what not-so-professional behavior are you proud of and would do again?

Last week, I asked what past work behavior you now cringe over. In the comments on that post, someone suggested asking: What not-perfectly-professional workplace behavior are you still proud of, and would do again?

Maybe you called out the CEO when he complained about not being able to buy a third house while many of his employees had to work second jobs to make ends meet (which was the story that inspired this thread). Maybe you drove into the woods and set a pile of work documents on fire. Maybe you walked off a job with no notice and don’t regret it because your boss deserved it and you ended up just fine.

If you have a not-exactly-professional moment that you don’t cringe over and in fact are happy about, let’s hear it in the comments.

{ 964 comments… read them below }

  1. Dr Wizard, PhD

    I was leaving an absolutely soul-destroying call centre retention job (but I repeat myself).

    The managers were the worst of the worst and would employ all sorts of petty emotional manipulation techniques.

    On my last day (I had given notice) the manager made me wait by his desk so he could escort me downstairs to return my ID card. I waited, and waited, while he half-smiled and tapped away on his laptop.

    Eventually I turned and said ‘I’ve just realised, I don’t actually work here any more and there’s no actual reason I can’t just walk out – I don’t need your permission.’

    I regret not actually doing that, but he did get up immediately and leave with me.

    1. Moxie

      I often wonder about this kind of behavior from one of my managers (making me wait for a few minutes while he types away on his computer and I sit awkwardly in his office). This manager does this literally every time I am in his office, even when he is the one who sends the meeting invite or he IMs me to say “hey, can you stop by for a moment?” I see it as a power play of some kind, but I have often wondered if I’m being too sensitive. I understand the need to finish a thought first, but for an extended (5-15 min) time? Ugh.

      1. Parenthetically

        Can you, “Oh! I can see you’re still busy, I’ll come back when you’ve got time to speak”?

        1. ten-four

          As a person who gets pinged all the time I am totally guilty of this. I don’t see it as a power play so much as a symptom of having a lot to juggle and wedging little tasks into whatever interstices of time I have. But honestly, I bet it IS annoying and I should probably stop doing it. Good nudge.

          1. Southern Ladybug

            Agreed. I usually try to make a comment such as, “please let me finish this email quickly,” or just say “I need 5 more (15 more) minutes to finish this up.” I do not make people wait 5-15 minutes looking at me. That would be creepy and annoying to me.

            1. WellRed

              If you asked them to come by, please consider giving them your attention. If my boss says, “15 more?” Ok, but that’s 15 minutes I…will do zero work because there’s no time to do anything but wait…for…her…to…focus…on the meeting she called.

      2. LQ

        I feel like 1-3 minutes is pretty normal, especially if it’s stop by if you have a moment/when you have a moment that indicates that you don’t need to rush away from your desk Right Now. But 15 seems really long and I’d definitely offer to come back later, or yeah a power play.

        At least I’m hourly so if my boss decides that how he wants to spend that time, that’s on him, but then I’d be really watching the clock on the other end.

        1. boo bot

          I find this strange to say, but I actually think 1-3 minutes is kind of long to expect someone to wait, if you’ve asked them to come by; I work from home, so no one bother me in person, but if someone calls me and I have something that will take 20 seconds to finish (like typing something that’s already clear in my head) I’ll ask them to wait, but if it’s anything longer, I’ll either tell them I have to call back or stop what I’m doing.

          I think it’s different if the person is waiting outside your office or something, and can pass the time as they wish, but I can’t imagine having someone sit and watch me work for several minutes (unless I forgot they were there in the first 20 seconds, which is admittedly possible.)

    2. Cat Fan

      Really, what would they do to a non-employee caught walking through the building alone. Call security to…escort you out?

      1. Close Bracket

        At one of my internships, my direct manager didn’t make any arrangements to have someone walk me out on my last day. That day happened to be near a holiday weekend, and almost no one was in the building. I left my badge on her chair and walked myself out. As you said, what was security going to do? Escort me out?

        1. Hey Nonnie

          I have a mini-collection of employee badges / key cards from jobs that didn’t remember to ask for them back.

          They’re electronic, so I think it’s fair to assume they can just deactivate the badge, and that eventually they remember to do so. (I’ve never gone back to check, so I suppose it’s possible one or more could still get me into their respective buildings… if I could remember which one goes where.)

          In some instances I just genuinely forgot about it, in others I just didn’t bother since I was leaving and it would be more effort than it was worth.

  2. Mazzy

    I’m going to be general. Mine is speaking my mind in a civil manner even if it’s not “professional.” I had been in way too many situations in corporate America where the good hard workers were screwed while management and the good workers tiptoed and worked around a lazy underachiever. My brain just snapped one day after dealing with a complete waste of person at a job who was in a high-level role and just did not perform and I was tired of picking up the slack and tired of trying to laterally manage them and tired of my boss acting like any solution was out of the picture. Screw that. Management doesn’t want to step in on a festering problem? Then don’t word police me or tell me what I should have done differently after the fact, unless I actually did something out of line.

    1. Ellen Ripley

      I did the same at exactly one job, and I regret nothing. The woman I was working for was a toxic, abusive nightmare, and despite the company owners knowing that, they did nothing to correct her behavior.

      1. Zona the Great

        I did the same thing to a very abusive, toxic, racist boss once. I also wrote her a letter a couple of years later telling her I was proud of myself for not showing up one day and described just how her behavior impacted my life. I still feel good about writing that letter and walking out on her.

        1. Orchestral Musician

          Oh man one of the times I walked out was because my boss was telling racist jokes (but then trying to reassure me “But I’m not racist!”) I wish I’d had the courage to tell her exactly why, but I was 22 and not really great at confrontation. Good on you for writing the letter!!

          1. WeNamedTheDogIndiana

            I quit mid-day once for a similar reason (it was a joke about disabilities). I walked to the temp agency during lunch, told them I was quitting and why, and they whisked me out of there immediately.

      2. Orchestral Musician

        SAME! High five to my fellow walk0ut-ers. There wasn’t any way I was going to have a productive conversation with either of the two workplaces so I decided to just cut my losses. I have now been happily employed with the same company (in a very healthy and supportive workplace) for seven years.

        1. CastIrony

          *high-fives Orchestral Musician back* I walked out of my job of three months after my boss wouldn’t let me correct my latest mistake, which was dicing a tomato he was using (I had gone to serve customers their food, and I forgot about the tomato.) The woman from his other business, candle-making, mentioned something about my boss being mean teasingly, and that’s when I realized, after a long month of being criticized daily, “Hey, she’s right!” I looked at my purse, grabbed it, said, “Thank you” to my boss, took the money out of my tip jar, and walked out to my old job, where I got placed to work that evening as a shift manager right away.

      3. Boo Hoo

        I did email but didn’t come in again. I was working 15 plus hours a day, 7 days a week with barley time to eat. I was 100lbs, exhausted and legitimately could barely schedule time to do a load of laundry or wash my hair. I did have “days off” but we were admonished if we took them since it was sales. Black Friday was coming up (not a retail store but a busy day in theory for us) and I physically could not do it. I would at that point have worked for three months straight, had a day to do the family stuff, cook, travel, then back. I said screw it. I was also barely making enough to cover bills and constantly borrowing money despite these hours. I feel bad as my boss was lovely despite this, it really is just the culture of this job, but I physically could not do it. I slept for about a week on and off after that and never regretted it.

        1. Observer

          Anyone who watches their direct reports falling apart while over-working them and then admonishes them for not overworking (or just overworking less) occasionally is NOT “lovely”.

    2. Ann O. Nymous

      I quit a job on the second day.

      I realized immediately that my new job was a colossal asshole. As an assistant, on the first day I was tasked with reading her inbox to get acquainted with her current work projects and came across several completely abrasive, out-of-line, borderline abusive emails to coworkers. She also snapped at me several times on my first day for not knowing things that I had no reason to know because again, it was my first day! She also got angry when, having nothing to do, I asked to leave work at 7:30pm, despite telling me my hours were 9am-6pm. I went home and cried, came back the next day, and quit as soon as she came into the office. She screamed at me, of course.

      10/10 would do again

      1. fposte

        I suspect you meant new boss rather than new job, but I really like the description of a job as a colossal asshole in its own right, and I’m going to call more large abstract collectives assholes now.

        1. Ann O. Nymous

          Haha yes, I did mean new boss. The job would’ve actually been super interesting and great without the, you know, verbal abuse.

      2. Office Anon

        I quit a job on my first day. Very similar situation- boss got angry because I didn’t know things and I apparently wasn’t “grateful enough” for being hired. Boss decided to go to lunch and leave me to run the reception/pick-up/drop-off area (this was daycare/preschool). Parent came in angry about something and proceeded to yell at me for 10 minutes about it. When they finally paused for air, I told them it was my first day, I didn’t know how to fix their problem and they should probably find another daycare. When boss came back from lunch 2 hours later, I told her this wasn’t working for me. She demanded her logo shirt back so I took it off and walked to my car in my bra. I don’t regret it.

        1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis

          I didn’t even make it to the end of my first day when I quit without notice. My boss was a bitca – her first instruction was on how to make her tea perfectly, and told me I would be reprimanded for getting it wrong. I was to act as reception while processing invoices and receipts, but I was given no instruction on how to log in to the computer, or how to transfer calls (completely different phone system to what I was used to, and the handset was so old that half the buttons had their image/icon/number worn away).
          I went out to my car for my 20 minute lunch break, burst into tears, watched the clock tick down to 19 minutes, started the engine and drove away.

      3. JessaB

        I made it a week in training in a call centre, got on the phones, found out they were breaching the agreements with the charity they were calling for, walked into the boss’ office and told her off and quit. I took the job on the back of they had an agreement as to how they were going to handle calls and supporters of the charity and the first things I heard after training were completely opposite to that, and yes I phoned the charity, of course I did. I have no idea if the charity let them keep working with more oversight, or fired them.

    3. Anon From Here

      Likewise, but from a leadership position in an alumni organization after a few months of having my time and effort disrespected. The only notice I gave was the last five minutes of the last meeting I chaired.

      1. SavannahMiranda

        This is beautiful. I can’t help imagining it.

        “And the final item on today’s agenda, if I can have everyone’s attention, thank you. The final item on today’s agenda is my last day at work. Which I am pleased to let you all know is actually today. Yes, today is my last day. I’ve closed down my computer, cleaned out my desk, and will be leaving the premises at the end of this meeting. And with that, I call our meeting to an adjournment. Good day!”

        EXEUNT

        Keys in hand, walk to car, leave.

    4. Kelly L.

      I’m going to add mine here too. It wasn’t even quitting without notice, it was quitting with 3 weeks’ notice because I didn’t get a day off I wanted and had requested. I mentioned this in the “cell center/graduation” thread, but I’ll tell a short version again here: family wedding, requested off, was verbally told yes, then was put on the schedule. I just decided the wedding was more important than this crappy job that was never going to be a real part of my career progression anyway.

      Another time I was telemarketing, submitted my 2 weeks’ notice, and then just blew off most of the second week. No one noticed or cared. I think I may have been the first person to actually submit notice there instead of just stopping showing up.

    5. TooTiredToThink

      Same. It was part time retail. On my first day I was injured due to the carelessness of a co-worker. I had to call out because I was too injured to work. Management told me that was an unexcused absence and that if I called out again I would be fired. I reminded them that it was an on the job injury. They said it didn’t matter. So, I quit.

        1. TooTiredToThink

          Nope. Too young and too naive at the time. But now would be a completely different story.

    6. MusicWithRocksInIt

      I quit like a week into a new job without notice, because I had been offered a much, much higher salary at another place I interviewed for at the same time. I felt bad at first because I had intended to give them a few days notice but my boss (who pretty much set me up at my desk and abandoned me the first day) was no where to be found during that time and I had no idea who else I could speak to (I don’t think I even had an email address for him). I stopped feeling bad when I told him I was leaving because I was offered a different job as an executive assistant and he kept talking about how much better the work was there and I wouldn’t need to fetch anyone their coffee and talking down about executive assistants and trying to get me to stay. The work I was doing was basically nothing but data entry, even though it had a nice title it was boring and paid terribly. I was much happier having interesting projects and better pay – even though I did occasionally make coffee. When my coworkers found out they made lots of jokes about “another one bites the dust” so I feel like I dodged a bigger bullet than I was aware of.

    7. Kyrielle

      Yep! Me too. When I was young, I took a summer job in a call center. I asked when talking to them whether I would be having to make outbound sales calls and they said no. Yay!

      …I was making outbound political calls, encouraging people to vote the way their union wanted them to. Oh man, zero stars, no, negative five stars, would not do again. (I almost enjoyed the call where someone handed me to their three year old, except I couldn’t chat with the girl and had to get off that call and on to the next one. Most were not so kind. And at least twice that first day I broke the rules and marked an answer the caller had not given. Look, when ‘will you call your representative to tell them…’ gets me a lengthy tirade on why it’s wrong and they don’t support it and we can shove it and so on…I am NOT going to, after inputting no, ask ‘in that case, may we send a postcard in your name, saying that you support….’)

      I’m actually surprised I made it to the end of that day, but I did, and gave notice at the end. I am betting they are fairly used to that. Ugh.

      1. Kyrielle

        (As in “I’m sorry, this is not for me. Today was my last day as well as my first day.” I suppose calling that ‘notice’ is a stretch.)

      2. Cassandra Lease

        Oh man. Political/charity call centers are the absolute worst. I worked for one very briefly (didn’t even make it out of my probation) and there were people who condescended at me to the point where I was left in tears, there were people who screamed that they would never give to the organization I was calling for again because we’d called them, and once on a Humane Society campaign I got a lovely rant from a woman who didn’t feel we should be reuniting pets abandoned in Hurricane Katrina with their owners (bear in mind that Katrina was a MESS on multiple levels and many people couldn’t take their pets into shelters – something which is less true today, I believe, precisely BECAUSE of what happened).

        I also spent one day working for one of those groups trying to raise funds for non-profits out on the sidewalks. Didn’t get angry rants but was treated miserably, spent all day out in the hot sun, and left at the end of the day. I literally didn’t have anything to eat all day because they didn’t actually give us a lunch break and our supervisor got pissed when one of us ducked out for food. This is DANGEROUS for a diabetic and I really just made it through by buying a sugary drink at McDonald’s on a bathroom break and bolting it down. My mother literally ordered me to go to a restaurant and use the emergency credit card to sit down and have a proper meal (I was quite young and living at home at this point) when I called her at the end of it in tears and told her what they’d put me through.

        1. SavannahMiranda

          “people who screamed that they would never give to the organization I was calling for again because we’d called them”

          In this tense political season, I can almost sympathize with this.

          I’ve gotten so many calls and texts from campaigners for a candidate I’ve already confirmed I’m voting for that I told the last poor campaigner, “remove me from your lists!!”

          Like, I’m voting for your guy. I’ve told you guys I’m voting for your guy. But if you call me or text me one more time I’m about not to! (I didn’t say all that but sure felt it at the moment.)

          Sigh. People are such jerks, me included.

          1. Cassandra Lease

            Honestly, I don’t like those calls either, and I practically never answer my phone now at all unless I recognize the number – if it’s important, you can leave a message. If not, I’ll assume you’re a telemarketer, fundraiser, or scammer. But this was years ago, I think 2004 or 2005 – within a year or so of Hurricane Katrina for sure. The political situation was still tense, what with the war in Iraq and all, but nowhere near Trump level intensity, and on that specific campaign I believe I was fundraising for Oxfam.

          2. MrsArkban

            So the only problem is (as someone who texts and phone banks), there are multiple organizations all working off the same lists. We use the voter registration lists because they are public record and ALL the other organizations use them. That means the campaign and the official party but also any grassroots organization that happens to support a particular candidate or cause. It definitely gets ugly and I really have no idea how to solve it.

    8. Amber Rose

      I quit with notice, but then didn’t show up the last two days.

      I realized halfway through my notice period that there was no meaning to me being there after I handed over my notes on my files, and the job had been so toxic I ended up in the hospital twice with stress related issues, so I gave myself permission to spend those two days relaxing and not caring about work.

      It was glorious.

      1. sheworkshardforthemoney

        I tried to quit a job before my first shift. I went to the interview and the person who I was supposed to interview with was “no longer with the company”, no explanation given. The person who interview me barely looked at my resume and immediately told me when my shifts would be and gave me employment forms to fill out and bring back on my first day. I said yes to the job but after getting home and thinking about it I changed my mind. But my only contact info was for the person who was no longer with the company. Emails bounced back to me and her phone was disconnected. I only had the first name of the person who interviewed me and couldn’t contact her because the phone system was automated and you needed the last name and there was no option for getting a real operator. I’m pretty sure I made the right decision.

    9. Radiant Peach

      I recently did something similar – quit with no notice, over email. It only took 3 weeks to see how toxic of a work environment it was. The person training me had absolutely no time for it or interest and had me on the verge of tears (and I’m sure she could hear it in my voice) when I wasn’t sure how to find information on a database I had never used nor claimed to know how to use. When I figured out how to do a couple of things in the software on my own she interrogated me about it until I felt like I had screwed up somehow. She was passive aggressive toward those she supervised whether they were there or not as well. It got to the point where having to go into work, especially knowing I would be alone with her, had me on the verge of a panic attack (literally – I have anxiety). She was also physically intimidating, which is why I did it over email and couldn’t bring myself to do it in person. Thank god I didn’t waste too much time there, and it isn’t enough of a resume gap to have to ever mention it again.

    10. knitcrazybooknut

      Quit on the second day. The job was way different than I thought, the predecessor had left a huge mess, and I had one hour of training on the first day. Felt bad. But couldn’t, and wasn’t going to try and fail or dig in and bang my head against the wall.

      1. Pollygrammer

        I’m actually ABOUT to quit with no notice! It’s only been two weeks, the job isn’t at all what they said it was, the boss is the type who doesn’t seem to think underlings are actual people, and I got another offer. I’m staying until Friday and then sending a “whoops that was my last day, sorry” email on Saturday.

        1. irene adler

          I like your style.
          My take: send your notice Sunday evening. That way there’s less time for them to figure out what to do Monday morning.

          1. Turquoisecow

            I quit a job after four days. I started on Tuesday, had red flags thrown in my face all week and by Friday evening I’d realized I wasn’t happy there and never would be. Since I’d barely received any training, it wasn’t like I had any real duties at that point and I didn’t see the point of giving a long notice period. So I emailed over the weekend politely telling the owner (it was a small company) that I’d reconsidered and the job wasn’t for me.

            I half expected to get a call or email in response admonishing me for my unprofessional behavior (she emailed me a few hours after my interview to passive-aggressively comment that I hadn’t sent a thank-you note, which I was planning on doing the following morning, and asked if I was still interested), but there was nothing after that.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood

              Okay that’s a red flag for the file! If interviewer gets antsy for a thank you note after 3 or 4 hours… Turn the job down. Thank you turquoise cow!

        2. Marthooh

          Whatever you do, don’t send in your notice just early enough on Friday evening to make sure they see it. That might ruin their weekend.

          Ahem.

    11. Lumen

      I did that for a retail job that had me doing (unpaid) ‘on call’ shifts constantly. Get up at 6 am, be ready to work, call at 6:30 to find out if you’re working at all that day, be told no, but call back every 2 hours…

      I think I worked 2-3 shifts there in the span of several weeks. When I quit, it was without notice and they “warned” me that their policy would be that I could never work for them or their affiliated companies again!!!!11111onoz

      I straight up laughed into the phone before I composed myself and said “I think I’m okay with that.”

      1. Rainy

        I was briefly a team lead at a company that did that.

        Unpaid on-call is bullshit and I told my store manager repeatedly that if the company was relying on this for coverage instead of just letting us schedule enough people to do the job, the company was going to get sued sooner or later.

        The management policy was also to schedule people who’d given notice an extra shift after their notice period was over, and if they didn’t show up, call in, or get coverage, they’d be blacklisted from the company and their reference would be “ineligible for future employment”. There was no point, it was just a tiny fuck you to the people they were already screwing. I managed to stop it happening while I was there, and before I left I warned all my associates about it in case they started doing it again after I left.

        1. AnnaBananna

          Jesus. I’m sorry but that last policy about scheduling someone AFTER they’ve quit as reference revenge is fucking disgusting. Please tell us the name of the company so we can blacklist them accordingly. Also, is this on Glassdoor yet? Because, duh.

          1. Rainy

            It’s a large retail company, and I’ve never been sure if the reference revenge was just that store, or company-wide. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone else who’d worked there who didn’t work with me at my store. My location suffered from really awful management before the Great Purge that brought my SM and my management team in. The ASM survived (and was a hideous little bully–the kind who’s both malicious and extremely stupid) but as she was a huge part of the problem…

            Ask me about the pile of never-unboxed merch in the middle of our stockroom.

              1. Rainy

                I’m so glad you asked!

                This particular store had two stockrooms: one where you could actually store furniture and other large items, and one with a large external freight door where you could bring furniture in. They were located across the back third of the store from one another. So already this is a problem. Well, as prior management had cared less and less about actually running a store, they didn’t schedule enough associates on truck, or any extra bodies for unboxing and putting stuff out on the floor as it came in. Because the freight stockroom had a giant slope down from the door into a pit a good six feet lower than the floor level of the store, with a ramp to get up to the floor level, it ended up getting used for “sorting” and eventually just became the fuckits. As in “If I open this box of pillar candles, where the heck are we going to put them?” “Fuck it, leave them boxed.”

                By the time my SM and I started (around the same time), the pile of boxed merch in the fuckits was so high I’ve legitimately never been sure how they got some of the stuff up there, because it was TALL, and some of that stuff was pretty heavy. We started, in our spare time, carefully nibbling away at the pile, unboxing stuff, checking the prices (almost all of the stuff at the top was on 50-75% discount–by the time we got to the bottom we were essentially giving most of it away because it had been clearanced for so many rounds).

                How long had the pile been there? Well, nobody dated the bottom or anything, so you can’t be sure, but we went through THREE SEPARATE LAYERS of Christmas crap on the way down. So, about three years.

      2. Renna

        Was this a body wash/perfume store? I worked for them for one summer and they pulled this same crap on me, while I had a second job. After they were only scheduling me for 3 hours in two weeks, but also expected me to be on call (therefore not go to the other job that was actually giving me hours), I quit. Waste of my time. They also told me I couldn’t work there again.

        Whatever will I do without being able to work 3 hours every two weeks?

      3. Bowserkitty

        Has this policy more or less ended? I thought I read something in the news a couple years back about how on-call retail positions were transitioning out of it due to lawsuits or some reason. One of my best friends used to work for a trendy mall fashion store and she had to do that and I remember thinking how silly the whole thing seemed because she basically couldn’t enjoy what should have been a day off.

        1. Hey Nonnie

          I can imagine the lawsuits. In the US at least, this practice is wage theft. If a job requires you to be available for work (even if there isn’t any work for you to do), you have to be paid for those hours.

      4. Uncoordinated admin

        I was working a retail job once exactly like that! I’d be scheduled for “on call” which meant that you call in 2 hrs before to see if they need you. Or, even if I was scheduled for a real shift, they’d call me and tell me they didn’t need me or were “over hours”. and this was over Christmas season. I think they were discriminating against me because I am visually impaired, but I had no proof, other than they wouldn’t let me touch the regester, or they’d cancel my shits. I quit, with notice, but I wrote a very lengthy letter detailing the unprofessional behavior. They scheduled my last shift, then called me off the day before so I left that conversation with an “F you”

        if only I had that confidence anymore lol

    12. Beancounter in Texas

      I quit a toxic boss on the spot. She owned the company and we had a meeting to address my workload, because I was drowning in what she expected of me. The meeting included HR, who was a joke of an HR person and obviously her little pet employee, and the conversation basically turned into her blaming my lack of performance as the reason I couldn’t cut it. I was so stressed that I had to check my phone to know the day of the week my entire employment there.

      After our little meeting of her admonishing me to work harder/faster, I accidentally stumbled upon an email about me to her pet HR. (I was searching her email for invoices that she always failed to forward to me.) She credited my work to someone else in the office, praising her for accomplishing a task in a day when I couldn’t do it in several months. (The task wasn’t completed; it was merely started. Collecting receipts from employees is not the same as matching them to the credit card statement, booking it properly, assigning it to the right job, etc.) I realized that nothing was going to change. Ever. That this would be my life there for the length of my employment.

      So I put my belongings in the trunk of my car, put the company property in my desk drawer, quietly went around the office and said goodbye to everyone, where not a single person needed to ask why I was leaving. They all knew. Then I steeled myself, walked into the owner’s office, told her I was leaving, to which she expressed a little surprise and then turned back to the screen and ignored me. I was relieved and scared and my only regret is that I didn’t leave sooner in my employment.

    13. Lora

      Did this at my first job out of college when they insisted that I either do something illegal or be fired for insubordination. I emailed my resume to a temp agency, who called a few hours later asking if I could come in for a brief interview, and then went home and emailed my boss from my home email account explaining that I was quitting rather than be fired and required the two weeks’ vacation pay and was contemplating my legal options (they were notorious for screwing people on pay).

      Got my pay and an apology email explaining that he hoped there were no hard feelings (i.e. please don’t get us in trouble). They got in trouble anyway, without my assistance – someone else had already turned them in to the feds, the investigation was just still ongoing when I quit.

      Had two new job offers within a couple of weeks, I took the one that gave me a 14% pay raise and was closer to home.

    14. Torch

      I’ve done it once as well and don’t regret anything. It was a college campus job that I’d held for two quarters. No one told me they were supposed to rotate each quarter, until one week until the end of my second quarter at it. So I was going to be scrambling for a job. It paid next to nothing, but then I found out that I also had been making only half as much as I should have. I walked into my boss’s office and told him I was quitting right then and I wanted my back pay. He was very nonchalant about it, but I did get my money.

    15. SheLooksFamiliar

      Same here. I felt like the weight of the world had been taken off my shoulders while walking out of that particular employer – it was an exceptionally toxic environment, and I knew I’d have been fired if I gave two weeks’ notice anyway. No regrets, and I’d do it again if the circumstances were similar.

    16. let's keep it anonymous

      Not only do I not regret doing this, I’m pretty proud of it. I was bookkeeping for a therapist who took appointments in her home (which I could 100% overhear, and during which my presence was never mentioned to her clients). My first day was spent cold calling people she thought owed her money from five years prior – that is, being yelled at by these people because her records were a nightmare. The real sticking points came when I was asked to clean out her shed (full of spiders) and to deal with rotten produce in her refrigerator. As soon as I found another job, I sent an email instead of coming in, to the effect of “eff you, you’re a monster and you can’t treat people this way.” All her other employees left within a week of me, which delights me to no end.

      1. SavannahMiranda

        Was she even of any help to her clients? I mean, was she minimally successful at maintaining a front of humanity and capableness with them, or did they all hate her too?

    17. CM

      Me too. It was a super toxic workplace and I was being bullied by one of the executives in a really nasty, personal way. Long story short, the situation was not going to change because it was a workplace that rewarded bullying.

      One day I suddenly realized “I have the power to make this the last time she bullies me,” and I took my stuff and left.

      A+ decision, would do again.

    18. Emelle

      I quit a retail job after one hour because I was hired for a very specific shift, with the manager/scheduler saying x shift was what they needed and I would *never* have another shift. Awesome, it worked perfectly for my schedule.
      Go in for my training shift, not only am I not scheduled for the shift I was explicitly hired for, I was scheduled for 40 hours. I ask manager what happened to “you will never work anything other than x shift.” He shrugs and says if I can’t work it, I need to find the coverage. (It was literally my first hour. I have zero capital to spend with these people and I have met one person.) So I scribbled out a resignation letter and the manager yelled at me the whole way out of the store.
      They filed for bankruptcy about a year later.

      1. Molly

        I once was hired for part time job and was very explicit about my availability. At the orientation the leader said something like “you’ll see on Saturday” and I very nicely told him I don’t work there Saturdays because I work my full time job on Saturdays. He very rudely stated that everyone here works every Saturday. I said “well I don’t” and walked out.

    19. KimberlyR

      Same. I was pregnant when I switched to a different hospital from the one I had been working at as an ER Tech. I worked there until a week before my scheduled induction. The nurses would sit around and do nothing when they didn’t have patients, and I had to be on my feet constantly, stocking rooms, bringing specimens to the lab, generally running around the hospital. I was fine with doing all of that, since it was my job, but the nurses should’ve also stocked their own rooms when they didn’t have patients. Every hospital I ever worked at (including that one) held nurses responsible for their own rooms, whether they had techs helping that day or not. There was a mean girl vibe and they were outright rude to me. Once, my blood sugar bottomed out and only one of the nurses helped me to a room and took care of me. None of the others checked on me or helped me. I was sick with stress. After all this, I was pulled into my manager’s office and told that some people thought I was being “lazy” and pregnancy was not an excuse to slack off. I couldn’t think of one time when I slacked off or didn’t do something I was assigned in a reasonable time frame. I needed the insurance so I worked there until I had the baby, then gave my “2 weeks notice”-which didn’t count, because I was on maternity leave. So I basically just quit. I don’t regret it and, even though they have a new manager and possibly new staff, I don’t use that hospital at all if I can help it.

    20. Sandman

      I regret NOT doing this. I was fired from a place for tardiness – I wasn’t – and knew it was a terrible fit but didn’t want to be irresponsible and needed the money. The place was a toxic mess, but I was too young to recognize it and suddenly finding myself a Person Who Had Been Fired messed really did a number on me. I wish I’d walked out.

    21. many bells down

      I did this once after my boss told me to lie to a parent. Right in front of the parent, she said we didn’t have a biter in our class “Right, Manybells?” We had a biter that was so bad he probably literally scarred another kid for life.

      I quit the next day, no notice.

      1. tangerineRose

        Good for you. That boss was horrible. Literally putting kids in danger of harm and lying about it.

      2. sheworkshardforthemoney

        My kid was bit on her second day at her daycare. The staff apologized, the mother of the biter apologized and the centre took steps to make sure it didn’t happen again.

    22. MissDisplaced

      Oh YES! Feels so good!
      I once worked graveyard shift, which always included overtime, so 6pm to 6am (or longer). I was so tired of it after being on it for 2 years, so I placed a request to switch back to daytime hours, which was to be granted–until someone changed their mind. I had 10 years seniority and was told no I couldn’t force a switch because “Those people have kids and you don’t.” I walked in the next day, handed the boss a letter, and walked out.

    23. anycat

      i gave a week’s notice to my last employer where i was bullied and treated horribly. my manager called me crass and said that i wouldn’t be able to be rehired.
      no skin off my teeth, i wouldn’t come back for all the money in the world.

    24. MatKnifeNinja

      Nothing better than just getting up, and walking out the door.

      I had a few jobs that bottle picking would have been an ugrade. No regrets.

    25. Chameleon

      When we were in our mid-twenties, my husband left a job as a bank teller (which he didn’t like but didn’t hate) because a customer offered him a job at their business.

      He was supposed to be doing financial data entry, but the job was *actually* calling people who were late on their car payments and threatening repossession. The woman who hired him left on his second day, and he was given no training whatsoever. Then he was screamed at for getting things wrong.

      After a week, he was crying every morning because he dreaded work so much. I hopped on our computer, looked up the application process and financial aid available for the Master’s program he needed for his dream career, and told him he wasn’t going to work that day. He was sort of flabbergasted because it had never occurred to him that you can just…quit a job.

      But he called and told his boss that he wasn’t coming in that day or ever again. Then he worked at a gas station for the two months it took before he could get into school. He still thanks me for that.

    26. pop tart

      Same, I was out of town on a work trip and my two toxic, awful, gaslighting bosses were so awful that I snapped – I drove 16 hours in one day to show up at 8am the next day, dump everything on their desk and walked out. I have no regrets, it was the best, most freeing day of my life.

    27. PersonalJeebus

      My wife quit without notice at a company that would routinely:
      -fire people on the spot without even letting them know there had been performance problems
      -decide they didn’t want an employee anymore, but instead of firing them, make the person’s life miserable until they quit (in one case it took about a year)
      -convince an employee who gave notice to stay on, and then a few days or weeks later fire that person once they had a replacement lined up (they even did this to a woman who wanted to leave because she got pregnant and this place offered no paid maternity leave)

      My wife emailed them one day to say she wasn’t coming in that day and she was in fact leaving to take some time for her health. The boss replied she’d be welcome back when and if she decided she was feeling well enough. My wife heard from her coworkers that the boss was saying to them that my wife’s quitting was for the best.

      1. SavannahMiranda

        What an astoundingly toxic workplace.

        “We fire people with glee and carelessly, but can’t be bothered to deal with firing you, so why don’t you just take the hint already and leave.”

        “You don’t want us, you want someone else, well we want you back, okay now get out of here we hate you.”

        That’s like, bad boyfriend or bad girlfriend toxic.

    28. Kc24

      I was working for a local government that had put voluntary redundancies on the table after a merger with a neighbouring council. I was due to leave the country in 4mths (hadn’t told.anyone yet) and knew my role wouldn’t be refilled if I left it so threw in an application cos who doesn’t want a redundancy payout if it works with your plans? After waiting 2mths for a response and still nothing, I eventually had to tell my boss my plans. He was supportive and tried to push the process along to at least get an answer. Come Christmas, I gave up on the VR and just handed in my resignation for the final day of the year. He begged me to stay on for the whole of January and assured me he would try to get an answer (the whole thing was above his head) so I agreed. 2 weeks into January they still hadn’t made a decision so I packed up my desk one Friday afternoon, put my credit card access swipe and resignation letter on my bosses desk and left and never went back. He called me on the Monday to ask if I was ok and when we could have a farewell lunch before I flew out at the end of the week. We’re still mates but that local council is still run like a total sh!t show. Insane.

    29. Hey Nonnie

      Honestly, there was one horrible job where I still regret not immediately walking out. Instead I gave two weeks notice. I thought I “had to” or else I’d be forever branded as unprofessional and it would make future job hunting that much harder. Turns out it literally never came up again, probably because it was a temp job and ended up being pretty short.

      1. Archaeopteryx

        I regret not walking out with no notice at one job. I was being sexually harassed and threatened by a toxic, lazy, gaslighting subordinate at a small business where I was nominally the manager- “nominally” because I was held responsible for front counter staff doing their job and showing up on time, but didn’t actually have any authority to do anything if they did not.

        The first time this subordinate told me “sweetie don’t you ever scold me” (in response to my asking him to start showing up on time instead of constantly late) I told my boss, who claimed that he would have a stern talk with him and explain that this was unacceptable. Later that day, when the same employee physically blocked me into an aisle of the warehouse and told me that he would never take direction from me, that I was a little girl who had a lot to learn about authority, and that that was the last time I “tattled” on him, I went and told my boss again, who… said he would have another talk with this employee.

        I asked the boss (who btw had hit on me in the past, despite being 25 years my senior, gross) what happened to “unacceptable”. I said that if we didn’t fire this employee after this, that meant that this behavior *was* acceptable. I said I didn’t feel safe working with him anymore. Boss told me I was entitled to my feelings, but that we needed to be rational, not emotional here. I said I would leave if subordinate was not fired, and boss said that’s fine but I would get no reference (after five years of stellar reviews) if I didn’t work my two weeks notice.

        My biggest professional regret ever is working those two weeks. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, and toxic subordinate was “casually” prying for details about my upcoming wedding to the point where we hired extra security to make sure he didn’t crash. I wish so badly that I’d just walked out that day. I was young and should have gotten out the first time I was hit on by the boss.

    30. Office Gumby

      A friend had a type of office managerial job at a place that started out incompetent and quickly devolved to toxic. Due to the nature of the business, there was lots of stuff (including business files, equipment, etc) that needed to be stored, but there simply wasn’t anywhere to store it. My friend ended up bringing it home (we were roomies at the time), as she didn’t know what else to do with it. As I was currently working a job where we specifically *weren’t* allowed to take stuff home, I freaked out (maybe more than I should, thinking we were going to get arrested for being in possession of business stuff).

      As the job got more toxic, my friend wanted to quit, but didn’t know how (young and inexperienced), and was even headed off at the pass when she asked (!) if she could bring the stuff back. (They told her no b/c no space to store it.)

      Thankfully another badass friend suggested she “borrow” the company credit card (which she had authority to do), rent a storage unit in the company’s name, dump all the stuff there, send them a letter with all the pertinent details, and then quit.

    31. SWOinRecovery

      I did that with a job where actual responsibilities/hours were far greater than advertised or pay. The catch though, was that my boss was my older sister’s friend. I didn’t see my former boss again until years later at my parents Chrismas party. And she apologized! I can’t imagine that’s a common occurrence, but I think that with some years removed it was easier for her to recognize the issue (plenty more people quit, I wasn’t the first or last) without anger.

    32. Elizabeth Ahl

      I did this, or rather I quite with less than 2 weeks notice. Another Director came into my office to say “hey, you quit with less than 2 week notice. Is that the right thing to do?. I was so happy to tell him that I had been the one insisting for several years that we have an HR policy on “notice time”and was shot down every time, so bye-bye.

  3. SorryHaveToBeAnonForThisComment

    I work as a mystery shopper part time. Its contract work so the expectation is that you only sign up for the jobs you can complete; otherwise you will get citations and may even be booted from that particular company if you fail to perform the shops. I had signed up for some phone shops; meaning all I have to do is make a phone call and then fill out a report. I didn’t know the location until after I signed up. That’s when I found out they were in North Carolina and South Carolina and it was right in the middle of Hurricane Florence. They were areas being hard hit by the hurricane. I told them that in no uncertain terms was I going to call these locations during a hurricane! (Hint: most mystery shop companies will cancel shops during inclement weather). I’ve now been blacklisted from doing phone shops for that company; but I honestly don’t care.

      1. SorryHaveToBeAnonForThisComment

        Yep. I mean; if it had been even a few days later I wouldn’t have felt bad because by then most places were operational and people’s emotions would have started calming down; but I felt it was in incredibly bad taste to be grading them. Even if the shop was open; doesn’t mean the employees weren’t going through a nightmare at home.

        1. Andrea

          I once got a survey call about how I liked my new mattress, the day after the mattress store burned down and everything in it was lost, including my new mattress, which was supposed to be delivered that day…

        2. Prof. Kat

          Thank you for putting your foot down! I was on the other end of an awful scenario like that.

          I worked at Blockbuster in high school, and we got mystery shopped in the hours before a massive blizzard. You know, when the store was full to the brim with people trying to borrow movies to get them through the storm. We got dinged for everything: the long wait, the cashier refusing to search through the truly massive pile of returned movies to find a copy of the new release (lol no have you SEEN the line behind you?), all the workers wearing winter coats because the door was basically constantly open and we were freezing, the shelves being a mess, etc etc etc. It was so busy that we could barely THINK, we were just doing everything we could to get everyone out the door as quickly as possible so that we could get home before the roads got bad. Thank goodness our store manager pushed back when the district manager tried to come down on us for the bad score! Nothing really came of it.

          1. SorryHaveToBeAnonForThisComment

            Fellow Blockbuster-er here too! I remember those nights! That’s actually how I even knew about mystery shopping.

          2. Close Bracket

            Oh wow! I’m sorry. I am also a mystery shopper. While we do have to be objective and report exactly what the report calls for (ie, wait time in line, for example, or even the shelves being a mess (although displays have to be really messy for me to comment on them bc come on)), I don’t write extra comments about things that they don’t ask about. For example, questions about employee attire tend to cover whether they wore a name tag, whether they were dressed professionally, or whether they wore the company logo shirt or whatever. I am really sorry that mystery shopper decided your winter coats were worth commenting on, and I cannot begin to imagine which question required a comment on whether you would look for a new release in returns.

            1. Stinky Socks

              Same. I mystery shop, and frankly, it’s made me much more appreciative and understanding of people working in customer service and retail roles. While I do have a rubric I need to follow, I try my very best to put the employee(s) in the best possible light. I can literally only think of one encounter where the guy I evaluated was essentially useless at his job. I wrote everything up super-objectively, but I didn’t gloss over anything in the narrative section. The guy needed to be completely retrained, or let go.

            2. SavannahMiranda

              I was a mystery shopper, briefly, for apartment complexes of all things.

              I had to go in and pretend I wanted to rent an apartment. Pretend I had a child, or had a roommate with a child. Throw an objection, complaint, or problem their way – such as wanting to paint, or wanting a different refrigerator, to see what they’d do with it.

              It was all fairly straightforward if somewhat nitpicky and ridiculous, until I got an assignment from a company that wanted me to evaluate their property sales people on whether or not they walked on the sidewalk as they took me to see units, or crossed over the grass.

              I was supposed to ding someone for walking on any grass, in all cases.

              I could no longer be a mystery shopper after that.

      2. Jadelyn

        One of the things I’m genuinely proud of standing up to a retail manager on, was when I worked at a women’s clothing store that had its own retail credit card. We had to ask every customer about it and try to get them to open one – we were graded on how many applications we got each shift – and one young woman, when I suggested she apply for our card, said “Oh, I can’t, we’re buying our first house and we can’t have any hits on our credit while it’s in progress.”

        I, being a human being with empathy, said “Oh, wow, well congratulations, I hope everything goes through quickly and easily for you guys!” and dropped it.

        My manager overheard this, and after the woman had left, my manager came up to me and tried to “coach” me on how I should have pursued harder on that credit application after the woman said no. I looked at her incredulously and said “Are you serious? You really think our $100-limit store card is worth trying to convince someone to screw up their ability to BUY THEIR FIRST HOME??” It wasn’t even a Principled Stand(tm) so much as that I was just genuinely shocked that anyone would think that was a reasonable order of priorities in that situation. Someone’s first home purchase vs a piddly little retail credit card, how do you come down on the side of the retail credit card being the important one there?

        She gave me some crap about our store numbers and the DM and I just kind of shrugged it off – like, okay, me not pursuing ONE card application because the customer had an unusual reason to say no is not going to tank our numbers, and even if it was going to, I still wouldn’t think that was worth messing with someone’s home-buying ability.

        1. Kateedoo

          I was offered a credit card for a particular store when I was in the process of buying my first home and stated that to the cashier….perhaps it was me?? At any rate, when you’re in the home buying process they tell you explicitly to do NOTHING that has a bearing on your credit score like open cards, make other large purchases, even pay down debt as your current credit score effects your financing. So basically that woman (me?) could not have opened a card even if she wanted to.

    1. LeighTX

      That’s ridiculous! I mystery shop as well and wouldn’t have called them either. I’m very surprised the company wouldn’t work with you; most of them are a lot more understanding about things like that.

      1. SorryHaveToBeAnonForThisComment

        Yep; usually most MSC’s will have a notice up that if you need to reschedule you can because of major storms. I guess this company was thinking that since I was remote it didn’t matter. No, it didn’t matter to me, sure. But it sure does matter to the employees.

      2. marymoocow

        This isn’t related to the thread at all, but I would love to be a mystery shopper! Do you have any pointers for how to get started, or good companies to sign up with?

        1. SorryHaveToBeAnonForThisComment

          Sure! I double checked the rules, and I don’t think I’m violating them, but if I am – I’m sorry Alison!

          First off; if you *ever* get a check in the mail from a company – even if the Mystery Shopping Company is a legit company – to perform a shop – 99.999% of the time a scam (there are a couple of companies that will front their shoppers the money before hand but those are situations where the shoppers are very well known to the company and the shop is incredibly expensive to complete).

          If in America I would highly recommend signing up with MSPA (I think they have international chapters as well). From there you will find a list of MSCs (Mystery Shop Companies) that are a part of this professional organization. From there you will be able to go to their legit website (I’m telling you; there are *so* many scams out there, they will sometimes set up a clone website) and apply to become a mystery shopper. When you sign up they *will* ask you for your social security number – that’s for tax purposes. Usually you don’t have to give it until you actually complete a shop; but you will have to give it to get paid. They also have Facebook groups that you can get involved in. I highly recommend getting involved because you can then learn from the pros.

          Things to note: You will be an independent contractor; so you pay your own share of taxes; etc… There are dozens and dozens of legitimate Mystery Shop Companies. What I’ve done in the past is sign up for a couple a day. A hint: Set up a special email address just for mystery shopping. Once you start getting signed up you will get tons of emails every day. Most of the phone shops I’ve done pay between $3-7. Most fast food places pay around $5 with a $10-15 reimbursement. Most of the retail shops range between $7-$20 with a reimbursement. I say this because if you see an ad that says “Make $200 mystery shopping!” you’ll know its a scam. (There are shops that pay that much but you have to have specialized video equipment; which is something you can look into).

          I would list a couple of my favorite MSCs but I’m not sure if that would be ok with Alison. But what I’ve listed will get you started.

          1. she was a fast machine

            I’ve done mystery shopping and I found a website that had a list of every company that used the SASSIE system and that was all the companies I signed up for. I also like Presto’s map of shops in your area. Can’t remember how I found that one either.

    2. LurkieLoo

      I mystery shopped once. And now that I think about it, it’s probably also the most unprofessional thing I did that I don’t cringe over. It was a total disaster. My task was specifically to make sure that businesses were carding for cigarettes and/or alcohol. If they did, I was supposed to reveal myself as a mystery shopper and hand them a “reward envelope” that containers like a couple movie tickets or something.

      I had several problems with the entire process. (This was several years ago so I’m sure some things may have changed.) The first was that they did not reimburse for actually buying things. No big deal for something like cigarettes, but for drinks? I felt too bad asking a bartender to make me something and then wait to see if she was ever going to card me then say “oh, never mind, I don’t want this $6 drink you just made.” That just made me really uncomfortable. Another was that the locations were super spread out and I would get maybe $5 a stop. I had a total of about 10 stops as my first set. I had about 1 week to complete all the stops. They were spread all around the metro area. I would have spent so much in gas that it made it not worth it. The icing on the cake was that several of them were in shady neighborhoods. No thanks.

      So I basically ghosted them. When I finally answered their calls, they demanded I give their envelopes back. Unfortunately for them, I had dumped them in the trash. And I told them so. They were so mad. (Rightly so.) But there was no way I was driving back to their decrepit building in their super shady neighborhood to return the things. In retrospect, I probably should have dropped them in a mailbox.

      1. SS Express

        So they could afford reward envelopes for the staff, but they couldn’t afford to reimburse you for the stuff you had to order to do the job? Whatever man, I’d dump their envelopes in the trash too.

        Possibly the trash at my own house where I might “discover” them later.

      2. Stinky Socks

        That is *very* odd. I’ve done shops where there was no separate pay or report fee, because it was a full reimbursement on something fairly high-ticket, but I’ve never see one like you described. Yikes. What an awkward position to put you in!

        1. LurkieLoo

          They were probably just super shady bordering on scammish and I was to young to recognize it BEFORE signing up.

    3. Phil

      Forgive me for not understanding, but wouldn’t you just hit a disconnected line if they were preoccupied with the hurricane? Is the implication that the company would be negatively penalized if you weren’t able to reach them? Or is it that you would feel morally complicit dealing with a company that would make their employees work under such circumstances.

      1. Stinky Socks

        Or it could be that the employees were getting graded on how quickly they answered the phone, whether they used the right lingo answering my questions, etc. Some of these can get fairly picky. Ordinarily, if that’s what the company expects of its employees, that’s what they expect. But to potentially jeopardize someone’s job or bonus or whatever because, while their own house still has a foot of water in the basement and their kid’s asthma is flaring up, they didn’t manage to work in the proper buzzwords??? Ick. No thanks.

        1. Retail Refugee

          Many years ago when I was working at a supermarket I was reprimanded several times by my supervisor because I didn’t attempt to “upsell” to secret shoppers. I have no idea who the shoppers might have been. Personally, I hate when store clerks try to “upsell” me, and I really didn’t feel comfortable when, after a shopper asked about finding a particular item, making a suggestion to buy a second item. (How about some blueberries and whipped cream to go with that angel food cake!) I always thought that if the customer wanted additional items he or she would know it without someone recommending it. If there were really good sales going on, I would make recommendations, but most of the time there weren’t. I was glad to get out of retail.

          Thankfully, I didn’t have to ask customers if they wanted to apply for a store credit card, or a special store membership, or to donate money to some charity. I really think cashiers have enough to do without those kinds of extra things they are expected to do by their employers.

        2. SorryHaveToBeAnonForThisComment

          Stinky Socks got it – Its how long it takes to answer the phone; did they sound happy/chipper/enthusiastic; did they mention these 5 things while you were on the phone; etc…. All things that if the employee was going through a crisis they may or may not be able to remember to do.

  4. Neosmom

    Before the days of online software registration, I had a company owner ask me to install one Microsoft Office software license on multiple computers. I told him no, that was theft. We purchased all the needed licenses and had them installed properly.

      1. Al who is that Al

        In the old days I was installing Accounts Software and the client handed me a re-writeable CD with Office written on it in marker and a photocopy of a serial number and asked “while I was there” to install this, I refused saying it was an illegal copy and I would not endanger my job. He complained to my Manager who did nothing, then I reported the client to Microsoft….

    1. Elsewhere1010

      I was once hired by the company’s newly-hired IT director, and she found the firm in the same condition, one copy of Microsoft products running on multiple computers, some in different cities.

      Oh, and it was a law firm specializing in intellectual property.

    2. LovesCoffee

      Same. I joined a design firm just as they were in the midst of transitioning between softwares. When I was assigned my computer, it had NONE of the software necessary for my job. When I asked a director how I can go about setting up my computer, he told me to google some free source (None of the software is actually free).
      Needless to say it was the first in a whole line of red flags, so I quit soon

    3. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter

      Professional or not, it’s definitely right to follow the law. I don’t believe the “I was just following orders” defence would work in any country – you’re expected not to obey if your boss tells you to do something illegal.

      1. Rob aka Mediancat

        — someone else might be able to be more specific, but I think the “I was afraid I’d be fired if I didn’t” defense applies at some levels. Not horrendous and egregious crimes, but if your boss orders you to cut legally-mandated corners or hit the bricks, someone can claim fear for their job as a defense.

        1. WS

          It really depends on your job. AFAIK in any job that requires professional licensing, this is not a defense. For other kinds of jobs it may or may not be!

    4. LurkieLoo

      I’ve done the same! Like . . . as a private person, if you want to take your chances with pirated software, fine, but don’t get me involved in that nonsense.

      I also had a boss ask me to install my partner’s copy of expensive software on office equipment. Um, nope.

  5. PLJ

    I became a public library director at a youngish age (25) and at the beginning I had a hard time being taken seriously by the total boys club that was City Council and City Administration. We were having a pretty major event in which many elected officials would be invited, and our governor was not going to attend. My mayor took that as a sign of me not wanting him there (true, but beside the point) and tried to tell me off about it. He actually said the words “I don’t know if it’s just because you’re a girl or if you’re too young to understand” and I SAW RED. I stood up and yelled “if you have a problem with my performance, we can talk about it, but this is NOT about my gender or my age!” and I walked out (of my own office… whoops). I maybe should have toned it down or said it more professionally, but all the little “girl” and “kiddo” comments at council meetings had gotten under my skin and I was just done. I did go warn the City Attorney and my board president about what I had done in case of blowback, but I never apologized. I was actually treated marginally better after that, to be honest.

    1. Booberry

      I wish I couldn’t believe someone would actually say that to you, but as a woman in, well, the world, of course I can. :(

    2. EddieSherbert

      Similarly, I used to work on the support line for a software used by businesses, typically taking calls from employees that don’t know how to use the software. I took a couple calls in like a month from an older gentleman who was less tech savvy… and he constantly called me “honey,””sweetie,” “girlie,” while I’m literally walking him through the most basic computer skills that quite frankly he NEEDS to know to have his job.

      I finally got so annoyed I started calling him “sport” and “laddie.” He didn’t say anything about it, but he dropped the nicknames.

        1. A Nonny Mouse

          I have used that tactic!
          In my first job out of college, I was the only woman in an old boys club environment.
          They kept calling me Honey, Sweetie, etc.
          My 22-year-old brain decided that the best thing to do would be to start called them all Honey as well.
          Apparently, someone complained, and my boss pulled my aside for a talk.
          I managed to keep a straight face when I explained that *obviously* it was a team-bonding thing, otherwise having them all call me Honey would be sexist and demeaning.
          It got the point across, and they stopped calling me Honey.

          1. Cedrus Libani

            I had one of those guys in my first job too. About a month in, he made a mildly off-color joke without realizing I was in earshot, then apologized to me. I gave him an evil grin, then told a joke of my own – one so vulgar that HR officers in the next county over felt a disturbance in the force.

            He never called me Sweetie again. And he quit hovering over me when I was doing my thing in the machine shop, too. Not my most shining moment of professionalism, but…no regrets.

            1. Shrugged

              I work in the field with contractors frequently. When I was in my 20s, I didn’t know what to do with personal monikers like “little girl” and “sweetie-pie.” I would report them to my boss, who told me that it would just be like that, and do nothing.

              15 years later, it’s a completely different story. Last month a contractor started calling me Sunshine, “because you’re always so smiley!” Well, it beats little girl, but only by a bit – I do need to have *some* authority in the field. So I responded to “Hello Sunshine!” with “Hi, Cherry pie!” I only had to do it twice, and then it never happened again.

              1. Dr Wizard, PhD

                I’m a man, but handled it similarly. My boss would greet me with ‘Good morning dear!’, but when I started to reply with ‘Good morning, Sunshine!’ she made it clear that she’d prefer to go back to a more formal greeting style.

          2. Seespotbitejane

            An advice podcast I listen to had a question a while ago from a woman who worked in a warehouse and she dealt with delivery truck drivers who called her all those same cutesy names so she started called them things like Tiger, Slugger, Sport, etc. I think her actual questions was just a request for more names she could use.

          3. Nichole

            When I started at my last job there was one guy there maybe ~50’s who kept calling me “Babe”. Initially I was not a fan and then I realized…he called literally everyone Babe, which was 90% men.

            1. Violet

              A friend of mine used to work at a Turkish restaurant where the owner called everyone under the age of 25 “baby” and once told her that she could treat rude customers as badly as she wanted. She’s a tiny white woman who did an amazing impression of a large Turkish man telling her to tell customers to go to hell.

      1. Steve

        Years ago a woman in tech told us about how when she was young she worked in a place where a guy kept calling her “dear”. Several times (always privately) she requested that he stop, and after a while she told him that if he continued she was going to start referring to him as “Moose” (in response to dear / deer). Apparently he complained to the boss, because she never said a word to anyone, yet the next day and onward his new nickname was Moose. Which proves that sometimes the sexist assholes are their own worst enemy!

        1. Animal worker

          I don’t know, I’m a big moose fan, so I protest on behalf of insulting these wonderful animals with the association to this jerk.

      2. Tabula Rasa

        Once, while I was working for a known tech company that makes popular devices in their phone tech support group, I got a call from a lady who needed help re-setting her device password. After giving me her information, she proceeds to start ignoring me while I’m trying to get her to go through the steps to reset her password, talking to somebody else on the other side of the line like she thinks just by giving me her information I can suddenly remote access her device and reset the password for her. After about five minutes of me telling her I need her to follow along with my instructions, and listening to her tell someone else that she’s talking to “some girl” she comes back on the phone and goes, “Can I talk to a guy?” I was floored. I said “I’m sorry, did you say you wanted to talk to a guy?” and she tells me, “Yeah, guys know what they’re doing.” Per my training at this company, if someone calling in discriminates against you, you can basically tell them, “I’m trained to help you, but if you wish to speak with someone else, you need to call back.” so I did just that and stonewalled her insisting I transfer her until she hung up. It was my second day on that job.

        1. tangerineRose

          I’ve heard that it’s illegal now for a customer to insist on speaking to a male instead of a female.

        2. Peggy

          I like how “known tech company” makes it sound like being a tech company is at best disreputable and at worst criminal.
          It’s funny because it’s true!

      3. Hlyssande

        You missed a prime opportunity to tell him ‘I know what I’m about, son.’ LOL

        I’m glad you got him to stop the nicknames. That was a perfect solution.

      4. Abby

        Yesterday I was volunteering at an early voting poll site and one of the other volunteers kept calling me “baby”. He seemed generally clueless and not-that-smart, and he definitely wasn’t in a position of authority, so I just kinda ignored it.

      5. Leah

        ohhh, something similar happened to me and I think you might like to hear it. I was around 22 and I had a coworker in his mid 30s, a step above the ladder from me, who was used to saying or doing things as a “joke” (like squeezing my shoulders every time he came by my desk, despite me telling him not to do it because it hurt). One day he came by my desk and said “hey teddy bear, what’s up?” and I saw RED. Immediately I shot back “teddy bear my fucking ass.” He widened his eyes, got that deer in headlights look on his face, and with the same tone of voice I asked if he *actually* wanted anything or what. He asked me to do something on our system, I said ok, and he left without apologizing. That was the first and last time he tried nicknames on me. Zero regrets.

    3. miss_chevious

      You know, it’s funny, but twice after I blew up at someone (it has happened maybe three times in my entire career), that person has treated me better afterwards. Sometimes a bully respects anger more than professionalism. (Which isn’t to encourage blow ups — I’m not proud of those.)

      1. SignalLost

        It’s unfortunately true. Grandboss at my old job who was notorious for yelling at his direct reports and also for setting unrealistic staffing expectations so he could get his bonus accidentally set me off – he and another supervisor were looking at something near where I was working. Physical labor, so very visible what I was doing. I thought they were watching me and blew up at GB – yelling, anger tears, the works. Oddly, he pulled his thumb out and I suddenly had help coming out my ears. And he treated my boss better too, which was weird. But I went up one side and down the other, and je ne regrette rien.

      2. SavannahMiranda

        This is true in some cases. Some bullies push to see what your stopping point is. If you make your stopping point unequivocally clear, early on, they respect that. It’s like, shoulder checking each other for respect? Or peeing in the snow, or something? Unclear, as I do not toxically masculine.

        Other bullies, no. They bully to bully. It’s not about ‘testing’ others or ‘finding out their mettle’ or whatever. It’s just…bullying.

        The trick is, you don’t know which kind you have until you find out by staking your bets on a stopping point.

    4. FamilyBusiness

      I worked under my dad and his gross rich guy partner and they would both aggressively call me “girl,” until one day I sent them both an email calling this out as sexist and condescending. My dad screamed at me and his partner never spoke to me again.

      The partner eventually fired my mom over the seating arrangement, I left shortly after. The business is still a wreck. Wonder why????

  6. Arielle

    I walked off the job four days after giving notice and I’d do it again. I think I’ve told this story before in some comments, but I gave two weeks notice to my manager on a Wednesday, and told the team on that Friday. On Monday I came in and found that my manager (the only sane person in the place and the only person I felt any sense of obligation to) had been fired over the phone by the CEO over the weekend. I walked into her boss’s office and said, “With Fergusina gone, it doesn’t make sense for me to work out my two weeks, so today is my last day.” I was home in my pajamas by 2 PM.

    1. MLB

      In the early 2000s, I was laid off and out of work for a year and a half. Needing benefits and some sort of job, I applied and got a job at Comcast in their internet call center. I was in training for 6 weeks, and my first week on the phone was right after a major hurricane that wiped out electricity (and cable) to large population in the state. A week after I started on the phone, I got a call for a job in my field, had an interview and was offered the job 5 minutes after I left. I drove straight to Comcast, and told them I wasn’t coming back. They hired in groups since they had to train, and I knew they weren’t going to replace just me. It was the WORST job I’ve ever had, and I have zero regrets for giving no notice.

    2. AnnaBananna

      I did something somewhat similar. I was on medical leave from a company that was forcing aggressive growth without adding additional staff to support this growth (all while freezing our annual bonuses – it was a nightmare). I was about to return but heard through the grapevine that my boss/mentor was forced into early retirement due to a disagreement with the operational policies that were enforced (as above). I quit the next day. I still had to pay back a month of insurance benefits but it was the best money I ever spent. The place was a nightmare already; there was NO way I could survive it without my old boss.

  7. AllyPally

    I was at an end of graduate scheme dinner, and my CEO was one of the guests. The project I was on had wound down massively and I found myself bored most days with nothing to do, and I found myself complaining to my CEO about this when I was chatting to her! I was mortified when I realised what I’d said, but she asked me to email her the next day and she introduced me to other project managers who were looking for new team members! I got to work on some interesting projects through that!

    1. WellRed

      I once told my editor I was bored. Not something you want to admit, but frankly the managing editor wasn’t…managing me or giving me stretch work. Within days, we had restructured job descriptions etc. Still there.

  8. KatieKate

    Fighting with my manager about redoing work I had spent hours and hours on just to appease a community partner. The partner had, last minute, decided to send a representative to an event and demanded to sit at a specific table. The tables I had created (and yes–hours and hours were not an exaggeration. It was one of those events where I had to manage different relationships by sitting people across the room from each other because otherwise there would be fist fights times 200). My boss thought I was exaggerating how much work I had already done and I held my ground for a full thirty minutes before I gave in. I had to work overtime and the indecent ended up on my annual review, and maybe today I would give in earlier but I have no regrets about trying to stand my ground.

    1. fposte

      A very apt link in general, in fact. And I had forgotten the fish quitter! I hope she’s gone on to something glorious.

    2. Quackeen

      I remember that thread! I LOVE the second one, where the guy tries to drive off in a huff and ends up needing to ask (ex-)coworkers to push his truck.

    3. Quinley

      If I knew that Fish Resignations were a thing, that’s how I’d quit EVERY job.

      -Over-worked and under-paid at a call center? Quit with Cod.
      -Toxic manager at a non-profit? Resign in Redfish
      -Gossipy, lazy, bullying coworkers? Peace out with Porgy
      -Just can’t take it anymore? Tap-out in Tilapia

      The possibilities are ENDLESS

  9. AnonKitty

    Our large team of volunteers was being treated really poorly, being terribly mismanaged, not given the tools needed to do our work etc. Leadership was nice but incompetent.

    In a team meeting I spoke up on behalf of the group and laid out our collective and extensive grievances. I don’t think I was unprofessional exactly, but I could have brought it up in a one-on-one meeting, or softened it and I didn’t, at all. I was blunt. I made the head of the organization cry in a staff meeting and it was so satisfying and vindicating. I would do it again. (And things did get somewhat better after.)

    1. Observer

      Either that was an unbelievable level of incompetence you were dealing with or the head was trying to manipulate you. Either way, I can see why it felt good.

  10. Prof. Kat

    In undergrad, I worked for our university’s IT. I liked a lot of aspects of the job (the actual work I was doing), but it was a wildly dysfunctional workplace. High performers were allowed to do whatever they wanted: skip shifts, verbally abuse coworkers, etc. Our boss thought he was a pro at management…he was not. He was the biggest problem in the place.

    I arrived for my shift one time to find our boss in the midst of a rant slash scream session at everyone. I clocked in and was spending mayyyyybe two minutes taking my coat off, putting my lunch in the fridge, and putting my purse down, when he started berating me for “taking too long” and yelling at me to get my ass in there (so that he could yell at me more effectively, I suppose). I calmly said, “Nope, you don’t get to talk to me that way.” I picked up my purse, jacket, and lunch, I clocked out, and I left.

    My only regret is that I came back (I desperately needed the money, and hiring for campus jobs was only done twice a year). My boss apologized to me, barely, but the stress just wasn’t worth it. That job was awful. Ugh.

    1. SherSher

      Reminds me of the time I was on the phone with my boss who was out of town. He started bad mouthing all the people in another department (who I liked, respected, and supported as part of my job). I just laid the phone down on the desk and walked out. Someone else picked it up and told him I left. (I would love to have been a fly on the wall to see his face!)
      I didn’t go straight home but by the time I did get home, he had called several times trying to reach me (pre-cell phone days). He begged me to come back and apologized for what he’d said. I did come back, but only because I really needed a job…. and I kept looking, and found something new shortly thereafter. No regerts!

  11. Environmental Compliance

    I was county health department inspecting an unsafe housing complaint that had 21 people living in 2 sheds and a dilapidated 2-bed trailer home. Plumbing did not work, there was no proper heating, covered in black mold & insects, most exits were blocked or locked, wood was rotten through, etc. 17 of the individuals were under the age of 15.

    We had CPS called out as well, who told me that the Safety Plan was to have all 21 of those individuals living in the trailer home. I got in trouble for asking what the hell kind of definition they were using for the term ‘safety’, and how the (bleepity bleep) was that appropriate, among other loudly uttered incredulous-verging-to-angry phrases. But, I did get permission to condemn the entire property right then and there, which forced the CPS worker to come up with a new (and marginally better) safety plan for those kids.

    Unsafe housing is why I quit that job.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather

      Thank you for looking for the people in that situation. It’s horrifying and I’m glad they had you there, at least.

    2. Grapey

      Anti CPS folks I know would point to good people like you for “throwing their family into chaos”. I can’t take any of them seriously.

      1. Lance

        Ah, the brilliant folks who won’t take responsibility for their own actions, or ability (or lack thereof) to care for children.

      2. Environmental Compliance

        I usually got screamed at by the unfortunate residents that I was killing their families. You get used to it after a while. Though it did really raise my cynicism when it was the same people yelling at me who decided to line previously mentioned shed with plastic sheeting and then heat it with kerosene heaters, and who stored food out on the counter for weeks that should have been refrigerated.

        Should I have maybe been more tactful and not gotten angry with the CPS worker right then and there in front of the families? Probably. Probably should not have been quite so angry about it. But at the time I was so, so incredulously aghast that no one thought that this wasn’t an okay situation for them. After that condemnation I went home and cried for a while.

  12. Rebecca

    I was in a high-stress job (we’re talking 3 a.m. calls and emails from the boss levels of stress) while undergoing fertility treatments. I finally got pregnant, but had a miscarriage soon after; I 1000% believe the stress was a major factor. A few months later, during a work trip, I found out I was pregnant again. I flew home, went straight to the office from the airport to drop off my laptop and keys, went home, and emailed them to let them know I quit, effective immediately.

    My daughter will be 7 next year.

    1. ITnewbie

      As somebody going through fertility treatments and left a high stress job for your exact reason; your comment is giving me all the hope and all the feels. Thank you!

    2. Amanda

      5 unsuccessful IUIs and 1 unsuccessful IVF transfer, then an IVF retrieval, at which point I got let go by my law office (because my boss left for another firm, I didn’t want to go with him, and the office “didn’t see any reason to keep me around.”) Two months later, the IVF transfer took, and I SWEAR that getting let go is what made that possible.

    3. Boo Hoo

      I have to be honest you just helped me make a decision. We are undertaking the same and I was about to take what would be a really crappy job just for some extra income to ease the money we are spending on the treatments. With as much as we are investing and how important this is to us I just am not going to do it. We are ok financially without it, of course better with more, but I am not willing to risk my health, childs and lose wha we are investing for a few extra bucks. I’ve been debating this for a while with my no argument being pretty much exactly what you said.

    4. Holly

      Mazel tov! I wish it wasn’t considered “unprofessional” to realize health is #1 priority. You did the right thing.

  13. StudentPilot

    When I was in my early 20s, I was working as an Assistant Manager of a retail store. I was one of two, and we alternated nights closing the store. The other AM never did any of the tasks assigned, and left it to me to do each following night. The manager, who opened every morning, could see that Other AM never did the tasks, and I asked Manager to address the issue with Other AM but either Manager didn’t, or Other AM didn’t listen. So I just…..stopped doing the tasks too. Manager asked me to do the tasks and I said “I will if Other AM does them as well, but for every night Other AM doesn’t do the tasks, I won’t do them either.”

    Probably not the best way to deal with that type of situation, but by that point I was pretty fed up. (Trying to keep this general enough and without many identifying comments)

      1. StudentPilot

        Other AM never did pick up the slack, so in the end Manager reduced her hours, gave me more (suited me just fine, I was in university and needed the money) but never actually did anything else….other then do the tasks each morning. Other AM quit the next year, and we got someone who actually did the work.

      1. StudentPilot

        Manager actually ended up doing the tasks. Other AM insisted they couldn’t because (totally not valid reason – think, “because I need to do my online banking tonight instead”).

    1. ella

      This reminds me of my barista days. I wasn’t working at this shop at the time, but my best friend was. They hired a kid to work on the closing crew who worked, but sloowwwlllyyy. At that shop, you didn’t get to just leave 30 minutes after the shop close, you got to leave when all the tasks were done. So his coworkers were picking up the slack by working extra quickly, so everyone could get out of work at a reasonable hour.

      One day they just stopped. They all started working at the exact same pace as the slow guy. When he asked why everything seemed to be taking forever today, they told him that they were all working at his pace, and if he wanted to get out of work faster, he needed to speed up. Apparently it worked.

  14. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)

    Back at my first job in my field, I yelled “stop following me to the toilet, for fuck’s sake” to the creep that was supposed to by my mentor in a corridor during lunch hour. Sure, that was the beginning of the end of my time there, but it felt really good. Also, that company was a hot mess, so no regrets at all.

    1. ..Kat..

      Was the creep the same gender as you? Did they follow you into the bathroom? If so, what did they do in bathroom? This just makes me so curious.

  15. designbot

    Very much related to the example, during the recession I was at a job that really undervalued me (literally looked at my experience, education, etc. and said “well we’re not counting a bunch of this”). I couldn’t afford a car, and biked 5 miles each way to work every day, through Los Angeles traffic. This was never a problem outside of one serious accident that everyone was very understanding about, I was frankly more reliable and timely than drivers since I didn’t get caught up in traffic jams. But the boss decided that my bicycle looked unprofessional, and didn’t want clients to see it anywhere on the property! Mind you, this was a creative industry, and our competitors not only allowed but glorified bikes in the office with fancy bike racks hanging from the ceilings etc.
    He asked me when I was going to “grow up and get a car.” I told him, “when you pay me a decent wage.” After that we both understood the subject to be off the table without either of us having to say so, but I *did* get a pretty decent raise that year.

    1. designbot

      oh I should have mentioned the proposed solution—I had to park my bike at the shopping center a block away and hope they didn’t have it impounded when they noticed I was leaving it there every day but not actually shopping.

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)

      Hahahahaha no way. Considering how expensive bike stuff can get, I would’ve asked your boss to pay for it.

      1. designbot

        Well my bike was not one of the $$$ ones, bought it used for $500 and I’ve put probably 20,000 miles on it. But more to the point, it was all I had! If it had gotten stolen, it would have been that much harder to get to work every day, and I’m sure he would’ve had plenty to say about that.

    3. Argh!

      The other day, my boss who makes twice what I do and has a few outside jobs, mentioned her new car. I wanted to scream.

      I do have a car, but it’s 13 years old and needs a few expensive repairs. I decided not to mention that I haven’t gotten a raise in 2 years or that I only have one job.

      1. SherSher

        Well, that’s the problem right there… you should be working two or three jobs so you can afford to live!!! (kidding, of course!!)

  16. Katniss

    – Directly disobeying orders. But the “orders” were to clean our desks out of all but one “allowed” personal item and clear any evidence of being individuals from our cubicles and limit it to one “personal” picture, in an office where there were never customers or clients. I put up MORE stuff. Left the job before I found out if there were any consequences for that.

    – This one only relates to what nosy/old-fashioned people consider “unprofessional”, but I’ve never worn makeup or heels at any job and I never will. Also never worn either to an interview.

    1. No one you know

      I worked at a place with policies like that. They called it “house proud”. I got in trouble for a tiny “lucky coin” (smaller than a half dollar, had a little turtle on it) that I forgot on the base of my computer monitor overnight. It was a soul sucking and demoralizing job in all other ways, too.

    2. SherSher

      I agree… not unprofessional to not wear make up or heels (and I am old and pretty conservative in my work attire… but I salute you for being you!)

    3. Bigglesworth

      Good for you for the makeup and heels! I’m a law student right now and can’t wear heels because of my arthritis (Do I want to walk tomorrow? If yes, no heels.) I’m also in my late twenties, so some people seem to assume I’m just being sloppy or lazy. Nope! Just don’t like pain!

    4. EvilQueenRegina

      I can relate – at one job I was given a lot of stick over having a picture of Ian Somerhalder on my wall and Fred and Ginger (stuffed cats) on my desk – they were wasting energy getting at me for that and ignoring the fact that my coworker did nothing all day apart from rant at people who didn’t want to be ranted at about her ailments and things her exes had done…going back about 40 years.

      Ian and the cats stayed put.

    5. Michelle

      I’ve never worn make-up or heels, either. Like Bigglesworth, I just don’t like make-up. The few times I tried make-up when I was in my late teens I always felt self-conscious.

    6. Anony

      Years ago worked at Ford as an engineer at the plant. So a cube office area next to the assembly plant. They made a huge fuss about us cleaning our cube desks since the CEO would be visiting. Total waste of effort, esp since we were all busy. They literally told us to stop all of our regular work until the tops of our desks were clear. People just had papers, it wasn’t like we had food or mice or cockroaches. Fine, it took away from real work but everyone had to do it.

      That afternoon or next day (can’t remember which) the CEO was fired. So a double waste of time.

    7. Nobody Special

      No heels for me either, and no shaving, though a smidgen of makeup. Oh and i am old. Just not conventional. Retired now. Developed neuropathy in my late 20s. Once said something to a boss about my orthopedic shoes and he said “oh I just thought that was an Annie Hall thing”. Doing what is necessary is not really unprofesssional… even a few years before the ADA.

    8. T

      I once heard a story of a workplace that tried that ‘one personal item only’ nonsense on. The local union delegate printed off a bunch of union logo stickers to put on the back of items so then it was union material and forcing them to remove it would cause all manner of legal turmoil lol (this is in Australia – not sure what the laws are like re freedom of association elsewhere).

  17. Sarnobyl

    I gave a 4 day notice at a job I had been on for a long time. Employees of my division were treated horribly there: being forced to come into work sick to being locked in a room with management to be screamed at to blatant discrimination. I had an opportunity to move to another state, had some money saved and decided life was too short to be treated like absolute crap and decided to take a chance. It actually prompted a few other long term people quitting within a month or two after seeing me quit. Then they lost several others in the following year. This prompted the VP to take a good look at management of that division because so many long term employees were leaving, some with little-to-no notice or jobs lined up. He made some big changes and I guess now it’s a great place to work and they are getting some of their former employees back. A few people have credited me and the others who left that caused these changes for the better!

    Side note: I do partially regret moving as I have had trouble with finding a permanent position here, but I am much more financially stable as my living situation is better and cost of living is much less than it is in my hometown. I just started a job that I am hoping turns into something permanent, if not: maybe I’ll go back to my old job and go back home! :)

  18. Borgney

    I was the Assistant General Manager of a hotel. I fired an F&B employee who was asking other employees for $10 for he could “go to a meeting”, making them very uncomfortable. The implication from him was he was going to some kind of AA/NA meeting, but he was high as a kite. I told him I knew what the $10 was for, a dime bag, and fired him. Then I told him to take his uniform off and give it to me, I didn’t care if he had to walk home in his underwear. He gave me his uniform, he didn’t have to walk home in his underwear.

    1. Quackeen

      Oh, wow. Many years ago, I worked at a non-profit that provided services to people with disabilities. We had someone quit and just…leave months and months of unfinished work in the bottom of her desk drawer. Really important documents, too, like housing applications and health forms. probably would have been better if she’d set fire to them!

      1. DCGirl

        I worked at one university where we fired the file clerk for the development/alumni office. She had a horrible attitude, and we literally had to put a printout of the alphabet up on the wall as reference material for her.

        After she left, we moved a couple of file cabinets and found dozens of shopping bags full of unfiled filing. She’d just been stuffing it all bags and hiding it. It took the new person weeks to process it.

        1. TardyTardis

          That reminds me of when I was in Air Force procurement–one gentleman left abruptly (after flunking a drug test program, oops) and we found over a hundred unfilled purchase requests in his desk drawers. No wonder that colonel was so mad…

    2. pagooey

      Holy crap, that’s amazing. I worked for a poorly-run chain bookstore, in the days before their inventory had been computerized. So we’d receive box after box of new books that just never got shelved; we never returned anything to the publisher, either, so the basement stockroom was CRAMMED. We had two tiny restrooms down in the basement area…and one week when some regional-manager bigwig was coming to inspect us, my stoner boss rallied the troops enough to fill one restroom entirely with boxes of untracked books…and then obscure the restroom door with more stacks of boxes (making restroom 2 unisex)…and THEN get up on a ladder and balance one box of books on each of the crossties that held up the acoustic panels in the dropped ceiling. Hours of backbreaking work, that could have been handled easily over months and months if anyone had…done their jobs.

      Stoner manager was fired, to no one’s surprise. New manager spent subsequent months tunneling through the basement and being astonished at each new hidden stash of defunct titles. This was almost 30 years ago; the place is a FootLocker now, or something, but I still wonder what might be up in the ceiling.

  19. Long Time Lurker

    I worked weekends for a catering hall that did mostly weddings and other events on Friday and Saturday evenings. At the end of the event the manager would be in his office and we’d have to go up their to get paid- he only gave out cash. Most weekend nights he would claim he didn’t have the cash and couldn’t pay us until next week. Not all of us- just the ones he thought he could get away with.

    I was in my early 20s and living with my parents who caught on pretty quickly how sketchy this was. After a couple of months of hit or miss payments my Dad brought me down there on a Saturday at 5pm to get the rest of my money- about $300. The manager was “too busy” to come down so I sat myself down in the center of the lobby (in the middle of a bridal party) in the most unladylike way and started very aggressively picking my nose and wiping it on the furniture. I had my money about 10 minutes after that.

    1. Magenta Sky

      I worked with a guy who previously had a job of collecting money from businesses. For the particularly difficult ones, he would not bath for several days, and kept as set of clothes that hadn’t been laundered. Ever. And sit in their lobby until he had a check, with a solemn promise that he’d return for cash if it bounced. He was a rather odd person.

        1. CmdrShepard4ever

          Tony Soprano would be rolling in his grave, a baseball bat or tire iron is much more efficient.

    2. Rey

      This is AMAZING!! I can just imagine a bridal party giving you weird glances and trying to figure out which family the informal nose-picker/wiper belonged to. I applaud you :)

  20. Smai

    Had a boss from hell. She was awful, but could by syrup-y sweet as well, and everyone knew. She had waves of people quit on her, and I was her latest victim. Decided not to be fake nice and humor her back.

    After I put my 2 weeks in, people would ask me my next move. If it was in front of her, like in a meeting, I’d put on a super happy smile and say “No new job lined up! Taking a break!” Or something of the like. Every time she’d grimace.

    Last day, she called me to the office and gave me a long-ish gushy goodbye. I just stared at her the whole time and at the end, nodded, and said thanks. Got up and left. She looked pissed. Even sent a note after. I deleted it without answering, went up to my exit interview, let them have it about her, and left the building at noon.

    Unprofessional way to leave, but no regrets.

    1. CR

      I was also brutally honest in my exit interview about my terrrible supervisor. She was the main reason I was leaving my job and I wanted them to know why. I put it ALL on the table. I even cried, which was embarrassing but I’m so glad I was honest.

      1. Red 5

        I’ve done that. I didn’t cry, I was too angry to cry (I’m not an angry crier usually) but I actually had printed out screenshots of all kinds of unprofessional stuff. I spent like twenty minutes going through point by point how she was violating the company standards and driving off employees.

  21. SadMidwesterner

    I just told this story to someone this morning! I worked at a grocery store plagued with health code violations (constant probations/shut-downs/payoffs) all through high school. Once, about two months before I knew I was going to quit, my boss told me to clean out the mouse traps in his office. This was after management did things such as make me scrub blood off the butcher room walls, tell me to lie to customers about mouse droppings, and once THROWING AN OPEN BOXCUTTER AT ME. I was 14-18 while working there and made $7.25 an hour, and I spent most of that on the food I ate during my shift. I carried the traps to the back in a dustpan and left them next to the dumpster. That night, we got ten inches of snow… which means they lived out there, full of dead mice, all winter and likely well into the spring.

  22. once again anon for this one

    Ha! My story about calling out the CEO was the one that inspired this. I’ll repost my story here even though it’s linked in the post.

    We had a company wide town hall where all the other divisions from around the world were listening in, so there were thousands of people hearing this. The town hall was being held in the US location, where I worked.

    The CEO had started his speech saying he knew times were tough and he understood our pain because he recently had to decide not to buy a third house, and also had to cut a couple premium overseas cable channels from his TV package.

    I stood up and called the CEO out on giving us the lowest salaries in the industry so that many of us at the lower levels had to work extra jobs just to make ends meet, but executives got six figure bonuses and retreats to the Caribbean multiple times a year. Bonuses were an open secret at the company, so I know my department head received a $90K bonus while I was living in a HCOL city making less than $30K with no raise or no bonus for three years. I told him not to insult his workforce by comparing his situation or our exec’s situations with ours, and if he truly wanted the company to be a “good place to work” like he said, he’d stop raising the cost of benefits without providing raises because each year we were making less and less because the company refused to pay us more and kept raising out benefits amount.

    I have never seen someone turn white with dread so quickly, and I have never heard a room go so quiet that quickly either. I was about 24 at the time, and pretty angry about the injustice of it all. I had a lot of people thank me for standing up to the CEO, some berate me for it, and I did get in trouble with my current manager at the time. But it was such a good feeling. My callout ended up making its way around our industry to all the competitors in the industry. When I started a new job, some coworkers had even heard about it.

    1. MissDisplaced

      Wow. Like SUCH a clueless CEO. Like really you’re “suffering” by not buying your 3rd house while your employees have to choose between going the doctor and eating.

  23. Cube Ninja

    Several years ago, as a relatively new team lead, my team and two others doing the same function had a weekly checkpoint with our department’s management staff, including the VP. For about 3 months running, we hadn’t received our incentive pay for a variety of (somewhat legitimate) reasons, but the communication from ‘on high’ wasn’t really there in terms of what was being done to fix the situation.

    So being full of piss and vinegar and ready to flex my new role, when we got to question time, I point-blank asked my VP what was being done to fix this, because we had asked the department manager and hadn’t gotten anywhere. This was phrased much more as a “dude, when are you fixing this” than “hey, we have some concerns” and I got pulled into a room immediately after the meeting.

    VP made it clear he had no issue with what I said, but how I said it. 3 months worth of incentive pay was paid out two weeks later on the regular pay schedule and I got a TON of instant goodwill from the staff.

  24. sometimeswhy

    Refusing to give a “corrected” performance evaluation for someone my organization wanted to rate as barely average so they would have justification for not promoting him since he didn’t have the “right” degree. I had to attend the meeting but I sat there with my arms crossed while my boss gave the evaluation. The staff member and myself left (under our own steam) within a few months.

      1. sometimeswhy

        We did. I actually left without a job lined up, eventually left the area (which was heavily reliant on that industry), and ended up where I’ve been for over a decade.

        The report in question called me a few months after I quit to act as a reference and during the extremely honest reference call in which I included things like “here’s how *I* found him valuable but if you need a box-checker he’s not suited for that at ALL” they determined he was so well-matched to the position that they didn’t call any of his other references before offering him the job. He was there at least a few years and if he’s not still, it was a great career builder for him.

  25. The Book of the Teapot

    In response to a rather intrusive question in a Q&A forum, saying with a big friendly smile: “That’s a super weird and awkward question! I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that, and we’re going to make like this never happened, and we’re going to take a question from this lady here instead.” And kept right on going.

    At a different event, using tea instead of distilled water to do a chemistry demo. The result was going to be the same, or near enough, and I’d forgotten to bring a water bottle, and I didn’t want to go find some. So the demo featured a lot of fancy little vials and pots and so on, and then a big slosh of Starbucks…

      1. The Book of the Teapot

        Do you know, I can’t remember. I get asked a lot of intrusive questions. Probably something about how my husband feels about my work, or maybe something about whether I work when menstruating, or something along the lines of “compared to other places, what do you think about this employer?”

  26. Matilda Jefferies

    I have indeed quit a job with no notice, and didn’t look back. It was retail/ food service, and the not-uncommon mix of terrible hours, low pay, and incredibly sexist management. During the three-ish months I was there, eleven people quit or were fired, including me (I actually quit mid-shift!) and the person who quit a few hours after I did at the end of her shift.

    There are actually two happy endings here. One, I got a new job within a couple of weeks – in a bookstore, which also had low pay but had better hours and *much* better people. And two, I had to go back to the store I had quit to get my final paycheque, so I took the opportunity to sit down with the owner and tell him exactly what was going on with the manager downstairs. I don’t know if he believed me or if it was a coincidence, but the manager was fired a week or so later! It was very satisfying, regardless.

    Twenty years later, with a mortgage and kids and completely different job prospects, I would probably not make that same decision. But I’m still pretty proud of myself for doing it at the time – normally I’m pretty averse to conflict, and I think my usual response would have been to just suck it up forever. This was a much better outcome.

    1. GibbsRule#18

      The only job I walked out on was a hostessing job at a busy restaurant. My co-worker and I had become really accurate with estimating the wait time and were honest with patrons. I was explaining that there would be a 45 minute wait to some people, when the floor manager appeared behind me and basically told them I was wrong and we could seat them in 15 minutes. I gathered my purse from under the podium and calmly walked out. No regrets

  27. De Minimis

    Left at lunch at my last day of a job I’d held for nearly 7 years. The job was killing me, and I was really looking forward to a new life. I’d rarely called in sick and had never really been in trouble for anything, so it was exciting for me. It’s never come back to haunt me, I guess in theory it could someday. Ended up having dinner with my wife and then going to a movie. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs since then, but I’ll never forget that feeling of excitement and anticipation.

    1. envirolady

      This is the cutest thing ever. If I quit my job without notice (which I wouldn’t, since I enjoy it) I would definitely go for dinner and a movie afterwards, too!

  28. Anon because this is personally identifying

    I just did an online recruitment fair for potential grad students. One student began the chat by saying, “Hello Sirs.” Later in the chat, after seeing my first name, he again called me, “Sir.” I chatted, “Ma’am,” and then, “You’ll get by better in the United States if you don’t assume that people in positions of power are male.”

    I deleted the exchange from the chat record since my amount of snark was unprofessional and I didn’t want a record of it, but I felt like it needed to be said.

    1. Justme, The OG

      I love this. Students need to know that piece of information. And to not address all emails to Mrs. Soandso because some of us are not married. I’m actually looking forward to earning my Doctorate so I can be an arrogant jerk to repeat offenders of this one.

    2. CheeryO

      You did a good thing. Once in a while I get a letter (of which I’m a recipient, not just a cc) addressed “Dear Sirs.” What year do these people think it is?

    3. Les G

      I…don’t love this. Are foreign applicants the only people who have ever been thoughtfully sexist in applications?

      Frankly, I’d have deleted this too because it comes off as borderline hostile based on national origin.

        1. Alli525

          I think she meant “intentionally sexist,” but I disagree with Les’ point of view. Of COURSE foreign applicants aren’t alone in this, but more of them do this than American students. And they’re students! This is a learning process for them! This is a thing they NEED to be taught.

      1. Anu

        I agree with Les G here. I think the point that this was sexist could have been made without dragging that “in the United States” into the statement. It comes off as condescending, and frankly the US isn’t exactly a paragon of non-sexist behavior, particularly at this moment.

        1. Rumbakalao

          That’s fair. But having also worked with a lot of foreign students in the US or coming to the US, the majority of them will assume they’re speaking with a man. I am a woman. I will always correct them, and I hope that it’s not just a lesson in making assumptions about gender but also a lesson in language differences. A good portion are just using a generic translation for their own (sometimes gender-less) honorifics. It’s just helpful for them in the long run to know the right words to use.

      2. Avers

        I agree. I work with a variety of international students and quite frankly it’s difficult for me to tell gender for many of the names (outside the obvious general rules, like -a ending for women versus -o ending for men, and that’s generally a Westernized name rule anyway), and while I avoid making assumptions, tons of students have gotten confused with my name and I always kind of…steer them in the right direction. I would be humiliated if someone called me out on it so aggressively rather than a gentle correction the first time, much less THEN implying I wouldn’t be able to make it in the US (which, by the way, like…not the end all be all, to ‘make it’ in the US).

    4. Blue Eagle

      My modus operandi is to address letters by title (e.g. “Dear Hiring Manager”) to avoid guessing at the gender of the recipient.

    5. Ben H

      I feel like your comment was utterly unwarranted if you weren’t willing to provide guidance on a better way for that student to address such a crowd. If you had offered corrective advice, the comment, snark and all, would be entirely appropriate.

      Personally, in electronic communications, I address a crowd as “Hello, All.” One on one is Mr. or Ms. Last Name, never Mrs. unless requested, and only for the initial outreach. On replies or future communication chains, it would be “Hello, First Name.”

      It’s not inappropriate to get it wrong; it’s inappropriate to refuse to acknowledge.

      1. Observer

        Except that Anon DID give them a better way. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to switch to “Ma’am” when you see an obviously female name. But, maybe they didn’t realize, so OK. But the OP actually TOLD them that it’s Ma’am but they still didn’t change.

        1. Jen RO

          Maybe it wasn’t obviously female to the student… I’ve worked with people from other countries for years and I only realized what gender they are when they put up Skype photos. Their names were probably obvious to their compatriots, but they were definitely not so to us.

          Especially with a foreign student, misogyny would not be the first thing that comes to mind. I would assume that their knowledge of English is limited and they simply memorized an introduction taught to them in school by a teacher who did not consider all the implications.

        2. McWhadden

          If they weren’t from the US they may not have known it was a female name. And the “in the US” thing came right after the correction so they didn’t have the chance to switch.

          1. Anon.

            I work in law, and addressing letters to ‘Dear sir/ madam’ is common. Our (mostly female) office have all got into the habit of writing ‘Dear madam or sir’, and just that tiny switch blows the mind of all our new employees (who generally then enthusiastically start doing the same!)

    6. Alianora

      Some Asians use “Dear Sirs” as a standard greeting even if they know they’re speaking to women. Not saying it isn’t rooted in gendered assumptions, but they don’t mean it specifically as a gendered term.

      1. Jadelyn

        Their intent doesn’t make it magically not a gendered thing to say. And in that case, I would think it’s even more of an appropriate and helpful thing to say “Hey, in English that carries some connotations that are going to truly piss off a not-insignificant number of female colleagues, you might consider Not Doing That.”

        1. Sunny

          I think we should all call out misogynistic language when anyone uses it without making blanket assumptions about other cultures.

          Misogyny has ‘negative connotations’ in all languages, and non-English-speaking women don’t like misogyny either.

    7. Doctor Schmoctor

      My company has a huge office in India, who we use to do some repetitive work. And I have noticed they tend to address everybody as Sir, or Sirs. I see a lot of questions from Indian people on engineering forums starting with the words “Dear Sir”.

      I don’t think what you did was unprofessional at all. You gave the person some good advice.

  29. Roman Holiday

    While I was in college I worked for a company that routinely ignored labor laws. Years later, I actually got a settlement check from them for all the shenanigans they pulled, but at the time, I was young and didn’t think to question all the shady things they did. Anyways, one day I was finishing up a physically demanding double shift and the manager came up and handed me a notice for a drug test. At that job, we were subject to random drug tests at any time, but, the facility was an hour away, we didn’t get paid for the time spent getting the test, I had been tested multiple times that year (privately I suspected because they knew I would pass, unlike other colleagues) and I’d just finished an exhausting double shift. I looked the manager in the eye and said, “you can give this to me tomorrow or you can give it to someone else. I’ve been working for 15 hours. I am done.” He looked at me and just walked away and never mentioned it again. It was a tiny victory, but I still savor it!

  30. Ros

    Last week, actually.

    I was at a law conference, and was the only person seated at my table who was female and who was under 60-ish (I’m 34). One of the dudes at the table started complaining about how it was unfair that women could take maternity leave (Quebec) and I just saw red. I figured that I didn’t work directly with these people and had nothing to lose, and politely went to town on him. It was super awkward for about 2 minutes, and then 2 of the other men started backing my points, and after about 10 minutes the guy started stuttering and saying he didn’t really mean it and then got up and left. The other person at the table who worked with him thanked me for saying something – apparently everyone in his office is too afraid of professional consequences to say anything.

    … These days, I’m running REALLY low on patience regarding general misogyny in the workplace. No regrets. So done.

    1. designbot

      I feel like I’d say, “actually I’d prefer it if men would take paternity leave too, because it would level the playing field and eliminate one of the reasons to discriminate against women!”

    2. GRA

      “These days, I’m running REALLY low on patience regarding” …. pretty much everything. Aren’t we all generally exhausted with the state of the world? Small victories like these are awesome!

    3. There's Always Money in the Banana Stand

      I would have been tempted to throw some graphic childbirth imagery in there to further fluster him.

    4. Schnapps

      Did you remind him that part of the maternity leave program (at least outside of Quebec – I’m in BC) is “parental leave” which means either parent can take it, or they can split it?

    5. Lady Blerd

      WTF? Does he not know that fathers have 5 weeks of paternity leave in Qc and that they can share their partners’ parental leave or take 32 weeks if they want/need to on top of their 5 weeks of leave? I’m assuming you told him all that. Most of our employees are male and when they come to me for parental leave, it is part of my spiel to them and it’s not infrequent that some take it up.

    6. Trisha

      After I closed my business I was pretty desperate to find anything; I’d moved back to my parents home to start my business and at the time I closed it (huge rent hike for my location due to new ownership = no chance at making a profit) I really wanted some cash to move out and frankly take a little vacation. My whole family was going to spend a few days on the Jersey shore over Christmas so I needed a job and took the first one I could find that paid higher than minimum wage. I started November 1st and because of their crazy pay system, by mid-December still had not received any money and was told that I wouldn’t get my first pay cheque until January! (they had mostly salaried employees who got paid monthly – so they processed the pay for their few hourly employees the month after it was worked – so November work was paid out on the 15th of January). Of course they didn’t explain that when I was hired or any of the other weird rules – like hourly employees were not allowed to leave the premises during the 1 hour lunch, nor were we able to remain at our desks. We were all herded into a “lunch room” with just tables and chairs (no fridge, microwave or anything) and if you were a smoker, you had to remain just outside the door to outside from this room. Management was terrible (yelling, belittling, and just outwardly sneering at the hourly employees) and there was some weird hierarchy established among the hourly employees where some of the experienced folks literally bullied the new comers. It was just the absolute worst experience and I had worked at a couple of odd places but this one really took the cake. Anyways, I guess to be “nice” they decided that they would send the December stuff to the payroll company early so that we could all get December’s money in January (and of course we should all be very, very thankful at their thoughtfulness and generosity) as long as we all pinky swore that we would work every day in December. There was no such thing as sick leave for this job, the expectation was no matter what, you were there. Anyways, realizing that I wouldn’t have the money for the Christmas vacation, I was kind of bummed and my dad was really concerned that I hadn’t been paid and had already worked 6 weeks and there wouldn’t be a pay cheque for another 4. So I looked at the Provincial labour laws and of course, found this was not okay. My dad actually convinced me to quit (which is very unusual because his attitude was never leave a job). So 2 weeks before Christmas (and just a couple of days after agreeing to work through the month of December) I gave a letter to my supervisor that I was quitting the Friday before Christmas and so wouldn’t be working Wed, Thurs, Friday or the following Monday in December. My direct supervisor told me that I was being ungrateful and that I had to speak to “the boss”. She told me that I was not allowed to quit, that I had to work those days and I would still receive my final (and only) pay cheque on January 15th. She also told me that I was inconsiderate and inappropriate and just really started talking to me like I was a naughty child. I stood up, slapped down a copy of the labour regulations about final pay cheques and told her that if I didn’t have my final pay within 48 hours of quitting (as per the regulation), she’d be speaking to my lawyer and walked out of her office. I (stupidly) went back to work and did not speak to anyone else for the rest of the week. I left the lunchroom at lunch time without permission and just was generally unpleasant. I of course leave that job off my resume.

      1. Lisa

        I worked in an office many years ago where many of the employees were tight-knit, referral based, had a lot of personal stuff in common. A few people were outside of the circle. When they company had hard times, they would delay payroll for the “friend” group under the premise that no one would complain. I didn’t find this out until after I’d gotten a job there through my live-in boyfriend. Because we both worked at the same place we were having trouble making rent. I also needed to break up with him but couldn’t afford to move out.

        So I looked at the required labor law poster in the kitchenette and saw the rule about final paychecks. So I wrote a memo to HR saying I could no longer go without backpay, so they could either pay me and I’d stay, or I’d quit and they’d still have to pay me. HR came back at me with an employee handbook rule along the lines of people who threaten to quit will be fired – I said that’s fine too. But you’re going to pay me because it’s the law.

        I ended up leaving right away, getting all of my back pay, breaking up, moving out, getting some car repairs and taking a road-trip. The company continued to struggle, they negotiated something with the remaining “friend” employees – I’m sure it wasn’t legal – and then in the end they downsized, and most of them lost their jobs anyway. My now-ex-boyfriend saw barely a penny and got laid off and ended up selling things from roadside stands to pay his bills. He wasn’t a man of much praise, but he has since said how smart I was and he wished he’d done the same.

    7. Jen RO

      A female coworker of mine was talking to a male coworker in the office kitchen when the male coworker said women are soooo lucky to be able to take up to two years of maternity leave, omg, all that time to relax! The female coworker (a mother) sweetly told him that the laws in this country allow the father to go out of leave instead of the mother if he so desires. I don’t think he appreciated it. Then again, this is the same person who bragged to us that he “taught” his girlfriend to have dinner for him before he gets home, so I am not surprised.
      (He has since quit our company… and got married to the poor girl.)

  31. Always a penguin

    A few years ago I was an Assistant Director in a department with about 120 employees total. We had a fairly new Director but he was experienced in this line. During a closed-door meeting with myself and my colleague (a fellow Assistant Director) the Director went off on an angry rant about all of our employees- how they were always complaining, always arguing about things, just generally unhappy, etc.

    My co-AD and I had talked often between ourselves about how the Director’s grumpiness was an issue. He constantly complained about everything and everyone. He was a literal Eeyore. So when he started going off about everyone else I raised my voice and asked him why he thought everyone was so miserable when he- as our leader- complained about everything and everyone. I called him out explicitly for his behavior and told him that he was the reason morale was so low. After a very long, tense, quite moment he owned it.

    I think that part of the reason I got away with this is because I was very pregnant at the time. Now, unfortunately, this didn’t actually cause him to check his attitude. But it at least felt good in the moment.

  32. HailRobonia

    When I was in college I worked in a deli/bakery/cafe. We had a sound system attached to a 5-disk CD player, and the owner had terrible taste in music. One CD was particularly awful, it was something like “razz” — rap/jazz fusion. Sure, rap can be great, and so can jazz, but this particular CD seemed to feature the worst of both genres. It sounded like the producers only heard descriptions of rap and jazz without ever hearing either, and decided to make a CD.

    We all got sick of hearing it so I took matters into my own hands and “somehow” the CD got scratched beyond playability.

    The Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas Album that we had for the holiday season met with the same fate.

    1. Matilda Jefferies

      I’ve done the same. Did you know those CDs make excellent frisbees, if you have a long enough hallway? It’s just SUCH a shame that they get so scratched up in the process!

    2. EddieSherbert

      Bwahaha, you were the hero that that cafe needed.

      When I worked at a cafe many years, I remember a customer once asking me if I thought the music was too loud and I responded by being mildly surprised to realize there was music playing (it was basically elevator music – I guess I tuned it out after awhile?).

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      Oh man, those days are missed! When I last worked retail, two years ago, the store’s owner was super into reggae and I got reallllly tired of reggae Christmas music. All on Pandora, though, so no CDs to scratch. One of our kind and compassionate back-room colleagues took it upon herself to change the station on the owner’s day off and we got to hear Motown Christmas, which most of us enjoyed… then the owner showed up that evening for an event and switched it back.

    4. Family Business

      Oh my gosh, I’ve done this. Somewhere, behind a 2-ton safe languishes a smooth jazz Christmas CD that I accidentally dropped when I couldn’t deal with “Santa Baby” one more time! IIRC, I had to stand on a chair to reach to slide it behind the safe, accidentally, of course!

    5. Red 5

      I once worked in a small local shop where the owner and the only full time employee were obsessed with this one particular CD (it was a movie soundtrack, IIRC). OBSESSED. They played it non-stop every day all the time, even though they had a shelf full of CDs in the back and the other part timer and I kept trying to change it out, our CD might get a chance to finish before they’d put the one they liked back on.

      Then one day I was alone in the store and I “accidentally” put their CD into the wrong case, BEHIND the CD that belonged in that case. I intentionally picked one I thought nobody would actually like. The next day, “where’s our CD, have you seen it?” I honestly said I hadn’t seen it that day, and they were listening to it yesterday, so I have no idea where it could be, how weird, etc.

      They finally found it like a month or two later, right around when I was leaving anyway, and chalked it up to somebody just being forgetful. Since they usually were in charge of the music, they never suspected me that I know of. If I hadn’t been about to leave that job the CD would have ended up in the river the next time.

  33. Louise

    At my first job, sexism was getting really terrible, and I became pretty depressed. I told the HR lady I needed to leave for a doctor’s appointment to get medicine, and she suggested I apply for FMLA “to protect me” when I needed to go to the doctor / couldn’t get out of bed. My therapist filled out the forms and said it was perfectly normal. A few weeks later, HR brought in the company lawyer, who interrogated me relentlessly for over an hour on my job description, my past therapists, medications I’d taken in the past, my entire mental health history while discrediting the therapist who had filled out the form. When he asked me to sign a paper allowing him to call my therapist and talk to her about my symptoms, I took it, wadded it up, stood up and said “f— you, f— this, no, I am DONE.” and left the conference room. I quit that day and I only regret going along with his interrogation for as long as I did.

    1. ValkyrAmy

      I wish I’d done that with my ADA accommodation for mental health was denied. (Although if you ask HR, they’ll say they offered me “accommodations.” The accommodation was that I was allowed to leave work for doctor’s appointments (2.5 hrs round trip by bus) as long as I made up the time. (I asked for 1 day/week working at home – I did not have a forward facing position, did not need to be in the office, and could schedule appts around meeting days.) Additionally, we could already go to appts as long as we made up the time, but my appointments were near where I lived, so going to work, going to an appt, back to work, and home = around 5 bus hours/day. Once you slip that 8 hours of work in there, that’s 13 hours/day. And I have a kid who, at 6, cannot walk the 1.5 miles to and from school on her own. They didn’t understand why this wouldn’t work for me. If I’d work at home (which we were allowed to do during an office transition period and which others were allowed to do), they wouldn’t have even noticed I was gone as my appointment neatly fit into my lunch period. They said that working at home disrupted office camaraderie. The turnover was so high, I don’t even remember all the people’s names who were there when I quit 6 weeks later. That job was the biggest garbage fire, and I’ve worked in more than one dumpster in the past.

  34. Key lime pie

    I kinda reamed out my previous director for how he was handling a conflict between two peer managers (namely, pitting them against each other, saying “they just have to get along,” and involving the rest of us when his approach didn’t work. He told me I had to “help them have a good relationship” and I decided enough was enough. I stayed calm and articulate the whole time, but I did something like, “You’ve been dragging out their issues in front of the rest of us for over a year, I’m tired of it, and it needs to stop.” He was speechless. I just thanked him for hearing me out and excused myself. I had a lot of goodwill with him built up so there were no repercussions, but nothing changed.

  35. JokeyJules

    i was talking to my boss about hiring chair massages for staff during our busiest season (the holidays). I told him it would be a good 20 minute break, we’d block out the conference room, close the blinds, play some relaxing music, and everyone would enjoy.

    Then he jokingly asks me if the massages will be clothed or not. this was probably like the 10th inappropriate joke he had made that week.
    so i looked him in the eye and said “i can get HR on speaker right now. i dont want to have to, but i’m not saying i wont if the situation calls for it. which it might right now.”

    otherwise we have a great cordial relationship and i feel adequately managed and challenged to better myself professionally and career wise. but the jokes stopped right then and there.

    1. Qosanchia

      That’s not even unprofessional, that’s exemplary. As someone who is prone to inappropriate jokes (I’ve grown up, and save them for friends from college), I’d say your response was the height of professionalism.

      Also, points for in-office massages. I briefly worked at a place that did that (I passed through as a contractor) and it was a huge bonus.

  36. Katriona

    I was a weekend receptionist at a nursing home, and when I had taken the job it had been with the understanding that everyone took turns covering holidays on a rotating basis. 5 months in, my boss decides to produce a holiday schedule for the whole year… and yours truly is working every single holiday except Labor Day. So the next time I went in, I handed in my two weeks notice. It just so happened to be three weeks before Easter.

    I did end up caving when the lead receptionist (not my boss) sent me a passive-aggressive email about “honoring commitments” to guilt-trip me into covering Easter, but to this day I regret not sticking to my guns. I certainly hadn’t committed to working every major holiday, and if they’d been honest about it up front I never would have taken the job! But my mom worked there in another department so I was afraid to stand up for myself. Still, the feeling of handing in my notice knowing how the timing was going to work out was delicious.

    1. JOA

      Years ago, I quit a retail job at the end of November… I had been scheduled to work Christmas Day and I was happy not to, even when they offered to pay me extra.

      1. WS

        I broke my foot at the start of December while working in retail and was unable to stand for more than a few minutes or walk without crutches. Fortunately, at this time of year 90% of my job was at the register, and my co-workers said they would be fine to cover the rest while I did extra register time for them, so I enthusiastically showed up with my mother carrying a tall chair for me.

        Nope! The manager (who was all of a year older than me!) decided that I could not sit on a chair to do my job because “it would look bad”. I said that I would have to quit then, and she said to go ahead, so I did. My co-workers were happy to later inform me that it was a hellish two weeks until a new person was trained!

      2. Red 5

        I quite a bookstore job a couple weeks before the last Harry Potter book came out.

        I got talked into coming back for release night, but I was actually part of the group doing all of the obnoxious pre-release parties and events (they started like six months before the book came out) and so I basically also left the event planning and wouldn’t work any of the days after the release either. Oh well, they went out of business a couple years later anyway.

  37. PermAnon

    In a job filled with vile coworkers who insulted me at every chance they got, I came to work on Halloween one year dressed in black dress pants and a black sweater with some ankle boots and cute jewelry (which is typical of my wardrobe – I usually dress in darker colors, though usually I don’t go for the monochromatic look – that was just a coincidence this time; no one at this job dressed up for Halloween anyway). A particularly nasty coworker approached me and said, “oh, is that your witch costume?” with a chuckle. I smiled back at her and said “oh heavens no — if I were going for that look, I would totally have flown in to work today on my broom and worn my pointy hat!” and walked away.

  38. lyonite

    Working for a large company, where the CEO had just been revealed to have falsified his entire academic history and it was brushed off as a “clerical error” (he wasn’t the founder or anything, just someone who was good at making nice with the board). They sent around a book where we were all supposed to write things about how happy and proud we were to work at LargeCo, so I just signed my name and gave myself an MD, PhD and possibly a law degree.

  39. Amber Rose

    Threw a coworker under the bus, since she tried to do it to me first. It was petty and catty as hell, but it felt so good.

    The rundown of what happened is this: she had a lot of work at her station and I was slow at the moment, so I offered to help her out with one of her tasks. She apparently took that to mean I was going to do all her work, and didn’t do it herself. I noticed that some time sensitive materials were still sitting in the cart and she hadn’t sent them off to their department, and the reasonable thing to do would’ve been to just grab them and go, or say something, but I was like… no. I went back to my own tasks which were picking up.

    I watched it sit there for one, two, three hours past deadline.

    The the manager showed up and I heard her ask the coworker who was on that station, and she said she thought it was me. The manager asked me to take the cart down, and I smiled cheerfully and said “sure, I can help out.” Which confused the manager who said, “You know the person on this station HAS to get these down by 10. It’s not acceptable to not do it.”

    And I said, “Yeah, I had no idea. I’m on [other station] today. I was helping Coworker with [cart station] first thing but as you can see, my area is getting really busy.” And then I left to run the cart down while the fallout rained down behind me. I didn’t make any friends with that behavior, but my coworkers were all horrible anyway, and I don’t like being used.

  40. Anon, sadly, because it was excellent

    Calling in a company rep from headquarters to report my manager for verbally abusive behaviour (along with manipulation and generally behaving shockingly badly around customers), while said manager was in the room. Said manager knew I did it, and couldn’t touch me, nor could their toadying subordinate, and I was icily smilingly professional until the day I walked out. That didn’t stop me from unleashing some choice vocabulary on the HQ rep, who had known about their behaviour for years and never tried to stop it. They also tiptoed around me after that. I used up several years of capital in a couple of weeks and got the manager forced to resign. The company was crawling with gutless wonders. I don’t miss it but it sure taught me to give no &%$* and take no s***.

  41. Countess Boochie Flagrante

    I was part of a “focus group” put together to try and help manage my section’s generally dismal responses to the company-wide employee engagement survey. One of our first steps was to do an anonymous survey within the section (made up of 4 departments) to collect more specific verbatim feedback that we could turn into actionable items — those of us in the focus group put ourselves out there asking for survey feedback from our respective teams, promising anonymity, etc. Then, in a meeting with the VP in charge of the section, we laid out the feedback, which was generally critical but very calmly and professionally worded, gorgeously full of actionable items.

    The VP, who was in the middle of a meteoric career rise, immediately answered that he wanted to find out who had given what feedback, “so I can talk with them one-on-one about it and get more details.”

    Immediate awkward silence from everyone in the room except me — I, the youngest in the room, who had already had some personality conflicts with this VP, burst out with absolutely no attempt to be diplomatic or moderate my tone, “Oh my god, you can’t do that, they’ll all think it’s a witch hunt!”

    Surprisingly, he actually did listen to me instead of taking offense, and I’ve never regretted being the one who actually came out and said it, but boy would I have done that differently if I’d taken two seconds to think about it before opening my mouth.

    1. Millenial Lizard Person

      I’ve been the person who left those comments. I called former!boss a moldy banana whose rot is infecting the bunch. But I also had two paragraphs of supporting evidence. :D

    2. Workerbee

      Good for you! My org has a couple of those executives who “just want to know” who said what on anonymous surveys, yet only about the critical feedback. Just to help, of course! Just to find out “where that person is coming from” and “show them that it isn’t this way at all.”

    3. CarolynM

      I was in my early 20’s and the company I worked for made bathroom scales and other measurement devices. A major retailer had asked us to make a scale that would coordinate with a shower curtain they were selling – the underwater theme of the curtain led to a fish shaped scale. It was really big – like 20″ wide – and it was in a really strange dark blue color. It was not selling well. My boss (the sales and marketing director), a woman from marketing and I were sitting around casually talking about it – it was after hours, we were packing up to go home, no one else in the building except us, the CFO.

      The CFO (who looked like Howdy Doody, only more puppetlike, and was a smarmy jerk) wandered up and said he thought that we were wrong, that sales were going to pick up really soon! My boss asked him “Who the hell is going to buy that thing, really?!” The CFO replied “it retails for $20 – it’s the perfect price point to buy as a present when your kids are invited to birthday parties!”

      We were speechless … but only the other 2 were smart enough to remain speechless.

      I preface this by saying I am much better these days at making sure the filter between my brain and mouth is in good working order, but in my younger days …

      Without missing a beat I turned to him and said “Hey, K___, do you want to get your kids beat up every day?! A scale for a kids birthday? Comes with a bonus body image issue? Duuuuuude!” Said as sarcastically and mockingly as possible.

      He turned purple, the woman from marketing was very still … and then my boss literally bent over double laughing, occasionally gasping fragments like “beat up! every day!” and “Happy Birthday – its an eating disorder!” The CFO stormed off, the marketing woman finally broke and giggled and my boss was still snort laughing. CFO said nothing about the incident, but every time that scale would come up my boss could be relied on to at least snort-laugh but usually start riffing on what a great kids birthday gift a bathroom scale would be.

  42. jhhj

    That’s especially odd because Quebec has paternity leave which is restricted to the partner of the gestational parent (this would include a wife) and parental leave which either the mother or father can take. (It does have more maternity than paternity, but a father can have a total of 37 weeks.)

  43. Nesprin

    Back when I was an intern, I walked in on my technical lead pipetting human blood with a spinal needle with no gloves, lab coat or glasses. I yelled “what the f are you doing! give me that and go put on your ppe”.

  44. Argh!

    Our resident Food Nazi caught me in a hallway coming in from the deli, where I bought a sausage, egg & cheese muffin to eat at my desk. She asked me what smelled so good, and I told her, then she started lecturing me about cholesterol. She monitored only my food, because apparently besides being overweight, she thought I was stupid and needed her unsolicited dieting advice.

    Well, she opined about my food just one time too many. I would like to blame this on being ravenous at the time, because I’d wanted to do this a million other times, and this time I didn’t have it in me to resist. I yelled at her at the top of my lungs that she had no right to tell me what to eat or not to eat, and only my doctor has that right. I should have left it at that, but I added that low cholesterol runs in my family, and I can eat all the eggs I want.

    Later, she apologized, and agreed she’s not my doctor…. but she just *had* to add that “especially since you have low cholesterol…” I wish she had apologized for what in essence is fat-shaming, but I accepted her apology.

    It did stop the food comments, so I was satisfied, but I have never raised my voice at work before or since. I wish I could have said the same thing in a more measured way.

    1. Alli525

      Can you please reconsider your use of the term “Nazi”? “Food police” will do just fine. Thank you!

      1. Argh!

        Nope, Nazi. She was motivated by ideology, not rules. She also seemed to think she was superior to me by virtue of her DNA and had the right by virtue of that DNA to tell me what to do.

        Also, the Nazis promoted a healthy lifestyle, and she would probably have gone along with everything else they wanted just because of this (though she hardly exercised because she was naturally thin).

        1. Not A Manager

          @ Argh – Doubling down really isn’t a good look. In the ’90’s “soup nazi” might have been a lighthearted neologism, but in the ‘teens people have increasing reason not to take the term “nazi” as a big ol’ joke.

        2. food police really is fine

          as a fat person who also hates being fatshamed i feel compelled to let you know clinging to ~your right~ to use the word nazi to describe randos sneering about cholesterol is really not the move in this, a time of rising antisemitism and fascism across the globe

        3. Franonymous

          You realise that the Nazi’s “promotion of a healthy lifestyle”, as you can it, was a justification for mass murdering disabled people, right? So I assume that in future you will reconsider your thoughtless use of the word Nazi, seeing as casually throwing it around banalises the countless deaths of all those who died in the Holocaust.

    2. London Calling

      When you call everyone you disagree with a Nazi or a fascist, you devalue both language and the horror of what those political systems led to and the suffering of millions of people: and what words can you use if, by a huge stroke of misfortune, you meet the real thing?

  45. Lexifer

    My wife worked at the business level of a telecom, really high up there. One of her salespeople was bothering her badly with some nonsense. This mad my wife incredibly angry and she called this person a “f**k-ass piece of s**t” and to stop bothering her.
    The salesperson went to the director (about 2 or three layers above my wife) to complain. He just looked at the salesperson and asked “What’d you do to piss her off?”
    It really pays dividends when you’re amazing at your job.

    1. SherSher

      LOL yes! Being very good at your job pays dividends when needed! I had snot-nosed junior (military) officer once tell me I was incompetent. I just stared at him and said very incredulously (and very insubordinate!), ” I’MMMMM INCOMPETENT?!?!?” His boss heard the exchange, and dragged him into his office and you could the boss yelling at him to NEVER speak to SherSher that way again!

    2. (Mr.) Cajun2core

      Boy even though I am excellent at what I do (not boasting, co-workers have told me that) I couldn’t get away with that in the academic environment I am currently in. I really wish I could. I really wish that my boss had my back like your wife’s grand-boss had her back.

      Your wife is/was lucky!

  46. London Calling

    1. Quitting without notice. In hindsight there were all sorts of red flags, not least the fact that the woman employing me kept taking calls on her mobile through the interview, but the last straw was being told I was working in the office by myself and the manager off-site thirty miles away would approve my timesheet – or not -without actually setting eyes on me from one week’s end to the next.

    2. Waaaayyy back in the late 80s. Working for a Very Big American bank and had a meeting with a client – I was asked to sit in and be the person who explained how we conducted the back office operations day to day. At the end of the meeting the account manager ushered the client out, turned to me and said, ‘Would you mind clearing the table and washing the coffee cups, please?’ To my eternal credit I said, ‘Yes, I would mind,’ and left the conference room.

    Never did find out who cleared up.

  47. Hiring Mgr

    Not allowing my good looks, charm, charisma, to open doors for me. Instead I’ve gotten where I am in large part on humility.

    1. Kathleen_A

      (LOL.) Yes, I am proud that it’s been my natural charm and humility that’s gotten me where I am rather than my towering intellect.

  48. solar flare

    this is about something someone else did, not me, but i am absolutely a fan of the woman who someone wrote in about a while back, who would change her hair and clothes during the day at work, and eventually walked out of the office with blue hair and an unbuttoned shirt and never came back

    referring to these posts:
    https://www.askamanager.org/2017/06/my-employee-drastically-changes-her-appearance-in-the-middle-of-the-workday.html
    https://www.askamanager.org/2017/12/update-my-employee-drastically-changes-her-appearance-in-the-middle-of-the-workday.html

    1. General Ginger

      Oh, wow, I somehow missed there had been an update about her back then! Thank you for posting the link.

    2. DaniCalifornia

      I guess I wonder why? I didn’t feel like her manager was asking anything unreasonable of her and her quitting was unprofessional.

  49. Lissajous

    A hopeful sales guy had emailed a few times to set up meeting to discuss what they could offer, etc etc. This would have been the second meeting.

    However, I was flat out in the middle of a large project and barely had time to breathe, let alone meet every hopeful supplier (there were many – see above re: large project).

    I hadn’t even answered the guy’s emails. He took the couple of weeks of silence as his cue to come in anyway. When the receptionist told him I wasn’t available for a meeting, he told her he wouldn’t leave our office until someone saw him.

    So I strode out to reception, and told him in icy fury that his behaviour was utterly unacceptable, he should have taken the lack of response to emails as the hint it was, he had no right to come in and demand our attention, and we would now definitely never be using them as a supplier.

    He left, and then came back in to ask for his business card back.

    I probably could have been a little more professional – I certainly had some colourful words in there – but good grief, if he was that bad just about sales pitch meetings, really glad I never had to tell him he’d lost a tender.

    1. Alli525

      I’ve had to do this before – a sales guy got into our building somehow (despite the strict security protocol in our NYC building – we think he had a real meeting on another floor and just decided to wander) and I told him off big-time. He had told me he had set up a meeting with the CFO’s assistant, who promptly told me she had turned him, a cold-caller, down for a meeting just a couple days ago. So I looked straight in his face and said “You lied. You do not have a meeting, and in fact Jane* said she told you we were not interested in your services at the moment. So now we are upgrading ‘at the moment’ to ‘NEVER,’ please leave immediately.” (I was sort of notorious for completely shutting down cold-callers at that company.)

      Ten minutes later I walked into the hallway outside our office and he was still lingering!! I think I rudely said “are you lost?” and watched him til he boarded the elevator. In retrospect I should have called security at that point, but whatever. I can’t remember if the CFO’s assistant called his company to tell them about his behavior, but I hope she did.

  50. Snarkus Aurelius

    I told a boss, who thought he was great but really wasn’t, that I’d never work for him again. In my defense, he kept pushing for feedback.

    It cost me a lot. Still does. But I’m not sorry. He helped prop up a toxic bully.

  51. TypityTypeType

    My boss tried to give me “corrections” to copy I’d worked on from her boyfriend, who didn’t work there and was very much not a copy editor.* Only time I ever yelled at a boss.

    I’m not nearly so prickly as I was back then and wouldn’t object so loudly/intensely now, though I’d still obviously have a big problem with an amateur futzing with my work. But I still don’t really regret it.

    *Boyfriend was a jerk and a control freak, if that’s not obvious. She later married him.

  52. hugseverycat

    I was leaving a call center job to go back to college. I knew this was happening months in advance, but I found out that their policy was to deny PTO payouts if you have ANY time off in the 2 weeks prior to your last day, even if it was approved. Well, I had also already made plans for a day that was in that window, and the PTO had already been approved by my manager. It involved somebody else’s international flight so it couldn’t be changed.

    So instead of giving 2 weeks notice, I adjusted my PTO request. Instead of 1 day, I scheduled a 2 week vacation.

    And then I quit instead of coming back.

    1. RandomusernamebecauseIwasboredwiththelastone

      I did something like this too. I worked for a company who was notorious for paying out PTO. It was rather odd since they were a solid company in every other respect. It was just this one thing that they sucked at. Anyway, I didn’t want to fight that fight so I took a week of PTO, in which I started my new job, and then quit without notice.

      I felt a bit guilty but I was on a trading line so it’s not like I left a hole by leaving abruptly.

  53. just a reporter

    I’ve called out racism in the office I work in and wasn’t kind about it. There are coworkers who are into sports, which of course led to Colin Kaepernick discussion. This whole company is white aside from about maybe 6 people (myself included) and is in a fairly conservative area. So of course the conversation was about how Kaepernick was whining and making it a whole racial thing and being disrespectful blablabla

    So I jumped in and called them out on their biased views that avoided the actual issue and their privilege. Did it create tension? Yes. Did it shut them up and prevent them from any future racist comments? Also yes. Did I unfortunately become the POC spokesperson when my boss eventually said a racist comment about a black intern (like how you couldn’t tell she was black by talking to her on the phone)? Yes.

    When it comes to those topics, I think it’s considered more professional to be quiet and let it slide rather than calling out and confronting the behavior. But so long as I don’t curse them out when doing so, they can’t really count me as being unprofessional without revealing their own discriminating views.

    1. Argh!

      There are ways to confront these things without being actually unprofessional.

      I work in a similar but milder workplace, and contradicting anyone (especially an authority figure) is considered “unprofessional.” It’s cost me two raises, but I won’t put up and shut up.

      (And yes, I’m looking for a new job)

      1. just a reporter

        Fortunately me confronting this kind of behavior hasn’t seemed to impacted my pay and has actually made people much more cautious about insensitive racial comments in the office (at least when I’m present)! The first incident with Kaep actually took place near the start of this job and I’ve been here for a few years.

        I won’t say that it hasn’t impacted me or made me uncomfortable. Unfortunately today you can figure out people’s personal views by the small comments that they make – and those definitely come up since we’re all reporters. Unless there’s something explicitly said like the previous situations, I put on my headphones, stew for 15 minutes, then make myself not think about it. There’s a lot of compartmentalizing.

    2. Boring

      It’s not racist to think that Colin Kaepernik’s way of protesting was inappropriate. I’d be more careful of throwing out accusations like that, especially in the workplace.

      1. Ella

        And I’d suggest being more careful about telling a person of color to not call out racism when they see it. (And I’d also suggest being careful not to derail the comments here by debating precisely what form of protest is acceptable to you.)

      2. Reed

        Colin Kaepernik’s way of protesting was extremely appropriate and respectful and I salute him and his courage and decency.

      3. Alli525

        Oh yeah? What kind of LOGICAL argument can you make in criticism of Kaep without mentioning racism? (“Respect for the troops” is not a logical argument.)

    3. Ella

      Big props to you for taking on the work for educating/calling people out. It’s so unfair when that role is forced on people of color, and it’s incredibly laudable that you’re willing to take it on.

      1. TootsNYC

        (meaning, the issue he was protesting is racism. And when you object to racism, well, then, it’s a racial thing. Though perhaps C.K. wasn’t the one making it racist)

  54. Alternative Person

    -Giving very pointed silent treatment to a co-worker who slagged me off in front of other co-workers. I got an apology after 8 months.

    -Turning my four week notice to immediate after a co-worker shouted at me in front of clients.

    -Arguing with a manager in a public space after a co-worker had been rude to me and the manager wanted me to concede the point.

    (These stories come from three different workplaces)

  55. nuqotw

    (0) Old boss asked me to make up some numbers on a presentation I was working on with him and New boss, shortly after I had changed teams. I said “I’m not going to do that” and then just let the silence hang until it became awkward.

    (1) At a conference:

    A (more senior than I, to A’s friend): My session seems to be just very inexperienced people. Not sure why I’m in a session with *them.*

    Me, 30 seconds later, as we introduce ourselves around the lunch table: Oh hi A, I’m nuqotw, nice to meet you. We’re presenting together in the next session.

  56. Hixish

    I’m proud of quitting of my extremely toxic job.
    I was working for a department in a very well known university and they were terrible people. The job was wonderful, very fulfilling because I was helping students. They only cared about money and were hell bent on screwing the students over. Any attempt I made to better explain the processes to students and parents was shut down. I recorded my boss telling me that she was mad because parents and students were calling and emailing the director to tell them how I fixed their situation quickly and to their satisfaction. I was “making {her} look bad.”
    I could tell you about the cliques, how they left me out of important meetings, how they made my number the ONLY contact for the department, how they blamed me for them overbooking rooms, how they went behind me in the system to delete over 1000 records I was told to update the day after I updated them, but I won’t.
    I got stressed, I stopped sleeping, I wasn’t eating but was throwing up all day, every day.
    I went on FMLA and during that time, I found another job for the university. When I got back to the toxic department, I put my two weeks in (right before a holiday break). They tried to make my last few days there hell, but they didn’t succeed.

    I wasn’t the only one to quit at that time. 7 of us left at once. 4 left while I was out for two months. I wasn’t the only one who got physically ill from their environment.

  57. Calling a spade a spade

    A while ago the head of my department decided to start holding weekly meetings, I forget how he worded it, but basically to openly took about anything good or bad that was going on. He said, to show how open it would be, that this was the meeting where we could call him an a–hole if we wanted (including the missing ss). So I looked at him and said “You are an a–hole.” In my defense, it was true. Many people came to me afterwards and thanked me for saying it. So, I said it again the next week, and the week after that. It went on for a while until he stopped holding the meeting. In his defense, he never fired me over it, nor retaliated in any way that I am aware of. He ended up getting fired himself less than a year later.

  58. Ginger

    I was at a client site, inspecting equipment in a production setting. A group of men, mid-40s (I was late 20s) were standing near one of the areas I needed to go in, and one of the guys yelled out, “Helloooo RED” (I have red hair). Without missing a beat and without looking up from my paperwork I said, “What’s up, chubster?” (he was a bit round around the middle). He stuttered, his friends laughed, I kept walking.

    Not professional, not something I would want my client to hear, but no regrets.

    1. cactus lady

      You are my hero. I need to remember this. Occasionally a male work person will call me “blondie” and I hate it.

  59. Judy Seagram

    I worked as a residence hall manager at a university with an absolutely rabid fire marshall. He didn’t care what other risks his requirements caused to the residents, as long as the risk of fire was absolutely zero.

    He’d instituted a policy that meant that we’d have to pretty much leave the door to my hall unlocked all day, because the hallway in front of the entrance was too long and would be a blind alley in the unlikely event of the lobby spontaneously bursting into flames, or something. The risk described was POSSIBLE, but highly unlikely, whereas the risk of theft and trespassing through an unlocked front door was 100%.

    I made a comment to a colleague that I hoped that residents’ parents got wind of this and complained to the university president. This comment was overheard and repeated up the chain as “Judy is telling residents’ parents to call and complain to the president.” I didn’t correct the rumors because I was so pissed off.

    But instead of confronting me the department administration spent $150,000 to build a fire escape to circumvent the code violation that had caused us to have to leave the door unlocked in the first place. Later I autographed the back of the fire escape with a sharpie marker.

    1. Observer

      That’s actually a pretty good response. Yes, it was expensive but fro what yo say that was the reasonable thing to do.

    2. Turtlewings

      My senior year of college, a girl in my dorm was raped by a man who got in through a propped-open door. Thank you for making a stink about this.

  60. Rebecca Bunch

    I did an archival internship in an art gallery for college credit, where my job was mainly data entry and a little bit of preservation. I didn’t really need to read the books and articles I was preserving, but they were so interesting that I read all of them. My archiving was incredibly slow, but I was later invited to do a residency at this gallery mainly because I now have an encyclopaedic familiarity with their past work.

  61. Former Bible Belt High School Teacher

    I told off a principal when he refused to stop the freshman football team from having “Fag Day” where they all wore pink t-shirts that said “Just a Fag” on them. It was “tradition” he said, and “all in good fun.”
    I got written up for telling a group of the players who came to my class wearing the shirts to go turn them inside out. The write up was for “insubordination” and “failure to embrace school activities and polices.”
    This school also allows students to wear the Confederate Flag. So. That just shows what kind of messed up place it was. I didn’t know any of this when I took the job.
    Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina.
    Don’t ever teach there.
    I moved to another state.

      1. Former Bible Belt High School Teacher

        2014
        And I know that kids at the school still wear confederate flag tshirts. Their mascot is still a “Rebel” meaning a confederate soldier.

      1. Former Bible Belt High School Teacher

        Yeah we were in the area where Bob Jones University is…well, the same metropolitan area. I think that accounted for a lot of the insane racism. That, and the people were assholes. I’ve learned that when you live somewhere and the first question someone asks when they meet you is “where do you go to church?” It’s time to move.

    1. Lumen

      My jaw dropped at the first sentence of this and my eyes bugged out at the ‘write up’ you go. Kudos to you for refusing to go along with their hate. Oops, I mean ‘fun’.

    2. Holly

      I… what was the context/intention even?? Not that it matters or changes anything, but I am just completely baffled.

      1. Former Bible Belt High School Teacher

        Best I can guess is it was some weird kind of hazing. IDK. It was just disgusting.

    3. Consuela Schlepkiss

      I went to middle school in G’ville and had a cousin who went to high school there. Not surprised. I have lived in several Southern states, and this was my least favorite for reasons like that.

  62. Mimy25

    I joined this pretty large corporation almost straight out of college. Ended up working for a very small team of 3 which included a micro-manager who has been in the same position for 6yrs and a director who has been in the position for 10yrs. That should have been a red flag, but I was young and needed a job. During my 3rd yr, we had a project that required either paying a consultant at $20-$30K or finding someone who can use a design software. I’m self thought, but I know the software, so I offered to do it. Project turned out great, we got praises from all levels of mgmt and then came the yearly review time. My boss (with the blessing of director) called out my work as not that great and it took longer than expected, never mentioning the fact that I saved them $20-30K. That’s when I realized this is a shit whole. Straight out of that meeting, I went to the company’s job board, found an open position in a diff dept and next morning had my boss sign the form that allowed me to apply. In a few weeks I joined the new dept and been there ever since. My coworker in the old dept quit the next day after I announced my move. My old boss was booted out in 6 months and my old,director was also booted out 6 months after that.

  63. blackcat

    Back when I was teaching high school, one (old, 35 year veteran) teacher said something *spectacularly racist* to a black student. Said student came to my classroom, crying, at lunch and told me (23, second year on the job) what happened. I. Saw. Red. Roughly a half dozen students backed up the account. They were pretty shaken up, too.
    After school, I went to the headmaster and aimed to be pretty calm as I recounted it. I asked him to speak to the students and come up with a plan for addressing it with the teacher. Headmaster was generally a good boss and I expected him to handle this appropriately. His response was the other teacher was old and that’s “just the way he is.” Told me to stop talking about it with the students because it undermined the authority of the other teacher for me to take the side of students.
    I. Saw. Red. Again.
    I yelled at my boss. Loud enough for people, including students and parents (!!) in the hallway to hear. “IF YOU’D RATHER PROTECT THE FEELINGS OF AN OLD RACIST RATHER THAN TEENAGERS OF COLOR, YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS EDUCATING CHILDREN AND YOU MIGHT AS WELL FIRE ME.”
    I stormed out.
    A couple of people in the hallway clapped. More just sorta stood there, mouthes agape.
    I called my now-husband, warning him that I could very well not have a job in the morning.
    My headmaster and I never spoke of it again. But the kids reported Old Racist Teacher apologized to the entire class, and I lost so much respect for the headmaster. Perhaps oddly, the headmaster never treated me differently after that.

    1. Bagpuss

      Perhaps your reaction put it in perspective for him and he realised that his reaction was totally inappropriate. I mean, a bigger person would have admitted that and said something to you.

      (Alternatively, of course, he didn’t treat you differently because he realised that retaliation against someone calling out racism would not be a good look, and that he couldn’t be confident that you wouldn’t be prepared to call him out on it..)

      1. blackcat

        Whatever happened, I suspect the witnesses were key. I didn’t *mean* to yell loud enough to be heard through a closed door. It just kinda happened. I didn’t realize people heard until I was in the process of storming out. But, yes, I do strongly suspect he realized I was right, otherwise they would have found some reason to let me go at the end of the year.

        Several other interactions made me realize that, though they hired me for my Fancy Pantsy New England degree, the administration was entirely surprised that hiring a teacher educated by such a Fancy Pantsy education department would have strong feelings about racial justice and equity. They had my transcripts. They could see coursework in critical race theory and the like. But there was clearly this unspoken expectation of “You may be progressive but you’re still on team White People.” Instead they got someone on team “Let’s burn down the white, cis, het hegemony.” I was an excellent teacher who was popular with parents and that generally protected me.

  64. PB

    In my last job, I was tasked with migrating an old workflow from analog to digital. People hated the project, and they actively resented me for doing it. They felt it was somehow wrong and bad to keep our records digitally, even though it was 2015. The project was a nightmare from start to finish, to the extent that they kept making paper files and lying about it.

    My last act was to flip off the paper files. An empty gesture, but it felt good.

  65. Anon Erin

    One time about 10 years ago when I was working as a Santa’s helper at the mall we were dead and I was sitting on the bench next to Santa, whom I’d just met. Out of the blue I told him I really wanted to just be at home, sitting on the couch, smoking pot. Probably shouldn’t have said that to a coworker I’d just met but I did get him to laugh.

  66. Knitting Cat Lady

    When I was still at school, 9th grade I think, my class was on a day trip to another city. I was 14 at the time. Our maths teacher was chaperoning the whole thing.

    She was bad. Really bad. On the one hand she wanted to be our friend, on the other she was an authoritarian of the ‘teacher is always right’ variety. She was also incompetent. She was unable to do a simple proof by herself and incapable of copying it out of the textbook without errors. She also had a habit of passing out copies of my tests as grading keys. Passing them off as her own work. I’m dysgraphic. My handwriting is atrocious. And nothing like hers.

    So, on this trip, I somehow ended up talking to her. I have no clue how we got to that point, but we ended up like this:

    Her: ‘Do you think I’m a good teacher?’
    Me: ‘Are you sure you want me to actually answer that question? Honestly even?’
    Her: ‘Of course.’
    Me: ‘No. I think you’re a bad teacher. Not the worst I ever had, but definitely in the bottom ten.’
    Her: ‘Why?!’

    And then I told her what I had written above.

    Pro tip, people: If you ask a question and the person you ask wants to know if you want an honest answer? Chances are that the answer isn’t positive.

    And yes, I’d do that again.

  67. Michelle

    This is isn’t professional behavior, but I do not regret it.

    I had a grandboss (famous for yelling and cursing at people in the hallway) start yelling and cursing at me in the hallway for a situation SHE created. About 10 seconds in I decided that if she could yell and curse, so could I. People’s head starting popping out of doorways and grandboss was SHOCKED. Suddenly, she wanted to “discuss” it in her office. I said ” No, I’m not discussing it in your office. I’m not discussing it period. It’s your problem, you created and now you get to fix it because I quit”. Walked out and felt immediately better. I got a better job, with better pay and benefits 2 months later.

  68. Czhorat

    I don’t consider this unprofessional, but some might. I mentioned it on Twitter in response to the previous post today (points down the page)

    I mix my social media profile for my professional contacts, SF fandom, amateur writing, and political rants as one blur. Even here, in a sea of anonymity, I buck the trend and use my real name.

    Why do I not regret? For one, I believe it is good and important to stand for something, and am proud of many of the stances I take. I also realize that anyone who wouldn’t work with me because of my politics is probably someone with whom I’d not be happy working. Thus far I’ve managed to not let my outspokenness get me fired anywhere. We’ll see if we can keep that trend.

    1. Who the eff is Hank?

      I love this, and I agree. I know a lot of people disagree with this approach but it’s served me well and I’ve never been without employment.

  69. Birch

    I have more memories of times I wish I’d stood up for myself (those stories include sexual harassment, refusing to let me leave to see my father in the hospital, refusing to let me take time off when I had food poisoning, and not paying me for 3 months). Probably the worst I’ve done is to snap at a coworker and ignore him passive-aggressively. We were temps, I was a young woman, he was a middle aged man with that sort of patronizing “you’d be so pretty if you smiled more” attitude toward women. I had just picked up a flat-pack cardboard box to store some files and he swooped in and grabbed the box out of my hands saying “let me help you.” I grabbed it back and snapped “I have a master’s degree, I think I can put together a forking box. Leave me alone.” And then gave him the silent treatment till I left that job. I later heard him talking to the other temps about my “attitude” and how poor him, I’m so mean and grouchy. I got along with everyone else just fine!

  70. CDM

    We had a terrible payroll system at the place made famous by the Village People – I took paper timesheets and created a spreadsheet, a printed spreadsheet went to HR who then manually entered numbers into the payroll system. Plus most employees had multiple pay rates depending on duties, and so errors galore. Almost always in favor of the company, funnily enough. I was meticulous in my work to reduce errors, and when staff came to me complaining, the errors were pretty evenly divided between employee error and HR error. Honestly, averaging about one error every pay period, the two error pays were about as common as the zero error pays. This wasn’t absolutely terrible because correction checks were often issued the same business day an employee brought it to my attention, at worst the next day. (and because we were all used to it, and didn’t realize how absolutely terrible this really was)

    Then we got a new CEO, who took Friday July 1 off (along with the CFO) because Monday was a holiday. And a college student’s first paycheck of the season was shorted by 20% because HR paid her at the minimum wage training rate instead of her correct rate.

    My email to HR to get a correction received this reply “The new CEO has decided to discontinue the practice of the previous CEO of leaving signed checks when he is out of the office. A correction check will not be signed until Tuesday when the CEO and CFO are back in the office.”

    Meanwhile, all our part time staff that doesn’t get paid holidays or vacation were working Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

    My emailed response to HR was: “Seriously?” That got me written up for being “unprofessional”. HR’s verbal response was “it’s only $20, it’s no big deal” Shorting a college student 20% of their first paycheck of the summer isn’t a big deal? When the people who could correct the situation are enjoying benefits the rest of us don’t get?

    Turns out, employee didn’t get her check until Wednesday. And the director of the preschool department also got written up for a similar “unprofessional” response to her staff getting shorted.

    At least for a while, the HR director cracked down on the work of her (PT no benefits) staffer and the number of HR input errors on staff paychecks went way down for several months.

    No regrets. I’d respond the same way now, actually, I’d probably respond even more strongly.

      1. Frea

        So glad I wasn’t drinking when I read that. As it is, I had to apologize to my coworker for snorting so loudly.

    1. shermywormy18

      Yeah, my boss does this at my current job, because he decreased my pay by a $1 an hour and then he neglects to post the correct amount, and the check gets processed without the accurate amount and I am out $20. (not the worst thing in the world but it’s happened multiple times!) When the boss cut my pay by $1/hour it was because I switched positions. I was being paid at my normal hourly plus tips. It was decreased AFTER I had worked for 6 months at my former pay rate for my current position. I told him he was a really crappy human being.

  71. I'm so professional

    I left my last retail job before getting my first job in my field with this registration letter:
    I am writing to notify you of my immediate departure from the company. I am quitting effective immediately. I recently received the opportunity to have a real job. Although I have greatly enjoyed my experience here prior to 2015 (I quit in 2017), I just cannot say no to this opportunity to work at a professional agency that is ethical, has values, and is morally sound.

    I know your reading comprehension is subpar and that this resignation letter is more difficult than a simple availability form, but I hope you were able to understand key facts. Please work on raising your reading comprehension to a level where you can read the days of the week and understand when a staff member is not available to work.

    I do hope my absence will cause inconvicence. Please do not reach out if there is anything I can do for you in the future. Keys are enclosed. No regards… and I signed my named and walked out 20 minutes before I was suppose to start my closing shift as the only supervisor on duty.

      1. I'm so professional

        Thank you! I only did it because I did not need them as a reference. Also, why ask students for their availability if you are going to schedule them during class?

  72. oxfordcomma4life

    I made my boss cry.

    Story starts with a meeting with my boss and a coworker who had a long history of disrespect for the women he worked with, about coworkers plans to reorganize the office to give himself 4 desks and 3 computers, including mine. Coworker leans forward and aggressively yells “F you” at me. At which point I jump up, and tell my boss to ‘deal with this’ and storm out. I later returned (we do not have HR) and spent the next hour not letting either of them pass this off as ‘just how people talk’ or a ‘disagreement’ between coworkers, refusing to make appeasing ‘it was my fault too’ noises to make it go away quietly.

    A month later when coworker still had faced no repercussions and was continuing to quietly undermine me (changing staffs schedules so they couldn’t do work for me, purposely giving me incorrect information and then going to my boss with ‘proof’ I was incompetent, not doing work for me on time or at all, etc), my boss sent me an email threatening my job if I didn’t get along with Coworker, insisting I accept responsibility for what had happened. I was called into a hour and a half long session where he yelled at me, called me insubordinate, and threatened to write me up if I didn’t give him my assurances I wouldn’t antagonize or ask leading questions that were sure to antagonize coworker. At this point, I lost my cool and demanded to know if he was firing me. Then I just laid out all the ways my boss had failed in his job, and to protect the women in the office. I pointed out that he knew coworker was a ticking time bomb and if he went off again, our boss would HAVE to deal with it and that would be uncomfortable, so instead our boss was trying to manage me, by making it part of my job to manage both coworkers and boss’s emotions. I went hard, was undiplomatic and blunt and downright rude. I had no back up plan or job the next day if he had taken me up on the firing thing, but it felt GOOD. After I left, he called my other coworker in, one who had been witness to a lot of the nonsense, who has since told me Boss was in tears and wanting reassurance he was a good person.

    A few weeks later I found a new job. And I quit and told grandboss exactly why, including giving him copies of numerous shitty emails I’d gotten from boss. I live in an area where they don’t have to take your notice period– I could have been out on my ear that day with nothing. Instead, they paid me out for my whole 6 week notice I tried to give them.

    And then I filed a worker’s safety claim for harassment, and other coworkers jumped on board, including several claims of sexual harassment against the awful coworker. It didn’t go further than some management training and creating a new harassment policy all employees had to sign, and awful coworker is still running that place like El Douchce, but I feel really really good I helped women newer to the workforce than me stand up, even if it was driven by rage.

    1. tangerineRose

      I’ve gotta say, this boss isn’t a good person. Of course awful coworker is worse, but the boss allowed it.

      1. oxfordcomma4life

        Yeah :S He was seriously in over his head– he’d been promoted up to management, and it was a case of someone who’s good at the work but NOT a manager. I still have no clue why, with all the evidence to the contrary, he continues to support awful Coworker. Other than just have a spine made of jello.

  73. Temperance

    I once no-showed on an interview.

    I was led to believe during my phone screen that it was not a sales position. I am weird. Sales is not for me. During the confirmation call, the hiring manager let something slip about it being a sales job/outbound calling, after telling me that it wasn’t when I asked about the job duties.

    1. Justme, The OG

      I walked out of an interview for the same reason. Literally told them that they had been untruthful when they called to interview me, and that I would not continue on.

    2. Holly

      Another commenter posted something very similar … is this a common tactic? What do they think will happen? Do people just accept the job despite being duped?? What the heck.

      1. Ursula

        Yes. This also happened to me. I specifically told them I was not interested in sales and they wheedled me into it by talking about how much of the work was actually managing people and other things I was actually interested in doing. I didn’t believe them, but it was the recession, so I decided to give it a shot.

        It was a commission only outside sales job. About halfway through the interview after the interviewer explained the job, I said I wasn’t interested in sales. The interviewers seemed to be baffled as to why I was there, but didn’t ask. I always wondered if he was unaware of what his recruiter was telling people.

      2. Fallen For It and Walked Out of the Interview

        This has happened to me multiple times. It’s often a job listed under marketing, advertising, or management. Since I’m a copywriter, it’s in my category a lot and then you get to the interviews (if they manage to dupe you over the phone) and explain you can make SO MUCH MONEY and become a leader! get a promotion in a few months! you won’t be cold calling for that long…. just a few months until you earn your promotion…

    3. voluptuousfire

      I wouldn’t condone not showing, but I can totally understand why you did. Speaking as someone who is also weird and not a good salesperson, that role wouldn’t be a fit for me.

      1. Temperance

        It was a serious effort for me, at that time, to get to job interviews, so I didn’t feel bad about wasting his time. I didn’t have a car, and getting to that interview would have taken ~2 hours each way on a bus (for a place about 3 miles away).

  74. Anonymeece

    Ooh, boy. One of my hot buttons is when people accuse me of lying. Normally, I have a very laidback disposition and it takes a lot to set me off, which unfortunately comes across as doormat-ish at times, but if someone insults my integrity…

    So I was in a particularly contentious hiring committee where the person would be my employee, but the hiring committee wanted a unicorn and refused to settle for anyone. Meanwhile, I was going crazy trying to cover two jobs at once and we had found a great candidate, but the hiring committee was being finicky.

    It finally got to the point that HR had to be brought in to mediate, and certain members of the committee tried to claim that I hadn’t done parts of my job, which I clearly remembered doing (this was also when I learned to write everything down!). I lost my temper and quite viciously rebutted them, with specific details, then when they said, “If you’re going to try saying this, I’m going to play that game, too” or something to that effect.

    Later, when I calmed down, I was mortified at how unprofessional I had been, but the members of the committee ended up respecting me more, and the HR person actually told my boss how proud she was for me standing up for myself. In the end, I’m still embarrassed that I took it so personally, but man, it was nice to see their faces when they realized I wasn’t going to lie down and take them walking all over me!

  75. L

    At my first job in high school (food service), the schedule would be posted on Wednesdays. Sometimes you would find out on Wednesday that you had to work that very evening (why it was done this way, I don’t know…), but I made it a habit to stop by work on Wednesday mornings before school to make sure I wasn’t working the same evening.

    One Wednesday, I stopped by work and learned that I wasn’t on the schedule until Friday. Great, so I had the evening free! I went to do some Christmas shopping after school and on the way there, my boss called me. “Why aren’t you at work??? You’re on the schedule!” I told her that I had checked the posted schedule before school to be sure and that at the time, it said I wasn’t scheduled until Friday. She said she changed the schedule during the day because she expected me to check after school, and said I would be fired if I didn’t show up.

    I was already 30 minutes away from work and would never make it there in time, I was pissed that she changed the schedule and then had the nerve to get mad at me, plus I didn’t need the money (yay side babysitting gig), so I told her that was fine. I didn’t go to work.

    I showed up for my shift on Friday and it was like the conversation had never happened. I ended up quitting about 6 months later to make $1/hour more down the street.

    1. Holly

      That is crazy. I feel like in food service industry especially managers think that people don’t need to plan in advance and can just drop everything instantly. What if you needed childcare arrangements? Let alone being a half hour away. It boggles the mind.

      1. L

        Yeah! I really feel for shift workers and people juggling multiple jobs–it sucks to be on that kind of schedule. It sounds like things are even worse now with software to “optimize” schedules for the company at the cost of the employees.

        1. TootsNYC

          that happened to my dad when he was working at Home Depot. The schedule person left, and the new person just followed the software instead of figuring out how to override it or tweak it to be personalized for that store. And suddenly he couldn’t plan anything ahead.

      2. TootsNYC

        I don’t ever understand why they do this. Wouldn’t THEIR lives be easier if they gave everyone regular, standard, predictable shifts? and then they would only have to deal with any changes.

        There was a feature story here in NYC about a woman who was dealing w/ this, and the mayor got really pissed off at it and asked the City Council to pass a law requiring employers to give people their shifts a week in advance.

        1. Qosanchia

          They actually passed a law like that in Seattle. The industry, by and large, threw an absolute fit over it, like the only thing keeping them above water is the ability to reschedule people on the fly. Maybe if they tried setting up sane, regular schedules, they’d get employees who respected the schedule, and didn’t walk out at odd hours?
          Myself and my roommates all worked for years in food service. I wish we had some extra dynamos around, we’d have powered a small town on the eye-rolling alone.

    2. pope suburban

      I did something similar at a job I had in college. It was a seasonal thing doing giftwrapping at a toy store, with the potential to stay on if I did well. The day I interviewed, I brought them a copy of my class schedule and my exam schedule, because I’d had to leave my summer job waiting tables when they kept scheduling me during classes when I went back in the fall. I wanted to be really clear, and they did a good job of working around my classes. Come exam week, though, they scheduled me during my last final, which was incidentally my capstone seminar and one of the requirements to graduate in my major. That this was during a blizzard that ended up shutting most of the region down was just icing on the cake. They blew up my phone during the exam, and left a couple of nasty messages criticizing my commitment (To a seasonal job…wrapping presents) and telling me “don’t bother to come in.” So I took them at their word and never did come in again. They were unhinged if they thought I was going to sabotage my own academic career to stand in an empty store because everyone was either at home or getting essential supplies to ride out an actual, literal state of emergency that got the National Guard hauled in to help. No regrets, really.

    3. SherSher

      Confidential to food service managers everywhere: If you value your employees by posting the schedule at least a week out, and creating a fairly consistent schedule (when you can), your turnover will go way down and your won’t have nearly the issues you do now.

      1. Trek

        That’s not actually true. I have family that have managed in restaurants and you would be surprised at how cavalier people are about coming to work. They even had to make it a rule that if you called off on pay day Friday you would be terminated. Then the same people who didn’t always come to work or asked for more hours and then wouldn’t actually accept additional shifts would complain about how small their pay check was on pay day.

    4. Detective Right-All-The-Time

      This shit is exactly why some states have started putting “Predictive Scheduling” on the law books. It is now required by law for retail and food service employers to provide 2 weeks notice of schedules and changes without any monetary compensation to the employee. It’s a pain in the ass to administer on the HR/Payroll side, but it’s really good for employees.

      1. samiratou

        As someone who works part time retail as a second job, I wouldn’t mind terribly if it were a week instead of two weeks, as sometimes having the ability to put in relatively last minute requests would be handy. As it is now, they require time off requests 3 weeks ahead of time and that can be tough sometimes.

  76. The Other Dawn

    I wouldn’t call this unprofessional, exactly, but maybe I could have handled it a little better by having a discussion with the offender (the EVP) rather than my boss.

    So, I worked for a very tiny bank for close to 20 years (it got shut down in 2013). Somewhere around 2011 we got a new EVP. He seemed like a nice guy. Very arrogant and particular, but someone I got along with and who would explain the whys and what-fors if one asked.

    Not long after he was hired, his true managerial style came out: he was a dictator. He’d regularly yell—loudly, and with profanity and insults–at one of his direct reports. I sat outside his office and even with the door closed, it was as if he was right over my shoulder it was so loud. This direct report—a grown man—would come out of the office, his face beet red, flustered and on the verge of tears. He quit not long after the EVP was hired. He then successfully pushed out his other direct report—a woman. He didn’t treat her the way he treated the man, but he still tended to yell sometimes. I agree she had to go, but definitely not with the way he went about it. Anyway, in comes the next person to replace the man that quit—a woman—and the same thing happened. He would constantly yell profanity at her, verbal insults, etc. and she would come into the office manager’s office in tears quite often. We tried to get her to talk to his boss—the CEO—about it, but she wouldn’t do it and said she could handle it. It went on like that for about two months.

    One day, while I was on vacation, my boss emailed me. (We had been talking about the direction of my current position before my vacation and I told him I’d think about it while I’m gone.) He asked what I was thinking (about the position, although he didn’t say that specifically) and I think there was something in the email asking what kinds of issues were going on (he commuted from another state and worked in the office only three days a week, so I was usually his eyes and ears while he was gone). I used that opening to basically spill everything that had been going on with the EVP: his managerial style, the verbal abuse, the constant yelling, bringing people to tears, etc. (there was also a complaint about him leering at my direct report’s chest). I told my boss I was tired of having to listen to that sh!t every day of life, it’s not right, he’s driving people out, and he’s an arrogant a$$hole. I held absolutely nothing back because I was THAT comfortable with my boss.

    Well, my boss sent my email over to the CEO (they were good friends), and the CEO sent it back to the EVP to basically say, “Stop being an a$$hole, and you better make this right.” So then I got the pleasure of the EVP taking me out to lunch one-on-one and spending the whole time naming all the reasons why he was justified in what he did. (He was also forced to take the office manager to lunch, too, since she was the one often consoling the crying employee.) But it mostly stopped after that! He was still a jerk sometimes, but he toned it down A LOT. He had yet another direct report after that, but she gave back to him anything he dished out and wasn’t intimidated at all. Eventually he was shown the door (not soon enough!) and we didn’t have to deal with him anymore.

    I know I should have talked to him first, but in my defense he was very intimidating and at the time I wasn’t yet confident enough to do something like that. Plus, my boss gave me an opening without realizing it and I seized on it. I don’t regret it at all. I regret having to sit through that awful, awkward lunch, though.

    1. Greg M.

      you did nothing wrong, that wasn’t even really unprofessional. You were not the one that that should have talked to him, you weren’t his boss and he was an abusive a$$, it’s not your job to pacify him.

      1. The Other Dawn

        Yeah, I don’t mean I think I did anything wrong, really. It’s more that we’re all so big on “be direct,” “talk to the person before going over their head,” etc. and I instead sent a ranting and raving email to my own boss about it. I could have been a little more level-headed about and either sat down in person or talked to the CEO. Either way, I’m glad I did it because it mostly stopped the verbal abuse and tirades, and he was eventually let go.

        1. Alucius

          I think that “be direct/talk to the person” style is great if the organization is healthy so that you can bring legitimate concerns without fearing blowback/retaliation. If you’re in not-so-healthy a place, taking a workaround is probably the best course. Even if the “worst” he could have done to you is treat you to a display of his volcanic temper, I certainly wouldn’t blame you for taking a different course.

    2. Narise

      The statement- leering at my direct report’s chest- sent chills down my spine. I remember working with an owner that was an a** and would regularly leer at woman customers and employees alike and make a few comments. I finally told manager that this wasn’t going to continue and he asked if I was going to hire a lawyer. I said no I’m going to tell my dad- the hunter from Montana- that the owner of the company is trying to get all the girls into bed. (I was 17 at the time.) The owner comes to me and wants to take me to lunch to talk. Of course he invites me in front of everyone and tries to act like a nice guy, smiling at me and everyone else. I told him no I’m not going anywhere with you. He replied, ‘Oh am I so scary?” My reply: ‘No I think your a rapist in training.’ Three people applauded and he turned beet red. Never came near me or spoke to me again while I worked there until I walked out one night over other issues.

  77. animaniactoo

    Former job, I had been killing myself trying to meet an impossible deadline. Deadlines were always tight, but this one was made more impossible by what a sheer and utter mess all the pieces that had been done before it came to me to work on were. None of which were my responsibility for doing, but it was now my responsibility to turn them into something workable.

    After 3 weeks of working day and night to get the job out, I was standing in the owners’ office while one of them asked me why my hours were so high and barking at me about why the job was such a mess and why it wasn’t done yet. I put up a hand, said “You can stop RIGHT THERE.” went and pulled the office door shut, and I have no idea what was going to come out of my mouth next, but I am absolutely sure I was about to get myself fired. Fortunately, his partner spoke up at that moment and said “You know, I really don’t think that this is Animaniactoo’s fault.” and things calmed down. We ended up packing up one of the work computers (20 years ago, they were all desktops) and putting me in a cab home to let me work uninterrupted (I may have once again been the interim IT person, I don’t really remember anymore).

  78. NoMoreMrFixit

    This is something a friend at the time did. Like me back then, he was also a church organist for a while. After an ongoing dispute with the new minister at his parish he handed in his resignation. At his last service he played nursery rhymes for preludes. Nobody realized what he was actually playing and a couple of folks thanked him for playing old tunes they hadn’t heard in years!

    1. Pipe Organ Guy

      I love that! I can imagine someone with really good improvisation skills turning nursery rhyme tunes into serious-sounding, full-blown Baroque pastiche chorale preludes!

  79. Elemeno P.

    In a different vein from the other comments, I pull up the video linked in my username after boring technical presentations. It is very well-received.

    Have done it before, will do it again.

  80. Greg NY

    In my second job, which was as a cashier at a supermarket, I gave a profanity-laced tirade to both the manager and assistant manager, in front of customers, before walking off the job, with my cash drawer still in the register, at an extremely busy time when there were 8 people waiting on each line (including the one at my register). The store was horrible, the managers were horrible, I hated my coworkers, and even many of the customers were curt and rude. I would absolutely do such a thing again, in any workplace, if I didn’t need the reference and I hated almost everybody I worked with to such a degree that I know there would be no bridges burned (as unfair as that is in reality) in the future. To this day, more than 20 years later, I’m still proud of myself and I have fuzzy feelings thinking about it right now as I type this. I stuck it to a horrible workplace.

  81. Jennifleurs

    I know I should cringe about this but it’s been over 5 months and I still don’t, so …

    At my old (awful) job, we had a new department manager. He had no clue what I did, and thought that the web development team could always do it faster (sometimes yes, sometimes no.)

    Comes up to me at a moment of peak stress (for another reason entirely) and starts talking about these new promotional versions of products that he wanted put up. I listened, while twitching a bit from other issue, wrote it all down, and said, right, ok, when do you want these done by? I could probably get them done by Tuesday morning? (It was 11am Friday)

    Him: by the end of today!

    At which point all my stress exploded and I shouted “What the f—” at him, twice, with varying emphasis. He scuttled off to web to see if they could “just copy and paste it”, and they said that it would take them pretty much the same time it would take me, so, no.

    Cue me and my coworker/trainee dropping every other task and producing error-filled rush-jobs to get it done in time.

    But I am proud of the extremely unprofessional WTF because it made him realise what a massive mistake he’d made. We still had to do it, but at least he knew it was a problem. Never asked for anything like that again.

  82. OutrageousLibrarian

    I worked retail while in college. Got a new manager after I had been there almost 4 years. I was a supervisor with keys to the store, safe combination, payroll approved, etc. I was good. New manager wanted sex acts in exchange for scheduling you for shifts. I declined both because I respect myself and because he was gross. But he was also having an affair with a woman who worked out of the district office. This being the office his wife has just returned to work after having a stillborn. So I gathered up all the love notes, cards, and photos of him with the girlfriend’s kids and sent them through interoffice mail to his wife. He got fired and divorced. Girlfriend got fired. I still laugh.

    1. Turtlewings

      Wowww that is exactly the kind of drama they tell you not to get involved in but BOY was that satisfying to hear.

      (Drama about the affair, to be clear. I am down for anything and everything done to stop the guy preying on employees.)

    2. zaracat

      That’s horrible!!!! Aren’t you in the least bit ashamed of dumping it that way on a woman who was already traumatised? You could argue that she’d find out eventually, but seriously, to do it this way just because the guy made YOU uncomfortable?

      1. tangerineRose

        Well, the wife could probably use all of this evidence to her advantage during the divorce. Also, OutrageousLibrarian’s actions may have protected the wife from getting STDs.

      2. OutrageousLibrarian

        He didn’t make me uncomfortable. He said I had to suck his dick to be scheduled for hours at a job for which I was employed. That’s not about comfort. That’s about extortion and sexual harassment. He also said this to the other young women (17-23 year olds). So no, not ashamed.

  83. Isobel Debrujah

    The Monday after the Charlottesville Riot the ED of my small regional nonprofit, who never comes to our staff meetings, spent a good twenty minutes interrupting our staff meeting to explain how the Nazis were really good but misguided people. And they just needed jobs. And education. And how we had to be loving of them as people and accepting of their views.

    In summation he asked if anyone had any questions, which was a mistake because I started the conversation with “Are you telling us that the violent, racists were the good guys?” I further pointed out that if we could all agree on nothing else we should be able to agree that Nazis are bad given that there was a whole war about the subject in living memory and the entire world was involved. Personally, I think I was perfectly professional but he disagreed. But then his definition of unprofessional was being made uncomfortable by the fact that I held him accountable for his statements.

    1. tangerineRose

      I don’t understand how anyone can be accepting of a viewpoint that includes murdering people because of the race they were born into. I don’t even want to understand how people can be OK with that.

  84. Autumnal

    I was a special education teacher and case manager. My boss, the director of special education was not my biggest fan and she didn’t especially like my kids, who were all lovely kids with an assortment of behavioral challenges (their entire class was pretty behavioral…it happens that way sometimes).

    Twice I went outside of the chain of command and I don’t regret it either time.

    When a kid gets in a fight and might be kicked out of school a “manifestation determination” is made. If the kid’s behavior is a manifestation of his disability, then we cannot make a disciplinary transfer; we need to re-evaluate how we are meeting his needs in his regular school settings. I wrote an MD. The kid’s behavior was a manifestation of his disability. Clearly. She re-wrote it and changed my findings and wrote the kid would be placed in a disciplinary school. Then she told me to sign it. I stated my case (what we were doing was putting us in a precarious place, legally) and declined to sign. She said she didn’t need my signature and would have the psychologist sign. The psychologist and I got in touch and she agreed with me. I frankly told her I didn’t have the cache to fix this and that I was pretty nervous. She went to bat for the kid (and me) and they ended up using my paperwork with the correct determination.

    The second time was with a kid of mine my boss HATED. Like, it was noticeable enough that the kid would come up to me and as why “Mrs. Boss was so much meaner” to her than other kids. One day Kid finds me and says she is getting suspended but she doesn’t know why. Come to find out, Boss had bypassed me to suspend her for a witnessed fight. I go to Coworker who witnessed the “fight” who tells me Kid and Kid2 were bickering and whatnot but that there was no cursing even, let alone a physical altercation. Coworker doesn’t know how Boss even found out about it. I go to Boss and say, Coworker says there was no fight. Boss argues. I said please call Coworker, there was no fight, there is no reason to suspend Kid. Boss ignores me, sends Kid home. I called this Kid’s mom that night and explained the whole thing. I let her know I was calling “off the record,” but I would be speaking up in the reinstatement meeting and that she should come prepared to advocate to speak with GrandBoss. She did.

    Actually, the only time Boss ever voluntarily avoided suspending one of my kids, was when a kid got me alone in a classroom, ran at me, pushed me and screamed in my face. She put him back in my class without even giving me a heads up. I’m not even mad about not suspending him—it was just a curious choice given her desire to kick all of my kids out over any slight.

    1. sheep jump death match

      Thank you for fighting for the vulnerable children in my community.

      I work in sped dispute resolution, on the parent side. I also have a disability. I can get pretty worked up about your boss’s kind of bullshit, and then I forget that there are teachers like you fighting for kids every day, in between teaching them. Thanks for reminding me.

    2. samiratou

      I would disagree that any of those actions count as unprofessional–they were all highly professional, unlike your toxic boss.

      And, as the parent of an autistic 6yo who is, today, suspended for hitting (it’s been a rough year. We’re working on it. It’s very slow), thank you for going to bat for the kids!

  85. a

    I had a really terrible boss (who still works in the same position but doesn’t supervise my section), who is a vindictive, misogynistic jerk. My husband worked with me, and got into some personal issues with people in our workplace, eventually causing him to quit. The boss hated both of us, and after my husband left, proceeded to send vague notices to certifying bodies within our profession, accusing my husband of having bad character. Since I still work(ed) here, he would attempt to find fault with every thing I did. At one point, he dragged me into his office to accuse me of not working on overtime that I hadn’t even claimed – during that episode, he started yelling at me and told me to close the door. I said that it was not happening and walked out – directly across the hall to his boss’s office to let him know that I would not tolerate being screamed at for something I had not yet done… and that there was no way I would ever consent to being alone in a closed room with that guy. After a few months of playing these games, and due to some circumstances that had occurred with my husband’s issues before he quit, I went outside the chain of command (we’re a paramilitary organization – you’re not supposed to do that. Ever.) and sent a letter to our director (who is about 5 levels above the boss who was causing problems.) threatening to sue for harassment and slander if the behavior did not stop. When our commander came to ask why I felt the need to go outside the chain of command and hadn’t taken my concerns to her, I told her that no one had done anything to address these long-known issues to date, and her reputation for helping was not exactly stellar. I would do it all again in a heartbeat – although the jerk still works here as a supervisor, he’s pretty much never allowed to be MY supervisor again. And the occasions since when he has tried to inject himself into my chain of command, I have shut him down every time.

  86. anon for this

    I worked in a super dysfunctional department at a university for a few years, one where the dept chair did NOT care about anyone but himself. My area in particular was majorly understaffed and I kept getting more and more work piled on my desk. I worked most weekends and never had time to take a proper vacation, and once had a trip scheduled to a popular vacation destination for meetings with some outside stakeholders. At the last minute, all the meetings got cancelled… but I pretended not to get the email until I landed at the destination. So I ended up getting a work-sponsored week vacation in a popular (and expensive) destination. The university refused to give me a laptop because I wasn’t high enough up on the food chain, so I wasn’t able to do any work while I was there. And the best part was, they paid per diem rather than expense reimbursement, so I could use that money however I wanted. 10/10 would do again if I were in the same situation.

    1. anon for this

      Also, on my way home, I made friends with the pilot of my flight in the airport, and he bumped me up to first class. It was a great trip all around.

  87. Anon Accountant

    At my horrible, toxic job my shady boss had a client who was suing his former accountant. There was zero case but the client told my boss he’d pay whatever he charged and to “just get him a legal settlement”.

    My boss bullied me for over 2 years to “just make up something and nobody will look at it closely”. This case was being heard in court and my boss threatened to fire me if I didn’t create eveidence for their case and I’d refused to give false testimony in court as an expert witness, etc.

    He tried to write me up for insubordination and I grabbed the paper, said “f$@& you” and ran the write up notice through the shredder.

    The client lost his case and the ex accountant sued him for legal fees. No regrets!

  88. triplehiccup

    I walked off a waitressing shift and didn’t answer the manager’s phone calls after. Nothing catastrophic had happened. It was my first night working independently after a week of training, and I was appalled at how rudely the other servers were acting toward each other as we prepped for the dinner service. I’d already had a few other conversations with coworkers that verged on homophobic, or at least painfully ignorant (one girl was surprised that my then-girlfriend and I did “normal” stuff on dates, like going to the movies???), and suddenly I couldn’t fathom spending 40 hours a week at that place.

    In terms of the national economy and my personal finances, the fall of 2008 was not a great time to walk away from a job. But I think of that walk-off as a joyful and formative experience. My home life and, to a certain extent my work life, had instilled in me the dysfunctional beliefs that my first loyalty was not to myself but to authority figures, and that I therefore couldn’t defend or protect myself in bad situations, let alone remove myself from them. It was EXHILARATING to find out that I could.

    1. Alli525

      I don’t want to know what that girl thought you and your GF did on dates… but I don’t NOT want to know, either. Blood rituals? Shaving rabbits? Digging landfills?

    2. London Cat Lady

      The fact that it was the autumn of 2008 (NOT 1908) also wasn’t a great time for your colleague to be so offensively ignorant either! How does someone like that manage to wash herself in the morning???

  89. Kat

    I argued with our CEO during a sexual harassment training. He kept interrupting the trainer to add his own comments and I felt like he was trying to send veiled messages/threats about the risks of reporting harassment and it ticked me off. I started doing that awful passive-aggressive playing dumb thing that I usually hate myself for where I claimed not to understand and had him repeat himself over and over and then got more argumentative when he doubled-down on his message. I had been with the company less than a year and at the time I was utterly horrified by my behavior.

    Cut to 5 years later, CEO is forced to resign for…sexually harassment! Specifically, covering up harassment by his top deputy for YEARS including really horrific retaliation and intimidation of employees who reported the behavior!

    Now I’m kind of proud of myself for saying something and also for realizing something wasn’t right. I never connected all the dots while I worked there (about 3 years) but I knew that the deputy’s department was deeply dysfunctional (there was not a single person who worked there when I was hired who was still there when I left, and most positions had turned over 2 or more times -in 3 years!) and that the CEO was not someone who employees could trust.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      Good for you!
      You have to wonder… your argument may have been the first crack in the facade.

  90. Ptarmigan

    I was in my office one day (c. 2011), talking about work with a conservative coworker at my level, when a higher-level fellow liberal (and friend) stopped at my doorway and said something like, “Every Republican has to be either stupid, evil, or completely misinformed.”

    My conservative coworker was taken aback and a little cornered, and they started to talk a little, and I said, “We’re not having this conversation in my office right now.”

    My liberal friend continued to talk and I said, “No. You can argue about this with her somewhere else if you want, but not here.”

    He said, “But this is where she is right now.”

    And I stood up, walked out from behind my desk, and physically stomped at him saying, loudly, “GET OUT OF MY OFFICE RIGHT [STOMP] THIS [STOMP] MINUTE.” I stomped right up to him and forced him to leave if he didn’t want to get stomped into.

    I apologized to him later but he felt ashamed of his own behavior and it worked out fine.

  91. magnusarchivist

    Worked for a highly dysfunctional (as opposed to normal dysfunctional) museum, as the director of their archives & library. Also the only employee in the archives & library. My first year there I kept being surprised by coming in to open the library, and discovering that another department had “booked” it for an event without telling me. No amount of asking people to check with me first, or include me on Outlook appointments would change this. Sometimes these events would involve bringing food & drink into the library & around our rare books, maps, etc. Sometimes there were gangs of unexpected children involved. Once I had to tell researchers not to come in that day b/c people with video & audio equipment were setting up to do oral history interviews (which ended up including racist comments that I had to sit & listen to all damn morning).

    So I was ready to die on a hill when the Big Boss walked in unannounced & started rhapsodizing to someone from outside the org who wanted to book the library for a reception. He called me over to be his wing-woman and instead I (politely) pushed back in front of the potential client, saying things like “hm, that would be really short notice!” and “well, we usually have 5-10 researchers in here on Tuesdays” and “oh, unfortunately library policy is not to allow food or drink around our rare materials.”

    He was furious & I ended up having to apologize for undermining him. No regrets though.

  92. Anon for this

    A million years ago I worked for a nonprofit. This was the early days of computers — so no networks, no wifi, and my coworker (let’s call him Dick) had the only computer in the office powerful enough to run some proprietary software. I needed to get on Dick’s computer once a month for about an hour to do a report using that software, and Dick was a total pill about it. He suggested I do my report in 10-minute increments while he visited the men’s room, for instance. He wouldn’t let me do it while he took lunch. I complained to my boss who told me to figure it out.

    So I started coming in on the last weekend of each month to do it. Since I was there alone and it was a creepy old building, I brought my large dog to keep me company, and he napped under the desk while I worked.

    After a few months, I realized that Dick’s periodic, mystifying Monday morning attacks of incessant sneezing and itchy eyes (nothing too terrible, but clearly irritating) were probably the result of the fact that my dog just spent an hour in his office. Turns out Dick was allergic to dog dander. Oh, well!

  93. Hawkward

    This one is pretty innocent but still makes me happy to think about. I accidentally flipped off my boss while trying to wave goodbye while holding too many things in my hands. He laughed so hard he almost cried, and then he immediately told everyone else in the office about, and it became a running joke for everyone to just give everyone else the middle finger at the end of every workday. Whoops?

    1. wafflesfriendswork

      The image of someone cheerily flipping everyone off whenever they say goodbye is delightful to me

  94. CAcats

    So not too bad, but inappropriate: I’m a manager. There is a group of women that sit outside my office. One time on a Friday at 5, I enthusiastically left and shouted “peace out, BITCHES!”
    It was funny, but inappropriate, especially coming from a manager. Luckily, everyone laughed.

    1. Damn it, Hardison!

      Ha ha! Now I want to do that too.

      I once emailed my manager to request $$ for some resource but told her it was for hookers and blow (I did say what I really needed it for in my second sentence). I heard her bust out laughing from the other end of the office (we worked together for years and remain good friends).

    2. lnelson1218

      As HR I should know better but once I did blurt out something inappropriate.

      One of my co-workers asked me where extra rulers were kept. Side-note, this guy was proud of the fact that he was the youngest in the office. Before I knew it “Why? Do you need a spanking?” came out of my mouth. Ooops. I apologized immediately. It took a minute for him to response, “not at the moment, but I still need a ruler.” It took the IT guy who witnessed this a good five minutes to stop laughing. He still needs to assure me that he thought it funny, yes inappropriate, but funny.

  95. Much anon

    I performed a full-on full-volume rage quit when a company owner got abusive with me for explaining to a coworker how coworker was being cheated out of overtime pay. Boss was Canadian, operating on both sides of the border, living in the workplace with her disgusting husband while their house was being built. She regularly bragged about cheating her insurance company, the bank, the builders, and her customers and was an all-around horrible person.
    I was so angry that she dared to question my integrity as an employee that I loudly threatened to out her to all injured parties, plus whatever government agencies might be interested in her cross-border illegalities.
    I did end up letting her biggest customer (a couture house that does red carpet wear) know about the massive systemic cheating, prompting the customer to drop this company. Last I heard the company was out of business, and I am glad.
    Another, less ragey quit was from a law firm I clerked at for a few months. It was a demoralizing experience. Instead of performing the actual office tasks listed in the job description, I ended up being the gopher for rude attorneys and their rude clients. Definitely not my bag. So on a Thursday before a forecast lovely May Friday in Seattle, I quit, actually saying I wanted to cut my losses and that enjoying the spring day was more important than giving notice. Needless to say that job didn’t show up on my resume, and I really did have a great Friday.

  96. Greg M.

    1. big chain thrift shop, treated me like crap and my time there ended after they put me on pricing housewares, refused to give me any feedback, working alone in the dark on the weekend and having people check and reprice my stuff on Monday. I reached a point where I was pricing stuff and found a brand new watch in packaging, my brain thought “I could steal this”, I didn’t but I knew it was time to leave that job. So I did, I found a new one and didn’t give 2 weeks notice.

    2. Multiple jobs later I found a good one and currently work there, around halloween I do silly closing announcements and on tuesday night I Vincent Price’s bit from Halloween over the PA system.

  97. Le’Veon Bell is seizing the means of production

    It’s pretty minor, but at an old job, my boss (the executive director of the organization) wanted to do an “employee appreciation event” and a friendly venue donated some space and a certain amount for food. However, it wasn’t 100% clear what amount, or whether it would cover the entire cost. This info was passed to staff, some of whom were understandably upset; it wasn’t clear to them whether they should anticipate spending $0, spending $10 or $20, or if it was gonna be A Whole Thing and they should anticipate covering most of a meal and drinks (with the donated funds knocking like 10-20% off). The ED refused to even attempt to clarify with the venue, and felt that everyone should be able to just roll with it. I insisted that some people were really unhappy; they have budgets and didn’t want to miss out on a potentially free (employee appreciation!) event, but didn’t want to come if they would be on the hook for more than a few dollars.

    The ED insisted that I tell him who was complaining so he could talk to them personally. I could tell he was just being pissy about it and no good could possibly come of it, so I just looked at him, and kind of scrunched my face and said “Yeah, no, I’m not gonna tell you that.” He dropped it, declared that any costs not covered by the venue donation would be covered by the org, and the event went well, finally!

  98. Editrix

    Our external sales manager rang up and wanted to introduce two new full page adverts, at lunchtime on the day the magazine was going to press, two days after his (very generous) final deadline. Not for the first time. Not even for the third time.
    I lost it and swore at him. Badly. Of course, I instantly apologised. Then I thought about it. “No, I take that back. I’m not going to apologise. I meant it, and in fact, I’ll say it again.” And I did.
    Not at all professional. Shouldn’t have done it. Still don’t regret it.

  99. Dancing Queen

    This is a fun one. Every time I worked in offices where I had a place to myself and not a lot of traffic, I’d sit with my feet up on the desk, keyboard on my lap and music blaring and occasionally getting up to dance for really good tunes. It made me so happy and my work was always much better for it.

  100. Lupin Lady

    I made my boss fire me.
    They had refused to give me a contracted raise, and when I politely brought it up they said they didn’t feel I had delivered the value (whole other can of worms). After thinking about it, on a Thursday afternoon I told my one boss that I wasn’t willing to work without that increase, so either give me the raise in my contract or fire me if I’m not providing value. Worked the rest of the day, came back the next morning and a few hours later they gave me my final cheque. Except when I got home I sent a strongly worded email referring to the pay in lieu of, and they gave me another 2 weeks of pay.
    Then I reported them to the government for misidentifying me as a contract worker instead of employee and they had to re-issue my tax forms and pay my unemployment insurance.
    4 years later I ran into boss at a store, and he had the nerve to say “No hard feelings” – I made an excuse and walked away, and it turns out the store employee who later helped me had a run in with former boss. I told him I knew the guy and that he’s naturally rude and unreasonable, to not feel bad. The guy told his manager (because my boss had complained about him) and pointed me out to back up the story.

  101. iglwif

    Very early in my career, I covered a colleague’s mat leave (this was 20 years ago, so it was only like … 6 months? 8 months? less than a year, anyway). In one of her client files I found a fax she had sent to that client in which she referred to me–by job title, not name–as “a complete and utter pedant” and opined that I was gunning for her job.

    I made a copy of that fax, which I took home, and then put it back where I found it. (I’m not sure what the professional thing to do would have been, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it.)

    Hilariously, I actually did end up getting her job, because a) she never came back from her mat leave, and b) I was really good at it.

    1. Alli525

      Ooh, I have a version of this too. The woman that hired me left about 5 months after I started, and because of the nature of our jobs, IT was asked to give me access to her full inbox, and I spent a day or two going through her records, saving the things that would be relevant to my job and deleting the rest. I came across an email from the IT manager to Hiring Manager – I had asked him what he felt was a really dumb question, and he forwarded the email to her saying something to the effect of “She won’t last long here.”

      I obviously didn’t delete that message, or say anything to him about it. I saved it, put a red flag on it so it would stay stickied to my Outlook “to do” list, and used it as fuel every day of my four years there.

    2. Rainy

      When I was in undergrad, I had a job in the office of one of my departments. A grad student who had been an undergrad in that department’s major was first-year the year I was applying to grad, and she had not learned the key lesson to a smooth grad school experience (make friends with the admins). She was really shitty in general, but also to my boss, the department’s admin, payroll officer, and literal world’s nicest lady, who ran a ship that was surprisingly functional for an academic department, and did it all with two chronic illnesses.

      When I made my appointment to take the GRE for my grad applications, I was telling my boss how shockingly expensive it was–joke’s on me, the cost has DOUBLED since then–and this grad student was eavesdropping while checking her mailbox, and interrupted me to ask which prep course I was taking. I said “Well, none, but I got a book and I’ve been studying a bit as I have time”. She laughed at me and said “You’ll need to take a prep course and take the GRE AT LEAST 3x, that’s what I had to do. My parents paid $2k for my prep course.” I said “well that’s not going to happen” and she said “good luck getting into grad school then”.

      Here’s the unprofessional thing…after I took my GRE and made an extremely good verbal score, which was all both my home discipline and the discipline of the department I worked in looked at, I went and looked at this student’s GRE scores (part of my job was maintaining the grad application files). She never made a higher verbal than 19th percentile. Mine was 99th.

      I still don’t regret it, because she was a giant asshole and I spent the remaining term I worked there smirking every time I saw her.

  102. Damn it, Hardison!

    I’m not proud of part of this incident, but I’m proud of another part. When I was in high school/home from college in the summer I worked at a fast-food restaurant (in addition to another job in the summer). I generally got along well with the managers, some of whom were only a few years older than me. One night one of the managers said something very inappropriate to me (sexual in nature) and I responded by…. squirting him with ketchup. Not my best moment.

    The next day I apologized and offered to replace his shirt. Later in that same shift he asked me to sign a disciplinary report. I said I would only sign it if he was also written up for what he said to me (I didn’t sign it). He had to explain to the manager in charge why I wouldn’t sign it, which led to a long note to staff about not tolerating sexual harassment at work.

    Unfortunately I was retaliated against the rest of the summer by that manager and his girlfriend (also a manager) – hours cut, moved to the store in the mall across the street, written up for random and totally ridiculous things (like changing into my uniform in a bathroom stall, which I had to do because I was coming from another job, and had been doing for months without any complaint).

  103. kristinyc

    My first job out of school, I had a very verbally abusive boss. She yelled at me all the time and was generally awful. She would dump folders on my desk and then pop quiz me over the statuses of the 150+ projects our team had going on at any given moment, and berate me for being slow as I was looking up the most recent info about each project. I had been applying for other jobs, and while she was on a 2 week overseas vacation, I was offered a temp job that would be a step up from what I was doing – but they needed me to start on Monday (it was a Wednesday).

    I took the temp job, giving 2 days’ notice, and never saw or spoke to my awful boss again. This was September 2008, and looking back, it’s hard to believe that I took a TEMP job (at a financial services company no less) exactly as the financial crisis was starting. Maybe not the best thing for a 23 year old who had to start paying student loans, but I got hired on full-time a few months later and made $12k more than my previous job, so it worked out great, and I was there for two years.

    But in that job, I found my actual career path and haven’t looked back. My old boss ended up getting fired a week before my old company did a round of layoffs, because they wanted to make it clear that her departure was definitely a firing and not a layoff.

  104. Anonymous today

    I called out a HIGHLY respected person in my profession for casual sexism in the middle of a training. This dude is THE GUY in what I do. He mocked the team for using a picture of a woman in materials for a product not solely aimed at women. I kept my tone professional(ish) but my words were fairly snarky as I laid out the actual numbers proving that women were actually far and away the biggest users of said product and that we are actually more than uteruses. He stuttered and backtracked pretty fast. It felt GREAT.

  105. Bee's Knees

    Not me, this happened to my very sassy Gran. This was a woman that never stopped. She was working at our family’s hardware store, where she had a beauty shop on the side. She took care of all the books, and raised two children, and took care of my Granddad, a full time job itself. One day, a man came in and wanted to cash a check. She didn’t know him, and said no. He started in that he knew [Granddad] and he’d have her job! She drew herself up to her five foot glory and told him if he wanted her job, he could have it! She then proceeded to run the man out of the store, and go on about her day.

  106. CheeryO

    I totally bungled my first salary negotiation straight out of college, which led to me turning down a crappy offer, even though it was what I had asked for. It’s not something I’d do again, because I know better now, but I don’t regret it and don’t care that I burned the bridge.

    Longer version, the (internal) recruiter asked what I wanted early in the process, I said $X, and she said, “Oh, I bet we can get you $X+$15K, let’s put that down instead.” She must have written the full range between what I said and what she had “offered,” because I ended up being offered exactly what I had initially said. Well, it turns out that not only was COL going to be more of an issue than I anticipated (my bad, should have researched more), but the company had extremely high expectations regarding performance, plus minimum 55-hour weeks (I work 37.5 now… I know that’s not the norm, but I still think 55 is a lot!). So the offer ended up being insultingly low. I turned it down, and the hiring manager was PISSED. He turned into a total asshole and called several times trying to get me to change my mind, sort of negging me in the process (I was unemployed and didn’t have a lot of experience, but I had a good degree and ended up with a much better offer later that year!). I think I ended up blocking his number. :\

  107. Lise Mac

    I worked for city government with a combined giving campaign. While I have nothing against those campaigns, I did charitable giving on my own, and at the time I was very new to the job and the industry, had a mountain of student loans to pay off and a car payment.

    My manager decided to get up on her high horse and lecture us on how we were all incredibly privileged to have jobs and there was no reason we couldn’t all contribute to the campaign. Said manager had lived at home with her parents her entire life. She didn’t pay rent. She had no student loans. (Both things she’d told me in conversations over my first few months.) In short, she knew nothing about what my life was like.

    I got more and more annoyed by the lecture until I picked up my form, put a giant X through it and dropped it in her mailbox without breaking eye contact.

    She never gave that particular lecture again, at least not where I could hear it.

    1. ginger ale for all

      You are awesome! I hate those campaigns when the place where you work begs for money from you.

  108. gmg22

    This isn’t mine, but I love it and have to share. A departing colleague had written a couple of fairly frank things in his farewell email about how he thought the company wasn’t prioritizing his division, so HR’s brilliant response to that was to ban all-company farewell emails (we only had about 100 employees at that time, so everyone knew everyone and it would make sense to reach out at that level when leaving). This was fairly typical of the kind of decision-making coming down from management at the time.

    So the next colleague who left wrote up her nice farewell and sent it to a more select list. It was quite heartfelt. And if you put together the first letter of each sentence, they spelled out — and note I’m paraphrasing here, her exact words were a bit more a)specific and b)scatological — “THE CEO IS A JERK”.

    I’m pretty sure she didn’t regret it!

  109. Beth

    My first job out of grad school, the administration massively screwed up — they did some math after the first few months and decided that they had massively overspent their budget and were going to have to cut 1/3 of the staff, even though every person had a contract stipulating a set period of employment. The rest of us, of course, would have to pick up the work without any additional compensation.

    I was one of two staff in my department. The manager pulled me aside a few days before the axes fell and told me that I was going to be kept and the other person would be cut, and I was not to tell her until they told her, or I would be cut instead. (The manager was grossly incompetent and in a just world would have been the one to go, but managers never got fired in this company.)

    The day my co-worker was told her job was over, the manager bugged off as soon as the news had been delivered, not wanting to deal with the unpleasantness of being around someone whose contract had just been broken.

    I sat and watched while my now ex-coworker packed up her stuff, and added a substantial amount of valuable supplies which she would be able to use during her next several months of freelancing while job-hunting. I didn’t say a word, make any attempt to dissuade her, or even frown. Nor did I ever tell the management. I did tell her about the threat they had used on me.

    It was a valuable lesson, especially for the beginning of my work life. My main take-away was: if you cheat your employees, even an honest employee will feel justified in stealing. Dishonest employers create dishonest employees.

  110. EddieSherbert

    This one is fairly recently actually! I have one particularly prickly coworker, who is incredibly smart but has very little social tact. Typically, I actually get along with him much better than most of the office and I’m pretty much known for being really sweet and easygoing.

    But I ended up covering for them when they were out sick even though I was swamped and having a bad week. When he got back, I let him know I talked with Coworker who commissioned Project A and made changes B and C, but we finished Project C for the deadline.

    His response was “what the F***, that’s not how I was doing it. I bet this was Coworker’s dumba** idea.”

    And I said something to the effect of “No, it was my idea. I actually talked to Coworker about what they were looking for and let them explain their reasons, which made a lot of sense. Manager already approved it and I’m just telling you as a courtesy. But you’re obviously in a really bad mood right now since you’re usually not this rude to me. Why don’t you come talk to me later when you’re feeling better?”

  111. Katie

    I work in undergraduate admissions at my alma mater, which is a mid-size private university, and I normally really enjoy incorporating my experience as a former student into my interactions with guests. Sometimes I get asked weird questions, usually by the parents and not the prospective students, but I’m pretty used to it at this point. However, one time at the end of my information session presentation, with about 60 other people in the room, a parent raised his hand and asked me in a very condescending tone how to justify taking thousands of dollars of student loans out to get a degree in Anthropology, which was my major, because I’m probably not able to pay it back now with the job I’m doing (note: I don’t talk about my personal scholarship/financial aid situation at all in the presentation so this was totally out of the blue). I was so shocked that I didn’t even really think about what my answer was going to be and snapped back “I think it’s extremely inappropriate to ask a stranger about their student loans or finances at all, or to make judgment about a college degree that they worked hard to earn, and I will not be answering that question.” He had no response back, and a few minutes later when the rest of the group was leaving to go on the campus tour, multiple other parents came up to me and told me that they thought I handled the situation really well. Normally we would never speak to a guest in that way or refuse to answer a question, but I have zero regrets and my supervisor said she probably would have reacted similarly.

    1. Blue

      I have very mixed feelings about this, because on the one hand, I fully agree with you that it’s not ok to ask about someone’s financial situation, and I enjoy rude parents being put in their place. On the other, I spent a decade in student services, and I really hope you otherwise addressed the underlying question because there were probably multiple people in that room with the same “liberal arts are a waste of time” mindset, and refusing to address and refute the idea that these degrees have no value doesn’t do their kids any favors…

    2. Diane Lockhart

      My college roommate gave campus tours and one dad wanted to know about the …morality? of the social scene. He asked her point-blank if she was a virgin. I wish I remembered her exact words, but she shut him down in the most Southern way possible.

  112. sheworkshardforthemoney

    I had a job where the co-worker who worked the shift before you was supposed to perform certain duties so that as soon as you clocked in you could start working. The Lazy Co-worker did as little as possible even when spoken to numerous times. One day I came in and found that he had left so much of his work unfinished that I had to spend two hours cleaning it up before I could even begin my own work. I saw so angry I kicked a swinging door as hard as I could It swung and hit the wall and bounced back. On the other side was the un-managing manager who knew exactly why I was so mad. He didn’t say a word to me, I quit that job later the same year. Last I heard Lazy Co-worker was still there and my job is a revolving door as people get out ASAP.

  113. Matilda Jefferies

    One more story. I don’t know that I’m necessarily proud of this, but I certainly enjoyed it!

    It was about two weeks before my mat leave (in Canada, so I was heading for a year off.) My pregnancy was exhausting, I had a toddler at home, and hated my boss. Basically, my GAF was pretty much in the toilet at that point.

    Then a sales guy started calling me to try to get me to sign up with his company for shredding services. I told him several times that a) I’m not the decision maker, he would need to go to my manager in another city, and b) we literally just signed a five-year contract with his biggest competitor. He kept insisting he needed to meet me, and I figured why not, I wasn’t doing anything else at the time anyway. I then spent a not-unpleasant half hour listening to his crap, and calling him out on all of it.

    His spiel was something to the effect of “We’re so good at Industry A (completely unrelated to shredding services), that ALL OUR CUSTOMERS INSISTED we should branch out into Industry B (shredding)!” Professional Matilda would have nodded and smiled and politely taken his business card at the end, but DGAF Matilda wasn’t having it. I told him that that didn’t make any sense, and I didn’t believe that he had so many customers insist that they should add paper shredding to their llama grooming services, and anyway I was still not the decision maker and we still had a contract with the competition. I figured, if he was so determined to waste his time talking to me, I was at least going to get some enjoyment out of the opportunity to be my unfiltered self!

  114. Ruth (UK)

    I worked for a couple years after uni in a full-time fast food job.

    I guess one thing that springs to mind is that I ate the food at the end of the day that was going to be thrown out. (we closed at 11pm but the shift ended at around 1am or so because we did a full clean)

    Basically, this wasn’t allowed, and was actually considered ‘theft’ and technically a fire-able offence. Sensibly, many people will say “but it’s going to be thrown out anyway!” but their reasoning was that if they allowed us to eat the left over food, we might cook too much on purpose towards the end of the day. In reality almost no one got fired over this, but lots of people got a ‘warning’ or ‘written up’ over it if caught.

    Anyway, I used to pretend to bin items and then hide them on my person (or sometimes lift them back out the bin later), and then go under say, the front counter, as if I’m cleaning under there (ie. to be out of view of the security cameras), and stuff whatever it was in my mouth all at once. I often worked the ‘closing shift’ of 3pm or 4pm 1am (sometimes later) and was frequently given my break around 5pm so I’d be quite hungry and we weren’t allowed to stop and have another food break of any kind, and also, I didn’t have much money at that time so any way to manage to eat free food was a bonus.

    I don’t regret doing this. They called it stealing if they caught it, but this was food that was to be binned anyway. Most people did this and if you were otherwise a good employee, most managers would ignore it (eg. some would purposefully leave the area during the food wasting so as not to ‘catch’ anyone).

    Another more fun time springs to mind at the same job.. the kitchen floor was VERY slippery. I remember once on a shift after we closed, we mopped it purposefully with a VERY wet mop, then took off our safety non-slip shoes and put on our regular shoes and skidded and slid and skated around on it for a while. Also not very professional, but it was fun.

    1. Hlyssande

      That reminds me of ‘The Full Bullpen’ opener clip from Brooklyn 99, in which Peralta skids on the freshly waxed floor across the department. Look it up, it’s hilarious.

  115. Exit Interview

    I spoke my mind in an exit interview at my last job. The HR department was run by folks without any HR training (a former admin assistant was Director of HR), and when my partner was in the hospital and I took a sick day to be with him (very common and accepted in my country), they tried to make me take it as a vacation day. This, and the fact that I was grossly underpaid and doing two very stressful jobs for a dreadful salary meant that I was pretty annoyed when it came time to do the exit interview. My boss knew why I was leaving and encouraged me to give my reasoning to his boss/the Director of HR’s boss, which I did.

    I was firm and honest about why I was leaving and the Director of HR started to yell at me. I figure she was angry that I told her boss why I was leaving and she couldn’t sweep it under the rug (I was very well respected and at the risk of sounding arrogant, my departure was a significant loss to them).

  116. pcake

    I was a cocktail server at a bar where the owner’s wife, a former cocktail server, was made manager. I was consistently the number 1 drink seller there, and it was because I worked at it – I didn’t spend too much time talking with regulars, greeted newcomers at the door and if I noticed a customer with an empty glass, would check if he/she wanted another drink. The rest of the servers pretty much hung out with regulars.

    Well, owner’s wife came to me with a petty complaint about my shoes – they weren’t sexy or high heels, but I had discussed with the owner before I started the job. She was loud, her face turned red and she yelled at me if I kept wearing them, she’d fire me. I said that was okay – I’d save her the trouble, marched into the office with wife trailing me and told the owner that since his wife was changing our agreement about my shoes loudly in front of customers and other employees, I wanted to let him know I was quitting and wouldn’t be returning the following day.

    The owner said our agreement had not changed, apologized said several highly complimentary things about my work, and he turned and told his wife I was off limits from here on out, and that she was no longer my manager. I appreciated his having my back, although sometimes it was odd when she produced edicts for everyone else to follow that didn’t apply to me.

    1. Matilda Jefferies

      That’s the kind of thing that usually only happens in movies. Good for you, it must have been very satisfying!

  117. CMJ

    Preface: I worked road construction at the time, so “professional” has a much more loose definition. Colorful language was expected, but there was a general sense of decorum that most people don’t associate with construction folks. Screaming, physical threats, general asshole-ish-ness is severely frowned upon.

    I was inspecting a job where we had to dig out a huge ditch and place supports for the sides of the road. Unfortunately, the local gas company placed their 12″ high pressure gas line shallower than they thought. We didn’t hit it, but it was right near the surface of the bottom of the ditch and we had to be very aware of it’s location when moving the heavy machinery. One puncture, and it could cause a explosion that would kill pretty much everyone on site and in the surrounding homes.

    The crew placing the supports was laying down a gravel base using a skidster (AKA bobcat, AKA tiny little excavator mostly used by landscaping companies). They repeatedly ran over this high pressure gas line with the skindser after laying their gravel base. Gravel, generally, is pretty pointy. Not really something you want to be forcing down onto a gas line with the weight of a skidster. Being the paranoid person that I am, I hop down into the ditch and kindly remind the foreman for the 6th time that they are not to run over that line (marked clearly with flags and spray paint).

    What do they do the moment I get out of the ditch and onto the road surface? Run over the darn line AGAIN.

    I lost my shit. Stood at the top of the road and screamed for a solid 5 minutes. Called the operator and foreman a couple really colorful names , questioned both their sanity and their intelligence, and told them if they couldn’t keep off the line, they could get the heck off my site. It was a big episode for a newb inspector.

    And you know what, they didn’t run over the line again.

    My supervisor and the prime contractor’s foreman witnessed the whole thing from start to finish. I got several high fives and I didn’t have to buy lunch for a week. My reputation as an inspector drastically improved, and my “street cred” has reached legend status.

    1. I

      As the employee of a gas distribution company, let me salute you as well. High pressure lines are not to be taken lightly, and “one more scoop” and similar incidents are a huge problem.

      (One more scoop refers to the requirement to hand dig within so many feet of where we think the gas line is, because, as CMJ found, sometimes they aren’t exactly where we thought they were due to frost or other reasons. But crews under time pressure often decide to take “one more scoop” with the digger to speed up the work. The consequences can be deadly.)

  118. Cacwgrl

    I once tanked the appeal a prior lead of mine had made regarding their own year end evaluation and rating. I worked for a project office doing finances and was selected for the position by the projects PM, not the lead finance person. She hated me, trained me to do things incorrectly and generally was a terrible lead. She spent at least 3 hours of her day on the phone with her kids and delegated most of the project work to me. She ended up going out on medical leave and “assigned” me to the lead of the other, closely related program in her absence. The new lead was amazing, taught me so much, helped me uncover and undo so many things that had been done incorrectly and generally supported me in a way that led the project team to start trusting the finance and business decisions being made. When the medical leave was over, the lead came back and destroyed everything. Rather than face her own mistakes, she threw both of us under the bus. I left shortly after, having had a heart to heart with the project lead who helped me find my dream job. Come to find out, the supervisor to both finance people knew what was going on and rated both people appropriately under that year’s evaluation period. Bad lead appealed it and through a twist of fate, her appeal went to my new supervisor. That supervisor made what I know understand to be a terrible judgment call and asked me to share my thoughts. I told her every damn thing that had happened. I didn’t hold anything back and I did not accept any blame myself. I know it was wrong, but I was bitter about the situation and had no regrets about doing the old lead dirty. That lead ended up losing the appeal and the other lead was promoted to be the lead on both offices, which was well deserved and the best option for the project.
    I should have been better, I shouldn’t have held a grudge and probably should have accepted my part in the conflict she had. But dang it sure felt like karma when I found out later that she didn’t win that appeal.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      Again, I can’t see that this was at heart unprofessional. As long as you were honest telling the appeals supervisor the details –and us — you reported bad behavior that was damaging morale and productivity and driving people away.

  119. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

    I have two.

    – quit without notice five minutes after I was paid (in cash). It was a small private school. The owner lost his mind when I told him I was quitting on the spot. I’d waited until after I got paid because I knew the man, and knew that, if I quit at any other time, I’d never see my pay for that period. Likewise I knew that, if I gave two weeks notice, I’d work 3x my required 20 hrs/week for those two weeks, and not get paid. He said my sin would come back to me, I got a job closer to my field and with much higher pay three weeks later, so I guess he was right.

    – last job, a contractor sent me his work for a code review. We had a pretty established code-review process, with a checklist we had to check people’s work against, and his came up with about 40 things he needed to change. I sent the review back with the list of the 40 things and the checklist attached. He came back into my aisle, but instead of me, went straight to the guy sitting next to me asking if he knew (software), because he had questions about the code review he’d just gotten back. My neighbor said to talk to me about it. The contractor went to the guy in the next cube with the same questions, then the next, until he ran out of guys to ask. They were all sending it to me and he was just not wanting to talk to me for some reason. After he’d tried every guy in my aisle, he just stood there and looked at us like “now what do I do?” so i stared him in the eye and said “I’m sorry, were you looking for someone male?” You would not believe how well it worked! he calmed down, talked to me, and fixed his 40 things.

    1. Dwight

      I guess an alternative would be to demand payment in cash up front. But it sounds like you really didn’t want to work those hours.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

        This was not a guy you could demand anything from, or trust his word on anything. And nope, I did not want to do any work for him anymore.

        The accountant, who’d given me my pay and who had been my kind of work friend in the 4-5 months I worked there, was hurt at first, and said something like “you could’ve told me you were going to do that”. I said that, if I’d told her, that would’ve given him a reason to hold her responsible. This way, he could see she really and truly did not know.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

          Wanted to add, I ran into the accountant six months later and she told me he still had not found my replacement. Word gets around.

  120. Micromanagered

    Being openly defiant to my boss in a staff meeting.

    My boss is a bit of a bully and has some kind of personal vendetta against her counterpart in another department. (Think, we’re teapot design, they’re teapot safety compliance and they both report to the same Grandboss.) Teapot safety compliance wanted to begin to take on an aspect of the job that my boss thought should remain with teapot design. Grandboss wants more cross-functional teams, so she was on board, but my boss was not happy.

    She actually encouraged us in a team meeting to be deliberately unhelpful to the other team and set them up to fail–not to offer any training, no ongoing assistance with questions they might have, be uncooperative if something needs redone, etc. The ultimate impact of letting them fail would mean customers get burned by hot tea in faulty pots, let’s say.

    I spoke over her in the meeting saying “Noooo. Noooo.” (think of it like a booing tone) and said “We will not risk customers getting burnt by bad teapots to prove a point to the other team. That’s now how our teapot company operates.” It went back and forth a bit, me with this same shockingly-defiant (to me) tone. Ultimately, she was wrong and petty and she knew it. She eventually backed down.

  121. Friday

    Young woman, first post-college job. Never learned how to make coffee and ignored everyone’s passive-aggressive “Gee it would be nice to have a fresh pot!” lamentations near my desk. So, so proud of Young Friday for that one.

    For the record, nobody ever told me outright that it was my job to make the coffee and damned if I was going to volunteer for it. I didn’t even drink coffee back then.

    1. Anon From Here

      The last time I made coffee for the office was when I was an actual secretary in the office and it was part of my expected job duties. See also: doing anybody’s dishes but my own, cleaning up after a meeting, offering to take notes in a meeting, etc.

    2. Alli525

      Ha! At my last job, one of the top-level people would buy bagels for the entire office (like 70ish people when I was there) every Friday. I don’t know if it was the first week, but within the first month people were already complaining about how it was so haaaaaard to spread the cream cheese when the office didn’t have a toaster. Mind you, this was a Wall Street firm, everyone complaining was making at least $100k/year and could afford to spot the office a toaster. After literal WEEKS of complaints, I got annoyed enough to spend $15 on the cheapest toaster I could find on Amazon. I was making <$50k/year at the time, as an admin.

      Guess what they did next?

      Complained that we didn't have a bagel slicer (had to use knives, oh noes) OR a professional-grade toaster that would toast faster.

      I did not buy either of those things and told them all that I'm sure Director Bagel Buyer would appreciate a little f*cking gratitude instead of complaints, and they were all perfectly capable of buying a better toaster just like I'd bought the basic model. When I left that company, I jokingly told the head admin that she needed to name the toaster as The [Alli525] Memorial Toaster.

  122. slibrarian

    I was scheduled to do faculty training on a satellite campus that was notorious for IT issues and poor service. When I taught students there I had a canned PowerPoint presentation for backup at all times, which sucked. This faculty training was on a Saturday and I drove an hour to get there. When I was attempting to set up my presentation I discovered that projector wasn’t even connecting to the laptop. I found the IT person to ask for help and he just smirked at me said he guessed it wasn’t working that day. I told him that my training wouldn’t work without it and I wasn’t up to giving a half-assed presentation that day so I’d just pack my things up and leave and tell the VP of academic affairs for that campus why I was leaving on my way out. He got the projector to work shortly after that.

  123. Database Developer Dude

    I was on active duty in the Army, and stationed overseas (not a combat zone). I was a noncommissioned officer, and hanging out in the dining facility because it was lunchtime. I was a Staff Sergeant. Over at the next table, a Major was ranting about homosexuality, with speech liberally peppered with slurs for homosexuals and profanity.

    I finally got mad about the disturbance, leaned over, and yelled “Hey Sir, the next time you have a thought, let it go before it dies of loneliness. The ones with the assless chaps or hairy chests in prom dresses at pride parades are the outliers..the 5%. 95% of gays are just like you and me, the only difference is the gender of the person they go home to at night”.

    He responded “Oh yeah, SSG Walker, if you like those f*****g f****ts so much, how do we know you’re not one of them?”

    ….and I could not stop myself. I looked that ‘bama right in the eye and said “Sir, ask your wife”.

    To this day I have no earthly idea how I didn’t get in serious trouble for that, and I was a hero to the enlisted for the next couple of months….

    1. Holly

      I have to admit I don’t have much knowledge or faith in internal army disciplinary procedures, but I have to think that he knew he couldn’t explain the context of your remark without him getting in trouble too.

      1. Database Developer Dude

        Oh no, Holly, this was prior to DADT (I think, early to mid 90s). Plus, he was an officer and I wasn’t. I could easily have gotten slammed for disrespect and insubordination, and he’d have had no consequences for his anti-LBGTQ rants.

        1. Holly

          Actually I was wondering if it was before DADT so figured he would get in trouble for asking! But I totally understand that that would not have been a common outcome.

  124. No name this time

    A couple times peers have left me waiting too long while they fail to wrap up a personal call that interrupted our work conversation. I’ve perfected the spin-on-my-heel and walk away.

    Last time it happened it was someone slightly junior to me, and I upped it a notch by continuing to walk away, pretending not to hear him, as he chased after me.

  125. Manic Pixie HR Girl

    Can I do one that I wish I had done, in hindsight?

    A number of years ago, I was working in a placeholder job. It was mind numbingly boring at best. It was a teeny tiny regional office that had no on-site HR and the manager was a bit of a nutcase. I took the job because it had benefits, though I worked a second job in retail to pay off some debt before starting grad school in the fall.

    Then, my grandfather died. Weeks prior, I had specifically asked my manager what the bereavement leave policy was, in case I had to use it, and who it encompassed, and I told her why. She told me I would get three days. He died on Memorial day, so I called in to say I’d be taking my three bereavement days and an additional vacation day. My grandfather raised me and I was an absolute wreck.

    My part time gig, by the way, was amazing throughout his illness, with the scheduling manager bending the usual call in rules for me a couple of times. I remember her hugging me when I burst into tears in her office because I knew he was dying. I wasn’t trying to get any rules bent for me, but she didn’t “ding” me for the call in that day. At the beginning of May, because I was starting a summer class and because I knew how sick my grandfather was, I had her take me off the schedule until August (which she did, and I had no problems picking up where I left off in September – this company got a bad rap a few years later and subsequently shuttered, but this particular store was always amazing to its staff). I say all this because this was *part time retail gig* and they were nothing but kind and compassionate.

    Anyway, I got back to the FT gig the following week. The gig, by the way, was proofreading dense texts for formatting mistakes (not for content), mostly accounting manuals though there were a few other contracts as well. There were two FT proofreaders, because they liked having a double check, but on most days we were sitting around waiting for work. I did a lot of crosswords and read a lot of books! Well, as it so happened, a big deadline hit the week I was out. The manager was annoyed that I wasn’t there, so she denied my bereavement leave and made me use vacation time. Supposedly, grandparents didn’t “count” toward the benefit.

    All of the rest of the staff in the office were outraged that she did that to me. I was dumbfounded. I almost quit on the spot, packed up my desk, punched out, and drove to my part time gig to ask for full time hours. Almost.

    I didn’t, because this was all pre-ACA and I needed to keep those health benefits as long as I could before I started grad school. I could go back on my mom’s insurance once I was a full time student, but not til the following January. I didn’t have any major health issues, so I probably would have been fine, but I was still concerned. Also, I felt like doing that would have reflected poorly on me. Which I know now it would not have made any difference at all.

    1. Meredith Brooks

      I feel you. My grandmother died during my 2 week notice period. Although my boss was relatively decent about the days off I took, the minute I came back to the office, I remember she called me. She started discussing some loose ends I was tying up before remembering that I had just returned from my grandmother’s funeral and asked me about 5 minutes into the call how I was doing. (Her lack of empathy and obsession over work — she once told me leaving before 5:30 meant I didn’t have enough work to do — was one of the reasons I was looking for a new job).

  126. CupcakeCounter

    Laughed in the face of the VP of my 75+ person finance department and called him a liar. Loudly and in a all glass office space.
    For the record this was during the 3rd or 4th attempt to get me to stay after I had turned in my resignation for another job. My immediate supervisor and I had both made it clear a counter-offer was a waste of time but this jackass wouldn’t listen so had me escorted! to his office to present the offer. Cue the laughter because it was only about 2-3% above what I was making and almost 20% below my new salary. The liar comment (with undeniable proof) came when he tried to blame the reason I was leaving on someone else – my boss knew I was getting seriously pissed so really kept me in the loop on what was going on.
    He is still full of shit and even with all of that I have been called over 10 times to see if I am interested in coming back.
    I’m not.
    I regret nothing.

  127. Optimal Plum

    Small company, managing partner just announced his wife was expecting. I was also expecting. Then my doctor told me it didn’t work out, and gave me painkillers for when I miscarried. Rather than stay at home for an unknown amount of time, I kept going to work (I physically felt fine, and there was no way of knowing when it would happen). I let the director know that I might need to leave work early & why. About a two weeks after, I was called into the office to discuss my lack of engagement. I suggested part time until things resolved. That was’t available, so I either left and never came back, or I was fired (not sure which). At the time I didn’t care, and years later, still don’t.

  128. HailRobonia

    I used to teach ESL in Taiwan, and when I transferred from one branch of my school to another, I refrained from telling the new branch that despite being a white guy from America I was fluent in Mandarin. This meant my Taiwanese coworkers would openly gossip about me and my fellow foreign teachers in front of us and they had no clue I could understand them.

    At one point word got to them from my original branch that I could speak Mandarin and they were a little angry that I deceived them but mostly embarrassed (most of the gossip was about who they thought was handsome, who had girlfriends, etc.). So then they switched to gossiping in Hokkien/Taiwanese (basically an entirely different language from Mandarin). But surprise! I had been studying Taiwanese and it never occurred to them I might understand that language as well.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      So the unprofessional part of this is… you were eavesdropping?
      Honestly, they made a huge mistake assuming that someone teaching ESL wouldn’t know the language of the country in which he’s teaching so you gave them a very pointed lesson.

      My favorite “Uh oh we’re not the only people who speak this language” story was from a former manager…she and her American-born female cousins were all fluent in their parents’ Albanian. They went out for a night on the town in NYC. The women were vocal *in Albanian* about their cute waiter.
      He spoke English the whole way through the meal… until he presented the check in fluent Albanian. They learned a lesson…they tipped well.

  129. Jay

    Threatened to walk out on a job.

    I’m a doc, and for about nine months I worked part-time in a walk-in clinic. One day the staff warned me that the director had pulled my charts for review, and he arrived about two hours into my twelve-hour shift. He informed me that I wasn’t ordering enough of a certain in-office test. I cited the literature. He said “that’s not how we do it here.” I said “OK, I’m a year out of training and you are much more experienced. Can you tell me why you do it differently?” He said “Because we make $12.00 every time you do the test.”

    I stood up, took off my white coat, picked up my purse, and said “I hope you’re free the rest of the day to work my shift. I will listen to any clinical feedback you want to give me but I will not change my practice to make more money.” He stared at me, picked up his papers, and walked out the door. I worked there another six months and never saw him again – although he did call me after I gave notice to ask me to stay.

    1. Magenta Sky

      I got a review after a year in which I had gone from doing important work to doing mission critical work that required a much more demanding skill set, and only got a cost of living wage. I told my boss I’d be updated my resume. He literally turned white (I’d never seen that before), and asked for a little time to see what he could do. Two weeks later, I got the biggest percentage raise in the history of the company.

    2. Bulbasaur

      Wow. I think you actually handled that remarkably professionally – certainly much more so than I would have. Healthcare as a predatory profit center is one of the few topics that can get me angry enough to override my sense of self-preservation (it’s probably just as well I don’t work in medicine). My thanks to you and any others who stand up to it.

  130. ThankYouRoman

    I was doing a part time gig as a glorified data entry specialist. I worked 2 days a week updating tip pool spreadsheets and processing payroll for a restaurant.

    I has ample notice I would need to take 2 weeks to recover from a minor surgery. I let them know the dates. The tasks could easily be taken over by the owner.

    It turns out they never told me that Dude 1 and Dude 2 had meal allowances that they weren’t supposed to charge out of checks like every other employee. So their checks were screwy.

    Instead of planning to be in house the two weeks your quasi bookkeeper was recovering from abdominal surgery, the owner went on vacation. And told the guys to call me directly…when the response should had been “Oh, let me have one of the other guys who can sign checks write you a check for the underpaid wages and we deal with the recordkeeping later…since she physically cannot come in to write checks after all. Ick.

    Then when I finally return, I’m greeted with a pile of crap. The only thing they did the entire time was drop the cash sacks at the bank. The deposits were a mess of course.

    So I sat and tried getting things sorted out. Then I got an IM saying they needed a final check cut since they were firing someone that day.

    The owner was still out of town. I was drowning in backup crap. For a side gig.

    So I stood up and left. I sent the owner a text saying I was quitting due to the mess and piling up demands (you couldn’t cut a real final check until I had calculated her frigging tips that weren’t computed the entire time I was gone).

    I got a response asking me to stay until he got back and for standard 2 weeks etc. Then had the balls to ask for my notes…because he had no idea how I did things. He never had the person before me write up any procedure documents, I had to make my own cheat sheets.

    I responded with “no”, blocked his number and never looked back. I am happy that I removed myself without any guilt. That dude did it to himself.

  131. ArtsNerd

    Napping in my office under the desk. The hours and dysfunction at that job were considerably higher than is healthy, to the point that my coworkers fastidiously guarded that time for me because of COURSE I needed and deserved the occasional nap. I also stealth-expensed an inexpensive mini fridge, despite explicit disapproval from upper management, so that we could bring in our lunches and dinners without violating health codes. I priced out “manager cots” for my coworkers who had to do the brutal (and possibly illegal) open/close/open dance, but decided that was a step too far.

    We used the hell outta that fridge though.

  132. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

    Wait wait, I have another! I’d just given notice at an OldJob. I was walking past my boss’s office and he motioned for me to come in. He gave me a talk about how I’d be missed, and what an awakening it was for the leadership (I left in the middle of a mass exodus), how they’d finally realized that we were shortstaffed and needed to start replacing the people that had left. Then he said “we were all in my office last night making a list of openings to replace all of you” and points to a dry-erase board behind his back. I looked at it and the base pay for my position was 30% higher than what they were paying me. I said “wow that’s not cool”, he looked at the board and turned pale. He was supposed to erase the numbers the night before, and had forgotten to do it. He begged me not to tell anyone. So I waited till a day or two before my last day, pulled a close friend aside at the end of the day, told her the whole story, and said “don’t tell anyone”. Then I had the same conversation with a woman on another team who was also a friend. Then I left. Just like I expected, by the end of the first week after I was gone, everyone in the department knew. They had to call an all-hands meeting to calm people down. I’d hoped for some raises to come out of that, but sadly, they just fed the people some BS like “those base pay numbers included your benefits and PTO” (right, right) and the case was closed.

  133. Seesaw Valhalla

    I’m dating myself, but 10+ year ago — back in the days of Lotus Notes and other email servers, one would sometimes need to archive emails to make space in their inbox. I had joyfully given notice at my job that was becoming increasingly toxic.

    I gave notice and dutifully closed out my projects. As I notified my colleagues about my departure and tied up my loose ends, I archived the emails. When I left, all my emails were archived and I had reached the magical unicorn of INBOX ZERO. I knew full well that my manager wouldn’t even think to check my email archive and I didn’t tell her. I found out she had blacklisted me from the company on the day of my departure, and this small act of rebellion gave me some peace.

      1. Ralkana

        Our VP uses Lotus Notes. He’s the only one in the company that does, because it’s what he learned on and he refuses to use anything else, which means that the employee who occasionally works as his assistant had to be completely trained in it before her predecessor left. What a waste of time and energy. He’s been with the company almost 60 years, and he’s scheduled to retire next summer, which should hopefully be the end of our Lotus Notes use!

  134. Cranky Prognathodon

    Hung up on a guy who started on a racist rant. He called back, asked what happened, and I told him I’d hung up on him because of his language. He said something about not thinking I was black because I didn’t sound like it. I can’t remember how I responded but it was icy (I wasn’t about to even imply otherwise by then). After we finished his teapot-related business our receptionist appeared to get the whole story (this was late 80s, she answered all calls, and my cubicle was right behind her, so she’d listened to my half of the second call).

    Another time I came down the hall and through the open office door carrying a case of paper. My male boss and at least one of the other male engineers were standing between me and the receptionist’s desk gawping, so I just barked “MOVE”. They did, quickly. I was the newest and only female engineer.

    Some time later, the guys had been nattering and fussing for an afternoon with flaky ideas to modify the overhanging counter on the receptionist’s desk to allow her new larger monitor to fit. The next morning I showed up with a couple blocks of 2×4, hardware, tools, and raised that section of counter.

    The receptionist and I were definitely work-buddies by the time she took a promotion to another section. :)

    1. Bryce

      That last one definitely resonates with me and my family experience, though (fortunately) not for the sexism aspect. Most of our projects involve a lot of convoluted planning and stress until someone says “wait, don’t we have a tarp in this size” or “why don’t we just do a straight line instead of trying to get this curve to work, it just means the gate’s 5 feet to the left.” I think the only reason we’ve managed not to kill each other is it’s always someone different who comes up with the simple solution, or realizes that “do it perfect and beautifully” is not preferable to “get it done”. At least not for the projects we’ve been doing, nobody’s cutting corners on wiring or anything.

  135. Anansi

    I once called out a mansplainer in front of a member of Congress, and it was glorious. I was briefing the member on a project I was leading, and this dude interrupts me and then proceeds to essentially repeat (although far less succinctly) everything I had just said and act like it was somehow his idea. When he finally stopped talking I very calmly said, “Yes Dan. That is literally what I JUST SAID.” There was a shocked silence and I started to internally freak out a bit. Then the Congressman burst out laughing. Dan never interrupted me again.

  136. CatCat

    I was in my last week at a former job and having to deal with an especially irritating opposing counsel. There are many reasons he was frustrating to work with, but one particular issue was his writing rambling, wall-of-text emails with little by way of punctuation and lacking in capitalization of words that required it. After one rambly hot mess of an email, I decided I had had it with this nonsense. My one sentence response was, “What *IS* this?”

    He suddenly became concise and clear. Miracle.

  137. J

    I work in STEM academia, which means I deal with a good number of sexist, tenured, unmanaged faculty. (That said, there are many wonderful STEM faculty, of all ages and backgrounds, who want to change the culture in STEM – but academia is designed to make sure new ideas take years to come into practice.)

    One particular faculty member has been a thorn in my side for the past couple of years. He treats all women staff – even Executive Directors – like secretaries, and is incredibly rude and dismissive, as well as the typical “all bad things are your fault, all good things are because of me.” In my role, I work with him on a special project, which he gets compensated quite handsomely for (as in, as much as my annual salary), despite putting in minimal work and frequently actually harming our outcomes. As I’ve advanced to a leadership role on this project, I’ve become more and more convinced that the benefits he brings to our project are far outweighed by his bad behavior. Suffice to say, I have very little patience with him and struggle to conceal my frustrations in interactions.

    Last month, we were having our regular program meeting, and this professor was in his usual form – hijacking the agenda to discuss random priorities, shooting down any staff suggestions, and insisting problems were caused by things other than his actions, whatever the evidence suggested. Surprisingly, I was on my best behavior!

    But then…..he decided to back up an anecdote about how the staff needed to do more to entice students to our program because, as a noted (and notedly sexist) computer science famously explained, “Unlike Silicon Valley, New York has weak coffee and no beautiful women.” To a room of women.

    “Well, what an interesting idea that we should definitely take seriously,” I replied, witheringly.

    My grand-boss is now actively trying to have him pulled from the project, due in part to his treatment of staff.

    1. Alli525

      Ah yes, Silicon Valley, famed for its beautiful women and NOT for scruffy college drop-outs in hoodies. Not like NYC is home to most of the major modeling agencies and an embarassment of riches in terms of actors/actresses.

    2. pony tailed wonder

      I had a male co-worker graduate from a former traditional women’s university and he firmly believed that EVERY female student there was a lesbian. He asked out every woman in our office and we all said no and then we were then all lesbians. When someone makes sweeping statements like that, it says a lot about the speaker rather than what is being spoken about.

  138. pleaset

    I raised my voice a lot on a very tense conference call a few years ago, but it was entirely appropriate.

    The only downside was that there was a person on the call who later told me she became very afraid of me. But she also later realized that my yelling was right (she didn’t know it at that time – she reported to the person I was yelling at) and that I was actually a nice person.

    My wife quit in a way that appeared spontaneous in reaction to some HR BS her dysfunctional company pulled on her. Which got her a heroic reputation among the other people working there and hating it. She’d actually been planning on leaving with no notice a couple weeks later, but the way she did it was epic.

  139. Lygeia

    I was doing administrative work in an IT department (I was one of two women in the whole group). One of the IT guys kept trying to treat me like his personal secretary. I would just ignore him, but he kept doing it. And his requests kept getting more ridiculous (“Mary, I’m off to lunch. Take my calls while I’m out.”). The dude was probably 23 and thought he was hot stuff and super funny.

    One day I’ve had enough. He asks for a cup of coffee, and I tell him “Of course, I will get you a cup of coffee. I will make sure it’s extra hot then dump it over your head.”

    Not a professional reaction but so satisfying. Also, he never tried to treat me like his personal secretary again. I guess I really sold the threat.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      Unlikely to be the same situation but it’s a possible “how it fell out” for you to enjoy. My husband was working at the university’s IT full time while in grad school part time. He’d been there long enough to get to know the people in the department next door — one woman in particular had pretty much developed the university’s business-focused certificate program. NewITGuy came in sputtering about how “that girl” had told him off. Husband said “what EXACTLY did you ask the director?”
      NewITGuy blanched.

  140. Lawgurl06

    I went off on my current boss about a year ago. He had a history of yelling at people, reacting without all of the facts, talking horribly behind people’s backs, etc. He took it a step too far when I walked out of my office and 4 people in a department were crying and threatning to walk out. Once I found out the way he talked to them in front of everyone else in the department about a mistake that was made, I knew I couldn’t keep my mouth shut anymore. Our conversation was a little heated and not entirely professional but it got the point across. He doesn’t yell at people anymore. Also, he knows I would do it again in a heartbeat if he started acting that way again. I’m the corporate head of HR so I really do have an obligation to the employees to ensure they are treated fairly.

  141. DeeShyOne

    Standing up to a bullying, sexist and ageist coworker and defending one of his favourite targets. And then I did it again, and again, and again to the point of if he saw me in the same room, he’d leave or just keep to himself and his cronies. Win.

    1. DeeShyOne

      I forgot to mention – the unprofessional part was a lot of cussing, yelling and loudly comparing him to dirty and un-washed genitalia.

  142. ElmyraDuff

    I got fired from a coffee shop while I wasn’t at work, and they said I had to give back my door key before they’d send my last check. I bought a “Sorry for your loss” card as the vehicle for key delivery. Would do again in a heartbeat.

  143. anonymousandbored

    I once quit with less than optimal notice. My old boss was a giant man child, and took my resignation as a personal insult. When I gave my notice he asked for a month. We were heading into a “busy” time, that would require me to work overtime (saturdays/sundays).

    My new job, was super flexible and accommodating and was happy to give me as much lead time as I needed. When I asked my old boss about my unused, non-payout-able vacation time, he said I couldn’t take any of it. So I gave like 8 days notice and quit the following Friday.

    I told him it was because new job needed me asap, but in reality it was because he was going to work me 60+ hours, for a month, and force me to lose the week+ of PTO I had accrued.

  144. Bend & Snap

    I went to the mat with the owner of the company on taking on another client when my team was over capacity. I stood up, put my hands on his desk, leaned in and made my case.

    I was really rattled afterward, and wondered if I should apologize, but then decided that a man wouldn’t apologize and I shouldn’t either.

    I got promoted not long after that.

    1. JustAClarifier

      Good for you! I give myself that pep talk, too. “Would a man do this?” Proceed from there.

      1. Jadelyn

        Same. The friend I learned that from called it the “WWAWMD?” test – What Would A White Man Do?

        1. pope suburban

          I don’t often have the guts to follow through on those behaviors, because I find the way a lot of these guys act to be genuinely embarrassing and immature, but the few times I have, it’s worked like gangbusters. Got a vendor to return almost $1000 in fraudulent fees by asking them if they were telling me to go f*ck myself one time. That’s my favorite example but I hate that that’s what we choose to reward as a society, and int eh workplace.

          1. Bend & Snap

            Swinging your dick around while not caring about how it comes across seems to be the key to success.

            1. pope suburban

              It’s weird, because while I know that acting like a jerk works, which I can see from personal experience and data collected by people who measure such things, it’s absolutely the fastest way to get me not to cooperate with you. I find it so, so unpleasant, and so counter to establishing functional social relationships. Like, why demand when a polite request or instruction would do? And I don’t think I’m alone, because everyone else gripes about having to deal with these people! But clearly it flips a switch somewhere, and I feel like I came without that switch installed. I’m sure I’d have a smoother ride in the workplace if I could get past that, but enh…at what cost?

              1. Database Developer Dude

                While I agree… I still am a bit resentful of the fact that acting like a jerk works because I see people get away with things I could NEVER get away with as a black man in the office. I have a superhuman amount of self control….because I have to. If I raise my voice even in the slightest, I’m The Angry Black Man ™ and everything is taken in that context.

                1. pope suburban

                  Oh my word, yes. I have what I suspect are similar concerns about acting out in the workplace because as a woman, people will likely consider me “unprofessional” or take it as proof that I am “too emotional” and insufficiently logical/intelligent/capable to do anything. At one job, I resorted to mentally picturing my tantruming white male coworkers as toddlers so that I could keep on an even keel as they yelled and slammed things around me. It’s gross and immature and I loathe it.

  145. OhGee

    A little over four months ago, I screamed — really and truly screamed — at a colleague who accused me and two other coworkers of directing various kinds of awful behavior at him. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized my reaction was directly connected to a verbal abuse/gaslighting situation in my childhood (the things he accused us of were untrue, and a few weeks before, he and I had a conversation where he admitted that he was ‘paranoid’ about how people at work perceived him, as I tried to reassure him that nobody thought ill of him or disliked him, which was true). I have never screamed at anybody at work before that day.

    To keep it short, he was fired (he screamed first, and was aggressive and accusatory toward most of the people in the room, [all of whom were horrified, because we all thought things in our workplace were copacetic until this conversation] during a meeting that included all staff, excluding management) after an investigation of the incident and some related red flag behaviors on his part, and last month I left that workplace for a new job that is already a healthier environment. I have mixed feelings about screaming at him, but I don’t regret it — my former boss had a pattern of minimizing interpersonal issues in the workplace until they were really off the rails, and had I not shouted, I most likely would’ve had to be alone at work with this person (we were the only people on a small staff who kept an earlier work schedule) until I found a new job, or he followed through on the veiled threats he made toward one of our colleagues.

  146. ChiliBaby

    I was working for a US federal agency in 2009 in an office drone job. We had an office manager who was wildly out of touch with technology and her personality alternated between very mean and passive-aggressive. One day she sent an email to all sixty people in our office that was one of those “send this to 20 people and you will get a free computer” bullsh*t chain letters. And then a bunch of people in the office started resending it, thinking they could get in on this free computer deal too (or as some of them said “better safe than sorry” WHAT?). I got about 10 of these before I blew up. I replied all to her original email with the excerpt from our employee technology handbook that explicitly forbade these types of emails and I also called the participants gullible.

    She sent me a very strongly worded email about *my* professionalism and treated me even more poorly (slamming doors in my face, pretending not to hear me talking to her, etc.) for the remaining two years I worked there. I still never regretted it because the email chain stopped.

  147. LKW

    Not terribly proud, but I made a co-worker cry. To be brief as possible, she was the lead for a training session for new hires. She had totally drunk the Kool-aid. It wasn’t going over well with the class. The class activity was to complete a small programming task and there was not enough time (this was not intentional, it was a pilot program and they hadn’t quite worked out all the details). We had evening work hours and we begged to not be interrupted so we could do as much work as possible. She promised no interruptions.

    Then she interrupted us. I stood up and said “No! You said no interruptions, why are you interrupting us!” She made us play a game. I didn’t argue further, I played the game. I didn’t get in trouble. We did have to have a talk and I explained to her that while she was technically senior to me in this organization, I came with work experience and that although we understood that she had to disrupt our work for scheduled events, that in the evening, it would be rare for us to get interrupted by a client. And if we were interrupted, it should be for some kind or check or reprioritization. That if my manager wants me to stop working on something, and move to something else, no problem. But if my boss wants me to stop working so that I can go pick her up some chewing gum, I’m not going to buy her chewing gum and that her interruption was a chewing gum request.

    She just teared up and was trying to justify her actions but I wasn’t buying it. I wasn’t mean, I just wasn’t drinking the kool aid. Every other instructor (there were 5 in total) and all of my classmates bought me beers/drinks the rest of the two weeks we were there.

    I’ve been with the company for 20 years now, so no major damage done.

  148. Stained Glass Cannon

    I had a client from hell. Two days away from the deadline of a large project, the client’s project lead left, having wrapped everything up nicely with our team and gotten it ready to roll in her absence. The following day, her replacement came in and promptly started trying to justify her existence by overhauling the WHOLE PROJECT. One day before a non-negotiable, contracted deadline. Suddenly everything we had done was off base, outdated, improperly done, not in line with the project direction, needed to be changed in dozens of tiny ways. And the worst of it was, everything on this project had to be cleared through the client’s product department, legal department, marketing department and branding agency, which meant that Miss Replacement’s changes would have to go through all those rounds of clearance and we’d get the blame if anything was found unacceptable. Did I mention we were one day to the deadline?

    I called my team lead and told him “Assign someone else to this. I have no idea what this client wants any more and I don’t want to work with that woman.” He assigned the account manager to soothe my ruffled feathers instead. So in a fit of spite, I called Miss Replacement at 2 a.m. (in that industry, it was common for people in my field to work very late hours and get in at noon the next day) and, all bright and perky and sincere, offered a couple hours of my time to thoroughly discuss the changes so we could get it done by the deadline.

    Miss Replacement, unlike me, had to get in to work at 8am the next day. She redirected me to the branding agency. The agency person was off sick. The deadline came. The project rolled. Miss Replacement gave us no further feedback. I have never regretted that 2 a.m. call.

  149. Dread Pirate Roberts

    I was having a conversation with my direct supervisor, the President of my Board of Trustees, right after the 2016 election. He and his fellow Board members always talked politics, so it didn’t surprise me that he was talking about the election. But I was surprised to hear him say that he really enjoyed watching news coverage leading up to and in the aftermath of the election. He said he found it funny how upset everyone was. I always do my best to stay apolitical at work, but in this case, I clapped back, “With all due respect, you are a white, upper-middle-class man. You have the luxury of finding this funny. Many of us don’t.” And then *I* had the luxury of watching my boss frantically backpedal.

  150. Definitely anonymous

    I hooked up with a co-worker in our office library. I’m not sorry because 1) that place was so dysfunctional, it’s hardly the most dysfunctional thing that happened there 2) it was pretty hot 3) I smile a little when I think about how all those a-holes use that chair and have no idea what happened in it, hahaha

  151. It’s a Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s SuperAnon!

    I was the partying intern. I made friends with a couple of other interns and full time employees in my department, but not my working group. We would all go out on Thursday nights and be useless on Friday. I was never found out because I had one direct manager but was on loan to another manager and sat with a completely different group. Not my finest moment.

  152. Jaybeetee

    I also have a story of “quit a terrible call-centre job on zero notice.” To give an idea of just how awful that place was, even though I emailed the staffing agency that placed me there basically saying “Starting a new gig on Monday, not coming in today (Friday) or ever again” they actually responded thanking me warmly for “providing notice” and told me to look them up in the future if I ever needed work again. Apparently a lot of employees would just ghost the job and never say anything.

    This one isn’t quite “unprofessional”, but it was me being more assertive than they expected in the situation. When I was still working at the small non-profit museum, there was chronic unease between the back-of-house management staff and the front-line staff. As front-line manager, I was supposed to be a bridge between the two. Anyway, one day I had 2-3 people call out, leaving me disastrously short-staffed with just not enough bodies to get through the day. I called in all the back-of-house staff and asked who/when could cover the front reception desk so I/remaining FL staff could work elsewhere. Assorted people agreed to sit an hour at a time out there, help with lunch coverage, etc, but one manager, who was busy herself with a group event that day, snarkily said “Are we done now?” (Ironically, that manager had suggested on other occasions that I needed to stand up for myself more). I calmly said back “You can go when I know how I’m going to get everything covered today.” She actually did come to me later on and apologized – she was a young manager and was legit stressed with something else in that moment, and I’d bet some of the other managers came at her later about her attitude towards me, since Treating Front Line Better was an ongoing topic at that time.

  153. redbug34

    I work at a university, and every year they send letters to all faculty and staff trying to encourage them to give to the school’s Annual Fund, along with pledge cards & pre-addressed envelopes so you can mail them your check. I have always found it incredibly insulting to ask your staff to give back the (below-standard) wages they earn to the institution they work for – this year I wrote exactly what I thought on the pledge card and sent it right back.

      1. Roja

        Ha, I had this happen in grad school. I went to the same school for undergrad and grad, and they called me my first semester of grad school wanting money. I was like… I’m paying you thousands of dollars a semester. I think the giving can wait. But no, they assured me that they’d accept only a small amount of money at first (!). Hellooooo, what part of “I’m still currently a student at your institution” do you not understand??

        Funnily enough, I’ve never gotten another call, or even a mailing or an email. It’s a pity, because I’m actually very fond of my alma mater and would like to donate at some point.

    1. Seesaw Valhalla

      Non-Profits do this too. If you read my post up thread, you’ll see that my manager was attempting to fire me from my job, which I was fortunate to quit. 10+ years later, I STILL receive fundraising mail from them. I was tempted to call and shame them. But, I knew the woman who managed it, and it’s not her fault.

  154. Bigintodogs

    I no-called, no-showed, which is super annoying but this was a frozen yogurt place in the fall, so it wasn’t like it was busy. I almost quit on the spot because on my second day there one of the machines broke and I asked the assistant manager to help me fix it because I didn’t know how. So he tries but he can’t fix it either. He calls the manager, who was at another location, and tells me the manager wants me to keep trying to fix it so I learn how to do it. On one hand I get it, but on the other hand, the assistant manager couldn’t even figure it out so how could I? Overall the manager was just really annoying.

  155. Magenta Sky

    Working in an office, we get a lot of the usual scammy phone calls trying to sell us (inferior, warranty breaking) toner for our printers at inflated prices. Being the IT guy, these calls would be routed to me. Then my coworkers realized that I wouldn’t bother to listen to their sales pitch and politely beg off, I’d just hang up on them without a word. So now I get all the sales calls that are obviously for stuff we’re not interested in. Telecommunications resellers (they don’t offer phone services themselves, they just resell service from actual phone companies) are the most relentless spammers in the world, but even they get the message when you just hang up on them.

    1. Jadelyn

      Can I send you all the calls I get from agency recruiters asking if we want them to work on our open positions? We do our recruiting in-house, but no matter how many times I say it they keep asking.

      1. Magenta Sky

        It’s all the same to me. I’m and equal opportunity hanger-upper. If I don’t recognize the caller ID, you get about 10 seconds to convince me that you’re worth my time. And if that 10 seconds does not include any pauses long enough for me to say a word, you fail.

  156. JustAClarifier

    I was in finance and worked with a team that supported a group of program managers and engineers. Dumbledore, the head boss of the program managers, was holding a meeting to determine how each project was doing, both financial and schedule-wise, so there were a few financial supporters there aside from myself. During his presentation, one of the newer program managers, Snape, made a lengthy oration about how he never had any issues with his clients, and he couldn’t figure out why his financial person, Hermione (sitting next to him), couldn’t get it together and was always having problems. (As a side note, I also knew that Snape was causing about half of the problems Hermione was trying to solve.)

    He was waxing on about her and she was getting visibly upset, sitting there and looking down at her feet, and before I knew it I lost my head and said, “Ex-CUSE ME?” and then proceeded to tell him off in front of his boss and the other managers that of course he never had any problems because Hermione was taking the brunt of it, shielding him from it, and that he had no idea what he was talking about, etc. The room kind of sat in stunned silence after I finished, and then Dumbledore looked at me, looked at him, and said, “You know, she’s right.”

    Un-professional to lose my temper in front of the managers and Dumbledore? Yes. But I’m proud that I stood up for someone who was getting unfairly targeted.

      1. JustAClarifier

        Thanks! I just saw your response, sorry for the delayed reply! He didn’t apologize, just said something like “Oh, I didn’t realize,” then stammered and moved on. I still see him and he’s not once looked me in the eye since that happened, which makes me kind of proud. And it didn’t impact my career in the slightest.

  157. HRTripp

    I left at lunch on my second week on the job and never went back. In fairness, I tried to call my boss several times during my lunch break (he wasn’t in the office) but he didn’t pick up so I left him a message, turned off my phone and went home. After the first week, I dreaded going back so I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I called my old boss and got my old job back first and I was planning to work the rest of the day and then talk to my boss but I just couldn’t bring myself to go back after lunch.

    It was a recruiting position that an acquaintance I knew helped me get so I felt really bad about the way I left at first. I tried apologizing to her but she still doesn’t talk to me. However, I don’t feel bad about it anymore, they lied about several aspects of the position.

    When I started it was clear that I was just picking right up from where the last person left, there was basically no training or information provided. I didn’t even have emails/phone numbers for other people in the office. They gave me the last person’s phone number so I was getting all of her calls and trying to help out her candidates but they had no ATS! Everyone managed their candidates on personal spreadsheets which the last person deleted so I had no idea where her candidates were in the hiring process and the other recruiters were unwilling to help me. They had a ridiculous rule that if another recruiter had reached out to a candidate previously you couldn’t reach out to that same candidate, they had first dibs. With no ATS this was incredibly hard to track, essentially you couldn’t reach out to anyone your colleague was connected to on LinkedIn. We were mass recruiting for the exact same position so it’s not like there was a ton of people who had never been contacted out there. They also only gave you access to one hour on a shared LinkedIn Recruiter account and 1 hour on the job boards because they were too cheap to buy multiple seats.

    Despite all of that I found one person who could potentially be a match for the role but she got rejected. Our representative who was onsite sent me an aggressive email about it and after that I was done!

  158. Cranky Prognathodon

    While I was still in college in the late 80s I was a cashier at the local K-Mart. Lady comes through my line with a bunch of underwear. As I rang up each one I stacked them up neatly, then folded the whole pile in half and put it in a bag. She was Not Pleased and asked if that was how I folded my underwear at home. I looked her straight in the eye and proudly stated “No, I don’t fold my underwear at all.” She spluttered her way out of the store.

    In HS I quit my job at the movie concession stand when the manager chewed me out for not getting a kid’s name and address on two rolls of *pennies* on a busy Saturday afternoon, and offering to buy them – and his policy was not to worry about any discrepanvy under $5. He’d also chewed us out on the night one girl’s mother was very badly injured in an auto accident which she found out shortly before the end of the night. Third person at concession was her best friend. They cashed out the drawers, and repored the total short by $300. We didn’t know what the total was supposed to be, IIRC. He chewed us out *after* doing his count, comparing to the register number, and finding out the money was actually right.

    1. BadWolf

      “She was Not Pleased and asked if that was how I folded my underwear at home.”

      You shouldn’t ask a question if you don’t really want an answer.

  159. brachotl

    Years ago, I worked for a huge jerk. Anyway, one day I found out he had told a contractor to physically move a server that was my responsibility & hadn’t mentioned it to me. This was a problem because I had a ticket open with the company we got the server from about the fact that we weren’t able to get the backups to run. So moving this server would have been very unwise. Younger, much less professional me had allowed two years of frustration to come out when I called him out on not looping me in on this. He got a pretty defensive, but I probably kept at him until he stormed off & I didn’t see him the rest of the day.

    What I didn’t know was, the jerk’s bosses had been very concerned about turnover on my team. No one could stand working for him (but me) for more than a few months. I’m not sure what went down, but the next day, I came in prepared to face the fire & instead, was informed this guy had been moved to another team. He even tried to stay on our team as just a member, but the big bosses noped that.

  160. LibraryMan

    Prior to 2000, I was working for a small company that desperately wanted to be a conglomerate – it was the private company of a man that had his fingers in all sorts of unrelated things, and we all worked under one roof with a clueless management team over all of us.

    I just started in a Human-Resources-attached office, and I noticed that my computer had an icon I didn’t recognize in the System Tray area. And that icon didn’t respond to mouse clicks.

    In my inprocessing routine, I met with “IT” – one stoner guy who had taken over the unused space in between the offices and the warehouses, and I went back to him for clarification. He looked shifty-eyed and told that “the boss just wants that there. On all the computers.”

    Hmm. So I wrote down all the relevant info I could get from a system inspection, and did my own query once I got home. It was a spyware program, that allowed the owner to see what was on our desktops at any time. (!!!)

    Double-Hmm. I was able to find the password for the program (Windows 98 *really* was insecure), and set up the program a little differently: any time the program was being accessed, my desktop wallpaper would change.

    And then I told all the low-level office people how to do the same thing.

    I lasted there for 18 months, was laid off for reasons that had nothing to do with my performance, and just in time to avoid the sending of The Boss to jail for 5 years on charges so weirdly specific I’m not going to repeat them.

    Bad place to work, and paranoid management, but I’m glad I did something to even the playing field.

  161. Award winning llama wrangler

    I had a job where one of the duties was maintaining a cash forecasting spreadsheet. The spreadsheet was very basic when it was turned over to me. I automated a ton of things that took it from a 2-3 hour daily process to 5 minutes. I also added some automatic rounding (outgoing $ got rounded up, incoming $ got rounded down) as my boss liked to push things to the edge and then rage when accounts were overdrawn. The rounding was enough to offset most of that.

    When I gave notice, the office manager called me a few minutes before 5pm and asked me to give her a rundown of my job duties as she would be taking them over and said we would schedule time to review the details. So I gave her a quick high-level overview (since it was right before her quitting time and she did NOT like to stay late). She responded with “Is that ALL you do?!??”

    She was fairly new, but had already proven pretty difficult to work with and was one of the reasons (although a fairly minor one in the general scheme of things) for leaving. Her qualification for taking over this fairly technical task was that at her last job she had reconciled the amex accounts. I really couldn’t follow that logic, but it wasn’t going to be my problem. Guys, I deleted every customization on that spreadsheet and gave her only the basic sheet that had been given to me. I cheerfully ripped through our ‘detailed’ handover and she didn’t ask a single question. She lasted six weeks after I left. I feel a little guilty, but not enough to lose sleep over.

    1. Jadelyn

      LMAOOOO

      As someone who’s done a ton of spreadsheet cleanup/automation/macro-ifying/upgrades, I fully support the petty rolling-back of those things when handing them over to someone who’s being a jerk about the work you’ve done. You don’t appreciate it? Fine. Do without it then, and see how much you like it.

    2. froodle

      A guy I worked with at Major UK Energy Supplier, let’s call him Sean, did a similar thing. We were a group of twelve call centre agents that had been trained for this newly created role supporting team leaders with technical expertise and agent training. Because it was brand new the scope of our jobs wasn’t really defined and a lot of this stuff we were learning by doing, through trial and error. He put together a little how to guide of our most common questions, walk through and trouble shooting sheets and all that.

      Anyways, one of the managers there was an incompetent boob who, as incompetent boobs so often do, hated anyone smarter or more competent than him, which was everyone but especially Sean. He would nitpick and belittle and bully Sean and overload him with work and he publicly rude and awful to him. I complained to the call centre manager, and I knows least three other people did too, but of course nothing was done.

      Soon enough Sean gets another job and gives notice. The first Monday after his last day, that how to guide is gone. I laughed. I’m actually laughing about it right now.

  162. Jo

    Oooh, I’ll play.

    I worked part time at a little day spa as the receptionist. The owner was an absolutely ATROCIOUS human. Honestly, one of the worst I’ve ever met. Her husband and co-owner was marginally better but only just. I saw red flags about them the day I came in for training – they seriously badmouthed the person I was replacing and just seemed like nasty people in general. My spiney senses ended up being true – almost instantly after getting hired, she started to really let her true colors be known. She was an abusive and vile boss to her massage therapists and estheticians, constantly yelling and bullying them, badmouthing them to anyone who would listen, and being downright rude and hostile to customers – more than once, I had a customer express surprise at her attitude and show regret at coming there once they found out she was the owner. She also had a habit of terminating employees at the drop of a hat by meeting them at the door with their final paycheck. Calling her employees the b-word, “idiots,” “stupid,” etc. was a daily occurrence. She would fly off the handle and scream at anyone who called in sick, or who handed in their notice. Her staff was a revolving door. Most people quit almost immediately after starting once they got a better idea of what/who they’d signed up for, and yet it never seemed to occur to her that the only reason she couldn’t ever hang on to anyone and she was constantly understaffed was because she was a horrendous person and boss.

    I started looking for a new gig pretty quickly, and found one within a few weeks for a much better company. Given that it wasn’t my main job, and I was only there two days a week, and she felt no qualms about just terminating people at the drop of a hat with no notice, I had zero guilt about my choice to finish up what I privately decided was my last shift there, then walk to the break room, leave my nametag on the fridge (it was a magnet), walk out, go home, and send her an email that basically said, “yeah, found something way better than you, won’t be back. You have a week before my next shift was schedule. Figure it out.”

    I blocked her email and her phone so that she couldn’t reach me in any way, because she wasn’t owed my time or attention to lay into me (which I am 100% sure she sent an email in response doing), went on my merry way, and never looked back.

    10/10 would do again.

  163. A person

    I put in my notice to my boss on my boss’s last day, and began notifying other people shortly after (on the way back to my office). Not before, not after, but on his day of multiple celebrations and cake.

    He wasn’t a good boss, but his boss was much worse, actually the whole management team was lousy, in so many ways. My boss wasn’t going to be replaced and the plan was for my colleague and I (senior staff) to absorb the extra workload and verbal abuse for no extra pay/title bump while his boss got a huge pay raise for “directly managing” us.

    Somehow management was shocked I had no intention of sticking around. I probably should have timed it more respectfully, but I just couldn’t.

  164. Fuzzyfuzz

    I encourage my direct reports to clock in and ‘work from home’ when they’re sick, with the strong implication that I don’t expect them to do any work for real. Our company PTO is not skimpy, but it combines sick and vacation time, which everyone hates, and which makes it skimpier. I never want anyone working for me to come in to work sick because they don’t want to use well earned time off. And I would never apologize for doing that.

    1. InspectorTeapot

      We have the same type of PTO policy, and my boss does this for us when we’re sick (or even need a ‘mental health’ day – things can get stressful here). But it’s honestly a godsend and it’s made me eternally loyal to Good Boss.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

      My boss did this at an OldJob. I’d had emergency eye surgery, that I’d taken a PTO day for (we also had ours all in the same bucket), and, as they wheeled me out, they said, “you do know you have to be facedown 24/7 for a week, don’t you?” I didn’t. Went home, emailed my boss, and asked if I needed to take what was left of my PTO balance to account for that week. His answer: “Do not take PTO. Just work from home and do what you can. If you only end up checking email, then so be it.” So, a few times a day, I’d unfold my laptop flat on the floor, get on all fours in front of it, and “work from home”. I will be forever thankful to him for doing this.

    3. Alli525

      Thank you, on behalf of all people with supervisors. Mine is similarly great, although we’re in non-profit and have a very generous PTO/sick-leave package, but I’ll come to work with a minor cold and she’ll encourage me to go home. (I have had to actually argue with her that it’s just sniffles and I’m really not sick enough to justify going home, more than once.) I’ve started taking mental-health days occasionally since the 2016 election and she has been amazing about that as well – no judgment whatsoever. It’s a real blessing.

    4. sub rosa for this

      Bless you, a thousand times.

      My supervisor has a similar policy, especially as several of us are contractors and she knows we don’t get PTO. I would cheerfully crawl over broken glass for her.

  165. Responsible Party

    I lost the office politics battle with the most manipulative, despicable, self-interested individual I’ve ever experienced, and was pushed out of my executive position to a newly-created position. My eight-month job search on the clock was highly paid; they gave me no assignments, and I asked for none. I didn’t realize until I was gone how truly toxic and dysfunctional that place was (and is).

    Karma, though…eight months of no work has damaged my work ethic. It appears to be difficult to fully recover from something like that.

    1. Bigintodogs

      I’m in a job like that right now (very little work bc team is overseas and my managers don’t communicate) and I’m trying so hard to get out.

    2. Crooked Bird

      Yeah what is up with that work ethic thing? It’s happening to me too. I’m an author & had to spend 5 months doing no typing, no house or garden work, no driving even (it was awful) due to chronic hand/elbow tendinitis from, ironically, working too hard. I’m fully over it thanks to good treatment & I am having the hardest time getting on track. Once you learn to accept a dirty house you apparently never go back?? And I can’t buckle down to researching my next book either.
      Let me know if you find anything that helps…

  166. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    Hoo boy – too many – but most recently my management pulled a conference commitment – and we had a showdown and I won. Because I would have quit and done it anyway.

    Another time – place was toxic and I was on probation. Got a job with a 25% increase, much better conditions, etc., and the first thing they did was ask me not to tell a co-worker (same treatment) how much I was getting, etc. Then they attempted to counter offer (yes, in IS/IT, this happens) , then when I did leave they yelled at me in an open area “you’ll be sorry! Two years from now you won’t be working in this business!” The ZZ Top video – “She’s Got Legs” – I gave ’em the ZZ Top wave, as in the end of the video. Then went home and told my six-year-old daughter about it. Cathartic.

  167. Drew

    I worked at a small, non-chain pizza place for several months as a second job one summer in college. The pizza was cheap and terrible and VERY popular with students, so I made decent bank delivering to campus. Some of my coworkers were less diligent – I returned from one delivery run to discover the owner manning the phones (well after his usual hours) because he had happened to come in and caught the shift manager and two of the drivers swigging Natty Light in the cooler and fired them all on the spot. Cool guy and he liked me a lot.

    However, when I was working phones during the lunch rush and he introduced me to a new driver as “Drew, one of our old-timers,” and I had been there three months, I started to get worried. When I got a work calendar that ignored every one of my block-out times (for my classes and my FIRST job, which had a fixed schedule) and scheduled me for 35 hours when I had told them to hold me to 20 at most, 15 ideally, I decided Old-Timer Drew had had enough. I walked in at the start of my first shift that week, handed over my company shirt and cap, and told the manager that I quit. He asked what took me so long.

    I don’t think I ever did collect my final paycheck, now that I think about it.

    1. Positive Reframer

      If its been a while you can check with unclaimed property in that state. They are supposed to turn it in after a while.

  168. Jadelyn

    One of the three director-level folks over HR at my current job, let’s call her Dana, is the manipulative type – her favorite tactic is the “weaponized silence”. She deliberately remains silent, which makes most people keep talking to fill the silence as dead air makes people uncomfortable, and she can get people to volunteer for things, take blame that isn’t really theirs, or say a lot more than they wanted to that way. I clocked her on it pretty quick – I don’t like manipulating people, but I have learned to do it when necessary, so I recognized what she was doing.

    About six months into that job, we were having some…interpersonal issues on our team, and one of the toxic pair causing the issues made some spurious complaint to her about me. She called me “to discuss”. (Toxic coworker reported to her, but I didn’t, so she should’ve had my manager on that call if there was a real problem to talk about, and the fact that she didn’t was already setting off my alarm bells.) I explained my side of things, and she asked, “Well, what do you think you could do differently next time?”

    And something about the condescending tone, the fact that I hadn’t bloody done anything wrong that should have been done differently so my honest answer would have been “nothing”, pushed me straight into “f*** you” mode.

    So I replied, my tone extremely polite and sweet and faux-concerned, “I don’t know, Dana – what would you suggest?”

    She didn’t reply – she was trying to do the silence thing to get me to step in, take responsibility for a manufactured problem, and apologize despite having done nothing wrong, which I had expected her to do. The thing is, two can play that game. So I put my phone on mute and went back to answering my emails while I waited for her to say something. We mutually rode out that pause for a good three minutes or so before she finally caved and said “Well, I don’t know. I guess you did what you could.” and got off the phone. I never heard another peep about that complaint from anyone.

    Was it particularly professional of me to go toe-to-toe in manipulative behavior and put that back on someone about four levels above me in the hierarchy, when I was a temp admin who’d been there only six months? Nah. But Dana hasn’t tried that shit with me again in the almost five years I’ve been here now, so I don’t regret it at all.

    1. Diane Lockhart

      That was 100% professional. It was her turn to speak and she was the one playing games. All you did was make that obvious.

  169. Katie

    When I was a high school student, I worked in a cafeteria style restaurant, putting stuff out on the buffet, etc. It was almost the end of summer and I had about 3 days/3 shifts left at work before I left for college. On this particular night, there was a storm that knocked out power. My shift and most of my coworkers shifts were almost over, but management told the next shift not to come in and told us to stay. The manager wanted us to clock out, but not leave, in case the power came back on, and then she’d have us clock back in and work until the next shift could come in. I had scheduled a phone call with my college advisor about a scholarship. (And this was pre-cell phone era, so I couldn’t have taken it at work while clocked out.) I had scheduled it specifically around my shift. I told the manager I could not stay. She told me if I left, I should consider myself fired. I left. The lights did NOT come back on. I followed the “if you can’t make a shift because you’re sick, try to find a coworker to cover them for you” procedure so my last 3 shifts were covered and I did not ever go back. I got the scholarship.

  170. restingbutchface

    Oh, this is an excellent post!

    1. In an all hands meeting, during a Q&A session with the CEO I put my hand up and asked, “why don’t we hire women?”. Okay, not super polished but I was nervous. He acted as if he didn’t know what I meant and I pointed out that I was the only woman in the room of 100 managers and while I am obviously exceptional, I shouldn’t be the exception. I knew I was leaving soon anyway but seeing the CEO flustered was worth it. He moved on to the next question and my good friend put his hand up. “No but seriously Mr CEO… Where are the women?”. My personal hero.

    2. I protected an employee who was underperforming when others wanted her gone. I knew what she had gone through and it was a miracle she was turning up at all. I also couldn’t share the details so I probably looked incredibly odd but it was the right thing to do. (She’s doing great now btw)

    3. Told my boss that if he didn’t keep his hands to himself around my juniors, I’d cut them off. He stopped. Total creep.

    1. Bulbasaur

      I love stories like #1 because they are examples of things that I could do in a similar situation (I am male, but conflict avoidant).

      1. restingbutchface

        Yay! It was great because I felt totally backed up, without my friend making it about him or interjecting his own opinions. Funnily enough, he got a much more serious answer than I did *eye roll*

        1. Bulbasaur

          I am a firm believer in the idea that sexism in the workplace is a male problem primarily and not a female one, and that we need to [expletive] fix our broken culture and stop hurting ourselves and our community by devaluing half our workforce. I get so sick of reading LinkedIn articles about sexism that turn out to be advice columns for women on how to behave differently than they are doing. Yes, I realize it’s suboptimal and that women need strategies to manage as best they can, but in the meantime what about the ones who are actually responsible for causing the problem in the first place? Any advice for them? Because they’re the ones who really need it.

          It’s harder than it sounds. I tell myself that if I see this stuff going on and don’t say or do anything about it then I’m part of the problem. Yet it still happens. A lot of the time it’s because I don’t have a clear idea about what I should do that would be constructive or help the situation. Any examples like this one of men doing it successfully add to my toolkit.

  171. HappyPug

    – crashed the Super Bowl party of the CEO of a major bank. I have no regrets.

    – after months of fighting over technology compliance, I told a very high ranking VP that his only redeeming value as a human was that he was a fan. This was on a call with about 25 other people.

    – after a lengthy email thread with me repeating NO in various terms, I went to the bottom of the thread and wrote “You are what the French call les incompetents”, changed the font color to white, reduced the font size to 4, and hit send.

    – at a team offsite, I was in the middle of sharing an idea and the resident mansplainer interrupted me and I did the poltergeist head turn, screamed I AM STILL SPEAKING ALEX, and then continued my train of thought in a normal voice.

    1. HappyPug

      Ugh…for the second one I told that VP that his only redeeming value was that he was a fan of a certain sports team.

    2. Penny Hartz

      I did something similar with a former ToxicBoss. He was just awful.

      I was trying to “justify” via email something I had done that he thought was “stupid” and about five other non-constructive terms, but was, in fact, how our industry worked. After writing it all out, I hit return about 40 times, and there, in the middle of nothing but whitespace, in 5-point font, I wrote “diaf” (die in a fire).

      A few months later he quit in a huff because someone (not me) had lodged an incredibly justified hostile workplace complaint against him.

  172. Lynca

    So we were having a disagreement (to put it mildly) with a Contractor about the acceptability of the work their subcontractor had performed. As part of QA I was present to ensure they did the work correctly. So turns out that surprise they weren’t doing it correctly!

    So I told them to shut down while I conferred with some of my co-workers on how to proceed. We didn’t want them continuing to do things wrong so we needed them to stop work until we came to a solution. The co-workers were on site with me so I was just expecting a 10-15 minute stoppage. I was talking to my co-workers when the super for the subcontractor comes up and taps me on the back. His boss (the owner of the company) is on the phone. This was back in the pre-iPhone days so he had a clamshell style phone. He hands me his cell phone, I introduce myself, and I’m bombarded with insults. How I’m too stupid to know anything, how he’ll have me fired, and then starts calling me particularly sexist insults. I was going to patiently wait out the standard angry rhetoric but the sexism crossed a line. It was hot, I was out in the middle of nowhere, and I was done.

    About 2 minutes in after I can’t even get a word in, I just slam the phone shut and toss it back to the super. I composed myself and said “If this a** calls back let him know he can pound sand.” It was not my finest hour but it worked. I gained my no nonsense rep because of that.

  173. Not Really a Waitress

    I worked for a small dysfunctional company that owned a handful of franchise restaurants. We one had a 3 hour senior staff meeting where we discussed whether or not employees could have their nicknames on their name tags. ( by nickname I don’t mean sugarlips… I mean if you go by Tom instead of Thomas. ) but major initiatives were thrown at us at the last minute.

    So my boss, the operations manager as well as knee if the owners told me on Friday it was all hands on Monday at one of our stores because it was anniversary week . He then distributed a schedule for managers at other stores to work that week as well. Wednesday. After lunch he called his sr staff together and chew our asses for not implementing his vision and what did we expect to accomplish this week. He went around the table so the other staff could give their buzzword bs answer and when he got to me I looked him in the eye and said that if he wanted results we should have had this meeting last week to set these goals.

    He then dismissed everyone else and chewed my ass for another 20 minutes. I went from exceeding expectations to pretty much permanent state of PIP. When I gave my two weeks he had the balls to look me in the eye and ask me to stay another week. I said mo5.

  174. Cute Li'l UFO

    I was let go from a job I absolutely hated in November of last year. Contract work, someone was deleting me from email threads and then trying to get me in trouble, and the whole place was full of ill-behaved dogs (I was also not aware of them and resented it because I’m REALLY allergic but will do fine with meds)

    I HATED this place. More than the (inbound, luxury goods) call center I worked at for a year. There I worked with good people. Here? Well, there were some good people vastly outnumbered. My coworkers and even the art director were flabbergasted with how I was being treated.

    My rebellion was small and yet so significant to me. And I learned my lesson from a previous job I hated.

    While everyone was in meetings or off site, I went to every single bowl of candy in the office and took ALL of the good stuff. Twix, more twix, three musketeers, Starburst–you name it, I took it. I’m the kind of person who can have a bowl of candy nearby and keep myself under control so you bet I had all of my favorites until well after Christmas.

    I also lost my utter marbles at a guy whose name I never knew but who thought he was a real funny guy. Around this time the terrible fires in Sonoma happened and luckily friends and family there all survived (some barely as Coffey Park literally burned down around them) some lost literally everything. So one day I’m smiling because I got the last “all good” and he goes “There’s no smiling on a Thursday!”
    I don’t even remember what I said but it was enough that I saw heads pop over the cubes, there was a serious silence after (whole place was a converted warehouse), and he made a point of turning the other way.

    I also daydreamed and made a list of ways I could escape work (from the realistic to the ridiculous) and left it on my desk. Things like just getting in my car and driving away or a giant meteor smashes the place in while I’m out picking up lunch.

  175. Camellia

    I couldn’t help myself, I had to click on and reread the letter on the employee who quit without notice. Every time I read it I keep thinking it must be a fake. How could ANYONE be so clueless as to perform like this manager did??!?!?!

    I sincerely hope (and fondly imagine) that that woman took her hard-earned degree and is now in a fantastic job, being treated as she deserves, with a commensurate salary. You go, girl!

  176. Anne E Mouse

    I had a toxic job environment where I was being accused of not knowing how to do my job, as a designer, by a manager who was an engineer, and also of not being “collaborative enough”or “nice enough” because I didn’t have the older, male designer (my peer) look over and approve my designs. The rest of the team was constantly bad mouthing me, the manager was telling me I needed to decide if I wanted to be successful or not and saying I wasn’t making an effort despite me documenting how I’d done the things he’d asked me to do. I’d already taken it to HR, and she was trying to help, but the other designer and manager were sexist assholes.

    When I quit I walked in and told HR: “Here’s my notice, today is my last day. I can stay for a few hours to finalize any paperwork you need. Also, I’m leaving for something better so I’m not going to pursue this, but if you’d like I can discuss with you the reasons this would have led to a constructive dismissal and sexual discrimination lawsuit, and what I would have said in my EEOC filing.” She was very interested in the examples of discrimination I had, and it’s the only time I’ve ever given an exit interview.

  177. Bunny Girl

    I posted this on another thread a while back, but I think it would be more appropriate here.

    I worked in a sandwich shop, and my manager kept asking me over and over to be a delivery driver. I had been one at another location and hated it, so I told him no. But he just kept asking. So I decided I wouldn’t be able to drive if I didn’t have a car. So one week after he had been asking a lot, I walked to work. I live about five and a half miles away. He pulled me aside when I got there and told me we were really low on drivers and he needed me to drive that day. I told him I didn’t have a car. He asked where it was and I said it was at home. He stared at me and said “Don’t you live in the next town over?” I told him I did.

    He never asked me again. One of my friends was a supervisor and the manager asked him if I had really walked ten miles just to prove a point and my friend laughed and said “You’ve made a fatal error my friend.”

  178. Hamtaro

    My exit at a particularly terrible retail job:

    Me: I’m leaving.
    Boss: Are you coming back?
    Me: No.

  179. Tavie

    At my last job, I worked there for 6 years total. After the first 3 years, during the 2008 recession, they fired my (male) boss (who made more than double my salary) and gave me his job with no raise. They (verbally) promised that I would get a raise when ‘the financial climate was better’. 3 years later, a man I had trained was being promoted over me, and I went to my manager and asked for a raise, as I had been doing the work of my male predecessor without a substantial raise for 3 years, with uniformly stellar reviews, positive feedback, and an excellent reputation in the company.

    They told me I would have to “prove myself” before getting a raise to [barely more than half of what my predecessor had made in the role].

    I took my personal desk fan and left the job that day. I left a half-drunk iced coffee on my desk which stayed there for more than a week (a tribute by my former colleagues.)

    A week later, I came back to the office to negotiate a layoff so that I would be able to draw unemployment. (No severance, no apology, just a promise that they wouldn’t contest my unemployment claim.)

    A week later, I was hired at a new place at a higher salary, and I’ve been there ever since.

  180. Not Australian

    I worked for a company that I gradually realised was in deep financial sh*t. It wasn’t a bad job, I had a fair bit of autonomy, but the two women I worked for weren’t very businesslike. (They didn’t allow me to correct their spelling in the company brochure because they ‘liked it like that’. Okay, then.) However the money was a bit uninspiring and I knew it was never going to improve, so in the end I gave notice.

    They interviewed for my position, and offered the job to someone. On my last afternoon, a couple of hours before I was due to leave – when I was alone in the building – the job candidate’s husband rang and asked me if I thought they’d improve the pay they were offering her. I laughed, said “Guess why I’m leaving?”, then just put down the phone, locked up the office and left.

    A year later they went out of business.

  181. Old Airline Hag

    I was the supervisor-on-duty at the airport after the last flight of the day came in (about 2 hours late). A large box that had been checked containing a display board for an early morning presentation did not arrive with the passenger. This was in the 1990s, so there was not an additional charge to check, but this piece was probably 84″ long and there is no way it would’ve fit in the cabin. The man simply would not accept that there were no more flights in. I found his box in Phoenix, but it was 2 a.m. There were No. More. Flights. Until. Morning. I was hugely pregnant and sorely lacking in patience at 2 a.m. I arranged for his box to arrive at 7:30 a.m. and send it to his presentation immediately, as well as offering a voucher for his inconvenience. Not good enough. He wanted me to charter a plane form Phoenix and get him his box NOW. I think he paid $87 for his ticket total. It was a sales presentation that didn’t start until 9 a.m. He just wouldn’t leave. I was tired, hungry, sore and not getting across to him. At about 2:45, I was done. There was nothing more I could do for him. I finally told him, “Sir, right now there are two people on this entire planet who care about your box : you and me. And one of us is rapidly losing interest. Guess who?!”
    He finally realized he was SOL. And he grinned a little and even wrote an orchid letter to the airline saying at least I had a sense of humor. I got home at 3:30 a.m. His box was at his venue by 8:15 a.m.

  182. Damn it, Hardison!

    This one is really about my manager, but I was involved too. I was in high school working 10 hours a week or so at a fast food restaurant. On night a man comes in and orders a lot of food with specific requests; think 10 sandwiches with multiple types of fries, etc. This is back in the day when you didn’t put the special requests in the computer, you had to basically write them down and tell them to the people in the line. So I repeated it all back to him, he said yes and paid, and I got his food together. He left, comes back in 2 minutes later, throws the bag of food at me and starts yelling about how stupid I am, can’t I get anything right, etc. My manager comes out to see what the fuss is just as he is going off on women being idiots. Sue stands up to her full height of 4 ft. 11, says loudly “Sir, I AM a Woman,” gives him his money back and tells him never to come back again. As soon as he’s out the door she says, “well,he was an asshole” and everyone started laughing.

  183. Sevenrider

    I have never walked out of a job but I did walk out of an interview. It was before a panel of 5 rude and condescending attorneys and they were all grilling me with various questions. It was a large, well-known law firm and I guess they thought it would be a privilege to work there and felt free to give the applicants hell. I decided otherwise and stood up about 1o minutes in and said, okay, thank you for your time but we are finished here. I walked out the door and never regretted it. That was about 20 years ago and I sometimes wonder if I am still flagged as that woman who walked out of the interview and as a no-hire.

    1. restingbutchface

      Let’s hope they did flag you, god forbid you accidently have to work with those cretins again. Good for you.

  184. staying anon but I don't comment much so not sure it matters

    Did IT for a library system where the facilities director was one of those “walk into your office and demand things but god forbid you do that to him” types that was also old school and sucked with technology. Security cameras were now devices that plugged into the network and he had a contractor come in to install/replace them around the building. Before I got there, the facilities guy gave his contractor leeway to walk into my datacenter, plug a camera into equipment to configure it before he went and mounted it where it needed to go. This guy was just a technician, not a network engineer or IT guy in any form. One day a few months into me working there, he was having problems one day because he plugged into a port that wasn’t configured to support a camera and asked me for help. When I found out he walked into my datacenter and was just plugging an unknown device into random pieces of network equipment, I lost it on him. Told him I didn’t care who told him he could do this, get the !@#$%^&ing hell out of my datacenter. Guy was too scared to ever come talk to me again. I don’t regret it since that’s a great way to bring down an entire network.

    Fun current fact: found out recently the current facilities director that I loathed and 2 of his reports are on unpaid leave for allowing janitorial staff to falsify timesheets.

  185. Don’t do this at home

    Attempted suicide and left an incriminating letter, after months of being relentlessly and horribly bullied by a toxic manager and her assistant. The two of them must have gotten the shocks of their lives when they were hauled into the boss’s office the following morning and confronted with the evidence. Apparently one of them spent the rest of the week in tears. I heard that the work atmosphere improved dramatically afterwards, as the two stopped their shenanigans and strove to be kinder to their subordinates (they had been nasty to everyone, not just me, and the boss had had no idea until then).

    1. pony tailed wonder

      Oh my gosh! I am so sorry that you had to go through something like that. Thank goodness that you are okay now.

  186. Red5

    I was on a year-long stint working for some people who turned out to be shady AF. The final showdown came about 8 months in, where they wanted me to sign off on something illegal. I refused; boss insisted there was nothing illegal about it; I told boss if that was the case, then HE could sign off on it. Spoiler alert: he didn’t sign off on it and it didn’t go through. Boss was so mad that he decided the person he had just hired on to be my #2 (guy hadn’t started yet) was going to take my job and I would be demoted to his #2.

    Right about the this time (I love you, Karma), I was offered a promotion elsewhere and put in notice to end my year early. Almost simultaneously, guy who was going to take my position rescinded his acceptance of their offer because they were adjusting his title to #1 but not his pay. So my boss went from having two people to having none for this job. The best part was when he pulled me aside and asked me to stay for the remainder of my year. I said no. He said, “You know, you’re really screwing me here.” My response: “Hmm, from where I stand, it looks like you screwed yourself. It’s not my problem you picked the wrong horse.” And walked away.

    I left not long after that for my better job with better pay and a boss that didn’t expect me to do shady things. I’ve never mouthed off back at a boss like that before or since, but I sure don’t regret it. I can’t think of anything else that’s been so satisfying as pointing out HE shoveled the sh*t he was now standing in and it wasn’t my problem to fix.

  187. outta there

    Realized I was in a toxic work environment (or rather, my job forced me to work for/under people who would scream at me for no apparent reason because they were stressed about things unrelated to my job or responsibilities), and quit by letter after securing new employment. It was my first job out of college, AT the college I had just graduated from. So burning some bridges. But I’d also been advised by people who cared about me to not take that job. I thought I could handle it, and that the people above me would treat me well because I’d known them for 3-4 years.

    I almost put this in the other thread, because I was honestly naive about a lot of things in this scenario. But you know what? You don’t scream at people for stuff, and especially if it’s not even their job or their fault. You don’t get to take out your anger issues on people you will assume will take it because you know them, and they presumably feel loyal to the organization. I might do it a little differently now, but I also think I did a good job of taking care of myself and my needs in a bad situation. There are a lot worse things out there than not giving notice when fleeing an emotionally abusive situation.

  188. Merula

    I worked on a team that had merged; instead of handles, spouts and pots all having separate design groups, we now had a combined Teapot design group, made up of all the people from those three prior groups.

    One of the functions each team had done independently was to review recent regulations that might relate to teapots and see if they applied to us. Most of the time they didn’t. A small group was assigned to figuring out how to merge this review so three people weren’t looking at every single regulation.

    In a functioning group, this would have been a 30 minute meeting, an hour tops, as we decided how to divide the regulations and how to get handle/spout knowledge to the pot designers, etc.

    Four weeks later, we’re trapped in a completely circular discussion because one handle designer (1) refuses to consider reviewing things for spout/pot impacts and (2) thinks the spout/pot designers need to take an “equal share” in the handle work. Basically she wants to find a way to do less than 1/3rd of the average amount of work. Obviously a non-starter of a solution.

    Well, she didn’t respond to my email with a solution (a real one, not one that met her criteria) for a week, so I took silence as acceptance and sent it to management with “here’s what we decided”. She replyed-all with all the reasons she didn’t like that. I got a minor talking-to for not actually gaining consensus (management was big on consensus), but was told that the VP would “steamroll” her and my solution would be implemented.

    She announced her retirement 3 days later. When someone called me to tell me and said that she was blaming me, I said “You’re welcome”. And I stand by that.

  189. Cassandra Lease

    Okay. Really not proud of this one, and I’m not going to say where it was for obvious reasons.

    We’d just gotten a cabinet to keep some expensive company equipment in – equipment I was personally responsible for. The cabinet didn’t have its own lock – in retrospect, this was far from ideal, but we hadn’t been able to find a locking cabinet that would allow us to feed in power cables and we needed to be able to charge the devices in there when they weren’t in use. (I later worked at a company where they just drilled their own hole for power cables into the back of their locking cabinet and, y’all, I felt like an idiot for not thinking of GETTING A DRILL AND DOING IT OURSELVES.)

    So anyway, I’d spent the better part of the day figuring out how to lock the thing effective, because the cabinet doors also had kind of weird handles and it wasn’t as simple as slapping on a padlock. I finally work it out and go home. I come in the next day and find that the cabinet has actually been lifted and turned to face the wall.

    I lost it (not the first or last time I’d lose it in that job, which was probably a red flag; I was under a lot of stress there and I didn’t like the person I became). I immediately wrote a SCATHING e-mail to the office mailing list telling everyone that there were expensive devices in the cabinet which could have been damaged and this kind of prank was not at all acceptable, and if it happened again, I would personally involve the CEO. The CEO was actually already on that list. No one was happy with me, at least one person wrote an e-mail in response scolding me for my tone, multiple people reported me to my manager, and we had a serious conversation about my blowing up. I wasn’t subjected to disciplinary measures at that time, but it certainly fouled the air.

    A couple engineers came forward later and said they’d been working late and wanted to test the security of the cabinet, so they’d turned it around and tried to get into it from the back. I still think that’s crap, and unacceptable behavior on their part, but I admit I should have handled things differently. This was a toxic environment where the CEO would routinely berate people in public and threaten immediate firings, and there was a fair bit of turnover and a lot of pressure, and none of us really got the resources we actually needed, but I let it get to me and I shouldn’t have.

    That job’s well in the past now and I am very glad of it.

    1. Cassandra Lease

      …okay I had a total reading comprehension fail and posted something I’m distinctly NOT proud of. Please feel free to delete this, Alison.

  190. MadLori

    I worked at Borders Book & Music from 2000-2004, which included the 9/11 attacks. Apart from the shared shock, terror and grief, the event had some ripple effects in bookstores, ranging from people swarming to get a copy of the paper to the deluge of coffee-table 9/11 photography/remembrance books (few of which sold). The attack happened on a Tuesday, I did not work again until Thursday. When I came in, there was obviously a lot of discussion about handling the nonstop customer requests for the NYT, the special editions of Time/Newsweek/USNews, and the avalanche of requests for the two books about Al-Queda that had been name-dropped on television, both of which were out of print. Soon after I arrived, a customer asked me for a book about Nostradamus. Thinking nothing of it, I checked the section and we were mysteriously sold out. I shrugged it off. Then another customer asked. And another. And another. I asked our GM what was up with the Nostradamus fever and he told me that there was an internet rumor going around that Nostradamus had predicted the attacks in some couplet or another. I did a little digging and discovered that the supposed prediction didn’t exist, the couplet being referenced was not one he actually wrote, the whole thing was an urban legend. People continued to ask. After a few days of this, I snapped. I was standing with my GM when a customer asked again for Nostradamus. I looked at her and said “We’re out of Nostradamus books, the couplet you’ve heard about doesn’t exist, he did not predict the attacks, the whole thing is an urban legend.” She blinked and walked away. My GM laughed and said “I can’t believe you did that.” I was like, well? I’m sick of people having their time and emotional energy wasted by stupid internet rumors.

  191. very anonymous for this one

    Oh boy, do I have one. I will preface this to say that while I would change my language, I would not change what I did.
    I was enormously pregnant, about 8.5 months, and it was a very hot July day. I lived about a mile from work, a nice walk if not hot and pregnant. I decided to wait for the bus. My grand boss treated us like adults in that if you were late, you just need to make up the hours. My direct supervisor, a person who to this day I abhor, did not. I left my house at 8 am for an 15 minute bus ride that would get me to the office by 8:30 with some walking. I could be in anywhere between this and 9 am. And this was before cell phones.
    The bus ended up not only being 45 minutes late but so full that I was only able to stand in the stairwell. No one offered me a seat for what turned out to be a 40 minute ride. I thought about going home to call in late but waited it out. By the time I got to work it was just past 9:30, I needed to sit down (and pee), I needed water and the temperature had hit 90 degrees. My supervisor was standing at the front desk when I walked in, pointed looking at her watch. Everyone else in the area asked me if I was ok, did I need anything, etc. Her comment was, “Nice of you to show up.” I explained what had happened but she would have none of it. It snowballed from there.
    I walked to the back of the office to go to the restroom but she followed me and brought me into my office. She proceeded to scream at me, telling me how I should have called, that I was taking advantage of my pregnancy and maybe this wasn’t the right job for me to continue when I came back. By this time it was 10 am (she berated me for over 20 minutes), I still had sat down, peed or got water. By this time I was so upset and nauseous and exhausted and done that I snapped and told her to just get the eff out of my office. She never missed a beat and asked if that was any way to speak to a boss. I told her no, that it wasn’t but right now she wasn’t a boss but a bully and needed to leave me the hell alone. She left and lodged a complaint with HR over my use of language. HR came down to talk with us separately and fortunately, about a dozen co-workers who overheard everything backed up my entire story and nothing came of it.
    It was one of the very few times I stood up to her. She was (and is) a horrible, horrible person and I don’t regret anything but the actual language.

    1. outta there

      I was really hoping that the story was going to end with you walking out and never returning.

      And/or peeing on her shoes.

  192. MullItOver

    I quit a job with no notice for another job. I had worked with this guy on a commercial and he was an excellent boss and he was super pleased with my work so when he had another project come along, he hired me on to it. However, this time instead of working mostly with him, I had to report to someone else and my direct supervisor was a total nightmare. She was super particular about things but wouldn’t tell me until after the fact. Example: she sent me to Staples with a list that included White Out so I got some and brought it back. And she flipped because it was liquid and she didn’t want liquid White Out (despite never telling me differently) so she sent me back to the store. She was super rude and awful to me and had me feeling literally ill from stress so when I got an offer for another job, I told her I couldn’t finish but offered a qualified replacement. She immediately had someone else she already lined up and it made me think that she had wanted him to have the job from the start. I explained to my boss that I just found her to be too difficult to work with and it sounded like he had heard that from some other people as well. When I went to return the petty cash I was using, I counted it five times and it was exact. I handed to her and she counted it along with her new hire’s petty cash and suddenly mine came up short $5. I told her it had been exact when I gave it to her and I had pointed out that she had made a $200 error in which I could have walked away with $200 without her noticing because of her own mistake but I was honest and told her about it, why would I try to cheat her out of $5 now? She wouldn’t let me leave over $5 so I yanked the money out of my own wallet and handed it over to her with my own rude comment. The boss that had hired me chased me down and handed me the $5 back and apologized for her behavior.

  193. Wulfgar

    I worked for the Post Office for three years, until I quit without notice. I was a transitional employee (TE), which meant I was lowest person in the office. I usually worked three routes in one day in three different offices. The first route was supposed to take four hours, the second six hours, and the third four hours. Plus travel time between offices; the third office was 22 miles away from the second.

    I ran my ass off to get those three routes done on time. I did each route in half the time I was given, didn’t take breaks, and took my lunch at 5:15 pm to make sure I was off the street by 5:00 pm. I had broken my foot (at home) and asked for time off. My boss said if I wanted time off, I could quit because my job wouldn’t be there when I got back. I finally found a podiatrist open until 8:00 pm and had to wear a boot for six weeks. By that time my foot had begun to heal in a weird way, which caused arthritis.

    One day I had my mail cased and was ready to go, but had to wait for a clerk to finish her job, so I looked at my phone. When I got back from the route, the post master told me that I stole time by taking an unscheduled break and that she was going to write me up and ask that I be fired. This post master was the type of person who would slap every third customer if her boss told her to, just because it was an official order.

    I told her that I never took breaks, wasn’t paid for time I used my own vehicle to deliver mail, and thought she was a bully. I told her that I wasn’t scared of her threats, and I handed her my badge. Then I went to my home office because I was told that I had to write a letter of resignation. I hand wrote “I quit” and went home.

    I didn’t have another job lined up. I loved being a mail carrier, but I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’m glad that I stood up for myself though.

    The post master got so many customer complaints that she was eventually moved to a more rural office. She had so many union complaints that she wasn’t given any direct employees.

  194. Exactly

    Coworker, name of Ann, who is (in)famous for “Annsplaining” and pestering everyone about getting *her* work out on time. I’d finally had enough and one day when she came in to tell me (exactly what was written on the work order) that her job was due on such-and-such a date and I needed to get right on it, I said in my most saccharine voice, “Thank you, Ann, for telling me this. I had been planning to let it sit for a week and I can see that would never do at all for this job!”.

    She hasn’t bugged me about her deadlines again.

  195. AnonForThis

    In college, I worked at the college radio station cataloging new music (CDs). I came across a CD with cover art that I couldn’t let pass. It was a woman’s torso and had a cat head/face covering her crotch. The cat face was slightly manipulated to “fit” and had an uncanny valley thing going on. I don’t know why, but I felt like it was super gross.

    I took out the folder (it was just a folded piece of paper — not a big fancy thing) and ripped it up and shelved the CD/case. The CD also had the art on it, but the cat was essentially obscured by the center of the CD.

    Once in awhile I feel a little bad about censoring the CD art.

  196. Mrs. Fenris

    We had a colleague who was well known locally, in our field, as a bully. He called our office one day to pick a fight. I tried to placate him at first, but when that didn’t work I decided to cut loose on him in the language a bully would understand…I yelled at him. LOUDLY. I concluded with, “IS THAT CLEAR?” He said in a small voice, “Uh, yes.” “GOOD! GOODBYE, SIR!” and slammed down the phone.

    Ok, over a decade later I’m sort of sorry about this. But mostly it was one of the greatest moments of my life.

  197. Ddayfastapproaching

    After 5 1/2 years at toxic job, being in IT I was privy to the P and L statements. I could see the company was fast approaching bankruptcy. I put in one more month, enabling me to cash out a full 6 years worth of stock and also my vacation time. My only regret is that I couldn’t persuade my boss to do the same. My old co workers said that at every employee stock meeting the CEO would mention that I was the last person to get any money out of the plan.

  198. Digital Janitor

    Very first job, at the workplace of a parent, I was a summer office assistant. Employer did not hire teens because some previously has been terrible, but made an exception after my parent suggested it as a cheap way to get a filing system conversion done. Parent was well-known to the owner, and very no-nonsense. I was under intense scrutiny and well aware of it every day.

    The work I had to do involved pulling every paper file, document, and folder in the company’s storage space, checking the contents had been filed correctly, and then moving all the contents into correctly-labeled containers in a new filing system in a newly-renovated file room. These were heavy files, stored in a space with rats and roaches. The files covered all the company’s contracts for over a decade, along with sales materials, receipts, correspondence, etc. No carts or additional boxes were provided — “You’re young, you’ll be fine.” It was tedious, dirty, miserable work, and office dress code stated that females had to wear skirts and heels.

    This office also employed a few utter donkeys in sales. One of them, Sales Donkey, was just mean to any female on the staff. He’d make remarks about appearance constantly, then say it was “just a joke” if anyone reacted badly. He’d leave work for people after they were gone for the day, then complain when it wasn’t done in the morning. He’d trip women as they walked between cubicles. You get the idea.

    One day I was hauling a stack of files from the storage space to the small corner of the construction area I’ve been permitted to use for sorting. I did it all the time, going past the sales offices and administrative staff each time. This particular time, Sales Donkey was berating an assistant about some paperwork. I excused myself to move around him. He whipped around and shoved down on the top of the stack I was carrying. I had to quickly balance in my heels to keep from falling, and I lost the stack of papers all over the common area between desks.

    Sales Donkey laughed at me, saying “You just looked so busy, I had to help!” He called for everyone to watch me crawl on the floor to gather the files. He apparently didn’t care that these were original copies of sales records, and needed to be kept with the correct clients.

    I was furious, and he made no move to help or even get out of the way. He’d step over to block me while I crawled around. Picking up a huge folder that was still miraculously together, I whacked his rear with it. Hard. It shocked him enough to get him to shut up and move. I silently picked it all up and took it to my work table. I was probably more shocked than he was, honestly.

    For a little while I sat in the corner wondering if I was about to be dragged out into the woods and shot by my parent, for causing embarrassment to said parent. Eventually I had to get more files, so I trudged back through the assistant area. I was immediately stopped by one of the assistants and just assumed I was being taken to my parent. Instead, the assistants all stopped what they were doing and came over to see me. They wanted to make sure *I* was okay! One of them did a slow clap. They told me they’d all longed to smack Sales Donkey, and wished they could get away with it. They assured me Sales Donkey would be too embarrassed to complain, and they wouldn’t tell my parent.

    I ended up telling my parent anyway. I figured if I was going to get in trouble, it might as well be that day. My parent gave me a stern lecture about acting out at work, but added “…Except for that guy. He’s just a prick.”

  199. IEditEverything

    I once was an acquisitions editor for a small book publisher. They had at one time been groundbreaking (one of the first to publish e-books, for example), but due to both internal and external factors, had fallen on hard times. They had reached the point where they couldn’t pay their authors their earned royalties. Still, lots of authors sent submissions, not knowing the full story. And it was my job to offer them contracts. Which wouldn’t be honored. So I developed my own criteria: the authors who could genuinely write, I turned away, knowing they would do better elsewhere. The awful authors, I turned away, because they wouldn’t help the company at all and probably wouldn’t improve enough to make it worth anyone’s time. I accepted the authors who were *almost* good, and who seemed like they would benefit from working with an editor. They might not get any royalty checks from us, but they would at least get a one-on-one, detailed critique of their work from our editors and a publishing credit. Once the company collapsed (which it did), they would be better positioned to go on to somewhere else, they’d have an expertly edited book to self publish or shop around, and they’d know something about how publishing worked. Even if I’d signed Stephen King or John Grisham, it wouldn’t have saved the business. They were too far gone and too dysfunctional to carry on. Volunteering to be laid off from that job was the best career choice I ever made. I’m a freelance editor now, and I love it.

  200. Getaway Girl

    I had worked for a national retail chain for three years, and had worked my way up from part time cashier to the full time department lead when my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    I asked to cut back to part time, while I figured out next steps for him, myself and our two young children. Having absolutely no experience with a family member dying, let alone the chief source of support for our family, I was freaking out. Eventually, we figured out the plan and when two full time jobs opened up again (including my previous department lead job), I bid on both. Financially, the kids and I would be OK, but we were going to need health insurance.

    They announced the position decision on my scheduled day off. I was with my husband at a hospital two hours away, where he had been getting experimental treatment. We learned that day that the cancer was not responding and he was referred to hospice care, which indicated that he had less than six months.

    When I reported to work the following day, I was called into our personnel manager’s office for a meeting with her and our store manager. They informed me that they’d given both jobs to other people, not because of the quality of my work, but because they were concerned about how much time I would need off to care for my husband. In the moment, I accepted the decision. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I became. I felt like these were things that we could have discussed before they finalized their decision. The culmination of the stress I had been under for the past year caused something in me to snap. Less than an hour into my shift, I walked back to the break room, told the personnel manager, “I quit,” and clocked out. I heard the store manager calling my name as I headed toward the door, but I never looked back.

    Two days later, my husband’s boss hired me to work in their office 32 hours a week, enough to qualify for health insurance. My husband died less than four months later. I took off work the week before and the week after his death. And for what it’s worth, not only were my former colleagues at national retail chain totally amazing (they put together incredible Easter baskets for my kids that year), but the personnel manager told me she’d hire me back in a heartbeat. Too bad for them.

    1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      Hug. My sympathy to you and the family on the loss of your husband and their father. Words fail me at the horrible behavior.

  201. Super Doctor Astronaut

    I was in a regular weekly meeting that was supposed to be a one on one with Boss Lady, but Mr. Grandboss had taken to sitting in on them, mostly because he didn’t trust Boss Lady to handle them properly. The meeting wound down and we began chitchatting and somehow the conversation got around to the practice of declawing cats. I explained that the practice was incredibly inhumane and not something I’d ever inflict upon my own fuzzy friends.
    Mr. Grandboss said, “But then they destroy your furniture.”
    “They can,” I agreed. “But most of my furniture is from thrift stores or Ikea, so I’m not overly concerned about that.”
    Mr. Grandboss replied, “Well, maybe YOU don’t mind, but ADULTS tend to buy more expensive pieces.”
    “I’m 36, so it actually has very little to do with whether or not I’m an adult and everything to do with the size of my paycheck, which I’m happy to discuss with you at any time.”
    There were a few quiet seconds before Mr. Grandboss quickly wrapped up the meeting without comment. Boss Lady also never mentioned the incident.
    I’m doubtful that I’ll receive a raise any time soon, but I have zero regrets.

  202. Alli525

    This is not mine, but is part of my previous company’s lore/origin story (so I’ll refer to him as “my CEO” even though I’m not there anymore):

    In 2008, in the middle of the financial crisis, my CEO was working in upper management at a financial services firm that had just imploded and been acquired by an even bigger financial services firm. Part of the acquisition agreement included the provision that upper mgmt at the smaller firm would maintain their titles and responsibilities at the larger firm, so my boss’ role was safe. But he HATED the CEO of the new firm (he’s objectively not a good person), and had been mulling starting his own company anyway. So he started secretly poaching his colleagues that had come over with him and setting them up under fake names in a tiny office nearby, and planning a big launch.

    So at the monthly upper-mgmt meeting, which included hundreds of managers from all over the world (both in person and via Skype), he reaches his breaking point, stands up, yells at Asshole CEO and tells him where to go, and is frogmarched out of the meeting. He hits the sidewalk, marches over to his new office, and presses play. Ten years later they’re still going strong.

  203. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)

    This was at a particularly not so professional work place to begin with…

    Supervisor (Male): Captain Vegetable can’t do this task.
    Supervisor (Female): Why?
    Supervisor (Male): Because she doesn’t have a penis.
    Me: I do have a penis. At home. In a jar.
    Supervisor (Male and Female):…..

  204. Elle

    My first job out of college was managing union employees in the south. I spent 6 months trying to be a good person, working tirelessly to remain bright and cheery and determined while these guys pulled the most aggravating stunts on me over and over, just because they could.
    I had one employee who just flat out refused to fill out his time cards. Which meant, either I got in trouble for not approving them on time or I had to do it for him. Finally, one day, I had had enough. I marched into the break room and screamed at him “MY TITLE IS ENGINEER, NOT BABYSITTER! Fill out your time card NOW!” and stormed back out. You could have heard a pin drop. From that day forward, not a single person “forgot” to fill in their time.

    I then transferred to a different department where once again these boys tested the furthest edges of my patience. One day the line went down and I went out there to see the problem, only to find that everyone had gone to break 5 minutes early. Again, stormed into the break room (their sacred area) and in a barely contained rage I said “I REFUSE to allow you to take advantage of my kindness any longer. Either you can figure out how to prevent the line from going down between the hours of 11:30 and 12:30 for the next month, or I can start a lunch sign up complete with a stopwatch for every one of you. Now SOMEONE had better come get this line running!” I turned and stomped out of the break room and every one of them stood up and followed me without even putting away their lunch boxes. I love to imagine a single napkin floating to the floor in the empty room, cartoon style.

  205. Yvaine

    I once found out that a coworker in his mid-late 20s was sexually harassing another, 19 year old, coworker and when I finally caught him doing it I chewed him out in front of the entire office. As I was finishing my rant our supervisor walked by and jerk coworker begged her to reprimand me but she just shrugged and said “whatever she said I’m sure you deserved it.” He was furious but I told him to “grow the f*ck up” and I got a round of applause. I gave my notice the next day and I would absolutely do it all again but I really wish I’d gone to the union to let them know that the supervisors refused to do anything about the harassment.

  206. Master Bean Counter

    I used to have to ask an assistant director if he was done being an asshole. After that we could actually have a conversation.

    Once upon a time I was barely breathing on a software change over project. To help with the massive amount of data that ended up having to be entered manually we hired the Director’s wife as a temp. She really was a good worker. My anniversary fell in the middle of this mess. After working 80 weeks for what seemed like forever I dared to take a day off to show the husband that I actually hadn’t forgot that he existed.
    We were out having fun and he director calls me. I figure this must be a real emergency because he dares to disturb me. Nope. His wife had vented about something minor, an issue for which there was already a fix in the works. I told him I’d take care of it. I called me cohort on the project and found out she’s already handled the issue. I was mad. I put the call aside and enjoyed the rest of my day.
    The next morning I went into to work and went straight to the director’s office and closed the door. I calmly asked him WTH he was thinking calling me on my day off. It was my first break from this project in months. The situation was minor and that my cohort was more than capable of handling it.
    He apologized. It was agreed he would no longer get involved with his wife’s work at all while she was there. It was also agreed that he should probably not call me on my days off in the future unless it was a dire emergency.

    1. Forrest Rhodes

      Re your final sentence: In order to get a little quiet time for herself, my mom would tell us kids, “If it’s not bleeding or on fire, I don’t want to hear about it for the next hour!”
      Seems like that could work here too, no?

  207. Jedidiah Tancredo

    TW: some mention of child sexual assault

    I went through a very brief do gooder phase where I took a job at a non profit that seemed good on paper but ended up being a nightmare. My boss was unprofessional, weird, overly friendly and inappropriate. We later fake diagnosed him as being a narcissist. We were using a product called Lansweeper to help our users and it included a small remote utility called tinyVNC that ran in the background. The unspoken rule is you don’t use it unless the user isn’t around (and then it’s just to work on things) or you use it while they know.

    This same supervisor started mentioning things he shouldn’t know and since we mainly used chat we started getting concerned. Of course this boss wasn’t smart enough to use the “read only” mechanism so one day I noticed something popped up on my screen that shouldn’t because I didn’t click it.

    I was chatting with one of my friends in Gmail and I texted her and said:

    “Listen, this is going to get weird but I need you to play along.”

    So we kept chatting and then I started typing about how I felt like I was being spied on and it was weird. I also told her I was waiting for my boss to get fired so I could take over and manage the department.

    And then I typed a message to him in the same chat that said “Hey Boss, this is really creepy. You shouldn’t spy on your employees.”

    And I blocked the port the utility ran on and added an explicit deny to his account on my laptop.

    He busted out of his office, red in the face, and ran out the door.

    He stopped spying on us after that.

    There was more and in the end I quit because they refused to stop using a consultancy that I thought were incompetent, hired a snake oil salesman to replace my former boss and had some pretty intense internal politics. I now work with said consultant’s sister and told him some pretty embarrassing stories about her brother, which she thought was hilarious.

    As a side note the consultant’s business partner, who I always found creepy and awful, was convicted of molesting his niece and is in the state pen.

  208. Mrs. B

    I worked at a popular local fast food chain, and one of the managers there was a misogynist nightmare. Always making comments and mocking me about my appearance, intelligence and what he assumed was my sexuality. The kicker was when after a few years (!) of working there and knowing every other aspect of the job, he refused to let me work the register because “the cashier is the face of the store, and what message are we sending the customers when they see your face?” and then said if I wanted to work the register someday I would have to wear makeup and a “better bra”. He also found out something really personal about me, that was none of his business and proceeded to tell everyone on staff and even customers. Everyone else on staff there apart from the owners was absolutely horrified at his behavior, so much so that they actually recommended the coffee shop next door hire me, and I took that job. So one night when it was just me and the manager left to close, I went out to take the garbage to the dumpster and just walked home and never came back. He called for days afterward, furious saying I would not get my last paycheck until I apologized and handed in my uniform. I never did, and one of the office workers in the store delivered my last check to me at the coffee shop. For months I would wave and smile at him as he walked into work pointing at the register my new boss felt was acceptable for me to use.

  209. NW Mossy

    I once turned a colleague’s worst instincts against her, which ending up leading to an outrageous act of self-sabotage on her part.

    We had both applied for the same internal job to manage a particular team. As it happened, neither one of us got the job. Upon getting her rejection, she called me out of the blue to ask me if I had applied. Normally in our company candidates typically are not told who else applied, so it was very strange that she somehow knew to contact me as I’d never told her I applied, or would have ever thought to do so as we worked in different departments and crossed paths infrequently. Someone clearly blabbed to her, and I’ll never know who to be irked at for that.

    After grudgingly acknowledging that I had, she proceeded to grill me about who I interviewed with. She became particularly focused on the fact that neither of us had gotten to the round of interviewing with the AVP over that area, which is typically the final in our process. She insisted that it was grossly unfair that said AVP hadn’t bothered to meet with us, and she seemed somewhat put out that I wasn’t all aboard her train to Indignant Junction.

    In a flash of either inspiration or cruelty, I said, “Wow, it seems like you’re pretty upset about this. Maybe you should share this feedback so that the hiring manager knows how you feel.” She thanked me for my time and hung up.

    And then, dear reader, she did. She shared that feedback in what was apparently a spectacular screed directed at the AVP and the rest of the leaders involved in the hiring. I learned later that leadership refused to consider her for any other leadership position ever again due to her inappropriate reaction, and she’s been in the same role since this happened (about 5 years ago).

    I’m not sure I’ve ever baited someone that effectively in my life, but I was so annoyed that she was looking for commiseration from another rejected candidate that I did. not. care. I guess the moral is that I’m less sympathetic than I look?

    1. Kathenus

      Am I a bad person for loving this? You completely hooked me with the first sentence, and then I really wanted to find out the details. And train to Indignant Junction is poetry :)

  210. Animal worker

    I used to work in a wildlife education show at a resort. After four years, management decided to close the show down. From a business perspective, it was not a bad decision, but it was handled very poorly in a lot of ways. We had our own mailing list, and sent out occasional newsletters. Our last newsletter informed our followers that the show would be closing, and thanked them for all of their support over the years. And since we would no longer be available to respond to questions or comments, we included our boss and grandboss’s contact information. Rumor has it that they got a few unhappy people contacting them wanting to know why they shut us down. My boss did call me in and ask why this was done, but I had plausible deniability on my side – it was good customer service to let them know what was happening, and since I wouldn’t be there if they had questions, I had to give them some information, right? I knew better, he knew better, but nothing could be proven. And what was he going to do, fire us?

  211. LaughingSphinx

    Only 2 minor ones, but they felt HUGE to me at the time.
    -On the phone with a colleague from another department, asking a question (complaining that I was pushing back on her not doing her job correctly) and managing to both whine and berate me simultaneously. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. So I finally interrupted her and said “Suzie, if you need me to answer a question, you’ll need to stop talking so you can listen to my answer.” She never really forgave me, but I’m ok with that.

    -At another job, and a manager in another department asks me (highly paraphrased) to comb through hiring paperwork at the busiest time of year for our department (HR in a school district) because her department can’t remember if they pulled info for some of their new summer employees. (This was the umpteenth time she’d requested information from our dept that was not feasible because she provided no scope or parameters to narrow it down) She couldn’t provide a list of names. I had a stack of paperwork on my desk for that week that was 6 inches high. I picked it up, asked her “This is what I have from your department just for this week, and you want me to go through this stack, (picked it up and dropped it noisily on my desk) AND what we’ve already processed because your department MAY NOT have kept information you needed, and you can’t even provide me names?” The THWACK was pretty satisfying, and although I did have to explain my outburst to my supervisor, it was effective. No more wild-goose chase requests.

  212. Kyla Ren

    No regrets here.

    Long ago and far away, I was a junior university administrator. There was a Big Honking problem that led to many students having balances for fall semester through no fault of their own. My boss — a director at a fairly high level — and I signed off on allowing these students to register for spring, back when this was paper-driven, and wrote all over each form to call us personally if the cashier’s office had an issue. The university bursar was in the loop too.

    I got word that a sweet student in that situation had been told by a temp cashier that she didn’t care what the form said, she didn’t have to call me or my boss, and he wasn’t coming back to school. He had a meltdown and next thing I knew I had a dean calling me about disciplining him.

    I stalked out of my office without telling my boss and went to the cashiering area. I cut the line of students (aided by those who recognized me — I was young and in casual dress so I got mistaken for a student until they said “No, that’s Kyla Ren, she’s staff, and wow, she looks MAD!”) and went to that cashier.

    She asked who did I think I was cutting a line.

    I slammed my staff ID up against the glass and said at full volume, “I’m Kyla Ren, I’m the administrator who authorized this override, and who the hell do you think you are to treat my students like this?” I went on for a good ten minutes’ shouting at her about how she had no authority to countermand me or my boss, it was a situation signed off on by upper administration, and some temp with delusions of grandeur hired for three weeks did not get to treat my students so badly without dealing with me.

    At that point, the room was silent. Then the line of students began applauding. “Go, Kyla!” one yelled. The bursar appeared and said through gritted teeth that he would like to speak to me in his office. I said I would like to speak to him as well. After an exchange of…frank sentiments…we settled on him calling the dean to request no discipline since the temp had created the problem.

    I walked back into my office. My boss grabbed me. “Kyla, what the hell did you do?”

    “Settled a problem.”

    “Students have been coming in talking about how you stormed into Cashiering and tore a temp cashier to shreds!”

    “Yeah, I did. She countermanded your and my directive because she thought she was bigger than both of us and made a student melt down.”

    “Oh. Am I going to get a call from the bursar?”

    “Yeah. I said next time I would find him first before I shredded his temp.”

    She blanched.

    The bursar fired the temp that day after students began calling him with “Here’s how that lady treated me and if she made Kyla Ren mad enough to come out of her office to handle it…that’s bad. Kyla’s cool. Kyla never yells!”

    Students came in and said “Damn, Kyla, everyone’s talking about you! You’re bad-ass! Thanks for sticking up for us!” My boss sighed. Loudly.

    Yelling was totally unprofessional, but yeah, no regrets.

    1. Kyla Ren, hopefully not confusing anyone

      PS: If someone else has used the name Kyla Ren on this site — I’m not a regular here — I apologize. I picked a one-off comment name that reminded me of my behavior, which was way more Sith than Jedi, lol.

    2. JessB

      I work in student admin. I’m sharing this story with all my colleagues tomorrow at work!
      You’re my hero!!!

  213. DreddPirate

    This one’s a two-parter:
    Part 1 – I was the assistant manager in a video store and after I told a customer he couldn’t do something due to corporate policy, the customer throw a videotape case in my face and said, “Don’t tell me you’re just following orders like a good little nazi!”
    I calmly told him that we were closing his account, then asked him to leave and not come back. He argued, called me a nazi again and I told him that if he didn’t leave, I would call the police and have him removed, and if he called me a nazi again I would gladly step outside with him and expr