the special notepads, the staggered departures, and other stories of ridiculous policies at work

Last week I asked about ridiculous policies you’ve encountered at work. Here are 18 of the most ridiculous you shared.

1. The notepads

I had a boss who insisted that only her notes could be on yellow legal pads (8.5 by 14), and her sales staff all had to take notes on white paper at letter size (8.5 by 11). She also insisted that whenever we ordered new pads of paper, we order equal amounts for her…this naturally resulted in us having an insane amount of unused yellow legal pads, since six sales people obviously go through way more smaller pages of paper than one boss. The guy who trained me rolled his eyes when he explained the rule, then opened a desk drawer to show a whole stack of the yellow legal pads. He told me to make sure to save space in my desk for them, because boss regularly ran out of room and stashed them in the employees’ desks, but to under no circumstances ever use it. If I accidentally did, he said to sneak the whole legal pad out of the office, because boss would lose it if she saw a missing page and/or a piece of yellow paper in a trash can.

2. The locks

The staff break room had lockers. Theft from the breakroom was endemic, so many started bringing locks to use for the duration of their shift so that wallet, phone etc. (which you couldn’t have with you on the floor) wouldn’t get swiped. Locks were banned and would be cut off because it was a “visual representation of mistrust between colleagues”. I quit shortly thereafter, I was going to work right from university so had to bring stuff with me and the minimum wage paycheque wasn’t enough to cover my losses.

3. The coats

No coat racks for employees’ coats and no hanging coats on the back of your chairs.

I worked for a company where the CEO worked with a designer to design a brand-spanking-new open concept (blech!) suite of offices with blinding white walls and light beige furniture. After we moved in, the CEO wanted to keep the place looking like a picture from Architectural Digest, which led to a number of ridiculous policies, but the no coat racks policy (having a jumble of multi-colored coats would be horrible! horrible!) really took the biscuit for me. We were told that we could leave our coats in our cars since it wasn’t really that long a walk from the parking garage. It actually can get cold in the the DC area in the winter, and it also can rain a lot, for which you might want a raincoat, as well.

You know how big office buildings have random columns in them for beams. I had one coworker, who was not the least bit popular on our team, walk in one morning with the biggest Command hook she could buy, slap it on the back of one of those columns where it wouldn’t be visible from the rest of the floor, and hang up her coat. We still didn’t much like her, but we respected her a whole lot more for that.

4. The homework

I had a part-time job during high school in a supermarket, where many students also worked in the evenings and weekends. Students weren’t allowed to do homework in the staff canteen (the only place staff members had available to sit in), either before our shifts started or during breaks, as it “wasn’t restful” for the full-time staff to witness.

5. The wave

At my partner’s call center job, there was a married couple who were both on the phones there. When the wife got up to use the bathroom, she would wave at her husband as she went by his desk. That’s it – just a wave, no chatting. It’s a small room so you basically have to go by everyone to get to the bathroom. The Powers that Be didn’t like her having such a fun time on her way to the bathroom that they wrote her a prescribed route to the bathroom that wouldn’t go near her husband’s desk. You know, so she wouldn’t be stealing from the company by … waving to her husband.

6. The reviews

My last job (small museum) would not let us work in our offices for a period of about 8 months. One person (literally one person) commented on our FB page that the public floor did not have enough staff to assist people. The director flipped out and declared that no one was allowed to work in their office until we had 100% positive feedback. We had to take our laptops out and find a place to sit. I left well before the ban lifted, but one of my coworkers indicated that another person had left a 3-star review shortly after office work was reinstated, and they all had to go back to working on the public floor.

7. The packing tape

I used to work at an org where many staff attended conferences and took display materials for booths, etc. There were a few assistants and we were responsible for packing up materials such as books, leaflets and so forth for shipping to the conference venue. One senior staff member got so annoyed by the sound of scotch tape that we were no longer allowed to pack materials within anyone’s hearing distance, and had to carry all the stuff to send (books are heavy!), packing boxes, tape, etc etc over to the other building, usually requiring multiple trips and making the whole process take three times as long.

8. The spacing

When I worked at a small museum about a decade ago, management’s MO was that any incident had to have a new rule made. At one point we were told that while in the galleries we had to stand two arm-lengths apart, and measure that every time another employee came in the room.

9. The sign-ins

We had to sign in upon arrival or be counted as late. But the log book was in the boss’s office, and she was always late. We were expected to hang around her door until she showed up (instead of getting a jump on the day’s work–we were salaried teachers, so we’d always arrive early). If we showed up before the boss and just started working, we’d be counted late.

10. The vacation time

I used to work for a company where employees accrued vacation days based on months worked … for the following year. What this meant was that your first year, you had zero vacation, absolutely no way to take time off – which sucked for employees. It also meant that anytime an employee left or retired, the company had to pay them out for their unused vacation, which was at least a year’s worth plus whatever they hadn’t used in the current calendar year. So it was a huge financial liability for the company and a headache for the accounting team.

No one liked it – not employees, not managers, not accounting. But the CEO insisted it was the only reasonable vacation policy, and would not hear anything to the contrary.

11. The books

I worked for a publishing company that published a variety of print media. One of the senior managers in the books team implemented a rule that marketing material could not use the word “book” or “books”. So we had to promote the books without saying they were books. Fwiw, this guy was a classic example of the Peter Principle and didn’t have a clue what he was doing.

12. The t-shirts (and also the potatoes)

At my public library we are not allowed to buy t-shirts (for programs, giveaways, etc). The reason? The county finance department defines t-shirts as underwear, and we can’t buy underwear with public funds.

It’s as stupid as it sounds. (And in an interesting twist, the county neither has official control over us nor any of our funding—we get tax dollars directly, and we have our own finance department. But our finance department isn’t blameless either—they refused my request to buy a $4 sack of potatoes for a potato stamp class, on the basis that I might defraud the library and take home leftover potatoes.)

13. The goodbyes

One summer I worked at two retail chains that apparently were really strict about what phrases you used to greet customers and say goodbye. Unfortunately, both these jobs were not strict in the same way– the allowed phrases were different and had no real overlap. One job was a faux-beach cool atmosphere so we had a lot of insufferable phrases we were supposed to use like, “Welcome to the pier!” even though we were in a landlocked midwestern city in the dead of winter. But there were some options that were normal, albeit a bit casual. One of those phrases was, “Have a good one!”

Well, one day I had the audacity to say “Have a good one!” to a client who was leaving at my other retail store. I don’t know if the customer actually complained or if a manager just overheard me, but a few shifts lager I was given A PRINTED LETTER telling me how inappropriate it was of me to have said, “Have a good one!” to a customer and that doing so again would lead to my termination. I clarified that it was just this phrase I used, there was nothing else I had said that contributed to this. They said that “Have a good one” is both a command to the customer and slang and therefore inappropriate to use in the workplace with a customer.

I get that we all have our pet peeves with language, but come on! I’m trying to tell somebody that I hope they have a nice day! And I don’t think that this had been new or groundbreaking slang for at least twenty years when I said it.

14. The scandal

I was one of several temps at a hospital. The break room we were told to use had windows on all four walls. So you could see in, nothing was hidden. I was banned from having the same lunch and break times as another temp. Only the one other temp, who was an 18-year-old male. I was a chubby mid thirties female. Apparently it was unseemly for us to be in the room together at the same time.

15. The departures

This was in a fundraising office of a college. People tended to leave for lunch, and would sometimes leave the office early depending on the schedule for the week (had to work an event that evening, had had a long travel day earlier in the week, etc). We got feedback that people weren’t allowed to leave the building and be seen walking to the parking lot at the same time, because it made it look like (to whom??) we were leaving work to go socialize with each other, which made us look exclusive and lazy.

So, one person would leave … we would watch them from the window … once they reached the parking lot, another person would leave … repeat.

16. The comp time

I once had a salaried job where you would get comp time for coming on time and staying late, but not coming in early and staying until your usual end time. It didn’t matter what your shift was.

This worked out great for the people who worked from 8 am – 4 pm and were quarterly asked to stay until 6 pm. Not so great for me and some others, who regularly worked 10 am – 6 pm, and were quarterly asked to come in at 8 am and stay until our usual 6:00pm.
At the end of the day, we’d all work the same 10 hours. But nope, the policy only gave comp time to those who stayed late.

17. The scam

I worked for a financial services firm that made it a standard practice to lie to financial advisor candidates and tell them that they were interviewing for a regional director job, “but it’s a technicality that you have to spend a little time being a financial advisor at one of our offices first.” There was never a regional director job opening — it was all an act to flatter their egos and get them in the door. My audits with these folks were always very awkward when they would explain condescendingly that I shouldn’t waste too much time on them because they were only here until their REAL job started…

18. The banked leave

I once worked at an office where you accrued leave in dollars. If you were paid $10/hour and had 10 hours of leave, you had $100 banked for leave. If you got a raise, your money banked for leave did NOT increase. If you are now making $11/hour but still have $100 banked for leave, you can now only purchase 9 hours of leave. The owners gave someone a big raise and that person had a lot of hours banked for leave. The worker left right after the raise and the owners never got over the “injustice.”

{ 411 comments… read them below }

  1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

    Leave policies are insane.

    #12 — its potatoes, what could it cost $10? Alternatively, its not like you were asking for guacamole.

    #16 I would talk to a lawyer. Not sure that is legal to determine who got comp time that way.

    1. ragazza*

      To be fair, we don’t know how many organizations might have been brought down by potato fraud.

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        So many potatoes that they needed a potato shed to store them all.

        Luckily Zillow Gone Wild can point out some properties that have room for potato sheds and other types of potato storage.

        1. Kes*

          I mean t-shirts used to be underwear… a century or so ago. I wonder when that rule was written because they sure aren’t considered in underwear I would say in most places now (at least in North America)

          1. doreen*

            I think that depends on the t-shirt – they do still make the thin undershirt kind. But that’s still a dumb rule- I’m sure that wasn’t the type the library would buy.

          2. Michelle Smith*

            Yeah I mean there are still white undershirts that are relatively common for men, but those are very different from the kind 0f t-shirt you’d get from the library giveaway or like…the regular non-undergarment section of the department store.

    2. Angstrom*

      It’s a slippery slope — let them buy a bag of white potatos, and the next thing you know they’re going wild with baby redskins or purples. Can’t be having with that!

      Fotr the potato stamp class, any potatos not used in class could go home with the kids, sparing the library staff from temptation.

      Good grief.

    3. 2 Cents*

      “It’s a banana, what could it cost, Michael? $10?”” (I probably misquoted Job, but still)

      1. Judge Judy and Executioner*

        It was Lucille, the fabulous Jessica Walter.

        There’s always money in the banana stand!

    4. Evil Queen of Dysfunction*

      I worked at a “Food/grocery” distribution center. A manager saw a guy pick a lemon out of a box as he walked off the floor at the end of shift.

      One single lemon.

      The manager let AP know because he didn’t want to get caught in the crossfire.

      When AP went to open his locker, it was FILLED with Lemons. Employee was terminated for theft.

      To this day, we have no idea why.

      1. Lab Boss*

        In my summer camp job, management once went to the cabin where our cook lived for a discussion about some spoiled food- and discovered he was stockpiling dozens and dozens of #10 cans of food (the big food service size ones). I say “food,” but it was about 25% peaches and the rest was canned pudding. I don’t want to know what he was planning.

  2. LCH*

    #3, you said DC so what if you used public transit to get to work? where did the coats go?

    1. OtterB*

      I think OP commented in the original conversation that their office was in the suburbs somewhere and not Metro-accessible. I’m in the DC area also. I’m not fond of our office space, newly renovated to open plan starting just before Covid – sigh – but at least it has coat hooks on the wall and doesn’t try to make everything so tidy that it’s unworkable.

    2. NMitford*

      This was in the suburbs. The office was accessible to public transportation in that there was a bus stop at the entrance of the office park, but everyone drove.

  3. NMitford*

    I’m beyond happy that the lunatic CEO who thought coat racks spoiled her vision of what a perfect office should look like has made the front page of Ask a Manager. She was a trip, and I couldn’t get out of that job fast enough.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Oh man if you’d said it was a WeWork I would have sworn we worked for the same lunatic. We used to have an important work product that we needed, but she felt it ruined our decor and insisted the product always be shut away in a drawer because it was ugly (???).

      1. Slartibartfast*

        I had a veterinary office manager not allow us to keep sharps containers in exam rooms because it cluttered up the counter. Until a rambunctious golden retriever pup snatched two used vaccine syringes from my hand, leaving me holding just the caps. We were allowed to put sharps containers in the cupboard after that.

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      I’m sure there were good reasons why people didn’t care for Ms Command Hook Hanger, but that was a baller move.

      1. Lab Boss*

        I’ve found it’s pretty common for the kind of person who’s unpopular for being rude, abrasive, or disagreeable to get respect for being just as rude and disagreeable but pointing it at some unpopular rule or manager.

    3. Chainsaw Bear*

      I’m so curious if this the org I’m work at now – because all my coworkers who have been there longer have similar horror stories about the coats (and the coaster ban.) We now leave our coats on chairs with abandon under the new CEO.

      1. H3llifIknow*

        “We now leave our coats on chairs with abandon under the new CEO.”

        So the CEO is sitting on everyone’s coats?

        I’m sorry; I was compelled.

    4. Dust Bunny*

      Like . . . just build in a coat room? You just need a narrow room full of hooks like they had in my older elementary schools.

      1. MusicWithRocksIn*

        We had a coat room at my first job. But our fridge and microwave was also in the coat room. We had a fish microwaver and all of our coats got saturated with microwave fish smell.

        1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

          We used to have weekly BBQs even in the winter. One day after tending the grill I had an appointment and after sitting for a while in a warm doctor’s office someone sniffed and said “I can smell BBQ but it’s January.” I had to confess that it was my winter coat infused with pulled pork.

          1. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

            Maybe it’s just me, but I actually prefer BBQ in the winter. Having to keep a hot grill/oven on for ages, it just seems better in the winter.

          2. Abogado Avocado*

            I live in Texas and know people who would buy your winter coat just for that barbecue scent!

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        Except I worked somewhere that put those right in the lobby area. A coworker had her coat stolen from it. (They were less rooms and more alcoves. Anyone could have grabbed a coat coming or going.)

        When the wanted to institute a “no coats on chairs” rule at a different building in the same organization, I followed it for a couple weeks, then stopped, because the coat racks were too far from my desk (but at least not available to all and sundry), and all the hangers would be taken by the early staff, leaving none for those who worked later.

        Ironically, the hangers were the kind you can’t remove. So, it was easier to steal a coworker’s coat than a crappy hanger.

        1. Bronze Betty*

          At a place I worked several decades ago, we had two coat closets: one for smokers, and one for non-smokers. Such a thoughtful idea! I much appreciated my coat not smelling like cigarette smoke. Even though there aren’t as many cigarette smokers now, it would probably be a good idea now, since weed is legal in my state. I don’t want my coat smelling like any kind of smoke. (Except maybe campfire smoke. Maybe.)

          1. Chirpy*

            Oh man, I really wish everywhere would do this. I’m sensitive to smoke (both tobacco and marijuana) and I’ve absolutely had a reaction in my car on the way home if my coat has been hanging next to a smoker’s in the coat room all day.

        2. Rose*

          Snort laughed at “we already have the technology for this.” I seriously cannot imagine how crappy of a design firm this was if they couldn’t figure out a closet.

          My office was recently redone in an obscenely expensive, minimalist style (but no money for raises this year guys, things have been really hard! Every throw pillow cost $200 and there are DOZENS of throw pillows in an office with a need for 0 throw pillows), but still these certified geniuses managed to put closets in.

        3. La Triviata*

          My office has a closet. It was originally supposed to be for coats, but now it’s a storage closet with some hangers in it. Big plastic bins of supplies, piled as high as possible through most of the closet, and only about four feet high where we’re supposed to hang our coats. When it rains, coats would drip on the supplies. The rest of the time, we’d have to wrestle coats free from the supply bins.

        4. MCMonkeyBean*

          In my old office our cubicles had tiny individual coat closets and I honestly loved them. I was so sad when we moved to a different floor and we got to vote on what kind of desks they would set up and most people voted to eliminate the tiny coat closets in favor of more desk space.

          (Then we moved again and they went with an open office space so now I work from home and my coats all live in the coat closet… and ok lets be honest also on several chairs lol)

      3. M2RB*

        No, thank you! I don’t want my unscented coat picking up cigarette smoke, laundry detergent/fabric softener, perfume, or any other smells that will have me sneezing every time I wear the dang thing. I am so sensitive to smells that I can’t use the fabric napkins & dish towels that my coworker washes in scented laundry detergent.

        1. Freya*

          I have my own self-provided tissue box at work for the simple reason that tissues are useless if they set off your allergies. And all the expensive, “nice” ones set off my allergies (sneezing, drippy nose, and dermatitis, in my case). So boss buys nice ones for the office and I bring my own – it’s cheaper to just add another box to my groceries than the cost of my time to explain exactly what I need (especially since what I need is one of the cheapest ones at my local supermarket…)

    5. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’ve worked at a place with similar “perfect office” aspirations, and can’t believe the health and safety hazard this led to never came up once in my years there (because the groundbreaking minimalist design shelving unit only had one row reserved for 80+ people’s bags, and since personal belongings at our desks weren’t allowed to keep the open plan tidy, a lot of bags ended up on the floor all day).

      We did have coat racks at that office! Though I’m very not surprised to hear there’s a workplace that banned them for similar reasons.

    6. Easypeazymacncheesy*

      We also had a new fancy building, no outside shoes but not enough shoe space and must hang coats in specific area. But worst was that they didn’t put trash bins in the ladies room stalls. They wanted us to carry used sanitary products to the one trash bin next to sinks and were so mad people complained. Eventually they did add bins. They also didn’t like that when the sun shined bright into the office we wanted shades so we could see. They wanted the natural light.

    7. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Possibly a unsubstantiated internet rumor: Wasn’t there a big tech company that had put up a bunch of glass walls that employees kept running into (amd getting some serious injuries)?

      When the employees found a cheap solution (put up some sticky notes so the walls are more obvious), management forced them to take down the notes…because aesthetics are more important than preventing employee injuries.

        1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

          Huh. I wonder if that’s why so many stock photos of office scenarios have people using glass walls as sticky-note holders and whiteboards.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I blame movies. It’s always super dramatic to have a shot through the glass wall of the eccentric genius writing mathematical equations on that wall in marker. It’s actually really difficult to read things written on glass depending on what’s on the other side (thus the purpose of a WHITEboard), but movies love to have geniuses and crazy people writing on the walls.

            Sort of like how they love to have scrolling green text reflected in eyeglasses to signify hacking, despite the fact that a) all the text would have to be written backward on the monitor to be forward in the eyeglasses, and b) I have no idea the purpose of the steady-speed-scrolling.

            1. HG*

              I briefly contracted at a company where people wrote in marker on the windows of their high-rias if they were whiteboards. It looked sloppy and was hard to readbut also the kind of eccentric I think they were going for.

            2. HG*

              I briefly contracted at a company where one group of people wrote in marker on the windows of their high-rise office as if they were whiteboards. It looked sloppy and was hard to read but was also the kind of eccentric I think they were going for.

            3. Lab Boss*

              weird little aside: I went to a tiny, poor high school but they had somehow had the brilliant idea to have all the classroom walls surfaced totally in whiteboard material, enabling at least no space restrictions and at best some very creative use of the space for notes and diagrams. I now work at a large multinational company and have yet to see such a simple but brilliant thing.

              1. PresidentBob*

                I’m a substitute teacher and many of the classrooms I work in have walls of whiteboards (whether by room design or the teacher adding them around). For this, and other signs of, they seem to be some of the better classrooms I work in. Some of the space is just left for student creativity, so you have drawings and other things. Doodles, jokes, etc. Creates a great atmosphere.

              2. Nerfmobile*

                My large multinational company does have whiteboard walls in some offices – and we have for the past decade or so. I love them, and just wish we had more.

            4. JustaTech*

              Our office compromised with glass panels against blank white walls, so you get the “modern” look of writing on glass but at least you can see it.

              Totally fine until one of those offices had to be used as a storage room, and one day someone shoved a cart or a rack or the door or something into the glass whiteboard. Which then slowly shattered and then there was glass everywhere that had to be cleaned up.

      1. Impending Heat Dome*

        I worked at a Marshalls that had/has a glass wall on either side of the entrance. When it was installed, at least once a week we would hear a loud BOOONNNNNNGGGG, and see someone staggering back and rubbing their face because they walked into the glass. The store’s solution was to have the window designer carefully apply a perfectly straight stripe of Marshalls-blue colored electrical tape horizontally along the glass, so that it broke up the field of vision, while also looking like it was an intentional design choice. It worked!

        I think later, the company sent a crew to actually apply paint or an applique that did the same job as the tape, but kudos to the store management for thinking on their feet.

      2. PresidentBob*

        Continuing the “aesthetics over practicality”:
        At my old movie theatre job, my awesome boss (who I’ve talked about in other threads) put in bank line stanchions in our concessions area. We already had it in box office and decided to see if it could make concessions flow smoother as it’s often a cluster of murky lines, with people getting caught behind slow transactions (whether it be what’s being bought or slow customers, etc). For a few months he (and us giving input) worked out ways to make it work, like how to make the line, if to always use it, possibility of “express lines” (popcorn and/or drink only). It worked like gangbusters. Customers loved it and so did the staff (easier to step away from a register if you don’t have a giant line only for you). Times went down, sales went up, all the good.
        We got new corporate overlords who set up a ton of crappy policies, but one of them was “a cleaner look”. So removal of all stanchions, from concessions and box office because “it looked messy when we weren’t busy”. It became a total cluster again. They also removed nearly all signage. Signs pointing the way to the to the bathrooms? Gone. What floor you were on? Gone. The new signs in consessions and box office meant to look cleaner were also hard to read and bland. It was terrible. But it all looked “cleaner” when we weren’t busy but a total mess when we were.

    8. Artemesia*

      We once toured a stunning house that was set in a woods with lovely views from every window — we could afford it. I really wanted it. It as like a Pacific Northwest House in the south and so a rare find. BUT there were pretty much no closets at all. There was no way a normal family that wears clothes could have lived in it without figuring out how to build in closets or have wardrobes brought in. Just not practical. But my it was beautiful and I so wanted it.

      1. AFac*

        Every place I lived when I was on the East Coast was a single family house that got remodeled into a multi-family house. There were never enough closets and those that were there were tiny. Many of the houses were 60-100 years old and I guess they didn’t need large closets back then?

        1. Chirpy*

          It’s mainly because people just had way less stuff and closets were expensive to install, but some locations taxed by the number of rooms, and closets counted as rooms. Plus, a fancy wardrobe becomes another piece of furniture to show off.

          1. KateM*

            Haha, I recently heard people talking how here the tax used to go by “livable area” meaning the bedrooms and living rooms etc, but not kitchen and hall, for example, and the complaint was that that’s why they had in their house tiny rooms but huge halls and long corridors. But now tax is on all area but ads tend to stress the size of rooms, so that’s why our newer house has as big rooms and as small additional space as possible, and no closets at all.

      2. Christine*

        My childhood home was always neat and clean because it was built with a literal ton of storage. Pantry and bar and lots of cupboards in the kitchen. Two utility closets. A full-wall build-in for the dining room. And on and on and on.
        I live in a small old house with little storage space. If I ever buy another house, storage is non negotiable.

      3. amoeba*

        Huh, once again I learned something new about US vs. Europe – we do sometimes have a built-in closet or two, but in general, it’s not a huge thing, you just have wardrobes and cupboards for storage! Is it standard in the US to not need those because you typically have closets everywhere?

        1. Julian*

          In my experience, we have dressers but they’re not the huge wardrobes I see on TV (though I’ll be honest, im 99% basing this on The Chronicles of Narnia.) Bedrooms closets typically have clothes, linens, and in my case various storage. I have two closets in the master bedroom, but I’m single, so I use the second for my collections and old paintings.

          I use the dresser for clothes that don’t have to be hung up.

        2. MourningStar*

          I’ve lived in both. In the US zoning laws in some areas require a room to have access to a built in closet. Then 1900s saw the rise of closets in America, but in newer built homes, especially post-WW2, is when the closet became almost universally ubiquitous. As so much housing in Europe is earlier than the 1900s, people tend to own wardrobes. Due to that, even newer built housing doesn’t always feature built in closets as people don’t need them – they bring their storage with them.
          Thank you for coming to my clothing storage Ted Talk.

          1. Hydrangea MacDuff*

            In our area, a bedroom has to have a built in closet and an egress window (to be advertised as a bedroom for renting or sale). In our college town this leads to some odd arrangements with “built in” closets that are closet systems just, like, installed on a wall

      4. Princess Sparklepony*

        You’d be surprised where you can fit in a closet! My 500 sq ft studio apartment now has a walk in closet in the “dining foyer.” So far, no one has missed the foyer dining.

    9. Nemo*

      For a couple years of college, I lived in brand-new dorms that deliberately didn’t have clocks in them. Common rooms, bedrooms, lounges, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry room, basement storage, literally the entire building complex was clock-free. Apparently the prestigious architect wanted his dorms to be a place of peace and relaxation, and somehow that involved making it impossible for young adults with classes in need of attending to know what time it was. It was a little satisfying that cellphones reached ubiquity only a few years later and his precious “timeless” space became filled with more timekeeping than he could possibly have imagined.

      1. La Triviata*

        My college had a dorm by a famous architect who had copyrighted the design, so photos were forbidden. There was, for a while, a thriving source of cash for students posing in front of the building so visitors could photograph them in front of the building without violating copyright.

        Residents of that dorm once had t-shirts printed up with a stylized image of the dorm on them with the copyright notation at one end. The notation, of course, ended right where most of the girls’ breasts were, leading to one person looking at it and asking who designed the other one.

    10. buddleia*

      Sounds like the CEO was a sad beige CEO like the sad beige moms on TikTok. Or maybe she WAS a sad beige mom on TikTok which would explain a lot…

    11. Brain the Brian*

      We are also not supposed to leave our coats out in the open where people can see them at my office. But our cubicles each have a mini wardrobe where we can hang coats, put backpacks and valuables, etc. A good solution, in my view.

  4. Can't spell 'Who Cares' Without HR*

    #10 –in my country, that’s actually what labor law requires: you have to work for 12 months to accrue vacation time you can take in the next 12-month period. And if you leave the job, you have to be paid for any unused vacation days

    1. BubbleTea*

      Do people seriously not get any time off for the first year? That’s bananacrackers.

      1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

        Up until my last two jobs (so, the past 5 years), I didn’t have any vacation/PTO/sick the first year I worked at my jobs (so, three jobs in 18 years). I’m still kind of in awe at jobs that offer any kind of time off the first year- if I switch jobs, I just assume I’m not getting any time off for a year and don’t expect it.

        1. ThatGirl*

          That’s wild. Even at my very first job where I only had 10 PTO days a year (including sick time), I was still able to take time off after the first three months.

        2. SometimesCharlotte*

          This was pretty much the standard even in the US. Everyplace I worked – office jobs with large companies – not retail, small businesses, etc. – you accrued vacation all year long and on your anniversary, you were able to access it. My last job (which surprisingly was retail) had a change while I was there to allow us to take the time as we earned it and the place I am now (academia) allows this. But every other job I’d had in the previous 25 years, we got the accrued vacation on our anniversary. And all my friends companies were the same way.

          1. Freya*

            In Australia, all permanent employees are supposed to accrue leave with every pay, and be able to access it from the moment you accrue it (if you need to). I mean, are you meant to just never get sick or take a rest in your first year of a job?

            1. Jopestus*

              At least here in finland sick days do not count as vacation or leave. You are simply sick and stay at home.

            2. Cactus_Song*

              In every job I’ve worked at in the US, this is how it’s been. You accrue time per paycheck and can use it once it’s accrued; you don’t have to wait a year before taking a day off. Some companies even allow you to take time off you haven’t technically earned yet, so you’re technically in vacation “debt.” That just means if you leave while being in vacation debt, they’ll deduct that from your final paycheck. That’s been my experience working in California, Massachusetts and Florida.

      2. Still*

        I don’t know what country this is but my guess would be that you’re still entitled to take time off, it’s just unpaid, with the understanding that you’ll fund it with the unused vacation money from the previous job. So after the first year of your career you should be fine as long as you’re continuously employed. Am I right?

        1. Strict Extension*

          I was in a job with no PTO the first year in the U.S., and we had no entitlement to any unpaid time off, although we could ask. At this particular job, I was always approved because the managers weren’t monsters or anything, but there was nothing that stopped them from saying no, and if the request for unpaid time off was too onerous, there wouldn’t have been anything keeping them from saying things weren’t working out and firing someone. There was also no legal requirement to pay out unused PTO at the end of employment and it was internal policy not to, so there would have been no reasoning that you were funding unpaid PTO from your previous job’s payout. The expectation was just that you would work it out or not ask. Most people would only ask for time off for unavoidable appointments and work a shift at a different time, since the business was open many more hours than a single person would work in a week.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            If this was retail or food service, it doesn’t surprise me. Definitely not the standard for office jobs in the US.

            1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

              The above was basically how I worked for my first three jobs- one retail, two office. Honestly, PTO/vacation/sick time is so confusing that when I get a new job, I just assume I’m not using any of it for the first year and after that, I use it sparingly. This current job had policies that were so out of the norm that I convinced them to change it (yay getting into a position where my opinion matters!) and now we have a very simple PTO policy.

              1. Bitte Meddler*

                At my second-to-last job, I assumed that I couldn’t / ought not to take PTO in my first year.

                Which is how I ended up taking most of December and the first 1.5 weeks of January off at the end of that first year.

                In early December, my boss asked what my holiday plans were. I said I didn’t have any and, besides, there was a ton of work to do with deadlines looming. He pointed out that the company’s PTO policy was use-it-or-lose-it, so I had to scramble to come up with days to take off that didn’t interfere with a couple of key projects.

                He and our VP were kind enough to look the other way when I used up the rest of my PTO in January.

                1. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

                  At last job, where I finally got PTO in my first year, my boss informed me the day I was hired that I had 6 days of PTO and I WOULD be taking them before the end of the year. This was in July. So, you know, they weren’t coy about it. ;)

                2. Petty_Boop*

                  In the Federal Civilian service (GS) we have until January 14th to take our annual “use or lose” leave, so that’s nice.

      3. Retired at last*

        That’s normal here – labour laws require employers to give a minimum of 2 weeks vacation “after” the first year, going up to 3 weeks after 5 years. Unused vacation time must be paid out when someone leaves. Proper accounting is for the employer to accrue accumulated vacation time as a liability, but, especially with hourly employees, it’s common for it to be paid on every paycheque (the employee has to agree to that) – it makes sense from the employer’s point of view, but I suspect a lot of people spend their vacation money as they go and then can’t afford to take time off.
        That said, many companies look at the vacation time as accruing with every pay period and are willing to be a little bit flexible about a few days off in the first year.

      4. Chocoholic*

        I’ve worked 2 places where people had to wait a year to get paid vacation time. One was a manufacturing company and one was a nursing home. Add to that after 1 year, the factory floor employees only got 5 days, and I think it was similar for C.N.As as well – I don’t recall if nurses got more after a year. Crazy!

      5. Lenora Rose*

        It’s how it works at my job now, though it’s based on the fiscal year rather than the actual year since you were hired (So after starting officially in January, I had 8 days to use from July onward, not 15). You also have 1 extra discretionary day you can spend no questions asked that doesn’t get included in the total, most roles have “Family emergency” days for sick kids, and sick leave time accrues from day one. I have to admit, I didn’t really notice the lack of vacation January-to-June and didn’t use the discretionary day until the last couple of weeks, and mainly because it was use-it-or-lose-it.

        (Before that I was in a temp style role with no official paid time off at all, since the role tended to move around for many — but I could arrange unpaid time without needing any special signed permissions to avoid overlaps.)

      6. Schrodinger's biologist*

        Not sure if it’s the same country, but here we get five weeks off, but only paid for them based on the previous calendar year. My employer let me borrow two paid weeks from a future year in my first year, and since I was coming from the US then I wasn’t sure what to do with all of the extra time anyway. Sick leave the first 3(?) months needed a doctor’s note; now I can take up to 8 days in a row on my own decision, and 24 days per year -after that I would need a doctor’s note for more paid sick leave.

      7. Been There*

        There are solutions in my country for situations where you don’t have any paid leave: youth leave for new graduates or leave paid out of your vacation money next year (vacation money is a % of your salary you get paid extra in May/June to afford going on vacation).

    2. M2RB*

      I am a little horrified at all the responses where people don’t have access to time off during their first year of employment.

      Granted, I’m an accountant, so in the “professional”/desk jockey/white-collar workforce, where I work 8-5 or 9-6 with an unpaid lunch hour. I can certainly understand having to wait 30 or even 90 days to take time off, but no way in hell am I waiting a whole year to take any time off – I don’t work a shift schedule where I could switch a day to go to appointments. And I wouldn’t take a job at a company that didn’t allow time off during the first year, either (again, I am in an area of the country and in a field where I have lots of job options).

      1. Miss Chanandler Bong*

        Same. I’m also an accountant, and PTO is a major consideration in which job to take. Not to mention, in the state where I live, we’re required to have paid sick time if we’re a full time employee and our company size is over I believe 20 employees. So most of these policies wouldn’t even be legal where I live.

    3. Donkey Hotey*

      This was the standard at my last job (in the US, for the record). No paid vacation for the first year and no paid sick time for the first six months. Their “logic” was that if they have people PTO at the beginning, they would quit within the first year and get extra money.

      1. Bagpuss*

        I’m in the UK, and here, any accrued but untalented statutory leave has to be paid out when someone leaves, and of an employee has taken more leave than they have accrued, the value is deducted from their final paypacket, so no-one gets extra money even if they leave in the first year.
        The first year is also the only time an employer can require that PTO is accrued before being taken

    4. Librarian Beyond the Shelves We Know*

      I’m in the US, and every job I had for the first 20 working years of my life had this policy. It wasn’t until I got an advanced degree and moved into academia that this changed. All of my jobs were office jobs. All required a bachelor’s degree.

      My last one with this policy? I left in a priceless way. I had been extremely ill the previous fiscal year, so my hours weren’t 100%. I didn’t think anything of it since we usually worked shorter hours in the summer anyway. The woman in charge of pay considered shorting my vacation time for the next FY, but my boss fought her on it. (The accounting person and I didn’t always see eye to eye.)

      I didn’t know this even happened until a colleague in that office told me that I was super lucky to get full vacation time for the upcoming year (when I was complaining that no one got raises… Again.) I was considering quitting to focus on my health and was able to make that decision a few weeks into the new FY. I didn’t realize that my state required payout of vacation time, so I had a nice bonus a few weeks after my last day when a larger-than-expected paycheck was deposited.

      1. amoeba*

        But doesn’t the accrued leave at least carry between jobs in Belgium? So, it happens once to you in your first job in the country, but then not every time you change jobs? That’s how I understood it back when I applied there, at least…

        1. Been There*

          It gets paid out when you leave a job. So it’s “unpaid” leave in your next job in that you’ve already received that money.

          1. amoeba*

            Yeah, I got that here, but as far as I know it’s actually not that way in Belgium, that’s why I asked… from what I’ve read, your PTO gets calculated every year based on the number of days you worked the day before, no matter for which employer. (But I could be wrong! I never ended up working there, much less change jobs…)

            1. Been There*

              The number of legal days off you get is calculated based on what you worked the year before (no matter the employer), but if you switch employers those days off will be unpaid. And it gets even more complicated if you switch between the public and private sector.

      2. BYR*

        Not sure this is true for every sector?

        I live in Belgium and started working at the beginning of october ’23 for a government department. I started with a three month contract (never worked before) and I could use three paid vacation days during that time. (Contract is prolonged with a year and for 2024 I have 15 days; while working at 50%)

        and also, when one gets sick and brings in a doctor’s note (healthcare differs here, going to your gp is not expensive and is rather easy, though there are areas where there is a shortness of gps), you get paid sick leave right from the start. I personally haven’t become ill during work days so far (knock on wood), but a colleague has and she had no trouble being absent from work for 2 days because of illness.

  5. Indigo64*

    I also had an office with no coat rack! Except I live in Minneapolis. Fortunately (unfortunately?) we never completely moved in the space due to the pandemic, so we never had to endure the chaos of coats and boots everywhere.

    1. Ranon*

      Office space in Minneapolis without a plan for coats is bananas. We have big coats here!

  6. RabbitRabbit*

    #1 = You get free legal pads for use at home, so sneak them out en masse whenever possible.

    1. Festively Dressed Earl*

      Whenever that boss goes OOO, I hope the local public schools suddenly get a legal pad windfall.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Tear off the top sheet to take with you, write it on the second sheet, for extra wild reaction?

  7. Working Class Lady*

    Yet more evidence that upper management/CEOs have way too much idle time & are a drain on thr company budget.

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      I was just thinking that I wish I had the kind of time and mental bandwidth to every have something as trivial as coat rack appearance and legal pad color make the list of things I cared about! I would use my time more wisely, of course, but oh to have that kind of time.

  8. Festively Dressed Earl*

    #13 reminds me of a short-lived high school job as a restaurant hostess. My supervisor forbade us from using “party” to refer to a group of people waiting for a table, because they thought it gave the impression that guests were coming to the restaurant to have a wild, loud, drunken time.

    1. ENFP in Texas*

      I bet they would have had fun at a legal office, writing up contracts!

      “The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part.”

      1. Pie Fight*

        “Look, why can’t the first part of the second party be the second part of the first party? Then-a you got something!”

    2. Vio*

      There was a (thankfully short-lived) instruction at my old retail job to never refer to customers as “customers” and only use words like “friends” or “guests”. Most of us tried our best to refrain from referring to them at all since it was an insane idea, but our assistant manager went into it whole heartedly and freaked out a fair few customers.

      1. Calpurrnia*

        A friend of mine was telling me something similar about a past retail job! She said policy was to refer to all customers as “guests”, which led to everyone using “customer” internally as code for the… unpleasant sort.

        1. Starbuck*

          Yeah, my friend who worked at Target had the same policy – never customers, only guests.

          1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

            Maybe that’s why people feel so comfortable bringing dogs into my local Target.

            (Yes, there are signs on the door asking them not to, with the exception of service animals.)

        2. Cathie from Canada*

          A local plumbing store answers phones with this “Good morning, this is Teapot Plumbing. How can I make your day awesome?”
          Somehow, merely asking them to send someone to fix a toilet doesn’t seem to be a sufficiently-important answer.

          1. don'tbeadork*

            Oh, I don’t know. If my toilet doesn’t work and I really need to use the facilities then yes, you can make my day awesome by fixing my toilet (or stopping my leaky faucet or just changing out my outside tap after the dogs ate it).

            1. Enai*

              Now I want to read the story of the dogs eating the outside tap. I have known a couple of dogs capable of eating almost anything, but isn’t a tap basically just a hunk of metal? I’d expect it to be completely inedible in the way large rocks are, not just the way shoes are inedible, which may still be chewed up and swallowed by a sufficiently determined dog. (Please insert the most confused emoticon you can imagine here)

              1. Britpoptarts*

                A dog-loving friend of mine who tends to prefer very large breeds told me that one of her Very Enormous Hounds once ate huge swaths of vinyl siding off the side of her rental house, and it was the opposite of fun trying to explain that to the landlord. Vinyl Siding! OMG.

                I had a much smaller dog growing up (a beagle) who also ate pretty much anything not nailed down (and huge sq.ft.-ages of carpet, which actually was nailed down). I suspect she’d have eaten the cat if the cat held still long enough.

                As an adult, I have determined that I cannot afford a hound.

              2. Paul Z*

                My parents’ old dog used to chew on rocks all the time. As a result, her teeth weren’t in great shape. She was… kind of simple. The only dog I’ve ever known who couldn’t figure out how to play hide-and-seek, or how to pick up a Frisbee off the ground, or why she sometimes got zapped when she walked too close to the edge of the property (they had an invisible fence system), or many other things that you would expect a dog to be able to do. I could absolutely see her trying to eat an outdoor tap.

      2. So much Bannanas*

        I could tolerate Guests. But I would cringe calling customers “friends”. I’m not your friend buddy.

        1. Rose*

          Same. I always find it wildly condescending. Like… do you think I’m so socially maladjusted that I really want the person selling me my jeans to think of me as a friend? Or just so dumb that if you tell me we’re friends I’ll believe you, and then presumably spend more money on your store?

      3. Bronze Betty*

        At my old retail job for a major retail chain, employees were not referred to as “employees.” Oh, no, we were “associates.” I am not sure why the company decided “employee” was just not a good word.

      4. MigraineMonth*

        For some reason, management in my organization wants us to refer to our clients as “consumers.” I have no idea why.

      5. RLC*

        Worked for a government agency that used the terminology “internal customers” aka colleagues and “external customers” aka the public.

  9. Brain the Brian*

    One imagines that it might have been the theft — rather than the locks — that were creating distrust between employees. How much do we bet that the manager who banned locks on breakroom lockers had a private office with a locking door?

        1. Personal Best in Consecutive Days Lived*

          Me too. I immediately thought the person behind this policy is the thief.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        That didn’t occur to me but it’s about the only way it makes any sense.

        I thought the manager was the type who just objected to things coming to light, like she didn’t care if people stole, but putting locks on lockers drew attention to it, so that was the problem.

      2. Enai*

        Both? They were the thief and the private office enabled their thievery bevause they could hide the ill-gotten goods there?

    1. Roland*

      Oh no, you see the problem isn’t the mistrust itself, it’s the “visual representation of mistrust between colleagues”. Theft is fine because it’s not a visual representation… eyeroll

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Right, sorry. The same reason companies can get away with wage theft so easily: it’s not easily seen.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        Exactly! It’s not the hazardous conditions at the job site that’s the real problem, it’s the fact that Bill showing up with his prosthetic foot keeps *reminding* everyone of those dangers.

    2. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      We had lockers but not allowed locks because management wanted access to lockers “in case of emergency”. Naturally, theft was rampant and no one left anything of value. Most people wore pants with pockets to hide phones and wallets. And of course management had offices with locking doors.

      1. Boof*

        The answer is to have lockers with some kind of master key if management things they might need access for like, urgent inspections (?)
        If theft continues then whoever has master key is highly suspect… also maybe do some security cameras? (if the lockers can be in a non-changing area anyway)
        Seriously IDK why this especially bothers me over, not having a secure place to store things like wallets etc is terrible.

      2. SimonTheGreyWarden*

        In the days of flip phones, I would store mine in my bra on silent for my shift rather than leave it in a locker in the breakroom, and only ever took my ID and debit card in with me so I could keep them in my pocket.

  10. Scott*

    I am continually astounded by stories on this blog and the insane things people endure for the sake of their job.

    1. Ally McBeal*

      Dontcha just love the fact that your ability to see a doctor is dependent on whether or not you have a job? It’s definitely for sure MY favorite part of late stage capitalism!!

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Not trying to derail, but I recently spent 2 weeks trying to get a medication refill. The prescription was written for a 30 day supply with 3 refills, but my employer-provided health insurance decided not to pay for the third refill; they wanted a new prescription for 90 days (for efficiency).

        Thanks to this policy and overall crap communication, I made 20+ calls to multiple pharmacies and my doctor’s office over a two week period, ended up going off of a needed medication for almost a week, and a couple weeks later am still in a great deal of pain as a result. So efficient!

        1. Enai*

          Hooray! I bet it has done wonders for your all-important productivity, too! I know I always work better when continually distracted by the agonies!

          (Imagine this said in the most bitterly sarcastic tone ever. I actually think that was a horrid thing they did to you and I hope the pain eases soon)

        2. JustaTech*

          Yeah, my insurance periodically tries to get me to do mail-order prescriptions with a 90 day supply.
          Which is, as best as I can tell, illegal for controlled substances.
          So I ask “Is this legal?” and the person from the insurance company checks “Oh, no.”
          “Can you please make a note to stop calling me about this, then?”

          It’s all so dang Puritanical.

    2. Laser99*

      As Alison has pointed out, all it takes to become a boss is the ability to access certain goods and services. There should be an entrance exam, I’ve worked for people who you wouldn’t have run a lemonade stand.

    1. Vio*

      I have found a simple phrase that explains pretty much anything. Any question at all, it can probably answer it.
      PAW People Are Weird.

      Mostly we’re weird in good ways but those tend not to make sites like this…

        1. Britpoptarts*

          Now I am remembering that scene from The Jerk about the heinous cat juggler, Pig-Eye Johnson. Oh the humanity! Good Lord – I’ve heard about this – cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Good. Father, could there be a God that would let this happen?

  11. CommanderBanana*

    I don’t know why, but #11 really gets me.
    Also, anyone who came up with any of the policies people shared needs to be yeeted into the sun.

    1. pandop*

      Having worked in academic library acquisitions for a long time (I’ve escaped to cataloguing now) I have been on the receiving end of policies implemented by numpties like that.

  12. VaguelySpecific*

    I once had a grand boss who had my boss tell everyone in our group that more than one of us shouldn’t be walking together to get somewhere, because apparently us walking together made it look like we didn’t have enough to do.

    The real kicker…the two guys he saw walking together that triggered the comment were both going to help the grand boss move some furniture in his office (BY REQUEST OF SAID GRAND BOSS).

    This same grand boss would freak if any of his grand employees would email about him directly. He would actually forward the emails to my boss asking why us “peons” (well, he didn’t use that word) were emailing him instead of telling our boss to ask the grand boss a question.

    Completely bananapants AF

    1. A Non Mouse*

      Yeah 15 reminded me of a job where I was an intern which had a coffee shop across the street that most of the employees would go to, in groups, at various times of the day. One day I went along with a couple of interns and when we got back our manager (who wasn’t very competent in general) was incensed that we had done this, because ‘the CEO might walk by and see you weren’t there’. I refrained from pointing out that a) the CEO never came into that part of the office, b) there were any number of reasons why we might not be at our desks at any given moment, such as being in the bathroom, in a meeting or discussing a work issue with a colleague, and c) I very much doubt the CEO would have cared that the interns got along well enough to go get coffee together.
      I do not miss working there.

    2. Boof*

      The walking part is bananas
      The email part… well as someone who is drowning in lot of inbox messages, probably 50+% that are spam or not something that actually requires me to look at, I think is a little more understandable. But there’s a right way to push back on it and a wrong way.

      1. VaguelySpecific*

        Yeah…my boss probably should not have forwarded me the email where the grand boss said that either! Lol

  13. Artemesia*

    Yellow notepads. I worked at a college that merged into a larger university and our former President was not Dean of the new merged college. The Chancellor of the University apparently used blue carbons and this was a thing that ONLY the Chancellor did, so if you got a blue carbon you knew it was from on high. But of course noone knew that in the merged college.

    So the Dean always a penny pincher found a closet full of carbon sets and decreed that they must be used up before we started xeroxing copies of memos and such. THey were blue. He had no idea.

    The kerfuffle was hilarious to see. You would have thought an insurrection was afoot. (it didn’t help that there was some ill feeling in the merged entities)

  14. Dust Bunny*

    I’ve worked some kinda dumb places but none of them were anywhere near this dumb, thank goodness.

  15. Juicebox Hero*

    My workplace is dysfunctional AF, so I love these columns that make it seem normal by comparison.

    1. LCH*

      i’ve had some really terrible policies and managers, and it is always disturbing how much worse it could get.

  16. Hotdog not dog*

    At my current job we are not allowed to hold the door for each other, because they use our pass card swipes to keep track of attendance.
    In our location, every one of us is salaried, so it’s just to enforce the butts in seats policy, not to accurately keep time for payroll purposes.
    We also have a team that is client facing, so it gets awkward if a client tries to hold a door and we have to ask them not to- and even worse if someone slams the door shut behind themselves, leaving a stunned client in the corridor. (The obvious side effect of the door swipe policy is that we all picked up the habit of pulling the door closed behind ourselves to minimize the time before the latch resets so the next person can swipe).

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I worked somewhere that had a similar swiping policy, but it was a security measure, as we had government contracts and were big enough that not all staff knew each other and if they were allowed in the work area. (Working there alone didn’t mean you could go everywhere.)

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        Nope, not for security at all. The doors lock with a physical key, the swipe cards were installed when they decided we needed a way to document how many days a week we are in person. There is a button to press if you want to come in but don’t have a card. Literally the only thing the cards do is collect data.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          People strongly suspected that the card data was also being gathered for nefarious purposes, but I left before I knew for certain. And you didn’t have to swipe to leave.

          1. Starbuck*

            It could possibly be an insurance requirement? Or in the case of an emergency to be able to quickly and easily account for who should be there. With variable schedules, if someone needed a building headcount the day-of it’s probably the best option. It definitely sounds like mostly a bad attendance policy though.

      2. MI Dawn*

        Yeah, our IDs let us in doors and track who is there, but are also security measures. I can only get onto the floors within the building that my ID is programmed for. Several areas within the building are “off limits” and my ID won’t even open those doors.

        Visitors have to sign in at the security desk and get a temp ID; they must be accompanied at all times by an employee (even to the bathroom door, though not inside it).

        However, we do work with a lot of sensitive data, so the measures make sense to me.

      3. Leandra*

        Long ago I heard that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has scales in the floor outside its keycard-access entrances. To prevent an intruder from entering right behind an authorized employee, by holding a gun or a knife in the employee’s back.

        1. Llama lamma workplace drama*

          my ex husband worked at the IRS in the data entry department and they had scales. He was a large man and they had to mark his employee account in such a way that the scale wouldn’t say ‘one at a time’.

        2. JustaTech*

          My husband used to occasionally work at a data center that had a “man trap” that would not only not let you in if you didn’t have a badge to swipe but would actually contain you in this glass box thing if there was something wrong.
          It was a bit intense.

      4. AnnonForThis*

        I worked somewhere that it became a security measure too. A co-worker went off his meds, and I don’t know exactly what happened (I don’t think anyone was hurt), but after that, there was a strict “no tailgating” rule.

    2. gsa*

      A lot of companies are trying to determine who/how many are actually coming to the office so they can make sure they are not over-leasing office space.

      My wife’s division is responsible for this at her company.

      It is important data to have.

      1. Bitte Meddler*

        At my last company, the new CEO tightened the WFH rules and got Big Mad when he heard that some of his executives were still operating under the “We hired adults to do professional jobs, so why don’t we just trust them to do their jobs?” principle.

        So he tightened the policy to Draconian levels, threatened everyone from the C-suite down with termination if they weren’t in the building [that the company owned, not leased] four days a week for a minimum of 9 hours a day.

        And, to enforce it, he installed badge readers on the inside of the building. There were already badge readers on the outside of the building for security (the badges unlocked the doors), but being forced to badge out was nothing but pure micromanagement tyranny.

    3. I'm just here for the cats!*

      Can’t you still badge if the door is open? We had a similar policy, but for security purposes. But when we would go from one area to another for training, it was customary for someone to badge in, open and hold the door and let everyone else badge in. The door didn’t close.

      1. anon24*

        Also worked at a job like that for a few months. Everyone had to badge in and out of every single door in the entire building (bathrooms excluded). It was customary when starting and ending the day for one person to hold the door for the entire department who would line up and just scan badges as we filed by.

  17. Dulcinea47*

    THIS kind of stuff. Is stuff that would make me rage quit instantly. Absolute nonsense.

  18. The Terrible Tom*

    #5 The Wave just absolutely kills me. I would 100% wave to spouse in this circumstance, but having my waving prohibited would only bring us closer together as we ROFLed over the sheer absurdity of it all.

    1. Ama*

      Something tells me the wave only existed because at some point they were cautioned that they shouldn’t be seen chatting with each other since they were married or some such nonsense.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      I would have volunteered to walk by and flash a card that said, “[Wife] says ‘hi’!”

      1. Jam on Toast*

        This is a moment made for malicious compliance. You told me I couldn’t wave at my spouse, but you didn’t say anything about other gestures. So when I need to visit the washroom, I’ll shoot Finger guns at my spouse. Shake Jazz Hands! Rub my tummy and pat my head. Put my left foot in and shake it all about.

        1. Seashell*

          All those would be hysterical, but the poor wife was forced to take another route to the bathroom.

      2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Or start passing notes down the chain, like in grade school. Regardless of the route, the note would make it to the spouse!!

        (Also, the “management” at that place sounds like a ridiculous set of humans).

        1. LCH*

          from what i’ve heard secondhand from family who worked in call centers, yes, management at those places are usually bananas. either they are, or became so because of the policies sent down from higher up.

    3. Wilbur*

      I think you have to switch to a grand tour of the office-shake every hand, kiss every baby, etc when you have to use the bathroom.

    4. Bitte Meddler*

      I worked in IT inside sales once. Not in a call center, but maybe a step or two up from one.

      My manager from that job is at the top of my list of all-time worst / most trauma-inducing managers.

      She overheard me on a call with a prospect and we were having a good conversation. In between talking business, he said something funny and I laughed.

      When I got off the call, she walked over and told me that we weren’t hired to *have fun* and told me to shut it down.

      Like, it’s sales? Where you’re supposed to form a connection with the person you are asking to spend $1M+ with your company? WTH, lady??

      That was in 2008-2010 and I *still* have nightmares about that woman.

    5. londonedit*

      Years ago the company I worked for was bought by a much bigger one, and we all moved into their incredibly posh brand-new offices (in another comment thread a while ago I mentioned this place because initially the rule was no food and no drinks apart from water at your desk – a rule that was quickly abandoned because this is Britain and productivity would grind to a halt if everyone had to go and sit in the kitchen every time they wanted a cup of tea). Anyway, shortly after we all moved in we had a VIP guest (not quite royalty, but similar). We all received an email telling us that the VIP would be shown round the office, but we were not to look at them (we had to just pretend we were working and not noticing them) and for the duration of their visit we were not to use any of the toilets within range of the reception area or the boss’s office, lest the VIP saw something as horrible as a lowly staff member going in or out of the loo. There was a map showing the loos we were allowed to use, and those that were off-limits.

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      Sounds like the owners were angry about doing a big payout in lieu of the PTO that would have been taken over time, if the person had stayed on.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Thank you! I was wondering about that.

        I guess I couldn’t conceive that such unreasonable people would pay out vacation time.

        1. mlem*

          Probably a state/jurisdiction requirement, because company owners who are silly enough to come up with such a scheme probably wouldn’t pay anything out voluntarily.

    2. BubbleTea*

      They’d deigned to give him a RAISE! How dare he not repay them with his undying loyalty?!

    3. Patches023*

      OP here: The injustice was that the employ that resigned, resigned right after getting a big raise. Say from $20/hour to $40/hour. They had a lot of vacation hours accrued. Say 100 hours. So instead of paying out $2000 the owners had to pay out $4000. After the owners had to pay out more money than they were expecting, they changed the policy to banking money instead of time.

      1. watermelon fruitcake*

        So the employee leaving was the reason the policy was implemented. I also was confused; the sequence it was written in sounded like the employee was held to the policy, in which case they would’ve “lost” money in principle because the cashed-out time was at their old wage.

        1. Pointer Finger*

          Isn’t this what computers are for? How hard is it to math out accrued hours at previous rate + accrued hours after x date?
          I don’t write code, but I’m good at asking people who do, “can you make it do this?”, and then they do.

          1. Freya*

            Except that’s illegal where I come from. All the hours accrued are *required* to be paid out at the rate (including any loadings and other payments) that they would have been paid at if the now ex-employee had taken them immediately before ceasing employment (not at the rate they would have been paid at if used when accrued). This applies even if it’s specifically excluded by their contract – federal law overrides contracts unless the contract is better for the employee.

      2. Treena*

        If they’re in a jurisdiction that requires PTO pay-out, I’m not sure that would fly.

    4. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      This is my take:
      – Unused PTO used to be paid out at accrued hours x current rate of pay when the employee left. Like normal companies do.
      – Previous employee got a big raise, then quit. Their PTO bank was paid out at their new, higher rate of pay. Example: 10 hours of leave was accrued at $10 per hour. If they had quit before the raise, they would have gotten $100 paid out. After the raise they are earning $12 / hour, so quitting after the raise means they are paid out $120.
      – The injustice is the extra $20 difference. Boss was made about this, so the new policy is that PTO is accrued as dollars instead of hours. They didn’t earn 10 hours, they earned $100 in the bank toward future hours regardless of the pay rate at that time.
      – But this means that current employees get the short end of the stick. If you get a raise and stay on as an employee, when you take PTO it equates to fewer hours off.

  19. Still*

    #1 yellow legal pads – I feel like I’d take a bunch of them home for private use and not even feel bad.

      1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

        I’d be mightily tempted to make a gift bag from that paper and bring cookies in for the boss.

    1. My Boss is Dumber than Yours*

      I’m the yellow legal pads OP. Our worksite was part of the stock warehouse, so we had to have our bags checked going out. Sneaking yellow pads out was harder than it seemed.

      1. TPS Reporter*

        would have been fun to shred them occasionally, like an office space fax machine moment

        1. My Boss is Dumber than Yours*

          What’s funny is that in many respects, this boss wasn’t wholly awful (but don’t worry, I’ll get there). Besides this quirk, she actually wasn’t a crazy micromanager and gave us lots of latitude to do what would ultimately be in the customers’ and company’s best interests (and would put in writing that she approved an exception to policy). I also learned a ton about B2B sales from her, as well as just general business practices (this was my first job out of school).

          Of course, the “I’ll get there part”… when I eventually moved on, she gave me a goofy “loyalty” lecture then lost it when she realized I was doing so because I was getting paid less than new hires even after two years of stellar metrics and reviews. But what really set her off was that I made sure the one woman on our team knew what I and the new male hires made, since she was doing the same work (with higher credentials when hired at the same time).

          1. slr*

            On the bright side, all those yellow legal pads will come in handy for the gender discrimination lawsuit that she’s about to get hit with.

    2. Christine*

      Those pads got me through my math and physics degrees. I am very fond of them and definitely would take home a stack.

  20. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

    #3 reminded me that when I taught English abroad, a mega-boss came to visit. We were told before he arrived that we weren’t allowed to have ANYTHING except the computer & mouse on our desks, and housekeeping hid everyone’s overcoats in a storage room. The mega-boss was Swiss and insisted that, in Switzerland, 1) people don’t need any office stationery except a computer, and B) people dress for the weather, so therefore they don’t need coats. Somehow.

    I often think about how this weirdo’s power meant that his beliefs got reinforced to such a degree, whereas normal people who don’t like clutter (or coats?) just have to deal with it.

    1. Vio*

      Checked with a Swiss friend and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that she’s never heard of any such idiocy and think he’s several triangles short of a Toblerone. She’s worked in officers where desks were covered in all sorts of things from stationary to plushies and can’t recall any that didn’t have coat hangers or let you have coats on the backs of chairs.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        “Several triangles short of a Toblerone” is going to be my phrase of the week.

        I imagine that Swiss boss is like fashion CEOs in New York – of course they wear Louboutins all day every day, they’re never outside for more than 20 paces at a time (luxury apartment to town car to front door of office, reverse, rinse, repeat), why is everyone else so worried about destroying the soles of their $1800 shoes??

    2. Bee*

      “Dressing for the weather” MEANS wearing a coat???? Does he think it’s the same temperature indoors and out

      1. Future*

        Maybe in this case Switzerland was the name of his home planet. Same name as one of our Earth countries! What a wild coincidence

      2. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        Now I’m thinking about how he moved so slowly, looking at everything. He had/has alopecia universalis, so his lash-less eyes had that unusual sparkle, and oh my goodness what if he intentionally removed his hair because it was as unnecessary as office stationery.

  21. Nea*

    #17 brings back bad memories. I used to work in a department with a notorious revolving door because they would tell tech writers that if we accepted the job we’d have a chance to expand our skill sets with on-the-job training for software testing and delivering software training to clients.

    Then we’d accept the job and were told “LOL NOPE!”

    Help desk people were told the same thing. “Oh, it won’t be just answering the phones.” Yes. Yes it will.

    1. MC*

      I worked in a big bank’s call center briefly (the one that’s been busted for fraud multiple times)…job description: pure customer service! Training: pure customer service! Get out on the floor: LOL you thought this was only customer service? It’s actually a sales position so have fun trying to convince people who just need to reset their password that they should really open a new account that you know absolutely nothing about because we didn’t train you on any of it!

    2. Let me out*

      That’s what my entire job has been for the last 4 years. Promised opportunities to expand my technical skills when they actually barely let me use any of the skills I already had. Thanks to the 2-year claw back period for my signing bonus, by the time I could quit without having to repay a large sum of money I had already lost all of my marketable skills. Now I’m trapped.

      1. Boof*

        I wonder if the clawback would be really enforceable in such a situation (of a huge bait-and-switch); of course, I don’t blame you for not wanting to find out (which would probably involve a legal battle I’d guess)

      2. Boof*

        Also; jump ship now! Even if it’s a lateral move at least you could be at a place that is honest!

  22. Biggest Car in the County*

    I’m sitting here reading these thinking “Thank goodness I never worked anywhere so bananacrackers…” and then I remembered the bananas policy/project/idea (I don’t know what to call it) that a former boss came up with.

    We worked in a government office that had gotten one or two bomb threat phone calls in my time there. So, my boss decided that she would hide an object at our desks randomly and we were supposed to notice it and tell her as a way to increase our situational awareness (both bomb threats were hoaxes, by the way). We got a stern talking-to if we didn’t notice the object.

    What was the object?

    A letter opener.

    At a desk. In a government office that dealt with a lot of mail and paperwork.

    (This was also the same boss that had every email we sent forwarded to her without telling us. And only supervisors were allowed to have access to email and the internet.)

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      So her logic was that if ye didn’t notice a letter-opener, ye wouldn’t notice a bomb? Because those things are totally similar.

      1. Vio*

        Maybe she’s convinced that some villain is designing an explosive letter opener that’ll take out whichever poor sap she orders to open her mail and force her to get somebody to clean up the mess?

          1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

            “Well, in this one movie I saw, the assassin used a gas pellet hidden in their sunglasses!! So no sunglasses!!!

            “Then they flipped upside down to hang on the ceiling using a hidden hook in their shoe to shoot all the security guards!!!! So no more shoes!!!!! OR CEILINGS!!!!!!”


            1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

              I did have a boss once who was lobbying to get a certain kind of light fixture installed because she saw them used in a Jason Bourne movie and thought they would be good for security. They turned off after a certain amount of time? All I know is that I was in the meeting with the head of facilities, and my boss’s rationale was entirely about Jason Bourne.

              1. JustaTech*

                Motion sensitive lights?
                I know a place that had to have them removed because motion sensitive lights work by using a sonic sweep in the ultrasonic range and it was upsetting all the mice and they weren’t breeding (this was a research mouse colony so we needed those mice to breed).

      2. Biggest Car in the County*

        This was exactly my argument when I got called to her office for my stern talking-to for not noticing the letter opener sitting on my file cabinet.

    2. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      At one govt job, if you got a bomb threat you had to search your immediate area for the bomb. It was written in the procedures for bomb threats. We used to get them a lot because of a hot button political issue at the time. Most people just glanced around the office and called it fine. The best things were fire alarms. They were taken seriously and we had to evacuate. Depending on the time of day most people grabbed their stuff and went home. Or they went to the local coffee shop and had a long break.

      1. StarTrek Nutcase*

        I have NEVER been paid enough or could be paid enough as an employee to look for bomb. Sure, I’ll pull a fire alarm or call 911 but I’m not sticking around to see just how bad things are. (I’d assist others out if I could, but there’s a reason I’m not a first responder – who I consider heroes.)

  23. Addison DeWitt*

    These are so awful i would want to prank as many of them as I could—leave a sheet of yellow paper in EVERY trash can in the office, post a negative review of the small museum every six months FOREVER, etc.

    1. Ophelia*

      OK but the real play on the museum reviews is to keep switching back and forth between “I couldn’t find any employees” and “I felt like the museum was so crowded because all of the staff seemed to be working by the exhibits.”

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        The museum one makes no sense to me at all. What museum has their desk employees working IN THE ACTUAL MUSEUM???? At the museums I tend to frequent, there are security guards (possibly contractors, not employees, but still) and staff selling tickets, tour guides (maybe volunteers and not staff), and maybe docents who give presentations (like at a science or history museum), but a staff member whose job it is to, I dunno, plan future exhibits or secure donations…why on earth would it make any sense to have them doing their office work in public????

        Did the director mistakenly think that the staff members were actual exhibits at the museum???

        Yes, I get that the reviews said the patrons couldn’t find staff members for assistance, but in that case the solution is to require office staff to spend an hour or two in the museum to provide said assistance, not to have them sit in the museum 40 hours a week doing their office work…what if they were working on a project that had sensitive or private information on it? The other solution, of course, would be to hired someone whose actual job would be to stay in the museum and help patrons, but a small museum might not have the budget for that.

        But also….isn’t that something security guards can do? Or, you know, the people selling the tickets or whatever???


        1. Bitte Meddler*

          I keep thinking of all the times I have needed “assistance” in a museum:

          1. Where’s the bathroom?

          2. Can I take bottled water into the exhibit hall if I don’t open the bottle and drink from it?

          3. Are there tickets left for the 3:00 PM special exhibit?

          I would not interrupt a person who is clearly a knowledge worker, typing feverishly on their laptop, to ask them any of those questions.

        2. Starbuck*

          Yes it’s very bad policy and outside of professional industry norms! If you need staff to be on the floor to interpret or work with guests, schedule them dedicated rotation times to do that. Or get more volunteer docents or what have you. Don’t have your office/admins take their computers onto the floor just to write emails!

          When I worked at a museum, we were instructed never to work on computers/phones while on the floor – we needed to appear accessible. We could work on an exhibit project – think like, specimen preparation – something that would be engaging for visitors to notice and ask us about and chat. But the only time it was ok to pull out electronics and use them was when we were looking something up to answer a question that a visitor had asked us.

        3. Addison DeWitt*

          “What museum has their desk employees working IN THE ACTUAL MUSEUM????”

          Colonial Williamsburg. Admittedly, they’re mostly making nails or churning butter.

          1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

            “I’m a re-enactor here at Urban Museum, my job is to apply for grants all day the same as our ancestors did in ye olde historic 2023.”

    2. I'm just here for the cats!*

      my thought about the yellow paper, take some home write your grocery list or some other nonsense on it. Throw it away. Have her scream at you. “but boss, that’s the directions to X or that’s my grocery list from my husband, it was in my pocket so I threw it out”. Or even better, “Oh that was from Client X.” Like hello you aren’t the sole owner of said yellow paper

    3. Thomas*

      Remove all yellow legal and white letter paper. Place yellow letter and white legal pads around the office.

  24. The Nanny*

    #15 and #5 remind me of when I was a preschool teacher and I would use my prep time about once a month to go down the hall to another teacher’s classroom and help her edit + proofread parent materials like newsletters, emails, forms etc. English was her second language so she liked having me read them over before they went out.

    All of my work was always done, my classroom was clean and in ratio, ditto for her. We got called up to the office and chewed out by the director (our Big Boss) for being exclusionary because all of the classrooms had big observation windows and staff walking by could *gasp* – see us collaborating and feel jealous.

    This was the same boss who later docked points from a different coworker who had been an exemplary teacher for over a decade because she was not meeting the requirements for interacting well with other staff. The incident? When she said good morning one day to a random staff member, the random staff member felt she was being insincere and was hurt.

    1. Zona the Great*

      This is when you feign confusion and say, “why would the children be jealous of their teachers working together?” and then when Big Boss clarifies that actual grown adults were the jealous ones, you simply blink in silence until the point is made.

      1. The Nanny*

        Methinks it was our director who was feeling left out, honestly. She had been thrust into the role and probably felt very lonely and not ready to manage a whole school.

        Coworker and I had great fun dramatically reenacting the hand on the window scene from Star Trek every time we saw each other after that. So close but so far…

    2. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      I’d play it back and report the staff member for not being enthusisatic enough throughout the day with her greeting. “Jane was leaving for the day and didn’t seem very perky.”

    3. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      You know, I’ve heard some version of “don’t talk to/work with that foreign language speaker bc other people will feel excluded” a bunch of times in my career. Some people who only speak English have a weird paranoia about that.

  25. WithBellsOn*

    #15: I’m very much enjoying the mental image of all these adult professionals standing at the window, watching each person travel from the building to the parking lot so the next person can go. It’s like something out of a prison escape movie. Or a Survivor challenge.

    1. LCH*

      very The Office vibes. they spent a lot of time looking out that conference room window.

    2. Nea*

      It reminds me of the person who tried to dictate how people in the office lined up for the public bus outside.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      There are some species of birds that do that to cross open areas. One bird flies across, a few seconds later the next one goes, until they’ve all crossed.

  26. WantonSeedStitch*

    At my first non-temp job after college, I had a boss who, every time he ordered binder clips from the office supply store, would require me to open each one of them up–that is, flip them for pinching–and put them back in the container before putting them on his desk (his supply of binder clips was separate from the general office supply). This was so he would not have to open one when he needed it, but simply grab one and pinch it to put it on his papers. It meant that the clips didn’t fit neatly into the container anymore, so it was a challenge making it so they didn’t all fall out.

  27. Nea*

    The yellow legal pads reminded me of a rule from an office a long time ago, but it wasn’t a ridiculous policy.

    I was an office manager then, and I ordered recycled paper notepads in a variety of colors.

    My colorblind male boss got a LOT of teasing that he didn’t appreciate the day he brought a pink notepad into a meeting.

    So the rule from then on was to write “This is (color)” across the top of the notepad where the sheets are all stapled together.

      1. Nea*

        As I admitted in the first sentence – the yellow notepads reminded me of an office rule that wasn’t a ridiculous policy.

      2. Charlotte Lucas*

        Seems like a very reasonable accommodation for someone with color blindness. Granted, teasing him about pink paper is ridiculous, but if he can’t identify the color, that might be useful information for him. (And for other color blind staff, as a lot of people don’t let their coworkers know.)

        1. Lily Rowan*

          I think it’s ridiculous to tease a man for using a pink notepad. Everyone should be able to grab the color at the top of the pile without consideration for gender roles.

          1. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

            Yeah, I think the ridiculous part is not the accomodation, it’s that everyone has bought into gender roles so much that this kind of extra work is needed just to reinforce the importance of gender roles. My policy would have been to not mock people for the color of their legal pad or of anything else!

        2. Other Alice*

          An accommodation would be needed if he required a specific colour of paper for whatever job-related reason. “Avoid being teased by immature coworkers” is not an accommodation. It’s avoiding the issue that you have immature coworkers teasing someone for the colour of notepad they use, and for a sexist/homophobic reason to boot.

  28. HonorBox*

    I shook my head at all of these, but #6 really got me going. I listen to a podcast and the hosts read reviews of products on the internet. The whole premise is that reviews say more about the reviewer than the product/place being reviewed. Maybe the person’s criticism is valid. Maybe they just didn’t do a good job looking for a staff person. Maybe their criticism isn’t at all correct. But changing the nature of everyone’s work and forcing them out of offices for MONTHS at a time because one person made a review is bananas.

    1. Pretty as a Princess*

      I would very much like to know the name of this podcast. I believe I would enjoy it immensely.

    2. hex*

      I would be tempted to write a review to the tone of “staff keeps working on the public floor. They are getting in the way. What kind of poor management doesn’t provide sufficient office space for their employees?” and watch them have an existencial crisis trying to resolve both complaints at once.

    3. Cathy*

      Also expecting 100% five-star reviews is unreasonable in the first place? I know it seems to be the expectation from a lot of corporate management, but sometimes customers are unreasonable, or haven’t caught on that five stars is expected for a perfectly average experience lest the staff be penalized.

    4. PresidentBob*

      One of my favorite parts of How Did This Get Made is the reading of the 5-star reviews for the terrible (of course art is subjective but still) movies. They are often unhinged and get into weird personal things. They do tell so much of how the writer thinks and sees the world.

      On a “reviews about my business” thing, we used to read and laugh at the 1-star reviews at my movie theatre. Yes, sometimes valid – less employees than we needed (though my boss was usually good about scheduling, purposely over-shifting, but sometimes it happens), important machine is down, something broke at the burger place downstairs and now the whole building stinks. But the one-stars of things not in our control, but theirs? Sold out shows being the big one. Or crappy parking (not on us, it’s a shopping center/mall) and the like. Weird is the ones that talked about “too many people there to enjoy the movie”. Surprisingly high number of those. Sorry, dude, we’re a 16 screen in a major city area and one of the most updated theatres in our area. We’re popular and busy.

      1. Boof*

        I will say, while the parking lot may not be in your control, if it’s so terrible I can’t actually park and/or is inaccessible, it still impacts whether or not I’d want to visit a business if I had other options! I always thought the reviews were to tell other customers what they’re in for.
        Too many people is odd unless I guess they were being really raucous in which case I’m 50/50 – again it’s a vibe that some people probably hate that might be worth knowing up front; but I personally enjoy a bit of a group dynamic if I’m bothering to go out and see movies in theater.

  29. Free Meerkats*

    For #12. In three states I’ve worked in the federal system, I’ve worked in county systems, and I’ve worked in city systems; the only level I missed was state, but I worked with many state employees.

    By far, counties are the most f-ed up places. I don’t know why, but that level of government seems to attract the worst, most controlling people I’ve ever met. The weirdest rules and most micromanaged budgets I’ve ever seen.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Can confirm. I don’t work for the county, but I deal with them a fair amount, and I’ve never met such a bunch of petty tyrants who also think their farts are perfume.

  30. 2 Cents*

    Am I the only one coming up with romance novel ideas for the temps in #14?

    “Windows surrounded Doris and Jaxon, but their love still smoldered. Jaxon pushed his Baked Lay’s closer to Doris.

    ‘They say you can’t have just one.’

    The bag crinkled as Doris slipped a chip from the bag. ‘I just love the crunch.’ She bared her teeth between two shockingly red lips as she bit off a piece. ‘Just the right amount of salt.’

    Jaxon made a mental note to bring in pretzel rods tomorrow.”

    1. Seashell*

      Excellent, but you wouldn’t likely have a thirtysomething Doris after the 1950s or 60s.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        Well, not right now – but a wave of young adults with old-fashioned names will hit the workforce pretty soon. I have a toddler niece named Amelia, and have met plenty of Olives and Helens and whathaveyous. It’s like the boxers vs briefs debate – it’s cyclical.

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah, my nephew is in his first year at school and all his friends are called things like Arthur and Fred and Edith and Violet. In 20 years’ time those will be the common names in the workplace!

  31. lilsheba*

    I worked at a temp job years ago where we were not allowed to get our own office supplies, or print. We had to ask a supervisor to print anything or go to the locked office supply closet, it was bananas and I felt like were treated like children.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I worked somewhere that decided to lock up supplies, because “overhead” was the biggest cost for most offices. Apparently, they didn’t realize that meant things like lighting, electricity, parking lot maintenance, cleaning, etc. Not keeping a lockdown on the crappy pens they supplied. (Since they were abysmal at the parking lot maintenance – in an area with bad winters – I guess that fell under “overhead,” too.)

      A work friend eventually was tasked with analyzing where the most money went in our division. It was not office supplies. It was upper management salaries and tech support by a long shot. We told her to hide after she submitted her findings.

    2. Thomas*

      We are like that for some supplies. We find, from experience, that we don’t get through nearly as many pens if people have to get them from another person. I think that makes people spend the extra 30 seconds to look for the one they already had instead of grabbing another.

      Maybe it’s penny wise pound foolish, but the effect is there.

      1. Orv*

        My theory is if I get a new pen every time I don’t immediately have one to hand, eventually my workspace will reach a state of Pen Saturation and there will just be a pen anywhere I happen to look for one.

      2. Freya*

        One workplace, I kept a jar of pens I didn’t like on my desk where it was immediately visible to people who wanted to grab one. The pens I liked using were directly in front of me, but because there was a readily available stash, they never got pinched. Every so often, I’d raid the boss’ desk (said boss was the worst culprit for pinching my pens) and redistribute the excess of pens he’d put away so that they weren’t cluttering his desk and immediately forgotten existed.

      3. Boof*

        I suppose the question is then; is the pen worth more than 30 seconds of salary + the extra time spent actually getting a pen if needed +/- morale at having to scrounge for pens?

    3. Impending Heat Dome*

      When I worked at US Bank (corporate–I don’t know if they still have this policy), they didn’t provide office supplies *at all*. You had to bring your own.

      At one point we moved offices from downtown to a different location, and when the cubes were being disassembled, there was a stampede around the office as people found and collected old pens that had been lost down the cube walls over the years. Absolutely ridiculous when you think about it, a BANK that won’t even buy their own employees PENS.

      1. lilsheba*

        I’m not surprised that a bank did that. I worked for a bank for 5 years and it was the worst experience ever, and they really didn’t provide office supplies either.

  32. Lyn by the River*

    I only made it through example 8 and I am just cringing with the way that capitalism has made so many people focus on controlling workers and scraping every last ounce of labor out of them no matter what it does to us as a society.

  33. Coin_Operated*

    In every retail job I ever had that required you to keep your smartphone in the break room, I always broke that rule and kept my phone on me. I always kept it off and never used it while working. No way in hell am I EVER leaving my phone somewhere to be stolen like that, I don’t care what rules are from management. Phones cost way to much and are too important.

    1. Maintenance Engineer*

      It’s such a ridiculous policy. I used to work at an aluminium smelter. If a phone falls into molten aluminium it will explode and kill you and anyone else in the vicinity. The rule was that we weren’t allowed to have our phones in our shirt pockets in case they fell out when we bent over. Even then we were still allowed to carry them.

  34. Ex Museum Guy*

    I once worked for a museum where we were only allowed to wear branded shirts on the floor (us lowly floor staff, at least; office staff didn’t have to wear branded shirts when they came out to help when we were invariably understaffed). It was frequently chilly on the floor so we asked to be allowed sweaters or hoodies that would still allow for the front of the branded shirt to be visible, and that was denied. Finally we were allowed to order (on our own dime, btw) branded fleece… VESTS. Only vests, because the dept director in charge of the decision didn’t see the need for long sleeved fleece jackets because HER arms never really got cold and vests were all she needed. I left that job for bigger reasons but that has always stuck with me.

  35. Richard Hershberger*

    I have spent a few enjoyable minutes contemplating synonyms for “book” for marketing materials. My first thought was “tome,” but that is a bit too D&D fanfic sounding. I would go with “codex.” While in theory not every book is a codex, in practice it is unlikely that the firm is publishing scrolls.

    1. Kes*

      novel, volume, paperback, or just go with the type – mystery, biography, etc

      I do like tome but imagining marketing material promoting a tome makes me laugh so it might be a little too archaic

      I would love to know what the rationale was behind not wanting to refer to books as books though.

    2. pandop*

      I did tell someone that they were fetishising the codex once, in a discussion of whether audiobooks, ebooks etc are ‘valid’*

      *yes of course they are.

  36. No Longer a Bookkeeper*

    Mine isn’t as wild as some of these (the yellow legal pads????) but it’s still one of my favorite stories from Nightmare Job. Let’s say the company rented 100+ small parcels of land for their frozen banana stands – when the company first got started they would cut the rent checks on the 1st but mail them out piecemeal because they were worried about cash flow and accidentally being overdrawn. Not a good look, but at least understandable. However, they were still doing it when I worked there 10 years later when cash flow was no longer a concern. My boss (who shared my office) heard me telling a property owner that the office policy is that checks all go out in the first week of the month instead of the 1st and she didn’t like that because it made the company look bad. I was well aware that the policy made us look bad, but when I asked her what I should say instead, she couldn’t come up with anything. So I guess she just wanted me to say it was my fault their rent check always came late and couldn’t believe I wouldn’t fall on my sword for her shady policy.

    Also right before I quit we discovered that my boss had a SECRET CAMERA in the office pantry to keep track of how many free snacks people took. That office was full of bees, but she was definitely the queen!

  37. HillyGicks*

    Similar to the OP of #13. The Goodbyes, I worked for an Australian underwear store in a freezing midwestern city and was once mandated to greet customers with, “welcome to Store, come check out our cute down undies.” I drew the line at saying this to 1) creepy men who would intentionally walk in to the store twice consecutively because they knew it was required for us to say and 2) to an ~8 year old who strayed in to the store far enough behind his family to require a greeting.

    1. linger*

      Leaving aside the fact that the required line was cringeworthy in two separate ways
      (though a statement that “all our undies are down” would conceivably be worse)
      … aren’t down undies a bit overdressed for Down Under?

      1. Enai*

        Now I imagine knickers made from the same sort of of quilted down material jackets used for very cold winters are made of, extremely poofy. Hilly Gicks, did you perchance work at a lady’s foundational garment store in the time of bustles and panniers and the like?

  38. Mztery123*

    Re no. 7 , the packing tape. Depending on the tape, it can be super annoying. I worked as a sales rep for a small office for a few years, which shared an office with the owners wife. She sent out lots of packages every day, but always bought the cheapest, packing tape and it made a horrible horrible sound almost like someone screaming, I offered to pay the difference between that tape and tape that was quieter. She then moved to a different room. So depending on the size of the office, and how close this person was to all the packing activity, it can be very, very annoying

    1. Rowan*

      Sure, the sound of packing tape can be loud and annoying, but wouldn’t it make more sense in #7 for the person annoyed by the sound to move to the other office, instead of having everyone doing the packing move?

      1. Mztery123*

        Yeah, the solution was kind of crazy but I’m just saying the person who was bothered by it has a legit beef.

    2. Orv*

      Yeah, for me the sound of packing tape being peeled is like how some people react to fingernails on the blackboard. I have an involuntary cringe reaction.

  39. WeirdChemist*

    I worked a retail job where we were only allowed to wear shorts during a certain period of time arbitrarily set by management. So May 14: “How DARE you try to wear shorts to work! That is SO unprofessional and inappropriate!!!!”, May 15: “yeah shorts are fine whatever”.
    The dates changed every year. We got, at most, one days notice when then shorts policy would flip. Made no sense.

  40. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

    I was hired to be an Executive Assistant, but on my first day, I was told that the receptionist was out on vacation, and I would have to fill in for her. What could I say? It was my first day. Do you remember those telephone message books, the ones with pink slips that said “While you were out” that were to be filled out with the name and phone number of the caller, and possibly a message? I was told that every time I answered the phone, I had to ask the caller for the name of their company and their telephone number before I passed on the call, and write it down in a “message.” Of course, callers would get exasperated, because I had to ask them for this information Every. Single. Time. they called. When I tried looking for a previous “message” from them, somehow the office manager was always lurking around, and she would shout that I should ask for this information, not just copy it from a previous message. I would tell her that people didn’t like having to give the same information over and over, and she would shout that she didn’t care what they wanted, and she insisted that I should ask for this information Every. Single. Time. I never found out why this was necessary.

    In addition, the telephone system was set up so poorly that it was impossible for me to figure out if a co-worker was on the phone. So I would attempt to transfer a call to someone, who would leave their office and run out to me and scream that they were on the phone, and why was I bothering them? I would try to explain that I was unable to tell if they were on the phone or not, but it didn’t do any good. And I hated it when I would tell a caller that the person they wanted to talk to was on another call, and the caller would ask, “Could I please hold?” I didn’t think that I could refuse to put them on hold, so I would put them on hold, and I would have to guess when the person they wanted to talk to was off the phone, because I didn’t know for sure.

    A few days later, I was told that I was doing such a great job that I would be the permanent receptionist, and that when the receptionist returned from vacation, she would be given a different job. When no receptionist ever returned from vacation, I concluded that they had intended all along that I should be the receptionist. It was a bait switch thing. It didn’t take me long to quit.

    1. Snarkastic*

      This is crazy-making. I’m so sorry! I can’t believe entire entities behave this way.

      1. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

        Yes, it was crazy! And I had to do filing, but because I wasn’t able to leave the front desk to go to the file cabinets, I had to put the correspondence, invoices, etc. into file folders, and someone else put the folders in the file cabinets. There were an awful lot of letters from people who had worked as a receptionist and had quit on their first day, and those people were asking for their paychecks to be mailed to them. It was not a good idea for TPTB to allow me to see those letters.

        And I had a very hard time getting Toni to sit at the desk so I could go to the ladies room or out to lunch (even though the office manager told me right in front of Toni that Toni and only Toni was allowed to cover me – “No one else!” the office manager shouted – and I saw Toni scowl). One day, when Toni refused to cover me so that I could go to lunch (the office manager wasn’t there, and I knew that the owner of the company wouldn’t care), by some miracle, she walked by the front desk at about 4:00 PM, and I pleaded with her to sit down so that I could go to the ladies room, and after she sat down, I told her that I was going to lunch, and I walked out. I gave two weeks notice the next day, but I really should have walked out the door after I was given my next paycheck.

  41. Kris from the office*

    I can speak to the coats on back of chairs issue. I once worked for a very small, toxic company where a majority of the employees were related to the owner. My direct supervisor who was an incompetent loon would make up stories to get us to do things and she’d always make it seem like the president of the company implemented the directive, for example: “Bill-not his real name, doesn’t like it when you…”
    On one particular occasion I was told, “Bill doesn’t want you hanging your coat on your chair, he wants you putting it in the closet”. Keep in mind this was a very small office that never had visitors. I had one immediate co-worker in my role there.

    My issue with putting my coat in the closet: It reaked of cigarette smoke and being a non-smoker there was no way I was going to walk around smelling like an ashtray because the scent permeated in the material of my coat.

    Luckily I had a box under my desk from a holiday decoration and started putting my coat under my desk on top of the box. Surprisingly no one ever said anything to me about it again, and I quit the job soon after. The best part? I found out later directly FROM my supervisors mouth that when she was upset with one of us she’d have us do things under the guise it was under the company president’s direction! She actually told me this one day at lunch after she had a row with my toxic, alcoholic co-worker who would rip me for working late and taking on a broader role because it made her “look bad”. I mean who would actually admit to that and think it’s OK?!?

    I was in my late 20’s and had never quit a job without having another one lined up. I probably cried daily the last two months of a three year period working there. Today, in my late 40’s I would have been very vocal and wouldn’t make it there a week. It was really bad…the family would post political posters that were borderline racist around the office. I was even chastised for not dressing appropriately for an industry conference (my attire was a dress suit from the store Chicos, an accent scarf and nice jewelry).
    This from a boss who wore black jeans and tennis shoes to the office daily, clothes that weren’t even business casual.

    But I survived to tell a great story, right? Some of these sound crazy but having lived this I can say this dysfunction is alive and well in corporate America, thankfully it’s not the majority!

    1. Zona the Great*

      My favorite thing to do in this situation is shrug and say, “Bob can tell me so himself, then” and go back to work.

  42. Kelly*

    I worked in an office once that was being remodeled so a dozen people got moved into one construction trailer and my boss came up with bizarre policies on the fly. It was AWFUL. One employee had to retire because he couldn’t manage the steep steps and no ramp was installed. Another breastfeeding employee was told to take over the room where 5 of the employees had their office any time she had to pump which meant I had nowhere to work. She wasn’t given a sign and the door locks didn’t work well so I accidentally walked in on her one time. That was blamed on me, of course. Boss couldn’t possibly let her use HIS office. When the expansion was done we had 3 offices for 5 employees, but my boss said no one could have an office alone and the official policy was that everyone had to share based on his assignment. I was the odd one out and was forced to share with the 4 assistants who didn’t need a desk and basically made my office the breakroom until I picked them all out (we had a breakroom, but weren’t allowed to use it). I was pretty sure he was trying to get me to quit, but he still had a meltdown when I left.

  43. Sarah*

    About the place that doesn’t let you lock your lockers because it looks like you don’t trust fellow employees – lock your phone and your wallet in the trunk of your car.

    1. LingNerd*

      That assumes everyone has a car. And the person said they were coming from class, which makes it a lot less likely they were driving, since a lot of college students don’t own cars

    2. Bitte Meddler*

      I’m in Texas. If I lock my phone in the trunk of my car for an 8-hour shift during the summer, I will NOT have a functioning phone at the end of my shift.

      1. Dahlia*

        In Canada, and that’s not good for your phone when it’s -40 either! My phone needs about as many layers as I do.

      2. Enai*

        Depending on the battery’s reaction to overheating, you may not have a car anymore either.

    3. Sharpie*

      If it’s cold weather, though, that’s really really bad for batteries, not to mention the electronics of a phone or laptop.

  44. LingNerd*

    #7 sounds like someone who has misophonia, doesn’t realize it, and managed to get a little bit of power so they used it to try to control the sound of their environment. Instead of, say, using noise cancelling headphones or earplugs or moving into another room at some distance and closing the door. Or better yet, requesting a medical accommodation to be provided those things.

    For the unaware, misophonia is experiencing a disproportionate emotional reaction to noises that are inoccuous or moderately irritating to other people. Most of the time misophonia is associated with mouth sounds and it’s not just “ew gross, chew with your mouth closed,” it’s full on rage that makes you wish you could literally reach into their mouth and remove their tongue. But any sound could be a misophonia trigger, and squeaky noises like styrofoam and cardboard aren’t uncommon either, and packing tape can be pretty squeaky!

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I had a student once who couldn’t stand the sound of a sheet of paper being crinkled up into a ball. He looked like it caused him actual physical pain. I felt bad for the guy once I realized he wasn’t faking.

      1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

        Mine is styrofoam. Touching it is bad. Hearing styrofoam touch itself is horrific. I feel pain in my soul.

    2. Orv*

      Packing tape is literally the only thing that gives me misophonia. I can cope with it but I will involuntarily cringe every time.

      1. WantonSeedStitch*

        It’s really pretty bad! My three-year-old put his hands over his years when I was using packing tape to mend a book he tore.

  45. eg*

    Worked for a horrible customer service call center in college. We weren’t allowed to have cell phones on the call floor, which made sense I guess. About a month into working there, I kept noticing that every time I used the bathroom at work, there’d be a manager in there. Turns out the managers would peer into the bathroom stalls in between the cracks to make sure people are wasting time in the bathroom on their phones. Found this out when I was up for a management position, which thankfully I didn’t get because there’s no way in hell I’d ever agree to that. I thought about telling HR but it turns out HR was the one who came up with this idea! They also banned bathroom breaks for a while too. Absolutely wild.

    1. Future*

      What an absolute creepy policy. What would the managers do if they caught someone using their phone on the pooper? Call them out in the moment or later?

      I hope at least one employee was able to look a manager dead in the eye and make them admit exactly how they’d known they were using their phone on the toilet. And then repeat it. Because that is boiling frog water insane.

    2. Enai*

      Banned bathroom breaks? Were you given bed pans and urine bottles to use at your desks at least? Or was the combination of dehydration and urge to urinate supposed to make you work better?

    3. Peter*

      What sort of appallingly-built bathroom allows people to voyeuristically peep into the stalls?

  46. HailRobonia*

    In my first job out of college (teaching ESL in Taiwan), our annual raises were determined by our manager who would observe a few teaching sessions. Fair enough. They had a scorecard of 20 different categories, each rated 1-10. Our raise was determined by the final score, but because of so many categories, even if you got 9 out of 10 for each category, you would have a final score of 80 which was considered “fair performance” and resulted in a mediocre raise.

  47. WI girlie*

    My high school/one year of college job was a chain ice cream store. The owner didn’t like how long the manager was taking to make the schedule so he made a rule that no one was allowed to ask for time off, period. You always had to find someone to cover your shift.
    Two notable stories from this—first of all, I couldn’t find someone to cover my shift for senior prom (I worked every Saturday from 3-10 PM, being one of the only people willing to work that shift) so I didn’t show up to work, and my manager called me and told me to come in. I didn’t; I said I thought I had covered it and I was so sorry.
    Secondly, I worked there the summer after my freshman year in college (and quit for the last time after that summer). I worked six or seven days a week, and some people only worked two or three. And yet I was never allowed to take a day off. My family went out of town for a four-day vacation, and I had to find four people to cover my shifts. It was like pulling teeth to get people to cover them.
    That workplace ties for the most toxic workplace I’ve ever worked at.

  48. stelms_elms*

    I once worked at a national non-profit organization with a very recognizable name for a boss who would not allow us to put anything on the wall unless it was in a frame. You want to hang a calendar on a wall? Put it in a frame. She also mandated “let there be light!” per her email to staff, which required the first person in each day to turn on all of the lights in our office suite and every individual office so it looked like we were all there working, or were just in the copy room, down the hall, etc. should the CEO come down to our area (which he did once around 10 a.m. and only found the lights on in offices of the employees who were actually in the office). This was of course a cover for her and her favorite employee who showed up no earlier than 10 a.m. on any given day when our hours were 8-5. She was fired a few years after I left for creating a side business selling the primary product the non-profit raised money for. (Think of the non-profit as raising money to buy and distribute blue blocks (for which her department was responsible for raising the money to do so), and she created her own business to do the same.

  49. EmmaPoet*

    #15- I’d start dancing my way out to the parking lot. Maybe a nice quickstep, a 3/4 shimmy, a solo tango. If a bunch of people have to stare at me till I’m in the lot, I might as well make it entertaining.

  50. SaltyAdmin*

    #13, was never my favourite phrase (for no reason really, especially not because of perceived innuendos) but I got used to saying have a good one in retail because if not, I would either say “have a good day” or “have a good night” at the wrong time of day since I worked some day shifts and some evening shifts.

  51. Budgie Buddy*

    I’m confused about what in #17 is condescending. How Very Dare these people expect to … do the work they were hired to do?

    I think we’re supposed to assume they were looking down their noses at financial advisor jobs in general for no good reason, but in context it’s not weird for them to not invest in a position they only expect to stay in for a short time and to express that they’ll be transitioning when that was the setup communicated to them.

    They may have ego but the company is the one to mock here.

    1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I’d be tempted to tell them “How nice. You know, you’re the 15th financial advisor to tell me that this was a stepping stone to the regional manager position, and none of you have become the regional manager.”

  52. Caramellow*

    #16….every place I ever worked salaried gave comp time this way. Their explanation was that if you came in early no one was there to supervise you so how would they know if you were productive. Sigh. So glad to be retired.

    1. SJ*

      In the country I live in, a popular time clock service works this way–hours worked are only counted from your start time until you clock out. (If you’re late, those minutes are docked, but if you’re early, they’re not added.) It only counts overtime if you stay late. At my previous job, this was a big deal since we all did a lot of overtime that we were supposed to be paid for. They did let us shift our regular hours, so eventually I changed mine to start 30 minutes earlier than the core hours, knowing I’d be staying late anyway so at least that way it would count. My current job uses the same service but luckily I don’t work overtime anymore!

  53. Sue*

    I meant to comment when this was requested. I once had a job in my 20s (so my excuse for staying was “broke and young” – this was an office job in a medical clinic in the 80s:

    1. Not allowed to throw anything away without getting permission from our supervisor and then writing on it that we had permission to throw it away – because the director was convinced we’d throw work away unless someone checked up on us.

    2. Our workstations were custom-made with only open shelves and backed with mirrors so that our boss could stand behind us and see what we were doing and see into the shelves to make sure we weren’t “hiding work” or keeping “contraband” (defined as gum, mints, small cups of water) at our desk.

    3. Our boss required us to sign in on a clipboard every day – we were not allowed to sign in more than 5 minutes early or 5 minutes late. 30 people had to manually sign in during that time, while he made everyone stand in line – holding a stopwatch and insisting we write our clock in time TO THE SECOND.

    4. I had been given a nickname my first day – you had to initial everything and my initials spell a name. Everyone used the nickname – my boss, my coworkers, the doctors we worked for – until one day the director mandated no one could use my nickname anymore. No reason; he just didn’t like it. The first time I answered my extension with my actual name, it was one of our doctors, who – as one of the actual owners of the clinic – brought that particular mandate to a screeching halt. The mandate went away.

    5. Was called into the director’s office to discuss my handwriting. It was “too big” and “too fancy”. We had to handwrite any phone conversations we had and put them in the relevant patient chart. The director didn’t say it wasn’t legible; he just thought it was too big. It wasn’t wasting paper or space – every message had to be on its own page, one message per full-size page.

  54. Frieda*

    I love the phrase “have a good one” and will die on that hill. IME it’s something of a Midwestern regionalism and it feels so much more human than “have a nice day” which is pro forma and perfunctory. But “have a good one” has the capacity to convey briefly and sincerely that you appreciate the other person and wish them well.

    1. tokyo salaryman*

      It’s extremely common in Australia and New Zealand as well. Shop staff will definitely say “Have a good one” and no one bats an eye.

  55. Llama lamma workplace drama*

    I worked in IT at a company and had to do some diagrams showing what some computer software programs were doing. But I was not allowed to use the word ‘create’. As in ‘program xxxxx creates the B1234 Report’. Because I was told that ‘only God can create things’.

    1. Starbuck*

      I’d be pulling out all my favorite ridiculous vocab words – reports shall now be instantiated I guess!

      1. linger*

        “builds”, “generates”, “produces”, “results in”.
        Even “realises” (used in a technical sense to mean “makes real”).
        Probably best to avoid “forges” though.

    2. Rob aka Mediancat*

      I was told that in high school. Didn’t make sense to me then, doesn’t make sense to me now.

    3. Michelle Smith*

      I grew up in a family that believed this, but I can’t imagine even my uber-religious parents enforcing that kind of language policing at work lol. That’s wild.

  56. BellyButton*

    #17!!?!?! What in the world? How could that at all benefit the company!! Insane.

  57. Peanut Hamper*

    #15 would cause me to put on my best Ministry of Silly Walks walk each and every day.

  58. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn and Indeed Profiles*

    For each of these, my standard question applies: What is the BUSINESS PURPOSE of this rule?”

  59. Future*

    What gets me is the amount of time these control freak micromanaging bosses have to put into enforcing some of these policies. I bet they have no time to get their actual work done in their regular work week, thus are stressed and always working overtime, and that that compounds the resentment they feel over their “lazy” or “irresponsible” employees, thus leading to even more wacko control-freak policies. And so the circle of life continues.

    I have seen this many times.

  60. jojo*

    3 I think i would file police report every time something of mine disappeared just because they would not let me put a lock on a locker. If it happens enought see a lawyer. Enough employees see same lawyer and sue company for reimbursement on missing stuff it could go far

  61. coffee*

    I feel like I have taken actual psychic damage from how petty and cruel these rules are. :(

  62. Never the Twain*

    I worked for a company associated with the defence industry. On one occasion, three of us from the Software division together with two colleagues from the Systems division had to visit a submarine dock in Portsmouth, UK. The problem being that hire of a 5-seater car cost more than a 4-seater. Neither division was prepared to spring for the larger car (because ‘policy’), and there was no concept of them sharing the expense.
    So, you hire two 4-seater cars. Except that of the two Systems workers, one couldn’t drive and the other loudly said they were very unhappy at having to drive an unknown route round London in rush-hour traffic, to the extent that non-driving employee was terrified and refused to have them drive anyway. So a third Systems colleague had to be released for a day to do the driving. Apparently ‘policy’ would also have precluded one of the Software workers who didn’t mind driving from travelling in a car paid for by Systems.
    That was several years ago now, the company involved was one of the higher-profile UK collapses of the early 2000s.

    1. Ganymede*

      Also unnecessary as there’s a train station literally in Portsmouth Harbour. The fast train is about 1h40 from Waterloo

  63. Nameless*

    Would love to know Alison’s thoughts on my company’s policy that if you call out sick the day before or after a holiday, you MUST have a doctor’s note.

    Doesn’t matter if you’re puking your guts up because you ate some bad seafood over the long weekend. Note required.

    1. UrsulaD*

      My job always requires a doctors note (actually, you can have 1 day every six months without a drs note, but other than that). No matter your symptoms, sick leave won’t be approved without it.

  64. morethantired*

    I would have a hard time at office #1 because my first office job was at a state agency where we all were told to exclusively keep notes on yellow legal pads because ONLY yellow legal pads were exempt from FOIA requests as “personal notes.” I’ve only ever used legal pads ever since for notes because I got used to them.

  65. Orbital*

    I was just reading the initial ask for these answers yesterday and it reminded me of my first job out of college. I was working for a small group under a larger government umbrella. We were very white-collar, software-adjacent employees and we were “technically” hourly but figuratively salaried. We had to track our time every day in an online system, which has been true everywhere else I’ve worked since then. HOWEVER, at my first job in the government, we also had to sign in and out on a piece of paper on top of a filing cabinet every time we left the area our group sat in. I eventually learned that it was because a couple of employees (who were long gone by the time I started) had been mischarging their time (a HUGE no-no in my industry), but instead of actually having consequences, our manager decided that we would hold each other accountable. At 22, having only worked retail and fast food before, it seemed reasonable to me. Now at 31, I would push very hard against having to do something like that.

  66. Ex-Librarian*

    I had a job where all staff had “summer hours” on Fridays in July and August. Everyone got to leave at 3 pm on Fridays during those months. Which was great, except that my small team had staggered hours to ensure coverage between 8 am and 6 pm – so my coworker who worked 10-6 got to leave work three hours early, but I, who worked 8-4, only got an extra hour. I asked if I could leave at 1, but nope.

  67. AussieMe*

    “Have a good one” is a demand…? As an Australian, we say that to all and sundry!! But as an Australian, I don’t deny it could be seen as slang, given our whole vernacular is slang.

Comments are closed.