I have forgotten to bring in a couple of cables that I need to finish hooking the new server into the store network. So I RUN out to the truck to get the required cables.
I’m gone for about 2 minutes.
When I get back the store manager is sitting at the table in front of the server, and she’s got food spread out all over the table. The server is under the table. I tell the store manager I need to finish hooking up the server (gesturing under the table). The store manager tells me I’ll have to come back in an hour, after her lunch break.
I’m shocked into total silence. Then a cashier bursts into the room, panicked that the registers aren’t working… and the checkout lines are getting backed up.
I explain to the manager that I have to fix the server now, or the registers will not work. The manager tells me I should have thought of THAT before I started working in her lunch break area…
I calmly tell the store manager that she’ll have to take a break later or find somewhere else to eat her lunch.
She tells me I’m rude and incompetent and DEMANDS to speak to MY MANAGER, immediately.
I call up my manager using my corporate-issue iPhone, quickly explain the situation and then walk into the server room to hand the iPhone to the store manager. While she’s on the phone with my manager, I head out to the front of the store to explain (and apologize) that the registers are going to be down for a few more minutes.
I can’t hear exactly what the store manager is telling my manager, but I can tell that it’s a heated conversation and I clearly hear the word ‘fired’ mentioned a few times. It’s clear that the store owner (err, retail manager) wants me to be fired for daring to try to interrupt her lunch break. Unfortunately for her, my direct supervisor was about 5-6 levels above the retail district manager.
So the store manager was complaining loudly about ‘interrupting my work’ to the manager of her manager’s manager’s manager’s manager’s manager’s manager.
A few minutes later the store manager walks out of the room awkwardly balancing bits and pieces of her lunch spread. I immediately go back to work getting the new server up and running and re-booting the POS registers so that they will sync on the new server and cashiers can get back to work! Everyone is happy now except the store ‘owner’ because her lunch break was ruined.
The main part of my task is done now, but it takes me about another 15 minutes to clean up my mess and re-organize my truck to get ready for my next stop which will be about a one-hour drive from my current location. As I’m doing this, I see the retail district manager (I’ve met her before) going into the store. She walks back out of the store with the former store manager, who is carrying a box of her personal items.”
24. You Want A Man To Help You? No Problem, One Will
“When I was about 20 years old, I was a department manager in a big box hardware store. People said I acted 25, but I didn’t even look 18. As a young female, I saw a fair amount of discrimination, but the worst always came from women. This is the story of one such woman.
I managed the paint department. I had three associates who worked for me.
They loved me as a boss because I bought them a department radio and took the shifts they didn’t want. (worked Friday close and Saturday mid so my two younger guys could have time to have fun on Friday nights and the older gentleman took early Saturday mornings so they could sleep off their fun. In trade, I gave the older gentleman his ideal schedule.) My team was awesome.
One day I was in the department alone and a lady came up and asked me where she could find the five-gallon oil-based primer. I let her know that my location didn’t carry the five-gallon size of that primer. She told me that we did and said that it was shelved ‘right there’ while suggesting I was too stupid to remember. (Her husband gave me an apologetic look.) I let her know that another location had what she was looking for and that it was in fact in that exact location in that store.
She let me know how stupid she thought I was for thinking she could mix up stores. Then, she began yelling and loudly insisting that I get a MAN out there to help her because she wanted someone competent and not a stupid little girl. Her husband actually tried to step in at that point but I just smiled and let her know that a male paint associate would be clocking in any minute and that I would be happy to direct him to her as soon as he is on the clock.
I smiled and waited for Joe to clock in. Joe was great and I knew he could handle this or I wouldn’t have put him in this situation, but Joe was also new. He was learning things super quick but still relied on the rest of us for help. When I saw Joe walking up, I quickly said that there was a customer who needed help.
I let him know that she was upset and asked him to do his best to answer her questions.
Joe walked up to the lady. She said, ‘Finally, a man!’
She asked her question, explained where the product SHOULD BE, and waited. Joe calmly let her know that he had never seen us carry the five-gallon size of oil-based primer, but said he could check with the paint department manager.
She was happy and loudly said she was happy to be getting some REAL help.
Joe walked up to me and started to ask me about five-gallon oil-based primers. The lady quickly walked up and asked him what he was doing. He turned and said, ‘This is my manager. She runs this department.’
The husband laughed out loud, the woman stormed off, and I bought Joe lunch!”
23. Going To Be An Annoying Coworker? I'll Read The Employee Handbook
“Back in college I worked for a retail store that is a national brand, but the particular location I worked at was very small, often there would just be two employees working.
For those of you that haven’t worked retail before, there are different tasks that you do as part of the job, depending on what you are scheduled for. For example, you can work on the sales floor helping customers, you can be scheduled at the register, in the fitting rooms, or you can be in the stock room which was usually done early morning, or late at night and it requires a bit of manual work – opening boxes, breaking them down, taking out the trash, organizing the clothes that are in the back room, etc.
which I never minded doing, but you can get pretty dirty doing it.
One day I came into work mid-day, and it was just me and a supervisor Sheila (Sheila, if you are reading this, you suck). Sheila was at the register ringing up customers as the other employee was leaving. I go to the back room, put away my stuff, and clock in – I notice a ton of boxes in the back from inventory shipment that didn’t get processed in the morning, ah well, I’ll be on the sales floor.
I come out to the sales floor to check in with Sheila, for sales goals, etc. So after she gives me all that info, she tells me that I need to be in the back to process shipment because they didn’t get it done in the morning, I tell her that I’m not scheduled for it, and I’m also not dressed for it (I’m wearing a button-down shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes) and she tells me that neither is she (she’s wearing a dress) and that’s where she assigned me, and that’s what I needed to work on.
I buy a cheap t-shirt that was on sale for maybe $3 or so, and head to the back.
Then malicious compliance kicks in. I look for the employee handbook and read through the part about what supervisors can/can’t do, and there is a section in there that says something along the lines of ‘the active manager cannot be at the register.’ Because it’s only Sheila and myself in the store, and I’m in the back, she would have to be at the register.
So I call the phone at the registers and she answers, and I tell her, I was reading through the employee handbook and found this section, and I read the entire paragraph saying that active managers can’t be at the register. She doesn’t say anything and simply hangs up. I walk back to the front of the store, return the cheap t-shirt I bought, and get behind the register without saying anything, and Sheila storms off to the back to process shipment in her pretty dress.
Suck it, Sheila.”
22. Think I'm Rushing My Work? I'll Just Sit On My Phone All Day
“So this happened a few years ago when I was on an apprenticeship at an office job. I’d been working there for about 3 months when the story begins.
The job I was doing was essentially an admin role, I’d do address/phone number changes on client profiles, send out letters requesting information, and sort out post that came back. This was all done through the database where I’d get my ‘to dos’ from.
After a few weeks of training I was picking it up quite quickly, I’m reasonably good with computers and it was a fairly simple system, I made an excel with a few macros and I was flying through the work.
At my 3 month review with my manager she pulled up my stats and I was more than clearing my daily target ‘to dos’ in fact I was clearing double.
Expecting her to say well done I was surprised when she instead questioned if I was doing the work correctly. She was concerned that I might have been rushing and making mistakes (although at this stage of the apprenticeship 10% of my work was being checked by the quality team, and I’d passed all my checks (which was on the same report she had in her hand!!)) so she set a goal or reducing my amount cleared more in line with the target by the next month.
So I decided to scrap the macros and do it all the slow way for a month, double-checking everything. It was draining because I was continually focusing on how many I had done that day and making some last longer just to pad out my day so I would look like I was working.
The end of the month comes and I have the follow-up meeting. I’m down to about 20% over my daily target, so it’s obvious I’ve taken on board what was said and made changes.
My quality score is still perfect. Instead of recognizing what I did to try and comply, my manager tells me off about still being over the target and suggests I’m still rushing my work. She scheduled another meeting a month later and that was the end. (By the way, both the meetings were documented and I was sent copies of ‘what I had agreed to’.)
Well here comes the compliance, I started using the macros again and would complete my target in about half my working day…
then stop doing any more. I had to stay in the office for a full day to clock out on time but I wouldn’t do any more ‘to dos’. Now the office had about 150-200 staff on-site in a few teams, but the room I was in was about 20 people doing the same job as me, and managers rarely came in.
After the 1st day of just sitting on my phone I decided I needed a project, I found 2 large bags of rubber bands in the stationary room and had a great idea, so I built a rubber band ball from scratch.
Fast forward about 2 weeks of me doing work in the mornings and band ball building in the afternoons, to when the site manager (2 levels above my manager) was giving someone from the head office a tour. Yes, in the afternoon. Nothing was said but I knew he wasn’t happy by the fact he kept looking over at me while the visitor was talking to other people.
Inevitably next morning he’s invited me to a meeting with him and the floor manager (the level above my manager). So I take my notes and go see him. After proving that I had been meeting my target, and showing that I had been told not to go over the target, I was sent back to work.
Don’t know what happened after that but about an hour later I had an email from my manager telling me to disregard the target and complete as much as I’m able to. She also canceled our meeting. A week or so after that I was transferred to the team that implemented new processes and had lots of fun completing the apprenticeship by writing and sharing the macros that originally started it all. By the way, rubber band ball is proudly on the shelf at home, 20cm diameter.”
21. Customer Had A Meltdown? Don't Mess With Our Hours Again
“Many years ago, I worked as an engineer repairing retail customer PCs. Our team was small and there were often times when the number of PCs needing repair was more than the team could get through during normal hours. In these circumstances, we were allowed voluntary overtime on Saturday and would get time plus half for it. The rules for the OT were flexible, we could start when we wanted and finish when we wanted, and would get paid for each full 60mins we were clocked in for.
Back then my partner (now wife) used to work until 2 pm on a Saturday, so I would go in at 9:30 am and leave at 1:30 pm, giving me plenty of time to pick her up. This worked out great for everyone.
However, the company structure was a little strange, with the front-facing customer service under the management of one Director and the back of house (including my team) under the management of another, and they despised each other, constantly trying to cause each other problems.
And of course, the workers were always caught in the middle.
One fateful Saturday, I was working and noticed the front-facing Director walk up, see that I was there, and move on without saying anything. I didn’t think anything of it and a short while later left at 1:30 as normal.
I got in as normal on Monday, to find I had a meeting request from my Director.
Confused, I attended the meeting and found both my Director and the front Director also there. Turns out, the front Director had arranged for a customer to bring in their PC for an urgent repair on Saturday, having confirmed I was there to fix it. On-the-spot repairs were very rare, reserved for only the most problematic or highest-spending customers. Me not being there to look at it had caused the customer to have a meltdown in the shop in front of many other customers.
Of course, the front Director took the opportunity to bring this up with the MD to get one up on my Director, leading to the Monday meeting, where she was out for my blood. Luckily, as the overtime rules for our department were clear and I followed them, there was no direct action taken against me, with my Director supporting me. However, one thing that did come from this was that we lost our flexible overtime.
From that point on, if we wanted to do OT on a Saturday, we must be there for the whole day.
As I wasn’t willing to lose my entire Saturday, overtime stopped. It took less than a month for the departments’ backlog to hit over 100 units. Our target was to have <15 at the end of each day.
I’d originally wondered why my Director didn’t put up a fight when the new rule was set, but it didn’t take long to see the number of Customer service complaints and call waiting times skyrocket.
All of which was the front director’s responsibility.
Not long after, my Director approached me smiling, to let me know that the front Director had gone to the MD, first to try to force us to do OT and when that failed, beg for the new rule to be removed.
So the next Saturday, I was back earning a little extra cash, and that Director didn’t try to screw around with our hours again.”
20. Not Enough Onions? That's Okay
“When I (33m) was 23 I worked at a fast-food restaurant chain just off of a busy freeway/highway interchange so we were constantly busy. I was one of the people working the line prepping and wrapping burgers and we had these onions that came in a bag (they were freeze-dried) that always tasted a little strange to me but customers seemed to like them a lot.
While working an incredibly busy Friday afternoon shift we had a gentleman come in through drive-through and made his order of a few burgers and fries but on one of the burgers he wanted extra of those onions, no big deal just add the onions, wrap up the burger, send it to the runner and out the window. The gentleman took his order, pulled up a little way past the drive-through window, and checked his food.
At the time those of us on the line had no clue yet he did this and then pulled back around in our drive-through line as we were busy.
He waited through a line of 6 cars and when he finally got back to the order box he told the person on the speaker we didn’t make his extra onion order with enough onions. Ok again no big deal as we usually put a small pinch as per company procedure on the burgers generally, so when they say extra it’s just another small pinch.
So he gives us back the burger and we remake it this time with a couple of generous pinches, wrap up the burger, give it to the runner, into a bag, and out the window. He pulls forward as we’re busy and rinse and repeat. Well, he comes around again and this time he was being a jerk and started yelling at us that we were incompetent and didn’t know how to do our jobs.
CUE MALICIOUS COMPLIANCE.
I had just pulled a fresh ready batch out of the fridge, stuck my hand into the bottom of the container, and pulled out a pound and a half of these rehydrated onions. I took a look at my (17yro manager) who nodded his head and piled it on top of his burger which made it 3 times the normal size, wrapped it up, and sent it to the runner who bagged it and gave it to the customer.
This time all from the line piled up in the drive-through to wait and see what would happen. As we’re watching the back of his car all we see is him looking down shaking his head and driving off, so we figured that was it.
Until the next shift when we came into questions from our store manager (early 40s) about a complaint the customer had made about ‘unacceptable food practices and indigent service’ we explained our side of the story (with our 17yro manager present). She laughed and then said she had to give us verbal warnings for not following company procedure, which we didn’t mind and went about our day.”
19. My Boss Hated Me, So I Humiliated Him
“I (55f) have been working for the same place for over twenty years. Here comes a new supervisor we will call Jerk Boss. My previous temp supervisor hated me because, heck, he just hated women period. So when Jerk Boss took over he gave him an ear full about me. A little background on me. I do my job very well but I don’t take crap from anyone.
Which resulted in my temporary supervisor and me bumping heads.
So when the new supervisor took over I was the problem child. Jerk Boss hated me from day one. No matter what he hated me. One day at work I was feeling horrible and told new Jerk Boss I needed to leave to go to the hospital. If looks could kill I would’ve dropped dead right in front of him.
He didn’t want me to leave. I left anyway and thank God I did because I was truly sick. I had an emergency surgery that night and was out of work for two months.
While I was out of work this man harassed me every week as to when I was coming back. He was lucky bc I was on heavy substances at the time and I didn’t feed into his nonsense.
Two months later I’m back at work and realized none of my work was done by my backup person. I had over 509 reports that needed to go on our website. I asked him what happened and he told me don’t worry about it. I thought that was weird bc these reports needed to go up within a sixty-day period and it was well past the sixty days.
A few days later I asked again. He said no don’t post it bc he had other people to do my job. I said ok. I then went and sent him an email confirming he didn’t want me to post it. He came back saying yes I don’t want you to touch it. I said okay and saved my email.
Here’s the malicious compliance part.
A few months later people started inquiring about the reports and why the new ones were not posted.
It got to the big bosses and they questioned both of us. He didn’t know they had already questioned me about it and he started yelling at me about not doing my job. I sat there at my desk just smiling when he went in about getting me fired. I simply said oh are you talking about the reports you told me to not post? He said he never said that.
I turned to my computer and printed out the email stating I was not to touch the reports. The look on his face was priceless. I then told him I sent a copy of this email to upper management and they know it wasn’t my fault. By this time his supervisor was yelling for him to get in his office. I smiled and said good luck with that. He ended up leaving a few months later.
I got the biggest satisfaction in knowing I got him in trouble and I kept my job.”
18. You Want Me To Shut Up And Follow Your Directions? Okie Dokie
“This happened around the early 2000s when I was working for my uncle’s fencing company.
So Customer A purchased a newly constructed home (cookie-cutter, everything builder-grade). The land plots were divided only by fluorescent, orange, marking spray paint (hardly official). My uncle submitted a bid per Customer A’s request and we got the project. We had the lowest bid, around $1200 lower than the competition. The caveat? We collect full payment upfront.
Not a deal-breaker for customers as we accept credit card payments (this way both parties are protected from fraud). During that time, my uncle had just left his previous job as a land surveyor. His specialty? Property line(s) surveying.
The estimated property line, marked by the above-mentioned orange spray paint was nearly 2 feet off on one side of Customer A’s property. My uncle makes the necessary adjustments/markings and we start digging the post holes, Customer A makes a surprise job site visit/inspection.
He sees our post holes and turns beet-red.
He rushes towards us and starts dropping F-bombs left and right. ‘What the heck are you idiots doing? You’re giving away part of my property to my neighbor! Can’t you jerks see the bright orange marking on the dirt? I want you geniuses to fill up these holes ASAP and dig right where the orange lines are. I want my fence directly on top of the orange lines.’
I just about lost it and was about to get in Customer A’s face.
My uncle stops me and he tries to explain. ‘The orange lines are off…’
Customer A: ‘I’m the one paying here, not you, so you follow my directions!’
Uncle: ‘Please let me explain…’
Customer A: ‘No, no, no! I have paid you in full! You’re not paid to explain, you’re paid to build my fence exactly the way I want it, where I want it! This conversation is over!’
He drives off and my uncle looks at me with a malicious smile.
‘Let’s grab an early lunch and then we’ll give him what he wants.’ I shrug.
Over lunch, he calls my aunt (his secretary) to have her draft a new JOC/work order (contract). In it, it’s explicitly and officially noted that the fence will be erected 22-inches East of the official property line AND, that the customer will shoulder full responsibility and liability should a conflict arise either with their future new neighbor (the home next door was still unsold at that point) or any other party.
Aunt emails the contract to Customer A, and my uncle and I have our 2-martini lunch hour. Aunt calls and says Customer A has signed and emailed the new contract back to her, and now that we have a paper trail, we go back to the site and continue working.
That same afternoon, Customer A pays us another visit and says: ‘Just checking to see if you decided to follow my instructions.
You idiots didn’t wait for me to sign the new contract before resuming work, did you?’
Me: ‘We sure did!’
As he turned around to leave, I can hear him mouth something like ‘Freaking idiots!’
Upon completion, 3 days later, he signs off that the work was satisfactory. He was still in jerk mode, refusing to acknowledge either my uncle or me when we thanked him for his business.
4 months later, he contacts my uncle again, requesting for him to bid on a new project. Yep, you guessed it, to move the existing fence on top of the official property line. We gave him an unreasonably high bid and still secured the project. This time around he was a teddy bear throughout the entire project.”
17. Threaten To Cut My Hours? I'll Cut Them For You
“I was working as a manager for a small general store. When I started I had another manager working nights with me. The general manager fired him for tying his shoe one night. Claiming he was attempting to steal. Yes, this actually happened. I observed the audit on the store finances and saw the camera footage. All money was accounted for.
The work then fell on me to operate the entire store by myself.
I often ran the entire store alone. I ran the register. Put out nearly 1000 crates of freight per week and maintained the floor which contained hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at a single time. Crime and illegal substances in the area were rampant. Shoplifting happened on a nearly hourly basis. I was getting to the end of my rope after someone broke into my office and stole my backpack.
It had nearly $1000 of stuff in it. It had deteriorated so bad that people were running into the store. Loading up carts and running out.
Soon after she fired the other manager the general manager started getting really petty. Finding really minor things to discipline me about. If a customer put a box of Skittles back in the wrong place, if I didn’t find it, I would be disciplined.
Then one day I was called into the back office to be disciplined. She was upset that I couldn’t maintain the floor perfectly while simultaneously working the warehouse, the register, and doing the accounting. Turns out they had finally found a potential second manager after failing to hire anyone for a significant amount of time. This gave her and the district manager a power trip. I was no longer their last manager.
So they threatened to cut my hours as punishment if I was unable to do hundreds of boxes worth of freight, run the register, prep the warehouse for tomorrow’s delivery, fix the entire store, and do the accounting within the 8 hours I was scheduled. No overtime permitted.
I went back to the warehouse to think over my options and realized this new manager that they had hired wasn’t even trained yet and had yet to demonstrate that he was even capable of performing the tasks.
So I walked back into the office, handed the general manager my keys, said ‘Witch, let me cut those hours for you,’ and walked out.
I called the guy I used to close with and he told me how he now works for a pharmacy. He got me a job there in accounting within the week and I nearly tripled my income.
The general managers were on salary so with me leaving the general manager would have had to work nonstop for 14 hours 7 days a week for no overtime. This was a common thing the company would do because staffing was such an issue. Especially these days. I haven’t been back, but my suspicion is this new manager they had found probably didn’t last more than a few weeks.”
16. Won't Compensate Me For My Fence? Then Compensate Me 100 Times As Much
“My brother-in-law grows avocados in California. Several years ago, a portion of his ranch was ravaged by a wildfire, or so he thought at first. When the smoke cleared, it became obvious that the fire was caused by an electrical line that was blown over by strong winds and had landed on his fence, catching it on fire.
Since he had been planning on diversifying his crops anyway, he decided he’d simply replace his fence, replant, and move on.
To that end, he called up the electric company that owned the downed line and asked them for about $10K in compensation to replace the fence that had been destroyed by their electrical line. They denied any and all culpability in the matter and told him that he should sue them if he didn’t like it.
What the electric company didn’t realize was that my sister, his wife, works full time as a corporate attorney for one of the largest utilities in California, defending against cases just like this one.
At first, she was concerned that this utility was a subsidiary of her employer, in which case there would be a massive conflict of interest. Apparently, legal departments frown on their employees when their husband is suing them. Go figure. Thankfully, after some investigation, she realized that the utility in question was completely independent of her employer, and at that point, the gloves were off.
My sister didn’t represent her husband because she’s typically on the other side of these cases, but she did advise him on everything he needed to bring to court to win his case, and she helped him find a very reputable lawyer with a solid record of winning cases like these.
Not knowing what they were up against, the utility persisted in refusing to negotiate, hoping that by forcing my brother-in-law to trial, he would simply give up and go away.
Spurred on by my sister’s insistence that he had a solid case, he called their bluff and went to trial. As it turns out, California takes agricultural damage very seriously, and the court conducted its own independent investigation.
It estimated the total damages at around $335,000, which is over 33 times as much as my brother-in-law had asked for initially. Furthermore, there is a law in California that awards triple damages in cases where agriculture is impacted, so the utility that had been unwilling to negotiate over $10K was now on the hook for over a million dollars in damages.
When all was said and done, my brother-in-law confided to me that he would have gladly settled for the $10K in arbitration and that it would probably have taken him over a decade to even sell a million dollars worth of crops. The utility had to have their day in court, though.”
15. Give Discipline For Working Too Hard? I'll Hand Over My Badge
“Midway through my career, I found myself working for the most prominent private college in my state. I was in the IT department and was in charge of maintaining a few servers and all of the technology in classrooms. Every summer, we would receive our budget for the year, and the part of the budget I managed was spent mostly on upgrading the Audio/Video presentation systems in the classrooms, and most of that work had to take place during the summer.
This is fine, normally, but our college administration had created a ticking time bomb for me a few years before. They had decided to spend about $100,000 on a few classrooms but did not allocate any money in our budget to replace that equipment when it would eventually fail. I had been there for five years, and now that equipment was starting to fail. Increasing our budget was not an option, despite the faculty growing to depend on the equipment in these spaces.
I was left to figure out how to make the same budget replace all of the equipment in those spaces as well as the normal set of classrooms that would need to be upgraded elsewhere. Fine. I was up for the challenge.
I had to simplify and purchase a more ‘value’ brand of equipment and do extra work to cut corners. A couple of weeks of shipping delays for the majority of the equipment saw me with roughly one month to rip out, replace, rewire, and configure around 15 classrooms as well as update and test all of the existing classrooms within about a month before the semester began.
Realizing the amount of work ahead of me, I began working. I came in every day of the week for 28 days straight working 8-10 hours to ensure that when the semester began, the professors would have working equipment. I was salary so I did not have to clock in. This gave me the freedom of schedule to work as little or as much as required.
I worked myself sick and was literally sick at the end of the 28 days.
My supervisor was a guy we recently hired, let’s call him ‘Guss’. Near the beginning of the semester, while testing equipment, I realized that the audio driver in a common model of computer we have in the classrooms was corrupted. Investigating it, I realized that the computer manufacturer had corrupted drivers on their web server where we downloaded it from.
I asked my supervisor who was in charge of managing the Image Deployment Server to rebuild the image with a non-corrupt version of the driver I had provided him. He said he would. I swing by the next day and ask him if he had completed the rebuild. He had not. I tell him I really need it as the semester loomed closer and closer and he tells me he will work on it.
The next day, nothing. Day after that, nothing. Finally, he figures it out and I continue my work.
He must have not liked being pressured and perhaps the perception that he was incompetent (he was) must have gotten to him. He decides to power-trip and call me into his office and ask why I was working so much. I explain the administrative oversight a few years prior, shipping delays, cheaper equipment, extra required work, and his delay of a working image.
I tell him, ‘Look, I came in day after day after day asking for that rebuilt image.’
Each time I said ‘day’, I am poking my finger straight down on the edge of his desk enough that it makes a sound to emphasize that those delays hurt the work I was doing. He wanted to find some personal failing that he could pull out some form of disciplinary action around.
I gave him none. Eventually, he ran out of ideas and I left his office, not thinking much of it.
Guss, however, was a brown-noser of the highest order. He would follow our IT director like a puppy. He joined a band with my IT Director, so my work situation was not exactly fair. The semester began, and not a single issue in all of the classrooms was reported.
I was proud of the work I was able to complete, given the challenges. On the second day of the semester, my IT director calls me into his office. There, Guss is sitting beside him and they both want to talk to me. I don’t like the looks of this. My IT director starts asking me why I was working so much. I explain to him as I did Guss the various factors that made this summer’s work extra challenging.
This destroyed any valid criticism they could muster. Guss goes on to say that he innocently inquired about my work and that I became violent, talking about the gesture I made on his desk illustrating his failure to do his work in a timely manner. I demonstrate exactly what I did on the IT director’s desk, to show how ridiculous the claim was. My IT director wanted to exert his authority, and they would not stop until they had something to discipline me with.
Nothing I would say would change the result. I was to be in trouble, for whatever transgression they imagined up in this meeting.
I make sure to point out how long it took Guss to do the small task that I depended on, knowing I could have completed it in about an hour. He was incompetent. My IT director then alludes to the fact that I should respect Guss more, as he is my supervisor.
‘Screw it,’ I think to myself. I then tell my director, ‘It is as if Justin Bieber was trying to teach you about Music Theory. It is only going to tick you off.’
This sudden, sharp, and (IMO) hilarious comparison was too funny. Both Guss and my IT director immediately laughed their butts off even though Guss was the subject of this insult. Once they had stopped laughing, my IT director put on a more serious tone.
He says that I could manage my time better, despite the unique circumstances of this summer’s work. His voice gets really soft and slow while he’s talking to me now. This is a trick he forgot he told me that he uses in arguments to make the other person seem like they are out of control. It is condescending as if spoken to as a child.
And now he is using it on me. He tells me that he wants me to take some time-management classes. Also, to take a couple of days off and ‘think about it. I just want you to think about it.’ However, he is going to need my keys and badge.
Cue Malicious Compliance.
At this point, he has provided me with enough evidence that this a not a job I want to stay at.
The absurdity of working so hard and for 28 days straight on salary with no extra pay and to be rewarded with a disciplinary action was too much. That at that moment, I had ‘thought about it.’ Without saying anything, I hand over my badge. I took all of the many keys off my keyring and set them on his desk.
‘I have thought about it,’ I tell him in the exact soft and condescending tone he used with me.
‘And you can keep the keys and badge,’ I told him with the biggest wry smile on my face.
I then walk to my office. He follows me and I notice his eyes have become glassy as if he was hurt by the situation unfolding before him. He expected me to capitulate and accept his punishment for a job well done. He kept saying, ‘I just want you to think about!!!’ with each time becoming increasingly desperate.
And I kept repeating, ‘I HAVE thought about it.’
He disappears back to his office with his little minion, Guss, to discuss damage control. I quickly pen an email to all my other coworkers letting them know I was leaving, and that I enjoyed working with them. I had to work quickly as I knew they would shut down all my accounts very quickly. I packed up my personal effects and left.
Guss and my IT director offered to help me, trying to walk back the situation with some small gesture of goodwill, but I was gone. I had been there for five years, but I was willing to walk away the moment he tried to treat me so poorly.
I found out a little later that the week before I left, a programmer we hired left after he treated her poorly too.
I was not aware of the reason she left when she did, but our Office Manager shared that she quit abruptly like me, without anything lined up given his behavior. About a year later, I hear from the Office Manager that the IT director had left. Rumor is he was primarily working for another company while in his office at the college, effectively ‘double-dipping,’ or making income for two jobs while only doing one. He had been caught doing so and was warned by the administration to stop. He opted to leave, instead of owning up to his own dubious behavior. My only regret is that I didn’t leave that job sooner.”
14. Upset That I Walked Away From You? I Was Just Doing My Job
“A few years ago, I was working as an Assistant Stage Manager at a theatre. We had a Company Meeting before running one of our Tech Rehearsals, so the whole Ensemble as well as Designers and other Technicians were there. At the end of the Company Meeting, our Director dismissed the Designers and asked the Ensemble and Technicians to ‘go to places, and then we’ll start the show.’
So, I went to my post.
I was stationed in an area backstage where I could not see the exact curtains/doors where the Ensemble would enter, so I couldn’t exactly tell if there was anyone in place. I trusted, though, that the Ensemble would be at their places, as the Director himself told them to do so.
The Preshow music began, and then it faded along with the lights, meaning the Tech Rehearsal was about to begin.
The lights came up, and nobody came onstage. Over my headset, the Stage Manager was asking me what was wrong — I told him I didn’t know. The Director eventually called, ‘hold,’ and I came on stage to see what happened. I, of course, told him I had no idea, so I went backstage to see what was wrong. None of the Ensemble was at their places backstage, so I went to the Green Room.
They were all sitting there. They weren’t busy getting ready, as they were already in costume and makeup during the Company Meeting.
I asked them what was wrong and they said, ‘oh, you never told us to go to places.’
But the Director told them himself. I thought to myself, well yeah, I didn’t tell you, but the Director himself looked at everyone to tell them to go to places.
Regardless, I went out to the Director to tell him what went wrong. He just said, ‘okay, just go back and tell them to go to places yourself. Remember that they will listen to you first when it comes to running the show.’ Alright, easy enough.
I start to go back to the Green Room to tell the actors to go to places for the start of the (now second) run.
And, the Props Master comes up to me. She had always been a bit stern, and she was very annoyed that I had ‘messed this up.’
She began to lecture me about how this was my job, that I was the one who should notify actors, regardless of the Director or other Technicians. (For context, this was my first time working at this theatre, and she was around 30 years older than me.
Also, as the Props Master, she had no authority over me, if anything I was above her. Regardless, she still felt the need to lecture me.) She was lecturing me about this for about 5 minutes. I eventually heard over my headset the Director and Stage Manager asking me if we were ready, and that I was taking too long.
So, in the middle of the Props Master lecturing me, I just walked away from her.
I went to the Green Room and told the Ensemble to go to places. As I walked by the Props Master on the way to my post, she looked at me, confused as to how I would just walk away from her. I told her, ‘oh, I was just doing my job — I have to get them to places, right?’
She didn’t talk to me much after that.”
13. My Regional Manager Was Clueless, So I Was Extra Slow
“I worked at a newer car rental company at a major international airport in the Midwest. I worked in the car return lane. The majority of my time was spent checking in customers and making sure they hadn’t messed up the cars. We’d make sure the keys were in the cars and then write some info on the windows for the cleaners who were constantly taking cars.
I came back from a weekend and found the regional manager had rolled in (he was a nice guy but was all about saving money and had no clue what was going on. He fired 2 of the actual managers for dubious reasons and so would fly in every other week to help run the place). Either the cleaners had lost one too many keys (which happens because the company has a fleet of 600+ cars) OR one of the other branches did things differently.
Anyway, he had decided that to prevent the loss of keys and–supposedly–theft, we (the return agents), were to have the keys on us at ALL TIMES. Everyone at the branch immediately opposed this idea. We return agents did a LOT of tasks besides checking in customers, we helped with luggage, moved cars, did quality checks, updated the computer system, etc. When my coworker told me this I was miffed and was like ‘that’s stupid, I’m not doing that.’ He shrugged his shoulders maliciously but carelessly and was like ‘I know, just do it and watch what happens.’ I quickly picked up on the collective frustration of everyone and realized no one was complaining, everyone had just decided to maliciously comply.
It was a nightmare. The cleaners were constantly having to come find us and describe what car they wanted and we’d have to get the key off of a massive carabiner taking needed time from us and the cleaners. I was also sure to be extra slow and inconvenienced at the thought of having to find a key for a cleaner. ‘Oh, do I have the key you guys have been looking for for the past 5 minutes? I’m sorry, let me take a slow walk back to the return lane.
Oh, that isn’t the right key? Oops.’
The return lane quickly became an unorganized mess of cars and started overflowing out of the lot. Customers were extra stressed because they couldn’t leave as the lot was jammed up, shuttles couldn’t come in to pick people up, and the cleaners were yelling at us and running all over the place. But we just shrugged our shoulders at the cleaners and said this ain’t our fault, complain to management.
A few customers observed the chaos and my coworker and I were like, ‘oh yeah, this is kind of normal you know.’ (Chaos was normal at this place, but not like this).
I think at one point that day someone radioed and was like ‘just leave the keys in the car for the rest of the day.’ But the next day we were again instructed to take the keys and the regional manager acknowledged that change was hard but this would be a new policy…
so, again, we complied. The cleaners hated their life and I’m sure they complained. Things were like this for a few more days, then the regional manager left for the week. I came in the next day, and I was not surprised to find that the keys were in cars again. I checked with my coworker and he confirmed that we were back on the old, efficient system. The manager in training had okayed it. When the regional manager came back next week he didn’t mention anything about reverting back to our old efficient ways.”
12. If It isn't Posted, It Isn't A Rule? Okay Then
“I’m a teacher. Early in my career, I worked for a principal we will call Bob. One day, a student got a little bored in science class. Being a teenage boy, he decided that third period was the appropriate time to whip out his phone and browse the Hub. He quickly got caught showing an ‘unapproved documentary’ to some of his classmates.
The science teacher sent the student to Bob and expected he would face consequences.
Unfortunately, Bob felt that the teacher was to blame. The teacher had never explicitly stated that students weren’t allowed to watch adult videos during class. It wasn’t even posted on the wall! (For those of you not in education, if you write something on a poster and put it on a wall, teenagers will pay attention to it.)
Bob informed the science teacher that they were lucky they were only getting a verbal warning…
this time! We were all told to update our posted rules and explicitly tell students what they could and could not do in our classrooms.
Cue the malicious compliance. I got a stack of index cards and started listing all the rules I could think of. These ranged from the mundane (don’t pick your nose) to the serious (don’t hook up) to the absurd (starting cults is strictly forbidden).
Each one had a little drawing with it too. (I wanted it to be accessible to all students.) This continued for two weeks with students adding their own. I taped them to one wall until I had gone through a good 2 or 3 packs of index cards.
Eventually, Bob came into my room, pointed at the wall, and said that I was making him look bad.
I said that he had put the staff in a position of needing to anticipate any potential bad behavior before it happened or risk a write-up. As a new teacher at the start of her career, I was obviously risk-averse and was just trying to cover all my bases.
We got another email the following week that due to fire code, we could no longer post paper rules. The phrase ‘administrator discretion’ in our handbook would have to suffice as a warning (but we were still expected to verbally warn students of our expectations.)”
11. I Have To Choose My Own Topic To Speak About At A Conference I Don't Want To Attend? No Problem
“When I was still fairly new to the job, I was asked to speak at a ‘conference’. This conference was actually a promotional event being organized by a manufacturer of a chemical used in my industry. I was employed by a government department to be an independent adviser not beholden to any particular manufacturer or supplier. I felt that speaking at this event was a major conflict of interest as it would appear that I was openly promoting this particular chemical.
However, senior people in my organization were not so ethical (the department was a boys’ club and the manufacturer of the chemical was one of these boys) and told me I had to accept the invitation.
Even worse, the initial agenda looked like this:
John: topic a
Tom: topic b
Harry: topic c
Someone from x department: topic TBA.
The role of ‘someone from x department’ fell to me by default because the other (more preferred candidates) were unavailable.
I didn’t even have an actual place or role on the agenda, I was just an extra to fill a gap.
I asked the conference organizer what they wanted me to speak about. ‘How about topic a?’ they said. I told them that was being covered by John already.
A similar discussion was had about topics b and c and eventually, the conference organizer said ‘well, why don’t you call the other speakers, see what they are talking about and see where you can fit in?’
Hang on a minute, it’s not ‘my’ role to do all my own legwork to find a topic, that’s ‘your’ role as an organizer.
My role as a speaker is to take the topic you give me, do my research, write my talk and deliver it. And quite frankly, if the organizers couldn’t think of a topic, did I really need to be a presenter at all?
I thought fine, if you want me to choose my own topic then I’m going to present another point of view. There had been some recent research into other chemicals and the results were promising, so I thought I’d talk about this research.
And to be quite honest, I simply couldn’t think of another topic as I felt every base had been covered by people much more experienced than me. So I informed the conference organizers that I’d chosen my topic and I would speak about the recent work on these other products. I then got hold of the results of the research and wrote what I think was a pretty good speech.
Well, a few days later the conference organizers rang me and said they didn’t need me after all. No apology for wasting my time was given.”
10. Don't Use Mobile Phone While At Work? I'll Use A Slower Process
“This was during my time in college in 2015 when I was a paint manager. For the sake of the story, I have to start on my first day and what led up to the point of why this store was hemorrhaging and had an abysmally high turn-over rate. I started and soon figured out that the store was due for a complete makeover and floor/product renovation, as well as, a completely new manager.
Who we shall name Richard. Richard hired me but the other employees were hired under the previous store manager.
I trained under the previous paint manager and hoped to learn the trade so I could better assist customers and increase my knowledge and hourly wage. We also had to learn to drive a forklift and how to cut/program keys for cars and houses. The worst part is that during the transition of changing the layout of the floor plan I had to learn where products currently were and then where they were going to be moved to.
The store had a policy that every customer had to be greeted and helped no matter how busy we were unless they refused our help.
Over 2 months approximately 6 employees left inside the hardware store and another 4 left our garden center department. Richard had to work at the garden center and hated it because he left his a/c cushy office and constantly took it out on the hardware employees inside.
And since we weren’t cross-trained for garden center and hardware none of us could really be moved over, plus there was the fear if he did that more people would leave.
Fast forward about 1 year, and then our paint manager left due to overwork and poor scheduling by our new manager. He stretched us too thin and made him open and close the store numerous times.
We were open from 7:30 am to 6 pm. So our previous paint manager worked several hours into OT every week. I became the new paint manager immediately because I was the only employee left who was trained and remained from before the floor plan change.
I had to train new employees (Richard always found an excuse not to train) on how to make paint via our automatic machine and our manual machine that was for specialized industrial paints.
I also had to train all new employees on key and key fobs. I was given a .12 cent raise as compensation.
After my promotion, I met with our district paint manager (Kevin) to go over anything I needed to know especially how to order paint. It was the only thing I was not taught. Kevin told me I can send a picture of the order filled out to his personal phone and he would place the order since our internet was so slow at our facility.
He brought his personal Hotspot anytime he needed internet access cause our computers usually took about 25 minutes to log in. It was equivalent to dial-up. And we could not use the computers at the register for anything other than checking customers out.
So when it came time to order the paint, I filled out the proper form and pulled out my phone and took all the pictures I needed, and sent them to Kevin.
Cue Richard from the garden center drenched in sweat. He came barreling in and pulled me to the side and said ‘It ticks me off that we are outside busting our butts in the sun and I come in and you are on your phone goofing off’. I explained I was ordering paint and that it was for business anyways. He told me to follow the company policy of no phones at work and to use the computers in the back.
I swallowed my pride and the argument I had and set up my malicious compliance.
The next time for paint order came through, I wrote down what we needed and went to the break room. Between the boot time and internet login to the paint order site, it was about one hour long. The store was in chaos. The new employees couldn’t find anything they needed for customers, we had several people at the paint desk asking for samples (these required manual mixing because our automatic machine could not process pint-size cans) and I hadn’t trained anyone on that yet.
Keys needed to be cut and the line was almost out the door at the checkout line. Customers were walking out of the store and filing complaints. This was a self-owned store by an old family. We had several returning customers. Some knew the family personally and called the owners to complain. On top of the chaos, during the renovation, Richard decided to remove a cash register in the garden center and make everyone checkout inside so we got everyone to check out and it made work that much busier on the hardware side.
Richard couldn’t help because he never took the time to listen to my training on keys and paint. So he was absolutely useless to the new employees. I finally returned and he asked ‘where the heck I have been’. I said in the back ordering paint.
Richard said ‘you could have used your phone this one time, you didn’t see how busy we were?’
I said yes I saw how busy we were but if I don’t order paint before 10 am we won’t get it in time and we will be out of stock for a week and I’m just following the no phone policy you made very clear to follow.
He huffed and just walked away more annoyed than before.
Shortly after, Richard got Kevin to go through the paint order process and from now on Richard ordered paint because it also gave him an excuse to sit inside away from the garden center. Eventually, the new employees left and I stayed because I was about to graduate anyways. I purposely didn’t train any new employees on any process in the store because come to find out I never actually received the paint manager title on paper because it was supposed to come with a 2-dollar raise.
I was only given the responsibilities and it was never reported to the store owners by Richard.
I came in a few months later and Richard was moved to the other Northside store and was no longer a manager, the store was still in chaos. The store owner was there and even asked a few questions about paint and wanted to know some ins and outs of what sold best. I still had a few friends there and they told me that the store owners have to stop by regularly to fix the mess Richard had made during his time there and that people were still complaining.”
9. Be Careful What You Wish For, The Fire Inspector May Cite You Instead
“Several years ago I inherited my mother’s condo after my grandmother, her mother passed. After my mother’s death a few years later, I decided to rent it out. The condo is part of a complex that is roughly 50 years old. Think garden courtyard style, with 2-story buildings built around an open courtyard, with parking outside. It is pretty nice, particularly when the HOA keeps up the maintenance and landscaping.
The units are owned by a combination of individual residents, absentee owners like myself, and one company that owns the bulk of the units. The company changes hands from time to time but effectively controls the complex because they own so many units. Generally, they choose a good management company, and right now the property manager is very proactive and looks out for the residents, owners, and tenants alike.
With that out of the way…
Being roughly 50 years old, it is time to pave the parking lots again. The management company hires a paving company and sets up a plan to pave each lot in turn, and makes sure all the residents are notified well in advance so they can move their cars. An annoying process, but paving always is and the lots are in dire need of being paved.
And again, the management company is over-communicating, trying to make sure everyone moves their car, no one gets towed, and the paving stays on schedule.
Well, someone apparently isn’t too happy about all this. So they decide to call the Fire Department and report the paving for blocking access in the event of a fire. Judging by correspondence from the management company, they never bothered to speak with the on-site manager and address the issue.
Of course, the Fire Department sends out an Inspector. The Inspector checks out the property and sees it matches with what was already submitted to avoid any issues and everything is good to go.
City ordinance prohibits grills, fire pits, tiki torches, and other open flames on condo/apartment balconies. And of course, lots and lots of units have one or all of the above. So the Fire Inspector kindly tells the Property Manager and gives the residents a chance to remove the violating items and that he will be back to cite anyone who still has one.
So, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”
8. Not Allowed To Use My Initiative? Work Is Cancelled Then
“I had been given a new project at work which was to install a new type of LED bulb in train signals in place of the old halogen ones. The guy I was doing the project with we will call P. This guy was universally hated. Honestly, I’ve never known somebody to not have one person like them at any level of the company. Also, he had no actual authority over me, it was his project and I was the person actually performing/supervising the work, but anything I did under his say so was done with mere courtesy, if anything I was actually a grade above him job-wise.
However, my boss told me to play nice because I was new to the supervisor role.
I got given a spreadsheet of all the signals that needed the bulbs changed and worked out the staff, the materials, and the best course of action to do the work. It was a crap job, you had to change brackets, lamp holders, wiring, and nuts/bolts with tools that weren’t fit for purpose, usually in the wind or rain, and up a 20ft ladder around live electrical equipment (you could isolate some circuits but usually not all of them in a signal head).
Also, I was consistently the last person at work, including my boss’s bosses, dealing with all this crap for no extra thanks, and no chance of extra pay either (salaried worker).
After doing the job for a while I got an e-mail from P saying he had planned which signals to change for each shift from now on and I was not allowed to stray from the plan.
The plan was dumb, instead of doing signals in a straight line it was 2 in this area, 2 at this area 5 miles away, 3 here, just terribly put together. I told him this was stupid as heck and we needed to do them all in a line and for maybe the first time in his life he saw sense and relented. He then made a new plan with them all in a row which he said I HAD to follow.
What he failed to realize because he was incompetent was the railway has engineering works in specified areas where other works cannot take place in them for safety reasons. The very next shift what he has listed us to do cannot be done, we cannot access the area, if we did we would very much get fired. So I looked at the spreadsheet, found an area we could work, and worked there.
This infuriated P and I was told via e-mail to follow his plan to the letter and to stop being so arrogant. Completing a night’s work instead of literally doing nothing was arrogant? Ok fine. Malicious Compliance activated.
The next couple of nights went okay but then another specified area showed up we couldn’t work in. This time we just didn’t do the work and I reported back as such because we can’t ‘deviate from the plan’.
This happened multiple times a week. Radio silence from P.
At some point, P’s boss comes out with us to see our work because she hasn’t seen this type of work before and we get along great, honestly. This was planned in advance, she wasn’t keeping an eye on us because we had started to underperform. We get about half of the work done and then start packing up to leave, she asks why and I tell her because the next signals are in an area for planned engineering works and we can’t go in there.
She’s okay with that; as I said if we went in there we would probably be out of a job, or we could be killed (trains moving, high voltage equipment left on, etc.). But she then asks why we can’t go to another location and work there. I show her the plan and tell her how we are supposed to adhere to it at all costs.
She asks why and I ask her if she’s seen P’s e-mail. She had not but said she would chase it up during the day.
I get an e-mail from P during the day asking why I only completed half the work, and he had even checked to see what time I had been on track till to tell me I still had 2 hours I could have worked, he CC’ed his boss and my boss into the e-mail.
He thought he had me because he was correct, there were 2 hours left before we had to get off track in the section we completed the work. But the canceled engineering hours in the area for all the other assets made the rest of the work impossible. I was slightly taken aback by this though because while there is a way to check what time people get off track, nobody ever uses it because it is such an underhanded thing to do and creates massive distrust with everybody.
He is the only person in nearly 20 years at this company I’ve known to have done it.
His manager then called us all into a meeting, before anybody else could speak she told P the reason half the work was done was because the equipment further along on his plan was in a specified area we are not permitted to work in regardless of what his stupid hindrance of a plan says.
She said he should have looked at what areas we could work at before a shift instead of spending that time spying on the staff for what time they get off track. Her numbers had me working at 40% above what was expected for the shift when I was in charge and less than half of what I should be doing when he was making us follow his plan.
P tries to talk back but she says and I quote ‘Shut your stupid mouth before you say anything else useless’. I love this woman. I then get sent out while she talks to P and my boss in private.
The fallout was the project getting taken off of P, him being moved on from that role to never have a position with any kind of authority again, she gave my staff and me a much better project to work on with more overtime (voluntary), a better person to liaise with and the mental image of P looking like a scolded puppy.”
7. You Don't Want To Help An Elderly And Injured Person? Karma Will Come Back To Bite You
“I work at an International airport as a check-in agent with a lot of lovely colleagues, supervisors, and coordinators. But there is always that one who is just, you know, a jerk. Just to give some necessary information, when the flight is fully booked, we allow people to check in their cabin baggage for free because there is not enough space in the overhead compartments in the aircraft for everyone’s cabin baggage.
This flight was not full. As I am doing check-in, a certain elderly man with a cast on his left hand and a shaking right hand comes to my counter, I do the check-in and he asks if we can take his cabin bag for free because he doesn’t have the strength to carry it till the gate. I don’t have the authority to do it on my own but am feeling quite empathetic and want to ask my supervisor for clearance.
I go to him (mind you, he likes to put a stance that is always a jerk to passengers and fellow agents) and explain to him that we should do it as human beings. He tells me that the gentleman has to pay 60 EUR if he wants it to be done. Cue the malicious compliance.
I go to the elder gentleman and tell him that my supervisor is a jerk who doesn’t want to allow it, of course, he is sad and tries to explain further how he can’t do it because of his arms (I fully got the picture from the start).
Even tries to hand me a 40 EUR tip for doing it in desperation (mind you, this gentleman is really old and really really is not in a condition to carry any hand luggage). I refuse the money and tell him to sit and wait for my coworker to come with a wheelchair to drive him to the aircraft (literally to the door of the aircraft), explained to him that at CDG a man will wait for him to drive him in a wheelchair.
Mind you, this happens at -60 min to take off (for passengers this means – 40 min).
It takes time for a coworker to come and pick up this lovely gentleman. It takes time for everything including the security check and passport control because he is in a wheelchair.
The gentleman again offers me a 40 EUR tip and again I refuse because this is about understanding and being a human being.
A coworker arrives, picks up the gentleman, gets his hand luggage, and off they go.
Now, here is the best part.
Hours later, I get called into the office of my supervisor to explain why I called a wheelchair passenger so late and I tell them the truth because I have an understanding with him that I shall always tell the truth and they would cover me, but this time it is different.
This time the take-off was late by 20 minutes. That’s not a lot if you are a passenger but it is if you work at an airport.
I tell them that I judged the gentleman as fit to walk alone but not carry his hand luggage and thus had to call in wheelchair service and my supervisor ignored that despite having a look at said gentleman. I even mentioned the possible 40 EUR tip.
I get praised for judgmental thinking and excused.
The supervisor, on the other hand, got so, so, so badly roasted to the point of being temporarily demoted to being a check-in agent with a warning of being fired because this is not his first, second, or third time causing a flight being delayed. God what a jerk.”
6. My Community College Credits Don't Count? Okay, Sign Me Up For Your Classes
“I went to a pretty bad high school. They had very few AP classes. So my parents signed me up for local community college classes for physics that I attended after school.
Fast forward to my first year at University, and I go to apply my CC physics credits to get out of taking redundant classes. University requires me to take Physics 4A, 4B, and 4C, each being a prerequisite for the next.
It was like classical physics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics/waves, or something like that. Since I had taken all three in CC, I’d be a year and a half ahead.
The first problem I ran into was the registrar’s office wouldn’t automatically apply the CC credits to cancel out the required credits for graduation. I had to get the professor that taught the course to sign off on it, and for that semester, the same Prof taught all three classes.
I meet with the Prof, and he refuses to sign the forms. ‘Community college is a joke, especially yours. You need to take 4A, 4B, and 4C here if you want to graduate from this University.’
Feeling defeated, I went to register for 4A, but then I noticed something. While the online system wouldn’t apply my CC credits to eliminate the required physics credits, it did apply the CC courses for the required prerequisites.
So I could register for 4A, 4B, AND 4C all in the same semester, with the same Professor. In fact, because it was the same Prof, none of the course times conflicted. He arranged for all three to be in the same classroom, back to back. No need to run around campus either.
On the first day of class, I sit in the front row for 4A.
Don’t know if the Prof noticed me then, but once class ended and everyone else got up, I stayed in my seat waiting for the next one to start in 10 mins. He glanced at me funny as he went through 4B. When that ended, and I didn’t get up, he approached me.
‘I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to leave. I have another class soon.’
‘No worries, I know.
4C. I’m enrolled in that too.’
‘You can’t be enrolled in all of them. They have prerequisites.’
He checks his enrollment sheet, and sure enough, I’m enrolled in all three. He tries to convince me that I’ll fail if I stay, but I tell him not to worry. I’m not gonna lie, it was tough sitting through three hours of classes, three hours of midterms, and six hours of finals, but I had already taken all of these courses. In the end, I got A, B+, and A-, but best of all, I got to knock that jerk down a notch.”
5. Don't Do Anything Else? You Got It
“My company has been contracted by another company to repair equipment. This is done in work cells hosted in a building owned and run by the company contracting us, so we need to follow quite a few of their rules. During pre-operation, we had a skeleton crew setting up work cells, sourcing tools, yadda yadda yadda. Unfortunately, we ran into a situation in which I had to make a run to a hardware store last minute in the middle of the day to avoid some other things running behind.
Apparently, this caused a crap-storm, as my boss put it. Our point of contact was up in arms about the fact that I ‘timed out’ (we are paid salary) at 2:45 PM. We all got together on the phone and I kindly explained I went to do business-related things. My boss deemed that was more than fair and that our point of contact has no reason to be upset.
The next morning when I came in, our point of contact was giving me a further ration of crap in a conversation that went something along the lines of:
POC: ‘You timed out much earlier than your scheduled off time yesterday. Don’t do that again.’
Me: ‘We’ve already explained to you that I was doing business and remaining focused on our goal here; to get our work cells set up for our start date.’
POC: ‘No, you need to take care of those things outside of the time you’re scheduled here.’
Me: ‘That’s not acceptable.
I will not allow you to think it’s okay for me to be working ‘off the clock.’ If you’d like, we can open a dialogue on negotiating overtime or supplemental pay.’
POC: ‘No, we don’t want to do that. We pay you to set up work cells and organize tools only. You don’t do anything else.’
Me: ‘Great. Please outline that in an email so that way I can better communicate that to my team.’
So our point of contact does.
Unfortunately, our job currently entails much much more. We organize deliveries, we check drivers in, we direct freight and docking, we attend meetings to organize happenings for the week, and on and on. For two weeks, anytime anything came up, we delegated these tasks to our point of contact; citing their outline of, ‘you set up work cells and organize tools only.’ Things fell very far behind.
I think the final straw was when our point of contact told us we needed to get a particular PPE on Friday (not required by us, but required by their guidelines) – our start date for 60 additional people was negotiated for the following Monday. Again, I told our point of contact that I will not shop for business-related things on my personal time.
On Monday the 60 new hires arrived.
Because they were missing the specific PPE requested last minute, they were technically unable to actually start doing anything, according to their safety standards. At this point, we’re all being paid to do, well, nothing. So I touched base with our point of contact to ask if, now that our negotiated tasks looked different since the transition of the start date, he’d be so kind as to let me take care of company business on company time.
That way we can get the ball rolling on things. He told me not to do anything at all and that he’d get in touch with my boss. From what I understand, a handful of people got dragged into it, lots of phone calls, lots of ticked-off people, the whole nine yards. This went on for the entire day. Meanwhile, our crew is just choppin’ it up and getting to know one another; mind you, still being paid per the negotiations.
Come Tuesday, essentially the same thing happens. Any inquiries that came my way were met with something like, ‘our point of contact made the executive decision to outline our specific job duties during our setup period. Despite what we had negotiated, they deemed it necessary to make, in my opinion, arbitrary and baseless decisions on how we should spend our time during our setup period. During the last two weeks, they had every opportunity to reconcile any hastily made decisions but chose not to do so.’
This morning our point of contact was gone.
Apparently, their absence has been a complete sigh of relief for many, many, people in the building. I always figured they just thought they could boss us around because we were the new kids on the block, but I guess he was always a controlling meathead from what others have said. I don’t exactly know where I stand with my company at this point, but I’m hopeful they’ll see the humor in everything in hindsight.”
4. Having A Second Job Won't Cut It? You Got It
“I’ve had a fairly rough teaching career. In my sixteen years of contracted service, I’ve spent five of those in the school I’ve been at this year. This is a record possible in part due to my eventual talent at teaching algebra, learning when to shut up (always), learning that the students, and my care, are all that matters, but mostly due to my great rapport, relationship with my principal.
He gets my quirkiness, knows I’m a great teacher so he doesn’t need to tell me what he has to others (for the most part), and he’s as hands-off as an amazing principal can be. I’ve finally hit my groove in education when my principal, we’ll call him Dr. J just got his doctorate and now is moving onward and upward.
I’m not sure if this is just a school thing, but he’s doing his farewell tour while introducing us all to the new principal.
We’ll call him Not the Mama. Anyone from the 90s who also has suffered from the New Boss Blues knows my pain and gets this reference.
During the tour Doctor J tells Not the Mama about me, how I’m the hardest, smartest worker and teacher. How I have a great relationship with my students, how they stop by the school to see me years after. He also mentions in this live recommendation that I have a second job working fast food.
Not the Mama instantly winces at this, right about the same time as everyone’s favorite teacher Miss Why-aren’t-you-paying-attention-to-my-ironic-T-shirt, pops out of a sky filled with irregular sized suspenders and stories about someone’s relatives that amazingly have no relevance to any person, living or dead. I’m pretty sure she said something to distract Dr. J long enough to give Not the Mama the opportunity to turn back to me, like a dad threatening his children while he tries to convince his first partner since his wife left him that he’s a great dad.
He manages to quickly mutter under his breath what confirmed every fear I had about the new boss: ‘Having a second job won’t cut it with me so you better fix that pronto.’
You lost me at pronto. You had me at Heck No.
I despised this person so much in such a short time that it wasn’t even an afterthought that, despite my ‘second’ job being minimum wage, and despite my current job just issuing me a longevity bonus (literally yesterday), I would press the biggest, most important Malicious Compliance button of my life and see how the heck it goes.
Pronto means soon, so that afternoon I put in my notice that I won’t be coming back. Hey, he wants me to only have one job right? Voila. That’s French for Check this crap out. Your man OP started going back on School Spring. Two interviews set up for tomorrow via zoom.”
3. Don't Want To Follow Rules? You'll Have To Follow Them Eventually
“I bought my first house in 1999, and I wanted DirecTV. I put up a satellite dish, which happened to be behind a privacy fence. I also knew the FCC ruling that HOAs couldn’t prevent you from putting up a dish due to some malfeasance with home builders who would make shady deals with cable companies to force homeowners to go with a specific company (I think that’s right).
I figured I wouldn’t have any issues since it was behind a fence anyway. I got a knock at my door the next day, and it was my neighbor from across the cul-de-sac, telling me she’s on the board of the HOA. ‘Your dish is in violation, and must be removed.’ This was my first encounter with her, I politely explained the law as I knew it, and told her to have a nice day.
We didn’t speak again, and she ended up moving out soon.
Well, it turns out she didn’t move out and was just renting to some other lady I never spoke to, and the HOA lady moved back in a year later.
There was an easement behind my house which was properly mowed when I moved in. I would hit golf balls down there with my wedge, and my neighbor was into archery and used it as his range.
By the second summer I lived there, it was overgrown and an eyesore. I couldn’t even see the creek just behind my house anymore. One weekend, I borrowed my dad’s utility trailer, and I spent 3 days clearing out our little section behind the houses, hauling all of the debris away (probably 2 trips a day). My arms were covered in cuts from briars, and apparently, I was also dealing with sumac, poison ivy, or some other stuff because, by Monday, I was having an allergic reaction so badly that I went to the doc to get a steroid shot.
Laid up in the house all day, and I get a knock at the door. It’s the neighbor woman again. Apparently, there’s a rule that you cannot store a trailer in the driveway for more than 3 days, and this was day 4. I needed to remove it by the end of the day or face a $500 fine. She handed me a paper listing the rule, and I considered just paying the fine, but instead, I angrily drove an hour each way to return my dad’s trailer after spending half the day already waiting in a hospital lobby.
I got home after dark. What struck me as odd was there was a list of things you couldn’t store in your driveway: personal watercraft, boats, trailers, etc. The odd part was that motorcycle was listed on there. I don’t ride one myself, but I thought it was a totally reasonable thing to keep in a driveway.
After I finished all of this work, this woman would routinely walk through my yard without asking, but since she was taking her grandkid to play in the creek, I never said anything even though it bothered me that she never asked.
A year or so later, I wanted to sell the house and move into something bigger. I had talked to a realtor already, and I was getting things tidied up to have the house shown. As I was cleaning out a drawer, I noticed the paper the HOA lady had given me, and I remembered the part about motorcycles being listed. You see, the HOA lady had started seeing an older gentleman, and he had moved in with her.
Turns out he rode a Harley which was always parked in her driveway. She was home, so I walked over there and politely informed her about the violation. The next day, the motorcycle was parked on her back porch, the one she bragged about to everyone who would listen so she could tell them how much it cost. I laughed to myself, but then I remembered the part about it needing to be behind a fence.
Another knock at the door, and within a few days, a fence company was building a 6-foot privacy fence that completely hid her fancy new deck.
My realtor had been on my case for at least a week about needing to put up a ‘for sale’ sign, so as soon as the fence was finished, I told her it was OK. I sold the house quickly and moved out at the end of the month.
Oh, and by the way, the fence was completely hideous and looked out of place because of the way her lot was shaped.”
2. I Don't Do Anything Right? Fine, I'll Do It Your Way
“I used to work for a private company which was owned by a wealthy woman who could afford to have her dim-witted, stubborn, and mean daughter run one of the departments. It didn’t go well but it was a small department and the mother was more interested in keeping her daughter happy than making a profit. Thankfully the daughter, M, usually only worked a few hours each morning to ‘help me out’, and then she would leave.
I’m all for inclusion and encouraging people to learn new things, but M was not fit for management and definitely didn’t have the faculties for accounting. She would ‘help’ me and I would wait for her to leave so I could fix it: writing legible notes, sending notices, giving customers change and receipts, posting past due notices, etc. This went on for 3 years until I found a better job and gave two weeks’ notice.
M was livid. She felt like it was a betrayal. M started staying all day to do any bookkeeping. She started talking to coworkers and customers alike, telling them I don’t know how to do my job, I do everything wrong, and it’s all my fault we weren’t a better department. She would do this in front of my face too, pulling someone aside to talk in stage whispers.
I can’t do anything right? If you say so. I’ll stop doing things my way and only do what you explicitly ask. I won’t take the fullest usage from a payment but instead, give change like they’re buying one unit. I won’t transcribe her atrocious handwriting. I won’t give past due notices. I won’t maintain the customer balance spreadsheets.
By the end of my last two weeks, they had switched from using Excel to using a spiral notebook to log customer payments, gave away the laptop with the old notes and customer contact sheet, and forgave any outstanding balances because M insisted my notes were wrong. Meaning they lost a couple of thousand dollars and clients would have no way to contact them unless they came in person since our department didn’t have a designated phone number.
But remember, I never do anything right.”
1. I Need To Call You Every Holiday? Sure, I Will
“On April 19th, my mom asked me to drive her to work, so after work, I stopped by a little early and we talked for a bit until…
Mom: ‘Why didn’t you call me on Easter, what did you do?’
For context, my mom is very Roman Catholic and takes the holidays of her religion very seriously and she also knows I’ve not been religious since I was in middle school.
I don’t really see the point of celebrating something I don’t believe in, so these holidays just aren’t on my radar, even during those days.
Me: ‘You told me that you and dad were working that day and not to do anything. Besides, you know I don’t celebrate it.’
Mom: ‘Well what about when you and your fiancé went out with her family?’
Me: ‘They invited us to lunch on Easter two weeks ago and we don’t get to see everyone together all that often, it didn’t make a difference to us that it was on Easter, we would have gone anyway.’
Mom: ‘I’m your mother and I should always be your priority, were you thinking of me when you were out to lunch?’
Me: ‘Of course you’re my priority, but seeing as you weren’t there, no, I wasn’t specifically thinking about you, but everyone asked how you and dad were, what you two were up to, you know.
I don’t think of my fiancé’s family all the time when I’m with you and dad. I pay attention to the people I’m with at the moment, would you like it if I was thinking of someone else constantly when I’m with you?’
Mom: ‘Well, okay, fine. But you know how much the holidays mean to me, you could have at least called.’
Me: ‘Mom, I was here on Friday (Good Friday) you know I don’t celebrate like you do, these holidays just aren’t as important to me.
I was with my fiancé’s family. Besides, you told me you were busy all day and didn’t want me to do anything, so I didn’t.’
Mom: ‘You need to call me more.’
Me: ‘I call or stop by every weekend, you can just as easily call me, your schedule changes so much that it’s hard to get a hold of you.’
Mom: ‘I call you every week.’
Me, pulling out my phone…: ‘You last called me over a month ago, I’ve called or visited you every week.’
Mom, getting a bit flustered: ‘Well, I’m your mother and you need to call me every holiday.’
Me: ‘Every holiday?’
Mom: ‘Every holiday.’
You got it, mom.
So, the next day (04/20) I called and left a voicemail:
Me: ‘Hey mom, I remembered what you said yesterday, so I’m calling to wish you a very happy National Cheddar Fries Day, National Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake Day, National Look-Alike Day, Chinese Language Day, National Banana Day, Lima Bean Respect Day, and it’s 420, so let me know when you’re done celebrating and give me a call back.
Love you, bye!’
I had the next week planned out with all the nationally recognized holidays (there are hundreds each month) that I’d wish her happy/merry/whatever.
Later that night I see a missed call from mom, so I call her back.
Mom: ‘So, I wasn’t expecting that, but it was funny.’
Me: ‘You told me to call you every holiday.’
Mom: ‘You’re a real smarty pants, you know that? Lord knows where you get it from…’
Me: ‘Well, I got it from you and dad, you two can fight for the credit.’
Mom: ‘Just call me on the holidays we celebrated when you were younger.’
No problem mom, she gets her phone calls and I got my malicious compliance.”