People Speak About Their Malicious Compliance Revenge
22. Make Me Touch Something I'm Allergic To? This Won't End Well For Either Of Us
“When my significant other (Jake) was 19 he had a job at a smoothie shop. He worked with three other people and his boss. (We’ll call him Michael) Jake’s one stipulation before getting his job was that he not work with peanut butter since he is allergic.
He’ll break out in hives and if ingested his throat will swell. Not bad enough for an EpiPen but bad enough to need Benadryl.
At this job, they made protein balls and it was made with peanut butter. One day during a rush Jake was at the sink when Michael threw a big bowl of leftover peanut butter in the sink and told Jake to wash it.
Jake argued and told him he can’t touch it and that he’d have a breakout. Micheal argued with him and told him to do it. So. Jake being the stubborn jerk he is, said ok. Fine!
Roughly five minutes later Jake’s hands and arms were covered in hives.
So once his arms had visible hives he took a picture and sent it in the workgroup chat the owners were in saying:
‘Can someone cover my shift? I’m a tad under the weather’ with pictures of his hands.
He walked out before anyone responded.
Someone covered his shift and the owners came in with the girl who covered the rest of his shift to yell at Michael.
The next day the girl told Jake about Micheal getting chewed out by the owners. The owners called Jake and apologized for what happened.
Long story short that along with stealing from the registers and being creepy with the high school girls Micheal was fired. Jake quit shortly after. Just because.
Yes, it was stupid and allergic reactions get worse. Yes, he’s well aware. He was a spiteful teen with no sense of self-preservation just pettiness, it’s just a little possible death.
The owners liked him and gave him an espresso machine when he left so he says ‘It was worth it’. No. He wouldn’t and won’t do it again.”
21. The Garbage Bags Are Waiting For You
“So I worked for a while at a group home type thing for young adults who were struggling. Usually, it was an uneventful job that involved helping them learn life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, etc. I worked overnights, so an uneventful job became even more uneventful.
A common task when I was on shift was taking out the garbage. The city this place was in would take 2 bags per house, and this facility was semi-detached with the walls in the middle taken down to make one large house.
So, thinking I’m doing my job, I take 4 bags to the curb.
The worker who would come in to relieve me in the morning, let’s call him B, absolutely loses it on me. ‘Why did you only take 4 bags out? The bin at the side is overflowing!’ For context, this program is not funded well in the slightest.
There was a rotting dilapidated garbage bin at the side of the house that was indeed overflowing with garbage. About once a month the manager would buy extra garbage tags or do a dump run. I let him know they will only take 4 bags.
B responds that ‘I’m the reason the bin at the side of the house is overflowing’, and ‘Next week I should put as many bags out as I can’. Immediately I knew exactly what to do.
Next week on garbage day I took all 37 garbage bags from the side of the house and arrayed them neatly for pickup.
I get a knock at the door and open it to the waste removal dude looking concerned. He says ‘You know I can only take 4 of these right?’ I said no problem. About an hour later B rolls in for his shift.
He was perpetually about 5 minutes late for his shift, which was infuriating after working an overnight shift. He gets out of his car absolutely speechless as he sees 33 garbage bags neatly arrayed on the front lawn. There was so much garbage you couldn’t even see the grass.
I smile and toss him the keys to the house before getting in my car and taking off without a word.
The bags were back in the bin when I returned that night. There are security cameras everywhere, so I had my first coffee of the night as I rewound the footage to watch B lugging all the bags back to the bin.”
20. Need Me To Write Down My Excuse? Okay, But It'll Embarrass You
“My friend was a teacher at an intermediate (ages 11 and 12). We were all early in our careers, we would have been about 23 years old at the time – experienced enough to be comfortable but dumb enough to still make silly mistakes.
Here in NZ at the start of the school year, we all have mandatory swimming classes through our school ages. The problem is that this usually occurs in March or April when the weather starts to get cooler. On top of that, most of our pools around the country are not heated and I personally have traumatic memories of jumping into sub-10 degrees Celsius water for the 1-hour session.
Because of these problems along with general adolescent indifference every single swimming class at least 5 people try to get out of the class. The most common excuses being ‘I’m not feeling well’ and ‘I forgot my togs’ (Togs = swimwear in NZ).
If students forget their togs they were often prescribed to write lines as their punishment which means on a notepad they write a sentence over and over again until the end of the class (think Bart Simpson on the blackboard during the opening theme song).
Back to my friend, he was at the back end of the year’s swimming season seeing endless excuses from his students some legit but most nonsense. On this particular day, one girl said that she wasn’t swimming today, a situation he was all too familiar with by now which went something like this:
Girl: Sir, I’m not swimming today.
Friend: Okay start writing your lines.
Girl: Okay but…
Friend: I don’t want to hear your excuses, go!
Girl: What do I write?
Friend: Whatever your excuse was going to be.
The swimming class ended and the kids who didn’t participate handed in their lines. After school, my friend inspected the lines to see if they wrote an adequate amount of lines over the hour until he got to the girl’s piece of paper which was completely filled with one sentence over and over.
‘I will never have my period again.’ ‘I will never have my period again.’
He was absolutely mortified as he is usually identified as one of the ‘cool’ teachers and pretty good with sensitivities around his students.
There’s no massive blow-up or huge consequences from this story besides he was deeply apologetic the next day to the girl and learned his lesson to listen to his students’ excuses from then on.”
19. I Must Confirm To Do Something I Don't Want To Do? Okay, I Just Won't Confirm
“My fiance (27m) and I work for the same company – and this actually happened to him a few days ago.
We work for a trucking company that has dedicated contracted work. I found the job posting, showed it to him, and we both decided to apply for it.
The job posting was listed as ‘home daily’ (a classic ‘9-5’ job where you work set hours/a shift, and then go home to sleep and repeat on the days that you work). When we did the joke of a phone interview, we were told: ‘home daily.’ When we finished our initial training and spoke to the account manager, we were told: ‘home daily.’
That was all nearly four years ago.
Flash forward three years (roughly a year ago), and things start falling apart. The company we work for is rather large, and the account manager has very little sway over the contracts that the company negotiates with the client – it’s done by a regional manager.
So during the yearly contract update in 2022, the client makes more demands and offers less pay – the district manager just wants to keep the client as a customer and agrees blindly without thorough consideration. The biggest change that matters for the story is there were new stores added to the contract to be covered by the account and 2 out of 4 of the new stores are NOT home daily.
There were many other changes that happened, that’s just the one that most directly affects the next series of events. Due to some other changes that drastically messed up the life of the office workers for the account, the account manager (who had been working for the company for 10+ years), quits without warning.
We get a new account manager, ‘Sarah.’ A few months later, one of the two supervisors (who had been with the company for 10+ years) quits without warning. We get a new supervisor – more on him in a tic. Two months after that, the second supervisor (who had been with the company for 10+ years) quits without warning.
(See a pattern here?) So now, the account is left with an account manager and a supervisor who both have less than a year’s experience, flailing to figure everything out.
Back to the bit about ‘home daily’ – about six months ago, my fiancé started getting the loads that were not ‘home daily.’ It took him a day and a half to complete one of the new stores.
Day 1 he would go up to the store, day 2 he would come back and do a super short run to conclude his shift before coming home. The first time he got to the new store, he called the supervisor to ask about it.
The supervisor was confused about what needed clarification.
My fiancé: ‘Will I be getting home? It’s a lot of miles for a single day’s run…’
Supervisor: ‘No, you’ll be sleeping roughly at (truck stop about 4 hours away from home).’
My fiancé: ‘I thought I was home daily?’
Supervisor: ‘Who said that?’
My fiancé: ‘The job was posted as home daily, I was told home daily during the interview, and I was told home daily by the previous account manager at training…’
Supervisor: ‘Well, I don’t know anything about that.
I wasn’t here for any of that. What I do know is that Sarah looked at everyone’s contracts, and nobody has ‘home daily’ in the contract, so everyone is expected to take an equal share of the new stores to make it fair.’
My fiancé: ‘Okay, but I know there are some guys who were hired ‘home weekends’ because they sleep at the operating center in their trucks, and go home for four days every so often.’
Supervisor: ‘Yeah, we have some guys who live out of state.’
My fiancé: ‘So why aren’t they doing the new stores since they don’t need to go home every night?’
Supervisor: ‘As I said, everyone is expected to take an equal share to make it fair – and nobody’s contracts state ‘home daily’ or ‘weekend hometime’ or whatever.
That was never part of the deal.’
My fiancé: ‘I have a family. I took this job thinking I’d have time with them. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I knew it ‘wasn’t in my contract’ that I’d be home daily.’
Supervisor: ‘Well, you’re free to get another job if you like, but without 10-day notice, you’ll be blacklisted and ineligible for rehire – so are you quitting or not?’
My fiance angrily did the load thinking it was going to be a once-every-now-and-then-thing.
Turns out, they sent him twice a week, the bare minimum. On top of that, most of the miles for the load are back roads up and down windy mountainous roads posted at 35mph. We are paid by the miles. He drives an additional 4 hrs to this new store for 0 extra pay because the store is in the middle of nowhere with no major highways.
He takes a major pay loss on top of the inconvenience of not being able to come home, sleep in his own bed, and be with his family.
Then, about three months ago, the supervisor messages both my fiancé and me to say that going forward, we will be expected to confirm all loads/work, or we won’t get loads.
We receive our work/loads 12-24 hours in advance, so we do have some time to confirm them – but it was never a concern before and we already had a lot of duties to fulfill that it wasn’t a priority each day to make sure we typed a message ‘confirm store 1124’ at the end of our shifts each day.
The supervisor called us both out on it and said that this was an important part of the workflow process. I asked him why it was suddenly so important. He insisted it was always important. I told him that I had never had to confirm loads each day, and I have never failed to show up for work – and on the super odd occasion where I am unable to do a load, it’s because of something like a flat tire/truck breakdown that I’m waiting for repairs, and I was always sure to contact the office and let them know as soon as possible.
Load confirmations are just ‘busy work’ that is unnecessary on everyone’s part.
The boss insists once more it is and please just do it. At that point, I gave up the argument. Maybe 60% of the time I remembered to confirm loads.
My fiance, even less. Both my fiance and I receive angry messages on our work tablets stating that going forward, if we do not confirm a load, it will be assumed that we are not able to work the load and it will be pulled from us and we will be placed on standby (paid at 50% average day’s load pay if we aren’t called in).
Well, over winter, most of the loads for this new store were canceled because of it getting drowned in snow. Now, my fiance is getting loads for it again. He got a notification that he was supposed to go to this new store on Sunday.
Guess who ‘forgot’ to confirm his load on Saturday.
Sunday, he wakes up – no load and an angry message from the supervisor: ‘Because of your failure to confirm your load, it has been taken off of you and given to someone else who actually wants the work.
You’re on standby.’
Tuesday – he’s once more given the new store and ‘forgets’ to confirm his load and wakes up to no load and an angry message that says basically the same and concludes with ‘Call me.’
So my fiancé calls the supervisor and the supervisor wants to know ‘why it’s so hard’ to confirm loads.
My fiancé just kinda dismisses it with a shrug and ends the call.
We found out Friday after talking to some other drivers that all previously ‘home daily’ drivers are now doing the same thing – get a store they don’t like (mostly these two new stores). Just don’t confirm. If we have to confirm to get to do the store, we just won’t confirm.”
18. I Shouldn't Send Any More Emails? That's Going To Mess A Lot Of Things Up
“I work in a call center that primarily deals with the public with issues or queries they have and whilst we can deal with a lot ourselves, there are a lot of things we must either log for another department to look into or transfer them across to that department.
For example, if someone calls about a broken streetlamp, they get transferred across to the street lighting team, but if someone calls about a pothole, we have to log it for the highway team to fix it – some departments don’t have an internal number for the caller to get transferred across to/a number we can call to speak to that department, and one of those departments is the enforcement department.
Of all the systems and departments we use and liaise with, the trickiest one we deal with is the enforcement system. Basically, ranging from food safety to the environment, there were multiple teams that enforced things, and all these issues had to be logged on this system.
For example, if someone called to report their neighbor for being too loud, that had to get logged on the system for the noise enforcement team to investigate, but we had to arrange for letters to be sent out about it.
If someone reported an abandoned car, we logged it, and the environmental enforcement team went out to investigate. If someone said they got food poisoning from a restaurant, we logged it and the food safety team investigated it, and so on.
The reason why it was so tricky was that if you missed a step, it didn’t get logged properly/it didn’t go to the correct team, which meant that someone would complain to your manager about it, and crucially, this was a legal system, which meant that if the issue escalated to court, whatever you wrote in your notes could be used in the court proceedings.
This wasn’t a 2nd nature, eyes closed kind of system – you needed to be concentrating because something you log can bite you in the butt a month later, for example when someone calls to say that they haven’t received a letter and it turns out you didn’t send it in the first place.
The way it worked was that a case was logged, which meant that it was open, and it got assigned to an officer like pulling a name out of a hat and throughout the time that it was open if someone called back to give you more information about the case, you could update it, and that update went directly to the investigating officer, and then when the investigation had finished, the case was closed by that officer.
Basically, once a case was assigned to an officer, they had to see it through from start to finish, whether it was deciding if a noise complaint was justified or going through black bags that were reported as fly-tipping to see if they could find anything that tied someone to that rubbish and so on.
It wasn’t as simple as that though, because there were cases that had been open for years, with multiple updates, there were multiple cases that had been opened and closed between the same properties for the same reasons, or someone had called about something and you weren’t 100% sure if it should be logged or not, etc.
I’m not sure how my colleagues dealt with those situations, but whenever I got a call like that, I just emailed the investigating officer just to explain the situation and ask for advice, and CC’d their colleagues just in case the investigating officer was off, or I just emailed the team to ask if they wanted me to log it as a new case or not, since if it was an ongoing situation, with multiple cases for the same thing, many officers may have dealt with it, and they may not have wanted me to log it as a new case.
I didn’t see an issue with it, because they either emailed me back with an answer, or they didn’t reply but logged it themselves after they’d looked into it, but one day I got a thorny email from a thornier senior environmental officer, basically telling me off and telling me not to send them emails anymore because the system was there to be used.
I emailed him back, explaining that it wasn’t that simple because there were tricky cases that I needed help with, and I didn’t want to update an old case or log a case if I didn’t need to, to not unnecessarily add to the caseloads of the officers and he replied back reiterating that I shouldn’t send any more emails, and finished it off by telling me to either update the case whether it was open or closed or open a new case – cue malicious compliance.
From that day forward, I did not send another email. If I got a call about an issue, and the last time the issue was raised was in 2017, I updated the 2017 case. If I was on the fence about logging something as a new case or not, I just logged it anyway.
If I checked the last case, and the investigating officer had left, I updated it anyway. I was unaware of this, but when I told people that the investigating officer would call them back like they typically did after we asked them to in our updates, they would call us a couple of weeks later to ask why they hadn’t received a call, and my colleagues would have to raise a new case for them because the one I updated was closed.
The officers also suddenly had an influx of new cases, because every time I updated a closed case, it ‘reopened’, which added to their caseload. The system they used worked on dates and caseloads, for example, if I asked them to call someone or inspect a property in my update, the system generated a time frame for them to complete that action, but if they were too busy to do something I’d asked them to do, it went red, which counted against them.
Also, for example, if they had 4 open cases, and then they closed 3 and they’d gone down to 1, they’d go back up to 4 again if I updated 3 of their old cases, so based on the system, they were not doing their jobs properly because they constantly had open cases.
This put their stats through the floor.
This went on for ages, and one day I was hauled into an office by my manager, and waiting for me was his manager, the senior enforcement officer, his manager, an HR advisor for me, and HR.
They told me that I was doing call avoidance (gross misconduct), purposefully misadvising callers and not triaging calls correctly. From what they were saying and the paperwork they had with them, I knew it was a ‘you’re fired’ meeting. HR asked me if there was anything I wanted to say, so I looked at the enforcement manager, pointed at the senior enforcement officer, and said, ‘he told me to do it.’
The enforcement manager looked at me, looked at the senior enforcement manager, looked at me again, and then asked me to clarify what I meant.
I explained it all from start to finish, making it clear that when I was sending emails, I always asked for advice and offered to log a case for the enforcement team if they wanted me to, and that before the email from the senior enforcement officer, my emails either were not replied to, but someone logged it for me, or someone replied to me to tell me to log a new case or to not log a new case.
The enforcement manager sighed and then asked me if I could send him that email, so I quickly left, went back to my desk, sent the email thread to him, and came back into the office. He read the email, sighed deeper than he did before, and then asked us all to leave but asked the senior enforcement officer to stay, and I left with a massive menacing grin on my face because I knew that I would keep my job.
The fallout was pretty big because the IT team had to go in and manually close all the ‘open’ cases so that the stats for the enforcement officers would go back to normal, the payroll department had to backdate all the months that the stats were messed up so that the performance bonus matched what would have happened had I not put their stats down (I didn’t know they had performance bonuses until afterward) and the senior enforcement officer got demoted to an enforcement officer, based on their new email signature.
A couple of weeks later, when the enforcement manager was less busy, he emailed me to basically say that he gives me permission to go back to emailing the enforcement team about cases, but I should use my own judgment – if I think I could justifiably get away with not logging something on the system, as in I could explain to my manager why I didn’t think it should have been logged, then I shouldn’t log it, and that logic would cut down the number of emails I had to send to the enforcement teams – No one got fired, but someone got demoted and a lot of work happened in the background to fix what I did.”
17. Refuse To Be Specific? I'll Just Send Everything
“I work in a tech company that handles multiple industries and provides software, hardware, and other things for all of those industries. My job is to handle all incoming inquiries for a select number of industries. A few weeks ago, I had an inquiry come in with the longest comment I’ve ever seen.
This person rambled, made very little sense, and mentioned every industry my company works in, minus one.
So, I reached out to him, via email, asking which solution he was interested in, to narrow down the information I would need to send.
He replied a few hours later with the snarkiest remarks I’ve received since working for this company. He demanded that I send the information he asked for (remember, he never specified what he was looking for, just mentioned things he did in industries we cater to).
I emailed back, again, asking in a clearer way, for information on which solutions he needed information on, as there are a lot. The next morning, the first email in my inbox was from him. Demanding that I send him information and that it’s not that hard to do, and I should just do my job.
Half of the email was in all caps. So after a chat with my boss, we decided malicious compliance was the only thing to shut this person up.
So, I spent the next hour compiling an email and sending every single informational brochure we had in our system.
All of the brochures were pdf files, and I compressed them into a massive file and sent it off. 3 days later, I get an email back from this dude, asking what all that stuff was. I told him it was all of the information my company had to offer potential customers since I was unable to narrow down specific areas of interest.
Never heard from him again.
It’s pretty tame, but I have never had so much fun putting together an email.
Adding that on top of bloating his email, I also set the pdf links to expire after a week. He can no longer access them.”
16. Manager Has No Idea That A Wet Wooden Floor Rots
“Back in the early ’00s my mother (40 F) worked as a cleaner for a couple of places and took me (13 M) with her to help. One place we worked for was the only real estate place in town. We cleaned up before the people who worked there got in.
When I started there it was small and somewhat dirty. Old smelly cubicle partitions in faded brown, off-color walls, ingrained dirt in the linoleum. We cleaned and I literally couldn’t tell the difference after we were done, except the mirror in the washroom not having any spots on it and the floor being wet from the fresh mopping.
Then the town started becoming a cottage town and it is decided that they will move to a nicer place. Cottagers might find the griminess a little off-putting. The new place had a bit more space, brand new blue cubicle partitions, newly painted walls that still smelled the first day I cleaned in there, and a cheap hardwood panel floor.
That floor was a bit of a problem.
See, before, when we mopped, we would just leave the water to dry on the linoleum. We could do that because we got there at ~6:30h and they opened at 7:30h. The place was small enough that it was mopped by around 7:00h before we left and would be mostly dry by the time people arrived.
If we did the same thing for this cheap wood floor my mother was worried we would have water seep into the cracks between the wood panels and rot them.
So a new method for mopping was devised. First I dunk the mop, then wring the mop lightly, mop up, wring the mop again but fully this time, and then mop up as much of the excess water as possible.
This new method actually visibly got a lot more water off the floor. By the time we left some of the earlier mopped areas would look mostly dry. Good solution Mom.
Couple weeks into the new place my mother gets contacted by the manager and a new order comes in that we are not to dry the floor.
I asked if she explained why we dried it. She had. I found this order a bit baffling at the time and it only occurred to me today the reason why he ordered this.
The manager got in earlier than everyone else at about 7:15h, so I actually saw him a few rare times when we ran late.
The old floor would have still been visibly wet in the old place when he got in. The new floor was now dry when he got in. Ipso facto we must have decided to skip mopping to leave early.
Even though I didn’t understand at the time that he thought we weren’t doing our job I, of course, found this new order stupid.
I thought ‘He wants the floors wet when he gets in? Fine.’
Cue Malicious Compliance.
You see, I did the mopping while my mom cleaned the washroom because I was a young strapping lad and she was my mom so I did what she said.
I now had a standing order from the boss to leave a wet floor and, by gum, it was gonna be sopping! From that day forth not only did I not dry the floor, I now didn’t even wring the mop after dunking it.
I dipped it in the water and just let water slop off of the mop as I pulled it directly out of the bucket. There was no way this was gonna dry before he got in. Probably not for an hour after he got in either.
Two weeks after I started doing this, lo and behold, the wood paneling is already starting to separate at the seams. Dirt is accumulating between tiles. It proves impossible to remove. I was a bit shocked at the time at how fast that had happened.
Four weeks into the new mopping routine the floor was rotting. Was my mother psychic or what? It was apparently very cheap fiberboard with a paper-thin plastic ‘wood grain’ pattern on it. I would have guessed a laminate ‘wood grain’ on top of semi-waterproof fiberboard if you’d asked me four weeks ago.
The floor now had visible divots and lines where the plastic paper sank into the deteriorating wood underneath. This trapped dirt in them as well. How classy! The floor, not even two months after they had moved into the new place, was even worse than the old beat-up linoleum one.
At this point I asked my mother if we should start drying the floor, and wouldn’t you know it, she had already asked. The answer was no. Leave it wet. Baffling.
We cleaned there for another month or so. I barely felt safe walking on the floor as it was a now-tripping hazard with warped parts popping up. It was also disintegrating. Splinters of wood would pop off every time I swept. The floor now had the dubious distinction of being the worst floor I had seen in a place that wasn’t dilapidated.”
15. Don't Want Me To Clean Up Early? Fine With me
“I am a Master’s student who works as a TA (teacher’s assistant) for a class of 60 students. It is a lab course so there is a ton of setup and cleanup. I usually end up working an extra hour or two past the end of lab (which I get paid for but it does mean I go home really late).
So I started tidying up once most of the students were gone. There is another TA and the professor to answer questions.
I did this for a few weeks until I missed a student’s question. The prof yelled at me and embarrassed me in front of the student for ‘not doing my job’.
The other TA was on his phone and the professor was standing at the front not doing anything. He told me to ABSOLUTELY not clean up until ALL the students were gone.
We had one student that always stayed over an hour later than everyone else.
The next week this student was the only one in the lab for over an hour past the end of the lab. The other TA was helping them. I stood there, not lifting a finger until she left.
I took my time tidying up.
The other TA is useless and was barely helping. Two hours passed (now 9:00 pm) and the lab was barely cleaned up. The professor started panicking saying he still had to write lectures, do his own experiments, and then have an hour’s drive home.
He had to help clean up.
I did the same thing the next week and the professor went into a full-on panic attack. He told me that I could clean up early next week. I told him that unfortunately the extra hours I put into cleaning for the last two weeks used up all my hours for the semester so I wouldn’t be in. I heard that the next week was absolute chaos and the other TA complained that they were there almost until midnight.”
14. Just Hit The KPIs? Your Customer Satisfaction Will Drop
“This story came from 5 years ago when I worked for a small IT MSP company. We had four full-time techs, with the ‘newest’ tech having about 5 years of experience and me being the most seasoned tech with nearly 15 years of experience.
Between the four of us, we managed about a thousand PCs and about 20 servers spread out over about 30 clients. None of us were assigned to a specific client; we would all take turns grabbing whatever tickets came in. All of our work was lump sum or contract work, so we never had to worry about how long a problem took to fix or how much it would cost the client.
We had an Account Manager who handled all the billing and things with the clients. It was a dream job for a tech; we got to show up and do our jobs and not have to deal with sales or billing any other client drama.
I not only had the most experience but was also the most self-motivated. I would often come in early and get started on the tickets that came in after hours, and I would assist the other techs if they came across a complex problem.
Everyone, including the owner, referred to me as the ‘Senior Tech,’ even though that wasn’t my title.
After two years working there, I decided to talk to the owner about a raise. I brought all kinds of information to our meeting, showing that I closed the most tickets and received the most positive feedback from a survey we sent our clients.
He agreed to give me a raise but said he wanted to think about how much to give me and that he would get back to me.
A few weeks later, he called a company meeting and announced that he had decided to change some things and that he would no longer be giving anyone raises.
Instead, he would set up KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and the entire tech team would receive weekly bonuses based on hitting those numbers. I didn’t like this at all, as it meant my pay was dependent on the performance of everyone on the team and not just me.
I found out later one of the other techs had also asked for a raise, so this was the owner’s solution to pay us less.
The KPIs were simple enough. If a ticket came in, we had to acknowledge it within 15 minutes to achieve a score of 100.
If we missed the 15-minute window, the score for that ticket was 0. There were a total of 10 things we had to hit, including how long the ticket was open before we marked it as complete. If the total score for the week was above 90 we each received a $100 bonus.
I saw major problems with this bonus system and I shared my concerns with the owner. He got very annoyed with me and said ‘Just hit the KPIs!’
Cue the Malicious Compliance.
We all figured out pretty quickly how to game the KPI system.
We could acknowledge a ticket in the system but it didn’t check if we had actually called the client. We would just email and mark the ticket as ‘Reached out to the client.’ A big issue is that sometimes a client would put in a low-priority ticket and ask that we schedule it for some time the following week, but that would make us miss our KPI.
So we would start hounding the client to schedule it sooner, and if they were not available, we would simply close the ticket.
We quickly learned to hit our KPIs and start getting a bonus every week, however, it caused our customer service to drop, which is exactly what I had warned the owner of.
During the previous 2 years, we had never had a complaint about our service, but now there were multiple complaints every week. This whole process added a ton of stress to us, as we all started to fight when someone missed a KPI and we all started to work late on Fridays to try and get in those last few numbers.
After 2 months the owner finally realized he had made a mistake. He removed the bonus system (without giving us a raise) and asked us to go back to how things were. At this point, I was so stressed I had already started looking for another job, and we had lost 2 clients.
I was the first to put in my two weeks’ notice, but before I left the other three techs had all put in notice as well.
The last I heard the company had lost over half its clients and the owner had to bring in several new techs, paying them over 20% more than I had asked for my raise.”
13. We Can't Take Lunch? Let's See What HR Has To Say About That
“In my mid-20s, I worked for a multinational accounting firm. I (F) have always had a really firm policy for standing up when something doesn’t sound right, irrelevant if it puts me in an awkward position.
Background on Karen (my director): when she joined the team we all liked her, she made great changes and we got on well with her.
But the moment she was promoted to director and had direct reporting to the partner, she flipped. Became a completely different person and made our life miserable. Previously she spent her career heading up call centers (which was really evident in her management style), and for some reason made it her mission to cut costs in the team and go under ‘budget’.
This affected everything – from telling us we didn’t have a stationary budget for pens and had to take from other teams’ stores to only allowing a ‘1 drink, 1-course’ policy on team dinner events. This was a huge company and other teams around us would go for fancy all-expenses paid social events so we felt pretty put out.
Her cost-cutting also extended to things like no overtime approvals unless known way in advance (that didn’t last long as we were understaffed so quickly emergencies weren’t dealt with) and hiring school leavers instead of graduates as they were cheaper, despite the work needing more experience.
Her favorite saying to everything was ‘it’s policy’ or blaming HR or higher-ups saying whatever new thing – even if a new irrelevant spreadsheet – would ‘come from HR’. Honestly, the amount of time HR spent on our lil team in a company with 20k plus UK employees was astounding!
Then came the day she booked an all-day training session from some external company to show us how to use a new system.
She went on about it for weeks. Was super excited that she had brought in this new system. The training was intense, so freaking technical, mind-numbing, and most of all – expensive. So what would normally be covered over a few days was crammed into 1 full day.
They were paid hourly – shock.
She sent an email advising how we’re expected to attend, it will go through the whole day and lunch would be provided but it will be a ‘working lunch’ so training would also be through lunch.
Needless to say, the thought of sitting in a stuffy room for 8 hours without a lunch break wasn’t appealing. I asked for an exception as I really relied on going outside for the hour at lunch for a break. I was in the midst of high anxiety at the time and my breaks got me through.
She said it’s ‘policy’ that we would be expected to change our work day around to fit training and there is no ‘policy’ that requires her to allow me to go out. If I had an issue – I should check the HR manual.
I think until now, this statement usually worked for her as no one really ever checked.
I went one better. I went to HR. Cue malicious compliance…
Using the effective wording of ‘ for my mental health and well-being’ HR replied, and of course, disagreed as UK law mandates training as ‘work’ and an 8-hour day requires at least a 1-hour break… which I am allowed to choose what I do with.
They CC’d Karen. Karen backed down but verbally told me it was an exception for me and to not share with the rest of the team. Of course, I didn’t comply – she was breaking the law! So I showed the email chain to everyone as they were complaining about the same thing.
So I and the rest of the team came up with a lil plan. Sandwiches were delivered… budget sandwiches of course, from the supermarket down the road. Instead of our slightly more expensive internal catering team who caters to this exact type of thing for our 10-floor building.
I stood up and announced I was going on lunch and would be back in an hour. Cue the rest of the team (all 12) to stand up after me. Karen goes ‘Where are you all going’. To which someone replied ‘I understand that HR said we were allowed to leave the room for the hour for lunch.’ THE LOOK ON HER FACE! She knew she was stuck.
She couldn’t say anything. We left her in there alone with the two trainers who seemed to guess something was up. I’ve never felt more satisfied in my life. We all had a good laugh about it outside. I think I even did a happy dance.
She also knew she couldn’t complain to me about it, as that would highlight her breaking the rules.
I felt like I was walking on air all day. After this, there was much less blaming of HR, and generally, she was a little skittish around me because she knew I didn’t take her crap and would call her out.
A second training session had to be booked since the training would never have worked in one day. There were lots of moans and groans about how expensive the extra training session costs of course.
I left a couple of months afterward and so did pretty much the rest of my team, replaced by school leavers of course. But I’m very glad I complied. I believe Karen still works there but for a much smaller team.”
12. Punish Us For Something We Didn't Do? You'll Regret It
“I am a forklift driver in a logistics team at a factory for car parts. All in all over 3 shifts there are 24 forklift drivers in linefeed plus 4 management for the morning shift and 3 general logistics workers (for inbound and outbound deliveries, so unloading and loading) for the morning and day shifts.
Of those 31 members of the logistics team, 28 are smokers, including myself. Especially in line feed, it can be extremely stressful, if several lines run dry of a component at the same time, which happens a lot due to the co-dependency on parts (parts go from line a to b to c to quality control to shipping).
So we take smoke breaks when we need it and there is time for that. A general rule at my work is: ‘If you can smoke, you have time’ and everyone is following that rule. No one goes smoking if the lines are empty, or during general busy hours.
And we got really efficient at that. No one on the team is smoking for more than maybe 2 or 3 minutes at a time. Literally, just rush to the smoking area and inhale your dose, then back to work.
Last week, a factory-wide HR statement prohibited smoking, except during the designated break times, due to some of the lines repeatedly stopping cause workers on the lines didn’t bother to ask for someone to cover their machine during their smoke break.
HR had enough and the entire factory was from there on out prohibited to smoke, except during the designated breaks.
So why am I mentioning that? Of course because of the stressful nature of that job and HR demanding that it is simply not possible to have the entire factory at once having a break.
So the foreman of every line designates the breaks, usually 2 times 15 minutes, but all lines at different times.
The lines that is, not the logistics team. The logistics team, because of this rule, can’t have the break at a designated time and we all usually take our breaks with the associated line.
We didn’t like that WE got punished for the mistakes of others and our manager made this also clear to HR.
BUT our contract states that we individually take our breaks, as long as the break starts no less than 2 hours after the shift begins and ends no less than 45 minutes before the shift ends.
Cue malicious compliance. Every single one of us linefeed workers decided after our manager being really fed up with this rule as well (yes, also a smoker with no ‘designated’ break) to take our breaks in 10-minute increments after 2 hours, 4 hours, and the final one after 6 hours.
To cut things short, it was perhaps the shortest rule in our team that existed. Only about a week and we got a mail from HR that workers of the logistics team don’t fall under this rule and can go on smoke breaks, provided the lines are not standing and a total time of 30 minutes per shift is not exceeded.
Maybe petty and a bit of jerkery, but in my opinion it was worth it.”
11. She Indeed Attended The Event...But Not With Him
“My sister (Jen) married right out of college and had five kids with her husband (Chris) over the next eight years. He preferred that she stay home with the kids. She wanted to work but accepted that life took her in a different direction.
She cared for the house and kids and he worked long hours to comfortably support the family.
Chris’s employer held a black tie dinner/event annually until 2020. Chris always attended alone, insisting that Jen needed to stay home to take care of the kids.
The employer resumed the black tie events last year. My nieces and nephews then ranged from seven to sixteen years old and could stay by themselves for a few hours, but Jen asked me to pick up her daughter from the activity and help with dinner on the night of the event.
Jen told Chris she had everything arranged for the kids and she was excited to go to the event. Chris said he’d rather go alone because she had put on some weight and wouldn’t be able to lose it in time to look good at a formal event, but they can go the next year if she tries to ‘get back into shape.’ My sister called me in tears to cancel our plans.
She was shocked that Chris didn’t want to be seen with her. (I’m not shaming anyone for their weight, but Chris has to be bordering on clinically obese and blamed the extra weight on work stress. Meanwhile, my sister was 6 pounds overweight, according to the BMI chart, and she’s a natural beauty.) Chris wanted her to lose 30 to 40 lbs to ‘look good enough’ in formal attire.
Jen politely declined my offer to castrate Chris and asked that I not discuss this with our family. I reluctantly agreed, but suggested marriage counseling because nothing about that was acceptable.
Jen promised Chris that she would lose weight and attend the next year’s event.
She made an effort to eat healthier and worked out nightly after the kids were settled. She said Chris was impressed with her determination and loved that she was taking his advice. At our family gatherings, he was more affectionate with her and bragged that she had been losing weight and trying to look her best for him.
I bit my tongue so hard I tasted blood.
About six months later, the same week that Jen had reached her personal weight loss goal, she took her kids to our parents’ house and quietly filed for divorce. I later found out that Chris had refused to entertain even a conversation about marriage counseling, berated Jen in front of the kids, accused her of having affairs in the limited alone time she had to run errands for the family or get a haircut, and privately and publicly often ‘joked’ that she was stuck with him because no one else would want an ‘unskilled, unemployed’ 40-something mother of five.
Apparently, his demand for weight loss was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Jen is now employed at a job she enjoys and spends tons of quality time with her kids. Chris sees them about one weekend a month because his ‘work is too demanding’ to take care of the younger kids alone more frequently.
The older two don’t go to his house anymore because they say he leaves them to care for their younger siblings.
This past weekend, Jen fulfilled her initial promise to Chris that she would lose weight and attend the next black tie event…
but not with him. She went with a long-time friend, who works for the same organization as Chris. She wore a beautiful gown and looked stunning. Chris started a conversation with her, during which he put his arm around her waist and tried to physically pull her away from her date.
In front of his colleagues, she updated him on the recent accomplishments of their older children (whom he had not seen or spoken with in more than two months). He awkwardly left shortly afterward, reportedly red-faced.
As it turns out, many people want a 40-something mom of five – a successful man who was Jen’s high school sweetheart, a good employer who values her ability to multitask, fine-tuned by years of being a dedicated mom to active kids, and her children, who are generally happy that she left their pompous jerk of a father.”
10. Confess My Sins? Okay, But You May Not Like What I Have To Say
“I live in Mexico and we practice Catholicism (for those who didn’t know), we have these rituals called ‘la primera comunión’ (first communion) and ‘la confirmación’ (confirmation) which every catholic has to go through at some point of their lives after several semesters of ‘catesismo’ (bible study), usually people have to first get the first communion before being able to do the confirmation, if everything goes well, the person would have completed their confirmation at somewhere around 10 years old.
The only problem is I was around 14 years old AND an atheist (at this age I was just coming out to my family, but it’s been a while since my doubts). My family wanted me so badly to do the first communion and were even pressuring me a bit because I was already way behind (I hadn’t had my confirmation due to a LOT of moving out and other shenanigans), but, I refused.
They were rather surprised and started trying to convince me on doing it. After a few months of back and forth, they told me that my uncle (the favorite of my uncles) has never been someone else’s godfather (yes, we have a godfather and godmother in every event) and that he wished to be someone’s godfather so much.
So I finally accepted, really just to please him. To be honest, I now see that it was just a dirty trick because my uncle took it very lightly, like ‘cool’ level lightly. Anyway, I’m getting off track.
We started preparing everything that I needed for the ceremony.
The suit, flowers, a bible, and a place where to hold the event, among other things. One of those was to ‘confess’. So we went to a big historical church in my town (we have lots of historical buildings from the Spanish colonization and they are pretty impressive).
My parents told me to go in and confess myself to the priest, so I did. I went in there. I met with the priest and he took me to a backroom with two chairs. He sat me down and asked me to confess my ‘sins’, and I let it out, it went something like this (mind that this was about 8 years ago and my memory is a bit fuzzy).
The priest, with a calm and cordial tone, began ‘So, tell me, what’s wrong? what have you done?’ To which I replied with ‘I haven’t really don’t anything, I am just here because my parents told me to’. The priest looked a little confused and asked ‘So, why would they tell you to come here if you have done nothing? You must have done something?’ I again talked and said ‘No, not really.
You see, I am doing my first communion soon and I was told that I needed to come here’. The priest, now even more confused, asked ‘Why are you getting your first communion this late?’ (mind that I look way younger than my age, but it was still way too late for a kid to get the first communion, which was strange to see around these parts).
I spoke, now a bit nervous ‘Well, I don’t really believe in god’ and he cut me off and somewhat angrily shouted ‘What? You don’t believe?’ I was allowed to continue as he stared me down with an angry stare ‘Well, no, I’ve doubted for a while, and I don’t really believe that there is a god’.
The priest at this point was RED. He looked like he wanted to rip my throat out and then he just went off ‘Do you think that this is a game? huh!? How dare you set foot in my church if you don’t even believe’.
He raises his hand. At that moment, I kind of felt that it was an incoming strike, but instead, he aggressively pointed away ‘GET OUT AND DON’T COME BACK UNTIL YOU TRULY BELIEVE’, then I got up and kindly jogged/nervously walked outside the room, and closed the heavy old wooden door on my way out, then I just kinda chickened outside the church.
I was both scared and… how do I put it… I know! ‘I can’t believe I just did that that was crazy’. Yes, I felt those things… and I also felt a little bit bad.
Anyway, I came back to the car after I switched the look of fear on my face into a fake smile.
My parents asked me ‘How was it” and I told them ‘Oh, the priest kicked me out’. Both of my parents’ jaws dropped, their faces went red (with both anger and embarrassment I believe) and they said ‘WHAT?’, so I repeated ‘Yea, he kicked me out during the confession’.
They asked with anger ‘What did you say to him?!’ to which I replied with ‘the truth’. They knew exactly what I was talking about. We stayed parked while they figured out what to do next while scolding me from time to time.
After a while, they took me to the house of a friend of theirs who was also a priest and told me to go ‘confess’ again, but this time to leave that stuff untouched. So I went in there. He asked me what did I do.
I told him nothing, and he was like ‘Eh, good enough’. We sat there for a few minutes talking about something. I think it was cars and sports (well, he was talking, I was nodding), then I went back and told my parents that I did it.
After that, I went to an event filled with 6-year-olds. I got my first communion, a free suit, and the best of it all, the respect of my whole family. Now nobody questions my beliefs and/or tries to force me into ceremonies of that nature, not even my grandmother, and she is an extreme believer. So, I’m pretty darn happy with how it went… though I still feel bad about the priest. I feel like he got caught in the crossfire. He was just doing his job, I guess.”
9. Separate The Towels From Everything Else? Good Luck With Your Tower Of Laundry
“I am a hotel housekeeper. It was a pretty busy day and almost all of the rooms had to be stripped. We have two carts for dirty laundry. (Well… except for the one on the top floor, and the one used to catch what we toss down the laundry chute.
But that’s unimportant.)
What is important is that my boss is pretty insistent on sorting the laundry before it goes to get put through the cleaning process. Sorting the laundry entails separating the towels and… everything that’s not towels into two ‘dirty’ baskets.
Now, as I mentioned, it was pretty busy and there was LOTS of laundry. But I still had to sort them. Initially, I tried taking the towels out and swapping them all into one basket while putting everything else into the other.
After a while, I realized that this method would probably take hours at best. I got the idea to take everything out, sort them into two piles, then put them back in. So I did.
The pile of towels was medium-sized at best.
The pile of everything not towels, however, was nearly up to the ceiling. I put them back into their respective baskets and found that the stack of not-towels was in fact taller than me, and I’m over six feet tall! About this time, the manager walks in and says, verbatim, ‘What did you do?’
‘Exactly what you told me to do.’
My manager is barely five feet tall and couldn’t hope to reach the top of the stack.
The person who comes in when I leave is also very short. Speaking of which, it’s my time to go. ‘Have fun!’ I said as I clocked out. As I walked out, I heard another ‘WHAT?!’ this time from the poor employee who came in and saw my handiwork.
Apparently, she had to stand on a chair to reach the top, which would not have happened if I wasn’t told to sort it. The best part was that I couldn’t be blamed because… well, I did what I was told.
But it doesn’t stop there: she demanded that I call my 6’5″ friend and coworker to help… too bad he specifically requested that day and the next few after that to go on vacation with his SO. Talk about bad timing.
Since then, sorting the laundry has been optional for housekeepers.”
8. Okay, I'll Put Cutting Polystyrene As Top Priority
“I worked at a small AV company, we dealt with thousands of NEC displays every year and management had absolutely no idea how to deal with the waste from each job mainly polystyrene. We used to throw it in the skip, job done, gets taken away.
The company hired a new general manager, Martin his name was who worked with me for 2 months, at this job I ran many roles as it was a small company. I was busy all day every day with warehouse management, PC configuration/IT support and also working in accounts with purchasing and ordering stock, etc (my pay didn’t even cover warehouse management let alone any of the other jobs).
Martin decided to e-mail me with a request on how I should manage the job that I had been working at for 5+ years and knew like the back of my hand. Martin’s top priority in the email was cutting the polystyrene into small squares to save space in the bins…
I emailed Martin back to explain that if I’m standing there cutting Polystyrene cubes into small squares then most of my work time would be spent doing that and leaving no time for anything else. He replied by saying that it should still be the top priority on my things to do, so yeah I took that literally.
Nothing got done, no stock orders, no kit preparation, no deliveries, no PC builds, and I couldn’t fetch anything down from the racks on the forklift (I was the only one trained to do so) absolutely nothing was done apart from cutting polystyrene into small cubes.
Martin even brought in his own saw from home to help me save time cutting the polystyrene up… LOL.
2 days went by, and I had cut over 100+ blocks of polystyrene into small squares to save room in the bin, everything in the company was falling down the dumps and Martin came down in a panic.
Nothing had been done like I said as I didn’t have the time if I cut the polystyrene into small squares, so I ended up having an argument with Martin in the warehouse asking about why am I cutting polystyrene into small squares.
Martin said it was to save money on buying skips, then I pointed out that they have paid me more than an extra collection over 2 days of cutting the polystyrene up… he walked off.
A day later I receive an email from my other manager who was higher up than Martin which basically said I have a disciplinary meeting at lunchtime that day…
my reply was obviously no, I needed time to prepare what I was going to say and made them push it back a week.
I collected statements on my work from all my colleagues that were willing, some even confronted Martin and called him an idiot which quite rightly, he was.
I collected my years of work, every job, every PC configuration, every order, every delivery, every kit prep, etc everything was piled into 6 folders of crap to throw at them.
So I had my disciplinary meeting and threw everything at them and they were absolutely speechless with all the stuff I was doing and that I had been told to prioritize cutting polystyrene into small cubes to save on bin space.
When asked if I had any questions I asked one that shut them up instantly ‘What risk assessment was carried out before asking an employee to cut up bonded polystyrene and what PPE (personal protective equipment) was provided?’ I have a recording of the meeting and every single manager sat there in silence, my question went unanswered and one said ‘We’ll answer that in our report’ which I never received.
Anyway, Martin was made redundant soon after, he was asked to drop his work equipment to me at the office… he sent it with a courier instead.”
7. Karen Didn't Want Me To Talk To Her About The Issue So I Went Straight To The Higher-Ups
“I work in IT. I don’t deal with generic computer problems. I’m an expert in a complicated program at work. Almost every department in my work uses this program. When bugs and/or issues are found, I do my best to fix them myself.
If I can’t fix it, then I forward the issue to our vendor who manages the program for us.
Taking new versions of this program is a big deal. We just don’t take it. We install the new version in a non-production environment and every department must test it and sign off on it.
This process can take 1 to 2 months to complete.
Now enter our Karen of this story. Note that dealing with her has always been an issue. She always gives me crap for bugging her when I have questions. I thought it was personal but I asked other people in IT about her and they confirmed that she is always a pain in the butt to deal with.
We were one day away from taking an upgrade. This upgrade was important as it had new features that were needed for new clients, plus several extremely needed bug fixes. This is after we went through testing and got sign-off from every department to take the version.
Of course, Karen opens up a help desk ticket on the new version. It’s a big enough issue to cancel the upgrade. Submitted literally in the final hour. Needless to say, even the higher-ups were mad, and I got huge pressure to submit this to our vendor as soon as possible.
The helpdesk ticket stated the issue and at the bottom of the ticket was this sentence. ‘You may not contact me about this issue. There will be no IM’ing me, calling me, emailing me, or standing next to my desk’.
So I reviewed the ticket and can you guess what the issue was? User error.
Cue malicious compliance.
Since I couldn’t talk to her about it, I went straight to the higher-ups. The same people pressuring me to submit the issue. Told them the problem and I wasn’t allowed to contact her about it. They said they would take care of it.
About an hour later Karen comes sheepishly to my desk. This was the nicest I have ever seen her. I pointed out the issue to her and she said she would review it. 5 minutes later I got an IM from her saying to close the ticket.
The upgrade then proceeded as planned.
This happened several years ago. I wish I could say she got fired for this little stunt, but that didn’t happen. However, I got the next best thing. She was no longer in charge of testing. In fact, I haven’t gotten a single help desk ticket from her since.”
6. Ignore The Pain I'm In Because It Must Just Be The Ocean Salt? I Won't Say A Word
“There were 2 beaches in Mexico my family frequented, as my grandmother lived in town. We usually went to the further beach, as it turned into basically a giant clam farm when the tide went down. My 50 billion cousins and I would get buckets full, then the groups would cook them the next day.
This was my favorite part, as I was never fond of the ocean (thanks Jaws).
One year, in my mother’s infinite wisdom, we went to the closest beach because they just didn’t feel like driving to the good beach. I, being a typical 14-year-old, started whining to my mom the minute I saw the first of what would be many broken bottles.
I whined about the seaweed on the shore that was stinky and right next to our setup. I tried to play in the sand, but people kept throwing things, in one case, an entire dog, into my castles.
Ultimately, I decided to get into the water where my mom had gone, which is where I made my mistake.
After only a few minutes, I began to feel a kind of pin sticking into my arm. I saw a bunch of small fish around me, so I dismissed it as the fish swimming by me. I went over close to where my mom was and felt it again, but now it kinda hurt for a bit.
I swished my arms around, and it stopped, but I didn’t see anything besides the tiny fish.
I told my mom, ‘I think something is biting me.’
My mom says, ‘Oh, it’s just the salt, you’re fine. That’s why I keep telling you to put lotion on.
Your skin is so dry!’
‘I’ve never been hurt by salt before, Mom.’
‘Then just ignore it. There’s nothing biting you! I know you don’t like this beach, but don’t ruin it. We’re just trying to enjoy the day, and no one else is complaining about bites!’
I go into petty mode and just stare at her as I remained perfectly still.
It didn’t take long until I felt those bites again, but now I was gonna ignore it. So I just stood there for several minutes, just staring at her, until the pain turned into burning, and the burning turned into agony.
Did I panic? Nope. I ever so slowly got closer to my mom until she got startled at how close I was.
Then, like frozen molasses in January, I lifted my arm and said, ‘Hey, I caught some salt!’
There, on my arm, was a small bunch of what looked like brown and white striped string, and it was burning the shape of its body onto my swelling arm, right in front of our eyes.
A bunch of baby sea nettles (jellyfish) were stinging me and were pretty much invisible until they were out of the water!
My mom swatted my arm and shouted for everyone to get out of the water. It wasn’t a stampede of cousins or anything, but everyone looked at me to see what happened.
We spent the next hour wasting our Popsicles on my arm as the burning went on for quite some time. Of course, me being me, I had to ask my mom if there was salt in the Popsicles.
It didn’t stop them from going to that beach but the next time they went, it was the season for the moon jellyfish, which wash up on the shore and completely cover the beach, making it really dangerous for children and dogs alike. The time after that, there were so many people that my cousin almost stepped on a small pile of broken beer bottles and used syringes. I never went back.”
5. They Finally Learned How Thermostats Work
“I share a 5-bedroom home with 4 other small families. My ‘neighbors’ are from a Spanish-speaking country and don’t know English very well; the language barrier is large between us.
The way this house was built (in 2015) does not allow for very good ventilation between rooms or floors.
Additionally, the HVAC system does not have thermometers in each room. Instead, it’s combined with a thermostat, one of which is located in the hall I share with my neighbors. It reads 68°F (20°C) on average, but that’s with both bedroom doors closed.
Thus, the temperature in either one of our rooms can vary drastically. Since we share a thermostat… You can see where this is going.
The landlord has expressed his wish to keep the thermostat above 60°F (16°C) as long as it’s colder than that outside.
Easy enough, open the window when it’s hot and close it when it’s cold. My desk is next to both of our windows, so that’s primarily been my responsibility.
Both parties tend to avoid conflict so we haven’t discussed this face-to-face, or even through text.
Every so often, my roommate and I will notice that it’s uncomfortably hot or cold. Every time we’ve checked the thermostat, it’s been set to either 80°F (27°C) or 50°F (10°C).
Naturally, we set it back to heat to ~64°F (18°C) and cool it to ~70°F.
Apparently, this does not suffice for our neighbors. They have been, over the past month, continuously setting the thermostat back to 50°F (10°C) even when it’s been below 40°F (5°C) outside.
But, here’s the kicker: The A/C wasn’t even running until yesterday! The air coming out of the vents has been cold because most of our HVAC system is in an uninsulated garage.
This knowledge was gifted to us by the landlord, who also doesn’t speak Spanish, and he assumed we would pass the information to our neighbors.
Yet again, as predicted, they set the thermostat to 50°F (10°C). But this time, we let it run like that all night, making sure to grab all the blankets from the shared laundry room.
Remember, when the temperature in a room changes while the door is closed, the thermometer can’t tell until the door opens. They sleep with their door locked. So, all night, the HVAC system was blowing frigid air into their room. We woke up the next morning with the thermostat set to ’66°-70°’. Sweet sweet victory!
I know this is petty, but man oh man is it nice to have a comfortable temperature to SLEEP in.”
4. Release The Order? Don't Blame Us If Something Goes Wrong
“This story goes back to the mid-1990s when I was working for a company that made small metering pumps used in the manufacture of many products. The biggest market was in the spinning of synthetic fiber, an industry that literally touches all of us every day.
In broad terms, the fiber material starts out as a liquid solution (rayon, viscose fiber, acrylics) or a molten polymer (polyester, nylon, polypropylene, etc). The pumps push the fluid thru a spinneret at a very precise flow rate, creating the filament that’s made into the fiber.
At that time an average plant would have 75 of the pumps in service; a really big plant would have as many as 1,100.
I was working in the international group when I got a fax (mid-90s, remember?) from our commissioned agent Joseph in India.
He wanted me to call him at home to discuss something. He had a customer that was willing to buy 340 pumps for a fiber plant. Joe asked if we could increase his commission from 10% to 15%; it seemed that the end user’s purchasing guy wanted to, um, set up his retirement fund.
The corporate policy permitted such things if it was local custom and if it was signed off by the GM. It was customary, and it was approved. In short order a $640,000 order rolled in. I’m a hero as it’s the biggest order of the year.
But the order has the caveat from Joe to not start production until the Letter Of Credit was in hand. This was about 30 weeks before the end of the fiscal year. The pumps had a lead time of 16 weeks, so 14 weeks to get the L/C.
Piece of cake.
Manufacturing and the GM were of course eager to get things going – shipping the pumps in the current fiscal year would make a pretty good impact on the shipping dollars and would probably be enough to get the GM into bonus territory.
So predictably the GM is pushing the Manufacturing folks to get started. The Manufacturing folks were on us like hoboes on ham sandwiches looking for permission to start manufacturing. First, it was weekly, then about 10 weeks out from the drop dead start date it went to twice a week then to daily.
We refused to release the order because no L/C was in hand. I was chasing Joe a couple of times a week for the L/C; he kept getting reassurance that it was coming. On a trip to India, I went with Joe to the customer to see when we could expect the L/C.
‘It is coming.’ Well, ok.
So a week before the drop dead date – no L/C. I was in my sales manager Tim’s office when the head of manufacturing comes waltzing in looking for the release. Tim looked at him and said, ‘Our agent says don’t start without an L/C.
We want to trust him. But make them if you want.’ Production started the next day.
These pumps were mostly standard. Mostly. You see, the pumping bits were mounted on a casting that extended down to a foot that fits between two trunnions; the assembly would be pinched between the trunnions and pivoted over onto a gear on a lineshaft.
The pump had a gear on its driveshaft. It meshed with the lineshaft gear and the pump turned. If this seems weird, it is the finest 1928 technology that allows a failed pump to be isolated and hot-swapped. The standard angle on the trunnion was 90 degrees.
But not these pumps. These were 105 degrees for some reason. So 340 pumps were made with non-standard ports and if the L/C never came, Manufacturing is stuck with 340 oddball pumps.
And the L/C never came. Year-end hits and the pumps are finished goods in inventory at $640,000.
The real problems start when the GM ends up getting in trouble with the corporate offices in Illinois about the excessive inventory. Things slide downhill so Sales/Marketing gets in trouble too.
Joe found out later that the purchasing guy didn’t have the authority to buy half a million dollars in pumps.
He was just trying to line his pockets. Shocking, right?
Where’s the Malicious Compliance? If you want us to release the order, we’ll release the order. Don’t blame us if it goes sideways.
Addendum: Four months later I managed to find another company in another country to buy the pumps, complete with the weird 105-degree trunnion mount. Did I get any credit for that? Of course not. I left the company shortly thereafter, being on the outs with my boss for other reasons, and on the outs with Manufacturing for ‘letting them’ make those pumps.”
3. I Got Two Weeks Of Special Paid Time Off After All That Happened
“Some 10 years ago I was switching jobs, after over 7 years at my previous one. I decided I was done with printers and stuff and wanted something new and I found this company that was supplying CCTV, security, and fire alarms.
The company had branches in a few bigger cities in my country. The pay was worse than my previous job, but I figured it was not that bad and I really wanted to switch jobs. I was contracted for 3 months of a trial period (it’s common practice in my country, it’s a type of short-term job employment contract, usually 1-3 months that legally has the same terms as a regular job contract, with often some limits on company benefits like private medicare or gym pass or whatever) after which we’ll decide if I’m staying or not.
My boss was the Regional Manager and I had a co-worker who had been hired earlier, our branch was open for a few months at this point.
Now it’s important to note that the company only dealt in B2B, not retail, we didn’t even have a fiscal printer (that is mandatory if you want to do retail sales).
So our clients were all companies, big and small that, per company policy, specialized in electrical equipment installation (in my country all businesses are registered in a central database and the ‘type of stuff done’ is one of the required stuff from a vast catalog of what can be done commercially).
This is tied to the pricing levels, you run an electric company, you get better prices than a flower company, you get the idea.
The company had a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software in which we were required to note every interaction with our clients.
When I asked our RM about how it should be kept, a conversation followed:
Me: So I need to note only sales or some other stuff as well?
RM: Everything, each call, each visit, each sale and you need to schedule the client’s next visit or call.
You’re to contact each of your clients at least once a week to keep up relations and note everything in the CRM, it’s connected to the phone billing so we know when you’ve made the calls or not.
Me: So I’m supposed to call each client at least once a week for a chat?
RM: Yes, and make notes in CRM.
Me: You realize calling that often will annoy most clients?
RM: This is the company’s policy, we want our clients to be cared about and it’s your job to do it.
I think everyone knows this is not how you build positive relations with your potential clients.
We’re all sick and tired of banks or phone companies calling with another great offer, but fine, it’s not my place to argue with company policy.
I split with my co-worker the clients we had registered, found a few more potential contacts on the internet, and for the next few weeks, I’d call each of my clients, first to introduce myself as their new sales guy and ask if I can contact them once in a while to check up on things.
I didn’t note how often I’d check up on things. After a few weekly calls, some clients stopped answering, others blocked me (I noticed I get straight to voicemail, that’s pretty obvious) and some got annoyed with the pestering and voiced that with all manner of euphemisms or straight-up insults about wasting their time and ‘If they want something from me, they’ll get back to me’.
I obviously noted every call in the CRM, as explicitly instructed, but just in case someone actually read it, I refrained from citing insults and just went with ‘Client angry about too frequent contacts, next contact on DD/MM/YYYY’ that was always in one week time.
All this didn’t win me any favors with the client base with one exception but it hardly made a difference. Because we managed to antagonize most of our current and potential clients we obviously didn’t get much sales done, so we weren’t allowed to keep much wares on our local stock.
This meant that if someone would actually stumble into our store the shelves would be mostly empty to the point that putting together a small CCTV setup would be impossible because we’d have like one DVR, 2 cameras of the same type, and one hard drive for the DVR.
By that point, we’d get resupply twice a week, so if the client ordered something on Thursday, the order would arrive next Tuesday afternoon at the earliest. This was often unacceptable so clients would scrap the order. We did some business from time to time, but I’m pretty sure our branch was not making enough even to sustain itself, not to mention making a profit for the company.
After about 7-8 weeks I was dialing one of my clients again to check up if he doesn’t need anything, let’s call him Red. I was about to hang up with no answer when he did pick it up.
Me: Hi, this is Edd from company X, can I take a moment…
At this point, he furiously interrupted me yelling:
Red: Are you serious? I nearly fell off the ladder thinking it was something important and it’s you again? Didn’t I tell you not to bother me again? Are you stupid?
This rant went on for a while, guy was really creative when it comes to various combinations of insults, something that I think is impossible in the English language.
When he finally made a long enough pause for me to chime in I went with my (at this point) usual explanation:
Me: I’m sorry you find these calls disturbing, but it’s our company’s policy to keep close contact with our best clients (Red never actually bought anything).
Red: I don’t care about your company’s policy, get me your supervisor!
Me: YES SIR!
I happily gave him my boss’ rank, name, and phone number, he paused for a moment, I’m guessing to note the info I’ve given him and then he hung up without a word.
I dutifully noted the conversation in the CRM, noting that ‘client angry, requested contact to supervisor, complied’. After about half an hour my RM called me.
RM: Did you call Red today?
Me: I did like I do on a weekly basis per instructions.
RM: Ok, don’t call him again.
I’m sure Red gave him a piece of his mind about the company policy.
Next week the one guy that didn’t mind my calls strolls into the store and from the door asks: ‘I hear you’re closing up shop?’ I look at my co-worker with a surprised expression, she mirrors it.
We asked him where he heard about it and he answered vaguely ‘That’s the word around town’. We told him that we don’t know anything about it, and he ordered some basic stuff we as usual didn’t have on hand and left.
When I put out the order to arrive in the next shipment I got a call from the HQ warehouse:
HQ: Hi, you did order X and Y?
Me: I did, is there a problem?
HQ: Yeah, kinda, all your deliveries are on hold and we can’t ship anything to you.
I put the two and two together, thanked them for the info, hung up, and shared the revelation with my co-worker. She contacted the RM to ask about it and he claimed it must be some kind of mistake and not to worry.
The same week on Friday the RM arrived at 9:00 (we opened the store at 8:00) and went straight to the point:
RM: Here are the papers to relieve you from work as of Monday, today we pack all of the stock and equipment, at 14:00 there’ll be a truck to pick everything up and the store is done.
Work relief is a document that basically tells you that you’re still employed as per contract, keeping the pay and social security but you don’t have to actually work and it doesn’t deplete your annual batch of vacation days (we get 20-26 of paid vacation per year).
It’s used usually when an employee needs to be terminated with a notice period, but you don’t want to keep him around for the remaining time. In my case, it was two weeks until my trial period was to end, so I got the remainder of that time off with pay and the contract would just end.
My co-worker had two weeks notice period per her contract.
I listed the brief time spent at this company as ‘Branch closing specialist’ on my LinkedIn, I think it’s more accurate than the ‘Technical and Sales specialist’ I actually had on my contract.
The company is still there but scaled back on its branches, and as far as I know, it loosened up its policy a bit. I went on to switch industries once more (Cable TV), but got back to CCTV and stuff for the next company, where I’ve spent 4 years, where I had a lot of regular clients and didn’t call any of them once without a specific reason.”
2. IT Department Got Flooded With Tickets
“I had been on medical leave for quite some time. During that time, a number of systems and programs we used changed. In particular, our online systems for business cards and similar products had changed. The way the system was before my leave was that when a customer uploaded the file, the system would slightly stretch the file to include a bleed.
If a file was submitted with a bleed, nothing would be done.
For those not in the know, a bleed on a print file is an excess of the image in the design that is meant to be cut off. Most business cards have colored blocking for style, and this ensures that there is no ugly, uneven white edge on the finished product.
Essentially, it allows the customer to get what they envision.
Astute readers would realize our old system could cause issues, however, especially when writing or images are close to borders. Information could be cut off due to being over the bleed line after the image was stretched.
As such we as workers knew that a change was going to happen.
This change happened during my medical leave, as the online system was updated to allow more customizations. When customers uploaded files they were presented with a digital canvas where they could change the text and images on their file.
Two boxes were presented on this canvas, one box showing the finished size of the product, and one showing the bleed we needed to ensure a proper cut.
The problem is, the system no longer automatically stretched the provided file to the finished size, and certainly not to the bleed size.
The new system allows customers to properly fit themselves, but rarely do they size it to bleed.
As such, when we print and cut the finished product, there is often this ugly white band on two of the sides. As the cutting system is all automated, and without those bleeds, there were always problems.
Additionally, our large Guillotine Cutter is constantly in use for orders that need it, and to reprogram it and interrupt orders to trim a millimeter off every order was unreasonable.
My manager, who will be named Dee, brought this to the attention of the system admins and IT, but was pretty much dismissed.
He was told to push those orders that did not have bleed into problem status, and they would take a look at the problem. Also, send a list of problem orders still not handled at the end of each week.
When I returned to work three months ago, I was given a rundown of everything that was new, including this new problem.
I followed this Malicious Compliance currently in progress, none the wiser to what Dee was doing, pushing the orders without bleed into problem status, which was quite a fair amount, to be honest. I didn’t really think much about it, however.
Towards the beginning of this month, Dee had asked me to scan in February’s problem orders, easily 500 orders, ensure each problem was its own separate file then file them in a filing cabinet out back. (I have read/listened to horror stories about office scanning, but I don’t really have an issue where I am as we have a high-capacity, automated scanner, so this was no issue.) I did as I was told, in the folder they told me to put it in on the shared computer and then went to file it.
There were over thousands of problem orders stuck in limbo due to this bleed issue in this filing cabinet. Not only did this likely make us look bad to Head Office, but the customers were probably mad. When I asked Dee what was going on with this issue, he explained everything and informed me of his plan.
It turned out IT intended to do nothing about this bleed problem. They wanted us as Production to fix the problem, which meant designing. The Design Team gets paid a lot more than we do in production though, and as we weren’t being paid that wage, Dee was having none of it.
He was told each week to send in all orders that haven’t been fixed as of yet, so he was. Dee and the supervisor created a program that would submit each problem order as a ticket to IT, one at a time, at the end of the week.
Previously, they had sent everything in as one ticket. This is why they had me scan each problem order as its own file, rather than just a single PDF with everything in it.
This program ran on Friday, late afternoon, just before IT’s weekend started.
Dee knew IT needed to acknowledge all problem tickets before they left the office. Every 15 seconds a new problem ticket popped up and they needed to acknowledge it, all 500 files, before they left. I don’t know exactly how well it worked, but it certainly worked.
Two hours, five minutes after hours at least, depending on how fast their PCs are. I did the math, and that’s only the stuff that I scanned myself.
From my understanding, Dee and Supervisor had also decompiled the files they had already submitted and resubmitted them as well.
After the first week, the Regional Manager (who is a really cool guy, we’ll call him Ray) stopped by to check in and asked why IT was cursing Dee’s name and Dee explained it. Ray said, in no uncertain terms. ‘If they haven’t done anything about the jobs by the end of the week, you should follow up.
At the end of last week, Dee set up the program to ask for updates on each of the problem jobs, as well as the program to submit new problem jobs from last week and set it to run.
When we came in this Monday we got an update from IT that the system has been adjusted, and customers should not be able to submit jobs anymore that ‘Do not have borders meeting the Bleed Line.’ We still have some issues as reorders can override this fix, but it’s been a lot better now and this week has been extremely productive.
Dee, meanwhile, came into his email having over 20 unread messages, and over 500 junk mail as the spam filter kicked in. Each message was the program’s response asking for an update, with the first few responses from IT being ‘We are still looking into it’ and the later responses simply being the letter A.
There is still the matter of the orders still stuck in Limbo, but the main Compliance has been settled.
Edit: The reason why this problem was not fixed before was all the other locations were doing workarounds to fix the problems themselves. We were the only location making a stink about the issue as the workaround was outside the scope of our paycheck, so it was considered low priority.
Still does not excuse them, but they changed their tune in the end.”
1. Print Out All The Info From Multiple Websites? I'll Be Printing For Days
“I was a technical writer for the government and had slowly been transferring our old employee handbook (think government bureaucracy from the 1940s) into a modern and actually useful doc (think one page with our policies and links to useful websites, like Office of Personnel Management, forms for workman’s comp, etc.).
My boss wanted the whole thing printed out, on her desk the next morning. This was the Monday of Thanksgiving weekend. I printed out the 200 or so pages and just had the links to the various websites in bold. This took about an hour, and I left it on her desk before going home that night.
She calls me in her office on Tuesday afternoon and proceeds to yell at me at how stupid I am, do I think people can just go to a website when it is on paper? No. I need to PRINT everything out.
I calmly tell her that these sites are pretty dense and deep and it would be about 10,000 pages. She says she does not care, it needs to be ON HER DESK DAMMIT first thing Monday morning. Mind you, this is now Tuesday and we usually had some of Wednesday off.
I was not really planning to work Thursday Thanksgiving or Friday, as I had applied for leave and was looking forward to a nice relaxing long weekend. I don’t have family, but I had plans. But ok. I asked for, and got the request to have ‘everything pertaining to the employee handbook online in a printed format.’
I also had real work and real deadlines.
A quick bit of context: She was my boss, she did my performance appraisals and she could make my life miserable and possibly fire me. However, my clients were teams that put together engineering plans, biological assessments, scientific journal articles, reports to Congress, etc.
that had real-world deadlines. On some of these, if you missed the publication date, your agency paid $100,000 a day in delay fees. Or you would annoy a congressperson, which is never a good idea. And I was really getting sick and tired of my boss’s requests that took me away from my actual work.
So I was printing and printing all the rest of Tuesday afternoon, and then Wednesday. I had to go to the site, print, click on the next link, print, etc. On Wednesday, we got a congressional (a letter from a congress critter that was actually important).
Had we not gotten that, I might not have done what I did… I got overtime approved pronto to take care of this request. So I did work Thanksgiving. As I was doing that, I kept on printing. And printing. I used up every sheet of paper in our 14-story building.
I kept on researching the response for the congressional, printing, going to the next floor to carefully get that packet of paper to tuck under the appropriate page, etc. I had papers in about 20 different conference rooms.
I could have done the congressional in about 8 hours.
BUT it was not due until Monday. And all of this printing took me a good 24 hours of work. So I put in for 32 hours (Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun). Got it done. This is now two stacks of paper, each about 6 feet high.
I was waaaay under in my estimate of 10,000 pages as it was more like about 30,000. (Remember, I had at least 5 printers going at once for 4 days etc.). I put this in my boss’s office (which was already none too clean and pristine).
I got written up, with a disciplinary hearing and everything. The charge was… malicious compliance. I kept my job only because I did have her request in an email.”