People Tell Their Sensational Malicious Compliance Revenge Stories
25. Leave My Wheelchair Here? Not Sure How You Expect Me To Do That
“So I’m at a theme park and I’m a full-time wheelchair user who cannot walk or stand. I won’t name the park because as soon as management found out, they were angry and more than rectified the situation. It happened a few years ago.
So one of the rides is in a building and has an area outside the entrance for pushchairs and those strollers people bring to theme parks that pull all their stuff and older kids etc to be left there as they aren’t allowed in the building.
My friend and I head to the entrance and this young employee comes to me and says ‘You just leave your wheelchair there’. I look at him and my friend is about to say something and I catch their eye and wink.
I wheel over to the area and sit there with my brakes on. My friend cottons on and comes and stands next to me. The worker comes over and says ‘You can go in now’ seeing me not moving. I reply ‘You told me to put my wheelchair here?’ He (not seeing what is happening) replies ‘Yes, so you need to leave it here and then go in and get it after.’ I ask him how that’ll work and he sort of blinks at me confused then walks over to a guest who has asked for help.
Another worker, older who has like ‘team leader’/‘supervisor’ type phasing on his badge comes over. The guy who told me to sit there is still talking to another guest and the older worker comes over and asks if I’m ok. I explain that the guy had told me to sit here in my chair and so I did and then he told me to head into the ride but leave my chair here and how I’m confused as I can’t walk or stand… This worker is mortified and tells me this is obviously not the park rules and how no one is asked to leave their wheelchair there if they don’t want to and how I’m allowed in with my chair.
The first worker comes over and the supervisor/team leader asks him what he is on about and how he can’t tell wheelchair users to do this etc. The younger guy said he was told to tell people they could leave their wheelchairs there and we work out he has gotten his wires crossed and that some people will ask if they can leave their wheelchairs there who are ambulatory and use them for when they get tired and that’s fine but not to tell everyone in a wheelchair to leave their chairs there.
The guy realizes his mistake and then realizes what I’d said about how am I meant to go in means I can’t stand/walk and what he has implied etc and is mortified. Apologizing over and over. I explain how it was ok and I’m glad he realized what he said wasn’t ok but I can see how he got confused and turns out he’s very new.
I head onto the ride and as I exit the supervisor comes over and refunds us our park entry tickets and has food and shop vouchers for myself and my friend. I explain how they didn’t need to do this and how I’m just glad the new guy found out about his misunderstanding with me and found it funny and had a bit of fun over someone else (could have been me on a different day) who might offense and got angry etc, which I guess is why I got the free stuff.”
24. Don't Want To Be Disturbed? Don't Cry To Me When You Miss The Deadline
“I (27F) work in IT. I’m a well-respected and known member of the ‘IT party circle’ where I live, so to speak. I am not jaw-dropping, but people know me, and I have a very good reputation.
One of the things is that I got to the point in my career when I wanted to give back: so I started mentoring others.
Mostly I mentored adults or those who were closer to me in age. Career advice, how to apply for different exchange programs that can boost their professional growth, and improve their speaking and writing skills – the usual.
But I always was one up for the challenge and decided to try and mentor kids.
It is not a secret that IT and STEM are increasingly popular right now, and more and more people want to get into the field. Therefore, there are myriads of boot camps, hackathons, and mentoring programs for all ages.
So, I signed up for one such program as a mentor.
Teach kids how to code with blocks, tell them what AI is, and how to develop an MVP. It sounds more complicated than it might look at at first glance. Especially when you are an educated professional with a degree, explaining concepts that are rather complicated to children who may have less than 1/50 of your tech knowledge.
I must add that participation in said program gives kids credits and can help them get into better schools or even be eligible for some university scholarships later in life. So only Pros, if you ask me. The only thing is that they must upload their MVP project to the site before the deadline.
I was assigned two teams: primary – early middle schoolers (Team A) and high schoolers (Team B). Both had 5 members, and the youngest (in team A) was 8 years old. I thought: omg, that will be tough, thinking about Team A and how I am up for a tough time.
Also, since they are so young, the parents of the kids must observe Team A meetings and my lessons, and parents = problems.
Ironically, despite my worries, even with ‘help’ from the parents, the kids in Team A were doing great! But the same can’t be said about Team B.
A little side note: with my mentees, I have 2 rules:
- At least 1 meeting per week, at least 50% of the group must be present.
- Communication. When I type something, like tasks to do or reply to a question asked before, I ask my mentees to respond.
Not even text, a ‘thumbs up’ emoji will also suffice. We all know that ‘read’ status doesn’t mean much when you can accidentally open an app for a second and swipe it to clear RAM on the phone.
So, Team A attended all the meetings and responded to my assignments – there was a curriculum provided by a program to follow – and they were very receptive overall.
When Team B started they were OK, but then started not showing up to meetings and leaving assignments read but unresponded.
I understand they have a lot on their plate – exams are no joke – but they disregarded my time, which I will not be OK with.
I have a job to do, and mentoring in that program was 100% volunteering, and there was no payment for the mentors.
There was, however, a very strict deadline – the middle of April, when their MVPs must be loaded onto the website for later judgment.
I, even when mad, am a professional first and an angry lady – second.
So I wrote multiple messages asking for updates on the project, with warnings at the end that ‘Deadline is April 15th, don’t miss it!’ After one such message, the so-called leader of Team B, ‘Sam’ wrote to me this: ‘Uhm, Hi, OP! I know that you probably mean well, but you only bother the team with those deadline messages.
Can’t you, like, chill out? When we need you – we will contact you and all. Just get off our hair and let us do our job. I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings; it is what it is. (heart emoji)’
After I read that message, I was like: WHAT???, but I did respond that I would stop messaging if that caused tension within the team.
Tho, the deadline is still on the 15th, and the site would reject any application that was uploaded after.
‘Just stop, OK?? Geez’ – said Sam to that, so I decided: OK, I’m washing my hands of this.
Cue Malicious Compliance: Since that message, I haven’t written anything to Team B.
I had scheduled no meetings, updates, or checkups about the curriculum/their understanding. And definitely not a written reminder of the deadline once.
Deadline came. Team A uploaded their project with no issues, and their parents even bought me a nice box of chocolate as a ‘Thank you’ gesture.
Just like the deadline came and went, team B started bombarding the chat, asking me to help because ‘something is wrong with the site! We can’t upload our project!’
I entered the chat and said: Yes, it will not upload. No, it is not an issue with the site.
The deadline has passed, so if you try to upload, it will only show you an error message. I warned you, kids!
No extra credits, no nothing. The rules of that program are simple, but they are hard ‘no exceptions’ ones.
Team B tried to blame me, saying that as a mentor, it was my job to ensure they would succeed.
I reminded them that my job as a mentor is to provide support and guidance, keep track of their progress, and remind them of the deadline. Which – all of the above – they, via Sam, asked me not to. And since I respected their boundaries – I did exactly what they had requested.
They can sulk as much as they want – I have all our communication in writing, so they don’t have a leg to stand when trying to accuse me of sabotaging them in the program.
Tough luck, kids!”
23. Mom Had To See For Herself
“So I’m (23F) a nanny. For the family I work for there are 7 kids. Yes, 7. All ranging from 14 years old to 10 months old. I have been working for them for 8 months. And never really had an issue.
They are a good family for the most part. A key part here is the kids are all homeschooled so they do not get out a lot. Unfortunately, that leads to mom and dad spoiling them quite a lot. And since I’ve started had a bit of a discipline issue.
They throw tantrums, throw things and scream a lot. Finally, mom recently put on discipline because their tantrums led to me getting an injury. I was pushed down the stairs. So she implemented a timeout routine. And it was going well for almost everyone.
Here is where the story truly begins. The second to youngest is 2 and a half almost 3. His tantrums are some of the worst and instead of really disciplining him she coddles him. If he screams and yells she just picks him up and gives him whatever he wants.
He will also throw things and hit whoever is telling him no. And mom doesn’t do anything. On Wednesday this week, mom had an appointment and when he woke up from his nap and she wasn’t there he freaked out. I tried to calm him by playing games, food, or reading books.
But nothing worked he just got louder and more aggressive. He even hit me and his siblings. Eventually, he woke the baby, and when I got her tried to even hurt her. So with no other real options working to calm him down.
I pick him up sit him on his bed and said timeout you do not behave this way. When you calm down you can come out. He finally is calming down after several minutes and Mom comes home.
She was quite upset that he got a timeout because she says that he is too young and doesn’t know better.
Now I understand he is young but I’ve been a nanny for a while and I have learned 2-3 is the normal age for discipline so they learn to know better. I only do a minute per year age and only go longer if they can’t calm down though I check in every minute.
She was also upset I used his room as a timeout. Now that part I get and can understand that at this age associating timeout with where he sleeps. I can agree we don’t do that. But I had to ask when he’s acting like this what do you want me to do? She said let me handle it.
If I’m not there give him what he wants, hits are not worth the fight. Ok… but what if it’s something I can’t give. She replied ‘If you can’t just let him go through it he’ll calm down quickly.’ I looked at her like are you serious? You do realize how he can be right? But ok.
Cue malicious compliance; The next day Mom had another appointment and she was gone when he woke up. And of course, he wanted her and only her. I said sorry she’s not here why don’t we play a game. He screams no.
I ask if he wants a snack. No, he screams and starts slapping at my hands. I ask him to go read a book or go to his sibling’s room for playtime. He screams again and hit me in the face.
I told him please don’t hit me. So he screams in my face and goes off throwing things at me and everyone around and just goes off. I tell everyone to go to their rooms. I tried everything to calm him down and it didn’t work so I did exactly what she told me.
He continues his tirade throwing things, pulling things off shelves, and screaming. I obviously kept him from things that would hurt him like glass, ceramics and when he got on a table to push something I picked him up and put him down.
Though he did bite me really hard when I did that. Not enough to bleed but enough to leave a good mark. I let this go for about oooh 15 ish minutes until Mom came home. And when she did he was still freaking out.
She just goes about what is going on. I explained the situation and told her I’m just doing what she said and letting him cry it out till he calms down. She said that’s not what I meant! I asked what did you want? She didn’t really have an answer.
I told her I couldn’t use discipline and I couldn’t calm him you said to let him go he’d calm down and he hasn’t yet. I made sure anything dangerous was taken away but I didn’t know what else I could do.
Now respectively I could have picked up what he threw around but I wanted her to see what he was capable of. And I wasn’t going to risk getting hurt again from taking things away. She looked upset but didn’t say anything and just looked at him still throwing his tantrum.
The baby wakes up and she goes to get her. When she comes back to try and calm him he screams to pick him up and he hits her and keeps going till she puts the crying baby on the ground and picks him up.
I was kinda shocked she fed into it. I told her he was old enough to know what he was doing. He knows that he’ll get what he wants when he does these things and it’s only going to get worse.
And if it’s going to continue I’m going to continue to do nothing because I won’t risk getting hurt or the other kids in the process. I showed her my bite mark and she went pale a bit and said he did that.
I said yes he did. She took a breath and said why don’t you go home for the day and I’ll talk to Dad about this.
When I came to work this morning there was a timeout chair for him. And I’m allowed to use it at my discretion.”
22. We Fought The Power
“Back in high school, I was all about my car. Don’t get me wrong it was a rolling piece of crap, but it was my car. It had a trade-in value of maybe $5, but it was my car. I was learning how to take care of it, by which I mean I found where the dipstick was and how to pull it.
(I hadn’t yet moved on to tire inflation. One step at a time!)
One day after school I drove over to my friend’s place. We jump out, pop the hood, pull the dipstick, check the oil and it was fine so put the hood back down.
I had no idea what an HOA was nor what it meant, I was just a happy ignorant teenager eager to demonstrate how responsible I was with my wheels.
A few days go by and we’re hanging out at my friend’s place when his mom comes home.
She starts giving us the business in that ‘I’m annoyed but trying not to be’ voice about a warning she received from the HOA regarding repairing cars in your driveway, complete with a photo of my piece of crap with the hood up.
Really she was being pretty good, though clearly annoyed. We explain that we weren’t repairing anything, that I was just checking the oil level, and didn’t even need any tools. (Picture just had the hood up.) She softened quite a bit, and the focus of her annoyance shifted from us to the HOA since it was entirely reasonable for anyone to check the level of oil in a car.
She finds her copy of the HOA rules and we all read them together. Sure enough, there’s a bylaw that says you can’t repair a car in the driveway. I protest that I wasn’t repairing anything, I was just checking the oil!
Reading the exact rules on exactly what was forbidden sparked an idea.
I look at my friend, raise an eyebrow, and say ‘Fight the power?’ ‘FIGHT THE POWER!’ I propose my plan to his mom and ask for permission since she’s going to have to deal with the fallout. She’s on board since she thinks this is supremely stupid, and we set it in motion.
Cue the MC!
Every day after school my friend and I drove our piece of crap machines to his place, parked in their driveway, raised the hoods, and just looked at the engines. No tools, we weren’t even near them. We didn’t check the oil, we didn’t so much as touch them nor wipe them down with a rag.
All we did was expose them to the birds, the sky, and God above to just let them breathe. After a while I got bored so I started setting up an easel and drawing my engine ten minutes at a time.
My friend had to one-up me, so decided he needed some tasteful artistic photos with his engine. He judged the best photos would be him laying over the engine shirtless, stroking and fake kissing it. Just absurd over-the-top moronic high schooler stuff.
Predictably the HOA was on us very closely. The warnings quickly turned into fines, complete with pictures of both vehicles with their hoods up. Then more pictures of mine with its hood up and an easel in front. Then even more pictures of my friend’s with its hood up, him laying in the engine compartment and me taking pictures of him with a camera.
Soon enough his mom let us know it was time for the monthly HOA meeting. Of course, all three of us had to go in person to protest the fines! So the motley pair of us show up along with his mom, and his mom’s stack of fine notices.
I bring along my engine drawing, and we printed some of my friend’s engine photos larger than normal.
After a while, it was new business time, and my friend’s mom steps up. I’m pretty sure they expected her to play the ‘my son and his friend are morons, please make these fines go away since I didn’t know what they were doing’ sympathy card.
Nope, not a chance! She politely but firmly attested that she was being sent fines for something that wasn’t in the bylaws, and asked the board to stop. One of the board members spoke up saying that working on cars was against the bylaws, and clearly that’s what was going on since both hoods were up.
Oh, you should have seen their faces when she corrected them that the bylaw said no repairs were allowed, that there were no repairs going on in any of the pictures since no tools were visible, and that we were just doing art projects for school.
Even longer faces were seen when she showed the (truthfully completely terrible) drawing of my engine, along with the date-stamped-a-couple-weeks-ago pictures (this was back when film cameras stamped a date directly on the picture!) of my friend trying to seduce his engine.
The HOA president called for a five-minute recess, during which the board huddled in a corner of the room. After the recess, the President succinctly said ‘M’am, we are going to dismiss all your fines. Have a nice evening.’
We nearly danced out of that meeting! Being the obnoxious jerks that my friend and I were, we had to do the drawing/photo routine a few more times just to make sure they weren’t going to start sending more fines. They wisely didn’t, and being victorious we soon found other ways to annoy them.”
21. Won't Give Me A Birthday Gift? You Won't Get One Either
“I love birthdays and have always loved celebrating them, both for myself and for others. I love to give gifts as much as I love to receive them. But I was born in December, so it’s always been an uphill battle getting people to celebrate mine, or separate it from the religious holidays happening that month.
For me it’s not about the gift, but the principle. I’ve had several friendships where I was expected to help plan and pay for expensive gifts, dinners, trips, etc. for a spring or summer birthday, only to be told what an inconvenience it was to have to do something for a December birthday.
I’ve been called greedy, and childish, and have even had people ask me why I can’t just combine my birthday with someone else to make it easier. It makes the friendship feel one-sided and makes me feel like an inconvenience.
I don’t get so upset about it anymore, but I do have some firm birthday rules: You don’t have to get me anything.
But if you do, just pick one. Birthday, or Christmas. Keep ‘em separate. Whatever the agreement is, let’s make it mutual. If no Bday gifts is the agreement, should hold for all birthdays involved, not just the inconvenient ones in December.
Well, a best friend and I recently got into an argument about it because she felt I was being selfish for wanting two gifts in the same month. When I said we don’t have to do birthdays, she insisted that she should get a separate gift for her birthday (in March) because it’s a different time of year.
I pointed out that this was unfair, but she wouldn’t hear it. I jokingly said in the end that if she gave me one gift for the month, I would purposely wait until March and give her an empty box for her birthday.
She said sure, go for it. And, as promised, she gave me one gift for both days and told me to stop being so childish.
So March comes around and she has a little get-together, and the time comes to open gifts.
When she unwrapped mine and saw that it was empty, I said ‘Merry Christmas,’ and she got really upset. She said I was being petty and childish and that I was going out of my way to ruin her birthday. The other guests seemed really upset too, and some of our mutual friends want me to apologize.
I am refusing to do so, and we haven’t spoken since.”
20. Got Mistaken For A Dead Body Because I Wasn't Allowed To Take My Neck Brace Off
“Years ago I was in a bad car accident. An older man turned left in front of me at an intersection and T-boned me. Ambulances were called, and I was put on a backboard with a neck brace and brought to the hospital where I was deposited on the gurney in a hallway as there were no rooms available at that time.
I lay there for quite a while waiting to be seen. My injuries weren’t bad, basically just got knocked around and bruised up so I was ok with the waiting. But I was in pain and laying on my back was very uncomfortable.
I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my neck, the only pain I felt was due to the neck brace digging into the bottom of my skull, and I reeeeeally wanted to lay in a different position, not only to alleviate some of the pain in the rest of my body (hopefully) but also because I was parked right under a light that was blaring in my eyes the whole time.
So I started taking off my neck brace.
A nurse spotted me doing this and ran over very upset with me and told me I HAD to keep the neck brace on. I tried telling her my neck was fine but she was adamant that I not remove the brace until the doctor had examined me.
I get it, I’m guessing at the very least it goes very much against protocol, and at the very worst it would have been a huge liability if I took the brace off and there WAS something wrong. Plus I didn’t want to annoy the nurse or be one of THOSE patients, so I begrudgingly complied even though I thought it was overkill.
I tried to reposition myself as best I could to the least painful position, but not very successfully, unfortunately. However, THE LIGHT blaring directly down was driving me crazy, even when I closed my eyes! Finally, out of frustration, I took the blanket that was over me, pulled it up more, and threw it over my head.
Awwwwwwww, finally, no more light in my eyes! BLISS! I just lay there trying to block the pain and daydream to pass the time, wondering how long I would be there.
Not too long after I hear what sounds like a bit of a commotion and someone saying something about a dead person in the hallway! I was like OMG that’s freaky! I got that there were no rooms available but to leave a dead body just laying out for everyone to see?! I thought that was super creepy!
Suddenly, the same nurse that gave me crap about the neck brace pulls the blanket off my head, scaring me, and she starts yelling at me that I’m NOT allowed to put the blanket over my head and what was I doing?!
It was then that I realized, the dead body they were talking about was ME.
Hahahahahaha I said ‘Oh God! I’m so so sorry! I just wanted the light out of my eyes and I can’t move my head with the neck brace on!’ To say the nurse was not impressed would be an understatement. But she did find a room to move me and positioned me NOT under any light, which I thanked her very much for. She just gave me a surly look and walked away. Sorry! LOL”
19. Don't Bother You Unless It's An Emergency? Well, It Wasn't One For Me!
“This morning I got into my car and realized I left my headlights on. Thankfully, modern technology meant it had automatically switched off when the key was removed. But it reminded me of a time when that wasn’t so.
Many, many years ago, I was working one of my first jobs in a little cafe, nearing the end of my training period.
It was a quiet day, perfect to put the newbie on with only one experienced staff member. The experienced staff member called in sick.
Boss had to come in and cover, until ‘Sue’ could come in early. Boss wanted to use the time on site to do paperwork out the back.
‘I’ll be in here if you have any questions.’
I very annoyingly had a lot of questions; How to void an incorrect transaction, where to find more special paper for the credit card machine, and what to do when the coffee grinder stopped working.
Finally Boss said ‘I’m busy! Don’t bother me unless it’s an emergency! Let me know when Sue is here.’
Shyly I replied, ‘That’s what I came to tell you, Sue just arrived.’
‘Great. Any more questions ask her.’
Sue took over the coffee area and got me on restocking, clearing tables, emptying the bins, and other necessary grunt work.
I went out to the outside bins through the little staff parking area and saw my boss’s old car there with the headlights still on.
I went back to my boss’s office,
‘IS IT AN EMERGENCY!?’ Boss snapped.
‘… not to me’ I replied.
‘THEN GO AWAY!’
I left quickly. I went to tell Sue instead. ‘Sue…’ Then I changed my mind. ‘Boss doesn’t want to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. So I’m supposed to ask you if I have more questions’.
Sue and I worked pleasantly until the end of my shift a few hours later.
As I gathered my things to leave, Boss ran by me, knocking into me a bit.
Without turning around to see if I was OK, Boss said ‘Sorry I’m in a rush’.
I slowed down to see what happened next, getting out my brick of a phone to text my mother I was on my way home.
I could hear my boss swearing.
Oh no, Boss realized that was what I was going to tell them earlier. I was in trouble.
‘Can you bring your car in and give me a jump start? My battery is flat.’ (Only a few cars could fit, so only senior staff and management could park there)
‘I walked here.
I live ten minutes walk up the hill’.
I raced off before Boss could blame me.
The next time I was on shift with Sue, I asked what happened to Boss.
‘Headlights left on. Got a flat battery. Boss tried to jump-start it with my car, but it didn’t work.
Had to call a taxi… Funny that neither of us noticed the lights were on when we walked by it.’
And I realized, of course, she had to have seen it when she walked in. I can only imagine why she didn’t say anything either.”
18. The Government Rules Worked In My Favor
“My former employer’s rulebook says they would reimburse 45p per mile if somebody with a petrol/gasoline car needs to drive to the office, but only 11p per mile to EV drivers (even though you could argue that running costs are comparable if you factor in the higher price of an EV).
So petrol car ownership is a money spinner as most cost far less than 45p per mile to run, but with the recent increase in electricity prices, my EV now costs about 13p per mile to run if I charge it at home, or almost 25p per mile if I use a public charger (they’ve all been bought by oil companies who now fix the price so it’s no cheaper than petrol).
So no grifting profit for me.
Finance Karen told me that’s government rules, and to look it up if I didn’t like it.
So I did. And I found that technically my car is a hybrid, as (even though it’s all-electric to the wheels) it has a generator which I could fill with 8 liters of petrol to recharge the battery and extend the electric range.
I rarely use it, but it’s a loophole I’m willing to exploit since company rules don’t mention hybrids but the holier-than-thou government rules say it’s counted as a petrol car for the purposes of reimbursement!
So I could drive to work for 13p per mile using only electricity, but they’d have to reimburse me 45p per mile as if it were a petrol car.
THERE’S MORE! When I pointed this out, Finance Karen said that because I live less than an hour from the office, I don’t qualify for the reimbursement at all.
And she was right. If I was traveling to work at the time of day that she googled my address, it would take less than an hour.
But if they wanted me to commute at rush hour, it would be 5 minutes over the threshold.
Finance Karen rejected my expenses claim, of course. I talked through all of this with my manager with the help of Google Maps, and he went over her head and approved it, saying they’re either rules or they’re not. Karen can’t just bend them to suit her.
So I won. A petty victory!”
17. Don't Want Me To Read? You'll Regret That
“Many moons ago I worked contract for a medical placement company in the employee health department of a rack and pinion steering plant. The plant was scheduled to close but they were still hiring (it was a head-scratcher for us too) and extra help was needed for substance screens on the new hires.
The other duties were seeing to injuries as they occurred, setting up appointments with Doc on days he would come, flu shots, and then there was THE PROJECT. Here’s where the story begins.
THE PROJECT was a collection of every medical piece of paper in that plant.
All of them. Scattered in boxes, stacked to the ceiling. No sense of order at ALL. Two of the veteran nurses would periodically adjourn down to the ‘War Room’, as it was dubbed, to do whatever they did with the mess.
I was enlisted to help one day and succeeded in only managing to screw up the Excel spreadsheet (named Apricot for reasons I’ve yet to understand) they were using to attempt to collate this mess.
On days when we were slow, if we had no patients, I’d stay at my post and read.
And one of those days, the boss lady came by and decided to take umbrage at that hobby. I should add that if I was reading, everything was stocked, all other projects were done and I’d already been yelled at for sweeping up after myself.
‘I’d really rather you not do that. I need you to do WORK. It looks bad.’
‘Ok. What else needs to be done?’
After she looks around at all I’ve done…
‘Nothing. You’re done. Just don’t read.’
So I sat. I’m not a good sitter.
Fast forward, she gets sick and a temporary boss comes in. I get assigned THE PROJECT. It takes a minute, but I get it whipped into shape. First, I sorted papers into folders by name. Then I organized by dates on papers, past to recent in each file.
Then I alphabetized the folders and put them in boxes. What had taken the other two nurses months on end took me a few weeks.
After that, I started a NEW Excel spreadsheet. Data entry is one of my favorite things and I’m FAST.
Name, DOB, first date listed, last date listed. Easy peasy. I was blowing through 20-30 boxes a day. I only took lunch and bathroom breaks.
The boss comes back from sick leave, walks in, and goes pale.
‘Nothing, I’ve been working super hard.
Is it not done right?’
‘It’s great, but it’s GONE!’
‘Yes ma’am, I’ve made decent progress.’
She hem-hawed around and finally muttered, ‘I need you to slow down.’
‘I need you to slow down. We told them we needed at least X amount of time to complete that project and as fast as you’ve gone, there won’t be any work left to do.’
‘So, what else can I do?’
‘Do a box, read a book. Do a box, and take a nap. Just. Slow. Down. Bring your book or several books. Just slow down.’
And that’s how I got permission to read in my downtime at work.”
16. Send Any Complaints To Your Supervisor? On It
“I have been working in this health insurance company for the past 3 years. I recently took another position with better hours and better pay but this time it was to coordinate appointments with doctors and specialists. My Metrics were always great and the reason I was selected for the new position was due to my metrics.
This has been brewing since October 2022. We used to have a coworker let’s call her Karen. Karen is this old lady that thinks she knows it all, everything she says is right and she often blames everything on someone else (Typical Karen activities).
The first time I interacted with her was back in October when I message her via our work chat because she messed up the Prior Authorization for a patient and the M.D. office was calling to have the person that created the authorization fix the issue.
The conversation went like this:
Me: Hi Good Morning, I have an MD office calling requesting to speak to you in regards to a Prior authorization that looks incomplete.
Karen: And you couldn’t help them? This is a call center you’re supposed to help.
And I don’t even know who that MD is.
Me: You’re correct. This is a call center. However, you created the Authorization and as you know I cannot fix Authorizations that were not created by me. And also they will like to speak with you specifically.
(I also provided her the patient record number and the MD office phone number).
Karen: Well I’m not available to talk to them.
I went back to the call. I specifically told the M.D. what she said including that she’s not available to talk.
But hopefully, she will call them back to fix the issue. I also sent a message to my direct supervisor with a screenshot of our conversation and I simply said ‘This is unprofessional, especially in an environment like ours’.
Fast forward to the start of the year and Karen took a Position with our Quality assurance department due to them being understaffed.
I used to work in the QA dept and I knew the ins and out and knew she would be assigned to our department since she already had experience.
Context: our Quality assurance gives scores from 100 and if we miss something we get points deducted, for example, miss HIPAA -20, give inaccurate info -10, don’t advise people for our survey -5, etc.
In January comes my first bad score in 3 years in the company, 56%, I was astonished because it is the first time I’d had a bad score. But I also make sure this score was correct, our company gives us the choice to listen to our calls just to be sure just in case the Quality Agent made a mistake.
I listened to my call and I did everything right; I completed the information, provided good service and asked if the pt need assistance with anything else and provided a closing script.
On the Quality note, it was stated that I didn’t offer any help and that I didn’t even complete HIPAA.
I sent it to my supervisor and he stated that when I offered the closing script the patient asked something and I replied and disconnected the call. Ok? I still said the closing script and his question and my answer lasted literally 5 seconds.
My supervisor still went to her and managed to fix the score to 95% because she felt like I didn’t provide a survey. If someone has worked in a call center you know that metrics are everything and 1 bad thing will quickly not get your monthly bonuses and on top of that we get our butts handed to us by management because if we don’t achieve the metrics they also don’t get bonuses.
I took screenshots of our conversation and save them in a file then I sent them to my personal email since I know our IT dept is known for deleting anything that is not a working system or appropriate.
Fast forward 3 days ago or April 18th.
I received several scores ranging from 85% to 80% and only one 100% score. The 100 score I received because Karen wasn’t the one who audited my call and the other person found everything alright. But the 85% looked fishy since the first thing you see is the patient name.
I quickly remembered the call because the person was funny and I enjoyed the call. I listened to the call and of course, I did everything perfectly. However, Karen put on the system that she deducted 10 points for not telling the patient that he had a copay for the visit and another 5 points for extending the call.
I contacted my supervisor and let him know of what happened however I didn’t receive a response. I was confused so I sent a message to a coworker who told me that they have been having the same issue with Karen with inaccurate audits and the department not achieving their monthly goals due to it.
Since my supervisor didn’t reply, I did what everyone does when management does not reply. I messaged Karen. And I sent her a message that just said:
‘Hey I have seen some inaccurate audits and I would like to know if you could recheck them since I listened to the calls and everything was done properly’.
The reply I received was ‘All audit scores are final and they cannot be appealed’.
I knew it was a lie since I worked with Quality before and I know it could be changed. I replied, ‘you know I worked in that department for 1 year and I know it could be rechecked and reversed right’.
Karen said, ‘Your previous position is irrelevant in this matter. If you don’t like the score you can go ahead and submit a complaint to my supervisor’.
I replied: ‘Ok have a good day’. (Knowing that her supervisor knows me really well)
Cue Malicious Compliance
I just didn’t create 1 formal complaint I created 1 complaint for each time she scored me incorrectly.
Not only that but I also told my 19 coworkers what she said and advised them that if they would like their scores overturned and rechecked they could send a complaint to her supervisor but only to send 1 complaint per bad score also to let you guys know we don’t get 1 audit a month no no we get audited 10 times per month.
In the span of 24 hrs, her supervisor must have received around 200 complaints from our department complaining for 1 person Karen. The first complaint was mine with Karen’s conversation saying that all decisions are final and she cannot recheck or overturn and also saying to submit a complaint to her supervisor.
Her supervisor sent me a message saying that they will evaluate all the complaints and scores and we will be receiving a message.
That was on Monday 04/17/2023. Tuesday we didn’t get any messages. Wednesday I couldn’t go to work due to my illness.
But today on 04/20 I received a message from her supervisor stating that my scores have been reviewed and properly scored. And also stated that my supervisor will be under investigation because any complaint should be submitted to his manager and he never submitted anything.
And that the employee has been terminated.
But the best part is logging into our chat and seeing Karen’s profile with no pictures and instead of her name it only said unknown user. The morale of our group is better and I hope we don’t have issues again.”
15. I Tried To Warn You That The Program Wasn't Ready For The Public
“Quite a few years ago now, in the late 1990s and very early on in my career, I used to work for a company that helped customers of certain retail stores manage their finances. My role was as a sort-of compliance officer, ensuring that the staff who dealt with customers were following the rules.
If they messed it up, it was a big problem, and could potentially impact the customer’s credit score, result in them defaulting on payments, and even end up in court. I took my job pretty seriously.
The company was not particularly well-run from a management perspective.
They’d made a lot of money very quickly and had grown from a handful of people in a garage to a four-story office building in the CBD within the space of a year and a half.
There wasn’t a great deal in the way of policy or process framework, so I had to develop a lot of the tools to do my job myself.
This involved some programming – a basic system to track what I was doing, link to the (extensive) rule set, and automate some of the more tedious reporting. It would also track how long I was spending on each task so that I could see which elements I could streamline.
Now, I was quite proud of this system and called it Hendrix (as I am a massive Jimi Hendrix fan), and it used to play about 5 seconds of the instrumental version of Little Wing when it started up. As I had my own little room (cupboard), this never used to annoy anyone.
I can geek out about that type of stuff.
At this point – before corporate IT became rather more rigid – I used to write a lot of my own tools. I was the only person who was using Hendrix, and it was a tool just for me.
My manager – the archetypal middle manager – decided that because it allowed you to quickly reference which rules applied to which situation, it should be rolled out to all staff.
Now, I had previously considered this, but I argued that I couldn’t guarantee that it would be fit for the task because I’d designed it for my own use…
and I’d need to make some changes first… but he rolled it out anyway without me even getting a chance to tweak it.
He got a Team Player of the Week award for introducing a tool to make life easier for front-line staff.
In his acceptance speech (this was a big rah-rah thing each week for the company) he thanked his manager. I didn’t even get a mention.
Then, two weeks later, he realized that I’d been recording how long I had been working on certain tasks within the program.
Now, I’d realized fairly quickly that this part of the program was a little too detailed, and I didn’t really care too much about every single task within each incident… so I just used it to record how long I spent on the entire incident, rather than each part of the incident.
My manager invited me to a meeting about Hendrix, no details given, and I attended thinking it was going to be a list of requested features… only to find out that the head of HR was there, and I was being given a written warning for ‘falsifying timekeeping’.
Because each customer interaction was a certain length, my manager had decided that THIS was what I should be recording… and not how long I was spending listening to, analyzing, checking, and reporting on the interaction.
Remember, this is a tool that I had designed for my own use, and it was not being used to calculate how much I was being paid, or whether I was doing enough work during the day or not.
(There was nothing in place for that at all.) – I had not made the records public – he’d found them in a file on the server that only he and I had access to. Nobody else was supposed to even have this tool.
I argued this and was told that it wasn’t up to me and that I was getting a warning regardless. It got really quite heated and unpleasant, though I got the impression that the head of HR was a little embarrassed about the whole thing.
They said, however, that if I wanted to consult a lawyer, I was quite within my rights to do so. It was at this point that I was rather smugly able to state that I could get two lawyers there within the hour…
as both my parents were practicing, and my mother was – in point of fact – an employment lawyer. I realize that this is a bit of a deus ex machina, but it only has a partial bearing on the story.
Suddenly there was a completely different attitude from my manager. There was an attempt to roll back the issue and turn it into a suggestion ‘that perhaps I should be a bit more careful with my time-keeping in future’, but I was pretty angry at this point.
I pointed out that my software had been rolled out to all staff against my wishes. I was told that this wasn’t up to me, as it was company Intellectual Property… until I advised them that: I’d written it in my own time, at home on my own computer.
It was plugging into the official government rule-set, and not the corporate intranet one. I had not confirmed it ‘fit for general release’ at all. I had received special dispensation from IT to install it on a single work computer… mine, and I would require them to pay a license fee for anything beyond this.
To be fair, this would have been tied up in court for a long time, and I’ve got no idea whether I’d have been successful, so in the end I relented. If they wanted to use Hendrix… well, I guess they could.
I just made sure that Little Wing would play for one second longer on start-up for every week the software was in use.
Then I quit the following Monday and was working for another company by the Monday after that.
Three or four months later I got a phone call from my former manager asking to come ‘fix the problems with my software’.
He hung up when I quoted him my consultant fees. I don’t know why IT wasn’t able to figure it out (it was just a setting in a text file. Not at all hard to find.)
A friend who remained in the company tells me they continued to use Hendrix for a whole year.
The mornings in the call center were apparently horrifying, with Little Wing playing for around a minute every time someone started a new shift. Sometimes it would play on 20 computers at once, few seconds apart – on tinny PC speakers that they were unable (due to IT) to mute.”
14. Are My Bald Spots Professional Enough For You?
“My wife attends bunco on Tuesdays and heard this from a nurse or CNA or RNA, not sure which acronyms but she is a medical professional. We’ll call her Susie.
Susie has a very positive and upbeat personality with a wild sense of style.
She wears very bright clothes and likes to wear wigs. And no, she does not have cancer. But she’s always rocking an awesome wig that matches her outfit. My wife even sends pics to me aside from the social media posts of their night.
She wants to get wigs and lets me know by way of these pics.
Last bunco night Susie tells the gals about one of her patients that clearly did not like her. She always has a frumpy face when looking at her, and always has a problem.
The patient was getting continuous care and saw Susie regularly over the past few weeks, so this attitude graded her over time. But this time she crossed a line… Upon her latest visit, she told Susie ‘Your unprofessional wigs are making me sick! Stop wearing all these different crazy wigs!’
Instantly, right then and there Susie took off her wig, making sure it clearly showed one of her reasons for wearing wigs in the first place.
She had long clumps of hair that gnarled out in all directions, showing bald spots as well. Susie has alopecia and lets it grow out to help fasten the wigs at times (what my wife was told). It was quite the sight to behold, and Susie ended with ‘Is this professional enough for you?’
Susie wishes she could have a picture of the moment but the way she described the lady’s snarled lip at the sight of her and in response to the action was classic.
The patient never said anything mean to her again, and even made an attempt at smiling the last time she saw her.”
13. Overtime Is Not Approved? I Won't Answer Last-Minute Customers
“The phones in the call center are open from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. I work a later shift from 11:30 to 8. One week, the following happens.
Monday. I clock into my job at 11:30 A.M., do five minutes of setup, and start taking phone calls from customers by 11:35.
I clock out at 8:00 P.M. that night.
Sometime during the day, a memo comes down from corporate, ‘Call center representatives should start taking calls the moment their shift is scheduled to start.’
Tuesday. In order to avoid working off the clock I clock into my job at 11:15 A.M., do five minutes of setup, and 10 minutes of administrative work, and start taking phone calls from customers at 11:30 A.M., when my shift officially starts.
I clock out at 8:00 P.M., having done 15 minutes of overtime that day.
Wednesday. In order to avoid working off the clock I clock into my job at 11:15 A.M., do five minutes of setup, and 10 minutes of administrative work, and start taking phone calls from customers at 11:30 A.M., when my shift officially starts.
Sometime during the day a memo comes down from corporate, ‘Overtime is not approved for call center representatives.’ I clock out early, at 7:45 P.M. in order to avoid doing overtime.
Thursday. Starting at 11:25 A.M. I do five minutes of setup.
I clock in at 11:30 and start taking calls immediately. I stop working at 7:55 but don’t clock out yet. I’ll be darned if I let corporate make me a victim of wage theft. Over the next five minutes, a couple of calls from last-minute Karens come in.
I don’t take the calls and at 8:00 P.M. I clock out. The customers eventually hang up, disappointed.
Friday. Starting at 11:25 A.M. I do five minutes of setup. I clock in at 11:30 and start taking calls immediately. Sometime during the day, my boss comes to talk to me.
Boss: ‘When you clocked out at 8:00 last night there were still customers waiting in the call queue. Why didn’t you take their calls?’
Me: ‘Sorry, Boss; my shift ends at 8:00 and OvErTiMe Is NoT aPpRoVeD fOr CaLl CeNtEr RePs.’
Boss: ‘Oh, well, you’re allowed to stay late to finish up the customers that call in.’
Me: ‘Sure thing, Boss! Can I have that in writing?’
Later that day a memo comes down from corporate, ‘Overtime for business needs is approved for call center representatives.’ At 7:59 P.M. a last-minute Karen calls in. I help her until 8:05. I clock off at 8:15 to make sure I get paid for the extra ten minutes of work I did.
Keep trying corporate, I’m hourly.”
12. Send Over The Mice? If You Say So
“It was autumn 2019, shortly after the first frost and our cat brings us a mouse. We take a picture and report it to maintenance. They check out the apartment, see no poop, set a trap, and tell us to let them know if it happens again.
A few nights later we get another mouse, and then the next night we get two more mice.
We call maintenance, they claim to have found the issue behind the stove. They ‘patch it’ and leave. We get another mouse – they claim there is an issue with our washer and dryer and they patch that.
Then there are more mice. We request a professional exterminator daily and they refuse.
Eventually, maintenance gets sick of our calls. We’ve never got a mouse in our trap, and there’s no mouse poop. The only evidence of mice is our pictures of SIXTEEN mice with our cat over time.
So the maintenance guy comes up with a clever idea. He says next time we get a mouse, we need to keep it and bring it to the main office. They can study it, and figure out where it’s coming from.
My husband and I are well-educated and know that’s just… not how mice work. The landlord doesn’t want to pay an exterminator and they don’t believe the issue is as bad as it is.
It’s time for a little malicious compliance. A night or two later we get a mouse.
We put it in a garbage can in the tub until morning. Unfortunately, the little guy doesn’t make it through the night. In the morning we bag our friend and head to the leasing building. The apartment manager is there, as are several families waiting to begin a tour of the complex.
We explain to our landlord about the now 17 mice, and how we’re now supposed to personally deliver each mouse to her. She looks at my husband horrified, grabs her cell phone, and heads to a back room. We can hear her SCREAMING at the maintenance guy about his request.
In the meantime, we’re explaining to her potential tenants the issues we’ve been facing.
A couple of minutes later she returns, tosses the mouse in the garbage, and says they’ll be paying a professional exterminator to take a look at the building. The Exterminator found hundreds of entry points that get taken care of. That was the last mouse we ever had in that apartment.”
11. Want To Charge People To Attend A Party? Not On My Watch
“I went to UConn (University of Connecticut). In my sophomore year, I was assigned to room with a ‘quad’. During the ’80s, the school ran out of dorm rooms so they converted study rooms into dorms. These were deemed ‘quads’ so 4 students roomed there.
My three roommates were seniors, all graduating.
Since I was the ‘owner’ of the room (UConn had an elaborate system to assign rooms), three friends approached me to be the fourth, so as to guarantee the room for next year. I am pretty easygoing, so I said yes.
This was a big mistake since I find that I am not compatible with others, and we constantly butted heads. One example – One of the roommates volunteered to bring their record player for the room, but then didn’t allow me to play my records on it because ‘it was the devil’s music’ (for the record, I had Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, that kind of music).
And no. This person was not religious, he was just being a jerk.
The list of complaints went on, but it all came to a head on my birthday. Weeks before my birthday I informed my mates that I was throwing a party on my birthday, and would like to have the party in the room.
This was not unusual; there had been parties here before, thrown by one or the others. This was my first request for the room. The others said fine, and I started to invite my friends. I invited about 10 people.
A few days before my birthday, all three came to me to tell me that they were going to throw a huge party on my birthday.
When I protested, they said my friends could come as well, but the cover charge was 5 bucks.
I pushed back, saying that I was buying my own supplies, so my friends shouldn’t have to pay. They agreed.
Later I find that they invited A LOT of people, and I wasn’t going to even see my friends, let alone celebrate with them.
The night of the party, my roommates tell me to ‘have my friends identity themselves so they won’t get charged’. This is where the malicious compliance comes in.
I was really annoyed that these guys were doing this, so I went down to the ground floor of our dorm and told anyone coming to the party that if you told the person taking money that you were there for my party, you won’t be charged.
You can probably guess the rest. The party was a huge success! All the wasted roommates were all out of their money, I have some sort of satisfaction.
Guess you shouldn’t have scheduled the party on my birthday.
The only bummer was that I really didn’t get to hang out with my friends because it was way too crowded.
How did just about everyone get in free without my roommates figuring it out? People were coming in staggered – so 50 people didn’t all just show up at the same time to make it obvious, and all three were collecting the money at various times, so they didn’t know that everyone was claiming to be for my party, until the end when they pooled their funds.”
10. Want The Clarinets To Play? Enjoy A Silent Show
“So I was a part of one of my school bands a few years ago, playing the clarinet. We went to a nearby school and did a whole day workshop with their school’s band, including playing a few pieces together. While we did this, the conductor would occasionally ask us questions relating to playing the current piece and have certain parts and instruments play bars while the rest of us listened and the conductor helped them to improve on that part.
I can’t remember exactly how the exchange goes, but after a while, this roughly gets said:
Conductor: Ok, we’re going to have the parts who play the main melody in bars so-and-so play by themselves now. Now, does anyone know which instruments play that part? (Again, workshop)
Student: (raises hand) Oh, it’s the clarinets! They play the melody!
Conductor: Ok clarinets, get ready to play.
Now, here’s the thing: For bars so-and-so, NONE of the clarinet parts play anything. It’s complete silence on our end! The student who said that obviously didn’t play the clarinet and didn’t sit near us so they must’ve not known this, but I did.
Guessing what was going to happen, I raised my hand.
Me: Um, Conductor, the clarinets don’t play that-
Conductor: Just wait, you can ask your question after we play.
Conductor: Wait until after we play.
So I lowered my hand and just decided to just let the conductor see for themselves what I was trying to say and let her count us in.
Conductor: And 1, 2, 3 and…
It took a few seconds for people to realize that we weren’t going to play anything and some people started laughing. The conductor realized what I was trying to tell her and quickly moved along. The rest of the day was fun and a good learning experience.”
9. Here's Your Car With No Gas
“I live in Sydney and used to fly up to the Gold Coast 3 or 4 times a year to check on my grandmother (the whole family was in Sydney so someone would usually pop up once each month to help her out).
Anyway, I would always rent a car from Hertz when I arrived. At the time they offered a prepaid fuel option where you would pay an amount and not need to refuel before return, it was usually less than you would pay at the local service station so I usually took this option, As I picked up the keys to this shiny new manual Toyota Corolla the woman said to me ‘so you have the prepaid fuel, just bring it back empty’.
After a few days of relaxing by the beach, I ran a few errands for my Grandmother in the morning before my 1500 flight when the fuel light comes on and the words of Hertz staff rang in my ear ‘Bring it back empty’.
Not wanting to push it, I pulled into 7/11 and put 2 liters in, and went on my way, the light didn’t extinguish but with the distance I needed to cover, I figured I’d be safe.
About 1300, my grandmother is pushing me out the door telling me to catch my flight so I make the 6km trip to the airport, the whole time anxiously wondering if I’ll make it with the fuel remaining.
As I was coming up to the airport, I felt the engine splutter, but it was still going, heading in it started spluttering more, so much so that I genuinely thought I’d run out mere meters from my destination.
As I pulled through the boom gate for ‘rental returns’.
I put my foot down and got a final burst of acceleration, the car was determined to be the little engine that could, my finish line in sight, and the car is going to make it! Until it didn’t, the car stalled, with the momentum I had I pulled it into a spot marked ‘AVIS’ it only made it about halfway in, I tried in vain to restart it but it wasn’t to be, I got out, and pushed the little engine that could into bay 109.
I was 11 bays short of the first marked Hertz and was a broken man, my goal so near yet so far, torment ran through my mind, did those 11 bays mean I was short of my goal to bring it back empty, I mean it was in the rental car carpark after all and it wasn’t uncommon for people to just park in a spot and ignore who owns the spot.
I walk into the terminal, carry-on roller bay in one hand, car keys in the other, and walk up to rental returns, ‘Can I help you’ the same young woman asks as I walk up to her. ‘Returning a car,’ I said.
She takes the paperwork and asks where I had parked it. ‘Bay 109, it says Avis’ I respond, her not looking up she shrugs and talks into the radio on the counter ‘Return, 109’. Finally, she says ‘Did you fill it up?’ I say no and she asks roughly how much is left ‘None,’ I say.
‘Oh so the gas light is on, no worries,’ she says. ‘No,’ I say, ‘I mean it ran out of fuel as I drove in, I had to PUSH it into the parking spot’. The helpful woman gives me a blank stare for a full 10 seconds, ‘Wait, you LET it run out.’ ‘You said to return it empty so I accepted your challenge, seems I win,’ I said with a mixture of pride and embarrassment.
The staff member turns to her colleague, points at me, and says ‘Prepaid fuel and he says it ran out IN the car park’. The guy looks at me with a smirk and says ‘Really.’ ‘Well it wouldn’t start back up’ I reply as someone comes in from outside to get the keys.
‘It’s out of fuel’ the woman says. ‘That’s ok I’ll run it up to Shell after I’ve washed it’ he replies. Both terminal staffs look at him as the woman, looking at me, says ‘No, the customer says he had to push it into the spot.’ Cue the largest eyes I’ve ever seen.
‘I have to see this’.
He walks out with me and the guy from behind the counter following behind, opens the car and tries to start it, it’s cranking but won’t turn over as all 3 of us burst out laughing, ‘I’ve never had one fully out before’ he says when I tell him, ‘the woman in there told me to bring it back empty.’ I walk inside, laughing to check my bags.”
8. Toxic Manager Didn't See This Coming
“I currently work in HR for a company that has been mistreating their employees and frequently talks down to them (speaking to them as if they’re not smart enough to understand what she’s saying and as though they’re beneath her). It’s only been about 6 months since I started here and I noticed it pretty quickly.
After I mentioned it to the most guilty manager, I began getting talked down to. At one time, after I called out sick, I got reprimanded; stating that I had to be on-site whenever my manager was not; this was the first time it was being mentioned to me tho.
So I can’t be sick if she’s out… They couldn’t find anything else to fuss at me about so that was it.
Over the past few months, I’ve built a relationship with the hourly employees, which are in a union. They tell me about whispers around the plant, future plans, who’s thinking about quitting, family stuff; really just whatever they want to talk about.
Recently I landed a great job which I start in a couple of weeks. I found out that my manager is going to be out of town the week before I’m supposed to start my new job. My plan was to work up until I start the new job but then I was talked down to AGAIN by this same toxic manager.
So I went into her office and told her that I know she isn’t supposed to be at work on XYZ dates, but she would have to be since one of us has to be on-site and I’ll no longer work here then.
Needless to say, she was pretty upset that she had to change her plans and I’ve been getting the evil eye from her since I dropped my notice. I’ve been hearing her complaining to coworkers about how she had to cancel her trip, but she’s been extremely nice to my face and hasn’t talked down to me once.”
7. Don't Like That I'm Leaving? Well, I Warned You
“I used to work part-time for my University running student events. Experience is the best teacher; I’d participated in these events as a student, assisted in these events under someone else as part of my scholarship, and as a staff member ran the events myself.
We had a new college head who was much older (approx 50-60) while everyone else was in their early 20s.
This woman was the most pigheaded arrogant fool you can imagine and despite being new she wouldn’t sit back and observe how things worked or listen to those on our team who’d been there for years.
No matter what you told her when she announced something that wouldn’t work or would cause problems the answer was the same: ‘I’m older so I know best!’ didn’t matter if it would take you longer to do it her way or in one case if it was technically illegal.
(Of course, mistakes that we’d warned her would happen were always someone else’s fault/swept under the carpet.)
During event planning, one look at the schedule told me she hadn’t allocated the team properly. Email exchange:
OP: ‘Hmmm probably not a good idea to have the whole team in an hour before the event, most of them standing around doing nothing.
Best to get 5 or so people in for set up, most of the team in for running event, and hold back another 3-4 for cleanup’.
College Head: ‘No I want everyone in helping out equally an hour before the event’.
OP: ‘They’re only meant to do 2 hours of work per event if you have them an hour early for a 2-hour event that’s 3 hours they’ll all leave before cleanup, the slackers will slack off and the proactive will end up doing everything.’
College Head: ‘I’m older than you I know best just do as you are told’.
Cue malicious compliance.
OP: ‘Fine but I’ve got some personal business to do directly AFTER the event, I’ll handle procurement and setup but will need to leave right afterward after the event is over’.
College Head: ‘That’s fine’. Onto other business…
The day of the event the whole team showed up an hour before for setup, as expected 5 or so did all the setup work while most of the team stood around on their phones, some even got bored and wandered off.
It was not the team members’ fault for standing around, only so many people can do meal prep and set up tables without getting in each other’s way.
10 minutes before the event College Head shows up and everything is running smoothly, event was a lot of fun, some of the team continued to wander off, some ran the events, and some participated.
I was running around as a gopher letting the College Head take credit for the event in front of everyone (not doing any work mind but taking credit for it). I made sure to remind her I had to leave right at the end of the event for ‘personal business’ in front of the other colleague heads several times.
To be extra spiteful I neglected to stop several team members from wandering off who’d done no work other than stand around talking/eating and encouraged several people who’d definitely done 2 hours worth of work to call it a night and thanked them for their help.
Forgetful me I also didn’t tell team members standing around during events to start cleaning up as things were finishing.
All the free food was gone, all the games were over, both students and team members were wandering off into the night, and all of a sudden.
College Head: ‘Wait where are you going there is so much mess and we’ve got to put away all the tables and tidy up all the different games but everyone has left.’
OP: ‘Hmmm yes we probably should have saved up a few team members to do cleanup but they’ve all already done their 2 hours.
Anyway like I told you earlier I’ve got some personal business to attend to directly after the event so I’ll see you tomorrow’.
College Head: ‘What personal business is it?! This will take over an hour to do all this on my own’.
OP: ‘I’m sorry but I said personal business because I wasn’t comfortable discussing with you or the team about what it was as it really is quite personal and I’m going to be late’.
I wandered off home for my ‘personal business’ of closing all my curtains and playing Xbox, chuckling at the thought of that arrogant woman having to do all that work by herself.
The formal complaint she put in for me leaving didn’t really go anywhere as I just forwarded the email exchange to management. Sadly pig-headed people are pigheaded because they don’t learn no matter what, I eventually quit and a few months later was introduced to my replacement’s replacement who was also ready to quit.”
6. Too Young To Handle Credit Cards? I'm The Only One That Knows How Though
“Back in my college days in the late 90s, I worked in my college’s Alumni Communications Center. In reality, it’s a call center where college students worked to ask the low-giving alumni for donations. (The college had professional folks to handle the big mega-donors) I, luckily, wasn’t a student caller, which seemed awful.
I, a sophomore, was, and this was the official job title, ‘Data Entry’. A quick sidebar, we also had a couple of call coaches, who were seniors, who would monitor the callers and give them feedback on how to do a better job at asking alumni for donations.
Typically, donations are in the 100 to 250 buck range.
When callers made a call, they recorded the outcome of the call on a sheet of paper. I would then collect these sheets and then go to the sole computer in the caller center and record the data.
Most of the results I entered would be no answer or left a message on a voice machine. Sometimes we got a donation. So I would enter that caller outcome into the computer and somewhere else, the Alumni department would generate a donation envelope that was mailed to the Alumnus, so the Alumnus could then mail a check back to us.
Now, about 10 percent of the donations would be by credit card. At the end of the night, after the callers left, I would spend about 30 minutes processing the credit cards through this dial-up credit card machine. I did this without issue, for two months, September and October.
Now enter Karen, the new boss lady over the call center. She finally notices the extra 30 minutes on my time sheet each day and asks me about it sometime in late October. I tell her that I process the credit cards after everyone leaves for the night.
That’s how I was trained by the previous ‘Data Entry’ person. This upsets Karen, who says I am far too young to be handling credit card information. Makes clear that I am to stick to my job of only entering the caller’s data.
Period. End of story. Data Entry only. No handling the ‘money.’ The ‘money’ is to be handled only by the grownups. To be perfectly clear, these were credit card numbers handwritten on a sheet of paper. Absolutely no cash money involved on my end.
So, you got it condescending Karen! I stopped processing the credit card donations. I set them in a pile at the end of the night right by the credit card machine. And with each passing night, the pile grows and grows.
November ends, and this pile is now 250 pages or so thick. It also wasn’t my job to ask questions like ‘Who is processing the credit card sheets?’ Since the month ended and no credit cards were processed, Karen absolutely failed to hit her fundraising goals.
She starts to berate the call coaches and the callers for not doing a good enough job. Karen starts spending more time in the call center, watching everything and everyone like a hawk. I continue to do exactly what I was told to do.
One day, she would offer a prize, like, a college hat, and then the next, a long lecture about how everyone shouldn’t be lazy.
Over the course of December, I keep adding to the pile of unprocessed credit cards. It’s a good 500 pages thick by now.
Compared to the massive piles of sheets of no answers and left a message, it’s not very noticeable.
Naturally, someone in the Alumni department has noticed that the donations coming in are down about 25% over November and December. This results in me coming back from Christmas break where I get to meet Cool Chad, the new boss dude over the call center.
He asks if my job includes processing credit cards. I told him Karen told me not to, but I was trained to process them. In fact, I’m the only one who has been trained in how to process them. He says cool, please process the credit cards.
Cool Chad asks if there are any unprocessed credit card sheets. ‘Oh yeah, there are.’ Cool Chad then asks me if I could get this done over the next couple of weeks. ‘Oh sure, no problem.’ I spent several hours over a couple of Saturdays processing the credit cards.
Cool Chad has the absolute best January ever in the history of the call center. (The quotes are paraphrased… it has been over 25 years.)
Why is Cool Chad, Cool Chad? In February, Cool Chad gave me a raise from 8 bucks an hour to 10 bucks an hour. Thanks, Cool Chad.”
5. We Don't Offer Bribes? I'd Beg To Differ
“This happened a year or 2 ago. I had just returned from a long mission for my company in Indonesia. As soon as I could finish the paperwork I could go on leave. I had about 3 days of report writing left to do.
I had been ‘invited’ to a crappy meeting on ‘the company Ethos’ which I had declined. The H.R. underling sent an email saying it was obligatory, which I ignored. Anyway, the meeting started without me. Then the H.R. person came out and said I had to attend.
(room is full of techies, engineers, and anyone else who was in the office at the time.)
PowerPoint display went on and on, ‘company ethos’, other stuff, and then, H.R. ‘What to do if you are offered a bribe’. Which made me smile.
HR: ‘What’s funny?’
Me: ‘Oh nothing.’
HR: ‘No, go on.’
So I asked her if WE were supposed to offer ‘incentives’ in order to complete missions.
HR: ‘Never, if you remember the PowerPoint we just worked through?’
So I quickly copy/pasted a section of my WhatsApp conversation with the Missions officer (about 4 levels above H.R.
underling) and sent it to H.R. underling’s email.
Me: ‘I just sent you something.’ She opened it and began to read.
The Missions manager was a sound guy who understands that in some countries a little cash is the only way to make things function.
Anyway, the email stated the case. I had a hire car but I didn’t have access to a driver all the time and I was stuck in the hotel on weekends.
Theoretically, you can use your home driving license to obtain an Indonesian driving license and it should be straightforward.
In reality, they see it as an opportunity to make some bucks and will happily make you wait a year and do a driving test – unless you give a fat wad of banknotes in an envelope (2 Million Indonesian Rupiah, about $130, but it’s a lot to them).
Missions manager said ‘Fine.’
I asked him ‘How can I put it through expenses?’
‘Team building exercise, get a receipt.’ (code for making a fake one)
Which I did – Google ‘fake receipt generator’ – there are hundreds of sites.
So I made one for 4 steak dinners with wine and loads of beer.
I printed it out, screwed it up, and then scanned it. It looked legit.
Missions manager: ‘Looks good to me – approved’.
She was reading this on her laptop – but it was shared with the 70″ screen behind her. She looked up and everyone was smiling.
HR: ‘OK, we’ll break for coffee.’
I didn’t come back. She didn’t come looking for me.
I went on vacation 2 days later.”
4. Here's A List Of ALL The Work I'm Doing
“I’m working for a pretty big company, lots of departments, lots of ‘we are the best’ talk, and we really are. Core values are followed pretty well and major issues get dealt with quite well, apart from my boss, who we can call Gayle.
She’s a micro-manager, to say the least, and a workaholic who expected you to do a lot, but never outside of your normal shift, since she thought OT was the devil for us hourly workers.
The first MC was Gayle tasking me with this monthly report to hand up the chain to Mandy, who was a pretty big deal.
The report was intensive and very in-depth, so it took a lot of unpaid OT to learn and get it down. Gayle did not appreciate it and questioned what I was doing as to why it was taking so long (more on this later) as ‘learning something out of my scope’ was not too appropriate.
I and Mandy got to know each other well and developed a great working relationship which certainly benefited me as much as it could (we were generations and countries apart, no romantics). Gayle found out Mandy was asking me questions about my sites, and for some reason didn’t take it too kindly and informed me that any and all communication from myself to Mandy must go through her, Gayle, including this report.
Thankfully Gayle has a company-wide reputation for being a bit cray-cray, so I could hear Mandy roll her eyes on the phone the first time Gayle sent her the report rather than me. I had told Mandy that Gayle knew very little about this report, especially the most important part and two specific questions would likely have her forward those questions to me to answer.
So of course those two very specific questions were brought, but not by e-mail but rather on a big call of bigwigs just as I happened to step out of the office and was unable to field quick questions from Gayle over the computer, and the feedback was nothing but a roasting for Gayle as she had of course said the report was hers initially, and thus the report was taken away from Gayle (and me) altogether.
This upset Gayle, so she hammered back why I didn’t do other work while I was learning this report (6+ months had passed and I had it down to an absolute science that took no time updating), and asked me to begin logging EVERYTHING I do every day.
Due to other factors in this job, HR was already looped in on everything that was going on between Gayle and me so this was as well.
As you can already guess, the long story short is this log was filled out to the minute, after every task, phone call, or anything I did, including time for filling out the log.
The amount of detail I put in for this log (Gayle wanted as much detail as possible) allowed me to actually spend 2-3 minutes filling out this log for even the smallest task of a passerby at my office door asking me a quick yes/no question.
I loved it. This unfortunately didn’t allow me to complete all my normal tasks daily, and by the end of the first week, I had quite a pile of additional work.
Gayle, myself, and HR got on a call to discuss all this after the week, and HR obviously sided with me and told Gayle to either push work off me to someone else or get rid of this log that showed I was skipping breaks (good thing I wrote the log).
These weekly calls also got me a separate payment for an estimated but realistic amount of unpaid OT due to the first paragraph and another project, good guy HR.
Despite HR making my life a lot easier, Gayle did not. So I made the decision to switch departments entirely (zero carryovers).
Within two months of my switch, the entire department was functionalized with a few other departments due to ‘creating a better balance of work to employee’, changing the job scope of all my former colleagues entirely, and coincidentally rendering Gayle’s job useless.
She was pushed to a ‘special projects’ role for a year, where special projects then magically ended, and she was let go.
My new manager likes to send e-mails out of those under him who were promoted, she was able to see two of those with my name on it, the second just days before her final one.”
3. I Told You I've Already Sent The Paperwork
“So I’m trying to go to college as an adult, but after a wicked bad separation, I can’t afford the like $2300 for this course. I explained it to the financial aid person for the school, and she asked for a copy of my separation agreement to prove I was actually split – Yeah, no problem! I can do that!
I sent the blank PDF of the full agreement, along with a photo of the signatures, and explained my ex-spouse and I had to print it and sign it in person, so here were the signatures to go along with the PDF.
A few weeks later I get a phone call from a woman very quickly condescendingly telling me that she had a blank signature PDF and ‘What do I do with a PDF with no signatures? There’s nothing here. Can’t you see I’m trying to help you? You didn’t send me anything!’ But her voice was so incredibly snide and rude from the get-go, and didn’t even, y’know, consider there may be more than one attachment in the email.
OR to read the body saying ‘The signature page had to be printed, I’ve also attached a photo of it for proof.’
Nope, I was a buffoon! An absolute loon who sent a blank PDF just to waste her time and energy.
I brushed it off as her having a bad day, and tried to be friendly and helpful and say ‘Ah okay, yeah so in the same email, if you go here, there’s a second attachment, and that has the signatures on it.
It’s the exact same page as in the PDF, just printed and signed.’
She immediately jumped on me going ‘Yeah but you didn’t send it! There’s nothing here,’ and kept getting progressively crueler to me, and kept accusing me of stuff and not listening to me or letting me talk.
After a few times of me trying to politely explain that I was looking at the email and that there were definitely two attachments, the agreement, and the signatures, I just go ‘Okay okay no problem, here I’ll send it again.
Do you see it now?’
WELL, she did, but then she goes ‘This is only the signature page! Where’s the separation agreement? What am I supposed to do with just signatures? Where’s the rest of the agreement?’
I then also politely explain that the rest of the agreement is the exact same as the PDF I sent her, which mind you, is obviously really long.
This thing is in a binder. She already has the PDF (confirmed she had it, of course). But kept insisting that she wanted the printed one too because they were different.
I ask her what she means because I say if she has the full agreement, then the only page that’s different is the page with the signatures.
The rest is all just text describing y’know, what my ex and I agreed on when we split. She demands why doesn’t she have this one, though.
So I tell her I can take pictures of it if she really wants. And she’s just talking over me and goes ‘Yes, good! Finally! Do that.’ – Without actually listening to me.
So we hang up, and I proceeded to take a photo… Of every single page and email them to her. But Gmail has a limit of 5 items at a time. So after a few emails of me sending one page at a time of exactly everything she’s already read, I swiftly get an email back explaining that she’ll get back to me whether I’m eligible or not and to stop.
I may have screwed myself on getting a bursary for school, but she was already trying to deny me and wouldn’t even let me talk to explain it. So we’ll see how it goes, I guess. Hopefully, she listens to the next person when they try to tell her it’s the exact same thing.”
2. Here's Your Overfilled Test Tube
“I am a medicine student working in a surgical department in a big hospital. My job is to support the doctors by doing examinations and drawing blood samples.
We had a patient that was scheduled for surgery the next day, so I draw our standard preop blood samples, including a test tube for checking the blood clotting.
These test tubes have to be filled to the correct line, otherwise, the included chemical cannot stabilize the blood. I normally check if the tubes are filled correctly, but sometimes I forget about it.
I drew the sample and send it to the lab.
An hour later I get a call from the doctor on duty, saying that the clotting tube wasn’t filled enough and if I can draw another sample. I said sure, drew the sample, double-checked if it was filled to the line, and send it to the lab.
Another hour later I get another call from the doctor, asking me if filled the clotting tube correctly because the lab said again that it wasn’t filled enough. I made sure to double-check. She decided to draw the third sample herself.
We went together to the patient and we both checked several times that the tube was filled right to the line. We send it to the lab and we’re sure that we got it right this time.
Later the lab calls again stating that the tube wasn’t filled enough.
The doctor was so mad because the tube was definitely filled correctly. She asked the lab tech what she had to do. He replied: ‘Fill it to the top.’ ‘To the top?’ ‘Yes, to the top. The tube has to be completely full.’
So she maliciously complied, knowing that you only have to fill the tube to the line and not to the top.
We drew the fourth blood sample on the same day and filled it to the top. The patient was not amused.
An hour later the lab called and said that the test tube was too full, rendering the results invalid. The doctor was so mad and demanded to speak to the lab director.
She demanded that the lab sends someone over to draw the sample since we seem to be incompetent. So someone came over, drew the fifth sample, exactly to the line, and sent it to the lab.
It was also underfilled. Turns out the calibration of the analyzing machine was off. The lab director was quite embarrassed and apologized several times.”
1. His Being A Cheapskate Got Him In Trouble
“There’s a phrase of ‘knowing just enough to be dangerous’. That happened with a relatively new division manager. He came from a company where they used relatively simple automation and lots of human labor, in a highly automated place.
Initially, I had high hopes as the manager went out of their way to ask engineers and technicians to explain what is going on.
After several weeks of the manager figuring out their first steps, they settled on a genius idea. Instead of paying massive figures to industrial automation vendors and their equally expensive components, then waiting for weeks or months because much of that stuff was constantly back-ordered, why not use PCs, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and other consumer hardware to manage the production processes? It’s just as safe as using a consumer PC to run a Boeing 737 MAX’s flight controls.
After all, Windows never forced a restart for an update and consumer SSDs/HDDs can be trusted with years of continuous error-free operation, right?
His goal was to get a new production line built faster and cheaper, as it was previously stalled hard from vendors not having the necessary components and telling us ‘We’ll ship it when we get one’.
Thankfully he had enough caution to ask for a demonstration system to be built in parallel with the ongoing new production line design so that even if the demo system failed, the main project was unaffected.
The malicious compliance from many technicians and engineers when designing and building the consumer-grade industrial control system was: Ignore the effects of temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors; Ignore vibration; Ignore electromagnetic interference (I had a good laugh when I saw a technician setup a mini-PC right between two 480V 3-phase motors); Ignore dirty power (e.g.
hooking up a Raspberry Pi to a dirty 120V circuit); Because the objective is a cheap control system, unshielded copper-clad aluminum Ethernet cables were ordered and used. I’ll let the IT folks explain why that is a bad idea; Pretend to not know how to program consumer hardware or lift a finger with trying to learn how to use them, while demanding the company to pay for expensive, formal training courses (which management predictably hated that idea).
For those that actually program said hardware, put heavy, time-sensitive loads on the consumer hardware. Proper industrial controller devices are specifically designed to consistently complete their programmed tasks every 10 milliseconds or whatever cycle time was set for them. Failure to complete tasks within the cycle time is unacceptable as it could lead to industrial processes going horribly wrong, such as a transfer mechanism trying to move when the clamping mechanism hasn’t secured yet, resulting in a 60lb metal part being yeeted into the air.
Expecting Windows or Raspberry Pi to always finish their assigned tasks within 10 milliseconds is playing with fire.
For the safety testing, see above. Ignoring failed safety tests for a new production line is a quick way to be asked to leave the company, and the manager wasn’t stupid enough to pressure us to pencil-whip the safety tests.
Speaking of safety, there was a requirement for in the event of a fault, the system has to safely handle it. Or the company’s liability insurance would be voided and the company would get to eat the full worker’s compensation and legal costs of someone being injured/killed.
It was predictably a nightmare to design the industrial system to safely tolerate consumer hardware failures.
Many industrial system peripherals were designed for compatibility with specific industrial controllers, which meant additional engineering work was required to make those peripherals compatible with consumer hardware.
Industrial vendors refused to help (‘Use these programmable logic controller models, we don’t support Arduino. Ticket closed.’). The staff at the company would not do it themselves without formalized project plans, which further added to the costs and delays.
Another manager threw a fit when they learned that the demo system couldn’t accept live programming changes and thus required downtime to make logic changes, and insisted that feature has to be implemented at any cost because they hated downtime (which we never got around to that feature request).
Programmable logic controllers allow the programs to be edited and uploaded while still running for zero downtime.
Part of the reason why the vendors charged so much is for their support. Anything that went wrong with the consumer hardware, we were on our own.
Compared to the industrial vendors who would fly technicians to our site for troubleshooting.
Speaking of downtime, it is not uncommon for industrial systems to have uptime in the span of +5 years and sometimes about a decade. Turning them off and back on can be highly risky because sometimes things break as a result of the power cycling.
I would not trust consumer hardware to have that same level of uptime without running into an error.
Someone lost a chunk of the programming for an Arduino. Normally for programmable logic controllers, you can download their logic and the comments (if the previous programmers used them…) if you lost your original copy.
Recovering a running logic from Arduino in a human-readable format was a very different story.
The end result was a very delayed project because a few people were working on it after management refused to pay for formal C++ programming for Windows, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc training courses, and the thing never quite worked right. One day the division manager ordered the abomination to be scrapped and tossed into the trash.”