"I used to work for the now long defunct books, movies, and music store Media Play. Just one of the 285 reasons that poorly run business ran into the ground was the tardy/attendance policy.
If you were literally 0.01 seconds late clocking in, even hours before the store opened, it was a really, really big deal. You'd not only be formally written up but lectured like a child, often times berated even. If you were tardy three times, bye-bye. HOWEVER, if you no-showed and then called 2 hours later saying you were sick?---okay, thank you, feel better. This trained everyone to just take a sick day instead of being half a second late to work.
I can't tell you how many times you'd see a coworker screeching into the parking lot before work after fighting traffic from a wreck or whatever, noticing it was 8:01, and then slowly driving off to go home and feign being sick.
This was particularly upsetting when it was a pull-down stock week when we needed every hand on deck but had unusually early shifts."
"Our workplace started a friendly post-it war with the office across the street that went on for about half a day. Honestly, all of the pictures were safe...just Metroid Samus, Mario, emojis, super basic stuff. The pieces were getting pretty good too and it was clear both offices were having a blast thinking of the next, fun design.
Our CEO walked by around 4 pm that day, saw the post-it art, and asked what it was. We exclaimed, 'Oh just a post-it war with that office! Would you like to join us in the next mural?' She said she didn't get it. She didn't get the concept of the post-it war. So, we spent a few minutes trying to explain what it was about, you make art out of post-it notes, and whoever has the best mural wins. Pretty simple stuff. She kind of laughed it off, but it was clear to all of us that she still didn't quite understand why someone would do it. What a silly millennial thing, she must have thought.
The next morning, an office memo was on every desk saying that no one was allowed to put post-its on windows. We had to take all of our art down. When we asked the office manager what we did wrong, she explained that the CEO quite literally still didn't understand it and banned post-its for that reason.
Side note: This happened days before Christmas last year. The holiday party was that evening, the next day (Friday) nearly everyone was out to start their vacations...it was very clear that we were not interrupting a busy work day by spending lunch making a few murals. We are not some band of idiots that can't understand the meaning of a productive work day. Our CEO was just a straight up Grinch!"
"I'm in a different department now, but, a few years back it was: 'If two or more people are talking in your department, then you need to join in on the conversation'.
The idea was it built team spirit if people got to know each other through casual conversation.
It didn't matter who was talking, what they were talking about or how long. If two or more people were talking, then everyone else had to join in (there were between 4 - 6 of us in the department at any given time).
Weird enough. The problem: we had 2 ladies who would have talked 24 hours straight without taking a breath if humanly possible. 'Group chat' started every day before 7 AM and basically lasted all day.
The only way to get anything done was to break away and...actually work. Double-edged sword. Either get work done and get yelled at for not being a 'team player' or be a team player and get yelled at for not finishing the work.
Problem 2: Both the chattiest ladies were straight out bigots and racists. So a lot of conversation was very centered around controversy.
No matter who I turned to about how audaciously insulting and inappropriate 95% of the conversation was, they only faulted me for not trying harder to fit in. The thought being: 'If I listened to (their) perspective, maybe (I) could learn how to be a flexible thinker.'
My being 'rigid and inflexible' came up a few times in reviews.
So I hightailed it the heck out of that department as soon as possible."
"I worked janitorial at this community college. Every different person I was assigned to told me a different way to do things. 8 different ways to wash a window, 8 different ways to scrub a toilet, 8 different ways to tie a bag.
Well after being there for about 3 months I tell one of the people, 'Look, I'm a results-oriented fellow, why does it matter if I do windows your way or windows their way, as long as the windows are clean at the end of the night, that should be good enough.' He responds with something along the line of, 'Well, when you're in this area you're going to do things my way, and this is the boss's way anyway, so you should do it this way.' There's a fair bit more to it than that but shortened it for brevity.
Anyways, finished out the night, come in for my next shift, the boss starts chewing me out, saying how I shouldn't be arguing with full timers and if I'm going to continue working here I'm going to need friends. Let me remember how she precisely put it, 'If my employees don't like you, why would I like you?'
After she is done I ask her how she cleans windows. She shows me her way, which is rather different from his way, and I ask her, 'Well the basis of my question is this, every different area I go to has a different way of doing everything, do you really want me to learn 8 different ways of doing everything?'
She asks me if I really want to keep arguing, I go, I'm not arguing, I'm asking for clarification.' She stares at me for a solid 10 seconds, I'm not looking away, and I make the gesture 'well?' Stares at me for another 5 seconds, and I go 'I guess not.'"
"Documenting your productivity.
Worked for one of the top 10 companies in the US. You might know them, they make terrible computers and really terrible printers. My job was reporting. I was very good with spreadsheets and somewhat enjoyed it, because of this every time something needed doing like that it came my way. Eventually, I had a mountain of work that was pretty impossible to finish on time. I started writing scripts, macros, and more auto hotkey language that I even though possible
More and more my work was automated and all I had to do was hit the on button. I could even leave my station and my work would finish itself. It got to the point where I'd remote in from home to start my work and just not come in for the day. My managers didn't care because I was doing the work of 5 people in ways they couldn't comprehend and I was getting them better numbers because of it.
Then the productivity tyrant came to power. I hate this horrid woman.
She implemented a policy where everybody had to report how they filled their day down to the minute in one of 14 categories. You were then given a productivity score and anything under 80 percent was an automatic meeting with her, your direct supervisor and their supervisor.
I was safe for a while because my boss covered for me. However, the type of person that takes this sorta role is usually the type of person everybody hates who will go on personal missions for the pettiest things. See the toilet paper queen in another comment in this thread. You know who I'm talking about.
Anyways, my score was always abysmal if I reported it properly. I had to start lying and pretending to be busy as more and more this lady would watch me and quiz me on what I was doing. My supervisor would give me busy work that was way beneath my pay grade to shut her up.
Like the guy before me was getting about 30k a month for the company out of his billing and I was pulling in 80k a month for them because I automated the very tedious things so it became easier to go after the minuscule stuff more and more. But here I was pushing mountains of paper into a shredder machine so I'd stay busy and keep the horrid woman off my back."
"I am no longer allowed to dissolve life-saving medication in advance.
I'm an anesthesiologist. Among other things, we do anesthesia for cesarian sections. Sometimes they're very, very urgent. Either you get the child out within minutes or the child and/or mother dies. When you get that call, you just run into the OR without changing, washing or anything. You'll be standing in the OR in jeans and a t-shirt if that's what you were wearing at the time. The number one concern is getting that child out as quickly as humanly possible.
There is one medication (thiopental) that is necessarily needed for the anesthesia. The whole thing can't start without thiopental, but it has to be dissolved first which takes quite a while. So it used to be common practice at my hospital to dissolve it at the beginning of the day and store it in the fridge for emergency c-sections. At the end of the day, it would be thrown away if it hadn't been used.
Then some hygiene commission came along and decided that this was not ideal from a hygienic standpoint, even though there had never been a single documented case of infection from pre-dissolved thiopental at our hospital. Dozens of mothers and children have died because the child couldn't be delivered in time.
And now, everyone is standing there and waiting for the nurse to dissolve the thiopental while the child and/or mother are in the process of dying."
"I used to work for Amazon in Ireland and their toilet breaks were crazy. Maximum of 10 minutes a day but also a max of 20 minutes per week. You had to change the status on your computer so everything was recorded and some managers would call you out on it and even go as far as threaten your job.
I had an understanding with my manager and told him if I need to take a while in the bathroom, then I'm going for it. Like any good manager, he just told me that as long as I give him the numbers he wants then I could do what I want.
I will admit, I was treated with great respect while working there and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I can't speak for other employees in the business but I have heard the stories.
Incidentally, I now work in construction where someone isn't looking over your shoulder and checking every minute of every day. "
"Where to begin...
Worked for a company that was SO tight on time people were fired for taking breaks longer than by a few seconds. All time was documented by the millisecond (Ex: hour: minute: second: millisecond) and was a part of your quarterly review, which impacted your pay. You were allowed two 15 minute breaks while on the clock. Any time used outside of this was considered 'personal time' and personal time was also documented to the millisecond and was accounted for during your review.
Lunches were 30 or 45 minutes long (depending on your pay grade) and were 'off the clock'. You could not clock in early, and since this time was also documented by the millisecond, you could not clock in late, as it was considered being tardy. Clocking in to start your day had a 5-minute 'time allowance' that would allow you to clock in early for 5 minutes to prepare for work, anytime before this was considered to be personal time and thus considered to be stealing from the company. All of this was controlled by a single person, as her only job, was to watch who was and who was not on or off the clock. She created the schedules for 100s of employees. ALL requested time off went through her and required a 2-month advanced request. If a family emergency came up you had an annual two-week bank that it pulled from that also included your vacation time.
Every Time a pregnant woman was hired... they were forced to quit or were fired. Everytime. Always due to time. Every. Single. Time.
I spent three years there. Only because the benefits were crazy cheap... since that's what the company did. I was 'let go' for having an equivalent of 1 full day of personal time accumulated over the three years I worked there. I asked for proof and they brought me a three ring binder of every single clock punch I ever made, measured to the millisecond. IN OUT BREAK-(1) LUNCH BREAK-(2) PERSONAL for three whole years. I was absolutely floored by the ridiculousness. I was escorted out and advised I could come by the next day for my things. They were itemized and placed in a box at the security counter.
That's just that one issue.
I've run into former co-workers who had similar stories, and other horrors... like Supervisors who were Food Dictators (food was not allowed at your desk, no open containers for liquids or solids) so the occasional candy jar that might pop up was confiscated. Some of them would wait at the door if you were lucky enough to have outside lunch and make sure no cups were brought in.
Micromanagement was awful too. Each supervisor had an assistant and each team consisted of 10-12 people. Each supervisor had a Coordinator and each coordinator had 5-7 supervisors and there were 5 coordinators who each reported to 3 Assistant Managers who reported to the General Manager.
I'm gonna stop there..."
"I work in retail and we have 'on call' shifts.
Your name will be listed on the schedule for a certain time as a call-in, so you have to call one hour before your shift to figure out if they need you to work for the day. For example, you would be listed as 'on call for 2 pm' and wouldn't know until 1 pm if you were working that evening. If you don't call in, it's considered 'not showing up for a shift,' but there's no extra pay for the shift whether they need you or not.
So for three days of the week, I don't know if I have to work or not. Can't make any solid plans to do anything except call my work and ask if they need me.
I can't imagine having children or elderly that need taking care of because it would be such a hassle to arrange care for them just an hour before having to work."
"Our CEO is a bit of a weirdo so we have all kinds of stupid rules that have been popping up. One was that we can only use the brown recycled paper napkins from the dispensers in the cafeteria. Additionally, despite living in a very casual state, he cannot give up his Washington DC leanings and will lose his mind if he sees a man without a tie (several colleagues keep ties at their desk for this reason.)
The crown jewel for me is this: he made us all sign a 'contract' of sorts that we wouldn't 'swear, use inappropriate acronyms or inappropriate hand gestures'.
I totally get that we have the internet now and asking, 'Is there someone wrong or is that an FLK?' (Funny looking kid) is likely to upset some people. So would holding your middle fingers in the air around patient admissions.
I keep a swear jar on my desk and pop a dollar into it whenever I just have to use a swear."
Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock
"Where do I start?
You aren't allowed to go by nicknames because they sound 'unprofessional', my name is something like Amanda and I'm not allowed to go by something like Mandy, even though that is what I have been called my whole life. My resume even says Mandy on it. I understand not wanting someone to go by something ridiculous, but a Catherine couldn't even go by Cathy.
We are allowed to listen to music, but it is predetermined by someone who isn't even in the office. They are very religious so we have to listen to Christian music. I'm mostly non-religious, but for the most part identify as Jewish. So, I brought it up that not everyone in the office identifies as Christian and maybe we could find a radio station that might satisfy everyone and was shot down.
We aren't allowed to have our cell phones in the lunch room, only outside. So, when it's snowing out I have to walk out to my car and sit in there if I want to call my husband on my lunch break. Another strange phone thing is that if I receive a personal call at work it can only be an emergency and I also have to have another coworker listen in on it so I can't lie about what it was. Mind you, I work in a call center so all of our calls are recorded. One of my emergencies was that my mom was in the hospital, and my husband called to let me know and I wasn't even allowed to leave work since I had not been awarded PTO yet after 10 months of working at this place.
I'm also apparently not allowed to show my Canadian pride. I'm a dual citizen, and for the most part grew up in Canada. I have a slight accent and a coworker complained about how I said 'sorry' and how I needed to say it properly. Our owner agreed with them and told me to sound more American, since we are a call center and needed to sound more uniform. I literally work in billing and the only people I ever speak with work in the office building so I'm not sure why it mattered. Someone also complained about my Toronto Maple Leafs bumper sticker I have on my car and said I was 'disrespecting' America by supporting a Canadian team. The same one who complained about my accent. I wasn't allowed to wear anything Canadian during the summer Olympics last year when we were allowed to wear red, white and blue, because our company needed to support the US even though NOBODY would ever see us. Funny enough, the company sent us to a hockey game as a group, and it was our home team vs Edmonton and boy you would have thought I shot someone because I didn't chat amongst the group when they played O Canada, yet all I've heard all week is people complaining about football players kneeling during the anthem and how disrespectful it is.
Time off is beyond a joke. I'm not allowed to take a sick day without using PTO, and I only get 5 days of vacation a year. They also make us make up time we missed even if we use PTO. So if I take an hour to go to the doctor, I'm required to stay an hour longer to make it up. They also require us to work 1 Saturday a month, without asking us our schedule they just assign us one. I had a wedding and couldn't work one, so their solution was to have me work a different Saturday and to use a day of PTO to make up for it.
We're not allowed to use our trash cans at our desk. I don't know what they are there for because any paper we have needs to be shred. I got written up for throwing out a cardboard container that literally never touched food in my trash can. I still couldn't tell you why.
Anytime I send an email, I have to CC another coworker on it to make sure I'm not sending anything personal. The mailbox is also monitored and I must print out a copy of any email sent to be filed.
We are also strongly encouraged to come in two hours early, and stay late, yet you aren't allowed to come in early and leave early or come in late and stay late. If you are even a minute late you have to use an hour of PTO to cover it."
"My last job was at a store/cafe. Well, an unspoken rule, as in my manager and I were never told this by our boss, was that we were not allowed to let a health inspector see anything that they come to inspect while still getting a good grade.
We followed health and safety laws but our bosses didn't (we were one of the smaller stores/cafes in this chain of 20+ stores and cafes). The health inspector must have realized that it was the companies fault for all the health and safety breaches because we (the staff) were given near full marks on the staff's health and safety responsibilities but the boss's responsibilities was a different story.
No fly killer in store (despite them being attracted by our bakery part and us having a fly killer out back for over a month but no one was ever sent to install it), no mouse/rat traps, only one sink (law requires 2, one for hands and one for dishes), no hot water, the counter where we put coffee down wasn't nailed down and we actually had a customer attempt to sue over a spilt coffee, some of our bakeries was expired but we were made to put it out because according to our companies Food manager, 'they looked ok so they must be ok'. The list goes on.
Our manager ended up showing the health inspector months of emails and texts and WhatsApp messages informing the bosses of these health and safety breaches and asking them to be fixed, all of which were promptly ignored.
Later that day our boss calls and screams over the phone at my manager, tells him that it's all our fault and it's our job to make sure the health inspector never finds out about all that.
Over the next week, she comes in every single day where she just watches us work from the office on the security cameras and gives out at us for every little thing and makes a massive deal over everything. Example: I had a mini-sneezing fit one of those days and was yelled at, in front of customers because I was going to 'infect everyone and all our food'.
Glad to be out of that nightmare place! Last I heard a few of the stores she manages (4-5 store managers quit all in one week while she was on holidays. so she took over managing those stores) are failing with massive sales drops and mass employee quitting ever since she took over them. I hope she loses her job..."
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