People Deal Out Their Wild Malicious Compliance Revenge Stories
11. Won't Talk About The Illegal Deductions From My Salary Without Legal Representation? I'll Get Legal Representation Alright
“This happened about 15 years ago. Relatively early in my career as a web developer/software engineer, so some details are not remembered precisely.
Anyway, I thought I had landed a dream job at a small media company that had gone all-in on digital media and marketing a few years prior and had started to land some big clients (think NHS, etc…).
The team is comprised of two owners, we will call them Jeff and Nigel. Jeff was the lighthearted, approachable, and more tech-oriented member of this double act. Nigel was the straight man, less approachable, and less likely to join us in any social antics but ultimately a seemingly decent guy and the main driver of the business.
In addition, there was an office manager, James, who was also Nigel’s other half, and Rachel, an office assistant and a good friend of Nigel.
The rest of the workforce made up the media team which comprised of a senior and a junior designer, a senior and junior dev, and me (another senior dev).
What made this a dream job for me at the time? Well, on top of the fact they were doing some great work with what was, at the time, cutting-edge technology, it was an overall great place to be. Flexible working hours, lots of holidays, and lots of social events.
To give you a better idea, most lunchtimes Jeff and the media team would all go out for lunch together, or play a FIFA tournament, go to the pub to mob on a new idea, etc. Most importantly for this story, every Friday we would all finish an hour early, at 4 pm instead of 5 pm, and head to the pub and have a couple (or more) drinks together.
It was a very open place to work at the time and the two owners were clear on how they expected the business to expand and our future positions within such an expanded company. Basically, all the guff any potential employer peddles when you interview but we were actually doing it and living it.
They were receptive to new ideas or different ways of doing things and regularly included us in sales meetings so we could see the direction the company was going in. Everybody who worked there was excited and I honestly thought I’d be there for the rest of my career.
Things, however, change.
As time went on the company became more successful, and with more success came more recognition, more clients, more money, and greed.
I won’t go into too much detail, but by the time of the main event in this story a couple of years after starting there, this once open and relaxed workplace had become heck.
There were no longer flexible hours, you had to be in at 8.50 am to get ready at your machine and you didn’t power down until 5 pm at the earliest unless you had been asked to stay late to churn out more work (unpaid).
No more lunchtime socials, there was a lunchtime rota that stated who could go for lunch and when, so we could no longer take lunch together.
Despite the ever-growing workload of more complex and larger websites, no new members were added to the team.
Even when the other lead dev left, no replacement was found. On top of this, despite the growing workload and shortening deadlines, promises of raises and bonuses never came to fruition, which was especially galling when coupled with the fact both owners were by now getting a new car every 6 months.
Nigel also made it clear that with the success of the company as it was, his plan was to sell it at the ripe age of 45 (I think) and semi-retire to a life of travel writing and photography (despite being mediocre at both), without a second thought for the rest of us.
The business was now being run in a manner that allowed the owners to line their pockets with as much money as possible whilst also making it look like a good takeover prospect.
The only perk that remained was the 4 pm Friday finish which by this time, instead of all going for a drink together, we just went home early.
Morale was low.
One Friday afternoon, Nigel, Jeff, and James went to visit a prospective client. Rachel was off for some reason which left nobody in charge of the office.
Expecting the usual early finish everybody had completed their work by 4 pm, but having not received any word from the owners, we hung on.
At around 4.50 pm and with nothing else to do we collectively decided to “screw it,” lock up, and go home.
Apparently, at about 4.51 pm Nigel had tried to call the office, probably to tell us to go home, but of course, we had already left.
Monday morning, every one of us was called into the main office, given a bollocking, and told that a planned upcoming social was now canceled (it probably already was anyway, but why not use it as a punishment) and that our wages were going to be docked for leaving early.
Now, here in the UK, it is naughty to make deductions from a salary unless it is for some legally mandated reason, e.g. taxes, national insurance, student loan, etc., or unless the employee has given explicit written permission so I didn’t think this last threat would actually happen.
I didn’t have to wait long to find out as we were paid weekly, but sure enough, that Friday, there was a deduction from my wages as well as everybody else on the media team.
I approached the owners about it, but I was basically given the same speech as on Monday morning previous.
Law has been a particular interest of mine, still is, and whilst I’m no lawyer nor any kind of expert, I know enough to stand up for myself and those around me, and so, with the backing of the rest of the media team I sent what may be considered a “Notice Before Action” just prior to leaving on Friday.
That NBA being a formally worded email to both owners stating my grievance, the illegal deduction from salary, and my proposed resolution, the repayment of the deducted salary in our next wage along with a formal apology to everybody on the team.
Failure would mean the engagement of legal services.
On Monday morning the owners arrived late and instead of Nigel’s customary visit to the media room to ask how we were (make sure we were slaving away) they both retreated directly to their office and shut the door.
This was shortly followed by an email to us all stating that due to my “threat” and after taking legal advice they had been told to cease direct communication with any of us until the matter was resolved. The resolution they wanted now being a full apology by me to them and the agreement that salary should remain deducted.
Any communication should be via email.
Now, I’m reasonably sure they hadn’t had any legal advice on the matter, or if they had, it was crap.
Firstly, a decent solicitor would have told them they were idiots for doing what they did and to give the bucks back and apologize.
Secondly, because the entire point of a Notice Before Action is to try and find a resolution prior to taking any legal action, in closing up shop in this manner they are practically forcing a legal engagement.
My belief is that they were simply calling my bluff, and didn’t believe I would take this any further.
They reinforced this by adding to their email that any further communication about the deduction from our wages would need to come from my legal representation.
I, of course, was not bluffing and complied with their request.
What they didn’t know was that a member of my family was not only educated in employment law, albeit not an actual solicitor, but also a union representative at another company, so by the end of the day a legally drafted letter arrived on the owner’s desks laying out the illegalities of what had happened as well as the expected timeline of events going forward.
Within 30 days (I think) we were to have had a formal meeting between the owners and myself, with me entitled to legal representation present in that meeting, and with the expectation that my demands in the NBA were to be met as they had no defense.
Should that not occur, this would be going to a tribunal or maybe even full court with the company liable for expenses. It was a slam dunk, so they would end up with a relatively hefty bill.
Instead of folding, as I expected them to do, this led to them doubling down on their stupidity.
Their door was permanently shut with very little direct communication between the whole media team and the owners, with it mostly being done by email, or via Rachel and James.
At this point, Rachel and James, who were obviously on good terms with Nigel became openly hostile toward me.
For a small example, Rachel would make everybody in the office a coffee in the morning, now it was everybody except me.
Seemingly, neither the owners nor Rachel and James seemed to know or understand that I had the full backing of the rest of the team.
They didn’t have the know-how or the will to fight it themselves, but they were aware of the downhill direction in the working environment and that my actions were preventing the owners from further taking the crap in the future. Now the environment had become exceptionally toxic and nobody wanted to be there.
They, and I, started actively looking for different employment.
If I remember correctly, an extension was requested and granted but the deadline for the aforementioned meeting came and went so my representative sent another formal letter to my employers stating that we would be going to the tribunal.
It also now stated that I would be leaving the company immediately and I would be claiming “Constructive Dismissal” due to the actions of the owners, James and Rachel which had all been logged over the previous weeks.
The only result of the extension they requested was an extra few weeks of workplace bullying logged.
Receiving all this was the last straw and their resolve was broken. An apology was sent via email along with the promise that the payment would be returned in our next paycheck.
I’d had enough however and I immediately handed in my notice which I believe was 4 weeks.
I hadn’t found another job, but I had decided to move to the city anyway and go freelance.
Before my notice period ended, the junior designer also handed her notice in, also to go freelance, and within a few months of me leaving the junior dev and the senior designer had done the same.
The business owned by Jeff and Nigel was essentially dead, with many of their existing clients seeking us out to continue doing work for them on a freelance basis.
I learned that Jeff and Nigel eventually had a falling out, with Jeff resigning as a director and becoming CTO at another tech company.
Nigel renamed and rebranded the old company and attempted to carry on somehow but to this day the examples of work on their web page are still the ones we made 15 years ago. Most of them aren’t actually his clients anymore or are defunct.
I also later learned, as we had all suspected, that Jeff wanted nothing to do with the wage deductions etc. Although I’m not sure how hard he fought against it.
Although I’ve not physically met them since the day I left, I am connected to everyone in the media team and they are all doing well.
Jeff also reached out a few years later and he is doing well too.
As for Nigel, James, and Rachel, I have no idea. Rachel was close to retirement anyway, so I guess she was reasonably fine.
Looking at the public details of the businesses Nigel now owns it’s clear that none of them makes a cent, and his travel and photography blogs stopped being updated a few years ago.
Nigel’s (and James as his partner) plans to retire early and travel the world are probably now permanently on hold. As is his penchant for a new car every few months.
And the amount deducted from our wage over which Nigel lost his business and planned future for?
10. Just Do What You Ask And Don't Think? Got It
“This is a tale from the hospital I did quite a bit of work at, in a rural Australian town I used to live in.
As an electrician who had a few decades of experience in different fields, I came to this town able to pretty much do anything required.
Technical skills and a high quality of work, while being cheeky and personable, pretty much let me get away with a lot of shenanigans. I also fixed the General Manager’s home treadmill early on, so there’s also an element of knowing who to keep happy.
The electrical contractor I came to work with was the largest in the region, did good work for fair prices, and had the big Govt contracts for a lot of infrastructure. I added experience in the more technical and specialist side of the business, so the owner didn’t get too cranky when the time came to slap my wrist.
I relish any opportunities the Universe provides to help people get their Comeuppance Tickets stamped, and am keen as mustard for schadenfreude. With that, let me tell you about a bloke who voluntarily brought me much joy.
A standard issue Govt efficiency drive brought Matt to the Hospital in the role of Safety, Security, and Compliance Manager.
It was a smallish regional Hospital, ~120 beds, in a smallish rural Australian town. Until Matt came, these jobs were done by other Managers or Executives as part of other duties. Being a newly created role, it was an absolutely perfect one for someone to come in and be a star.
He came from the Dept of Education in a similar but supervisory role. This was his first Manager gig. Maybe he thought you dealt with hospitals, doctors, and nurses the same as you did School Districts and Teachers? It didn’t take long before Matt was politely told that his unsolicited attempts to change clinical (medical) protocols wouldn’t be required.
(Without consulting anyone, he tried to change the way the nursing staff handled scheduled medicine. I was told that the 13-year veteran Director of Nursing didn’t phrase the message this way. But I can’t write down what she said.)
From the get-go, I don’t think Matt liked me very much.
Every time he tried to make changes that involved anything technical, he was told to check with me to see if it could be done or how much it’d cost. Changes/additions/repurposing to Door access, CCTV, Nurse Call, Security/Duress systems, Matt was directed to me quite a bit.
He used to get so annoyed when I told him “No”, or “Yes, but you better check with Finance.” I’m sure he saw me as a stop sign on his road to glory.
He wasn’t a jerk, but he was a proper tool though.
One of those people who always has to be right and will talk over you to prove it.
Hand on heart, I tried. In the early days, I tried to get along. Even gave him my direct email and mobile number so he could ask questions because I knew it was a steep learning curve.
I tried, right until he purposefully took some information I gave him out of context, presented it at a planning meeting, and tried throwing me under the bus.
The little switch inside my head labeled ‘Matt’ flicked from ‘Off’ to ‘Fair Game.’
About 12 weeks later I received an email from the hospital’s Maintenance Manager asking me to see Matt.
He wanted access to all the Hospital systems.
Speaking with Matt, he wanted to “Know everything that went on in the property.” It was a nice conversation that I will paraphrase.
Matt – “I need to know everything that goes on here.”
Me – “Well, everything is pretty big and a bit vague.
Matt – (annoyed) “I want to know, in detail, what goes on across the campus. It’s not hard to understand.”
Me – (not showing that I’m happy Matt is annoyed) “I think maybe going through a list of systems and figuring out which..”
Matt – (smug) “That’s the good thing about this relationship.
You don’t have to think. You just have to do what I ask for.”
Me – (outwardly stoic, but inside I was a Happy Little Vegemite) “I guess I’ll get on it then.”
There’s nothing quite like sitting on a veranda at dusk after work, sipping Jacks with Nick Cave softly playing in the background, mindlessly watching the wallabies.
Just sitting and most definitely not thinking. About Matt, all the communications gear I had access to, and all the systems and plants in a hospital campus. And his phone.. that, being a salaried Manager, he couldn’t turn off.
At some point the following day, while brainlessly programming some electronic gear, my “crappery filter” kicked in.
I went and saw my mate, the regional Govt IT Manager. We had an excellent relationship, so when I asked “hypothetically” just how many emails a Govt staff could receive in a day, they wanted to know what I was up to.
After a brief chat, a nod, and a wink, I left with some upper limits.
Unrelatedly, Matt’s inbox somehow turned out to be a smidgen larger than other people’s for a while.
”Sorry to bother you, Matt. I’m still unsure what exactly you’re after.
If you’d like to know everything that happens, for clarity and transparency in moving forward, we have options to facilitate the merging of communications to effectively bring positive outcomes……”
(What was I thinking? Putting as many buzzword bingo phrases as I could in the pre-amble.)
It’s very rare that I engage in shenanigans without written CYA.
(A verbal CYA is nice, but a written CYA is golden. A written CYA, worded to give you the protection of a Spartan Phalanx, is to me, a double-dog-dare.)
The email I sent Matt, asking for clarification of “everything,” was 7 pages long.
It went into some detail regarding all the different things he could be made aware of, and how. It had bolded categories, italicized sub-headings, bullet points, and very many words. All I asked was for him to choose what he wanted.
For example. He could know when any of the 500+ doors were opened. Or when any of the damper motors in the air conditioning system opened/closed. Or when any of the 150+ CCTV cameras picked up motion. Or constantly know what temperature the boilers were at.
Or when any patient pressed a nurse call button. Or the condition status of the medical gas supply. Etc, etc..
It was a lovely email. Took a whole evening on the veranda just unthinkingly hitting the keyboard.
I don’t think he got past the pre-amble, because his reply was just, “Yes.
“Can’t stop the signal. Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.” (Malicious Compliance)
It was a Tuesday that I was at his office to install his very own 13-character IP Nurse Call Display, with a chime speaker. And the CCTV Client PC/monitor, which also had a security/door access client on it.
He was very chuffed. He mentioned out loud to himself that no other Manager had these in their office. They only had pagers and phones. Like a braindead zombie, I showed him how to use his new toys. (He did get a bit sad when I wouldn’t give him admin rights.
To be honest, looking back, I wouldn’t have given myself full admin rights. Because shenanigans.)
An IP Nurse Call System, and a Building Management System, when interfaced with an enterprise-level security/door access system have a lot of functionality. If you wanted to, you could single out one Nurse Call display and send it everything.
Same with mobile phone text messages. And email. The possibilities are joyous.
At 6 pm that Tuesday, after sitting on my veranda and double checking the new commands I’d set up, I vacantly looked at my laptop and hit “Apply changes and Save”.
15 minutes later, like a simpleton, I ignored Matt’s first phone call. He ended up leaving 12 voicemails. Each one shorter than the last, and each one increasing in vitriol. He really shouldn’t have sworn so much though. Not in recorded voicemails.
The Maintenance Manager called at about 7 pm, saying he’d had an angry Matt call him, demanding cessation. After a friendly chat, he was okay with me looking into the “weird and unexpected” behavior of the reporting systems in the morning.
He was also sick of Matt’s crap.
So, as much as I delighted in his phone’s text messages and email blowing up overnight with everything, I left his response pager alone. That was ok because I was excited by what I’d find the next morning at his office.
He wasn’t in his office when I got there, and he’d unplugged the client’s PC! Shame that. I was looking forward to the rapid beeping announcing camera motion and door activity. However, he couldn’t unplug the ceiling-mounted nurse call display. Which was going off and displaying its heart out.
(Boring technical fact, you can set custom tones and durations for the chime speaker for different calls. And if you wanted to, you could make really annoying combinations. If you wanted to.)
Before I called Matt, I powered up my laptop, had his email reply ready, and then connected to the beepy systems.
After he arrived with a steadily buzzing phone in hand and got the whole “What the heck did you do” and threats out of his system, I let him clearly see me stopping all the “everything”. His phone stopped buzzing and the display went quiet.
I showed him the email and told him he had double-dog-dared me to do this to him, and things could have been different if he’d only given me direction for what his “everything” meant. Well, this had the opposite effect of mollifying someone.
I tried reason and logic, but he wasn’t having a bar of it. He wanted blood. I was half expecting him to throw out a “Respect my authoritah!”
I didn’t want to, but in the end, I agreed that yes, we should bring this to General Manager.
Where I could show my beautifully written attempt to clarify what he meant, and play her the voicemails from last night.
My firm grip on him extinguished the fire in his belly and we actually ended up sitting down and going through “everything”.
The final list was small and pretty much what I would have logically given him if he wasn’t a jerk about it. He learned a lot about how a Hospital campus functioned that morning.
Because I still had to work with him, before I left, I gave him a very PR-sounding, “I hope we can work together better in the future” and shook his hand.
He continued to be a tool for the remainder of his time there, but he was less of a tool to me.”
9. Return Every Box Of Candy I Don't Sell? Okay, But You Won't Be Happy
“In the lovely sunny state of Arizona as a 13-15-year-old I spent my summers selling candy (and other items) door-to-door in the 122-degree heat for a man we’ll call Big Al. This guy was a character. Imagine a fat, unshaven AXL Rose (oh, well AXL Rose…), with a ponytail of red and graying hair, wearing glasses and a hat that says “Pissan Nissan” because he always “Buys American”.
He was a walking caricature. I loved the gung-ho Americana, but didn’t like his unscrupulous nature, if you will.
He gave us each a box of crappy things to sell for $5 a pop (in 1992), and we got a $1 commission per box.
He would pick us up at our residence (Select Suites? More like a trailer park, lol) in his impala-ish-looking car. It was so wide that it looked like two side-by-side motorcycles in the dark. He would drive us to “ritzy” neighborhoods and was super strict about the sales process like we were going to screw him over or something.
He would just drive an hour out of town, middle of the day, to some fancy place like Ahwatukee and drop one of us off in an apartment complex. We all fought to be the first dropped-off. We would get out with our box, he would have us right then and there recount each and he would write it down, and he would always, ALWAYS say “You better bring back every box of candy you don’t sell!” I should have known that this dude was being extra, and this indicated that HE was actually screwing US.
So anyway, I’m doing this for a while now, and at least half the time he says “The count says you should have had 4 butter finger bites, you only have two left so you sold two, where are those earnings?”
I swear that I didn’t have 4, I even counted them to him, but he insisted.
So on a day where I sell 16 items, I make 11 instead of 16, and he pockets the remaining 69 bucks.
Now if this happened ONCE a month, or even ONCE a week, I would understand, but it was getting to almost every day this guy was questioning at least two of our counts.
He eventually moved off of changing my counts when he realized I was catching on, and then he picked on the newbies.
I was still livid about this, though. He was already making a killing by keeping 80 percent of the sales, so a missing box REALLY killed our profit margin.
Seriously, I was getting better at selling and eventually got to a point where each stop was 10 sales and would pull in close to thirty a night (that was a great pull for me), until one day when he said what he always says, so much so that we all say it along with him, did I think of a way to truly comply while still making a profit.
Now about this “candy” he was selling: It was cheap, dollar store before dollar stores were a thing type of items. It was literally a box of peanut brittle that you would pay no more than two bucks for today.
I hatched a plan to truly bring him his candy, every last box.
As we were driving around waiting to be dropped off, all the kids started saying “mine mine mine!” like the seagulls in Finding Nemo, I let them all pop out where they wanted because I knew what neighborhood I wanted: one that was adjacent to a grocery store.
My wish came true, and I happened upon not just a Fry’s, but a Walgreens right next to it, right across the street from some great-looking apartments. Al saves this for his “favorites” usually, but I begged him to take this one (and really hoped I got the solo spot).
I got dropped off and automatically regretted not having money with me already (some people are paycheck to paycheck; my dad and I grew up paycheck to Wednesday). Either way, I managed to get 2 people to buy in the first ten minutes (meaning I had about an hour or so left), so I could take the pay I made and buy some candy from the grocery store to sell.
So I’ve got 25 bucks that I would only make 5 dollars of, so I decide to take a risk and actually buy more candy than the bucks I would have, and if worst came to worst I would say I got shorted.
Thankfully it didn’t happen that way. I bought 20 bucks worth of candy from Walgreens, peppermint patties in a row, peanut brittle, king-size candy bars, things I think that would sell that didn’t have a lot of chocolate (we had dry ice, but we had to get creative with the placement, and the cold aspect of the candy was a huge selling point).
My box was overflowing, and when I hit the remaining 90 percent of apartments it was a smorgasbord. “You guys usually only have crap candy… I’ll take this and that…” I was selling all items for only four bucks and made eighty bucks off of the twenty I spent pretty quick (I actually made 100 because some of my “regulars” demanded I take more money).
I then went back and got more candy (last-minute thought) to sell for my next stop. I know I was taking a risk doing this second one, I should have just stopped, but I just had to push. I picked up ten more candies (the stuff that sold first) and loaded the box in a way where these weren’t visible at first glance in the box, and I pocketed the non-chocolate items.
So Al comes back on his chariot, making his usual mating call of “Richaaaaaaaayyyyyy” and then a brief pause, then a bunch of horn honks, to follow the cycle again. It was actually hilarious because for some reason his horn only worked while he was turning.
This made for some hilarious scenarios. So I pop back in telling him I sold 5 (more like 25) and he was “Seriously? This is why I give this one to the girls…” I was going to argue (my favorite pastime) but I left it and waited to see where I got dropped off next.
By the end of the night, I sold 30 of the stuff that I bought and 8 of his. I gave him back every box of his I didn’t sell and even paid him too much (by 4 bucks) because I didn’t do my math right. I still wound up with well over a hundred that night, five times what I do on my best night.”
8. Demand Me To Move My Car? Fine, I Will
“I’m the (19F) daughter of my normally very nice parents. We had new neighbors move in about 2 years ago and for the most part, we’ve just left them be. They’re a little annoying sometimes and there were a couple of instances where we had to complain about the overwhelming noise of their weekend parties at night, but other than that they’re pretty OK neighbors.
We’ve never had a problem with them until recently after several strikes against my family.
Strike #1: Destructive Dogs
So our neighbor’s family and my family own dogs. My dogs are very gentle and spend most of their time indoors (we live in Southern California and when this incident happened it was in the middle of summer, so we let our dogs stay inside to keep cool).
THEIR dogs are very aggressive and are raised as outside dogs. Every time I let my dogs out in the backyard for some fresh air, my neighbor’s dogs will attempt to break through the wooden fence dividing our properties via digging, climbing, scratching, etc.
The digging was easy to stop, we just filled in the holes with dirt. But at some point, their dog managed to create a hole in the wall large enough for their dog to squeeze their face in, so about the size of a dinner plate.
We have cameras… so we caught everything on tape. My parents are pretty understanding, so my dad went and talked to my neighbors offering to pay half of the damage since it’s our shared property line. The neighbor’s wife – who we are going to call Lying Sally for this story – called my dad a liar and accused OUR dogs of damaging the fence (which we knew wasn’t true and my dad told her we had proof it was HER dogs) and demanded that MY family pay for the damages.
They fought over it and nothing got solved, so eventually, my dad conceded and nailed some plywood over the gaping hole. Problem solved. But this was only the first strike…
Strike #2: Just… why?
The next incident is honestly really stupid and I don’t even know why Lying Sally bothered lying.
So this incident happened about a few days after we had to call our third noise complaint on one of their parties AGAIN (like, seriously, who blasts “Let It Go” at 10:30 pm at night??? I wish I was making this up).
My mom is getting out of her car in our driveway when Lying Sally walks right up to her and accuses her of “yelling at their lawn mowing guy to not mow their lawn so loudly at 7:30 am”. My mom was very confused.
She’s never talked to the guy who comes over to mow their lawn. We’ve never cared about ANY of our neighborhood’s business in general. For frick’s sake, we have a neighbor across the street who revs his motorcycle at 6 AM and another neighbor who does construction stuff in his garage for a hobby! My family has been living here for almost 20 years, we’re very chill with our neighbors’ loud and noisy hobbies normally.
Long story short, my mom confronted the lawn mower guy one morning and asked him if she’s ever talked to him before, and he told her no. Lying Sally saw this and ran out of the house to confront my mom.
She screams, “Why are you talking to him for!?” and so my mom replies, “Because you’re a lying witch”. And so that’s the gist of it. I don’t know why Lying Sally even bothered lying about that. At this point, we were convinced Lying Sally was a nutcase.
Strike #3: The Point Where I Finally Stepped In
For the past month, my neighbors have stooped to a new low by hogging all of the parking space in front of our house whenever they get the opportunity. My family has 3 cars: two usually sit in our driveway and the third is parked curbside in front of our house.
My neighbors have 2 cars, both of which they park alongside the curb in front of both of our houses (the curb our houses share is only big enough for 2 cars). They’ve STOPPED using their driveway entirely just to park their 2 cars on the curb, which forces us to park our third car further down the street.
It’s not a big deal, but what they were doing was petty… so my parents became petty too. The moment they would move their cars to go to work, my parents would move our third car back into its spot on our half of the curb.
This went on for……. almost an entire year until at some point an unspoken truce was made and they stopped their petty scheme. Things returned back to normal… until I accidentally screwed it up.
In my defense, I was driving home with the third car late at night, it was dark, and I accidentally backed up way too far and parked the car smack dab in the middle of the curb, so my car is literally in the middle between our houses.
I’m tired from working all day so I don’t think much of it since our neighbor still has a whole entire driveway to themselves (trust me, their driveway is just like ours, it is made to fit 2 cars).
The next morning, I wake up to the sound of my parents arguing downstairs.
Turns out, our neighbors have parked one of their cars on their driveway… and the other one is parked in front of our third car on our side of the curb. This wouldn’t be a problem IF 1/2 OF THE HOOD OF THEIR CAR WASN’T STICKING OUT INTO OUR DRIVEWAY.
The problem with this is that if we tried to back out the car (the one closest to their car) in our driveway, we might hit their car and I’m pretty sure that was the purpose. I was DONE with their games.
So I marched over next door and rang their doorbell. The husband, we’ll call him Pig for this story, opens the door and he’s recording me as if I’m going to attack him. Which is ridiculous, I’m 5’2″ and he’s close to 6’0″, if anything I should be the scared one.
The conversation goes like this:
Me: “Is it okay if you can move your car?”
Pig: “No, the police told me I can park anywhere I want because it’s a public road and they even told me I can record you.”
Me: “I don’t even care about you recording me, I just need you to move your car.
You have an entire driveway to yourself. It’s just common courtesy to not block your neighbor’s car into their driveway.”
Pig: “You guys can still get out. It’s not that bad.”
Me: “Uh yeah, but we just don’t want to hit your car by accident while backing out.”
Pig: “Is that a threat?”
Me: “Uhhhhh, no.
I’m just saying that we don’t want to pay for the damage of your car because you didn’t want to move it. And I can’t guarantee that we won’t hit it. It’s pretty darn close.”
Pig: “I don’t care! I shouldn’t have to move my car! YOU MOVE YOUR CAR!”
I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere, so I let him slam the door in my face and I walked away.
I went back inside my house and got on my laptop to make sure that, yes, it is indeed illegal to park in front of someone’s driveway, even partially! So my neighbor DOES have to move, by law. HOWEVER, I wanted to be a petty witch.
SO I MOVED MY CAR.
I grabbed my car keys and CAREFULLY backed up the car (again, the one closest to his poorly parked car) so that the back half is INCHES away from the front of Pig’s car. So my car is now blocking Pig’s car from pulling out into the street and leaving.
My car is also blocking the sidewalk (which I know is illegal, but I already had this planned out).
Basically, I caged in his car and held it hostage. For a couple of days.
Either Pig or Lying Sally would have to come and apologize to make me move the car (which I knew was VERY unlikely) OR…
Part #4: Victory
Sure enough, as I predicted, Pig called the cops a few days later and reported my butt. His face was so smug as the Officer told me that I can’t legally box in someone’s car like that and block the sidewalk with my vehicle.
I told the officer that I understood and that I’ll move my car, BUT, I immediately pointed out that it’s illegal to partially block the entrance point to someone’s driveway as well and that Pig’s car is crossing that line by over 2 feet.
The smile on Pig’s face vanishes and his face turns red while the Officer tells him that he’s going to have to move his car as well. So I back up my car and I’m grinning like a cat who’s caught its prey, while Pig has to move his car into his driveway. I also made sure to move our third car back into its rightful spot as well.”
7. Make An Itemized Log Of All My Time? If That's What You Really Want
“For context here, I work in a union environment, and I’ve been a shop steward for something like ~17 years or so. It’s government, so literally everything has to have multiple levels of red tape attached to it – there are ways around some of this if you understand what’s actually important to track and what isn’t, but generally, managers understand that keeping a tracking log of absolutely everything is a waste of time.
Any healthy union environment involves active stewards, who spend time ironing out issues before they ever come to anybody’s attention, talking unhappy employees out of the trees, and so on.
Enter New Manager, or NM.
NM came to us from a very different part of the government, where unions weren’t really a thing, and had an enormous chip on his shoulder about being the Man In Charge (which is stupid, because even veteran low-level managers have some level of understanding about the limits of their authority).
He set his sights on me and decided I needed reminding about which one of us was more important.
Because I’ve been a steward for a comparatively long time, as well as having been elected several times to key union positions (contract bargaining, elected leadership at multiple levels, and I’ve written both contract language and interpretation of that language many times), I have a higher-than-average understanding of how our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) works, why the language says what it says, and what was intended when it was written.
NM does not have any of this. He has a copy of the CBA, of course, and obviously made an attempt to read it, because under one of the Articles inside, he found what he obviously thought was something he could use to rein in this uppity shop steward that wasn’t letting him do the things he wanted to do.
I had complaints about this guy from the day he started – staff called him the Warden, and two people right before this incident decided they’d had enough of his crap and took the well-deserved retirement option they’d been putting off because they actually enjoyed the work we do.
One thing we’re required to do is make a monthly authorization request for use of accrued leave or “other” time usage such as OT, comp time, etc….and, in this case, time billed to the union for Protected Union Activity. Managers don’t get a say in this last one, but we have to put it on the request form at the end of the month so everything gets billed where it’s supposed to – generally, sensible managers will take a very loose interpretation of this as “just put down a half hour/hour, or whatever,” since they can’t ask a steward what they’re actually doing during that time anyway and it’s a pain in the butt to have to go through and reconcile.
Technically, however…we’re supposed to be exact about it, and NM for some reason decided I wasn’t reporting my time appropriately.
This, of course, could be cause for discipline up to and including dismissal if it became apparent that I was stealing time, or whatever…which, actually, is totally appropriate in cases where people are doing that.
NM calls me in to have a “conversation.” I saw which way the wind was going on this, and because I’d been fielding complaints about his behavior behind closed doors for months already, I replied to his email and asked if the intent of the meeting was disciplinary, because if so I would be bringing a representative along.
He assured me it wasn’t, it was just a discussion, and that he wasn’t going to allow a representative to be present. I’m thinking, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck this morning, dude, but whatever.
We get into his office, he closes the door, and starts in on my use of time, how it appears that I am misusing time coding to avoid doing work, it’s potentially very serious, and so on.
I let him talk, mentally taking notes of what is obviously a discussion that falls under Weingarten rules about representation, and waiting for an opening. At some point, he kind of wound down, and with this big victorious smile, asked me if I had anything to say.
“I don’t have anything to add, and I appreciate you letting me know about your concerns…although I am concerned about the tenor of this conversation because you assured me that it was not intended to be disciplinary-related, and you’re using a lot of jeopardy language in this conversation.
Could you clarify for me what your intent is?” I asked.
“Oh, no, it’s not intended as discipline at all – I’m getting questions about your time use, you see (Note: this was obvious bullcrap – I was on excellent terms with both his manager and her manager already and had worked collaboratively many times with them).”
“I see,” I said, pretending to be thoughtful.
“I am afraid I don’t have any thoughts about how I can meaningfully address this concern. What would you like me to do?”
He beamed at me. This was going so well. “I’d like you to start logging all of your union time and itemizing it – time starting, time stopping, and so on.
Actually, it says in the contract that I can ask you to do that.”
“It does say that – Article ___, section ___, as I recall. Okay. To be clear, then, you want me to put an itemized log of all time I spend for any union-related activity on my time request at the end of each month?” I asked.
“Are you sure you want that? That seems like it might be a lot.”
“Yep. That’s what we’d like you to start doing, effective immediately.”
“Sounds like a plan. Thanks for your time, NM, I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.”
Now, at the time, the end-of-month leave request form had to be a particular form, and it had about 5-6 blocks on each page, one for each individual request.
NM had specified to everyone that we were to use a version of this made available through MS Word and to email it to him because he had to go through and reconcile all of it against the actual time entered in two other systems, as well as the call-in log from people not coming in, and so on.
It took every manager in the office at least 3 days to do for their team of 15-20 people under the best of circumstances, and they had to have it done before the 7th of the month, so we were required to have it to them by close of business on the 5th.
Since Outlook has the option to do time-delivery, I made sure to deliver it at 4:59 pm on the 5th, and the attached Word file must have slowed his PC down because I know for a fact he didn’t see it until the next morning (having also sent it with “read receipt requested”).
What I had done was log the start and end times for every single union-related question for the entire month during my normal work hours each on its own individual line. There were entries for 3-minute conversations, instant-messenger conversations….pages, and pages, and pages of it.
I want to say the full length of the document was something like forty or fifty pages, and the shout of dismay I heard from his office was both glorious and worth all of the work I’d put into it. My one form alone was probably bigger than the rest of the entire team put together, and he now had 24 hours to get it done and reconciled for Payroll…and because he was a new manager, his performance on that core responsibility was one of the major metrics they evaluated him on.
He went fuming to his fellow manager who I was both already on really good terms with and who I’d known for years, and who was supposed to be his mentor, and even through the closed door, I could hear him ranting about it.
He went stomping back to his own office a little while later, and she came out as far as the door, watched him walk away, and gave me a Look. I looked back as innocently as I was able, and she just shook her head once and went back in.
About an hour later, I got an email from him asking me to please disregard his prior instructions, and to return to how I’d been logging my time previously…but he still got stuck with that one, and I suspect having to stay late to get it done that day taught him a valuable lesson.”
6. Want Me To Work Slower? You Got It!
This is a great example of why you should let people work at their own pace.
“This happened last year and I’ve been waiting months to share the inevitable fallout, so please enjoy this lengthy tale of corporate stupidity.
I’ll begin by saying I work for a software company.
I was working on a project for a client, to customize part of the software and stuff. The project was very open-ended, mostly because the client kept changing their mind about what they wanted, so the contract was “time and materials.” Meaning that I had an hourly rate, I would log all the time worked on the project (in half-hour intervals), and every week my company would bill the client company for the hours spent on the project.
The client said they didn’t care how much effort it took; they wanted a good product and they wanted it before the end of the year, so they could present it at their big internal meeting.
In the beginning, the project went great.
Every week I had a meeting with the client and I would get feedback on the progress, as well as new requests they might have, and then I’d spend however long it took to implement the changes. I’d bill them 15 hours, 20 hours, 25 hours, or however many it had been.
Slowly, over time, the client started requesting more and more. I told them during the meeting “this feature will require X days of work,” “changing that will require Y more days” and so on, but again the client insisted they needed all those extra features.
They also complained that the project wasn’t advancing quickly enough, and insisted they needed the project completed before the end of the year.
I talked to my manager and explained the situation. To be able to finish quickly enough, I needed to work full-time on this project.
My manager moved my other projects to different people, and we told the client that until the end of the year, I would work full-time on the project to ensure we will hit all the deadlines. The client was overjoyed… for about a month.
The following month, the client is mad and is demanding to know why we’re charging them so much. I pull out my time sheets and explain that, as agreed, I’ve been working full-time (and more) on their project. Every week I’ve logged between 45 and 50 hours of work, and I have detailed notes specifying exactly how I’ve spent that time.
I’m not particularly concerned about being accused of stealing time, because I’m a fast worker and most tasks have been completed more quickly than the original estimates. Besides I point out that I’m now working twice as many hours as before, so it’s costing the client twice as much per week, but I’m also completing tasks twice as quickly and will be finished in half the time.
The client, unfortunately, doesn’t appreciate my use of logical reasoning. They accuse my company of taking advantage and they say that starting from next week they no longer want to pay for more than 20 hours of work per week. I tell them, sure, we can do that, but it’s October already and you want the project completed by the end of the year.
Given the amount of work still left to do, I will need more hours to finish. The client doesn’t let me explain and says that we’re not to bill them for anything more than 20 hours per week, they will not pay us for more than 20 hours per week, and they want this in writing or they’ll cancel the entire project.
And my manager says, of course, the customer is always right. (This was an evil, evil act of malicious compliance, so please read until the end before getting angry at my manager, he’s a great guy.)
So my manager sends the client an email confirming that, starting from -date-, my engagement with them will be capped at a maximum of 20 hours per week.
He also attaches a spreadsheet of the estimated time to develop all the new features of the project, how many hours I’d spent so far, and how many hours I projected to spend to complete it. The client smugly acknowledges this.
Before the end of the week, my manager gives me back my other project, as well as a new one. You see, at the time we were understaffed because we were growing too quickly, and we were getting more requests for new projects than we could handle.
So there would have been no point in stealing hours from this client and making them mad when we can take on a couple of new clients instead and bill everyone for the actual work and keep everyone happy.
So, starting from next week, my new schedule is 20 hours with Witchy Client, 10 hours with client B and 15 hours with client C.
It works great for me. It doesn’t work that great for Witchy Client. At our next weekly meeting, one of the features they requested isn’t ready yet. At the following meeting, I tell them we’ll need to move the deadline for the next milestone by two weeks.
Then it’s the beginning of December, and they ask me if I would be able to make some last-minute changes and still deliver the project by the end of the year, and I say oh there is no way the project can be finished by the end of the year.
We have yet another meeting with the client and my manager. My manager asks me why I’m missing this huge deadline. I say: do you remember when I was talking about all the work that still needed to be done and how long it would take? In October we estimated the project needed another 60 days of work.
I worked 10 days in October and 10 days in November, because you said 20 hours max per week. It’s going to take about 40 more days of work to finish the project. It’s December. Even if I work overtime, there are not 40 days left before the end of the year.
The manager is like, yep, makes perfect sense. The client does the shocked Pikachu face. They act like this is the first they’ve heard about not being able to meet the deadlines, even though I’ve been telling them for weeks. Unfortunately, they are the kind of person who never listens to what they don’t want to hear.
At first, they wanted the work done quickly, so they didn’t think that if I worked more hours I would bill them for more hours. Then they wanted to be billed for fewer hours, so they didn’t consider that I would work fewer hours on the project and things would get done much more slowly.
Unfortunately for the client, who would like to pretend that we were springing this on them at the last minute, we had tons of emails to show we had told them well in advance. My manager’s email back in October had even included an estimate of when the project would be completed based on the number of hours worked per week.
Our butt was well and truly covered.
Now, as for the fallback. The client kicked and screamed and demanded that I go back to work on their project full-time, or even that my company should provide a second person to help me meet the deadline at the end of the year.
It’s January and the project is still unfinished, so you can guess how well that went. The client had to move the big presentation of the new software and was not happy about it (and about having to explain it all to their own CEO) but we told them very nicely in corporate tones to pound sand.
I was already scheduled to work on two other projects for the next few months, and it had been hard enough to put me full-time on this project the first time. My manager is not going to leave another two clients hanging, especially not to please this Witchy Client who keeps changing their mind and threatens to cancel their contract every other week.
As a company, we do our best to keep the client happy but there is a limit to everything, especially when someone goes out of their way to not listen when we try to explain how cause and effect works.”
Another User Comments:
“I want to believe that the next time this client contracts work, they will take into consideration the expertise of the person they are hiring and believe them when they give them a timeline and detail the necessary amount of work that needs to be done.
I really, really want to. But I don’t.” Chelular07
5. Sign A Year-Long Lease Or Leave? See Ya
Being forceful is rarely ever effective.
“About 10 years ago, I rented a room in a student apartment along with my then-best friend.
He was the first to sign on, so got the biggest room. The second was already claimed by a stranger, and I was stuck with a tiny shoebox adjacent to my best friend’s room, but also adjacent to the living room, where the one and only internet cable jack was.
A bargain was struck where my AV equipment would sit in the living room and anyone could use it, so long as they signed off when I got home and let me use my stuff since I couldn’t fit a TV in my little shoebox.
During the walk-through, the superintendent noted that the previous tenants had punched a hole in the far corners of my walls about the size of a pop can so they could run ethernet cable through the walls of my room to get to the corner office (now my friend’s bedroom).
I didn’t care, and my friend and I agreed to leave it as-is, so we both had wired internet and would run wires from the jack in the main room rather than working wirelessly.
Another thing I noted was that the door handles to the rooms were on the wrong way – so the tongue of the latch had the curved side facing out into the hall, making it really easy to break into with a credit card.
Please note – I took pictures of the holes, doorknob, and the room as soon as I saw it. I may have been a renting noob, but I knew at least a little.
So I signed my 12-month lease, and accordingly paid my first and last months’ rent as the security deposit.
It was $400 a month for this little shoe box, but it was freedom.
Everything was okay for the first 4 months, aside from learning my friend was a slob and I’d be doing most of the cleaning, but I dealt with it.
Unfortunately, my friend eventually also got a new partner, and I’m sure you see where this is going – she moved in without actually moving in and things went bad fast. The rotating tenant had also gotten caught doing some illegal crap, and lastly, my contract had ended, putting me out of a job.
There were other prospects though, and I wasn’t quite ready to ask my parents if I could move back in for a bit.
I suppose it wasn’t clear enough for one user, but part of the setup here is that the landlord knew the rotating tenant had broken the law a couple of times in the apartment, we’d complained, and they’d done fat diddly squat about it, despite actually having the legal right to evict this guy.
We were expecting he’d leave at the end of the year anyways, as he was a student, so we didn’t push too hard, but they knew what they had, and so long as he paid rent, they didn’t care what laws he broke in the building.
Now, where’s the malicious compliance? – I hear you ask.
Well, in Ontario a residential tenancy automatically renews on a month-to-month basis after the defined period (in my case, a year) ends, unless either the landlord or tenant gives a notice of termination.
A tenant must provide 60 days’ notice of intent to leave, and the landlord can kick you out only if you’ve violated specific guidelines, which I had not. Always paid on time, no complaints, and I’d caused no damage to my room that they were aware of.
I had put up some pictures, but they’d not been by once to inspect in the time I’d been there.
Anyhow, instead of receiving a notice of termination, I received a demand about 70 days from the end of my lease from my landlord to sign a new year-long lease starting at the end of my current period.
When I told them I intended to continue month-to-month (as I may still be able to find a job and needed that extra flexibility), they told me I couldn’t, and that I needed to sign the new contract or they’d evict me.
I asked what grounds they thought they had to evict me, and they just repeated the threat – sign or get kicked out.
This went round and round for a few days, getting nowhere until the partner left the door unlocked to the apartment for the hundredth time, and I came home to find two tweaked-out strangers that no one knew sitting on the couch playing on my consoles, and I decided I needed out.
So I said ok, I’m leaving at the end of my lease (within the 60-day warning period), and since they demanded the first and last months’ rent as the security deposit, I indicated that they wouldn’t be receiving a rent payment for the final month.
They complained a bit, claiming I needed to pay an extra month because there needed to be a security deposit, and I just reminded them I could always stay on month-to-month, which they again refused.
This is the second bit of clarification maybe I need to make – aside from the fact that them trying to force me into a lease is illegal, I wasn’t paying that last month’s rent because I saw something coming a mile away.
Within a week my family helped me move back home, and the apartment sat empty for two weeks until the final month of my lease started. I also took a picture of the room when I left, and wouldn’t you know it – electronically, it’s a match.
(you can’t see the pinholes from my pictures, but that’s fine.)
I didn’t return the key immediately because I wanted to patch the pinholes from my wall hangings before handing it in, as I wanted no other trouble.
Well, crap, the day I came back to do this, I found out that the rotating tenant had broken into my room and dumped all his crap in there and was using the room for storage.
Had caused a load of damage to the doorframe by breaking in and cutting deep gouges in the drywall by pushing a spare metal bed frame along one wall.
Oh… no… the criminal we’d warned them about, and who had access to an easily broken-into room, had broken into this room and trashed it.
Whoever could have seen this coming?
I brought the super upstairs, showed her what he’d done, and told her in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t cleaning his crap out of my room and handed over the key. If they had any issues with the state of the room, they were to harass him, not me.
And yes – I do realize as an adult I could’ve charged him for breaking and entering, but this whole experience had soured so badly I was just ready to be done.
About a week later I get an email from the apartment owners sending me a bill for damages.
They wanted a flat $500 to re-paint, and – get this – patch the damage done by the guy who broke into my room, as well as the holes in the walls the previous tenants had left, trying to blame all of it on me.
Needless to say, I was livid and emailed them back that the superintendent was well aware of the holes the previous tenants left, and that the damage to the room they were noting currently was due to the break-in, not any action of my own.
They responded they didn’t care, and get this – if I didn’t want to be on the hook for the holes for the ethernet cable, I should’ve taken pictures when I first moved in.
Cue me sending them the pictures of the holes that I took before moving in, and the back door latch, with a heads up that the rotating tenant would never have been able to break into my room as easily as he did if they’d put the doorknob on the right way round.
They also got the before and after pics of the room. I also quoted the specific passages that indicated that I had offered to go to month-to-month leasing rather than leaving now and that if they hadn’t tried to push me into a lease, I’d still be there, and the damage would’ve never happened as the rotating tenant left at the end of this period anyways.
I also told them that even if I had been responsible for the damage, I wouldn’t have paid anything unless they could provide receipts indicating the repairs actually cost $500. And that if they really thought they had a case against me, they could serve me. But that I was well-prepared to provide the judge with every instance I’d logged over the year of them violating tenant law, starting with trying to bully me into signing a lease.
Never heard anything back.”
4. Lock Down The Workstations? Okay, But Sales Will Tank
“This happened back in the days when companies had call centers in the US (I’m old). I worked for Company X (not its real name). Company X got a lot of its business from inbound and outbound telemarketing. I worked for the branch of Company X that set up and managed the call centers where their CSRs worked.
The call center this story is about was pretty big. Hundreds/dozens of CSRs sat in a big bullpen with X-Windows terminals as their workstations. X-Windows terminals were basically just displays. Advanced for their time, but all the actual work happened on servers elsewhere.
Think of the terminals as just a screen, keyboard, and mouse that only ran the equivalent of a web browser.
A CSR could sit anywhere in the bullpen and flip the “ON” switch of the terminal to get the standard home page.
You weren’t allowed to change the standard home page or anything else for that matter. Everything you did as a CSR was via a script. There was no deviation from the script allowed (in theory – in practice, human customers are prone to going off-script).
One of the “apps” (I don’t think they called them that at the time, but it’s essentially the same thing – an icon you could click on to do a thing) was a video player that allowed the CSRs to look up a commercial that a customer would call about (this was an inbound telemarketing site).
Think of it like a private YouTube, I guess.
The commercials themselves didn’t have a ton of information about the services and terms that were offered, and the clipped voice-overs that came at the ends were hard to hear/interpret. So the idea was that customers would call, and then the CSR would find the commercial on the app and explain the offer to the customer, hopefully leading to a sale.
The app was pretty buggy. Networks, even LANs, didn’t have a lot of bandwidth back then, and video playback ate up a ton of it. Plus, the descriptions in the videos’ metadata weren’t always the greatest. So CSR/customer conversations tended to be long discussions like “is it the one where the little boy talks to his grandpa about calling during the holidays?” “No? Is the little boy black, or white?” “Oh, it’s a little girl? And it’s the grandma, not the grandpa? Wait – is this the one where there’s a picture of a horse on the wall? I’m looking at it right now.
It’s a black horse. No. The horse is black, not the little girl….”
Call times for those types of calls were abysmal. Add to that a very confusing “home screen” layout, and the result was that sales numbers for the site were pretty bad.
Enter “Jake” (which might be his real name because I can’t actually remember it). He was a Comp Sci major at some school that I also don’t remember. Jake did NOT like the workflow of the mandatory/standard home screen, and he hated the stupid commercial-video app.
So, being a Comp-Sci major, he did the logical thing: He fixed it.
Jake figured out that you could interrupt the boot-up process of your workstation and get it to load its configuration from somewhere else. I don’t remember the exact method he used, but the end result was a very efficient workflow that allowed him to walk customers through the process in a fraction of the standard/mandatory time.
Jake also started writing up detailed descriptions for the commercials, indexed by topic, market (where the commercials aired), etc., and even having the era’s equivalent of “tags” (e.g. “Picture:Horse” or “Character:Grandpa”). He put all that into a searchable database he created.
He somehow got that on his workstation as well.
The end result was that Jake could take a call, figure out what video the customer was inquiring about, walk them through the offering, terms, and conditions, and sign someone up in five minutes where it took any of the other CSRs fifteen to twenty (disclaimer: I am pulling those metrics from my butt.
The point is, Jake set things up so that he was much more efficient than others using the standard/mandatory tools).
Eventually, Jake’s cool new home screen got noticed by other CSRs. They wanted their numbers for call duration and sales to improve as well.
So they asked Jake how he did it, and Jake very kindly showed them how. Pretty soon, a lot of other people were upping their game with Jake’s cool new home screen and video index database.
You know what happened next.
One of the bullpen managers noticed that Jake’s terminal always looked different from everybody else’s.
That WOULD NOT DO. The handbook specifically stated that employees were NOT ALLOWED to change the terminal. Worse, Jake’s video index database made it easy to simplify the “script” that CSRs were required to use. Going off-script was a huge deal.
Managers had these headsets that let them listen in on any call, and they could screen-mirror any employee’s screen.
Jake got called into a meeting and let go. I never heard what happened to him, but I suspect he graduated from his Comp Sci program and went on to do great things.
Jake (or whatever your name is), if you read this: sorry you got fired. That was a pretty crappy thing for them to do. I hope you invented Google or something and are now reading this from the deck of your megayacht.
I got called into a different meeting, the topic being “how do we prevent employees from ‘hacking’ the workstations?” I was like “this dude you just fired increased his efficiency and sales numbers by orders of magnitude. Shouldn’t the first topic be: how do we implement these same changes for ALL of the CSRs?”
My suggestion was not well received.
Jake’s “hack” would supposedly cost the company tons of money for retraining (not to mention the salaries required of folks like me, who were tasked to prevent other CSRs from- gasp!- improving efficiency). It wasn’t an approved standard. Legal hadn’t reviewed it.
The folks who monitor ADA hadn’t vetted it. It promoted “reckless behavior” in other CSRs. “The Script” had been developed by a lot of people whose JOB it was to develop scripts. It wasn’t Jake’s job to develop scripts. Or apps.
It was Jake’s (former) job to read the darn script, say the words on it, and use the tools that were given to him.
I spent a lot of time and energy convincing my management and Company X’s management to use Jake’s improvements.
But the bottom line was: I was told to “just fix it” and to obliterate all traces of Jake’s “hacks.” I wasn’t even allowed to keep a copy of Jake’s database.
So I shrugged my shoulders and did exactly what I was told to do.
With predictable effects.
Call lengths increased. Sales rates sank. CSRs who were looking at nice fat bonuses suddenly saw those become impossible, and not a few of them quit. Customers started dropping off calls because they were taking too long. Company X probably lost a ton of business, although I’d be hard-pressed to quantify it.
But it was cool because the bullpen managers were getting their fat bonuses for script compliance. And I got a big pat on the back for figuring out how to lock down the terminals (I honestly don’t even remember how I did it.
Probably just a BIOS password or something stupid like that.)
In the end, it probably didn’t matter all that much. Company X moved all their telemarketing overseas, and that particular call center shut down. Technology has moved on, but I honestly hope there’s someone out there hacking whatever workstations they are forced to use.”
3. Don't Care How I Do My Job? You May Not Like It Though
“I used to work in hotels in a ski town in Colorado. Very expensive “but the quality of life,” a very common saying there. I had started at a new hotel and was making $10 an hour living with my brother in a 2-bedroom place that was 700 sq ft.
Rent was half our income. When the slow season approached, I was told I would have to move to night audit (11 pm to 7 am) or risk being let go. The problem was I lived 3 miles from the hotel and took the bus to get there since I couldn’t afford a car.
The bus did not run at night or early morning so I would be walking 6 miles a day in several inches to a foot or more of snow. So I asked for a raise. They said they’d get back to me but need an answer and I need the job so, okay, I’ll work night audit.
I start the next week as an auditor and while I’m being trained I learn that I’m also losing a day. The other auditor works 3 days and I’ll be working 4 days, not 5. That’s $320 a month hit to my income before taxes.
So I’ll need to be making $12.50 an hour to keep making the same thing with the cut hours. But I decide I’m going to ask for $14.
I complete training and meet with my GM. He asks how I’m liking it and I start off with my concerns.
I tell him I wasn’t told I’d lose a day and with having to walk 6 miles a day in the snow, I was going to need a raise to $14 an hour. He let out an audible sigh and tells me he can easily hire someone for this position for $10 an hour and to take it or leave it.
I knew it would be very hard to find a job in the winter when everything closes up so I stayed. As I walked out of his office he says, “I don’t care how you do your job, just do it.”
Okay, I will.
You see this job was easy. It was 7 hours of me doing absolutely nothing and 1 hour of actual work. Which gave me plenty of time to find shortcuts. The software we used allowed us to import scripts that you downloaded from the developer’s site.
One such script was a way to make my job literally one click. The problem was it was $500 a year license for it. Obviously, I wouldn’t propose to my GM a way to eliminate my job. But there was a free trial on every script for 7 days.
I remember at the time you get around paywalls on news websites by going into the web console and simply removing the paywall from the source code. I decided to see if this was something I could do with this script.
And what do you know, I downloaded it and opened the script in a text editor and the only thing making this script a trial was a line that said: LicenseExp and had the date set 7 days out from when I downloaded it.
I changed the computer’s date to 8 days from now and tried to run the script in our software and got a notification that said the free trial had ended. So I changed it back and set the expiration date to 2050.
This took my manual job of 1 hour and made it 3-5 minutes. All I had to do was specify a date range and check off what reports I wanted done and printed and click start. That was it. I always manually reviewed everything just in case.
But that wasn’t it. We had a kitchen where we made breakfast and dinner for the guests. The evening shift got free dinner, and the morning shift got free breakfast. I didn’t get anything. They eventually decided to have the auditors set up breakfast so the kitchen crew didn’t have to come in as early.
I asked if we got free breakfast and was told no. Despite setting up everything to make their jobs easier. I should also note that we had to clean any dishes left from dinner that the kitchen didn’t get to despite not even getting any dinner.
But I had the kitchen all to myself for 6 hours. So I started making myself dinner around 1 am. Whatever I wanted. The only limits were the ingredients in the kitchen and since I was responsible for dishes from other shifts, I never left any evidence behind.
I no longer had to buy food to bring to work. I later realized that I could put dirty dishes back in the return bin since it was covered and the breakfast crew never checked to see if any dirty dishes were in it and the very few times they did check, they assumed dinner forgot to check before leaving.
I always cleaned up the dishes I used making myself food out of fairness though.
So now my job no longer requires me to do dishes, I get free food, and all I have to do is remember the date and click a button to do my actual job.
What am I to do with all this time? I watched so many shows. I played online games on my laptop. I started learning Spanish. The GM did say he didn’t care how I did my job, just do it, and so I did.
I did eventually decide to move away for a much better job far away and had to give up the comfy life. I trained my replacement the way I was doing things. Including the script and did not teach him the manual way.
Before I left though, I decided to change the trial date to one week out. Two days after my last day, the Front Desk Manager texts me and tells me that the other auditor was just fired for making racist remarks to a guest and that the guest recorded him so he was fired once the GM got in.
He asked if I could come back until they got someone else and said they’d pay me $15 an hour. Unfortunately, I was leaving in 2 days, so there was no way.
I got a call from the GM at about 5 am the day of the expiration and he asked about this free trial thing and why wasn’t the new guy trained on how to do the audit properly, who was apparently working 7 days a week since no one else knew the audit except the new guy and of course me.
I reminded him that he told me he didn’t care how I did my job, just do it, so I did exactly that. I could tell he wanted to yell but he held back. He then demanded I come back and fix it or he’ll have to take legal action.
I told him I was already at my new place 2,000 miles away but I would happily do it for airfare, a free room, free meals while I’m there, and $10,000. That was when he lost it and I hung up.
He texted me after saying he was contacting the lawyers and that I screwed up and prepare to face the consequences.
That was 5 years ago and I haven’t heard anything from him since. I did eventually go back to that town a few months ago to see my mom and ran into the Front Desk Manager from that place, who is a really nice guy.
He told me the GM was caught hooking up with the Head Housekeeper in his office by his wife one day. Later divorced him. The 19-year-old girl working the front desk in the mornings later filed harassment charges against him and he resigned after that.
The AGM jumped ship after that. The Front Desk Manager now runs the place as GM and he’s made sure that he, the AGM, and the FDM are all trained to do the audit.”
Another User Comments:
“You have to treat the night audit well.
It’s the best and the worst job in the whole hotel. Some managers don’t get it. They see it as a do-nothing job (which it mostly is) where they pay someone to basically freeload.
They don’t realize that asking someone to give up their social life, stay up at unnatural hours, and have no human contact for significant stretches of time (or ever) is asking a lot.
It’s a huge thing to ask someone to do, and most people aren’t willing to do it, not even for an easy job.
The manager at my old hotel tried to push extra work on the night auditors because we had all this extra free time at night and “why can’t they do some cleaning and prepare some things besides breakfast?” Every NA on staff bucked hard against that.
We told them in no uncertain terms that we weren’t doing any more than they were already asking, which was a lot for the pay. One person quit over it before they dropped the idea altogether, and they spent the next 4 months struggling to find someone to fill the position because no one wants to do it. We never were asked to do extra again.” Reddit user
2. Order Me To Open The Bag? You'll Regret What Happens Next
“I am a broke college student. Not like the, “I spend all of my savings on DoorDash so I don’t have enough to go out with friends,” kind of broke, but rather the, “I once ate a piece of cheesecake that I found on the side of the road because I was hungry,” kind of broke.
Anyhow, I have managed to find a way to swindle a certain convenience store to unwittingly give me coupons that I could use to get free food every now and then. I had worked there before, so I knew how to take advantage of their coupon system as much as they had taken advantage of me while I worked there.
Well, one day I had gotten $11 in coupons which I was very excited to use to buy myself some groceries.
Now, convenience stores are great, but when it comes to groceries, well, they aren’t grocery stores, so options are a bit limited.
Of course, for me it’s free, so I’m not complaining.
So I’m walking up and down the aisles, looking for something slightly nutritious so that I can eat real food and not get that groggy “I’ve been eating nothing but peanut butter and bread for the last week” type of feeling.
You know the one.
After grabbing some peanut butter and bread, a stack of pink catches my eye. My heart drops. Could it be? Do they have…meat? My legs pull me over to the meat stack faster than I can process this miracle, and I am suddenly face-to-face with a giant stack of packaged salami.
Finally, some good freaking food.
I grab myself a package of salami, and it becomes my new best friend. I imagine our life together. The sandwiches, the snacks, and best of all, the satisfaction of having a real meal. I put the peanut butter back and exchange it for some mayonnaise and mustard.
Peanut butter had gotten me through some hard times, but sometimes you just gotta upgrade. I’m sorry, old pal. Papa just needs some meat. I go to the checkout stand with my salami, beaming like a maniac.
After getting home, I am ecstatic about this meat, and I immediately unwrap the salami.
As soon as I begin peeling it, I realize my mistake.
Instantly, the wrath of Genghis Khan charges directly from the meat to my nostrils with a weaponized stench that pulls at my stomach. This is no salami. This is a foul, vile monster.
I try to reseal the salami to contain its stench, but it is too powerful. The salami refuses to be contained. Panicked, I scour the house for anything I can find to vanquish this terrible monster that has let loose in my house.
I happen across a freezer bag, into which I throw the salami.
This displeases the salami. Furious, the salami begins planning its revenge.
The freezer bag contains the stench for now, so I place it into the fridge to return to the store the next day.
My thinking is that the freezer bag will subdue the salami until the next day. But I am a fool. A jester, and a clown. Overnight, the salami rebuilds its arsenal.
The night passes, and I am ready to rid myself of this foul demon.
I open the fridge.
The most putrid, insulting, horrific smell rips its way out of the fridge, grabbing me by the nose and tearing it clean off. The taste of salt fills my mouth, and I am unsure if it is from the salami or the tears streaming down my face.
I rush to grab another few freezer bags and contain the salami as best as I can. The signature stench of the salami has filled the room. It’s not going away on its own, so I open a window and head back to the convenience store with salami in one hand and a receipt in the other.
I arrive and make my way to the cashier. As usual, I look malnourished and have baggy clothing, marking me as a “suspicious customer.” I go to send the salami back from whence it came, but the cashier has suspicions of my return.
“So why exactly are you returning this, sir?”
Please don’t make me open the bag. The displeased salami becomes eager.
“It smells really bad. I would open the bag, but I really don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Please don’t make me open the bag.
The salami knows what is to happen.
“Sir, I can’t do the refund if it’s in this bag. You need to take it out to return it.”
You are making a mistake. The salami is preparing to strike.
“I put it in a clear bag, so you can scan the barcode through the bag.
Trust me, you really don’t want me to open this.”
Please, for the love of all things holy, do not make me release this monster. The salami is foaming at the mouth.
“Sir, I can’t do this return without you opening the bag.
Either open the bag or take it home. I can’t refund you if it’s in a bag.”
I worked at this chain for three years and that has never been a policy. I don’t know why you would make that up other than to somehow catch me in some act, but please, just trust me.
The salami suddenly goes silent. It is ready.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, it is our policy.”
No, it isn’t, but if you insist, then very well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I barely crack open the freezer bags, and the salami, furious, bursts out with a stench so sour that even the Karen in line behind me pulls her mask over her nose (actually).
The cashier begins coughing as I pull the salami out of the bag. She apologizes profusely about the foul-smelling meat and scans the beast before issuing me $5.99 in-store coupons. I take the bag with me, leaving no line of defense between the cashier and the salami.
You said you can’t accept bags, right? Well, I guess I’ll just keep these bags then. She tries using a store bag to contain the salami, but to no avail, as the store’s bags aren’t airtight. You didn’t want my bags, so have fun working next to the salami until the line dies down.
I grab two jars of peanut butter and buy them with the coupon, and head back home to have me some peanut butter and bread. Should have just stuck with ole reliable.”
1. Tell Me I Should Shut Down My Bakery? I Might Just Do That
And, boy, did it come back to bite her in the butt.
“I’m a law student – graduating in less than a week actually! I run a part-time bakery from my home kitchen because it helps me destress in between the work and I donate all proceeds to my charity so it’s also a way of raising funds.
Mine is the only bakery in my entire locality so it became super popular amongst the families in my area super fast, and everyone especially loves my tart cakes.
Last month, this one lady demanded 1 lb of this tart cake for the 1 lb price, no more, no less.
So I gave her exactly that, and she was not happy and vowed she would never buy from me again and make sure to tell everyone she knew not to either. For the sake of convenience, I will refer to her as EW going forward.
Just a few days after this incident, I got infected with you-know-what. Thankfully, it wasn’t a severe case but my pre-existing health conditions did not help and, at least for a week in there, I couldn’t even sit up in bed.
It just wrecks your body completely, I am still barely recovering. During that week, on one of the days when I had just a teensy bit more energy, I made one post on my blog about these breads that I baked before I got sick.
EW saw that post and I guess she didn’t bother reading my caption. She repeatedly called me that day, constantly disturbing me and my rest till I gave in and picked up her call. Completely casual, with no acknowledgment of our previous disagreement and her staunch vow to never support my business, she just went straight into it: “Hello, yeah, I saw your photo of those breads on social media and they look really nice, I want a basket of it tomorrow morning.”
I told her that I am sick but also, I thought she was never going to buy from me again? She just laughed and said, “No, no, those are just things one says. Please make those breads and send them over by tomorrow morning.”
So I told her again that I am sick with a highly contagious and deadly condition; I am not taking any orders right now.
I heard her rant about “today’s generation” as I hung up on her.
She called me thrice more, each time for a different dish, and each time the conversation went the same. Apparently, she was okay with me making them because she has antibodies, but like – I am sick? And incapable of getting out of bed?? Let alone bake?
Like I also mentioned, I am graduating.
I have a lot of assignments and exams ongoing and they sort of piled up because I couldn’t do anything for almost 3 weeks. On top of that, I am also recovering and it’s not been easy, so I sent out a broadcast message saying I won’t be taking any orders for May.
Any baking I’ve done the last few days has been just stress busters and easy stuff that does not require a lot of effort. On Sunday, I made a baked eggless cheesecake – something I’ve had on my to-do list for the longest time and made a very excited post about it on my blog because it came out perfectly!
The post was barely up and EW called me.
Sigh. I respond because it’s just too much of a hassle to ignore her at this point. “Child, I saw this mango cake type thing just now, can you make 1 lb (yeah, she’s still hung up on the 1lb) of that and four loaves of freshly baked bread for tomorrow? I want them by 8 am, just in time for breakfast.”
And I’m just gobsmacked because firstly, I don’t take orders on such short notice, I need at least 48 hours so I can plan and prepare accordingly.
Secondly, four loaves of bread by 8 in the morning means I would have to make them all night long which I am definitely not doing. This is a part-time home bakery, not a bread factory. Third, she knows I’m not taking orders right now.
So I told her all of this and boy, she was livid. She started ranting about how unprofessional I am, how she’s tried so many times to place orders with me but I’m highly irresponsible and losing out on so many orders, and then ended it all with “if you don’t know how to run a bakery then close it and go back to doing whatever you were doing before.”
Here’s the thing: I will officially be a lawyer in July.
I knew when I started this wasn’t a long-term thing. After I graduate, I will barely have time to bake, forget baking professionally. I was initially planning on doing this while I was still unemployed, but I figured I can dedicate a month or so to just the job hunt.
So I sent out another broadcast message stating that XYZ Bakery will officially be closing after June, and I will no longer be taking orders, due to some recent negative feedback.
One of my regular clients called me and wanted to express how sorry she was to hear, wanted the whole story.
So I told her everything EW told me that day about being unprofessional and that I should shut down my bakery. My culture likes to infantilize my generation, and I played my part of the sweet young kid who was scolded by an older woman and had obviously taken the scolding to heart (because kids should always respect their elders).
What I didn’t know was that my regular and EW are SILs. They’re both married to two brothers, and live next door to each other. My regular complained to their MIL about EW’s behavior, and MIL berated her heavily for behaving so rudely with a child (I’m 23, but eh, as long as it works for me), and she should have more maturity as the adult.
So today I got a call from EW with what is the typical adult way of apologizing, “Child, why are you taking my words to heart, these are just things one says, I was only trying to help you be more professional and prepare you for the outside world, don’t close your bakery.”
I replied to her in a really innocent tone, “No, Aunty, you were absolutely right, I shouldn’t be baking, I should go back to law and focus on finding a job.
I will do that, I won’t take any more orders after June.”
My mom’s friend who basically runs the gossip channel of the neighborhood told Mom that EW is being blamed by all the ladies for shutting down the only bakery in our area, and she is no longer invited to their weekly Zoom Tambola evenings.”
Another User Comments:
“If you want to get even more revenge, bake some cakes for your kind customers for free and post about that on your blog (just so long as they promise not to share with her).” ravencrowe