People Tell Their Most Honorable Malicious Compliance Revenge
19. I Must Wear Office Appropriate Clothing? Then I Guess I Won't Be Able To Do My Job
“I had been with this (massive global) company ~one of its manufacturing divisions~ for about 7 years…
I was tier 3+ IT support, mostly behind-the-scenes stuff, and online meetings with folks.
On-call as well.
The guy who hired, Steve – Department Director, was great!
I was and still am a jeans and tee-shirt person (I have like 200+ silk-screened tees.
Nothing offensive, but pleasantly entertaining).
Steve decided to exit the corporate world, I did not want his job, so…
(Massive global) company found/hired a new Director:
J and I got along well, I thought, but then I started to see that he was intimidated by my skill set, and ability to resolve issues with either a Powershell script I already had or by a command line – Very quickly fixing issues, in a matter of seconds, using methods that he could not understand – He was a GUI person.
J started looking for things to discipline me for…
Here we go –
J decided that my wearing tee shirts was “unprofessional.”
Me: “What do you mean by ‘Unprofessional’?”
J: “It gives the impression to others, that you don’t respect them, and they don’t think they can trust you to do your job correctly.”
Me: “Others? Who? Who thinks I can’t do my job?”
J: “Look, I’m not going to argue this, you need to come to work in ‘Office appropriate attire’, period.”
I’m not capable of doing my job unless I am wearing ‘Office appropriate attire’, not allowed to do my job unless that is how I am dressed?”
J: (Bluntly, and dismissively) “That’s it.”
Me: “Then I need to add this kind of specific detail to this ‘write-up’.”
~ Yeah, he was putting it on paper – so I added that to my comment – “Management determined, explained to me, and I now understand that I am not able to perform my work-related tasks in a professional manner unless I’m wearing ‘Office appropriate attire.'”
Then for about 3 weeks, slacks and polo shirts…
On a Friday night, I get a call at about 11:15 pm (I’m on call).
There is an issue affecting multiple production lines… None of the computers are connecting to the network… can’t print labels… blah, blah, blah.
My plan comes into effect and full circle ensues.
I tell the production supervisor that I can’t do anything about it (really I just needed to run a script, that bounces DHCP on a domain controller, but I digress.) because I am not wearing ‘Office appropriate attire’ (he knew what I was referring to), and all of my work clothes were at the dry cleaner, and that I will pick them up on my way to the gym, Monday morning.
That blew up tremendously, as expected…
And J calls me early Saturday morning – Where I (Bluntly, and dismissively) tell him that this issue is his problem, not mine… He was the one who disciplined me and insisted that I was not able to do my job unless I was wearing ‘Office appropriate attire’, and that it is documented that I must be wearing ‘Office appropriate attire’, in order to do my job, and that this will be happening on Monday morning after I pick up my clothes from the dry cleaner.
Me: “Your rules buddy, not mine! Have a nice weekend.”
J: “Then tell me how to fix this!”
Me: “I’m not even wearing pants right now, can’t do work stuff.”
J: (angrily hangs up)
Monday, I come in prepared for battle.
With HR, J, and the plant manager in the same room, I spell out how this is going to work…
(as best as I can recall…)
Me: “If you don’t like this, let me know now. If you folks don’t think I can do my job wearing a tee shirt and jeans, after doing my job exceptionally well, for 7 years, wearing a tee shirt and jeans.
Then this changes when J shows up… I promise you that what I am wearing is not the problem, J is. If you see it otherwise, explain it to me.”
HR, and plant manager: “Huh… What?”
Me: “HR, don’t play stupid, you saw that write-up, and you filed it accordingly.”
Plant manager: “What!?”
I explained the write-up to the plant manager.
The plant manager says that is the stupidest thing he’s ever heard, and ultimately blasts J and HR.
The plant manager reassures me that this will never happen again, the write-up is garbage, and that if I have any other problems, to let him know.
He asks me to fix the production line issue.
Pop up my laptop screen, log in, run a Powershell script, and say: “Should be good in a few minutes.”
About 6 months later, I suspect that J was up to some unscrupulous stuff, and found all kinds of proof in his email…
Sent that off to the plant manager… J was terminated the next day.”
18. It Didn't Happen If It's Not In Writing? Same Goes For You
“My new manager at work is one of those people that absolutely has to be in control. Even when you’re exceeding every scorecard measure, keeping your head down, and not putting a toe out of line, she still asks you to come to a meeting room to discuss some minor issue or another.
Recently, she pulled me into a meeting to discuss me being late for work. The protocol is to call in, say we’ll be late, then submit a schedule adjustment request when we arrived. She accused me of not calling in or submitting a request but was able to prove I did, only instead of leaving it at that, she insisted I now needed to call her and explain why I was late.
That’s not the process, I told her, and she said she was making a new one. So now I call her at 6 am on her day off to let her know if I’m gonna be late.
She also had a meeting with me because my scorecard for a stat was 99/100, with a target of 50 – she had to point out the 1/100 I missed.
She also did the same for a handling time issue where I am hitting an average of 600 seconds with a target of 1500 – she needed to tell me about a call I took too long on. Suffice it to say, complaints have been raised to her manager.
Following an incident where she was asked to follow up on something for me and claimed ‘if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen,’ I’ve been asking for everything in writing and repeat that mantra back to her when she claims to have told me something.
Last week, she asked me to see her after my call. I walked over and she wasn’t there, so went back to my desk. She asked me why I didn’t stay around, and I reminded her of the time she put, in writing, that I wasn’t to spend more than one minute waiting for her if she asked to see me and was to go back to my desk to take calls, not wasting time.
She asked me to come over again, and when I did, she wasn’t there. This repeated twice more before my shift was over. Each time I documented “Logged out at 14:14:35pm, came to your desk, you were not there, spent 45 seconds waiting, returned to the desk, and took another call at 14:16:38pm” in chat.
She messages me to ask what time I finish. I tell her it was two minutes prior, and she says we can catch up now. I tell her that my shift is over and ask if she’ll approve overtime pay for an out-of-hours meeting.
She tells me not to be silly and that it’ll just take 10 minutes. I refuse and say if I don’t get paid, we can do it tomorrow when I am being paid.
She’s typing, then not, then typing, then not, choosing her words.
I know she’s angry at being challenged, and she decided to employ one of the tactics she used when she managed a team for a company where this was standard practice: “Okay, well, if you’d like to go home now, I can always make it a formal meeting?” A ‘formal meeting’ where I work is code for a meeting with HR, documented on your record, for misconduct and repeated issues.
She thinks she’s won. “Not a problem. Make a formal meeting, ensure I have 24 hours’ notice, send a formal invite, and I will bring a support person with me.” I log out and leave, but not before grabbing screenshots and saving a copy of the chat logs.
The next day, she called my bluff and has a meeting scheduled. I send it to my union rep, and she comes in on the day. HR sits down with us and opens with “So we’re here today to discuss some concerns.
Your team leader asked you to attend an off-the-cuff catch-up three times, and for some reason you refused?”
I quickly clarify what actually happened. My manager claims otherwise, and I repeat her mantra – if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.
Then I supply receipts – her demands to put things in writing, her chat, my timestamps, my call logs, and her message to me afterward.
My union rep stares at the two of them, with a small smile, and asks “So do you maintain the position that employees should attend meetings unpaid, and that misconduct investigations are a good use of resources if they refuse?”
HR said there may have been a miscommunication, and that I could return to work.
I have it put in writing that I am not accused of any misconduct, and have been cleared of any false accusations, with nothing documented on my staff file.
Yesterday, my team was advised that our team leader had decided to pursue opportunities outside of the company and we were getting a new manager.”
17. Always Be Honest With The Residents To Keep Them Happy? I'll Never Tell A Lie
“So, about three years ago I worked for a care home. I still do work for a care home, but I also did three years ago. It’s primarily nursing care with a little dementia care. The residents can range from being totally independent and capable of going about their day with minimal assistance from staff, to end-of-life care with checks every half hour to make sure there’s always someone with them.
The particular resident I’m going to be talking about here, we’ll call “Dot”, because she looked like the Eastenders character of the same name, only with a thick Liverpudlian accent. Dot had a great sense of pride, and a low tolerance for anyone who she believed was talking down to her.
She was largely independent, just had a few “funny turns” here and there.
I was working a night shift when this happened (7 PM-7 AM), and it was around midnight. My colleague was setting up breakfast trays for the morning, I believe, whilst the nurse was doing a few clerical duties.
We had a nurse from an agency due to ours being ill. Agency workers can be a mixed bag here. Some are lovely, hard-working, and understanding. Some are grumpy and uptight. Some, we politely ask if they don’t get sent again.
The nurse that night fell squarely into the middle category. She would be snippy with the care staff, opting to do her work without any communication to us unless it was absolutely necessary to hand anything over to us (fair enough, nobody says you have to make friends here), and would treat the residents with a false smile and a semi-condescending tone, sort of like you’d expect one to use when talking to small children.
Dot was going through one of her “funny turns.” She had put her coat on and was trying to barge her way out of the front door. I came across the reception area to find the nurse trying to talk to Dot, with Dot trying to get to the front door saying “get out of the way, you miserable old trout!” to the nurse.
The nurse was saying things like “I’m sorry, Mrs. Dot, but we need to look after you here! It would be irresponsible of us to allow you to wander about outside at this time! You could seriously hurt yourself! Look, it’s dark out!” All things that seemed to make Dot angrier and angrier.
After a while, Dot stormed off. I asked the nurse why Dot wanted to get out of the home.
“Because she has dementia!”
“Yes, but why in her own mind, is she trying to leave? In her mind, it makes perfect sense for her to leave the home, what’s her reasoning?”
“Oh, she wants to go to the pharmacy.
What difference does that make? We can’t allow the residents out unsupervised for any reason and especially not in the dead of night!”
“I’ll talk to her.”
“No, you will not! I know how people like you work! You’ll say anything to keep the residents happy, even if it means filling their heads with lies! Well, I was taught that we have to be honest with the residents!”
And this is true, you can’t tell a resident an outright lie.
At least not where I work. If a resident with dementia is distraught because their mother hasn’t given them a phone call, you cannot say to them something like “Oh, but she did ring you about a couple of hours ago, remember?” However, it’s kind of frowned upon to say something like “your mother died twenty years ago.
Dead people can’t use the telephone” instead, honest as it may be. You have to learn to use tact, omit details if they could cause distress, and treat the residents with some modicum of dignity.
Anyway, somehow I convinced the nurse to let me speak to Dot.
The nurse said that if she sees me lie to Dot, she will file a report, and see that the home manager knows I am “institutionalizing” the residents (which is a very, very, serious accusation here). We made our way to Dot’s room.
She is angrily stuffing things into her handbag at the time. The nurse folded her arms and stood in the doorway as I spoke to Dot.
“What do you want, (my name)?”
“What are you getting all dressed up for? Is something special happening?”
“I NEED TO GET TO THE PHARMACY! THEY HAVE MY MEDICINE!”
“But, Dot…it’s Sunday! The pharmacy isn’t open on Sunday!”
Dot stopped in her tracks.
For the first time, she looked confused, rather than angry.
“Yes, Dot. Look… Here’s your clock. It says today’s date on it, and it says Sunday, see?”
Dot made a sheepish face at this.
“Oh. Oops. I suppose I’d better get settled. I do actually feel rather sleepy.”
I left Dot to it.
When I walk out the door, the nurse is stunned that I handled it so easily. She tried to sputter out that it was still filling the resident’s head with lies for the sake of a quiet life. I just asked her, “what day is it right now?” and she didn’t have an answer.
The nurse tried to speak to my colleague about my “behavior” later that night. My colleague basically told her that what I did was the same thing she would have done. When Dot had her funny turns, she would argue with you about the time of day, how safe it was outside, etc.
But as you got to know the residents, you got to know what kind of advice they’d be willing to listen to.
Anyway, there’s the time an angry resident calmed down and a grouchy nurse got egg on her face. Hope you enjoyed!”
16. Make Me Attend A Conference Call While I'm At The Pediatric Doctor's? No Problem
Not the best, or quietest place, for a conference call.
“I just gave birth a few months ago. During my maternity leave, I was requested to join a Zoom meeting, they said it was very important so I obliged. I love my company so much since it always had my back when I got pregnant (ehem, single mom) and got sick in my 6th month.
The meeting was about me being transferred to a new boss due to realignment.
This new boss then started calling me and asking me to do stuff that actually could wait until I get back from my maternity leave cause of course the company knows I’m on leave.
She always says there is a deadline for some online learning and stuff. She also asks me to attend some meetings, the company’s annual online parties (which she said is mandatory to attend), and most of my officemates will ask me why I’m attending since I’m on leave.
Well, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really complain much, If I can do it I just do it. Talking back or talking ill against somebody is a waste of my energy. Everything is remote anyways and my baby is sleeping almost all the time and the camera is off so I can breastfeed.
Now fast forward to this week, it’s been three weeks since I’m officially back to work (still work-at-home set up) and I know bosses have different leadership styles but I’m afraid I can say she’s kind of a pain in the butt.
She demands things to be done asap when these are the ones that should really take a little time to get the best results. She will talk in the sweetest voice and tone but her message is basically telling you to “freaking finish this now.” Just imagine an evil character in a movie smiling at you but the eyes are scary while telling you that she’s about to kill you.
I then found out from my old boss that this one is full of pride and always wants to be the best. Never asks for help from anyone and wants to impress the big boss all the time.
Two days ago I messaged her sincerely apologizing that I have to file a leave the following day cause my baby is set to do shots.
I said I was sorry cause in my calendar, it’s a week from now and I was planning to file the leave this weekend but the doc’s secretary just called and it has to be that next day. And in my country, I have the solo parent ID so leaves like these are really valid.
She called me up and asked how many hours it should take. I said it’s gonna be in the morning but I really want to file a leave cause most of the time babies get fever after and of course I want to take care of my baby.
She said since we are just working from home, I don’t need to file a leave and just adjust my working hours. I wanted to explain that I really want to take the entire day off and not work at all especially at night cause I want to observe my baby but she literally ignored me and did not let me talk and just said her goodbyes and hung up.
Imagine my surprise when around 9 am, the jerk messaged me to join the conference call for our meeting. Cue malicious compliance. I said I’m on my way to the clinic and will just join once settled. I just ride the tuk-tuk to the health center so I can’t join just yet cause I’m holding my baby securely.
So once I’m in the clinic, I graciously obliged to join the conference call while a lot of other babies are crying. Shot schedules are the same day so maybe half of the town’s babies are there and they are all my accomplice.
I press mute of course but when it’s my turn to speak, I speak super close to the microphone while other babies were either shouting due to the injections, crying just because they’re bored, or maybe laughing at my boss right now.
My own baby is just so quiet looking like the cutest thing latching on me. I can hear in my boss’ voice the regret of not allowing me this day off but she can’t do anything about it now. I’m at the meeting answering all her questions and impressing everyone in my team like a boss! I can imagine their faces when they have to lower the volume when it’s my turn to speak.
I then sent her a message regarding the next shot schedule and that I want to ask permission to file for a leave that day. Well of course she said yes.”
15. A One-Week Notice Is Acceptable If Staff Feel Threatened Or Targeted? Here's My One-Week
“I worked at a restaurant-slash-events venue some years back. Essentially I was AGM of the place, and it was my job to coordinate service in the dining room, private event spaces, and music venue. Service, concerts, private events, weddings, you name it, I coordinate and execute it with staff.
This was the most challenging job I’d ever had at the time, but after a while, I’d found a groove and was doing the work of two or three people.
New GM gets hired. I like her, she likes me. She recognizes my hard work and is glad to have me.
I work, put in 50-60 hours a week, regularly there until two or three in the morning wrapping things up, last person in the building. I have a good relationship with the CEO and the COO/HR of the company as we were one of six large franchises across the country.
They like me and we have a good rapport (when I see them). I’m working my butt off but really having fun too.
Fast forward a few months and the relationship between me and GM sours. She is colder and more hostile toward me every day.
I’m not sure what’s going on, so ask her if we can talk. She calls a closed-door meeting and arrives with a folder with some papers in it. She pulls out her cell and asks my permission to record. Yeah, sure, have fun.
She then proceeds to lay out papers in front of me documenting all my shortcomings. SEVEN MINUTES LATE—TIME STAMP VERIFIED (There was a blizzard that day, and I wasn’t late—I volunteered to come in early as other employees refused to drive, and so was technically 53 minutes early).
INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE IN FRONT OF TEAM MEMBERS (Managers were joking and doing Sam Jackson “Mother fudger” impressions and I used the S-word—no one else got written up). COMPLAINT FROM REHEARSAL DINNER 9/12 (The bride in a sleeveless dress was cold—we turned the heat up.) And on and on, like fifteen total completely fabricated “charges” against me.
At this point it’s clear she’s out to get me, but I have no clue why. She tells me I should probably think about putting in my two weeks’ notice.
Okay. I immediately start looking for another job, and actually nail one shortly with a better title and pay.
Important to know, we always had these big weekly meetings on what was usually my day off. So I’d have to come in on my day off and sit in a meeting with a bunch of other managers, events directors, and chefs.
These meetings were mandatory. I was never happy about it, but I complied as everyone else relied on me to coordinate service and events. After one of these meetings, I went out for a quick beer with a co-worker who was a Captain (essentially an event manager for us who would run smaller events).
We got to talking and she told me that GM was afraid I was going to take her job and wants to get rid of me—GM had let it slip to Chef during the set-up of an event and Captain overheard while working.
Wild. I don’t want your job, I’m too busy already.
So Malicious Compliance. Our HR policies were a bit wonky as COO/HR didn’t really have experience with HR stuff. He was a great guy but had cobbled together some awkward policies. In our official handbook, it was stated that the company prefers a three-week notice—accepts a two-week notice as an industry standard—and in cases where the employee feels “wronged, threatened, or unfairly targeted”, a one-week notice is acceptable.
ALSO, if the employee feels “wronged, threatened, or unfairly targeted”, it is acceptable for said employee to go over the head of their wronging, threatening, unfairly targeting BOSS directly to HR to submit their notice.
So I follow company policy. I send COO/HR an e-mail giving my resignation.
I briefly outline my reasons, thank him for all his wisdom and help, and give my one-week, 168-hour notice effective immediately as of noon CST, the exact time I’m submitting the notice. I don’t get a response from COO/HR. That’s because he’s on vacation in Greece.
A week later, I cheerily show up for the mandatory meeting at noon on my day off. The meeting commences and GM is making a show of trying to call me out in front of the group for answers about the 300-person wedding event I’m due to run tomorrow, trying to cement my incompetence to them.
She tells me we’re out of a certain Brut Champagne (no we’re not) and asks me what we’re going to sub for the party’s toast (intending to catch me in the cold as it’s too late to order an appropriate substitute).
My response: “Don’t know, don’t care. This is my last day, and I finished work fifteen minutes ago. Good luck with the wedding.” And I walked out.
Cue Shocked Pikachu Boss. The entire table was O-faced. There was a volley of e-mails after that between GM and COO/HR trying to deny my sick/vacation payouts, but I had technically followed all company policies.
She had to put her signature on my final check. Sweet.”
Another User Comments:
“I hope you aren’t located in the US because by resigning instead of them firing you, you saved them a ton of bucks and missed out on free finances.
Never resign if they ask you to, make them fire you.” ChiefTief
“OP already said he had another job already lined up and that he got his sick and vacation paid out with everything. Rather resign than get fired for cause.” Bishop120
14. Treat Your Apartment Mate Like Crap? I'll Get A Resident Advisor To Move In As "Support"
“I work in student halls of residence for a smallish campus-based university in the UK. This involves malicious compliance after a group of students had been bullying one of their flatmates (I’ll call her Sara) and happened within the last 10 years.
Sara was neurodivergent and had plenty of interests. None of these interests involved going out partying. She preferred to live in a quieter/cleaner environment. The other four all had similar interests to each other; very typical first year in halls stuff.
There were kitchen parties after clubbing at 3 am, alleged substance use, post-party leaving strangers passed out on the kitchen floor, empty bottles everywhere, and piles of rubbish/washing up… generally messy.
Normally, a student would report this – we give out contact details that can be used for anonymous reporting.
Or we’d offer flat meetings to help them find a compromise (eg agreeing to limit parties to X times a week, checking with each other before planning one in case someone has a big deadline and needs quiet on a specific night, cleaning rotas, etc.) And the cleaners could issue fines if it was a mess on the weekly cleaning day.
But Sara was terrified of reporting anything and found interacting with staff very difficult. We only knew there was an issue because she would tell her mum, and her mum would tell us. We’d offered a swap, but she told her mum that she didn’t want to move as it would disrupt her routine and it “wasn’t fair for her to be punished when she’d followed the rules.” So we were working with her and her mum to try and get her to the point where she could formally report it, referring her to wellbeing services, and doing random flat checks at night to see if we could catch the students using substances (and had the cleaners on the lookout for evidence as well).
This carried on until term 2 and by then the four had clearly decided they just didn’t like her and thought she was “weird.” The inconsiderate behavior had escalated to bullying. She’d recorded them calling her some horrible names and played it back to us, but again refused to send us the recording and wouldn’t formally report it.
(I appreciate she wasn’t helping herself, but I don’t think she was being deliberately difficult, she just really struggled with certain things). Her flatmates had definitely figured out what pushed her buttons. We were trying to mediate (flat meetings, trying to enable her to feel safe in reporting their behavior formally, etc.) but it was obvious to staff that they wanted to push her to move out and they had a friend who was always hanging out in their kitchen who clearly wanted to move in.
One day she must have snapped and she threw a glass across the room causing it to smash into a wall. It didn’t hit anyone, but they jumped on this and all their parents were on the phone about how their daughters were living with someone “dangerous.” At this point, we have no evidence of their bullying or breaches of their tenancy, but they have evidence against her and had all mass-filed reports.
We have no choice but to move her.
Here comes the malicious compliance; not even before we’d sent cleaners into her old room we start getting requests for the friend to move in. Apparently a “supportive person” would help with “the trauma” and someone else in the room would give them “closure”.
The idea of them getting their way in this manner infuriated me. Instead, we asked one of our older and more experienced Resident Advisors (a final-year student) if they could move in. This is someone they would not be able to bully and had a good idea about what had been really going on in that flat.
It was a nice flat in a very new building, so it was a bit of a perk for them as well.
The best bit was the parents ringing to complain about how we’d moved a stranger in and how upset their daughters were.
When I explained we’d put a very experienced Resident Advisor in there who had training in peer support, all their arguments collapsed. The requirements: supportive person and room relet for closure. Tick and tick! Sorry. No more kitchen substance parties for your daughters this year.
Ps – Sara didn’t have any further action taken against her for the glass throwing. She did actually get some additional well-being involvement and it was deemed that the move was penalty enough (and incident unlikely to reoccur). She loved her new flat.
It was a single occupancy studio, in a really nice building, and we kept her on lower rent. Her mum said the studio was perfect as she could control the mess and no one moved her stuff – she felt safe.
She actually rebooked a studio for the following year and did go on to finish her degree. I have no idea what happened to the other students. I hope they look back and reflect on what they did, but sadly part of me doubts it. At any rate… given we’d ruined their party venue I hope they managed to get some studying done.”
13. Prefer I Leave You Alone Until You Decide If You Want To Stay With Me? I'll Go Ghost
Sometimes ghosting someone really is the right answer.
“About three years ago now, I was in an abusive relationship. Sure, he never put a hand on me, but the emotional damage lasted a long time. To make a long story short, his favorite game to play was pretending that he was going to take his own life and I was the only person in the world who could stop him.
I’m sure you don’t need any more explanation to understand his character.
Not only was he verbally abusive and incredibly manipulative, but he (of course) was a very jealous person. The event that leads up to my story revolves around a guy who was a very close friend of mine.
The funny thing is that my ex liked him too. Always had nice things to say about him, got along with him really well, etc. But it came time for this friend to go to college and he was moving away.
I was sad and expressed to my ex that I would miss him a lot. Suddenly, my then-partner became very cold and just stopped talking to me. For hours.
Finally, after my texting him, nagging him, and giving him his space, he let me know that he was “hurt”, “disgusted”, and “betrayed”, that I would ever speak about another “man” (the guy was 17, we were 19) like that.
He let me know that he needed some time to himself to “think about what to do with me”.
This was probably the fourth or fifth time he had given me the silent treatment as a form of punishment. And they would usually last about a week or so.
I would beg, and beg, and beg, for him to talk to me, and finally, he would grace me with his attention and let me know that I was blessed with his forgiveness for my cruelty. Lol.
So I sat and waited.
Anxious and unable to sleep, because I was terrified that he would threaten to take his own life again. Then maybe three or four days later… something inside of me broke. I realized how peaceful things were for me when I wasn’t talking to him.
All of a sudden, my rose-tinted glasses came off and I realized that I had lost attraction to him a long time ago and I was only with him out of fear. He was, physically and mentally, revolting. So I decided what I was going to do with him.
Sure, I could just have blocked him, and maybe nowadays I would have. But at the time, this guy caused me so much emotional distress and I wanted to make sure I rubbed it in.
I decided to just stay silent, like he wanted me to, and finally about three days after I made my decision, he texted me “So.
What are we?” I let him know that we were done. I have never ever seen him backtrack so hard. He blew up my phone with texts and phone calls saying how sorry he was for ignoring me. Then he tried to say it was my fault, and that he was actually giving me space because he thought I was mad at him.
All I said was that I was done trying to be in a relationship with someone who refused to talk to me about problems and expected me to be responsible for their life. I blocked him. He tracked down every account I had on every social media sending me these long paragraphs about how sorry he was, and he got blocked on those too.
Yeah, I’m sure he was very sorry once he realized that he lost his favorite punching bag.
This is where he surprised me. He was so caught up in his “good-guy, tough-guy façade”, I never thought he would try to involve other people.
He went to our mutual friends and eventually drove them all away by begging them to “make” me talk to him, or asking them to send me his long paragraphs. They read his letters to me and began to realize how horrible and manipulative he was, and soon they cut him off too.
He showed his true colors to everyone shortly after and revealed himself as the manipulator he always had been. But that’s a different story for another day.
Remember folks, communication is key.”
Another User Comments:
“It is the little things that make you realize how awful a relationship can be. I used to travel a lot for work, and I realized once that I was happier when I was traveling and I did not look forward to coming home. That was enough of a wake-up call.” PolyGlamourousParsec
12. Want Me To Pretend I'm An Expert C# Developer In An Interview? I Can Do That
“This is the story of how I got hired at an old job I had a few years ago. The technical manager (who ultimately became my boss) was a great guy and was the one who embarked on a course of malicious compliance to get what he wanted.
It happened like this…
The company was small, with about 20 people, and run by a CEO who knew the company’s industry but didn’t know anything about technology. What she knew was that she had a team of five developers and one technical manager and that the company’s code was written in the programming language called C# (pronounced “C-sharp”).
One day, her favorite member of the development team quit, whom she regarded as their foremost expert on C#.
To the technical manager, this was an enormous opportunity. He had four other developers who knew C#, but what he was missing was an expert in database design and administration.
The company processed a huge volume of data, and he knew enough about databases to know that theirs was a mess: the same data had to be recorded in multiple places and was always getting out of sync, operations that should have taken a few seconds would run for minutes, etc.
He didn’t want to replace the departed employee with another developer; he wanted a database expert. But the CEO wouldn’t hear of it. Cue malicious compliance.
Somehow he got a description of the person he actually wanted into the hands of a recruiter, who found me.
(I had over ten years of experience in database development and administration at that point, but had never touched a line of C# code in my life.) The technical manager had a “skills assessment” he was giving to all candidates for the job, which was 100% database questions.
There was a huge, boldface warning at the top, which I found extremely odd, stating, “These questions are extremely difficult; it is unlikely you’ll be able to answer them all. You may not be able to answer any. Do not feel any pressure to attempt questions you find too difficult, as these results are not related to the position.” I was told I had 20 minutes to work on it.
Well, I finished it in about 2-3 minutes, the questions were all actually very easy, and walked back into the office of the technical manager to ask if I was missing something and what this was all about. He gave me the “shush” gesture and motioned me back into the conference room.
Then he explained.
His office was adjacent to the CEO’s office, so he couldn’t talk in there. The warning was something he’d been forced to put on the test after a recruiter (who apparently had initially been just as confused as I was) had called the CEO to ask why they were giving a database assessment for a C# position.
He’d had to play it off to the CEO as, “Well, wouldn’t it be good to know if we happen to find a C# developer who is comfortable with databases too?” He explained all the backstories described above. And then we talked for about 30 minutes about databases.
C# didn’t come up. The job sounded really interesting and would be a chance for me to make an enormous positive difference. At the end, he said, “OK, you’re perfect, I’m going to recommend you for the position, but first you have to talk to the CEO.
Remember, when you talk to her, you’re a ‘C# expert.’ Got it?” I was worried, but I thought, “Worst case, I get caught and don’t get the job; best case, I can really help this company.”
Into the CEO’s office I went.
After an exchange of pleasantries, she said, “So, what would you say is your #1 technical strength?” I made a thoughtful face, and said, “Well, it’s hard to say. I have skills in a lot of different areas, but if I had to pick one, I’d say probably C# programming.” Her face lit up.
“Ah, fantastic!” she said, “That’s exactly what we’re looking for!” We talked for a few more minutes about salary requirements and start dates (I said I could start in two weeks), and in the end, she offered me the job.
That night, I stopped on the way home and bought a book about C#– I think it was literally called something like “Learn C# in 14 Days.” By the time I started two weeks later, I knew enough C# to do my job.
As the technical manager had said, there was an enormous amount of database redesign to do, so the C# programming was maybe 10-20% of my time. I was able to get those database jobs down from minutes to seconds like they should have been, and the CEO was so impressed she never even questioned my background. I continued to learn C# on the job, and no one ever found out I hadn’t been a C# expert all along.”
11. Keep The Area Clean? I'll Just Toss These Magazines
And clean it is!
“I work in an adult male correctional facility, as you can understand it can be a stressful and sometimes fast-paced job. On the flip side, there are also times it is rather slow and tedious. The inmates in this particular unit were locked down 23 hours a day, and were restrained and escorted when they did come out (i.e.
yard time, phone time). This area had a control room that served as the hub of the unit where I controlled all the doors and watched the monitors during yard time. The room had no computer, and no direct view of the inmates unless they were out of their cell.
When yard times were done there was literally nothing that I could or needed to do except open an occasional door. Therefore, I would bring a book or magazine to get me through the day. Of course, this did not take away from any duties as I didn’t read until all the work was done.
It’s important to know, this spot was worked by numerous other officers who would also bring a magazine to read and then leave it in a drawer for other people working the spot. Nothing lewd of course just cars, video games, outdoor magazines, etc.
None of the supervisors seemed to have an issue with the practice and would even come in once in a while and grab one for themselves. That was until “Roberts” came along, he was a newer supervisor and I guess wanted to show the great things he was going to do as a new supervisor to the higher-ups.
He came onto the unit his first day and seemed to inspect the area then came to the control room. He opened the drawers and found the small stack of magazines.
Roberts: “Are these your magazines?”
Me: “One or two might be mine but they are communal you can grab a couple if you want.”
Roberts: “This can be considered contraband and should not be here, since this is your area you need to keep it clean of stuff like this.
Now gather them up and get rid of them. If I see this again you’ll receive a write-up.”
Me: “Alright no problem, you won’t see it again.”
I put the books in the library area with “Roberts’” smug face watching me the whole time.
(To be fair he told other staff as well to keep it clean.)
The very next day I come in and check the drawer, there is a stack of magazines with a post-it note on the top one that says “Roberts”. My first thought was he was trying to set me up and I wasn’t having it, so I threw the magazines in the trash.
Later that day we had an inmate flood his cell and water was going everywhere. So to keep the downstairs area from getting wet my partner placed the trash can that had the magazines under a steady stream of water pouring from the upstairs.
I didn’t even think about the magazines at this point. Just to get the incident under control. Later “Roberts” comes in, makes a beeline for the control room, comes in, opens the drawer, and with a puzzled look on his face asks,
Roberts: “Where are the magazines?”
Me: “What magazines? All I found was contraband.”
Roberts: “I told someone to put magazines in here with my name on them so I could grab them later.”
Me: “That’s not my problem you told me to keep this area clean so I got rid of them.”
Roberts: “So you put them in the library?”
Me: “Nope, I tossed them in the garbage.”
Roberts: “Why the heck would you do that?”
Me: “I figured after the warning I received yesterday, anybody stupid enough to leave magazines in here would know they could be potentially written up.
So to keep people from getting in trouble and to make a point I threw them away.”
Roberts: “But they had my name on them.”
Me: “I couldn’t be certain they were yours or if you were setting me up. I put the magazines in the library as a courtesy yesterday.
Today was to ensure I complied with your directives.”
Roberts: “Well what garbage can are they in?”
I pointed to the trash can with water still dripping into it and his face dropped. He goes to the trash can and pulls out a stack of saturated magazines.
He heaves them back in the trash, then proceeds to the recording room where we can view a video of what has happened on the unit. He makes a big show of his “investigation.” Meanwhile, I tell him, “There’s no need for an investigation I threw them away. It was an unfortunate turn of events they were destroyed.” Of course, nothing came of it, and he gave me a wide berth for a while after that.”
10. Transfer The Call To The Wrong Number? As You Wish!
“Several years back I worked at a call center in its death throes doing tech support for a small primarily business-based ISP that was also dying due to terrible service, insane prices, and not changing with the times.
So one of the managers wrote up by hand this handy dandy sheet that had a ton of numbers for different departments, manufacturing companies, and other places we regularly had to send customers to.
It was honestly good to have as it saved tons of time searching for the numbers every time you needed them. The problem was, however, that one of the numbers at the bottom that every agent used about 30+ times a day had a typo/was poorly written.
Basically a 7 that looked like a 9 or vice versa.
Turns out, that one number was the difference between speaking to some boring router maker or Busty College Teens who wanted nothing more in life than to talk dirty to you for $3.99 a minute.
If we did what we are supposed to do, this is a cold transfer. For those lucky enough to not know call center lingo, it’s when you transfer the call without waiting to talk to someone on the other line to explain why the customer is calling.
You just transfer and end the call without walking the customer through or waiting to hear the other line. It’s essentially a “this isn’t our problem anymore so cya later transfer.” For about a solid month or two, about 100 agents had been transferring hundreds if not thousands of people a day to this phone adult line.
I was on a call with an old lady and I had to transfer the call over. But I needed a few moments to finish writing my notes before the next one came in. So instead of hanging up as soon as I heard the ringing telling me it was transferring, I just connected the call and muted myself for a second.
She was gonna have to listen to the options for about 3 minutes and wait on hold anyway, so it’s not like I would hear anything.
That’s when instead of hearing the thanks for calling so and so I heard a lady’s voice come on the line and say “Hey there! I heard you like hot busty college girls that want you to….
Blah blah” I will let your imagination fill in the rest. I was already reaching for the hang up when I heard the lady on the other line gasp in surprise.
After laughing at the surprise when I realized what had happened, I looked at the sheet and cross-checked it with the database.
And that’s when I saw the 7 was written to look like a 9 by mistake/bad handwriting. The same sheet that was just photocopied, laminated, and handed out to every employee with a note to be mandated by our betters is to be stuck on the wall of each cubicle and exclusively used from now on instead of the database.
I asked about 7 or 8 people without telling them why what the number for x was and they all told me the same incorrect number.
So, me being young and dumb I thought I had discovered something the managers on call would be happy to hear about and go around correcting everyone’s sheet with a red marker or something simple.
Instead, I got yelled at for being off the phones when I should be taking calls. They didn’t even want to hear what I said and told me unless the building’s on fire or my shift is over I need to get back to my seat and stop bothering them.
They claimed I was lying and trying to get out of working. I’m here to answer phone calls and not to think. So instead of just taking a second to dial the number and confirm the error, they decided to lecture me.
Surprised, I just shook my head and went back to my desk. I explained what had happened and everyone on the floor tried it to see and had a good laugh about it. Instead of making the correction though, we did as we were told and kept using the incorrect number.
About a month went by before they had finally gotten enough complaints from customers to launch an investigation into what was happening and how this mysterious problem could be happening. Meanwhile, it was an open secret every front-line agent knew.
Sadly no one got in trouble, and the call center shut down about 6 months later out of the blue as they are want to do.
But at least all the front-line agents got to have a good laugh at the expense of rude and ignorant management. Whenever we had to transfer someone it was a highlight of our day because it felt like we were sticking it to management. And at least the crappy company lost some bucks assigning people to investigate the problem.”
9. Are You Sure You Know What You Want? Fine, Here You Go
“A moon and a half ago I worked in a niche IT sector that mainly dealt with law firms because they’re crazy in how they operate. So one day the non-technical company owner who dealt with the sales asked me to come to a client meeting with her, at the law firm that the Queen uses.
Fancy. This wasn’t unusual that I’d be asked to go along to a meeting like this, it cuts out a lot of back and forth and gets to the moment where the customer agrees to pay us a lot quicker. They would range from being the knowledgeable guy in the room that’s going to make everyone’s lives better to the 7 Red Lines sketch.
The only thing that made this one significant was that it was the Queen’s lawyers. The boss wanted to check if I was OK with the pressure of this and if should she ask the technical company owner to go instead.
I guess she was nervous about losing the opportunity of having the Queen’s law firm on our list of clients. I didn’t see what the fuss was and said sure, I’ll go.
I head into town and meet the boss for the meeting.
We meet with the head of IT, a power user, and a partner. Now, there are two things to explain that. 1 is that a power user is someone like a secretary, they have a job that isn’t in IT, who is really quite tech-savvy and knows the systems really well.
They will usually train the new people, and field simpler issues to save calls to IT, and they’ll have permission to do a few more advanced things because they can be trusted. So they have a good knowledge of the job and of the IT.
I guess now that would almost be a Product Owner. 2 is that for a partner to be in any IT meeting is odd. It’s normally way beneath them, but I guess this problem was getting under people’s skin for a while and had crept up the ladder.
This particular lawyer was there because he was the Technical Partner or something. I think he basically explained what IT was talking about in partner meetings.
So we get into their problems and they tell us all the drama they’ve had with CompetitorCorp.
“They had this at first and it caused this issue. So they changed it to this and it fixed that, but then this happened. Then when they fixed that we had the first issue again and a new one. Now we’ve got this and it’s the best, but we still have this issue”.
I sat there nodding along, asking a question here and there, and looking briefly at their examples. I knew what the issues were going to be from the change before they even told me. It was a case of them wanting it all.
What ensued next was an hour-long conversation about what they wanted and all the issues I could see with each of their ideas. We talked back and forth and they got more and more frustrated with me because they couldn’t get to a point where I would say “Oh yeah, that’ll be fine”.
There was always some compromise. The problems were the ones they couldn’t understand the implications of. There’s only so far you can push it though, and they were getting firmer and firmer on “we know what we want”. I said fine, I’ll document the requirements and include any issues I see with what they want.
There was a bit of resistance to the wasting of time when they wanted this done yesterday, but this is normal and my boss backed me up that we needed to agree on the work before we begin.
I’m a developer, so I hate documentation.
I’ve never met one that doesn’t. But this document was not that bad to write. It was an 8-page I-told-you-so. When I was done, I gave it to my boss. I got so many “Are you sure?” and “You can back this up?” questions, but I was sure, so we sent it in and met them again the next day.
The mood this time was different. They were a bit shell-shocked. The area we worked in was niche, but my knowledge was super-niche. I knew the most absurd things about the system and how it would react, and I put some real doomsday stuff in there.
Scenarios that if they happened would render a well-used legal document useless and very difficult to recover. The documents that are the most likely to happen would be the most important ones, so they were appalled by the future they were looking at.
Several times they said, “We can’t have this”. After 15 minutes or so of this, they opened the door. “What would you do?”
I laid out what I would do and there were smiles and nods all around, and I basically told them to drop what they wanted and said they needed from the first time we met them.
We left the meeting to smiles and handshakes. My boss gave me a good attaboy for handling this pressured situation so well. I didn’t actually feel any more pressure than at any other meeting. I knew my stuff, and the computers weren’t going to behave any better for them because of their other clients.
My favorite part of this is that we then went ahead and got paid to build for them the system that CompetitorCorp first gave them. They were right when they delivered their first solution, but they didn’t have the guts to hold their ground, or maybe they didn’t know what was coming when they made those changes.
I don’t work in that industry anymore. It was nice being one of the best in the world at something, but it’s like being the best BetaMax repair man in the world….who really cares?”
8. HR Lady Isn't Going To Like That? Good, Let Me Talk To Her Then
“So this happened at the company that I currently work for, but it was many years ago. I did not plan the outcome; just a coincidence caused by insisting on malicious compliance.
I work in IT and when I started, my job was rather entry-level but it was paid as a salary position.
After some years, the company decided to make it an hourly position, which I did not like for a variety of reasons.
The company’s main hourly worker pool was for manufacturing and assembly line, so the company structured its hourly policies around that position.
Rigid start and end times, scheduled breaks, and sick time billed to your earned PTO. A lot of these policies were not really compatible with my availability and the type of work that I was doing, not to mention some of the benefits changed considerably.
Hourly employees were supposed to use a time clock, but those were only in buildings that had manufacturing.
My manager at the time totally understood why I was disgruntled, and she came up with a few workarounds. One of which was to enter a generic 40-hour time card for me in the system every week, which was cool cause it meant that I did not have to use the punch clock.
If there was any overtime, she would go in and fix it later.
There was nothing that I could do about the change to hourly, but being me, I was pretty vocal about it and my attitude eventually caught the attention of the HR lady.
She also got wind of the whole timecard deal so that came to an end. I gave in and started using the punch clock; no more edits.
At some point, my manager needed me to start the day in a different building that had no punch clock.
I don’t think she was aware that there was no punch clock, so she had to make an edit to my timecard for that day. Well, the HR lady saw the edit and assumed that I was still being obstinate.
Out of the blue, my manager scheduled a formal-type meeting with me in one of the local conference rooms.
She presents a document for me to read and sign, which is a formal reprimand for not following the policy regarding the time clocks. I was instantly furious because I WAS following the policy, but she sent me to a site without a punch clock.
She had no choice as the HR lady was the one who wrote the reprimand, and told my manager to have me sign it.
I read through the write-up and realized it was very poorly written; like a grade-schooler had prepared it.
Lots of copied and pasted text, points that did not apply to the issue at hand, and no clearly-defined problem with a desired resolution and probationary period.
So, I refused to sign. I pointed out the many mistakes, the points that did not apply, and the lack of a resolution plan or time period.
My manager agreed with me that the reprimand was bullcrap, but the HR lady wanted to go down this path. I thought, “well… then we were gonna do it right and I was gonna make her work for it”.
I demanded a rewritten form with a clearly-stated problem, a desired resolution, and a timeframe for when the matter would be considered resolved.
My manager said, “The HR lady is not gonna like that. She is gonna want to talk to you directly.”
I said, “Good. I will gladly tell her to her face.” We scheduled a meeting.
I explain to the HR lady that the reprimand process was an opportunity to not only point out mistakes but also to correct them.
The lack of an improvement plan in this write-up meant it could not meet those requirements. Begrudgingly, the HR lady accepted my complaints and agreed to redo the write-up. To my surprise, I never heard from her again about this issue.
I had kinda forgot about the whole thing until they did some restructuring in IT, which made me realize I didn’t want that hanging over my head unresolved. I decided to formally request a copy of my file from HR and to my surprise, the reprimand was not in it.
I emailed the HR lady asking about this, and she explained that she rescinded it, so it’s gone. I was a little confused that she hadn’t mentioned this in the months that had passed, but was glad it was over.
Sometime later, I was having lunch with my director and he brought up the reprimand.
He was asking “whatever happened with that?” and I told him HR rescinded it. Apparently, HR cannot close a reprimand without the employee’s leadership signing off on it, which was about four different people. Not a single one would agree to it.
It turns out that my malicious compliance with the reprimand process forced her to write a detailed, intelligible reprimand including an improvement plan. All the extra detail she had to add made it clear to everyone that it was bullcrap and she couldn’t add it to my file.”
7. We Can Play Games When Pigs Fly? Look, Pigs Are Flying!
“So a little background before I get into the story. As a kid I very rarely had access to technology which included anything from phones (this being around the time that Blackberries were the big thing) to TV (we didn’t even own a TV and even now we just have one of those box TVs with the green lines across) and especially video games.
Now looking back I’m honestly really glad my parents did that as I instead turned to reading and I honestly think that it’s very positively impacted my life. I love to read and I do it really quickly as well but that’s not important to the story.
Now after a ton of convincing and promises that I would follow the rules they set down they finally let me get a Wii and boy was I excited to get it! It’s still one of my favorite consoles and games like lego star wars, super smash bros brawl and even Wii sports and Mario kart are and will be some of my personal favorites.
Sadly my parents were pretty strict with how much I got to play and I had quickly become addicted so any chance I had to play I would grab hold of. I got especially excited when friends came over as my parents were often more lax during that time and much more willing to let me and my friend play uninterrupted.
Now we had this one family who my parents were friends with and who had kids almost the same age as my sister and me so they would often come over to our house as a family and they would talk and drink while we kids played around.
So it happens that they all decide to come to visit our house for a while and so my friend and I get really hyped to play some Wii, but this time, my mom said no as I had recently been playing a lot.
She told us that she wanted us to spend time doing other stuff for a little bit and we could play later but this just led to us bothering her every 5 minutes asking to play the Wii. After like the 5th or 6th time of us asking she finally decides to just tell us no by saying “tell you what, you can play the Wii when pigs fly”.
Now a lot of kids would just give up at this point and go try to find other stuff to do but I was determined so I pulled my friend into my room and told him my plan.
I had gotten as a gift a while back one of those air-propelled rockets where you slide the rocket onto this tube that leads to this plastic box that you can like jump on or step on to shoot the air through the tube and make the rocket fly.
I also had a ton of colored pencils and the creativity of a young child who won’t take no for an answer. My friend and I take a sheet of paper and we spend like a good hour actually drawing a beautiful pig with these nice feathery wings and then we colored it all pretty.
We then cut it out and taped it to the rocket and we were ready for the next step of the plan.
Now our parents were sitting in our kitchen and we have a sliding glass door that leads to the backyard so I tell my friend to go around the house and stand in the back hidden next to the door with the rocket (we decide just to throw it by hand because it was easier to aim in a way that my mom could see it).
I then walk into the kitchen and tell my mom that my friend and I found something really cool and she should look through the door to see it.
My friend then tosses the rocket through the air and we get to see this winged beauty fly through the air (honestly it was not very aerodynamic as the rocket was sorta broken as most cheap plastic things get when they are used by a child too many time but you get the idea).
Now I’m not sure whether my mom was impressed with the fact that I had managed to take her surefire way of saying no and actually make it a reality or if she was just happy that we had spent our time and effort doing something that wasn’t video games but after laughing for a little bit and congratulating us she went and got the Wii and we got to enjoy the rest of the day in the basement collecting studs.”
6. Get Mad At Me For My Attendance? I'm Just Following Your Policy
“For seven years I worked for a major internet provider in the United States. Most existing technicians were part of a union and had been for quite some time. They had an impressive array of benefits…and an impressive hourly pay as well.
To get around this, whenever this ISP rolled out the newer, fiber-based internet/TV/phone they would create a new technician position for completing the installs and repairs. Since this new position wasn’t covered by the union contract yet (It has to be voted on and whatnot), the ISP would get a year or two of running these guys ragged for minimal pay and benefits.
I was one of those guys…hired on for less than I was making as a department manager working retail in order to work 50-60 hour weeks.
Once we joined the union, it came with better benefits and pay…but some things got weird.
We were an addendum in the contract that covered the “old timers”…and as such a lot of our rules weren’t really specified. Honestly, it felt at times our position’s benefits were used as a bargaining chip by the old guard to get what they wanted…but I guess that isn’t really what is important to the story.
What IS important to the story is…we didn’t have an official attendance policy at all. Whenever you would look up the attendance policy in the handbook, it’d tell you to “see your manager for details”.
I finally managed to get a copy of what the manager’s handbook said….and it wasn’t good.
Basically, it recommended using common sense when deciding attendance discipline. Our local managers interpreted this to mean advancing to the next step of discipline unless it was literally illegal to do so.
This led to some weird situations. One time, after a particularly long install in the southern summer running lines through an attic, I wasn’t feeling too well.
Definitely signs of dehydration…a headache, dizziness, wasn’t thinking clearly. I called up my boss and said I need to pack it in for the day. He hmmm’d and hawww’d over it…didn’t sound happy….but after reminding him that we’re constantly told safety is our responsibility (a.k.a., if something goes wrong it must’ve been our fault), he allowed me to return to the garage.
Once I was at the garage, however, he told me that in order to not count as a complete absence, I’d need to go to the doctor and file for FMLA. Family Medical Leave Act. This was one of my first Malicious Compliances…because in order to qualify for FMLA you have to miss at least three days.
So…because they wanted to put up a stink about it, went to the doctor, gave him the paperwork, and took the next three days off. Turns out I was (to absolutely no shock to me), denied FMLA. Fortunately, when they tried to write me up for attendance, I pointed out that not only did I have permission to stop working that day before returning to the garage, but I was following their instructions by filing for FMLA.
They tried to say “in that case, we’ll only keep the write-up on file for 90 days and then remove it if you don’t have any other absences.” The union rep didn’t buy that one either…the write-up got torn up before we left the office.
But the whole experience taught me a weird lesson about how they handled sick days and occurrences. See, we got five paid sick days…but they weren’t excused sick days. This meant you could be fired before even using them all since management decided each absence was an instant step of discipline regardless of the reason (despite their guidelines saying to use common sense).
BUT, there was a catch…concurrent absences only counted as one occurrence. Missed one day? That was one occurrence. Missed five days in a row? Still, only one occurrence, even if it was separated by a scheduled day off. It was the one rule that was specified in the manager’s guidelines.
You can bet I sure as heck shared that information with all the other technicians. If you were out a single day due to illness, you might as well take an entire week off with pay because you’ll never get to use that time otherwise.
The managers hated me for it…but I was a bit bitter over the whole FMLA thing and would share that info every single time it came up. They’d threaten to write me up for “insubordination”, but I’d just tell them we could discuss it in the presence of my union. After all, all I was doing was sharing information on the attendance policy. The same policy that they used to screw us every chance they go.”
5. Shut Up And Do As You Say? Anything For You, Customer!
“This happened when I was working as a supervisor for a major cable/internet provider. For this particular story, I was working the 6 pm-2 am shift, somewhere around 10 pm. This is relevant to the story, mostly because at that time of the day, we’ve got an absolute skeleton crew as nothing much is going on.
There’s me, one other supervisor, and maybe a dozen customer service agents. There is absolutely nobody else customer-facing in the building, there might be a janitor or something around, I don’t remember. As the senior supervisor, I’m in charge for the night.
If something super, super important comes up, it’ll be dealt with by someone higher than me in the morning, and there’s an emergency number for the building exploding or something. That kind of thing rarely happens. Ok, that’s the relevant backstory.
Here we go.
I have a gentleman transferred to me that asked to speak to a supervisor because we wouldn’t install cable at his house until he paid the balance he had not paid on his previous account at a different address some months back.
He wasn’t currently a customer of ours, he owed us pay before we’d let him be a customer again, and he was one of the biggest jerks I’ve ever talked to. All in all, this means I’ve got a lot of leeways to work with, as keeping happy a non-customer that’s actively trying to not give us what he owed was not one of our higher priorities.
So, we don’t need all the back-and-forth here, the first half of this was basically him trying to not pay us, me saying he needed to. Polite on my end, not remotely polite on his. He eventually asked to speak to my manager, and now we get to the fun part that I’ll give you as best as I remember.
“Listen, let me talk to YOUR manager. I’m not happy with your attitude. Right now!” (To this point, I’ve given him zero attitude. I’d just given him answers he didn’t like, but politely and professionally. He’s been fighting for a position in my top 5 rudest “customers” already.)
“If you’d like to speak to someone else, I can certainly get you someone, but MY manager isn’t available right now.”
“No! Don’t give me that! I want him right now, do you understand me??”
“I’m sorry, but I mean he worked the morning shift today.
He’s literally not in the building, and won’t be until 9:00 tomorrow morning. Would you like him to call you back tomorrow?” (remember, as I said at the start, it’s 10:00 pm right now.)
“No, I don’t want him to call me back.
Ok, fine, shut up and listen really carefully. You’re at one of those big call centers, right? I want to talk to the highest-ranking person in the building, you got that?”
“Well Sir, currently the highest-ranking person in the building is talking to an upset person on the phone.” (Were you reading the preamble? Do you see where this is going? cough-technically the truth-cough)
“Then here’s what we’re going to do.
I’m going to wait right here with you until they’re off the phone, and then I’m going to talk to them, you understand? I’m not waiting for someone to call me, I’m not waiting on hold, you’re staying right here and don’t talk to me until that call is over, are we clear? Do you think you can handle that?”
“Totally clear Sir, I’ll be right here being quiet.
Feel free to check on me anytime.”
So, 99% of my job involves being on my pc, mostly helping the agents through our in-house instant messaging program. I do that for roughly an hour, while this guy barks at me now and then to make sure I’m still here.
I tell him that I am, and he grumbles, I wait, this continues until…”
“Ok, I’m not waiting on this phone any longer. The second that person is off the phone, you have them call me at this number, ok? Immediately, I don’t care what time it is.”
“No problem at all, I’ll make sure that happens.”
So he hangs up.
And me, doing my job exactly as he asked while being the highest-ranking person in the building? I call him right back, as fast as I can dial the number. He of course is first confused, then really upset as I explained that he got exactly what he asked for.
“Why didn’t you tell me that??”
“You didn’t ask. You told me to shut up, to listen really carefully, and to do exactly as you said to, while I was trying to help you myself, trying to get you someone else, trying to do my job in any way I could. I followed your instructions to the letter, as you demanded. Now, was there anything I could do for you?”
He hung up. Another customer who I was happy to comply with.”
4. Insist I Move My Computer Tower? Okay, But Its New Location Will Cause My Computer To Overheat
Does he know anything about computers?
“I used to manage a small franchised auto shop and had a small office that nobody went in except me and the occasional employee. Customers were definitely never in it, which is a major point of this story.
One of the guys from the head office was down (one of those people that just has a job because he’s a childhood friend of the owner, he had a very vague title and responsibilities.) As far as we could tell, his job was to go around to the shops and complain about pointless things, while causing more trouble than he could ever hope to solve, while we were told we had to listen to him.
Here’s one example:
I had a ridiculously large desk in my office. Besides the size, it was not much more than a table. Two drawers, and no dedicated PC shelf or cabinet. The surface was about eight feet long by three feet deep.
I had very little on this desk in comparison. I needed space for a couple of sheets of paper at a time, a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor. The tower for the desktop pc (which also was the “server” for the office) was also on the desk, naturally.
He decided one day that having the tower on the desk looked bad, and was unprofessional. Which again was irrelevant as no customers ever, ever saw it. He said I needed to move it, and he had a specific space in mind, right between the side of the desk and the wall.
It didn’t even look like it would fit, but he went and got a tape measure, and it pretty well exactly fit in that gap. There was as close to zero space as humanly possible on the left and right sides, the back was as close to the wall as possible as was allowed by the cables coming out the back, and then the front was open.
In fairness, it did look ok there. In practice though, some of you may see the problem.
The vents for the pc were on the left and right side and were now right up against the wall and the desk. I pointed out that this was a bad idea because it was certainly going to overheat there.
I tried pretty hard to argue this, but he didn’t believe that and insisted I do it anyway, period. So, I did it, and sent him an email (with my boss and the IT guy cc’d) afterward with a picture of the new setup, verifying this is what he wanted.
He confirmed it for me very clearly, which is just what I wanted.
A few days later, I come in one morning, and the pc is off. Normally it stays on overnight, as once you close the store in the evening, it runs a backup overnight, and then just stays on.
It’s no big deal at all that it’s off when I get there, in the sense that after the backup, it’s not needed until we open the next day, and it only takes a minute to start up. So I start it up, seems to be working fine, I check my email, and there’s an auto-generated message from the software (software company, maybe? I don’t recall exactly how it was generated) saying that last night’s backup failed.
A quick check of some logs, and the temperature got too hot while running the backup, and the tower shut itself off. I see that the email went to the IT guy and the bosses, so they’re informed (assuming they read their emails, that’s not my problem if not) I’m not worried unless I get more instructions about it.
The backup is, well, literally just a backup of certain info on the hard drive, so there’s no immediate problem in the shop opening or running that day. Of course, this happens again that night, and the next… it was 4 or 5 days in a row.
Then I get in one Friday morning, and the pc won’t boot. I’m not an IT guy, but ok with computers, and it appears to me the hard drive is toast. We can’t open the shop without the server working, so now of course it’s an emergency.
The bosses are now panicking, talking to tech support for the company supplying the proprietary software and pc, eventually, they decide that yes, the hard drive is toast. I can’t remember exactly why, but there’s something in the contract we had about having to get a new hard drive from the supplier, we can’t just run to a Best Buy.
That has to be overnighted from over 2,000 miles away. Over a weekend. It cost a lot, in addition to being down for all of Friday. It arrives mid-day Saturday, and installing/setting up the software takes the rest of Saturday. Sunday, we’re normally closed, so no loss of business there, but with the backup having failed for the preceding week, there’s a whole ton of info that has to be manually entered from those days, the only people around with the access and knowledge to do so are me and my boss, and he sure as heck has never worked a weekend and doesn’t intend to start now.
The good parts are that I’m a single guy at the time with no plans, and I get paid hourly. And the way our pay works, is I make time and a half for overtime until I get to a certain amount of hours, which I managed to do Friday and Saturday.
After that, I get double and a half. Which I did for about ten, to twelve hours on Sunday, while doing slightly tedious (but very easy) data entry work, in peace and quiet except for Youtube.
The company lost two days of income and ended up paying me the equivalent of about 50 hours of work for about 16-20 actual very easy hours of work, and I had a nice paper trail for the next time this idiot had a bad idea to implement.
(I have no idea what trouble, if any, that guy got in for coming up with such a dumb plan, but probably not much more than a basic yelling at, being the owner’s best friend.) And all I had to do was do exactly what I was told. It was easily a $20,000 mistake to “improve” the look of a PC that nobody ever sees, which of course ended up back on my desk afterward.”
3. Want Me To Submit A Long Purchase Order List? Sure Thing
“OK. So the scene is this: it’s 1990, I am in college pursuing a computer science degree. For various personal reasons, I was getting burned out and left during my senior year and decided to get a job. It’s probably worth noting that in many areas then, the demand for computer professionals was so high that a lot of places didn’t care if there wasn’t a degree, there was a massive shortage of people.
So, it didn’t take me long to land a job.
It was at a factory that made hydraulic equipment. There were about 50 office workers there, mostly engineers, accounting, HR, the dock office, plant management, and the various support staff for those positions.
This is where almost all of the computers were. It’s probably useful to explain that there was no IT department. At all. I was the only IT person for the whole place.
After I started there, it was explained to me that I wouldn’t be getting a computer.
WHAT? The reason was this: at the time, it was a status symbol for managers to have a computer on their desks, and most of them never used it. Corporate wanted to encourage the managers to send those computers to their staff who would actually use them, but…
they didn’t want to lose their symbols. So, you’d have a manager with a computer and four or so people under him sharing one PC. Anyway, as there was no IT department, they put me in the accounting department, for lack of anywhere else.
Now, while we weren’t allowed to purchase new computers, we were allowed to repair broken ones, and that was part of my job. Failed hard or floppy drive or monitor or power supply or whatever.
When I needed a part, I’d grab the latest issue of Computer Shopper.
Tech people of my generation know it well, but for those who don’t, it was basically a big magazine with ads for computers and computer parts. And it was enormous. Hundreds of pages for every issue.
So one day I am in my office (yes, I had an office with a desk, phone, and door I could close…
just no computer), and the payroll clerk walks in. We will call her Claudia. Claudia points to the magazine and asks if that’s where I order the parts from. I said yes. She then asks if it would be possible to build a functioning computer from the various parts.
I said sure, that’s not a big deal.
She then asks if any of the components cost more than $250. That immediately got my attention because of the company’s purchase order policy. Basically, every manager had the power to authorize any single PO up to $250.
Anything more had to go to the plant manager. I sensed she was up to something, but I answered honestly. “No, none of them do.”
She asked me if I could make up a list for her of the parts that would be needed.
Maybe she was cooking something up with our boss? Anyway, I said sure, and that afternoon I presented her with the list she was asking for, grouped so that no single purchase cost more than $250.
The next day, the accounting manager calls me into his office.
He has a stack of paper and says he needs to talk to me about them. I have no idea what he’s talking about.
I take a look… they are all POs. For the equipment, I specced out. With my name as the requestor.
Claudia didn’t put her name on it, she put mine on them and didn’t tell me.
The boss says “What is all this about?”
So, look. If you’re still reading this… if you take nothing more away from this story, remember this: Never, ever, ever throw the payroll clerk under the bus.
I successfully make my wisdom check and lean fully into this fiction.
“I thought it would be a good idea to have some spare parts on hand in case of a failure so that I can fix it in hours instead of days.” The boss looks at the paperwork.
“Hmm… motherboard, case, power supply, memory, monitor, hard drive, floppy drive… that’s a lot of stuff.”
I tell him that if I have a wide selection of parts, I’ll be ready for any eventuality. He says “it seems to me that you could actually construct a new computer out of all of this.”
“Hmm…” I say.
“That’s a really good idea. If I do that, I can verify that every part is functional before I need to use it in a repair!”
He scribbles something on the top PO and hands the stack back to me. “I won’t be approving this.
You can go.” I walk out of his office wondering if I got in trouble until I glance at the stack… what he had scribbled was “Nice try, Claudia.” He was never fooled.
Dropped the stack off on her desk as I went back to mine. A few months later I got a better job at a place that decided its IT staff would be able to do a better job if they had access to a computer.”
2. Think What The Customer Would Want? I'll Do My Best
“I work at a print hub, working the printers and adjusting files and such. I put in a lot of work to deliver a perfect product, despite the issues that plague the shop, and always ensure that everything I produce is Quality Checked.
This isn’t due to me putting pride in my work, however, but rather, my boss nitpicks nearly everything. If something is off-center by a millimeter, it’s redone. If there is a small scratch on one poster in a pack of five, the whole order is redone.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the boss is a good person, not a Karen or anything, but sometimes we have to redo orders several times to ensure it is done to her expectations, which is absolutely fair. She is the boss and it’s not too often she does this.
Anyways, on to the incident. I just learned that I am supposed to run a One-Shot D&D session this weekend. Short notice, have maps and everything to set up. It’s a long story why this is last minute but doesn’t pertain to the story.
As a result, I quickly picked out one of the Dungeons I ran in my regular Dungeons & Dragons group, a galleon ship trapped in time, where the players need to manipulate the environment to have the crew open or close doors and turned it into a one-shot adventure.
(I call it “The Time Between the Seconds.)
Since it was last minute I didn’t really have time to optimize maps, so I just sent the order through my job’s online Submission, with the intention to just print out a pixelated mess just for the sake of having visuals (it’s the way I DM, I like having visuals for my players to help them envision the area).
Today when I came in, I found the order I submitted and completed it quickly. Admittedly, it was a bit of a mess, and it didn’t help that our color machine started leaking toner, again. Blue streaks on the paper and everything.
Whatever, I am fine with it.
An hour later, while I was working with posters, my Manager, let’s call her Kay, came into the room. She started.
Kay holding up my order: What is this?
Me: Oh, that’s my job. I was…
Kay interrupting: How can you say this is good? It’s pixelated, and the machine dumped toner on it.
Me: Kay, it’s ok. I am…
Kay interrupting again: It’s not ok, you have to contact the customer and figure out how they want to proceed.
Me sarcastically: Trust me, I’m sure the customer won’t mind. Look at the customer’s name.
Kay: It doesn’t matter, I want you to see how they want to proceed.
Think about what they want.
Me: -sigh- Yes Kay.
Kay dropped the order in front of me and left the room. I considered my options for a moment and looked toward my dwindling workload.
Screw it. Malicious Compliance Number One.
I finished my assigned work and got to work on the maps.
As I said, I didn’t properly optimize them or anything, so I started working through the 5 11×17 maps I had smoothing out the pixels. It took about an hour to get everything set up, normally I work on a program other than Photoshop for my maps.
After that I went through the character sheets, filling in any of the blanks I left in, such as personality, bonds, and gold. About 15 minutes. Then what about any random gear they may have? A big part of this one-shot is their carrying weight, so I calculate those totals up.
Another 20 minutes.
About an hour and a half later I have the files up to the customer’s standards, (which is mine), and I print them out again. But the toner dumping on the color printer is still an issue. So even though the files looked a lot better, there were still blue streaks in the paper.
So when Kay saw it.
Kay holding the completed order: Kole, what are you doing? You know the color machine is down.
Me: I know, but I can’t wait for the machine to be fixed.
Kay considers for a moment before speaking: Call the customer and explain the issue.
See if they will accept it half off.
Me: That isn’t needed ’cause…
Kay: Just do it.
Me Taking a deep breath: Stay here, please.
Malicious Compliance number two.
I picked up the office phone, looked her dead in the eyes, and dialed the number on the order form.
From my pocket, the Silver Samurai theme (From Phoenix Wright Series) began to chime. I take my phone out of my pocket, and answer, immediately saying “Yes, I will take half off my order.”
Kay was speechless, and just quietly walked out the door.
To her credit, she did honor the half-off she offered the customer, but perhaps next time she will actually let me finish what I am trying to say instead of constantly cutting me off.
Don’t get me wrong, Kay is a good person, but today was a harsh day for everyone since our machines are having issues.
The only one who was able to get anything done was me since my printers (The Wide Format and the Drafting Machines) were working properly. I am sure tomorrow we will have a laugh over the situation, as the machines are fixed now and stress levels have lowered.”
1. Make Me Wax A Floor Without Experience? Here Goes Nothing
“I used to be a Human Resources Specialist in the Army. At the time of this story, I was about 19. I generally did my job well and passed my fitness exams with flying colors, but I was very socially awkward back then.
If there was a joke being made, I was the butt of it. I was basically Radar from MASH, but less endearing and no ESP.
I was also frequently on extra duty. Extra duty basically extends your workday several hours past when everyone else goes home.
It was a punishment for constantly being late, which was a statement I was making because the office clock was 5 minutes fast and nobody cared enough to have it fixed. They never fixed it. I even got in trouble for being 5 minutes early because “5 minutes early is 10 minutes late.”
During extra duty, I was given many meaningful tasks like scrubbing and power washing concrete for no reason, painting entire offices for no reason, picking up pine cones for no reason, sweeping the parking lot for no reason, and my most hated chore of all: buffing.
Every night, I buffed the same floor. Every night, I applied several coats of finish to the same floor. I applied over 20 gallons of floor finish to that cerulean, kitchen-sized tile floor in just a 2-month span. And it was never good enough.
Every morning my company 1SG (1st Sergeant) would come in and say the same thing:
“What the heck have you been doing all night, Ziggs? If I can’t see my reflection, it’s not good enough! It should be like looking in a mirror!”
Bear in mind, I had no clue what I was doing, and they didn’t really give me any detailed instructions.
I had no idea which buffer pads to use, how much finish to use, how many coats were needed, etc. One night, I was approaching my breaking point because I had just stripped the floor for the first time the previous night and nearly passed out, when he decided to throw me yet another curveball.
“You ever wax a floor before, Ziggs?”
He hands me a can of wax.
“No, 1SG, I haven’t.”
He takes the can back, opens it, then scoops out a small amount with a rag, proceeding to spread it over a tile in a circular motion by hand until it disappears.
I did not make a Karate Kid joke at the time – I was too busy explaining that I didn’t have enough time to do the entire process plus tile-by-tile waxing before the night was over. He didn’t care. I got the usual response to my protests.
“Get it done.”
You want me to fully buff, finish, and wax a floor in roughly the same amount of time it takes me just to buff it, and with no prior experience or instruction?
Cue malicious compliance.
I didn’t bother asking how much wax to use or how many times I should go over each tile.
I didn’t want to know. At that point, I didn’t care. What I did know was that skaters often waxed curbs in my hometown to allow the skateboard to slide on it, also known as grinding. I sped through my usual buffing and didn’t even bother with more than 1 coat of finish.
I then broke out the wax can and rag and began my new task.
I waxed that floor. Then I waxed it some more. I waxed that floor until my arms ached. And I waxed unevenly. Some areas got way more wax than others.
2100 (9 pm) rolls around, and my sergeant comes and locks up so I can leave. The next morning, I came in after our usual morning fitness routine and sat down at my desk, which happened to directly face the doorway to the floor I regularly slaved over.
I could see a small portion of the room but was not exposed enough for people to see me.
I should mention that this floor was in the center of the building. If you wanted to get to any of the offices in the company HQ (including my 1SG’s office and even my own), you had to walk through that central room.
As it turned out, quite a few people needed to walk through that room on this particular morning. And they were met by some rather challenging terrain. It was quite comical to see people in combat boots slipping all over the place like they were walking on ice then gingerly trying to walk across like they needed walkers.
But the best part was when I heard the frantic squeaking of boots followed by a “Darn it Ziggs! Never let him wax the floor again!”
And that’s exactly what happened. Never did get feedback on the reflection, though…
(No fellow soldiers were injured as a result of this.)”
Another User Comments:
“Johnson’s paste wax and a buffer for us back in the day.
You light the wax on fire to get it to melt, then you sprinkle it around. Old towels under the buffer and those floors SHINE! This was at the 42nd Engineers barracks in Berlin, circa 1980-81. Waxed them every morning. But then we also waxed our 5-ton dump trucks.” billdogg7246