let’s discuss coworker grudges and arguments

Inspired by last week’s story about the two employees who hated each other to the point that one declared she could not be in the same room with the other “without blacking out with overwhelming fury” (although they later ended up dating), let’s discuss weirdest coworker arguments and grudges. We’ve had the two managers who had a crush on a coworker and accused his assistant of being the “keeper of his zipper” (!), the person who missed three days of a conference due to her grudge against the person booking the travel, the long-running battle over a candy dish … and now we want your stories of weird coworker grudges and arguments you’ve witnessed (or been the cause of).

Please share in the comments.

{ 821 comments… read them below }

  1. Anon For This*

    Back at Old Job, we had a technician come out to fix a piece of electrical equipment. While the technician was performing the work, a manager emailed my coworker that was coordinating the maintenance about “should we be following lockout/tag out for this? Our policy is unclear, let’s discuss for the future”. My coworker absolutely BLEW UP at the manager, everyone in the building could hear him screaming in the managers office about “how dare you question me, that was the rudest email I’ve ever seen, etc” (I saw the email… not rude at all). Co worker was furious at the manager for a while, and gave him the cold shoulder because he wanted him to issue a “public apology” for the email. I think the coworker just eventually gave up the grudge?

    Oh, and I was working for OSHA at the time.

      1. Anon For This*

        To be fair to the coworker, the work the technician was doing was about 2 feet from the on switch and fully visible, and the only person in the building who would have reason to be touching the equipment was the coworker, so I can see the logic in saying maybe LOTO wasn’t needed. And the manager was definitely known to be a jerk a lot of the time, so I can see why maybe the benefit of the doubt wasn’t given on the email (although it really wasn’t a rude email to me…)

        But the fact that a statement of “Should we, OSHA, consider if we’re being safe enough?” Was met with an aggressive “NO!!!” was truly wild to me lol

        1. Annie*

          LOTO should’ve been instituted regardless. That’s the whole point, as you know!

        2. Jake*

          Those are the instances when LOTO are extremely important because all it takes is a bathroom break and complacency to have an issue.

          As a construction company that would be a no brainer for us.

    1. Dinwar*

      That sort of behavior over a safety question wouldn’t result in a grudge where I work. It would result in them being thrown off the site and never allowed back. Sure, okay, maybe this time it’s ridiculous, but to explode when someone merely asks? Nope. Not going to happen. It displays a contempt for safety that simply is not allowable on the jobsites I’ve been on.

      1. Angstrom*

        Same. I’ve worked where lockout/tagout was automatic and a violation would get the offender walked out the door.

        1. Anonythis*

          On the flipside, I’ve worked in a place where
          a) each individual compound of the site had to have key functions LOTO’d before anyone could enter them and
          b) there were people in there every day, usually while controllers back at the control room tinkered with non-key functions that weren’t LOTO’d and
          c) the master switch that activated those key functions was where we all put our tags and
          d) we found out much later that that master switch had its on and off positions defined by software, not by a physical electrical connection, and could thus be turned on and off from head office a hundred miles away with no warning, no indication on the ground, and no regard for what position the physical switch was in.

          Oh, and e) the person who got upset about this was told it was fine because nobody in head office would be tinkering with that software anyway. Excuse you, we found out it was software controlled because they were tinkering.

          1. Enai*

            Okay, WTF. Do you now physically sabotage the electrical circuit that feeds the machine every time you have to work on it ir enter it? You couldn’t pay me enough to go in there, ever again, without that.

          2. Reluctant Mezzo*

            This reminds me of the time that the electricians shut off the power in the hallway of a school, and inadvertently turned off the hood over some nitric acid in my husband’s chemistry room. He was able to back out quickly, but still had chest pain for a couple of days. The electricians were crispy informed to please let him know about any electrical work in the area.

            1. JSPA*

              This. People who are sure that “off” is intrinsically safer than “on,” and that any method and procedure of switching off is equivalent to any other, should go into a field where they don’t operate any equipment more dangerous than their own lights, fan, phone and computer.

          3. Teapot Connoisseuse*

            Jeez, sounds like Horizon (British Post Office system) but with immediate danger to life!

      2. CubeFarmer*

        Isn’t it also an OSHA violation to create an environment where people are discouraged from or intimidated from asking about safety?

      3. Part time lab tech*

        My Dad worked maintenance for a refinery and more than once had to go back after a shift to untag a section he’d tagged while doing some work. Having said that, he got injured in a way that people said should never happen because of all the failsafes. (Never underestimate the randomness of complete ignorance while training.)

      1. knitting at the baseball game*

        Lockout tagout is a procedure to ensure energy (usually electricity) is appropriately managed so someone isn’t accidentally killed or injured while performing maintenance on equipment.

      2. Hlao-roo*

        Lockout/tagout is a safety procedure for working on machines and equipment. The gist is to turn off/power down the machine, “lock out” the machine so it can’t accidentally be turned on, and put a “tag” on the lock so any passers-by can see that someone is fixing the machine.

        So, a manager at OSHA (a safety compliance organization) was asking “should we follow this standard safety procedure?”

      3. JSPA*

        The equivalent, at home, would be flipping the relevant breaker in the electric box before extracting the broken base of a lightbulb from a ceiling fixture.

        You don’t just flip the breaker, and leave the box open for convenience.

        You put a little piece of duct tape on the breaker, close the electric box, and put a post-it on the outside of the electric box, and maybe a second piece of duct tape on the door of the box.

        Basically, so nobody can pass by, see an open electric box with a flipped breaker, and “helpfully” flip it back in place.

        As for just flipping (or flipping and taping) the light switch? “On a ladder” is not a good way to find out the hard way that your ceiling fixture is miswired, with the switch is on the neutral, not on the hot (live) wire…which means that you can electrocute yourself even with the wall switch off.

        Electricity, don’t take it for granted.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          My dad is a retired electrical engineer and we’ve been doing some DIY. I found a big stack of lockout/tagout tags from the 70s in his electrical kit and swiped one and now one of the decorations on my desk at work is anachronistically tagged out forever with a yellowed cardboard tag that says “MEN WORKING ON LINE”.

      1. Blarg*

        If you want to be horrified, just look up all the failures at WMATA, aka DC Metro. The Congressionally-mandated safety commission that has oversight because they are such a hot mess regularly publishes reports and they are just ghastly. At times it seems like they actually want to kill each other by leaving the third rail powered on. And other things. It is stunning.

        And yet, taking Metro is still safer than cars! (Will only take one major catastrophe to change that calculation though)

        1. RC*

          I miss IsMetroOnFire dot com, heh.

          Pretty sure it’s not any sort of grudge, just wild incompetence.

  2. Person from the Resume*

    The “spicy trap laid for a sandwich thief” link goes to a story that does not at all involve a grudge or trap. The LW was completely innocent, eventually vindicated and got a raise out of the situation.

    The lunch thief got karma and fired.

    1. Elle*

      Yes! I thought that I recalled neither a trap nor sandwich in that story. Same with a grudge, though there may have been one after the fact. That was one of the most infuriating stories I think I’ve read on AAM to date.

      1. Person from the Resume*


        It was totally worth it for me to reread that story. It’s a dramatic rollercoaster with a satisfying ending.

    2. diasporacrew*

      It does involve a grudge! The thief had a super weird grudge against the LW, which definitely matches the prompt in the post.

      1. Elle*

        Did they? I didn’t remember that! I only remembered that he was involved w/ the HR lady, who went after the LW presumably because he burned her beloved’s mouth

        1. Abundant Shrimp*

          That’s a solid grudge right here! How dare the LW feed my man? – the HR lady probably thought. – I’ll teach him not to do it again! /s

    3. Yvette*

      I swear that could’ve been a lifetime movie. It had everything wrongly, accused heroin, a conspiracy and ultimate vindication. I think it is my all-time favorite

      1. Oh, just me again. . .*

        “Heroin!?” I don’t recall there being drugs involved; just spice! (Maybe meant heroine?)

        1. Clara*

          Heroine is the female version, dropping the e makes it masculine. Same as blonde/blond, etc.

            1. YuliaC*

              Right, and there’s also a name for assuming that a poster is incompetent rather than that they are joking.

  3. Name Anxiety*

    When I worked in grocery there was a checker who had not very secret grudges against anyone she believed to be laughing at her, which was actually anyone who laughed. So she complained and tried to ban a co-workers husband from the store because he was friendly and talked to other customers while she was also in the grocery store. She also complained to management that I and another coworker were plotting against her because apparently we had a brief conversation that she couldn’t hear but could see, so it was obviously about her. She couldn’t be easily let go because of union reasons (even the reps were sick of her) so she just got moved to the furthest away check stand where she could mostly avoid people.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      My parent worked at a small business with a woman who did this, and also accused people of stealing things from her and hiding them. Her behavior kept deteriorating, turns out she had schizophrenia (not sure if it had developed or if she’d been on medication and it had stopped working or she’d stopped taking it).

      She legitimately did think there was some grand conspiracy that everyone else in this small shop was involved in against her. There was nothing anyone could do or say to convince her otherwise. I went to drop off my parent’s car and she cornered me and demanded I tell my parent to stop stealing and hiding her keys.

      1. Boof*

        Yes while mental illness shouldn’t be the go to speculation for every weird and bad behavior, persistent unrealistic paranoia does raise some question of schizophrenia – but it’s also possible to be that way without a biologically defined brain disorder too. Hope the person was able to get meds to help them.

      2. Lizbrarian*

        My dad was bipolar with paranoid tendencies who did the same thing at his job(s). He refused to go on medication (because the problem was all the people who were against him, not that he kept threatening to bring firearms into work and church).

    2. DameB*

      Oh god. This reminds me of a grudge. Not my workplace but still….

      One day, at the grocery store, I saw an employee and she was putting back items that had been randomly shoved in places (like a frozen lasagna in the milk section, etc.) I’d done that when i was a worker at a similar store and I didn’t SAY anything but I thought “Man, I hate how rude people are.”

      Fifteen minutes later, I’m standing in the line and see same employee pull a bag out of the cooler by the cash registers where they sell soda. And in a moment of commiseration, I said, “Oh, really? How rude!” Meaning, of course, someone who would just shove their unwanted items into the soda cooler was rude.

      She turned and glared daggers at me and stomped away. The cashier at the line I’m in said to me “That was her lunch?” and I felt terrible. I tried to apologize the next time I saw her but she didn’t want to talk to me at all. And for the next TEN YEARS, she would glare at me and shut down her line if I was in the line. Made grocery shopping deeply uncomfortable sometimes.

      1. Paint N Drip*

        You were trying to be nice and relate to her.. :(
        The amount of discomfort this lodged in the depths of my guts lol

      2. Retail Dragon*

        Bizarre that she was allowed to keep her lunch in a public drink cooler, though – how could you possibly have known?

        1. AnReAr*

          When I cashiered I was allowed to discreetly hide small items in the drink coolers next to us, hidden behind drinks on the bottom row. Honestly though it’s weird in my instance because even though it was a hardware store we did actually have a break room with a fridge, as well as a small restaurant attached. That said those two fridges were always super full from the other employees and restaurant supplies so maybe that’s why.

      3. AnReAr*

        I don’t think you’re in the wrong at all. It was an honest assumption/mistake and the fact that she kept that against you for a full decade is at best weird.

    3. Throwaway Account*

      Not on the same level, but I cannot stop thinking about the (insane) coworker who complained that “cheerful coworker” did not wave at her as often as waved at other people AND MANAGEMENT SOLVED IT BY ASKING “CHEERFUL COWORKER” TO STOP WAVING AT ALL!

      We had a cheerful coworker who waved happily at anyone at the other end of the long hallway in our workspace. You know, you see someone at the end, too far to say hi, so you wave. Grumpy coworker decided that cheerful coworker had a thing against her and did not wave at her as much as she waved at others.

      Rather than, you know, manage grumpy coworker and tell her that 1. waving did not impact her work, 2. the waving was random and waving at others was not done AT grumpy coworker, and 3. that they would check to make sure there was no issue between them, they asked the waving coworker to stop waving at all to make the problem go away.

      Spoiler: It did not make the problem go away, and we all thought less of management for it.

      1. Lab Boss*

        That reminds me of a woman I used to work with who would say “Good Morning” to everyone, and if you didn’t reply with “Good Morning-” specifically that, not a nod, or a “hey,” or a “g’mornin” then she would be sulky all day and complain about how rude you were as soon as you left the room. She usually started earlier and would get us all as we arrived to the lab, but if anyone DID beat her there she expected to be “Good Morninged” by them as soon as she walked in.

          1. Lab Boss*

            Middle aged woman, prickly personality, never could help with weekly cleanup because sweeping, mopping, and wiping counters all aggravated an old elbow injury she got skiing?

            1. Nopity Nope*

              Mine had a bad back. Maybe they’re cousins. Never wanted to help with defrosting the freezers or fridge clean up either

        1. Star Trek Nutcase*

          I had a supervisor, P, who decided the new dietician supervisor, E, was an elitist snob. When I pressed P was she thought that because E was IME very sweet and professional. P said E would very seldom respond to a “good morning”. P just could not understand that even with cochlear implants, E could not hear well in our loud environment. E relied on seeing people and lots of lip reading to aid her. P just double-down that if she couldn’t hear people behind her then E shouldn’t work there. We were part of a state agency for persons with disabilities.

          P also got upset when I reminded her E had requested only emails not voicemail messages to accommodate E’s hearing. P again said E shouldn’t work there. For the first time, I lost my temper with P and said “FFS she’s deaf, give her a damn break!” P’s boss overheard everything, called P in his office, and while I don’t know what he said, P didn’t retaliate against me (surprise) and never again criticized E in my presence.

          1. Anonymoose*

            One of my coworkers required a door assist (one of those buttons that opens a door), but we couldn’t convince our organization to install one on the office door until after he was trapped inside during a fire drill.

            Our organization provides services to people with disabilities.

            1. Bryce*

              My favorite story for this was a railing outside a *physical therapy office* that was incredibly loose and wobbly. As far as we can tell it was mostly people taking those stairs who were able-bodied enough to compensate (if they used the railing at all) and other folks would use the nearby ramp. We discovered it because Mom always liked to test her limits while she was recovering.

              To their credit, once we pointed it out they saw the problem right away and got it fixed.

              1. JSPA*

                Had a friend break a too-fragile table by leaning on it, and take quite a fall…in the entrance and waiting area for a prosthetics office.

                The building owner then had the gall to try to sue my friend for taking a gouge out of the linoleum.

                1. allathian*

                  I hope they laughed that case out of court, if a lawyer was foolish enough to take the case.

        2. Rainy*

          We had one of those–she was the receptionist and tried to enforce good mornings in a similar way, including the sulking. I started coming in by a side door to avoid her.

          1. Free Meerkats*

            I used a different method. I beat her to the good morning whenever I could; regularly calling a cheery, “Good Morning!” before I even had the office door completely open. She hated it.

          2. Banana Pyjamas*

            We had one too, and she once accused me of being asleep at the desk because she was being so loud she didn’t hear me reply. I raised my volume to match her own and let her know I was in fact awake and not to accuse me of sleeping on the job again. This was just one of many unpleasant to harmful encounters with her. I ended up leaving that job because of her.

        3. I Have RBF*

          I got let go from a temp job because I did not cheerfully greet everyone in my area, whether they were on the phone or not, with “Good morning!” when I walked in. I did not even have coffee yet, I’m not a morning person, and often my coworkers were already on the phone. They said I wasn’t “cheerful enough”, and cited that as “evidence.”

        4. Siege*

          The entrance I usually take to get to my office is right by my boss’s office. I am on a diuretic and 30 minutes is about what my bladder can handle first thing in the morning. If I walk in past my boss’s office, no matter how obviously I do the potty dance (I dropped dead in a staff meeting a few years back, everyone knows I have a serious medical condition, there’s no point in hiding it) she will get passive-aggressively cheerful at me if I don’t stop and talk to her for a minute or two.

          Remote work has been a godsend.

          1. OlympiasEpiriot*

            OMG OMG OMG

            I hope you never have to be in that office ever again.

            someone actually prefers to not work at home but OMG

      2. Nopity Nope*

        Oh gosh yes!

        A few coworkers and I used to be quick at our jobs so we’d do some other work after checking with anyone if they needed help. Of course there was one lady who never wanted help but always complained that we didn’t help her. Our managers solution was to stop being so efficient and quick at our job. This was also on our yearly evals.

          1. Nopity Nope*

            I WISH. This was my first job after I graduated too so it deflated me hardcore for a bit. But yes this was where I started my hatred of the word “perception” because it seemed that anyone could say anything and it has to be taken seriously.

        1. FricketyFrack*

          A coworker and I had to have a conversation with our bosses about a similar issue – we had a newer staff member who was overbooking herself to the point where she’d be on the verge of tears, and when coworker and I offered to help, she’d snap at us and say she had it covered. It happened so often that we finally made it very clear that we were happy to step in any time she asked, and then we stopped offering.

          When we brought up that we thought she might need our bosses to tell her that she didn’t need to take on as much as she was trying to do and said we were worried she was going to burn out, they were annoyed and said, “Well why aren’t you two helping her??” We TRIED, holy crap! Sorry we decided not to get our heads bitten off every day, I guess?

          In the long run, I guess they were able to clarify that yes, when people offer to help, they aren’t doing it begrudgingly and will tell you if they can’t, so now she’ll actually ask, so all’s well that ends well, but damn it was a rough few months.

          1. Joana*

            To the credit of anyone under the mindset of “they’re just being polite” when they offer help, or offer to make coffee, or anything like that… people often are. They don’t expect you to say yes, they’re just doing that weird social niceties thing that I, as an autistic person, will never understand.

            1. Nopity Nope*

              See I’m the other side of the neurospicy where I want logic and I’m going to assume what you’re saying is at face value because WHY waste my time at work? But I also believe everyone should act like adults and be responsible for their own stuff, which is why I don’t sweat their breaks for example. People will say “oh I’m sorry I got caught up” and I genuinely wouldn’t know unless you were gone hours bc I don’t check when your 30 minutes start.

              Then again I’ve had coworkers who time everything including your bathroom breaks to the point where I was having particularly bad health issues I finally snapped at someone they are welcome to come join me and hold my hand.

          2. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            I’m dealing with that right now. I have newer co-worker who refuses help from anyone when it’s clear they are overwhelmed. As a result, they frequently panic and make mistakes which could have been avoided if they accepted the offer of help.

            1. Nopity Nope*

              The only issue id address is with this is if the culture is harsh on people who ask for help or questions. If not it’s usually people have something to prove or have had bad workplaces in the past.

      3. Lady Knittington*

        I had a colleague who complained to management that I never said good morning to her. I took that on board, started saying good morning and she blanked me.

    4. JanetM*

      Many years ago, my brother called me in a shaking rage because two of his coworkers were obviously making fun of him and conspiring against him.

      How did he know this?

      Because they were speaking Spanish. (He lived in Arizona, where Spanish is a very common language.)

      Also many years ago, I made a mistake. My manager gave me something to proofread and told me to put it in her office mailbox when I was finished. I accidentally put it in the slot next to hers.

      The person whose mailbox I put it in brought it to her and asked what he was supposed to do with it.

      Clearly, I had deliberately disobeyed her and was trying to undermine her authority. I was on her sh!t list for weeks.

      Also also many years ago, a colleague (who was a grad student and full-time worker) requested leave to attend a conference in his graduate field (which was not our work field). He was denied, because he had not submitted his conference proposal to our manager for review before sending it to the conference.

      The next year, when he submitted his proposal for review, she denied him leave because he’d done it wrong the year before.

      1. londonedit*

        Oh god, that’s like the real-life equivalent of the people who respond to a clearly misdirected group email with ‘Sorry I don’t know why I’ve been sent this????? Can someone please remove me from this group???? I don’t know why I’m getting these emails??????’ Any reasonable person can work out that it was just a simple mistake, but some people immediately get on a ‘Why has this been sent to me??????’ high horse!

      2. Wendy Darling*

        “Clearly, I had deliberately disobeyed her and was trying to undermine her authority. I was on her sh!t list for weeks.”

        This sort of thing always makes me flail uselessly. Like, no, you don’t understand, I am just a dummy! My being a total space case has nothing to do with anyone except me, I am not doing it AT you!

  4. Essentially Cheesy*

    Here for the stories. I’m the one that tries to keep everyone satisfied (nearly impossible) so no salacious stories from me.

  5. dulcinea47*

    My coworker called the police over a few pocket dials to our shared phone. She blamed me for it and when I told her she was overreacting, didn’t speak to me for several years. Which was fine by me. (the pocket dials were coming from my bf, however I can’t control what’s going on in someone else’s pocket at a different location.)

    1. Insert Clever Name Here*

      I’m going to need more details about how *calling the police* came into play here!

    2. Caliente Papillon*

      Called the police?! Please tell me what they said when she reported texting pocket dials- that is so unhinged.

      1. Siege*

        Jesus, I’ve had a workplace stalker and this feels like such an overreaction. “Let me call the police about these random pocket dials, because these are clearly intentional.”

  6. martine*

    I used to have a coworker who hated my guts/was scared of me and I had no idea why. He’d only been around for like a week when it started, I’d had maybe two shifts with him, and all of a sudden my other coworkers were approaching me to ask what was going on because apparently he’d been telling everyone that I hated him and was out to get him. I had to say I don’t know, I couldn’t think of anything I could possibly have said in the short time I’d known the guy.

    The only thing I could possibly think of was he had been hitting on another coworker who was a friend of mine. She told him to bug off because she wasn’t interested and was married, but we (my friend and I) would sometimes flirt with each other as a joke and it’s possible he saw that and came to the conclusion that she was willing to cheat on her husband with me and not him?? Or I was his rival?? This sounds dumb even when I type it out but given my complete lack of interaction with the guy it’s the only thing I can think of other than it being completely random.

    He got fired after only a couple months for picking a fight with a manager so he wasn’t around long enough for me to care that much but it was very weird.

    1. Cooperman*

      While I can’t say for sure, it could have been an attempted manipulation tactic.

      My mother’s boyfriend did that once. Before I could have possibly had the chance to know him well, she told me he thought I hated him. I was equally as stumped as you are, until I realized it was his way of pre-empting any legitimate criticism I may have had of him. And ensuring that I would be extra sweet and deferential to him when we did actually interact.

      1. martine*

        Maybe? Still wouldn’t explain why me though – and it didn’t even work, all I had to say was “I don’t hate him and I don’t know why he’s saying that” and everyone else was like “didn’t think so, just checking.”

  7. Lab Boss*

    Summer camp staff are terrible about this.

    Perhaps the single worst grudge-based action I saw was a head lifeguard who was so miserable to work with, that when he left on a night off his staff took his whistle and passed it around, rubbing it in their sweaty armpits and belly buttons and so forth, then hanging it back up. Then for the rest of the summer they got to watch him with it in his mouth.

    One summer we had a cook who made terrible food, leading to a steadily building animosity between him and the rest of the staff. It finally exploded in a screaming fight (thankfully with no campers present) when someone asked him if he needed to be reminded how to use things other than the microwave, and he replied that you “shouldn’t f*** with someone who could poison you all.” He was ultimately fired for theft but not before deliberately serving us sandwiches made with spoiled lunch meat.

    1. spuffyduds*

      Part of me would like you to elaborate on “and so forth” and part of me really, really would not.

      1. linger*

        “For the rest of the summer the staff watched to see if he would develop Jo’s athlete’s foot, or Pam’s yeast infection. There was a pool. Because that’s what lifeguards do.”

          1. linger*

            Technically, yes, and certainly by the time they’d both rubbed the whistle!
            But when he developed a cold sore, the winner was deemed to be Ron’s herpes.

          2. JSPA*

            You’re thinking of athlete’s foot and jock itch (mostly trichophyton, occasionally epidermophyton or microsporum / ringworm). Not same as yeast (candida albicans).

    2. don't@me idc*

      My friend did this when she finally got out of a toxic HR office and into a great department. The Friday before she left everyone was gone, so she rubbed spit all over their doorknobs, mice, keyboards and the arms of their desk chairs. Because they were horrible bigots who made her mental well being a point of destruction for the 8 months she was in the department bc she wasn’t “one of them”. Keeping it vague because the details don’t matter, we’ve all seen it play out with different in groups.

      Yeah. The friend is me. No shame. Only time in my 3 decade career I ever pulled such a childish immature stunt but being it was from the ExDirector down, nothing to be done the ethical way.

      1. Caliente Papillon*

        Ugh! Not as bad as a friend’s coworkers who would dip their awful bosses toothbrush into the toilet.

      2. Wolf*

        One thing to consider: does my petty revenge hurt the bad boss, or the minimum wage employee who cleans the place? Your example isn’t that terrible, but I’ve seen a few “someone quit and shat in the office plant” and similar stories that just left a mess for the lowest-paid person to clean up.

      1. Lab Boss*

        That movie is closer to accurate than I think most people would guess. It’s not “here’s made up situations for comedy,” to a camp counselor it’s absolutely “here’s something that definitely happens all the time, twisted thiiiiiis much to make it a joke.”

    3. Quill*

      Tried to give you food poisoning… Yeah that guy should have been removed from the kitchen immediately.

  8. Pangolin*

    My coworker kept tidying my desk (read: piling stuff I had out on purpose for specific reasons into my in-tray so I lost track of several systems at the same time). I kept telling her not to touch my stuff and mess with my system without permission. It was ridiculous and neither of us were particularly in the right – I could have been tidier in an open plan space, she could have been more constructive and sensitive about the issue – but we both felt VERY STRONGLY that the other was being extremely offensive. There were tears, there were confrontations, eventually I was able to move desks.

    1. Shoo!*

      Yikes!! As long as you both werent sharing a desk, this should be none of her business.

      1. HotSauce*

        I had a desk directly next to a messy person. Frequently her piles of papers would slide onto my desk and I would just shove them back. I finally put my foot down when she started to get fruit flies because she would leave partially finished cans of soda all over her desk.

    2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      I’ve talked about this one before but at one temp job I had a coworker one rung up from me who would do this—I was hired as receptionist so that this person could move up from the front desk position to a back office role, and for whatever reason, she somehow…resented me? I never understood WTF was going on but she was actively chilly towards me and would do these weird sabotage things like tidy away things from my desk that I was actively using (like stowing away the phone message pad *back in the office supply cabinet* while I was at lunch) and micromanaging items that were properly the bailiwick of front desk and were supposed to be taken off her plate so she could, y’know, do the job she’d been *promoted to*. It was so weird, and eventually I asked her what is the issue, why do you treat me like this? To which she haughtily replied, “just don’t talk to me.” Wow. So I reported this to the office manager, fully expecting to be terminated for “not fitting in” or whatever, but instead the company owner apologized to me and moved me from that role to a special project he needed done and made the snotty bitch answer her own phone again. I never did get an explanation.

      1. Kara*

        Oh I don’t know, the owner’s response goes pretty far towards being an explanation. Or at least making it clear that it’s a Her rather than a You problem.

    3. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

      Ugh! I had this happen to me too but the perpetrator was my toxic, bullying boss at the time. She would constantly move stuff out of line of sight (and I was pretty tidy – we’re talking about moving my notebook to an enclosed cabinet next to my desk, or pushing a small potted plant into the very dark corner of the desk behind my monitor). This boss was absolutely wild in how she behaved and this was just one of the many, many things she did. Of course, she denied ever doing anything and blamed the cleaning crew (!!!). Finally, I very obviously started taking photos of my desk before I would leave & made sure she would see me doing this. That stopped her desk-related shenanigans.

      It’s been over a decade now but I still have the photos in my phone and every year between January and March I puzzle at why I am seeing photos of my old desk at this old job in my Google memories LOL!

  9. sgpb*

    When working for the federal government, our admin once sent out an email to the entire office that was a chain email claiming you would get a free computer if you forwarded it to X number of people. I was so annoyed! It was line 2012, not 1994, so this was absurd. Several more people then did the same thing! I got so fed up with these emails that I replied all to one with a snip of the emoloyee handbook that specifically forbade chain emails. For the rest of my time there (2 years), the admin gave me the full silent treatment. She would shut doors in my face, turn away from me if I tried to ask her a question, refuse to respond to any email I sent her, etc. Luckily, she was pretty useless at her job so I didn’t need her help with very much.

    1. another fed*

      My management would have flipped a lid if that went out. I would have marked it as phishing, hoping it was the official tests they sent us, lol.

    2. Miss Chanandler Bong*

      I get migraines, so at my first job out of college, I had an accomodation that the light directly over my desk was turned off. It was an older building and the lights did murder on my head.

      My desk mate decided she didn’t like me at some point, which I still can’t figure out, seven years later, what I did. She said she was having eye strain from the light being off. Now, only the light over my desk was off; it wasn’t off over her desk, we had windows by our desks, so natural light as well, and we did computer work, so not a lot of paper shuffling. She didn’t say anything to anyone, just one day brought in an obnoxiously bright lamp that shone all the way down the hallway and said “My eyes are being strained, I need more light.” Of course, I ended up going home with a migraine that day.

      They ended up moving my desk so I could be in an area where my light could be turned off. Surprise surprise, no one else ever cared.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Heh. When I moved to my current desk, the light above me was burned out and needed repair. People tried to commiserate but I said I was fine. Several months later, the work order for the several hall lights came up and they repaired this one along with those. For a week I thought it was fine, but after 2-3 I had to ask them to pull the bulbs. I don’t get migraines but I do get eye strain and it was the only thing I could trace my recent headaches to…

        1. Orange You Glad*

          One thing I miss during covid when people rarely came into the office was I could keep the overhead lights off in my section of the office since I was the only one there. The lighting strained my eyes too and the office was an open floor plan surrounded by windows. Now that the office is more regularly full, the lights go on every morning.

          1. Magc*

            Back when I was in cubicle land but next to an enormous window (like desk height to the ceiling that went along the whole side of the building), the light switches controlled an entire side of the building so couldn’t be turned off.

            My cubicle neighbor and I hated the overhead lighting, so we kept removing the light bulbs in the fluorescent light fixtures above our heads. The janitorial staff noticed the bulbs were missing from the light fixtures and replace them. So we started giving them enough of a turn that they wouldn’t light up any more, and _finally_ put a note so they’d leave them alone, leaving us happily with natural + desk lamp lighting only.

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        My colleague also had a problem with migraines caused by the neon overhead lighting. We all just used desklamps and it was fine.
        Then one day an inspector came to visit the office, to check on our working conditions. They remarked that it was rather dark in there (Some dark clouds had probably just scooted across the sun). The boss understood that they were insinuating that the boss didn’t provide enough light. He started ranting that we had all this neon lighting but Marion “didn’t like” it, in a petulant voice that insinuated that she was being capricious. I was furious on Marion’s behalf, and interrupted with “it gives Marion migraines, so we just use our desklamps and we’re all fine with that”. I and the other employees all promptly turned our desklamps on to show the inspector, who ticked the box, while the boss glared at me for daring to interrupt.
        (This was the same boss who told me that if I didn’t like the situation at work, I could leave, because he certainly wasn’t leaving. Then he sold the company and the new owners kept me and fired him)

    3. RunShaker*

      I’m really surprised the admin wasn’t fired or written up for forwarding a spam email!

  10. jef*

    At a former job, I had a coworker who resented my existence in general. She also tended to feel that she should be included in every conversation, meeting, decision, whatever, regardless of whether that item was any of her business, and would over-react if she thought she’d been slighted. I can’t remember the specifics of what set her off, but she blew up at me and refused to speak to me unless it was strictly necessary for getting the work done. She would say hi to everyone else and pointedly exclude me. At the time her office was across from my cubicle so she passed my desk many times a day. I enjoyed saying good morning to her every day just to see her struggle to ignore me. Eventually she moved on to being pissed at someone else and returned to basic communication with me.

    1. Caliente Papillon*

      It is amazing to me that some people actively cultivate a ball of hate to carry around or else things just aren’t right. So pathetic. I’ve had a coworker or 2 like this and when I’m on the “in” with them I still stay out cuz, no thanks. Like I’ve literally never wanted to talk to you anyway?

  11. no name for this*

    I was hired in May of 2020, and our area was on pretty serious lockdown. I started my job working from home, at the direction of HR, and to this day I still have three coworkers who refuse to speak to me or help me at all because I didn’t come into the office every day (or at least try to). All three of them came into the office every day during lockdown, to the point of getting in trouble for it, and apparently I should have been doing this too.

    Also, one of them is the HR director.

      1. no name for this*

        As far as I can gather, they sent all the “you must work from home” emails and put everything in writing that made it seem like they were complying with the lockdown rules. But I was supposed to be “fighting” to come in.

        1. Enai*

          Fighting for what? The untold joys of commuting and possibly getting and spreading infection?

    1. Banana Pyjamas*

      People who hold it against you when you follow their directions are the worst.

  12. Dr. Doll*

    I think we should put all the academia ones in a single thread, it will be 4000 comments long. /wince

      1. Betty*

        A faculty colleague once remarked the only place she encountered worse politics than academia was when she became a Cub Scout den mom, because the stakes were even lower.

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Our elementary school PTA was the same way – it was wild, and I stopped volunteering with them because of the weird power plays and cliquey politics. Our room parents were always lovely, so we just volunteered to help them or the teachers. Neither middle school nor high school PTAs are this way, and I kind of wonder if our ES just had a few bad apples that ruined it for everyone and then got to the secondary school where no one would put up with their crap.

          1. samwise*

            Trust me, middle and high school PTAs are bad.

            We had a very nice elementary school PTA. Middle school was baaaad, and high school was movie-worthy.

          2. another fed*

            This feels like how teachers say that there are bad admin teams and some class years that are more challenging all the way through. I would imagine some parents cycle through this as they progress with their kids which isn’t clear when it was from a different feeder school. Or dramatic or inept admins that stir the hornet’s nest.

            1. KTB2*

              Can confirm. My sister and I went to the exact same high school. I was older by three years and my class was an absolute dream compared to her nightmare class. Which is made even weirder given how many younger siblings of my classmates were in her class.

              1. Quill*

                Based on my mom’s years teaching elementary, a class that has a higher than usual number of younger / youngest siblings is either a class of angels or absolute hell. There are no in-betweens.

            2. Part time lab tech*

              Something happened at the yr 12 camp the previous year that nearly got our camp cancelled. Our year, just fine and nicer than the year after too.

          3. Sophie*

            I’m a room parent / class volunteer / chaperone, and it’s much more peaceful than PTA even with the child chaos factored in!

        2. MigraineMonth*

          Ohhhh, that’s why I can’t think of any examples. I’ve been thinking of work, not volunteering. Every small organization I’ve volunteered with has seemed normal from the outside but turned out to be a soap opera inside.

          1. Wedginald Antilles*

            You’re right! I couldn’t think of any from work, but volunteer orgs? So many bees.

        3. Distracted Procrastinator*

          ugh, scouting. My son did it because my husband was a scout. (I wasn’t a fan.) the woman in charge of the Cubs could not get it through her head that my husband was the POC for scouting. Every time she had a question or a comment or anything to do with our son’s scouting, she’d contact me. I’d have to remind her to call husband. I had enough to deal with. Husband was over scouts. She’d make a disgusted noise hang up, and then pointedly call me first the very next time she had something to say about scouting. I still to this day do not understand why it was such a big deal for her. She knew who to call, but she was going to die on the hill of “Moms are in charge of Cubs.”

        4. Colleen Pyne*

          I have been a Scouter for the past 10 years in Canada. I follow several Scouting related FB groups world-wide plus regional. With the changes just announced where BSA is changing to Scouting America next year the vitriol and actual hatred being spewed by some BSA members has been shocking. There are many supporting the change and the inclusion of females but wow, what an eye-opener. A friend, heavily involved with her area BSA group received an email accusing her of pushing DEI policies and far-left politics. Her response, written in nicer language, is that she is teaching their kids not to be asses to each other and to be better global citizens. Unfortunately, while we all have a Code of Conduct and are supposed to follow the Scout Law, regardless of which country we live, some Scouters don’t follow it themselves. I am sorry your friend also experienced this.

          1. Siege*

            Ha, I was at an awards event for a YMCA group once (I have never been a member of any of the Ys) and the people in front of my row were absolutely awful – they had a 4 or 5 year old they kept passing around in the row who was making a lot of noise and blocking sightlines and all that jazz. When I finally said something they resolved it by taking turns taking the kid out of the auditorium VERY POINTEDLY because I am the worst apparently. The mom came back at the end and yelled at me that I “wasn’t exemplifying Y values” for asking her to control her kid in the least.

            I remain mildly curious what values she thinks she was exemplifying.

          2. Lady Knittington*

            Of all the Scouting organisations I’ve had any interaction with, BSA is by far the most toxic. The vitriol and hatred doesn’t surprise me in the least.

        5. Sharpie*

          I guess that explains all the stories about horrible HOAs and the people in them or who run them, that circle certain parts of the internet.

      2. Good Enough For Government Work*

        There was a comment in here once by an academic who said that the real high stakes issues in academia (free speech, protection of students) were massive, but for most academics fairly infrequent, so “I go to war over the Oxford comma just to stay in fighting trim”.

        Charitably, I will chalk it up to that.

          1. Good Enough For Government Work*

            It was a great turn of phrase!

            And I will die on that hill with you.

          2. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

            If you’re saying you’re pro-oxford comma, I will happily die on that hill with you.

            Anyone who wants to take away my Oxford commas will have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands!

    1. Forever an Admin, it seems*

      Hah! I was thinking that I could write dozens of posts where I was either a party to the grudge or an observer! I think academia runs on petty. If you try to stay out of it, you become excluded. 16 years now. If I didn’t need to stupid health insurance…

    2. LabManagerGuy*

      This is a third-hand story, so grains of salt may be needed, but based on my experiences with being a grad student and a career that involves interaction with academics, it’s entirely plausible:

      My ex-spouse went to a Very Prestigious Midwestern Liberal Arts School. Their friend worked part-time as an admin for the psychology department. Said friend was tasked with organizing the seating chart for an event and was presented with a box of note cards with each professor’s name on top and a description of who should and should not be seated near them at any given event. Reconciling the various conflict points (“Prof A used to be married to Prof B until he was caught having an affair with a former student, so A and B must be kept far apart at all times.” “Prof C and Prof D will get into shouting matches over a longstanding academic dispute if they are seated at the same table and alcohol is being served.”) was like doing a multidimensional logic puzzle.

      This was, BTW, a department where the profs all hated each other so much that they couldn’t choose a department chair amongst themselves; a prof from the biology department was drafted into the position instead by a very frustrated dean.

      1. another fed*

        People who have to do this should include it in all grad school, law school, etc. applications of their logic skills, lol.

      2. Bread Crimes*

        It sounds like one of those logic puzzles that require grids to solve. Which seems especially appropriate for a psychology department, somehow.

        I once heard a series of jokes based on the way grudges/politics work in each department by theme, and in my department the joke played heavily on the fact that we both study, and anchor our academic disputes in, ancient history.

        (Yes I am still holding a grudge against one specific faculty member based on how they messed with a friend’s TA appointment in one semester years ago, why do you ask?)

      3. The Prettiest Curse*

        I work in higher ed and plan an annual dinner attended by many academics. Before I started in this job, the decision was made to never have a seating plan for this dinner and I am SO glad because dealing with a grudge-driven seating plan would drive me to distraction.

        1. quetzal*

          My dad was an academic who used to attend a yearly conference in Europe. Apparently, the woman who organized the post conference dinners every year would seat people in order of (her perceived) prestige in the field. My dad was oblivious to things like that but someone else who attended told me about it years later.

    3. Dr. Doll*

      I should have started with my own. My spouse was a professor in a department with a very toxic little subgroup and for some reason the two biggest grant-getters — i.e. the most powerful people — in the group did NOT like Spouse. Probably because they were assholes and Spouse was not, and so they resented Spouse’s popularity in the department? Anyway, they deliberately left Spouse off of public communications to students and others, because they unilaterally decided that “Spouse is not considered part of the discipline.”

      I was *so angry* at this monumentally petty assholery that I wanted to TP their office doors with, er, well-used TP. I did NOT, I did NOT, do so, but damn I wanted to. It was the only thing I could think of that even approached their level of awfulness. I got about…63% of the satisfaction by just imagining doing it.

      And clearly I have still not forgiven them although I think Spouse has forgotten all about it.

    4. Alf*

      At the university I attended, there was a multi year feud over whether one department should be called the Political *Science* department or the Political *Studies* department. At least one departmental chair was pressured to step down during the dispute, and multiple professors wound up leaving the school after a compromise was finally reached to call it simply the Politics department.

      1. ezzle*

        I’m a Politics lecturer, and this checks out. (the department I work in now is fine, but I’ve passed through many others that would live up to Alf’s story.)

    5. Butterfly Counter*

      I’m not going to share too much because it would become immediately identifiable, but oh yes. The pettiness in academia goes DEEP.

      Our longest-sitting professor, who wanted to do nothing but do his own research and make more money, was generally known to be our department a-hole. He would snarl at students until they dropped his class so he wouldn’t have to teach. He also torpedoed at least one other professor’s tenure bid. This a-hole professor was also very well-known for padding his CV in order to make the case for a merit raise every year.

      One day, in our mailboxes, there was what seemed to be a newsletter that went over the a-hole’s CV line-by-line, noting the padding, semi-truths, untruths, and other BS he’d added in order to increase his pay. It was anonymous and no one claimed to have written it. It was so snarky and so thorough that I almost felt bad about the take-down. It was also done in the first month of the new chair’s employment, so he had no idea what was going on, so nothing was ultimately done. But it was an uncomfortable faculty meeting after that came out…

    6. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

      My story is about academia! Is academia just particularly bad?? I’ve had other absolutely terrible managers that I very much disagreed with… but not that held a grudge in such a petty way like in academia…. Why?? lol

      1. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

        Here it is again under the “academia” thread lol

        When I was in grad school, I had an assistantship through a department that wasn’t my own. Fall semester of my last year, I was chosen to take an assistantship position through my own department that was a really great opportunity and one that I really wanted to do. I talked to the professor in charge and said that I would absolutely love to take on this position, but I’m wary of giving up my assistantship from another department for the position since I still had a semester to pay for after this assistantship would be over. She said that she was 80% sure they’d find a position for me. The head of the department suggested I ask this professor if I could switch semesters and keep my other assistantship fall semester and have her assistantship spring–but she became upset at this request and felt the department head was overstepping. She said she wouldn’t give me the assistantship in spring and it would only be available to me for fall. I decided to take it.

        Surprise surprise… they couldn’t find an assistantship for me for the spring. My only class left was thesis hours, so I ended up adjuncting–and my entire salary for teaching the “class” (which wasn’t even a class and I was paying to write my own thesis, lol) covered only tuition. So, naturally, I had to get a full-time job so as to not starve.

        Well, the tasks from the fall assistantship weren’t actually complete in spring. This is how it always is–the person in the position usually has unpaid duties the following semester, BUT they are paid by the department for their other assistantship, so it’s never been a huge problem. But I was working a full-time job on top of teaching a class and writing my thesis. She was expecting me to use my working hours at my full-time job to complete tasks, which obviously I couldn’t do. She had to do them instead, and I could tell by her emails that she was ANGRY.

        But I thought it’d be fine and she’d get over it. Wrong. Unfortunately for me, she was also on my thesis committee and was scoring my comprehensive exams. Despite passing my comps with flying colors with my two other professors on the committee–she failed me. My thesis director (a different professor) made sure to tell me she didn’t agree with failing me, but she didn’t have a choice. Luckily, she only made me re-take one essay question AND she tailored the essay question to my very specific interests and skills, so it actually wasn’t too bad to retake.

        And then came my thesis defense. The other two professors spoke highly of my work, asked interesting questions, and provided in-depth feedback on how I could improve my work. Not this professor. She sat there with her head laid on the desk and her hair covering her face for a good portion of the defense. She only criticized my work but couldn’t actually come up with reasons to back up her criticisms.

        And I’ll be honest, I thought maybe I was being too sensitive. But I had two friends from my department in there with me and one friend who didn’t go to my school but has a doctorate and know how these things go. My friend with the doctorate ended up leaving early because he was so mad at this professor and was afraid he’d say something he shouldn’t. My two friends from the program went to lunch with me afterward and they were like, “no, that was absolutely ridiculous and not okay.” The same friends went to another friend’s defense a week or so later that also had this professor, and they said she was like a different person.

        So, yeah. I’m really still not over that. I wanted to get a PhD after working for a year, but this experience really soured me on academia. And I know some people are going to read this and think my work just sucked and she was being honest, but I know that’s not true.

        1. Cinn*

          No, if her behaviour is literally “sitting there with her head laid on the desk and her hair covering her face for a good portion of the defense” then that is definitely a her problem, not you or your work. Heck, even if your work genuinely was awful, that’s so far out of line that it now is a her problem! (Not that I think your work did suck or anything, just making a point that she was *redacted*.)

          1. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

            Thank you! I do still sometimes think… maybe I was being too sensitive! But I have three people backing me up that she acted inappropriately during the defense… and two of the three attended another defense with the same professor and she did not act that way.

            But the other two professors were acting like absolutely nothing unusual was going on, so it was just such a bizarre experience! And neither of them said anything to me about it afterward. Not that I expected them to but it was just weird.

        2. datamuse*

          I was in academia for eighteen years and I have absolutely no trouble believing this happened as you describe. For what that’s worth.

          (I can’t go into detail for confidentiality reasons but I once had responsibility for reviewing certain departmental reports, by which I, someone not in that department and mostly unfamiliar with its work, could tell exactly who was in which of at least two major factions within the department. Fortunately none of it was my problem.)

          1. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

            Thank you for the validation, haha…. Sometimes I don’t believe myself and think “am I just protecting my own ego?” But no, I really don’t think so!

          2. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

            Also, yeah, the feedback was “anonymous” but I could tell which was which super easily.

        3. AngryOctopus*

          I was told by my committee chair that it was “PAST TIME for a published paper” two years into my grad experience, when my experiments had not once supported our hypothesis. My advisor, who had never once mentioned that, stood with him and nodded. Me now would be like “uh, on what, because our data does not support our hypothesis and we haven’t figure out why yet”, but me then was just shocked. I quit 2 months later for various reasons, that being one of them.

          1. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

            Wow! Okay, granted, I was in the humanities but even I can grasp that you shouldn’t publish an article about how data does NOT support the hypothesis!?

            But yeah, the other weird thing is how the professors just pretended like nothing was wrong. And they didn’t say anything to me later. Not that I expected them to! But it was still so weird to just pretend like all this was normal, idk.

            But it makes sense… I was about to graduate… my advisor was a new professor who wouldn’t want to have “beef” with her coworker…. I’m actually surprised in retrospect that my advisor made it clear that she disagreed with the choice to fail me on my comps.

            1. Ariaflame*

              Maybe, maybe not. A finding that your data does not support your hypothesis is still a result. One of the most famous experiments that had that was the Michelson-Morley one in physics.
              Are you doing research to confirm your hypothesis or to prove (in the sense of test) your hypothesis? There’s a reason why good hypotheses should be falsifiable, because it might be wrong, and you need to be able to tell if it is. Either way its a learning experience.

        4. AnonPi*

          I was in the same boat. I had plans to go into academia because I enjoyed teaching adults science (particularly those who were not science majors). I had bad experiences with dept politics at both my undergrad universities I attended but thought it was a fluke, til I went to grad school and found it just as bad (well, worse in all new ways). I realized half way thru my masters that I’d be dealing with this the rest of my life and didn’t want that. Which sucks, because I think I’d really have liked teaching, and the little bit I get to do in my current job (tours, some outreach) I get wonderful feedback, so I def think I’d have been good at it.

          But yeah I guess I’m still not totally over it too. Took me a long time to not think it must have been *me* that was the problem. The horror/war stories I’ve heard about my particular stem field (considered one of the most toxic, esp for women) I guess made me feel not so singled out in that regard. But makes me sad it’s so prevalent.

      2. Butterfly Counter*

        It’s because, unlike a lot of other professions, you don’t often leave after a few years. Once people get tenure, they tend to STAY. So the grudges get long and old.

    7. Alice*

      Ha, I work in academia and the only reason I haven’t written yet is because I don’t know which story to pick. The one where the Dean stopped talking to a group of professors because they ran a successful conference? The one where a grad student chose their line of expertise because they wanted to devote the rest of their academic life to disproving a professor? The time a whole department went to group therapy, except for their boss?

      1. Physics Lab Tech*

        The group therapy one is actually very impressive to me, but only because my department cannot figure out how to do the logistics of getting everyone together in one room.

    8. Anonymath*

      I was brought into my department specifically to make changes in a few specific courses in our newish doc program. The department is very inbred, with all of the hires before me having graduated from one of our department’s programs. Three faculty, including the department chair, decided they didn’t like the changes I made because they weren’t “how it’s always been done.” Department chair proceeds to gaslight me to the point that I request and receive ADA accommodation for memory issues. Department chair then refuses to meet with me ever, thus avoiding the accommodation. She’s my direct supervisor.

      Department chair’s BFF, who is a newish assistant professor, has an advisee who does poorly in my class (not turning in assignments, turning in half-assed work that doesn’t follow the rubric). BFF professor takes it personally and causes enough grief that he ends up teaching the student as an independent study. BFF also serves on a different doc student’s dissertation committee with me and another faculty member, who is the committee chair. BFF is currently going out of her way to cause as many problems as possible for this poor doc student, because this is how BFF has chosen to express her grudge with me. I’ve been as professional and as accommodating to BFF as I can, but feel sorry for the doc student taking collateral damage from BFF’s behavior. Chair of the committee is also new and isn’t comfortable addressing BFF’s obvious unprofessional behavior, and we can’t go to the department chair.

  13. The Happy Graduate*

    I once had a coworker who was known for rather sudden, random moodswings where she’d be normal and pleasant one moment but then visibly annoyed and barely responsive for seemingly no reason.

    Once during a particularly foul day, she explained – unprompted – that she “needed a steak.” Further inquiry led to the explanation that whenever her parents noticed she was in a terrible mood they fed her a steak and she was back to normal.

    To this day I wonder if an iron deficiency would have been worth looking into.

    1. Run, get some chicken!*

      I think iron doesn’t get absorbed that fast. Her body probably needed her to eat protein. Lot of people have mood swings with high carb foods and going without protein.

      My younger child is like this too. Put a plate of chicken in front of her and she’s a different child after she eats it.

      1. Ama*

        Yes I am like this! If I get really moody, I think about whether I’ve eaten any protein recently. I keep a lot of high protein snacks on hand for that reason. This was particularly acute when I was younger and my metabolism was still really high (particularly my teens and 20s), it’s not so bad now but it still pops up from time to time.

        1. Elle*

          I’m the same way. I travel with individually wrapped meat sticks in my work bag. Gotta keep this show on the road and also make sure it doesn’t get too snippy (metaphor got away from me there)

        2. She of Many Hats*

          Could also be a symptom of Celiac Disease with many forms of carbs involving gluten-bearing grains. Mood swings, lethargy, tantrums were my DD’s symptoms because she was constantly hungry from a lack of nutrients despite having seconds of pasta, sandwiches, desserts, etc. and had less endurance resulting in meltdowns when the little fuel she was receiving was exhausted.

      2. Zombeyonce*

        I also have a child that needs food at very regular intervals or she absolutely loses her mind (but will never admit it, and getting her to eat when she’s like this is a struggle).

        We instituted “emergency cheese” where, when we get her up in the morning, we feed her a piece of cheese while she’s still in bed. It’s solved so many morning problems and it’s silly enough for her to go along with it.

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

          I really wish I had known as a child that a lot of my bad moods were probably hunger- it was only until my 30’s before I started to sort that out and go, “OOOOOH! That’s what those commercials mean!”

          “Emergency cheese” might have to become a Thing (TM) for me.

        2. Project Maniac-ger*

          I think I’m going to have to implement “emergency cheese” for myself!

        3. Dasein9 (he/him)*

          “Emergency cheese” is entering my lexicon, which already had “bedtime salami,” i.e., non-garlic salami for before bed. (Usually, I only need it when recovering from something, but it does make a huge difference to have protein before bed.)

        4. PaulaMomOfTwo*

          Just wanting to comment as a life long hypoglycemic, there’s some tricks to staying steady. Avoiding late night carby snacks, having plenty of fat/protein in the early morning meals (cheese is ideal!).

          It runs in my family (have a father and one of my 3 sisters also has it).

          We describe that hunger sensation as the “heebie geebies”. First you feel hungry, then you start to shake/sweat. Eventually it’s hard to talk. My favorite fix when that happens is white bread wrapped around a hot dog plus a large glass of water. The bread converts to sugar quickly, and the hot dog stabilizes you. Orange juice or just sugar makes it better for a bit but then you crash even harder.

      3. Llama Doc*

        Iron deficiency can cause psychosis. It is pretty rapidly absorbed from the GI tract especially after eating meat.

      1. NotJane*

        Same! He is the absolute worst about getting so busy that he “forgets to eat”. Then he’s an absolute grumpy a-hole but won’t take a quick break to have a snack to fix the issue. Sigh.

    2. Lily Rowan*

      I have a tendency toward hanger, but I figured that out when I was 20! And attend to my own physical needs before they become somebody else’s problem.

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Bingo. If you know you have a problem, plan accordingly.

        I do suffer from anemia. I get lightheaded and pass out. But I know this is a problem so I have snacks with me. A drink and some protein and I’m just fine. I do not expect others to deal with my issue (although if it looks like working through lunch at a trial I will mention I have a medical condition, judges then let us go).

      2. Frieda*

        My former MIL would deliberately sabotage my attempts to eat regular meals when she visited us or we visited her. She “wasn’t hungry” at lunchtime so everyone including the small children just had to wait, and she saved her weekend calories for alcohol so cheese and crackers at 4pm was supposed to be ‘dinner” so that she could just drink through the evening.

        It took me years to fine-tune my planning to keep it from happening, including revamping our “holiday traditions” to include having prepared food (quiche, muffins) on hand at all times because it’s the “tradition” which somehow carried more weight than the incontrovertible fact of it being lunchtime.

        Do NOT miss her.

        1. knitcrazybooknut*

          Yeah my own mom would pull this power play. At the last Christmas meal my husband and I attended, we were ostensibly waiting for my brother to show up or something? I was starving, so I went to the fridge for a brief snack, and she started yelling at me. Instead of fighting her, which is what she wanted, I just went to the piano and ignored her. Miraculously we were eating about ten minutes later.

          I can’t imagine why I haven’t spoken to her in over ten years.

      3. Apt Nickname*

        The first time I heard the word hangry, I was surprised that it was needed. Wasn’t everyone murderous when they were hungry? Apparently not, which was an insight into my metabolism.

        1. Hangrytothemax*

          I know right? I still can’t believe that it doesn’t happen for some people! I mean, it took me until my late 20s to figure it out but once I did my whole childhood made so much more sense. I don’t understand people who don’t turn into witches when they are hungry.
          there is a t-shirt I want to get that says “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry” and has a picture of a shark.

    3. Ginge60*

      Oh No. This reminds me of a co worker of mine from a few years back. Sadly it had nothing to do with food (if only). She was just moody full stop! It got really bad to the point where I’d feel like walking on eggshells just saying good morning. She also thought because she’d worked at the company longer than me, that she was my supervisor or something. Telling me what to do when in reality it was either wrong, not checked up on or, I’d already done the thing she wanted. To make matters worse, the bosses secretary took her side on everything and tried to belittle me in the process. I felt pretty undervalued and couldn’t approach any higher ups (no HR at that time). I eventually left as I’d just had enought of the low morale throughout and the BS that came with it.

    4. SuprisinglyADHD*

      The “eat a snickers” commercials were super annoying but damn if I don’t know several people who get nasty without meals at the correct times! “you’re not you when you’re hungry,” indeed!

  14. Mr. Pickles*

    I used to work at a distribution warehouse back in the 90s. The workforce was mostly divided between guys who packed the orders onto pallets, and the guys who drove the trucks. They didn’t always get along, likely because what made the job easier for one group wasn’t always what made it easier for the other. Anyway, there were two guys, a Driver and a Packer, who hated each other. Nobody really remembered why, they’d been there for a long time. But they were constantly snipping at each other, and Driver would complain that Packer did a bad job on purpose so the stuff would fall over and break on the truck. It sometimes escalated to shoving, but there were a lot of big guys around to break it up and it usually settled pretty quickly. Since Driver was on the road almost the whole day, there were only about 15 minutes apiece in the morning or afternoon where they could get into it, so people just managed it as best they could.

    Anyway, one day Packer comes in very excited about a new car he bought. Something very new and shiny. He’s telling everybody about this car. He’s usually not in a great mood, so it’s legitimately nice to see him happy about something.

    Next day, Driver comes back from his route a little late. Seems he’d taken a detour to a hardware store and bought an ax. He broke every window on Packer’s new car and left the ax lodged in the hood, then got in his own car and drove away, never to return. Packer didn’t see it until a bit later, and I think he was just in shock. He just stood there for a long time until somebody put him in their car and gave him a ride home. He came back to work but was a lot quieter after that.

    The police showed up a couple days later to watch the security tapes and ask if Driver had been at work lately. As far as I know nobody ever really heard from or saw him again, but I’m sure they still tell the story.

      1. Observer*

        It’s vicious enough that it’s probably just as well that he did that and then disappeared. Because that level of effort and malice was going to come out at some point, and someone could have been hurt.

        I’m sure that the thought would not have been very comforting to his victim. But I have no doubt that this guy was a case of serious workplace violence waiting to happen.

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

        There’s a drive shortage so it’s literally nothing for a driver to get slightly pissed at their job, quit, and the next day, have a new job. And that was a few years before Covid- I’m sure it’s worse now.

    1. Helewise*

      This one is heartbreaking. Actively destroying someone else’s joy is … just awful. (Also, pretty unhinged.)

      1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Agreed. That poor man. Even if the packer was a complete jerk, you just don’t destroy the one thing that makes them happy.

  15. Finn*

    Does school count? I’m not sure what happened, but we’ve had a class (c) that annoyed the rest of the year (4 classes total, a-d) for some reason (I don’t know the details but I know something happened causing some people to leave the school and stuff got escalated quite high, rumors say illegal drugs were involved but, well, that’s rumors and school wouldn’t release any info).
    For the next three years, members from classes a, b and d refused to talk to members from class c and vice versa – despite teachers mixing classes in an attempt to solve things and many many attempts at solving things. There were a handful of people not caring (me included, I joined a year after whatever incident it was), but most classmates participated.

  16. H. P. Epson*

    Many of us disliked an overly controlling but ineffectual IT person at a previous job.

    Once we unplugged a nearly unused printer to use the outlet for a moment and came out and complained, seems he could monitor the printer was off and was alerted.

    This gave a coworker an idea.

    People started turning it off all the time, stealing the power cord, cutting the network cable. Anything. Both sides kept escalating until one day the power switch didn’t work. The IT guy had partially disassembled the printer, breaking a corner in the process, to disconnect the power switch so when people flipped it the printer would stay on.

    At that point my coworker admitted defeat, he wasn’t willing to that.

    1. Printers are demonspawn*

      I’m surprised the IT person was willing to deal with the printer. If someone resorted to cutting a cable I would just said screw it the printer probably deserved it

      1. SHEILA, the co-host*

        As a librarian, this, right here. Printers are the bane of my existence.

    2. Caffeine Monkey*

      I’m on the side of the IT person, tbh. Printers are so finicky that unplugging one could quite easily stop it from ever working again, and there’s no guarantee it wouldn’t take six of its comrades out with it.

      1. May*

        It’s worse than that. Having a monitoring system that includes the printer strongly suggests that uptime metrics or problem resolution were part of this guy’s job. They weren’t just being jerks, they were actively hurting this guy’s performance rating.

  17. Mouse named Anon*

    I worked for this company for almost exactly a year. During that time I struggled a little with the job. Training wasn’t the greatest and the position advertised was actually quite more advanced than my skill set. Still I tried really hard and eventually got better with time.

    Anyway… the people in my department were not the greatest. They were just mean all the time and very much not welcoming. I spilled my drink once and one of my co-workers yelled across the office “OMG YOU HAVE SO MANY F*ING ISSUES!”

    A few weeks later I was really stuck on error that I found. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it. I tried for at least an hour to figure it out on my own. Asked for help. They said sorry they couldn’t help me. My boss was out of town and she couldn’t help either. Finally 5 hours later I was about to give up, near tears and just in general upset I couldn’t figure it out. Finally my co-worker piped up that she had found the error about 5 hours ago but never said anything. She wanted me “find it on my own”. I told her I understand that, but you saw me struggling FOR 5 HOURS! You couldn’t have said something at some point? I was so angry. I got laid off about a month later. I actually smiled and skipped out of the office when they told me. The HR lady looked at me, like I was nuts.

    1. Professional Cat Lady*

      Were all of your coworkers black&yellow, and did they communicate primarily through a series of complex dance moves?
      Seriously, the weight off your shoulders must have been incredible.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Were all of your coworkers black&yellow, and did they communicate primarily through a series of complex dance moves?

        That took me a moment XD

        1. Oh, just me again. . .*

          Yeah, it looked like that comment was heading into some sort of racial area – I’m so glad it didn’t and SO ashamed my own mind did!

          1. Wolf*

            My brain was stuck on “but minions don’t dance a lot, do they?” for a second.

  18. Bitsy*

    So many of us work in libraries that I can say this story came out of a library and I don’t have to worry about being identified!

    A department head, let’s call her Mary, had made some relatively minor decision that one of the other staff strongly disagreed with. Apparently this staff member, let’s call her Sue, had a longstanding grudge against Mary, and thought that the decision was made specifically to slight her.

    Sue reacted by doing a little dance in the middle of our open plan office, repeating the C-word in a cheerful, sing-songy voice, dancing in a circle and flapping her hands in the air, like “La la la! La la la! La la la!” It was, and remains, the strangest thing I’ve ever seen inside an office.

    1. Electric Sheep*

      That would take something very strange indeed to be dethroned!

      Did anyone else witness it?

    2. Nea*

      I am reminded of the kid in school who slapped the book I was reading out of my hands, then jumped up and down in front of me making gorilla noises. And somehow *I* was supposed to be humiliated that *he* was the one acting like a fool?

    3. Victor WembanLlama*

      You’ve left a pretty good cliffhanger…. what happened after this??

    4. AnonForThis*

      And I thought I’d seen some strange things in offices, and heard some of the strange stories of the members of the public my mum faced when she was a librarian (sock puppet guy is the most memorable). But I don’t think anything I know about can top what you just described.

  19. H.Regalis*

    I don’t know the cause of this, but two managers in my department cannot stand each other. They’re mostly civil, but it’s enough of a thing that people will give new employees a heads-up about it.

    There’s a recurring meeting I’m in with them, some other people, and their boss (my grandboss). Manager #1 was on vacation for a while, so during the recurring meeting, Manager #2 took time out to say, “These meetings have been so much more pleasant recently,” as a dig at M1, who was the only person who was absent. Why he went out of his way to be super catty in front of his own boss is anybody’s guess.

    1. SS*

      Ohhhh, this reminds me of one!

      When I joined my company, my boss (Coy) and another director (Stan) openly hated each other. To be fair, Stan was horrible at their job and basically did nothing (with no consequences), which Coy couldn’t stand.

      Our Executive Director (Ed) at the time would celebrate staff anniversaries during all-staff meetings (~15 people). Ed would say some things about the person’s history at the company and then invite other staff members to say nice things about the anniversary person. Apparently Ed was feeling diabolical during Stan’s anniversary meeting when, after sharing their own sentiments, said “Coy, please share some nice words about Stan.” The whole meeting went dead silent while Coy stared blankly for a solid 45 seconds before saying “well, Stan is a nice person.” Ed continued as if this was totally normal, “anybody else have sentiments to share for Stan today?” Another good 60 seconds of silence before a couple other people gave bland platitudes.

      It was one of the single most awkward things I’ve ever witnessed, this meeting lingers in company lore for the few of us still around who were there – all 3 of these characters are gone now; I’m in Coy’s previous role and have a counterpart in Stan’s role that I get along with swimmingly.

  20. Good Enough For Government Work*

    I just want to say that I would LOVE an update to the ‘keeper of his zipper’ post.

    1. No touchy!*

      Seconded! I really hope everything went well for that letter writer and poor Dave.

    2. Rebecca1*

      It was posted on March 18, 2020. So I think it’s safe to say that things changed one way or another.

  21. Bird Lady*

    I once worked with a facilities director who had all sorts of issues with the women he had to work with. He called my first manager at that particular organization, who was one of the hardest working people there, lazy because she didn’t set up tables and chairs for events because that was literally the job of the facilities director and his staff. There are more issues than I can recount in a comments section.

    Normally his antics could be ignored, because we rarely interfaced with his department and Covid eliminated in-person public events. Unfortunately, he decided that I wasn’t flirting with him and so tried to sabotage everything I did once Covid restrictions lifted. After one particularly stressful sabotage attempt, I broke down in tears in the bathroom. I have a severe hip injury which at the time meant I was effectively disabled and couldn’t lift more than 5-10 pounds. Fixing what he had done required me to lift far more and I was in a lot of pain.

    His assistant found me in the bathroom and tried to explain that if I just wore more revealing shirts and flirted with him more, he would do anything I asked of him. When I pointed out that all I was asking was for him to do his job, she reminded me that he was a director and I was not and that all I needed to do was flirt, stroke his hand when we sat at meetings, and let him do work on my car. I was enraged. Beyond not wanting to be disrespectful to my husband, I live in a small community where his parents are considered community leaders. The last thing I would ever want to have happen is a rumor mill begin that would harm my family – even if I was just flirting to get my job done.

    So I began bypassing him entirely and set up for events using friendly staff or volunteers. Our events were successful, and whenever anyone tried to praise him, I pointedly reminded them that he was not involved in the success and thanked the people who actually helped. Was this my best moment? No. Not at all. Did I love watching him glare at me when I told people the truth? Oh, very yes.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      WTF?!??! What kind of advice is that to PANDER to someone’s misogyny and sexual harassment??!

      Your coworker’s head was full of bees. And the director needed to be smacked with a clue-by-four (several times).

      1. Finn*

        Not sure what a clue-by-four is, but I agree that there need to be serious consequences. Not sure if firing is possible, but if it is… I wouldn’t call anyone unresponsible or unreasonable for having fired him.

        1. Bird Lady*

          When I brought up to HR what his assistant said to me, they both denied it and went about making me look banana pants. No one witnessed her come into the bathroom and scold me for not flirting with her boss.

          1. MsM*

            Part of me feels sorry for her because she clearly felt like that was what she needed to do to work with him, but the other, much larger part is just going to join your grudge against them.

        2. Hlao-roo*

          “Smacked with a clue-by-four” is an idiom, a way of saying “smack some sense into someone.” Clue-by-four is a play on “two-by-four” (a piece of lumber).

        3. Observer*

          From the Free Dictionary:

          A metaphorical stick one uses to “beat” correct information into an ignorant, incompetent, or slow-learning person (i.e., to help them “get a clue”). A pun on the term “two-by-four,” a piece of timber that measures 2 by 4 inches (5 by 10 cm) in height and width.

          1. *daha**

            And, of course, a 2×4 as sold in a lumber yard actually measures 1.5″ by 3.5″ by whatever the actual length is.

            1. Aardvark*

              They aren’t cheating you though. 2×4 is the undressed dimensions. Once dressed (planed smooth) you loose some material.

      1. Finn*

        Sure sounds like it, 100% in the normal use sense and I’d say 99% in the legal sense. Legal notice, I’m not a lawyer, but I know about the laws that sometimes “should be illegal” doesn’t mean “is illegal”.

          1. RC*

            Can confirm, just had to do our clunky biannual sexual harassment training and this is pretty textbook for unethical and yes also illegal.

            I kind of feel bad for the enabling assistant though, who was probably just trying to get by with a nightmare boss/power differential (while yes also enabling the bad behavior).

            1. MigraineMonth*

              I don’t know, depends on her circumstances. She left innocent bystander behind a long time ago. Lying to HR about a conversation you had gets into pretty murky waters.

      2. not nice, don't care*

        And how many of us have experienced that, reported it, followed all the protocols etc and the perp keeps their job, and often the target is driven out.

        1. Bird Lady*

          This was literally me. The director and his assistant denied it ever happened, suggested that I was losing it from stress, and because HR was a revolving door, also claimed they never had been trained on what constituted sexual harassment so couldn’t possibly know what was appropriate for the workplace.

          1. Boof*

            At the least it sounds like that should have bought them an intensive seminar on sexual harassment and sensitivity training (nevermind that ignorance of things that are obviously wrong/illegal is not actually a valid excuse for doing illegal/terrible things)

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      How was that not a best moment? You rose above all AND you lifted the hardworking people beside you up as well. Yes, you showed him up. But you didn’t put him down. He refused to help you. You didn’t make it about him not helping; you made it about the people who did help.
      To borrow an idea from The Office, I dub this “Guttenpetty.”

    3. Lenora Rose*

      That last paragraph makes you the winner here, but I am so sorry you had to go through that nonsense – and that actual physical pain – to get there.

  22. Not on board*

    My summer job during university for 3 years was working at a city owned waterpark. All the employees were high school and university students except for the manager, and assistant manager. There was much drama but for me personally there was a lifeguard who seemed to have love/hate feelings toward me. He would constantly hit on me then treat me like garbage when I turned him down. At a work party he grabbed my breast one time. One year I got my sister a job for the summer – he didn’t know she was my sister and proceeded to hit on her by insulting me and she exclaimed, “Don’t say that, she’s my sister!” In retaliation, I told everyone that he’d been in my jazz dance class when we were 13, which he was embarassed by due to masculinity issues (he clearly did steroids and had an anger problem). Ahhh, the follies of youth.

    1. Not on board*

      Edit to add: Today I realize this is sexual harassment, and I wouldn’t retaliate in such a petty way, but when you’re 22 and in a drama filled job (some between coworker, some from patrons – leather lady, speedo man, and the grudge that was cashiers vs lifeguards) you don’t make the most mature decisions.

  23. Fabulous*

    I once worked at a fairly toxic place – it was a collections call center/cube farm, if that helps to set the scene. It was a sea of female employees, with a male manager who either lorded over us or didn’t intervene for anything – nothing in between. A couple stories come to mind:

    One of the girls was walking up and down all the aisles freaking out about having eaten some cereal with potentially spoiled milk. I casually mentioned to a co-worker friend after she had passed our area that I usually try to smell my milk before consuming it, the girl overheard and flipped her lid. She cornered me in my cube and yelled incoherently at me until another co-worker came and led her away.

    I don’t even remember the context surrounding this one, but another of the girls apparently felt threatened by me for some reason (for context, I was a 5’3″ 130lb fresh-out-of-college young’n with no life experience in her first office job; my “adversary” was a 5’10” 250lb 30+ year old woman with a kid). All I remember is hearing that she was going to be waiting outside to “beat my ass” after work one day. I still have no idea what I did to make her so mad!

    1. Elle*

      That’s super bold for someone who somehow managed to eat cereal with spoiled milk. Usually just a sniff or small sip will tell you what you need to know. Eating multiple spoonsful of cereal/funky tasting milk is so absurd to me that I’m shocked she even admitted to it.

      I’d probably have had some pepto and made a mental note to always smell the work milk, but I’m probably too motivated by avoiding embarrassment.

      1. Nea*

        I’ve had strongly flavored drinks made with milk that was off and was about halfway through before I realized.

        That said, it’s an issue that’s going to, er, work itself out. If she’s running up and down the aisles instead of running for the restroom, she obviously hadn’t had enough to have any effect!

  24. spuffyduds*

    I had a library co-worker once with a years-long grudge against…a couch.

    The Friends of the Library had used some of their funds to buy decent furniture for the break room, which most of us appreciated. She felt very strongly that any money the Friends raised should have been used to add to the collection, which we already had a pretty good budget for from other sources.

    She retaliated by refusing to sit on that couch, ever, for years. Unclear whether she succeeded in hurting the couch’s feelings.

    1. tw1968*

      On the face of it I could understand if a mgr didn’t want funds used that way (altho should be up to the FotL since their funds)…but here the FotL are saying in effect, Hey, you folks work hard, we got you this nice comfy couch to sit on during your breaks because we appreciate YOU!

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Did she make a big production about not eating pizza when the manager ordered for a work meeting? And bringing in her own office supplies to save the library’s money for collection items?

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Great callback to the “My coworkers won’t help me cut expenses” letter (from January 25, 2019, update from December 4, 2019 for anyone who wants to read the reference)!

        1. Quill*

          I’ll take “letter writers who I desperately hope are in a better place in life” for five hundred

    3. djx*

      I respect her. Didn’t want money spent that way, and doesn’t use the result. Chapeau.

    4. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      So much donor money has strings that hamstring what the organization can do with it. I remember the donor who gave money to the university, not for scholarships or the library or athletics or research, but to give the campus a bell tower. And another who donated to the library a significant amount of money that had to be used to create a small garden space next to the library with a fountain, plants and seating.

    5. Excel-sior*

      to be fair, i also have a long standing grudge against a piece of office furniture. specifically, coffee table legs. they know what they did.

        1. Excel-sior*

          corners are awful too, but for some reason i manage to avoid them more often than not, yet the table legs and my toes have a more than passing acquaintance.

    6. The Gnome*

      To paraphrase a later portion of the infamous Rick James comedy bit, “Eff you, couch!”

  25. Gen*

    During a standard interdepartmental spat over window blinds one of the other managers became so offended by our manager’s love of sunlight that she locked him in the building during a fire drill. Claimed the glare of the sun confused her eyes so she “accidentally” put the key in the lock. They never spoke again, communicating through runners in a “X told me to tell you” system for fire years until she was encouraged to leave after locking him in a storage cupboard

      1. Janeric*

        I mean that’s wild but the FIRE DRILL? Did she know 100% that it was a drill?

        This lady had a modus operandi.

    1. Ostrich Herder*

      This lady was ENCOURAGED to leave after physically trapping her colleague multiple times? Yeesh!

      1. Enai*

        Yeah. I’m German and it’s difficult to fire people on the spot here, but *locking a person in a cupboard* *on purpose* probably counts as an important reason to get the perpetrator away from the workplace as fast as you can physically drag them.

    2. ferrina*

      I know it’s a typo, but the “fire years” sounds way too accurate.
      This person sounds horrible!

      1. MsM*

        Or a “What We Do In The Shadows”/”The Office” fusion about a vampire and a vampire hunter.

      2. By the lake*

        OMG! We read this in high school, I’ve always remembered it but didn’t know the title. Thanks you!

    3. Lurker*

      That is the funniest possible explanation she could have given. I wouldn’t have been able to say that with a straight face

    4. 2cents*

      Started this one thinking, “surely a 5-line comment won’t make my eyes bug out of my head and my jaw hit the floor”, and yet. Holy bananapants.

  26. Clearance Issues*

    when I first started at my current company, there was a guy who just literally hated my guts. I work at a satellite office, he worked at a different office several states away. He blamed me for everything going wrong in his career because I was meeting metrics he was missing, and then picking up his work because he was “so swamped.”
    He called HR and reported me for drug use, so I had to go get randomly drug tested (came back completely clean) and while I was at the urine test clinic he called the client, badmouthed me, got caught doing so by our boss, and while my boss was doing damage control with the client he apparently tripped over his own feet and smashed his work laptop in the middle of the cube farm. While people were looking over at him in horror he said that [I] did it.
    I didn’t know about this until my boss called me while I was on my way back from the drug testing with a receipt (both for lunch and that I’d had it done) with a timestamp proving I was nowhere near the office at the time.
    He confirmed he thought I was clearly a witch and the devil to HR while talking about it, and I must have magical powers to mess with him (?). (When I was asked about this during the investigation I said that if I really had magic powers, I would not be working here.)
    They insisted he get mentally evaluated and had him suspended until he did get help… instead he found a new job and left. Now I keep tabs on him so I know he’s not in the same state as me.

    1. Clearance Issues*

      (i would not have touched his assignments if I hadn’t been assigned them, I didn’t even realize he’d been the source of said assignments.)

    2. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

      This is downright scary!! I’m glad you keep tabs on him. You never know.

    3. BellyButton*

      That is wild! I can’t believe he claimed you were a witch! That dude needs help.

    4. djx*

      “He confirmed he thought I was clearly a witch and the devil”
      I would not like being called “the devil” but someone claiming I had magic powers would be pretty cool.

      “Now I keep tabs on him so I know he’s not in the same state as me.”
      Do you use a mirror or a crystal for scrying? Or have a familiar like a bird follow him around?

        1. Lady_Lessa*

          Love the tools you use for your magic. If desired, I have a fire lizard to loan you.

    5. Lurker*

      Just when I thought it couldn’t get wilder it did. Thankfully you don’t have to deal with him anymore!

    6. The Witch's Daughter*

      This is priceless– and calls to mind something I saw in historical references to an ancestress of mine on trial in Salem for witchcraft. (Loosely paraphrased…) she was asked, “Did you not visit Magistrate So-and-So in his sleep and perform lewd acts upon his person?” Her reply was something like, “If I had wanted to do such a thing, I certainly wouldn’t have picked him!”
      (A very “stormy” response …)

  27. Zombeyonce*

    I feel ridiculous even writing this story because the bad behaver was a middle-aged man who had been a manager for many years, and 100% knew better.

    I had a new (slightly naive) coworker who was just out of college and dealing with having moved far away from her family because they didn’t accept her dating women, so her private life was pretty upended. She finally got a stable apartment and was getting settled into the job and the city.

    Our manager (previously mentioned middle-aged dude), was a little too friendly with her, and it made the rest of us uncomfortable to watch him fawn over her all day, but he didn’t do anything outright over the line. She didn’t realize what was happening until I pointed it out at happy hour one night after work. Then she said, “Are you sure?” before pausing for a long time. I could practically see the lightbulb go on over her head, and she told me he’d been asking about her new apartment building because he was looking for a new place.

    Y’all, she TOLD HIM WHERE SHE LIVED BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T REALIZE HE WAS HITTING ON HER. He moved into the building pretty soon after that and started going to her door at random times (borrow sugar kind of situations that seemed to be escalating). She had to make a complaint to HR to get him to stop, and our department got rearranged after that. I hear he was strongly encouraged to move. The most ridiculous part is that he knew she was gay and, even after all the other things that should have stopped him (her age, her status as his employee, her disinterest), the fact that she had no sexual interest in men at all wasn’t a deterrent.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      (forgot to include) The argument part was him with HR trying to claim he didn’t mean anything by it, he just thought that when she described her new apartment, “it sounded nice.” This was reiterated to everyone that would listen when it started getting around the office…because he told people he was outraged at the accusations.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        I had a former coworker 1-get my email from a colleague (He told her I gave him my contact info but he ‘misplaced it’ and could she give it to him) and emailed me about having lunch (not awful but not great b/c I didn’t give my info), then when unable to get me to commit to lunch, he 2-managed to somehow get my address and number from somewhere (it was early 2000s, so probably got into a file cabinet he shouldn’t have been in), called me, and said “Guess who’s coming to visit you??”. I panicked and said I wasn’t there. He tried to set a date. I hung up and complained to my old boss. He then emailed paragraphs about how “sorry he was that the lunch invite was misconstrued” and elaborated on that theme. Not a word about stealing my address and trying to come over. Luckily my old boss had my back and unequivocally told him to never contact me again because at minimum he was being a disgusting creep (I told her about the email as well).

          1. Enai*

            Um, can you elaborate? Neither ursine mammals nor fat hairy gay men seem to have anything to do with this?

            1. Oh, just me again. . .*

              Something going around facebook: Would you prefer to spend the night in the woods knowing there was a random bear out there in the woods, or a random man. (9out of 10 (or similar) women picked the bear. There were reasons, like “the bear would never say you egged him on with what you were wearing . . . “

    2. Seashell*

      I would think a manager would have access to her address from work-related forms anyway, so it’s not like she shared a big secret. He sounds creepy and dopey though.

      1. Bob*

        I work at a large company and I have no access to anyone’s home address or personal phone (or email). I think that would only be true at a smaller place.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          It was a big company so I doubt he had the kind of access needed to see her address.

      2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Maybe at very small companies (like small enough not to have HR) but that’s not been true anywhere I’ve worked including a startup of fewer than 50 people. I can see valid reasons in coverage-based jobs for the manager to have a phone number, but a home address?

    3. ferrina*

      This poor woman! That dude is super creepy. Moving into the same apartment so he could ‘happen to drop by’? Nope nope nope. If I happened to live somewhere near a colleague, I would go out of my way to avoid their floor.

    4. Paint N Drip*

      I think many non-straight women will tell you, plenty of men take it as a challenge. This combined with just the general wrong-ness of pursuing an employee is so many shades of gross, crazy that ‘rearrange’ and not ‘gtfo creep’ was the choice made…

      1. Zombeyonce*

        I can see why it would have been hard for HR to justify firing him since he hadn’t outright assaulted her, but it certainly seemed like it was headed in that direction.

      2. GirlBob*

        A challenge, or just plain not even relevant. I can never figure out which one offends me more — when they think they can brute-force me to change my mind, or when they think I don’t even know what my mind is.

        1. Ginger Baker*

          It was a remarkably similar story where he just “didn’t understand” why it wasn’t clear that he didn’t move in to the coworker’s building *because* of her, just that he had thought when she talked about it that it sounded great, and of course was very unrelated to his multiple escalating-intimacy-level texts he had been sending for months prior. :/

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I am completely unsurprised that a man who thought that was perfectly defensible behavior also thought it was perfectly normal first-date talk. Like, “Hi, I’m an Aries, and I’m currently in trouble for sexually harassing a subordinate but I didn’t mean it like *that*. What can I order you to drink?”

            Reminds me of my first date where the guy decided to complain at length about the DUI he’d just received and how unfair it was when really he had barely been over the limit. To this day, he probably has no idea why I declined a second date.

    5. not nice, don't care*

      Some dudes are turned on by the idea of straightening out gay women. They know just one application of their magical man parts is all it takes.

    6. Hrodvitnir*

      Going as far as *moving into her building* is outright horrifying.

      That’s a big step further than the already very creepy much older man in position of power coming onto a vulnerable young woman who’s not even attracted to men.

  28. Red_Coat*

    When I was super new to the workforce in the late 00’s, I worked at an answering service. One of our down time, between calls tasks was to review each message for spelling mistakes and write little paper slips for each one we found. This was then given to the person who made the spelling error so they could go back and fix the mistake.

    A coworker who we’ll call Frannie was the same age as me and equally new to the work force. She wrote my a slip for writing ‘grey’ instead of ‘gray’. I wrote her a slip for writing ‘their’ instead of ‘they’re’. She wrote a slip for using ‘them’ when the caller was named ‘Cindy’. I wrote her a slip for the wrong ‘they’re/their/there’ again.

    The resulting English Major war led to us running out of the slips, a serious talking to from both our managers, and the entire review system to be scrapped, and a very HEATED discussion about the Oxford comma.

    (I hope she looks back at this with as much chagrin as I do)

          1. Rocket Raccoon*

            I have a sudden need to find a headstone quote that uses a plural possessive apostrophe, Oxford comma, and title case.

            1. Enai*

              You know, if you want to you can write your own epitaph. If you’ve got the space for it you can even have the stone made exactly like you want it (minus the death date, of course) and keep it as a large expensive memento mori until the time comes to put it on your grave.

        1. Lydia*

          Literally one of my Facebook memories today is me posting “Oxford Comma til I DIIIIIIIIIE.”

        1. Alisaurus*

          My mother and I have (mostly good-natured lol) arguments with my dad ALL the time because he thinks it’s absolutely unnecessary while we will die on that hill.

      1. Cj*

        I know I could Google it, but I think it would be way more fun to have people here answer it. what is an oxford, anyway? I’m curious to know if I use it automatically, or if it’s something I never learned to use.

        1. Cj*

          I Googled it when I saw Ellen and had it put up a couple more posts. I was taught to use the Oxford comma in school, but I see so many people not using it now that I feel like I’m doing something wrong, and have been doing it about half time.

        2. Mad Harry Crewe*

          Oxford comma is the optional final comma in a list. Sometimes it can be vital to clarify the sentence, other times it can create ambiguity. I will get eggs, bread, and milk at the grocery store – the comma after ‘bread’ is the Oxford comma.

          Removing ambiguity example – This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and god. Question: is the author descended from Ayn Rand and god? Or, is the dedication to god, Ayn Rand, and some parents?

          On the other hand, adding ambiguity example – They visited Oregon with Betty, a maid, and a cook. Is “a maid” referring to Betty, or is Betty separate from the maid and the cook?

          … I may or may not have written Oxford Comma Example Sentences fanfic to fill a Yuletide prompt several years ago.

          1. Chidi has a stomach ache*

            A couple years ago I was reviewing proofs for a chapter I contributed to an academic volume. I use the Oxford comma, but this publishing company had removed it everywhere, according to their style guide. I made my edits, and emailed the editor to ask “is this part of the style guide written in stone? Because I really prefer using oxford commas.” Editor wrote back to say that almost every author in the text had made the same complaint, he would ask, but thought the publisher was unlikely to change their minds. He was right, and I’m still a little mad about it.

          2. basically functional*

            I don’t think it’s the Oxford comma that’s adding ambiguity in the second example, though, but rather the way the sentence is arranged. Without the Oxford comma, it would be even harder to understand – “They visited Oregon with Betty, a maid and a cook.” Is Betty the maid, the cook, both, or neither? Did they visit with one, two, or three people?

            The way to resolve the ambiguity here is not to remove the Oxford comma. It’s to revise the sentence to something like “they visited Oregon with a maid, a cook, and Betty” or “they visited Oregon with Betty, who was their maid and cook” depending on the actual meaning.

            Oxford comma forever! ;)

          3. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            I love the Oxford comma for its clarity but I had Mrs Boendermaker for English in my first year at the grammar school and she drummed it into our heads that we must never ever use a comma before “and”. This was also extended to “etc.” because “et” is “and” in Latin.

            TBF “Betty, a maid and a cook” is still ambiguous. Either we are talking about three people, or Betty doubles up as a maid and a cook.

        3. MigraineMonth*

          In case you think it’s *only* the obsession of grammar nerds, a missing oxford comma (which gets its name from the Oxford University Press style guide) led to a $5 million settlement in an overtime lawsuit in Maine. The legislature tried to exempt two categories of labor from the overtime laws (“packing for shipping” and “distribution”), but because they didn’t use a comma, the judge ruled that the exemption for “packing for shipping and distribution” didn’t apply to the drivers who didn’t do any packing.


        4. Quill*

          It’s the comma before the and in a three part list. Necessary in cases where “B&C” could be a single unit.

          So… Waukeen, Alison and CJ may not need it. Eats, shoots, and leaves does.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      I love that this whole feud was started because of grey vs gray. Both are correct! Gray is the traditional American English spelling, and grey is the traditional UK English spelling, but neither is official, so it doesn’t matter which way you spell it. (And yes, I know this because I, too, am an English major nerd.)

      1. Red_Coat*

        Indeed! I tend to use them both interchangeably. We were both very nitpicky with each other towards the end, and neither of us covered ourselves in glory in that blood feud. I personally blame the quota system for the first shots- in order to ‘prove’ you had done your reviews, you had to have found five errors.

        Also I blame the burning intensity that only a pair of 19 year-olds with misplaced stress, anger, and boredom can bring to a fight.

        1. basically functional*

          What a terrible system. How did management not realize they were incentivizing the exact behavior they then punished you for (rhetorical question)?

      2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        I can never remember which spelling of “gray” is the American one, but usually I figure nobody on earth actually cares, anyone who speaks English will know either spelling.

        I know some people who insist that the two have different vibes for them – like “grey” is softer and gentler while “gray” is hard and cold, or something (a grey kitten, but gray clouds) but that’s purely their personal connotations.

        1. Enai*

          “Grey” is bluish-grey or maybe a little green and “gray” is reddish-gray. I shall not elaborate on this.

        2. A Significant Tree*

          I’m one of them – grey has a blue-ish tinge, gray has a brown-ish tinge. :-)

          And just hours ago I had a conversation about Oxford commas with a like-minded colleague (we’re both pro) about our anti-Oxford comma teammates and whether it’s worth editing that in shared documents… I guess not if it will escalate!

        3. Desk Dragon*

          I’m in the “vibes” camp on this one – grey is soft, gray is hard. But when I’m actually writing something, I stick with a single spelling (gray for work, per style guide; grey in my personal writing, just because).

          1. Proofin' Amy*

            See, and this is exactly what Madeleine L’Engle says in THE MOON BY NIGHT (which apparently no one’s read but me. No one catches up with Vicki Austin until book four, A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT): grey is soft, gray is hard. If it’s good enough for Madeleine L’Engle, it’s good enough for me. (But I usually use the American spelling for consistency.)

            1. Petty Punctuation Pedant*

              I loved A Ring of Endless Light! I also liked The Moon by Night. Thanks for reminding me I should reread these!

    2. And...uh...Abraham Lincoln*

      Several years ago, a promotion came down to me and a colleague. I ended up getting it. Said colleague literally never spoke to me voluntarily again. When he had to communicate with me (which he did a fair amount; he didn’t report to me but he had to get my approval on some things a few times a day) it was the bare minimum, and he would not respond otherwise. I mostly thought it was hilarious, mixed in with a little, “Seriously, what is the matter with that guy?” A couple of years in, he moved to a different team within the company, where he was no longer required to communicate with me, and he never spoke to me ever again. I myself moved to another department a while later, and he has since left the company.

      1. And...uh...Abraham Lincoln*

        Oops, nesting fail. This was meant to be a stand-alone comment.

  29. Cow Woman in Hiding*

    Office manager hated me from day one. When I was offered a different job and gave two-week notice, she organized a party for all of the leaders (I was HR/Safetey manager) and didn’t invite me or my replacement. We walked in on the party. They were giving away gift including TV’s at the party and big bonuses. So glad I didn’t have to deal with her pettiness anymore.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      TVs? Wow! It was a major occasion if we got muffins

  30. Middle Aged Lady*

    I had a boss who didn’t like me because I pointed out issues at the very small non-proft where I was new and she had worked for 20 years. She had definitely absorbed all the toxic stuff that happened there, which is a shame because deep down she was a good person who knew her stuff. One day we were discussing a shooting and I said that as a society, in addition to gun laws, we needed to figure out what happens to someone to make them that enraged. She went to HR and reported me for ‘threatening workplace violence.’ I got that straightened out. She admitted she misunderstood me.
    Then toxic big boss decided he was threatened by me, and told a lie about me that she believed and I was ‘quit-fired.’ Gentle reader, I was shocked. My ‘revenge’ came when he later turned his ire on her because she refused to cook the books for him. She quit and told a friend of mine who still worked there that ‘Middle Aged Lady was right about this place all along.’

  31. TooNiceToComment*

    At a former job, I was the person who stocked the “snacks” in the kitchen. I tried to be fair to everyone with a nice assortment, but there was one co-worker that no matter what I got it was never right. She went as far as to complain to our ED who basically told her that she was lucky that we even had snacks and that if she did not stop complaining they would stop.
    Of course this was my fault as well, so the spent the next year telling everyone that I was acting like a queen and not allowing my subjects to be fed properly.
    Every conversation with her was about the snack choices first before she would answer or address anything else.
    Thankfully, I was relieved of that duty and she had someone new to complain about.

    1. ADHD Momma*

      Did she continue to complain? Your story had me wondering if her issue was actually about the snacks or if she had some inexplicable with you.

    2. Karo*

      That is ridiculous…but also if I knew who to complain to about the office snack cabinet never having chocolate, I’d probably complain. Mostly tongue-in-cheek, but also a little not?

  32. AngryOctopus*

    OldJob employed a lab tech as a temp who was…interesting…to say the least. She HATED me, in large part because when she joined she told me that she wanted to use BrandA pipets, and I said we couldn’t. This is because we used BrandB, and stocked the (non-universal) tips for said brand. I wasn’t about to make the stock people keep track of two pipet tip types for ordering. She would constantly wear open toed shoes in the lab and act shocked and surprised when told not to do so by me (the safety officer) and eventually the ops manager. She tried to get me in trouble by throwing out someone’s experimental plate and then saying I told her to (she told me she “found some dead cells in the incubator and what should she do” and I assumed that it was a forgotten plate of cells and told her to toss them. Not a multiwell experimental plate with a couple of wells of dead cells, which is a usual thing to have in an incubator. She also said NOTHING when the owner of the plate discovered it and she was there.). She was also quite inappropriate with some of the male staff members (her bra choices failed to conceal that the headlights were on, so to speak, and she stated out loud several times that that was a way for her to ‘get a man’). The end came when the VP called a meeting with all the associates, and she turned up 40′ late with Starbucks, and didn’t even try to apologize for missing the majority of the meeting. She also wanted to be hired as a “scientist”, because she wanted to outrank all the associates, but she was barely qualified to be an associate and was told so when they let her go. My boss was like “she hated you, but never seemed to realize that when she tried to talk badly about you, she just made herself look petty and unprofessional”.

    1. Office Plant Queen*

      Wearing open toed shoes in a lab because you don’t like the person responsible for lab safety is a weird choice. Wearing sandals isn’t going to be a personal affront to whoever sets the rules, and if something goes wrong it’s going to be much worse for you (pain, possible permanent injury, and it won’t be covered by worker’s comp) than for the person you’re trying to get back at (extra paperwork). I’ve haven’t even been in a lab since high school chemistry and this is common sense

      1. Wolf*

        It’s amazing what some people will do to spite others. There’s a simple old psychology test where everyone is given $100, and the they can pay $10 to reduce the other person’s stash by $20. Participants are very willing to lose money just to hurt someone else.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        I know!! I was like “I personally don’t care that much, but OSHA rules say you can’t wear those in the lab. Also common sense and safety considerations.”.

    2. Lab Boss*

      Your story about the discarded experimental plate just sparked a core spite memory from college. The lab building I worked in had a walk-in incubator, including a table full of various shakers and rollers so cultures could be allowed to mix while they incubated. Just after I started there, a sign went up on the wall above the table reading “Whoever turned off all of the rollers Friday ruined a week-long incubation and set my research back months. THINK.”

      It stayed up for 4 years, I guess we all just mutually agreed the anger oozing off the paper was way more effective than a generic sign about “be sure to not turn off any rollers that aren’t yours.”

      1. Manders*

        My colleagues came in once to find their CO2 tank turned off. That does not happen by accident, since you have to turn the valve at the top of the cylinder a lot of times to the off position. I know exactly who did it, because they did the exact same thing when we first moved into the building to a different lab that they didn’t like.

      1. JSPA*

        ‘ = minutes
        ” = seconds

        ok, officially, minutes and seconds are ′ and ″ (prime and double-prime), not single quote and double quote. But for web use, the quote marks are used (as they were when we typed on typewriters).

    3. Hrodvitnir*

      Good god. I have worked with many biologists who barely pass the minimum standards for lab wear/really do not care, but open-toed shoes are new. Just. You look like an idiot.

      Tossing someone’s experiment to get you in trouble? Just all round terrible person. Classic wanting the scientist title without managing to be a competent tech. Sigh.

    4. don't@me idc*

      fwiw, i live in the armpit of the US and I aint wearing shoulder pads in my bras to hide the headlamps in the air conditioning. I wear reasonable clothes, even tending toward masculine. im not padding my chest so someone doesn’t accidently catch an outline. my eyes are up here.

      its not meant to be seductive so please, be more aware of language around women’s bodies. no shade.

      1. basically functional*

        Thank you. Some of us can’t hide our “headlights” even while reasonably dressed. I was self-conscious and tried all kinds of solutions throughout my 20s and 30s, including various bra types and those silicon nipple covers. Nothing worked until I finally found the right type of bra a few years ago (a push-up bra, which I always assumed was contraindicated for my ample bosom). But anyway, I was being as modest as I could manage without drowning in layers of clothing, and I don’t think wearing a coat at all times or whatever would have been a reasonable expectation when people can just deal with the fact that nipples exist.

        However, it sounds like this coworker was being weird and sexual about it. That’s the part that’s gross and inappropriate.

  33. CTA*

    A co-worker once held a grudge against me because she thought I skimmed a dollar from our shared tips.

    One of my first jobs was working coat check at a museum. Technically, we weren’t allowed to accept tips. It was a job that paid slightly above minimum wage at the time ($11.50 USD). But our supervisor looked the other way since we had to put up with a lot of rude visitors and we don’t get tipped a lot anyway (even during higher traffic days, we’d probably get ~$20 each).

    In the summer, we’d be lucky to get $10 tips in total, which you then split with 1-2 other people. One day, we had $12 in tips. There were three people working that day, so we’d get $4 each. One of those bills was $5. I had change in my wallet, so I took the $5 bill and made change. I saw my co-workers give me a strange look when I took the $5, but I thought it was cleared up when I gave them back change. Let’s call my co-workers Susie and Dan.

    If there’s ever an amount that can’t be split evenly, we alternate who gets the extra dollar. A few weeks later, I’m working with Susie again and another person (not Dan). Susie distributes the tips this time…and then screams at me, “I’m taking the extra dollar since you took it last time.” I was shocked that anyone assumed the worst of me. I didn’t take the extra dollar, I made change and we all got equal amounts, but she wasn’t aware of that. I didn’t try to clear up the situation because people will believe what they want to believe. I also don’t want to argue with someone who held a grudge against me for so long just to take it out on me later and try to humiliate/tarnish my reputation in front of another co-worker. All this because she thought I skimmed A DOLLAR.

    It really changed my view of Susie. I did wonder if my Dan thought I “stole” from him that day. I decided to not dwell on it. If someone has a problem with me, then talk to me about it like a mature adult. Don’t pull immature things like bottling it all up and waiting for a revenge moment. Especially over A DOLLAR. Susie did what she did because she needed to feel better about herself for whatever irrational reason.

    I know folks will say it was my fault for not communicating about my plan to make change for the $5. In retrospect, I should have verbalized to my co-workers that I had change and I would split the $5 into smaller bills. It’s a lesson learned. For the record, I didn’t know I had to tread carefully, because I had never worked any tipped job before. I was also very naive at the time and didn’t think grown adults would assume the worst of you.

  34. The Gnome*

    At my first full-time grown up call center job, I worked at an inbound call center for a utility company in Western PA that merged with another company who provided the same utility.

    The first day of the transition was an absolute undisputed apoocalypse: the systems didn’t work, calls were dropping, you name it. In the midst of this, your intrepid Gnome reporter gets a call from a kindly old gent who was rolling with everything nicely…and whose call dropped right before I could do anything.

    About 10 minutes later, a coworker of mine, “Regina,” got him back, and on mute and for all the call center to hear, said “I can’t believe The Gnome didn’t finish this call, she’s trained in this, why do I have to clean up her mess?”

    Frustrated by all the nonsense of the day and really irritated at the fact that Regina and her buddies “Karen” and “Gretchen” (who sat next to her) were talking smack about me without reading the notes (I sat a row back and our cubicle walls were high so I couldn’t see her), I loudly said “If you’d take a minute and read the call notes, you’d see exactly why I didn’t handle it.”

    From that moment until the call center closed in December of 2015, Regina hated me and took every opportunity she could to be rude to me. Joke was on her, though; the other employees who were our coworkers started to pull away from her after the incident and Karen and Gretchen ended up being her only friends at work by the time our jobs ended.

    And if it sounds like I’m taking a smug pleasure in someone getting shunned, I’m not gonna lie, I still do; that was the first time I myself wasn’t the one getting shunned and it still makes the part of me that was the bullied left out kid feel happy all these years later.

    1. The Gnome*

      Ack. Forgot to mention that I HAD documented the call extensively. Don’t comment without caffeine, folks. *facepalm*

  35. urguncle*

    I worked at a call center, so we had really strict staffing guidelines where no more than 2 people could be out on vacation at a time. One woman took the entire last two weeks of the year off, meaning for 10 business days, out of 25 people, only one more person could be off. This was annoying, but whatever, she planned ahead.
    Then, her trip got cancelled because she didn’t realize that you needed a passport to go to Canada (this was in 2011, there was no excuse), so she *showed up to work for the entire two weeks.* We didn’t have vacation rollover, so she did this for no reason and didn’t rescind any of her requests, so we still were stuck with 1 other slot the entire two weeks. I didn’t get to see any family that year. One woman, recently diagnosed with cancer that would be fatal within the next 2 months missed her last family Christmas. It’s been 13 years and I still think about this and get angry.

    1. Office Plant Queen*

      Honestly this sounds like more of a management problem! Surely someone could’ve talked to her, cancelled her leave request, then approved it for someone else. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just didn’t want to deal with the “drama” of everyone vying for a last minute vacation day

    2. alittlewhatish*

      Surprisingly, you only needed a passport to fly into Canada around 2005, and to drive/boat in in 2009, so 2011 is within the “oh when did they do this?” range, I think. Kids under 16 also still don’t need one.

  36. Dr Discriminatory*

    I had a coworker who was addressing emails to an external associate as Mr. So-and-so when he has a PhD and had that information clearly in his email signature. When I off-handedly suggested to her that she either address him by his first name, which he was signing his emails with, or Dr. So-and-so, she told me referring to people by their degrees was “discriminatory” and proceeded to lecture to me, someone who has a PhD, on why people who have PhD’s do not deserve to be called Dr. And then complained to her boss about me bullying her.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Did she not realize that “PhD” literally means “Doctor of Philosophy”? What a pill!

    2. Database Developer Dude*

      I’m the first one to trash talk PhDs because of the way they talk down to others, and I still say this coworker was in the wrong. At work in academia, dude’s earned his title. Call him Dr.

      1. Dr Discriminatory*

        Avoiding being condescending was one of the reasons I suggested she could use his first name, which wasn’t a crazy suggestion for many reasons, main ones being 1. we are a workplace where first name usage is entirely the norm, 2. we had met this person face to face before where he introduced himself with his first name, and 3. he was signing his emails with his first name. I swear she was intentionally being rude by referring to him as Mr. (she wasn’t a fan of this person for reasons that were not his fault) and didn’t like that I accidentally called her out on it.

    3. Rebecca*

      “on why people who have PhD’s do not deserve to be called Dr.”

      Ah, the C students of the world.

      I work in a very formal environment where people are frequently called Mr. or Ms. So-and-so, including the PhDs. But only some of the PhD’s are Mr./Ms. Others are Dr., and it is so totally a hierarchy thing.

      I am a Dr., and I ask people to call me by my first name. I sometimes get called Ms. Lastname, and when that happens, I make a point of saying that it is Dr., not Ms.

  37. Garlic Microwaver*

    I work in an environment where internal politics are the norm for the industry. My team, while we frame ourselves as a cohesive unit, is essentially divided between external and internal communications. My job is to inform the pig oinking strategy for the external side, but also to bridge the gaps and be inclusive of all. Reasonable, right? You’d think. Apparently my taking the initiative to get us all on the same page is “stepping on toes” and “doing others’ jobs” without their permission. There is one individual that, rather than approaching me directly with issues, goes around me to her boss, who then goes around me to my boss- who has defended my intent. This is high school. I have never done anyone’s job against their will; I am trying to create more efficiencies on a team with broken processes despite constantly changing priorities. This person passive aggressively hates me, and I don’t have time to cater to people’s sideways approach to life. Come at me, or don’t come at all. Rant over.

    1. Wolf*

      > Come at me, or don’t come at all.

      So true! I hate when someone has a problem with a thing I do or say, and doesn’t tell me. So often, it’s something I would have changed if I had just known that it bothered someone!

  38. Katefish*

    Many years ago, my dad was hired at his long term job because of a coworker grudge. The 2 leads on the hiring committee hated each other, so neither would allow the other’s preferred candidate to be hired. My dad was the acceptable third choice.

  39. ivylaughed*

    I once worked as an Administrative Professional for the head of a division in a government office. One of my coworkers, a lawyer and department head, was humiliated when she suggested some policy change in a meeting and one of the other department heads (who was 20 years her senior, had been working in this position for all of that time, and was the right hand man of my boss) immediately pointed out every flaw in her idea.

    She accused me of reading my boss’s email and passing on her ideas to the right hand man. How else could he have immediately known how to tear her thoughts apart. Her evidence was that he had invited me out to lunch, his treat. Obviously this was as bribery for passing along information.

    I did have access to my boss’s emails. Because that’s how I made his daily work lists and prompted him into doing work. Right Hand Man did invite me out for lunch – because he had been covering two jobs, including my boss’s, while boss was out for surgery recovery and he wanted to thank me for being such a big help.

    Needless to say, I was not using secret information from my boss’s emails to undermine her.

    My boss did actually ask me about it and took me at my word that this was a ridiculous accusation. This was as far as he ever went in managing people conflicts.

    After I left (because my partner’s job took me out of state, not for any nefarious deeds), she was fired. I cannot recall the reasons, but she was fired, not quit. She issued several ethical complaints against the entity. They did not go anywhere

    1. JSPA*

      That tracks. People can be truly stunned when the ideas they worked hard and long to formulate are neither novel nor hard-to-grasp, and are thus easy to dismiss, summarily.

      “No, I don’t have to go through every line in the proof of your perpetual motion scheme” will generally win you an argument about conspiracies, vendettas, spying and/or bias.

  40. Anonymously*

    My first job out of training, I was working in office XYZ but belonged to department ABC. The office manager made sure to inform me that I couldn’t use any of their supplies (paper clips, post its, pens) because I came from a different cost center. One day, after rearranging some files that my predecessor left, she saw a file folder in my hand and she sat me down and scolded me for stealing supplies from the office! Not only was she incorrect about what I had done but honestly, getting visibly angry over 2 file folders? I’d be happy to pay you back personally, if you can make change for a penny.

    That was just the first sign of a deeply dysfunctional office and I left that job after about a month.

    1. ICodeForFood*

      This reminds me of an employee (who I will refer to as Busybody) in my department at OldJob who, during a time when our company was being sold and everyone was really stressed out, complained because an employee from a neighboring department (gasp!) drank a cup of OUR coffee! The neighboring department employee mentioned it to me, and after I rolled my eyes, I told her that if Busybody hassled her again, to say that I had borrowed coffee from neighboring department, so she was just taking back what my department owed to hers…

  41. froodle*

    A (thankfully now former) workplace had small kitchenettes on each floor, and supplied milk, tea, coffee, sugar etc, which the EA was responsible for keeping stocked.

    One staff member enquired about possibly having a vegan milk alternative (and I do mean enquired, I saw the email). The EA showed up at his desk, snippily and LOUDLY told him that (Workplace) doesn’t need to provide tea or coffee at all and certainly isn’t going to cater for alternative lifestyles, and that if he wanted a non-dairy milk alternative, he was welcome to bring his own.

    (which like, he was already doing?)

    I guess a few of us looked shocked because she then declared she was a “farmer’s daughter” and that those questions were “offensive” to her as a result.

    …and then she and our sole HR person embarked on a campaign of harassing Vegan Milk Drinking Super Offensive Man for his dairy free crimes for months until they were both made redundant and turned on each other.

    Yeah, I do not miss that place.

    1. DVM*

      I’m dying at lactose intolerance being an alternative lifestyle. Even I, from Wisconsin, know that isn’t the case. Nobody here would chose that (I kid).

      1. froodle*

        ikr? when she said that my eyebrows and jaw went in opposite directions so hard I must have briefly looked like I’d watched the cursed video from the Ring. and this from a certified cheese scoffer and general guzzler of dairy

      2. Good Enough For Government Work*

        To be fair, I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I’ve found (by spending time in many a queer café) that coffee with oat milk is actually nicer than with cow’s milk.

        TEA with oat or soy milk, though, is an Abomination Unto Nuggan.

        1. allathian*

          Tea with *any* milk is an abomination in my book…

          Generally I drink coffee with skim milk, but if only semiskim milk is available, I prefer pretty much any vegan alternative.

          1. Good Enough For Government Work*

            I’m a Brit. Builder’s tea, stewed for half an hour* then with a dollop of cow’s milk, is what we drink so we don’t kill people.

            *It should be ten minutes, but I have ADHD…

        2. Nia*

          Brand-dependent, maybe? I’ve tried at least six different oat milks: all taste much the same solo, but no two taste alike in tea! The only one accepted by all who partake of tea in this household is Oatly – but it has to be Whole Oatly (and most definitely NEVER Organic Oatly).

    2. Elle*

      People like this are CONFOUNDING to me. Maybe it’s just been my experience, but I’ve found that people who make an issue about dietary stuff tend to be ridiculous in other ways as well. I’m not vegan but people tend to assume I am (gay, septum ring) and I find that it functions as a shibboleth… if someone has to make an issue out of a restaurant having gluten free pizza dough or a bakery having vegan donuts, I know they’re not my kind of person (logic-oriented, kind, or open-minded).

      1. froodle*

        for sure!

        it’s that whole thing of, “this person’s choices affects me not at all, but it’s not the choice *I* would make, and therefore this Deviation from the Acceptable Range of Choices* must be Loudly Called Out and Corrected”.

        just absolute buffoonery, and buffoons rarely clown in a vacuum.

        *the “range” in this case is just “exactly what I would do and no more or less”

        1. Wolf*

          “This place offers an additional option I do not need, and I must now act as if that takes something away from me!”


    3. Paint N Drip*

      Love the schadenfreude we’re seeing today of the horrible bully cliques turning on each other :)
      And as someone with a million food allergies that YEAH ARE ANNOYING I have so much empathy for the dairy-free crimes – hope he has outlasted them all. (it’s my life that is actually inconvenienced and I’m not being allergic AT you, farmer’s daughter)

      1. froodle*

        oh he did. he went on quietly doing his job (and drinking his Evil Vegan Milk Substitutes that Personally Push All Farmer’s Offspring into Muddy Puddles and Kick Dirt in their Faces While Laughing Meanly) until one of the many, many things wrong with that place caused him to bounce on his own terms.

        in retrospect, EA and HR were very much a symptom of a far greater disease at play

      2. Dasein9 (he/him)*

        I have been told by a coworker that Satan causes my allergies.
        Like, that the Dark Lord takes a personal interest in my allergies in particular.

        I guess she thought I should’ve been. . . holier?

        1. Wilbur*

          Should’ve called upon them to help you in your Holy Battle against Satan and reject these allergens that Satan has corrupted.

    4. Office Plant Queen*

      While people are busy hating vegans for politely asking to be included, they manage to forget that lactose intolerance is a thing and that dairy is one of the most common food allergies too. And it would be unsurprising for a non-vegan with a dairy allergy to specifically ask for vegan options without explaining that they have an allergy, since a lot of people don’t realize that allergy isn’t the same as lactose intolerance and might assume lactaid is acceptable

      1. froodle*

        I mean, this was the same person who, when we were given breakfast baps on the company as a “reward”, got all bacon, no other filling, and provided a seperate six pack of GF rolls and told celiac staff members they could “half-inch the bacon off someone else’s sandwich” to feel included.

        she wasn’t the worst person I encountered there, but let’s say her nose definitely honked when you squeezed it

      1. froodle*

        as a breather of air, and the daughter of two proud air breathers, it’s offensive to me that some people embrace the alternative lifestyle of asthma. no you may not have an inhaler!

    5. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      Where does this farmer’s daughter think soy and oats come from, exactly?

      1. froodle*

        the bad and offensive farms, tended by daughters of low moral character who are full of malice and vegetables, clearly

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          Waiting for “full of malice and vegetables” to show up as a username!

    6. Whomst*

      It may seem nuts, but she’s not the only one. My grandmother (a lifelong cattle rancher) thought that vegetarians were out to get her and her family. She thought that vegetarians hated her personally (because of the cattle business), and so she hated them right back. I don’t think she ever found out what a vegan was before she passed, but I imagine she’d like them even less than vegetarians.

  42. Dittany*

    I once worked in a factory where the radio was controlled by three people who had… less-than-compatible tastes in music. Specifically, one person loved country music to the point where they’d listen to nothing else if possible, one person absolutely loathed it, and the last person wasn’t a fan but was willing to listen to it occasionally. Generally the way this worked out was that the country music station would be playing about a third of the time, and we’d listen to other stuff the rest of the time…

    …IF the Radio Triumvirate wasn’t fighting about something.

    When they WERE fighting, depending on who was allied against who at the time, we’d either get All Country All The Time, No Country Ever, or rapid switches between stations. On one memorable occasion, I actually saw one of them sprinting toward the office where the sacred radio was held, which is, uh. Not something you should do on a factory floor. (Their feud laughed in the face of OSHA regulations, I guess.)

    1. Middle Aged Lady*

      I worked at a restaurant like that. The feuding radio people were easy listening versus heavy metal: a conflict that can never be resolved!

      1. Full of Malice and Vegetables (just for today)*

        I thought I was pretty tolerant of different genres of music at the dental office where I worked. Didn’t prefer easy listening (“elevator music”) over classic rock and adult contemporary, but tolerated it. Until the fateful day when the orchestral version of “Muskrat Love” started playing. I heard a few bars, calmly and professionally (but quickly!) explained to the patient I needed to leave for a moment, and as soon as I was out of their line of sight, I *sprinted* to the front desk to change the station. I had discovered my limit.

        [I will release this user name back into availability after borrowing it just this once]

    2. Not an Alvin fan*

      This is off topic but when I worked in a factory I had a coworker who loved the chipmunks. We listened to the Christmas album on repeat for weeks until someone made a rule it could only be played once a day.

      1. Roy G. Biv*

        Ah, yes, the Chipmunks Christmas album, and even more horribly, the Barking Dogs album. You know, the one where “Jingle Bells” is made up entirely of different dog barks. My family members love those albums. Me? Not so much!

        1. Lucien Nova*

          There’s a goat Christmas album as well! You have not lived until you have heard Christmas songs made entirely of goat bleats. :D

    3. Bread Crimes*

      Given what I know of the first and second triumvirates in Rome and how they behaved toward each other, your naming of the trio seems particularly appropriate.

      1. Dittany*

        There were definite similarities, apart from all the murder!

        Then again, toward the end of my time there, one of them DID abruptly quit without notice and skip town without telling anyone where he was going so, uh. It’s not impossible. (I don’t THINK that either of his erstwhile co-combatants were the type to commit murder, though?)

    4. By the lake*

      I am scarred for life because when I was in my twenties the only CD that everyone could agree on at the fast food place I worked at one summer was Bob Marley’s greatest hits. I was not a fan prior to this and even now it makes me cringe.

      1. Good Enough For Government Work*

        My first ever job was in a big shop where the radio played EVERYWHERE. Even the staff toilets and staffroom. The radio and CD player were kept in the manager’s office, whose door was militantly locked if there was no-one in there.

        We got through the summer where the radio played James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful literally EIGHT TIMES AN HOUR by the skin of our collective teeth (I counted, and yes, I still bear the mental scars)… but then Head Office decreed that there could be no more radio. Inoffensive CDs only.

        Which was how we found out that the store manager owned a Best Of Cliff Richard CD…

        After nearly a week of having that godforsaken thing on loop, a heroic colleague who shall remain heroically nameless waited until they were on a closing shift and _physically broke down the door_ to remove the monstrosity from the CD player.

        A select, trusty few of us joined them at a discreet spot in the carpark, well away from store CCTV, and took turns beating the evil thing to death.

    5. Web of Pies*

      Oh god, radio wars are the worst! The ones I’ve witnessed have always been cold wars, whoever gets there first puts on country/metal/BBC/Christmas music for the entire day, and everyone else just has to deal.

  43. Slytherin Bookworm*

    Not so much a coworker, but an old job was at a small office of 10-12 people, including the owner and his wife. The wife was known for being very catty and petty, and occasionally downright rude. Examples include:
    – walking around the office giving cookies to every employee except the one who she felt slighted her that morning (no reason what the perceived slight was was ever given)
    – routinely asking the birthday person what flavor cake they wanted, and then buying whatever she wanted if she didn’t like the celebrant’s choice
    – feeling slighted I didn’t pet her dogs every time they came by my desk
    – she once bought me a new cardigan because she didn’t like the one I was wearing (which would have been a nice gesture, if she hadn’t gone out of her way to say she got it “because the one [I] was wearing was butt-ugly”)

    Needless to say, people walked around her on eggshells to some extent. Her husband, the owner, did try to offset his wife’s pettiness somewhat, but he also just let her do her thing.

    My favorite over-the-top reaction from her was the very loud conversation with a coworker next to my desk after I turned in my two-week notice about how “people just don’t care about their employers anymore.” She went out of her way to not speak to me unless I spoke to her first for my entire notice period. I might have made it a point to have a thousand small conversations with her about all sorts of pointless stuff – weather, the upcoming holiday, traffic, the new restaurant coming to town – just because it was extremely entertaining to me to watch her seethe but be forced to be polite just to maintain her facade of Southern Hospitality.

    1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

      I recall being called a “brat” by the CEO’s assistant when I put in my two weeks notice for my receptionist job back in the day. She was pretty frosty to me for the full two weeks. This is the same job where the boss I was leaving told me that I’d misinterpreted the level of benefits being offered (since they were much better than the place I was leaving) and he recommended that I have my husband or my dad check out my offer to confirm it.

  44. CSRoadWarrior*

    I have two stories:

    1. Back in 2019, I was working for a cybersecurity company. And no, I did not to the tech/cybersecurity jobs there. I worked in the accounting department, as accounting is my background. A few months after I started, a temp was hired working in the same department as me, doing the exact same thing so I worked closely with her and one other lady who was there for 3 years.

    We started off friendly, but several weeks in, things started to go downhill. To this day I am not completely sure what I said or did, but the temp was hell bent on making my life miserable. He would nit-pick my work, look for any slight mistake, and then email me and CC the boss. He would be against for against and try to embarrass me. He once badmouthed me to the CFO (and yes, the CFO told him to knock it off) and all around try to tarnish my reputation in the office.

    It got so bad that I ended up having a breakdown and quit on the spot. Luckily a month later, I found a much better job, but in the end, I know I let him win. And yes, I shouldn’t have quit on the spot but at that point I reached my limit and could not continue.

    2. Last year, my boyfriend was working at a warehouse. Mind you, that place is a mess, micromanages you constantly, and plays favorites.

    For some reason, one of my boyfriend’s coworkers started to hate him and started throwing him under the bus, fabricated every story about him messing up (he didn’t), and convinced the manager to believe him. In the end, my boyfriend got fired for something he didn’t do when the coworker pushed it too far. This coworker was was just a straight up asshole.

    1. ferrina*

      For your first story-
      I had something similar. I worked along side another person, let’s call her Patty. Our job required us to literally be side-by-side collaborating for 6 hours a day. When I first started, I handled her with kid gloves, gently making everything sound like it was our ideas together (90% of the time it was my idea and execution, and she followed along doing moderate effort). Patty loved me and we worked really well together. Eventually I started taking more of a leadership role- basically saying “I want to try X- what do you think?” instead of “Gee, I’ve been thinking about Y, and I’m wondering if X would solve it, but I’m really not sure. What do you think?”

      Patty HATED this. Overnight I became Public Enemy #1. When we led groups together, she countermanded literally everything I said (which was a big problem, because leading groups was a key part of the job). She wouldn’t talk to me. She talked crap about me to everyone. Our manager tried to mediate, and Patty refused to say what it was about me that she hated. She only said “It’s your personality, ferrina. It’s not anything you can change- it’s who you are.”
      My manager told me that I should find a way to magically work with someone who refused to talk to me. I quit within a month.

  45. Dogmother*

    Years ago I worked as a data entry clerk in a medical lab. The office I worked in was right next to the break room and through a weird acoustical quirk, I could sometimes hear every word people said as if I were seated next to them. This was especially true for two doctors that would chat when their lunch breaks coincided. Whether this was because of the timbre of their voices or where they sat, I don’t know but it was disconcerting to say the least. I felt like I was overhearing things I had no business hearing. Since it was not their fault at all, they weren’t being too loud, and obviously chatting in the break room was fine, I would quietly shut the door thinking that would give them privacy.

    YEARS later, someone who worked with one of the doctors told me the doctor hated me. He felt it was inexcusably rude for me to shut the door, and was furious every time I did it. If he’d only spoken up to me or my boss, it could have been cleared up in a two minute conversation. Even now, when I’m upset about something a coworker has (or hasn’t) done, I stop and think about this and wonder if there might be a valid reason for it or if I’m upset over something that’s only happening in my own head.

  46. All Puns Intended*

    Years ago, I worked in a math-adjacent field. One of my closest collaborators mispronounced “Pythagorean theorem” painfully and frequently. For some reason, this caused me to completely lose my head each and every time. Was this a sensible trigger? No. Could I let it lie? Heck no! I proceeded to bring in evidence that his pronunciation was not one of the accepted pronunciations in any English-speaking country. There were dictionaries. There were subject experts. My colleague insisted that he was correct and I was wrong… but as the bigger person, he would not nag me about MY misguided pronunciation. Finally, I dragged him to our manager’s office to declare, like a petulant child, “Manager, coworker is pronouncing “Pythagorean theorem” wrong!” She stared us down for a solid minute, scowled, and, in a tone of utter disgust, said, “Get out.” We left. I never won the argument, but I’m still right.

    1. ChatGPT*

      You would have loved a guy I once worked with. He pronounced “gazebo” as “Gaze Bow.”
      He was a great guy, so we just let it slide and enjoyed having a funny story to tell others.
      And my aunt once worked with Millie who was a real Mrs. Malaprop. We looked forward to Sunday dinners when auntie would shar with us the latest “Millieisms.” Like when she got a new recliner upholstered with “Stimulated leather.”

      1. Oh, just me again. . . .*

        Um. . . I think that may be how it was originally pronounced? At least, he may not have been that FAR wrong. The word comes from “gaze-about.”

        1. Lemons*

          That’s not really the origin of the word. Although the etymology is not wholly conclusive, and it does include ‘gaze’, it may derive from a facetious term with a tacked-on Latin suffix. Or else a mangling of a yet-to-be-determined loanword.

      2. Emotionally Scarred for Life*

        When we were kids, we used to read aloud to my mom on long trips, to help her stay awake. The first time I hit “gazebo” I was probably less than 10 years old and pronounced it “gaze-bow.” It’s a wonder my mom didn’t wreck the car from driving while laughing her head off. I’ve had no problem remembering the correct pronunciation for the last 50 years or so.

        1. Elle*

          It took me several tries to even say it your-coworker-style. How he landed on that pronunciation I cannot fathom.

          1. linger*

            Antepenult (3rd-to-last syllable) stress rule.
            Works for many latinate words in English — but not all. In particular, some but not all derivational suffixes move the stress position to the new antepenult. In this case, the stress doesn’t shift off the base position (Pythagorus, stressing the antepenult), but a new secondary stress is added –> Pythagorean. (Some speakers have those stresses in reverse priority; but those are basically your official options. Nevertheless, your coworker was still following a rule.)

        2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          Someone I went to graduate school with from Greece pronounced it like “pea-tha-GOR-ean” (pea like the vegetable rather than pie like the dessert) so that’s actually not completely out of left field.

          1. All Puns Intended*

            Oh no! Former (non-Greek) coworker was 90% of the way to the Greek pronunciation and probably knew it. Does that make me the ignorant fool?

            This is a lot to think about, nearly 20 years after my rage feud.

            1. Susan Murrin*

              I hate to say it, but I think…yes!

              Current understanding seems to be that (ancient) Greek pronunciation would have been closer to Pea-tha-GOR-us, than PIE-thag-orus. (Apologies if this is clumsy, phonetics aren’t my specialty).

              There’s a very interesting BBC history podcast which covers this topic, but not sure how widely it can be accessed outside of the UK.

              1. All Puns Intended*

                As a person who still interacts with professional math nerds, I don’t think I could brazen out a Pea-tha-GOR-ean theorem in public.

              2. Enai*

                I would like to add: ancient Greek had two kinds of “t” sounds. It did not, however, have “Thorn” or “eth” (the “th” sounds in, er, “thorn” and “the”, respectivively). So, his name was pronounced something like “Pea-tuh-gor-us” or thereabouts.

                Source: asked a friend who knows all the correct sounds for the ancient Greek letters, but not a single actual ancient Greek word.

    2. Rocket Raccoon*

      I had a boss who pronounced “tare” (as in zero the scale) as “tarry” (like dawdle). He was my boss so I never said anything but for six years I died every time he said it.

      1. NotJane*

        My husband once had a boss who loved to use the phrase “for all in tents and porpoises” in almost every meeting and no one had the guts to correct her.

      2. Wedginald Antilles*

        My teammate says internet cachet (instead of cache). Multiple people have corrected her. She still does it. I’ve given up.

      3. And...uh...Abraham Lincoln*

        I had a coworker, of whom I was…not fond, for a variety of reasons, who referred to Visa cards as “Vista” cards in written communications. It wasn’t a spell-checking thing, and he said it correctly out loud, so I dunno.

        This same coworker once sent an email reply to a thread about customer compliments received by our representatives. To the entire department, he said, and I quote: “I love the action words our client used; verbs such as knowledgeable, professional, excellent, helpful, kind, patient, thorough, amazing, etc. These are actions we can all strive for no matter our role.”

        And yes, I am able to quote it verbatim because I still have it; it makes me giggle. I’m a dreadful human being and I accept that about myself.”

    3. nutella fitzgerald*

      “I never won the argument, but I’m still right.”

      Indeed, one might argue there are no winners here at all.

  47. Bunny Girl*

    I worked for a government agency a few years back and for whatever reason right off the bat, an older coworker took a dislike to me. I have legitimately no idea why. She was clearly resentful of the possibility of having to train anyone, as I heard her talk several times about how she didn’t sign up to train people and she wasn’t going to.

    Anyway, her normal M.O. was just general bitterness but she seemed to take it a step further. We had a potluck and I brought mini cheesecakes. I’m not sure what she brought, but she took ISSUE with these cheesecakes. She moved them to a different table out of the way so people didn’t know they were there. She walked around the entire day telling people about her cheesecake and how she made it totally from scratch. She didn’t even bring cheesecake that day, and also, mine were homemade too so I have no idea what she was on about.

    1. Tangerina Warbleworth*

      I’m sure her cheesecake would go very nicely with Cheap Ass Rolls!

      1. Bunny Girl*

        She totally did give Cheap Ass Rolls energy! She was the first person I thought of when I read that story.

  48. AmberFox*

    Hands down, the weirdest argument I’ve ever gotten into with someone and the only person I could reasonably say I had a grudge with at work was this one guy in another department that occasionally intersects my own.

    He was…. unpleasant to work with. Every interaction with him, he approached you aggressively. If you sent his team a case and he got it, he would immediately message you, “Can we talk about this?” Fully 50% of the time, those calls would start with, “Thanks. One moment while I get the client.” (Nowhere in the messages before the call would he mention he was about to ambush you with the client.)

    The weirdest argument was a day where he and I were going back and forth about which team’s responsibility a problem was. Effectively, if this was 3D printing a sculpted model, I was the sculptor, he was the person working the printer, and the software that sends the model to the printer is what we were arguing about. So I finally was like, “Look, (software) is a black box to our side; we send stuff in and you take the other end!”

    This queued up a 45 minute argument about how he didn’t understand what a black box was, how he felt I was insinuating he was an idiot because a nervous/baffled laugh escaped me when I was repeating myself after his initial “Excuse me?”, how the hell was he supposed to even know what that was (I dunno, watch coverage of a plane crash, dude?), how dare I use offensive terminology like black box (?!?!), how he was going to report me to his manager, and oh by the way, how dare I not just take this case when clearly it was MY PROBLEM that the middle software wasn’t actually able to run correctly.

    I basically told him talking to management was a great idea, hung up the phone, and immediately went and talked to my boss. Heard nothing else about it. Still had to work with the man, but thankfully he wasn’t on that team much longer.

    Over a decade later, I STILL don’t know what the heck he was offended by. And I don’t remember him fondly.

    1. Elle*

      What the actual hell. Did he perhaps hear that many orgs are deprecating “blacklist” and “whitelist” (along with master/slave) and then get confused?

      I have noticed that there are a nonzero amount of people out there who get very activated when you use an unfamiliar word.

      1. Rocket Raccoon*

        Especially if that word uses a color. Like are we going to ban blackout curtains?

        1. Distracted Procrastinator*

          We’re not supposed to use “White noise” in my office anymore. We actually install white noise systems in offices. No one at the office actually cares, but apparently a non-zero amount of customers do care and also think the phrase is racist because it contains a color.

      2. AmberFox*

        This was before that was even whispered at our organization, so who knows. We even looked on Urban Dictionary (NOT on work computers) to see if there was anything there, and the only thing we found seemed like a serious stretch given the situation. It remains a deep mystery.

  49. Juicebox Hero*

    I had a job one summer during college that sucked, in large part because of my coworkers. There was one girl who was fairly friendly to me and so I was glad to have an ally, even though she was definitely not the type I’d normally befriend.

    At one point about halfway through, she suddenly decided that she hated my guts and spent all day making snide little comments about me to the others. Anything I did was fair game. They’d also hang out across the office where I could hear them have little conversations about how I didn’t have a boyfriend and went to that lesbo school. Thankfully I have a great poker face and ignored her, which of course just made her try harder.

    The capper came one day when one of the office heads brought in a dozen donuts for the four of us. I ate two. She said to me, “God, Juicebox, you never say no to free food, do you?” I was a size 8, but as she reminded everyone at least once a day she was attending college on a field hockey scholarship and very anti-junk food. So I said “nope” and ate a third donut at her.

    Thankfully they gave up on me after that until the end of the summer when she started acting all nicey nice again, and I continued to ignore her.

    1. Paint N Drip*

      Maybe it’s the neurodivergence, but if I had a nickel for every time coworker or other situational person went from friendly to mysteriously unfriendly I’d be able to buy.. almost a whole soda? It would DEFINITELY be a whole soda if I had more coworkers at my current job

    2. Bibliothecarial*

      Juicebox, you are my hero for that comment. I love it. I too will rarely say no to free food.

    3. Madame Arcati*

      My favourite phrase on AAM is “so I put all
      the documents in my car, drove down a dirt road, dumped them in a lay-by and set fire to them. But “so I ate a third donut at her” deserves a place in the Hall of Fame. I hope you did so majestically, oh hero both to juice boxes and me.

    4. Juicebox Hero*

      I made sure to eat it slowly and blissfully, staring into the middle distance, so it was just me and my glazed in a happy little world of donut nirvana. The most delicous donut I’ve ever eaten.

  50. Microwaved Anchovies*

    A coworker decided they didn’t like me from the moment I met them, I’m still not sure why. Recently they decided to throw me under the bus by telling the boss a lie about something I did, causing me to be berated in front of several people. Another time, I was trying to talk them up to a new coworker, “Oh, they’re like *THE* accountant if you have any questions or issues. They’ve been here the longest out of everyone.” Not even kidding you, in the flattest tone possible, they go, “I’m not the only accountant you know. There are two of us.” When I talk in meetings that I’m running, they make just the weirdest, “I smell rotten fish” faces. I do my best to let it all roll off my back, but I am job searching furiously because I cannot wait to start and get away from them despite originally planning on staying here for several more years. .

    1. cityMouse*

      I’m sorry, that sounds dreadful, Microwaved Anchovies! I’d be dreaming of never-to-be-implemented revenge scenarios….

  51. urguncle*

    The absolute most bananapants woman I ever worked with I have dozens of “wtf” stories about. The one that I still hold a grudge on is that she took off the entire last two weeks of the year, then her trip was cancelled and she came into work. HR wouldn’t let her rescind the request or rollover vacation time, so she came to work for essentially free while blocking anyone else from being able to take any time during the last two weeks of the year. I didn’t see any family for Christmas that year. One woman, who had recently been diagnosed with the cancer that would kill her in just a few months, wasn’t able to spend her last Christmas with her family. It’s been 13 years and I’m still mad about it.

    1. Bob*

      I’ve had cancelled trips before but it turns out that you can take time off and not travel oddly enough.

      But my real question is why did her coming into work force you to also come in?

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Urguncle wasn’t allowed to take leave because there was a limit how many people could have time off, HR didn’t allow anyone else to take the time, and the weird woman whose leave wasn’t rescinded made a weird choice that rubbed the bad HR decision in their faces.

      2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        The woman had taken up all the allotted time that the team could have someone off. While she was out, nobody else could go, due to coverage. I agree that the issue isn’t so much the person canceling their vacation but that the time wasn’t put back to the team and people given the chance to ask for days off. Management problem really.

    2. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

      As someone who is dealing with a second (unique) cancer diagnosis, seeing family for the holidays would have an FLMA request if I couldn’t have gotten vacation approved.

  52. Colorado Winters*

    I work in higher ed, and when I started working as a student in the office where I still work as a full-time staff member, we had an administrative assistant who took it upon herself to “mother” all of the student employees, positioning herself as trustworthy and kind–the kind of person who only wanted what was “best” for you. Never mind that I was in my late 30s with a husband, a teenager, and a mother of my own. Being able to work as many hours as possible within the confines of being a student was critical to being able to take care of my family’s basic needs and my tuition. Eventually, I realized that she was a backstabbing snake in the grass, putting a crimp in our relationship, but I mostly just ignored her. One day, I was sitting in a cubicle where she couldn’t see me, and I heard her talking to my boss, telling her that she was worried about how much I worked and that she thought I was taking on too much while taking classes. I stood up and marched toward her, saying, “You have no business weighing in on what I can or can’t handle.” She said that she was concerned that I wouldn’t finish my degree (never mind that I already had one bachelor’s degree), and I told her that it wasn’t her problem and that I had no intention of quitting as she had (she quit one class away from graduating–it was well known). She started crying, saying that she only cared, and I told her to stay out of my business. From that point forward, we barely talked, and I made sure to warn other student employees we hired not to trust her. Thankfully, she finally retired a couple of years later.

  53. Bast*

    I worked with two individuals who absolutely hated each other for no real reason. It was a real “bitch eating crackers” situation because the items that they would fight about, or complain to management about, were virtual non-issues. It should be noted that both individuals had very strong personalities, and one had a very certain, “you’re trying to fight me” attitude every time you told her something, even if said in the nicest possible way. ie: “Phyllis, please make sure to set the alarm before you leave” would be met with, “you’re always yelling at me! Everyone is always yelling at me around here!” Those two together in an open office environment was a nightmare. They’d be completely fine for a few weeks and then I’d come in to find a sticky note on my desk from Phyllis, “John Doe is MY case, so why did Angela save a document in her file?” Easy answer is because it went to Angela by accident, and rather than put it on Phyllis’s desk to get lost, she was proactive and just saved it in the file, but Phyllis saw it as an act of war. Or Phyllis would order herself lunch, and Angela would get upset that Phyllis did not ask her if she wanted anything, despite the fact that Phyllis a) ordered only for herself and b) took her lunch long after Angela (who was part time) left for the day. The fact that Phyllis did not ask her if she wanted anything to eat would be brought up every time someone mentioned ordering out for the next week or so. Phyllis would make sure to let me know if Angela left five minutes earlier than expected just in case I hadn’t noticed. Angela made sure to let me know that Phyllis did not refill the copy machine paper. When these two were on the warpath, the entire MOOD of the room changed.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      … but then they ended up dating and all was sweetness and light, right? ;)

  54. Stuart Foote*

    I started a call center job working for a very old, very disfunction financial company that had extremely outdated systems (like, we had to look up customers on an old fashioned mainframe system like in 90’s movies, there was no way for them to pay online, no Customer Relationship Management software, that kind of outdated). I was a bright young dude right out of college with lots of ideas for changing things, which management knew would never happen but they liked me anyway because I worked hard and did a good job.

    One guy had been there for years and while he wasn’t that good at his job, he did have a lot of knowledge of these pointlessly complicated systems, so when I suggested they could be improved he saw that as an attack on him. It also didn’t help that I did a much better job in spite of the fact I’d been there a few months and he’d been there for years. The final straw was when I renamed a mislabeled folder in the share drive…he freaked out, started telling people I was “on the list”, and got the point where he would blatantly insult me (and, apparently, criticized me behind my back) every time I stepped into our shared cubicle.

    Fortunately they moved me next to a very nice older lady who was very pleasant to work with. I found another job a few months later which I liked a lot more than call center work, so it all eventually worked out.

  55. Polaris*

    Oh boy, I could probably write a whole book on this based on an early job…

    The one that stands out the most?

    Picture me, an intern (paid), full time for summer, part time upon return to school in the fall.

    Office manager (who handles payroll, AP/AR, and HR) and our builder canNOT stand each other. Any time our Builder (who was a subcontractor, not a direct employee) came in for any reason, I was ready to stop, drop, and roll to the nearest hiding spot because the fireworks could be EPIC. Days where he had to come in in order to receive checks for invoiced from AP were spectacularly bad as OM and B have to interface. Waivers and such must be signed and witnessed, and oh lord. I never did learn why, but I walked in from the shop side to see OM standing on a desk, in a screaming match, with Builder. Walked in, looked around, noped out. Nearly run into my boss on my way out back to the shop, explain “nope, I’m not getting in the cross-fire, I’ll be out here if needed” and he decided we needed a working lunch instead.

  56. Petty Anon*

    It’s me, I’m the grudge holder.

    I work with someone who absolutely sucks at her job, doesn’t improve with any amount or type of coaching and support, and will never get shitcanned for reasons that are too complicated (and irrelevant to this story) to type out before my next meeting.

    Anyway. So, we both frequently need to do work in a shared team Outlook account. She insists on switching the inbox sorting to be by subject instead of date. There’s a time and a place for sorting by subject, but trust me…it is absolutely not the right thing to do for this work. I have explained to her why this is the case, and how doing it that way is causing errors (that I end up having to fix). She refuses to change her ways.

    Whenever I need to do something in that mailbox, I switch it to sort the correct way, of course.

    But also, sometimes I pop in there even when I have no need to, and switch it back just to try to prove a point that I know will never get through to her. I genuinely hope she’s annoyed by this.

    1. Office Plant Queen*

      And I’m betting that working together on a folder and category/color system for the shared inbox wouldn’t go over very well? I imagine that she’s sorting by subject because she remembers what stuff was called but not when it was recieved. And the search function in Outlook is rally hit or miss.

      One other thing that might help with her needing to sort by subject if she’s not already aware – if you right click an email, you’ll see an option to Find Related, and can either choose to find messages in that conversation or from that sender. Also, the Clean Up button that’s right next to the Delete button in the ribbon will remove all the previous replies to an email, so you can just read the full thread in the most recent one

    2. Petty Anon*

      Like I said…she doesn’t improve with any amount or type of coaching and support, on this or any other matter. If you can think of it, I’ve tried it. She’s a lost cause, and that’s why I hold this petty grudge against her. I am done trying to fix the problem that has been going on for far too long…at this point I’m just surviving (and hoping to get out), which is why I enjoy doing this one petty thing while otherwise being entirely polite and professional. She isn’t teachable, so I’m at least going to enjoy annoying her a little bit.

  57. ConstantlyComic*

    I hesitate to share this one because I’m not blameless in it, but I did have a bitter feud with a coworker at my old toxic job. At risk of sounding like a breakup song, we started out getting along pretty well–we had both gotten jobs there through the same acquaintance, and we had similar enough interests to have some nice downtime chats.

    Then at some point, he pulled a complete 180 and decided that he hated my guts (here’s the part where I’m not blameless–while the sudden hatred was surprising to me at the time, I realize there was some behavior on my part that I thought was friendly ribbing but was actually pretty rude–think hiding candy wrappers in a pocket of his backpack as a “prank”). From that point, I could do nothing right. Anything I said, he would snap back at me about. He would tell supervisors that he couldn’t work in the same area as me and use that to keep me in the hot outdoor part of the work for most of the day. There were screaming matches. There were sit-down meetings with supervisor that never actually achieved anything. There was passive aggression, SO MUCH passive aggression. On his last day, he almost managed to trick our supervisor into not giving me a lunch break by ordering pizza for himself and all the part-timers except me and failing to inform the supervisor that I wasn’t participating in the pizza.

    I’ve learned and grown a lot since that time and I hope he has too, because that was an absolute hornet’s nest.

  58. Pam*

    I was a low-level coordinator for a professional medical research conference. It was an entry level role that required no knowledge of medicine. Part of my job was to run the submission portal for anyone that wanted to present or do a poster for the conference. I did not evaluate the submissions at all- I just forwarded them to the actual experts who were medical researchers (all author names were removed before sending to evaluators). The evaluators would decide who was in and who was out, then I’d send the acceptance/rejection emails. It was clear that I was just a lackey, not a decider.

    One year our President of the Board submitted research that got rejected. He was in town to meet with the CEO, and after his meeting, he came to visit me. He came into my cubicle a proceeded to yell at me for 20 minutes about what an injustice it was that his submission was rejected. Y’all, the President of the Board spent 20 minutes yelling at an entry-level peon.

    What was this oh-so-important research that had been rejected? A full study on the size of spoons. Yes, spoons. The conclusion was that there is no uniform size for regular non-medical spoons and cutlery, and when dispensing medication one should always use a measuring spoon (not a soup spoon).

    1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      “no uniform size for regular spoons” – that sounds like a fifth-grade science fair project that someone threw together when they remembered it was due the night before. I would seriously tell my literal fifth grader he needed to pick a better project than that.

      1. Pam*

        I think one of the evaluators literally called this a “science fair project”.
        The author was a PhD and professor at a medical graduate program. I think he was lucky that it wasn’t accepted the conference- he would have been laughed out the door.

        1. AngryOctopus*

          From a public health standpoint I think this is a great topic which should be aimed at clinics making sure patients know to NOT use a spoon from your drawer (and yes, SO MANY people will do that.). His reaction though…that’s a no.

          Wouldn’t be laughed out of a public health conference. Would be great to have a study for clinicians to point to when they tell people to not use a regular spoon for meds.

      2. C*

        Although you would be surprised how many people actually have to be told to use the dispensing cup or syringe rather than a spoon to give medicine. Especially the OTC stuff.

    2. Indolent Libertine*

      Didn’t Joy of Cooking cover that back in the 1930’s? I mean, odds are this guy has also never cracked a cookbook in his life, so there’s that…

    3. AngryOctopus*

      To be 100% fair, countless people will give medicine at home using an ordinary household spoon and thus be off on dosage. When I was a kid in the 80s, I don’t think they gave measuring anything with most cold meds. I recall my mom giving me both dimetapp and pepto from a household spoon. Amoxicillin was !different! because it came with its own measuring spoon!!
      So, this isn’t a crazy topic for a research paper, especially from a public health standpoint (getting out messaging in clinics to use a measuring spoon to make sure you get the correct dose, not a regular/soup spoon out of your drawer, or use the cup that came with the medication!!). But everything else about what happened is bananacrackers all the way down.

  59. H.Regalis*

    This isn’t a work one, but my old roommate and our downstairs neighbor did not get along at all. It was the worst combination: Roommate was a very high-strung, Type A kind of guy who had a tendency to take every random thing as a deliberate slight against him; and the neighbor was a bro-y party guy who immediately went all, “You can’t tell me what to do!” when met with any sort of request.

    Neighbor was smoking a ton of weed one night, to the point where you could smell it in our apartment, so my roommate went down to ask him to knock it off because it was giving him a headache. Neighbor was also drunk, and cussed my roommate out and kept smoking weed.

    My roommate is also one of those people who thinks because something is illegal, regardless of any other context, that if you call the cops about it, they will immediately send someone out to arrest the offender RIGHT NOW; so he calls the cops to say our neighbor is smoking weed! Which is illegal!! Cops decline to do anything because weed in small amounts is actually decriminalized where we live. Roommate then complained to the landlord about it.

    The landlord must have said something to the neighbor, because then he started playing super loud music late at night all the time. Roommate again went down to talk to him, got cussed out again, and called the cops again. This time they did show up, and told the neighbor to keep it down because we live in a residential neighborhood and he was being loud AF. This happened at least half a dozen more times. After the first couple of times, the cops stopped showing up and were like, “You really need to talk to your landlord about this. We don’t resolve interpersonal disputes,” which my roommate was not happy with.

    One night in the winter we got a ton of snow. I had gone to bed, but later got up to get a glass of water, and my roommate was up pacing around and looking out the back window. Neighbor had come home from the bar, gone out back to our shared parking lot, and built a full-size snowman in front of my roommate’s car, blocking him in to his spot. My roommate called the cops again, and then this was getting kind of agitated at the dispatcher, who, surprisingly, refused to send an officer out to arrest our neighborhood for building a snowman. Again, my roommate got told to talk to his landlord and/or the neighbor, because the cops were not going to be involved in resolving their interpersonal dispute.

    There was never a satisfying resolution to this. The neighbor toned it down a bit, my roommate finally stopped the cops over every little thing, and relations were unfriendly but not violent for the remainder of our tenancy.

  60. Wordnerd*

    I started in 2016 as the writing center coordinator at a midsized university. In my first few weeks, I attended an academic dept meeting where one professor in that dept immediately stated that she entirely distrusted the writing center because one time [before I started], a tutor gave one of her students bad advice. I asked for the details and mentioned that I would do my best to ensure that didn’t happen again.
    Five years later, she was still actively telling her students “do not use the writing center, they are terrible” without any explanation or context. When I went to her dept chair with my concerns, the chair said that yes, the professor was still upset about the One Incident from years ago, before I started, and refused to change her opinion in any way or soften her language with her students.
    I think she finally retired last year.

  61. hypoglycemic rage*

    IDK if this fits, but it’s been a few years since I left this job and I am still peeved.

    At a former library I worked at, we were going to an RFID system, instead of the barcodes we had been using. This meant that every single book in the library had to have this new RFID sticker. Every. Single. Book. On the shelves.

    As you can imagine, this was tedious, but we could – initially – listen to music/podcasts/ whatever through headphones. Then our director said we couldn’t, because we had to be available if patrons needed anything (even if we were in the way back of the stacks in areas nobody went).

    But the worst part was when my manager said that I couldn’t sit down in a chair, I had to stand, even though I’d be doing this for hours at a time. The other department manager didn’t have her employees stand, so it was just my boss who required this. Which, again, would have been fine, but I had to stand for hours at a time.

    I don’t know if it was some kind of a power trip or what.

  62. Sksksks*

    I worked at the world’s worst retail job, where the manager scheduled on his whims including how much he liked you or you amused him. I left for a summer internship but kept in contact with two of my coworkers, we’ll call them Anna and Teagan. Anna was promoted to assistant manager and put in charge of the schedule. She also hired Zach.

    Zach and Teagan apparently were very flirty all over the store and Anna was not pleased. She started scheduling them on opposite schedules, so Zach would open and Teagan would close. Then Zach quit, but Teagan kept getting the worst shifts: short swing shifts on weekends, closing then opening the next day, 3 days with no work then 10 straight days etc.

    Eventually, Teagan confronted Anna and asked why she was getting the worst shifts when she had seniority. Anna said “you have a boyfriend, and I don’t like cheating ******s”. Unclear to me if Zach and Teagan ever did go past flirting. She denies it, another former coworker says they were caught kissing in the stock room after hours. Corporate and regional did not appear to care in the slightest, and I still don’t understand why cheating was Anna’s business once they were off the premises and Zach quit!

  63. hhh*

    Two guys shared an office and fought over petty things and brought their manager into it every day. Manager wanted to split them up. Big boss wisely said, “Right now you have two problems, but if you split them up you’re going to have four problems.”

    Indeed they both self-destructed and left the company under separate scandalous circumstances within a year.

  64. Delta Delta*

    We had a speakerphone war at an old job. This was back in the old days when we all used hard-wired desktop phones, just for reference. Office Manager would come in in the morning, crank up her phone as loud as it would go, and listen to her voicemail. At best there’d be 1-2 voicemails, and it was usually over pretty quickly. Other Employee, however, simply could not deal with this. Other Employee would immediately start playing back her voicemails on speaker, as loudly as it would go. They also each figured out ways to amplify the sound so it was even louder than normal. This eventually got to where they were going back and forth with it all day long. It stopped only when Other Employee was able to move to a desk in another part of the building so they couldn’t hear each other.

  65. Freddy*

    About 8 years ago, Bob in sales had a seizure and was hospitalized. He returned to work but it was a while before he was 100%. During that time, at one of the sales meetings, Fergus mentioned that Bob seemed confused. Bob has been seething ever since.

    Earlier this year, Fergus had an account explode while he was on vacation (it wasn’t his fault) Jane was stuck cleaning the mess.

    At the next sales meeting, Bob was sure to tell Fergus he owes Jane his paycheck. Fergus was mortified, turned bright red.

    And yes, Bob told me outright it was revenge for Fergus’s remark 8 years ago. My hat’s off to Bob. I’m too lazy to hold a grudge that long…

  66. Juicebox Hero*

    Retail is full of petty tyrants. I worked for a while in the menswear department, which was pretty large so there were two employees (“Bette” and “Joan”) who each ruled half of it. My first day there I was told by the male department manager that if I had a problem with “the girls” to figure it out myself and leave him out of it. Great. I was a timid little wimp so I got steamrollered by both of them.

    Both Bette and Joan had their favorites among the lesser employees, who were all younger women. I was right out of college and the others were in college. I normally worked with Bette because for some reason Joan disliked me from the get-go, but occasionally you had to work for the enemy’s side depending on who had more going on.

    Heaven help you if you did something Bette wanted on the Joan side and vice versa. I’m talking petty stuff like whether you put price tags on the sleeve of a shirt vs putting them on the tag inside the collar, or whether or not you put the little plastic rings with sizes on them on the hangers or not. Joan legit made me cry a couple of times by making a scene out of how I’d done Bette Thing on HER side and make me do it over. Bette was kinder but no less forgiving.

    I was so glad when I got moved to another department…

    1. Forrest Rhodes*

      I’m happy you got out of there too, Juicebox Hero. Have to say that I love your choice of character names (fan of classic movies here)!

  67. desk platypus*

    At my previous job we would have the occasional casual potluck. This one woman, I’ll call her Elena, would bring in very tasty Mexican dishes that most of us looked forward to. However, Elena had a hot/cold personality and could be very bubbly one moment and tactless the next. Apparently one time before I was hired she made a snide comment to everyone about other potluck dishes not being as good as hers. Lisa told me about this one day at a potluck when it was just us around and said ever since then she’s not once had a bite from Elena’s food. She was very proud of this and acted like this taught Elena a lesson but Elena never noticed. (Trust me, Elena would definitely speak up if she noticed.)

    I did believe Elena would say something like that, that’s just how she was, but it never stopped me and others from filling our plates. It was good food!

  68. CreatorMundi*

    My first team’s grudges were standard fare for an IT department (clients griping if we were more than an hour in responding, rudeness when we’re trying to help, etc), but it turned into an interlocking web of who could help whom. As the only woman in IT, I eventually refused to assist one chauvinist but the other two could, another couple of grumpy old men that were rude to everyone except for me, and so on and so on. Luckily, we had enough IT members that we never had someone who no one would work with, but there were a few employees that came pretty darn close.

  69. Anna Badger*

    my first exposure to adults truly hating each other was at school, where one of the form tutors in my year seemed to be the only adult who recognised that my emotionally abusive head of year was emotionally abusive, and boy did he hate her guts, to the extent that he’d bring a book of poetry to assemblies, listen very attentively whenever anybody else was speaking and then whip it out as soon as she stood up.

    each form was on the hook for one assembly a year, and generally the students presented it without any teacher involvement. one year when it was his form’s turn he stood up and launched into an incredibly vicious impression of the head of year. this went on for a minute or so, until one of his students screamed “I can’t take this any more,” ran out of the room and tossed in a red football, to which another one yelled “her head’s exploded!” and then someone else stood up and said, “in this assembly we’d like to talk to you about managing stress.”

    this was a strong candidate for the most enjoyable moment of my time in that school.

  70. ThursdaysGeek*

    I had a coworker who I had recommended for the job: he had worked with my spouse*, I thought we were friends. A successful recommendation came with a cash bonus, and when I got it, I told him I was treating him to lunch to celebrate.

    He decided that I only recommended him because of the bonus, and while he let me buy him lunch, after that, he decided we were not friends. Not friends to the point that he complained to HR that I was smiling and greeting him when we met in the hall. HR told me to quit smiling and talking to him!

    So even though I’m a happy person who greets everyone with a smile, I had to remember and purposely not smile when I saw him in the hall. It was a small company, and I saw him multiple times every day.

    *My spouse had seen weirdness, but since he never gossiped about co-workers, I didn’t know.

    1. Physics labs*

      Wow! Icing out the person who recommended you for a job is a real “shoot an arrow to my knee” situation

  71. Helen_of_the_Midwest*

    This is a grudge that I’m holding. I know it’s not terribly rational, but here’s the story:

    Last summer, I was staffing a work event and wound up eating lunch with coworkers I don’t normally eat with. I’m in my twenties, but most of the coworkers present were significantly older than I was, and the conversation turned to whether they would “allow” their children to attend a college that was far from home. Several said they wouldn’t, which felt oddly controlling to me, though maybe that’s my class privilege coming through (while I don’t have a lot of money, my parents definitely do, and I always knew they’d pay for me to attend any college I wanted, which they did). Anyway, I chimed in and said that I would have been more likely to attend a college far from home if I hadn’t been afraid of my mother dying. One of my coworkers cracked up. I tried to clarify, and he laughed even harder. It felt like such a strange reaction, and I was really, really pissed.

    A few hours later, during a lull in the event, I asked my coworker why he had laughed at my fear that my mother would die. He said that he just thought it was sweet and funny that my anxiety had made me believe that me leaving would result in my mother’s death. He didn’t frame this as “oh, I thought you meant . . .” but rather as a statement of fact. The thing is, this is very far from the real situation. What was actually going on is that my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer when I was 12, and although she’s still alive 15 years later, her long-term survival has been touch-and-go for most of my life, and I was worried that she would die while I was in college because that was, in fact, very likely. I tried to explain this, and my coworker didn’t apologize and cut me off before I could get into any detail about her cancer.

    I think it’s relevant here to mention that my mother is very prominent in the field that my coworker and I are both in, and that my coworker went to college with my parents. I believe him that he didn’t know, but it also wasn’t weird to assume he would be aware of my mom’s very publicly discussed health situation. It also rubbed me the wrong way that he presented his assumption not as an assumption but rather as a statement of fact. And even if he’d been right and my fear that my mom would die was just irrational anxiety and not a very likely scenario, I still don’t think cracking up laughing would have been a very kind response. I understand that usually coworkers deserve to be able to opt out of hearing about other people’s health situations, but it felt really dismissive for him to a) refuse to apologize and b) not let me talk about my mom’s cancer at all given the gaffe he’d just committed.

    It’s been almost a year and I still don’t like him as a result of this situation. I asked me (former) therapist for advice about how to get over my anger at him, and she just told me that it’s important to feel my feelings and I should set aside time every day specifically to feel mad at him, which feels really counterproductive to me, so I haven’t done it, but I don’t know what else to do. I want an apology, but that’s not going to happen, and I’m aware that at this point continuing to hold a grudge reflects more on me than anything he did reflects on him. I’m not being hostile to him or anything, but I have less motivation to go out of my way to be helpful or kind to him. We don’t work very closely together most of the time and it hasn’t come up, but I still feel angry when I think about him.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Saving a specific time of day to sit with your anger can help to extinguish it because you’re not allowing your spontaneous grievance time in the middle of the day to express itself fully and release all of those emotion chemicals, but instead, you have to postpone it for your 7:00 rant, at which time you might not be in the mood, so it’s not as delicious as it was. Give it a shot. It’s been a long time. See if you can reshape your thinking so you can move on.

    2. Stella70*

      I am the farthest thing from a therapist, but to me, it’s clear you are holding onto this for many reasons, most of which you know. Those reasons are important, but absolutely do not trump the effect this is having on you.
      Your therapist suggested you devote time each day to thinking of and feeling mad at him because it makes it a defined activity, which can then be appropriately delayed if need be. If you see him in the hall, and you get angry, you can say, “I am not thinking of him right now, I will think of him this afternoon, when I usually do.” It’s kind of like putting him in a box, to take out later in the day, when you are in complete control.
      I had a therapist suggest this exact exercise when I divorced. It did help a bit, because after awhile, I realized that if I can delay thinking about the situation, and even limit the amount of time I spend, I actually have the power and self-control to stop altogether.
      I’m older now, and my time is more precious. When something like this happens to me, I do the work to reflect on the person. In your case, I would ask myself:
      Would I want him to be a friend, if we weren’t co-workers? If he is this boorish at work, what is he like in his personal life?
      Would my mom have been hurt if she had been present? Your mom sounds like a lady who recognizes an ass just has to be an ass, and wouldn’t have allowed him to hurt her.
      Has thinking of this so much and so frequently contributed to my life or taken from it?
      Be brutally honest with this one. I believe every day of our lives is numbered and you have no idea if you have more days ahead of you or behind. When you feel that familiar pull to think of him and re-hash in your mind what he said, picture the word “stop” in giant letters in the air in front of you. Literally, do this. I swear it is effective if you make the effort. Train yourself to release the pain, limit the space for him in your head, and move on.
      Good luck and a hug to you.

      1. Dawnshadow*

        This is so wise and kind. Thank you.

        I feel like your comment should be featured in the final roundup when Allison does it. I was ambivalent about the subject because I’m a person who struggles with grudges just like the person you responded to, and I knew it would not help me to read about others’ grudges or think about my own (although some of the ones I’ve read today have been funny).

        I think this is a solution that could work for me and for a lot of people who struggle with this. Thank you.

      2. And...uh...Abraham Lincoln*

        This is really interrsting, because it’s similar to the way I deal with sadness/disappointment/etc. What I do is allot myself a specific amount of time to feel bad about it: an hour, a day, a week, whatever, depending how big the feelings are. (When it’s a longer period of time, I’m not feeling bad every moment, of course, but just whenever I think about it, I know I’m allowed to feel it.) And then when I reach the end of the designated time period, it’s time to move on.

        What I have found is that, by allowing myself to feel whatever I need to feel, I am usually ready to move on much sooner than I planned. It had not occurred to me until now to do this with resentment/anger type feelings; I’ll have to think about that.

    3. ferrina*

      That dude is a such a jerk. I’d low-key hate him for the rest of his life as well. As long as it doesn’t take up space in your head and is more like “oh, that dude? he’s a jerk. Next topic…” I think it’s fine. You don’t need to forgive everyone, and you aren’t going to get an apology from this guy anyways.

    4. cityMouse*

      Oh my, that’s just… maybe think that one day he is going to hear about your mother’s health situation, remember what he said to you, and how dismissive he was towards you, and he will writhe in embarrassment and shame. At least, he should.

      I would be angry too. What about a letter never sent?

  72. Victor WembanLlama*

    A few years ago I was on a Zoom call with a client, and another colleague was on as well. This colleague was dating another coworker. At one point in the call, my colleague had shared his screen, and then i guess forgot he was still sharing.

    So we all see a IM box pop up and my colleague and his girlfriend are having a heated relationship argument for all to see including clients. I was trying to get his attention but it took him a while to realize. The client was put off by the unprofessionalism and I had to do some damage control!

  73. Savor The Peelies*

    I once heard an admin get in a full screaming match with the CEO of the company. In retrospect, it should’ve been my sign that that place was deeply dysfunctional and to get the hell out of there faster than I did.

    1. Physics labs*

      I’m sure it was but wow the power dynamics mean this usually doesn’t happen

  74. Dovasary Balitang*

    I’m going to revisit the weirdest thing I ever witnessed:

    A coworker faking heart attack symptoms for attention and our safety RP needing to call 911, leading her to being carried out on a gurney. Why? Because she was furious two other coworkers went out to lunch and didn’t invite her.

    (Note: This didn’t happen in America and wouldn’t be costly. I got so many comments marveling at her potentially bankrupting herself over a tantrum moment last time.)

    1. Observer*

      This didn’t happen in America and wouldn’t be costly. I got so many comments marveling at her potentially bankrupting herself over a tantrum moment last time.

      The ambulance and hospital bills are not the only risk you take when you pull something like that, though. So not only strange but stupid. And career limiting although I imagine that she would not be able to grasp that, or care if she did.

  75. Lorna*

    Former coworker (*Gemma) firmly believed our manager to be madly in love with her and only holding back on ravishing her in the office because of office policy.
    On a team night out she tried to pull him into the restroom, frantically plastering his face with kisses. He very gently pulled away and told her he’s married. He was extremely kind about it.

    In that very moment another coworker (*Julia) entered the restroom, said hello and went to the loo. No further interaction.

    Unfortunately, the lovesick & clearly embarrassed Gemma was absolutely convinced Julia had done this on purpose just to ruin her chances with the guy.
    For the next 2 or 3 month she made it her mission to glare at Julia for at least 15 minutes every day from behind an office plant and un-cap all of her Sharpies when she thought noone would see her.

    It was glorious and so very unhinged.

    *names not real

    1. Dovasary Balitang*

      How was Gemma not fired for assaulting her manager? That’s so alarming. That poor gentleman.

        1. Observer*

          Still. It’s perfectly reasonable to fire someone who pulls a stunt like that.

          Also, her unhinged reaction to Julia *was* in the office.

    2. froodle*

      “she made it her mission to glare at Julia for at least 15 minutes every day from behind an office plant and un-cap all of her Sharpies”

      I want you to know what I genuinely in real life laughed out loud reading this. a proper undignified hee-hoo of merriment. thank you for making my evening.

      1. Kristin*

        Erotomania is very sad, and I hope Gemma got the help that she needed, but secretly uncapping someone’s Sharpies is such a hilariously petty act of revenge, I LOLed

    3. Juicebox Hero*

      I think “doesn’t that just uncap your Sharpie” needs to be added to the lexicon. Or “Gemma’s Sharpie is totally uncapped, if you know what I mean.” Or “I’m so mad I could just uncap a Sharpie!”

      1. Indolent Libertine*

        Will the next commenter handle be Uncapped Sharpie? Or The Mad Sharpie Uncapper?” Or…?

        1. And...uh...Abraham Lincoln*

          Years ago, I was ranting to my boss about a co-worker who was not smart (couple of stories about him in response to another thread up there) and in giving me advice, my boss told me a story about his own notsmart person, whom he described as having “an IQ roughly the same as this marker” and holding up a dry-erase marker. We proceded to use “marker” as a code word for “this person is a moron” for YEARS.

    4. I DK*

      I can’t wait for someone in my office to piss me off …consider their Sharpies uncapped!

    5. Sharpie*

      Uncapping Sharpies… That is one petty grudge over nothing!

      (My username is completely unrelated to the markers, btw, had it since I first ventured online!

  76. Sabrina*

    I worked in a lab where several assistants shared space. At the beginning of the year I met Jane, who was always using a centrifuge when I arrived. I’d say hello, she’d say hello back, I’d go to the dark room to use a specialty microscope. When I’d come out of the dark room she’d be gone.

    Over the course of the year she got more and more sullen when I’d come in. She stopped saying hello back and just nod. There was a lot of glaring. I had no idea why but kept saying hi despite this because not felt rude.

    Finally during our last week in the lab when I said hi she stood up and said, in a very angry voice, “Why don’t you ever say goodbye to me?”

    I was super confused and said so. She told me that everyday she didn’t know I’d left until she heard the door close, it was incredibly rude of me to just leave like that. I said, quite honestly, I hadn’t realized she was still in the lab when I left. That pissed her off more, she pointed to another work station and said she was always right there!

    I went to the station, sat down in the chair, and asked her to walk from the dark room to the door. She did. There was a pause, then “Oh, you really didn’t know I was still in the room, you can’t see that station at all from over here! Haha!” and she was very friendly for that last week.

    She spent a year being pissed about something that was resolvable with a two minute conversation.

    1. ferrina*

      I mean….at least she let it go once she realized what had happened? This is still very silly, but considering the amount of people who insist they are right when they are proven wrong, I guess it’s not that bad?

  77. Water Everywhere*

    In my early 20s I (female) had a part-time job tending bar and also a full-time social life going out to bars with my friends in our small town. I knew pretty much everyone who came to the bar I worked at and many would gravitate to my section. The bar manager, a 50-something who acted 20-something and was over-the-top flirty with anything male thought SHE should be the most popular person there and did not like that patrons went to me instead of her. After a couple months she started cutting my hours and scheduling me for the slowest shifts only. When she left me off the weekly schedule entirely I found another bartending job in a more popular bar within that week.

  78. The Case of the Pineapple Scented Air Freshener*

    I have shared this before…

    I worked with someone once that had an intense allergy to all things with fragrance in them. Thus the office adapted a policy that no one could come to working, wearing perfume, cologne, body spray etc. We also couldn’t keep scented lotion at our desk. This was fine, and tbh I liked bc I am not a big fan of perfume. This person took it a little extreme. She complained about people’s deodorant choices, the shampoo/conditioner, everything. HR told her they couldn’t police people’s deodorant choices and that was that.

    A few months later, a woman that sat by us had a nasty cough. The woman with a fragrance allergy was also a huge germaphobe. She complained incessantly about her coughing (pre-covid). She eventually resorted to spraying an essential oil concoction in direction when the coughing lady, made any noise. They eventually got into a heated argument over this. Literally screaming back and forth with another in the middle of the office. Fragrance woman was asked not spray anything at anyone, by HR. (Please don’t ask me why essential oils were ok for her, bc I don’t know lol!)

    That same week, we were given a Pineapple Scented Air freshener (for cars) as part of a new sales thing going on. I am not sure why anyone thought this was a good idea, since the fragrance issues were such a big deal in the office. We were instructed to NOT OPEN IT AT THE OFFICE. The next day the Fragrance lady, claims she can smell the pineapple air freshener at her desk. Her entire desk was cleaned out and scrubbed from top to bottom. The next day she could still smell it. Maintenance brought fans to air her space and air purifiers were purchased. She could still smell it, so they dismantled her desk and found 3-4 air fresheners shoved in crevices. She left and never came back. They never caught the culprit, but everyone had a good idea about who it was.

    That place was batshit crazy banana pants.

    1. I DK*

      LOL I remember this from before … she’s lucky they weren’t anchovies hidden in her desk!

  79. Nameless for this one*

    Oh boy, I could probably write a book about the number of coworker grudges I’ve witnessed. Here’s one I was actually part of:

    When I first started at my job, there was one coworker who seemed nice enough at first but turned out to be a real piece of work. They were absolutely terrible (and I mean terrible) at their job despite being there for 5+ years by the time I showed up. Boss tried to work with them on doing better and improving their work output, but it didn’t really happen. Somehow Coworker never got put on a PIP, probably because Boss would do anything to not actually Act Like The Boss. Coworker thought Boss was bullying them and reported Boss to HR, who then questioned the whole office (nothing ever came of it). Grandboss got dragged into it (Coworker probably went over Boss’s head and complained about Boss to them) and after multiple discussions I was made Coworker’s direct supervisor despite having ZERO supervisory experience (because Coworker and Boss couldn’t stand each other).

    Supervising Coworker was a nightmare. They were in constant fear of being fired and tried to get other employees in trouble to make themselves look better. They said I was “too harsh” for trying to get them to improve their work output. Eventually they threatened to report me to HR over something that never happened. By this point Grandboss and HR had caught on that Coworker was a real shit-stirrer and all-around Problem Employee. So when I told them about the plan to falsely report me to HR, Coworker was finally terminated.

    I had nightmares about Coworker returning for several years after this.

  80. Morris Alanisette*

    I used to work with Amy, who was just the most bitter, unpleasant person I’d ever met. She hated everybody and complained about everything. But more than anything, she hated this one guy in another department, Harry, because he parked in “her” parking space (we didn’t have assigned spaces) like two years prior.

    One day, our boss bought our department Chinese food to celebrate a win. Once we were done eating, there was a good amount left, so I sent around an office-wide email to let people know that they were welcome to the leftovers. A few minutes later, when I went back to the kitchen for the drink, I saw Amy dumping all of the containers into the garbage. She said that it was OUR food and nobody else should be entitled to eat it, especially not Harry. Who, it turns out, was out sick that day.

    Amy wasted about 5-6 full meals worth of food just to spite someone who wasn’t even around to know.

  81. EvilQueenRegina*

    A whole chapter of accidents once caused my coworker to think I’d got her into trouble over a no call no show.

    Let’s say we were hired at the same time to work as part of a team based out of our “Riverdale” office where the team were meant to have moved to by the time we started, but there were lots of delays to that move and we ended up being asked to base out of the team’s original office in “Greendale” (about 14 miles away) until the move happened (it ended up taking about 4.5 months).

    “Cruella” wasn’t happy about this because she had a weekend job in Riverdale, so asked if she could stay there based out of one of the other offices there, and the eventual outcome was that she was allowed to work from Riverdale Thursday and Friday, but was asked to go to Greendale the rest of the week. The manager of the team we were supporting (not our direct line manager)asked if I could do the whole week in Greendale.

    This was because the work was there and this was where I was needed, but somehow Cruella got the wrong end of the stick and thought I was being kept in Greendale all week because there was no desk in Riverdale. She repeated this in the Riverdale office where she was doing her two days, and someone apparently said “Oh, that’s not the case, there is room here!” So she asked me to ask our manager if I could go to Riverdale too, following this up with a call the next day. It was clear to me by this point that I was really needed in Greendale, which I was trying to explain, but she wasn’t hearing what I was saying and kept repeating “But could you ask?” In the end I said I would just to get her off the phone.

    The next day, Friday, Cruella had a medical appointment, and had told me she’d emailed our boss “Cornelia” about taking that day off. As far as I was concerned, she’d sorted it. If I’d known she hadn’t had a reply, I would have suggested she follow up with Cornelia to make sure; instead, she assumed no reply meant it was okay, took the whole day off.

    Turns out, Cornelia somehow never got that email and didn’t know Cruella wasn’t there. She went to the Riverdale office to see Cruella and found her not there, so called the Greendale office to find out where she was. Unfortunately, she happened to call in a bad moment when we were trying to deal with an incident in reception, so I was out of the room and didn’t know Cornelia had called, and Elsa who took the call had forgotten about the appointment and said “Isn’t she in Riverdale?”

    Cruella called in sick for something else on the Monday, and Cornelia asked where she was on Friday. So later that Monday morning, I got an irate call from Cruella wanting to know why I hadn’t asked to be moved and why I hadn’t told her about the appointment. Thing is, that wouldn’t necessarily have got her out of trouble because Cornelia still wouldn’t have been happy that Cruella didn’t speak to her herself about it. I tried to let it go, because I could understand her being taken aback at being told off when she really thought she had told Cornelia, but Cruella never let it go in the whole three years we worked together.

    1. Dovasary Balitang*

      Why did Cruella want you in Riverdale with her in the first place? Were the two of you friends before this?

    2. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      Protip: If you’re making up names anyway, make them very distinct from one another. Like Greendale and Springfield, or Cruella and Sandy.

  82. FG*

    This is undramatic compared to a lot of what’s posted, but still sticks with me.

    I was working in essentially an IT dept of a large university medical center. I was on a team that supported a few vendor software programs & also did project management. The Director has several Asst Directors under her to manage the various branches, but I was outside all of those groups & reported directly to her.

    After I’d been there a few years, one of the Asst Dirs decided they didn’t like me. I have no idea why. She would argue against what I said about nearly anything, even when what I was saying was demonstrably true. If I said the sky was blue, she’d contradict or cast doubt.

    One year, along comes the yearly evaluation. I’d always done well on these & had even gotten a spontaneous midyear promotion. As things were wrapping up that year, the Director told me, with a touch of amusement, that this Asst Dir had cone to her & tried to negatively influence my eval, which of course would negatively affect any raise I might get. It obviously didn’t work, and I never knew the details.

    I started calling the Asst Dir my Arch Nemesis to friends.

  83. cleo*

    Not at work but in grad school. I was in a small program and two of the FT professors HATED each other. I don’t know why. When I was a student they’d both been there for decades and they were ALWAYS scheduled to teach on different days (ie M-W vs Tu-Th) so they never had to interact with each other. Honestly, most of us were unaware of their beef, since they never were on campus at the same time.

    Until one of my fellow grad students asked them both to be on her thesis committee and they agreed. That was the only thing they agreed on for her whole thesis. Scheduling committee meetings was apparently a nightmare – this was well before the days of zoom meeting.

    1. Physics labs*

      OH NO what a nightmare!!! Honestly sometimes I think these things should be in the introduction paperwork — your office is here, the department admin who is your new gods desk is here, these two professors have a feud and shall never Twain meet.

  84. Bookworm in Stitches*

    Oh how I would love to hear whatever happened with the two managers who had a crush on the coworker!

    1. Rebecca1*

      It was published March 18, 2020 so the situation certainly must have changed in some way!

  85. Spite Sweater*

    In job at a liquor store, my once overly friendly co-worker didn’t talk to me for 3 weeks after I politely asked him if could make sure the bottled six-packs had the handle facing out when he stocked them so they’d be easier for customers to grab from the fridge. (They were really awkward to get out of the fridge when they were stocked backwards).

    He also starting talking bad about me to other staff after my manager asked if I wanted a branded Christmas sweater we had got from a brewery because they knew I liked craft beer. I accepted it but apparently Co-worker was very upset that it was offered to me (even though it was a women’s medium and he was a pretty tall dude). I would have given it to him if he was nice and let me knew he wanted it, but he wasn’t and didn’t, so now every Christmas I wear it out of spite and thank my lucky stars I don’t work there anymore.

  86. Readsforfun*

    I was hired for a pilot program in my office for a client. It became wildly successful, far beyond the client’s expectations. As a result, I got nominated for a company award (that less than 100 people in the huge company get each year) and was a winner my first year at the company.
    This upset one of my coworkers.
    She did not work in my program, but thought she should be a shoe-in to become the manager of the team once the program expanded.
    I took a manager training program and was promoted instead.
    This took her from upset to enraged.
    The next time a client directive came through asking me to help with something outside of the scope of the program, she replied in the all-team chat that “looks like she’ll finally have to do some work.” Which was especially egregious considering I’d done both my job AND helped her do hers for over a year.
    Our shared manager was furious and forced her to apologize. I could go on and on about the little barbs and insults, but you get the idea.
    Cut to last year when I was in the office for a client meeting. Coworker had asked the admin to do something that was impossible to do in the software program. (Which I knew because I used the program while my coworker did not.)
    I told coworker that we could do X instead and she snapped at me that she didn’t really care and it didn’t matter how it got done. Her tone was so rude that the client noticed. Someone must have said something to her because she later apologized… to the admin.
    It’s a very one-sided beef that only makes her look petty.
    I’ve used it as an example of taking the high road in every single manager training course and, without fail, a classmate or leader will act horrified on my behalf.

  87. nekosan*

    This happened many many years ago, well pre-COVID.

    We had a nasty flu/cold that went around the company (of around ~100 employees). At the height, around 1/3 of the people were out every day. I got it early on and got it hard. When I came back to work, everyone was calling me “Mary” (NOT my name). I asked why, and they said “Ask ‘Alan’.” So I did.

    ‘Alan’ claimed that I was the first to get sick and spread it around the office, hence I was “Typhoid Mary”. I said “No, wait a minute. I got it from ‘Chris’, who got it from ‘Barnett’, who got it from YOU, ‘Alan’! When you came in sick with the cold you got from your kids, I specifically said that you should stay home, since we have unlimited sick time! And you said no! YOU were the first to get sick, and YOU brought it into the office.”

    After that, people quickly began calling him ‘Typhoid Mary’. He was furious, saying that it was unfair and that i was causing a ‘hostile working environment’.

    I just rolled my eyes and ignored him.

    1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

      And on top of everything else, Typhoid Mary was spreading the disease without showing any symptoms herself, so the analogy wasn’t even accurate!

  88. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

    I was working in New York City, and I had to call Hetty in our London office to get someone’s fax number. I led off with, “Hello, Hetty. How are you? Then I followed with “Could you please give me the fax number of XYZ Company?” Hetty insisted that she just couldn’t understand me. Then she said that she understood every word except for one, which happened to be “fax.” I tried spelling it for her, but she insisted that she just didn’t understand me. I tried describing a fax machine, but again, she insisted that she just didn’t understand me. I said that she had no problem understanding my co-workers Robert and Carlos, who were from Puerto Rico. She agreed with me and said that she had no idea why she could understand them, but not me. It was clear to me that she understood me perfectly. Plus, I could tell from her voice that she was struggling not to laugh.

    To this day, I have no idea how I managed to get the fax number, but this happened over and over again. And I knew that she was lying when she claimed that she didn’t understand the word “fax,” because there were times that she DID understand the word, but claimed that she didn’t understand the words “ABC Company.” When I would say, “It’s the company where John Smith works,” she would scream that she didn’t understand a single word that I had just said. And I could tell that she was trying very hard not to laugh.

    Years (and many failed attempt to get fax numbers) later, I got my revenge when she called and asked to speak to Carlos. I told her the truth, that he was out of the office. She then said, “Okay, then, maybe you can help me. What is DEF Company’s fax number?” I said cheerfully, “Sorry, Hetty, but I don’t know what you’re saying. I’ll have Carlos call you when he gets back.” She then burst into tears and said, “Oh, please! It’s 9:30 PM here, and I want to go home! Please, please tell me their fax number.” I said gently, “Hetty, I can tell that you’re trying to ask me something, and I’d love to help you, but I can’t understand a single word you’re saying. I’ll have Carlos call you when he gets back.” And then I hung up.

    Now, if there had been only one time that Hetty had refused to give me a fax number, I would have been satisfied with my revenge, but this had happened every single week for a few years. I wasn’t satisfied. Any time that Hetty called and asked for Carlos, I told her that he was out of the office. Then I would wait for him to leave. When he returned, I would tell him to call Hetty. One time, after he called her, he said to me, “Hetty told me that she called hours ago.” I put on a puzzled look and said, “But I told you as soon as you walked in the door that she called.” Carlos wasn’t the brightest bulb, so he didn’t realize that my answer had nothing to do with the time that Hetty called. He just said, “Yeah, she’s crazy.”

    I have absolutely no idea why Hetty refused to give me fax numbers. We were thousands of miles apart. It wasn’t as if I had failed to say good morning to her one day, or had accidentally bumped into her and failed to realize it and didn’t apologize, or didn’t see her and didn’t hold a door open for her. I don’t know why she decided to be mean. At least she learned that being mean to someone who never did anything to her wasn’t a good idea.

    1. RedinSC*

      maybe her name was really Headly, and she held a grudge on people who pronounced it wrong.

    2. Dovasary Balitang*

      Is it possible she was being genuine? I have a fairly unexciting west coast Canadian accent. One time, I had to take a call from a customer with a very strong southern accent (no idea where from); she had difficulty understanding me, which blew my tiny mind. I also occasionally encountered that when I lived in Glasgow. Sometimes people can’t understand accents they are not routinely exposed to.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I think that possibility would be a lot more likely if it weren’t for the following:

        – “I tried spelling it for her…I tried describing a fax machine”
        – “there were times that she DID understand the word, but claimed that she didn’t understand the words ‘ABC Company.'”
        – “I could tell from her voice that she was struggling not to laugh”
        – “this had happened every single week for a few years”

        1. Juicebox Hero*

          And admittedly had no trouble understanding the Puerto Rican coworkers’ accents.

        2. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

          You are absolutely right. It didn’t make sense that sometimes, she couldn’t understand the word “fax,” but other times, she did understand it but failed to understand the name of a client or the name of the client’s employee. And we talked for a few minutes the first time, when I first found out that she claimed to have a problem understanding the word “fax,” while she understood every single other word that I said, including talking about Robert and Carlos, and her acknowledging that it was strange that she could understand every word they said, but she just couldn’t understand my pronunciation of the word “fax.” I thought about sending her a fax asking her for the company’s fax number, but I had a feeling that she would pretend that she had never gotten it.

    3. Juicebox Hero*

      Oh, that’s magnificent. Hetty played a stupid game and won a stupid prize.

  89. Lazuli Rose*

    I missed the original keeper of the zipper submission, as we were closed for the pandemic and scrambling on how to WFH when no one in our company had ever done so.

    I am the executive assistant to the executive director of our facility. No one is in love with him (lol) but there are a few people who want to meet with him all the time just to chat/gossip/brown-nose. If it’s not a busy day and he has some time, he will chat for a few minutes, but they want to just barge in his office anytime they have something to say. I have to stop them or he will tell them to schedule through me and they just hate it. I just silently laugh when they stomp off. I’m sure they have names for me but I haven’t heard them. Plus side is my boss knows the deal and he appreciates me so I’m sure he would squash any name calling.

    Was there ever an update to that letter? Did Karen and Nancy not know that everyone was on to them? Did they really think fawning over an HR person was a good move? There is no way they could ever date him (if he was even interested) because of conflict of interest!

  90. RedinSC*

    I got hired to be a major donor fundraiser. 2 weeks after I was hired, they fired my boss, the head of the department, and they put me in charge in the interim. OK (btw, no pay bump, just all the responsibility!). This was also during a down turn in the economy, too. So this goes on for about another year, and in a meeting with the CEO I said I was concerned that we weren’t going to make the goal. First time not making goal, I was stressed, but he seemed not terribly concerned. A few more months go buy, it’s clear to me we’re not going to get there and in a senior staff meeting the CEO talks about how we’re already over goal. I looked at him and said, not really.

    SOOOO, after that meeting, he wouldn’t look at me. He wouldn’t answer my emails, he wouldn’t sign letters to donors if they came from me, etc. I basically wasn’t able to do much of my job. They then FINALLY hired in a VP of Development who took over managing the team, and surprising no one, I was fired about a month after she started.

  91. Jam Today*

    This is so childish I can’t even believe I’m writing it but I was *deeply* hated by a small group of women at a prior company because I was good friends with one of the company “It Guys” — objectively attractive, funny, smart, fun to be around. He and I would chitchat during the day, occasionally hang out outside of work, and went to a few of concerts together when a band we both loved came into town. I was entirely oblivious to the hatred until he came into my office one day and told me about it, since he was also friendly with them, I apparently had been walking around with a target on my back for well over a year by this time. It actually did do some damage, and I think ultimately was corrosive to my friendship with him, but he moved away anyway so in the end it didn’t really matter. It was pretty unsettling at the time, though.

    1. Jam Today*

      I’ll add: most of us were well into or approaching our 30s when this all happened, I was 34 (which is maybe why I didn’t see it, I had thought that part of my life was 17 years in the rear view mirror).

      1. Physics labs*

        Oph I’m so sorry! I would have never considered that as an issue with a work friendship

  92. MechE31*

    When I was a young engineer, I executed on a priority call from senior leadership where I took a part from program A for use on program B. Leadership from both programs were aware and onboard. Because of this “theft”, a senior engineer on program A refused to work with me over this for the duration of the 4 years that I worked for that company. Everything had to go through someone else.

    I left that company and returned 10 years later. He still held the grudge over that 1 part “theft” and tried to warn everyone I was a snake.

  93. Dinoweeds*

    I once worked retail with a person I really didn’t get along with. We had an area in the back of the store with a couple of benches used for trying on boots. My manager and I both preferred the benches oriented one way, while she preferred them facing another way. We spent almost every morning before opening with one of us moving the benches to our preferred positions. I eventually got sick of this, and decided that instead of moving benches I would face the money in the drawers the opposite way just to drive her nuts. It’s one of the pettier things I’ve done at work, but it was worth it just to see her huff and puff over it.

  94. Mrs. McCarthy’s Award-Winning Strawberry Scones*

    I once had a coworker (Clara) who was inexplicably upset by the most benign things. Years ago, another colleague (Helen) gifted her a lovely photo of her cat which Clara pinned up in her cubicle. Every time Clara felt Helen had done something to slight her (which was often), she would take down the photo. When they made up, the photo went back on the wall. The two of them controlled the energy in the office, so everyone could tell just by glancing at the wall whether it was going be a pleasant day or a miserable one.

  95. Mina*

    I had a coworker call a mediation meeting with me. She had spent the previous 2-3 years of lying about my words & actions to the point where I removed myself from any interaction with her.

    The mediation meeting consisted of her outlining complaints about every other Jewish staff member and complaining that I hadn’t taken action against them (spoiler: I had raised 70% of what she complained about to me to HR on my own volition). And said I was bullying her by not interacting with her after countless lies about me.

    No one else in the mediation saw the antisemitism until I called it out in the debrief.

    To her credit, the new HR person listened in my exit interview and seems to have made some changes.

  96. Stella70*

    I was a manager in a hospital. If you read the office decor responses Alison posted last week, I was the one who went overboard decorating mine, which was then promptly “repo’d” and added to the conference room schedule. This is one example of why I fought for a private office, and why they thought the former morgue in the basement would be a great fit.
    (By and large, the 60 employees I managed were a handful for both the hospital and the union.)

    On my first day, I was told that within one of my departments, two women were mortal enemies. What I wasn’t told was that one was good and kind and a great employee, if not a bit “fragile” (let’s call her Glenda), and the other was Satan’s niece (we’ll call her Cruella).
    Cruella’s treatment of Glenda was so toxic that a year prior Glenda spent some time in an inpatient mental health facility; she and her doctors reported it was due to work stress.
    Glenda wouldn’t leave her job because it was union, paid well, and the hours fit her family’s needs.
    Cruella didn’t leave because she thoroughly enjoyed making everyone’s life a living hell, so work was actually fun and sport for her.

    [Quick example? This hospital had struggled for ten years to be rid of her, including involving attorneys, offering her a payout, etc. We are an at-will state, but Cruella was very effusive in describing all the ways she would retaliate, and the hospital lawyers thought the devil they knew was better than the one they didn’t.
    Cruella realized early on that I had a zero bullshit clause of my own, so I let nearly nothing slide and started working towards her dismissal within the union contract. I was fair, but very firm with her – which frustrated her to no end. She couldn’t get me to react or lose my composure. In a conversation one day, she described lying under someone’s car and slitting their Achilles tendons as they were unlocking the door, so they wouldn’t be able to walk away. Then she asked me what I would do if something like that ever happened to me. Her next sentence was describing my car to a “T”, which was actually impressive, given the number of employees.]

    The day finally came when I was allowed by both the hospital’s HR and legal departments, as well as the union, to fire Cruella. (Technically, the union had no say, but they promised not to assist her in contesting it. They were thoroughly tired of her too. In fact, upper management treated me to dinner that night at the nicest restaurant in the city, and at the beginning of the meal, the union rep called and asked us where we were. They, too, were celebrating Cruella’s term, and didn’t want to be seen dining “with” us.)
    After firing Cruella, I was required to walk her out to her car. She turned to me and said she would be seeing me very soon and smiled. One of the conditions of the term was that she could not set foot on hospital grounds unless it was a medical emergency of her own or her family’s, so it felt like an empty threat. I just nodded and went back inside.

    Nothing happened for two weeks. Then one day, I got a phone call from a hysterical Glenda, who had barricaded herself in an empty patient room. She whispered that she was hiding and needed help. Glenda had gone into an inventory room to get something, and heard Cruella say, “Glenda, I’m back” in a childlike voice. The room was empty, so she looked up and Cruella was wedged on top of a storage cart. Glenda screamed and ran to the patient room.
    My director was with me at the time of the call; he took the elevator and I called Security while using the stairs to get to the floor. I was running down the hall and I saw Cruella come out of a patient room – but I wasn’t sure if that room was the one Glenda had been in. I stopped chasing Cruella, and checked to see if Glenda was in the room (she wasn’t). When I turned back, I saw Cruella enter the stairwell. I ran after her.
    (Why? I was in heels, no chance of catching up to her unless she wanted me to, I didn’t know if she was armed, and what was I going to do if I caught her? With me, it’s fight or flight or be an idiot.)
    Cruella made it to the edge of the parking lot and waited for me. I ran out the exit door, and saw her. She took one giant step back, so she was now on public property, and blew me a kiss.
    Our attorneys notified the police, we sent a registered letter to her house, but there was nothing left for us to do, since she hadn’t physically assaulted Glenda.
    I did fight for, and got, a month-long, paid, leave of absence for Glenda. She was a mess and rightfully so. And Cruella was quietly blacklisted by the union, and was not able to get a job at any hospital affiliated with that union.

    1. saskia*

      This… is fully, completely insane.
      On the plus side, you sound like an awesome manager!

      1. Stella70*

        Thank you. I feel into management like a lot of people do, but I tried very, very hard to learn all I could to be a good one. I so wish I had Alison’s website back then; it would have helped immensely.

    2. Savor The Peelies*

      Stella, you’ve gotta write us a book about these places! You have such a way with words and such a rich variety of experiences– AAM’s very own David Sedaris.

      1. Stella70*

        Such kind words! I have a zillion stories – this one wasn’t funny at all, sorry – and no courage to write them down, except on a blog under a pseudonym. My mom and husband push me to be a writer, but I tell them I have grown accustomed to living indoors and eating every day. Have you seen chocolate prices lately?!

        (Thank you, by the way.)

        1. Hlao-roo*

          this one wasn’t funny at all, sorry

          Don’t apologize, this story shows you have range! From gut-busting comedy all the way to spine-tingling horror (oof, that image of Cruella wedged on top of a cart in the supply room).

          1. Hlao-roo*

            I want to add, I am very impressed that you managed to work your way (firmly and calmly) through union procedures to be able to fire Cruella! Not many managers have the fortitude for that.

            1. Stella70*

              You know what finally allowed me to fire her?
              The union contract had an “offense” chart. You were allowed three chances to offend within each offense before you were termed. The offenses didn’t stack.

              For example, let’s say there were three categories (there were many more than three): Tardiness, Drunkenness, Arson. (Okay, the last two are made-up, but would have thrilled Cruella to no end.)
              You had to offend three times *within one category* to be termed. So, if Cruella was late once, arrived to work drunk twice, and set two fires, she could not be fired. And……the offenses fell off after one year, regardless if additional offenses occurred (of any type).
              Cruella would arrive at the HR office no later than one minute prior to opening on any day that an offense expired, to monitor it being purged from the record. Then, she would repeat that offense within one week, to make a point. (Some staff said she had an actual sheet where she kept track of everything, but I did not see it.)
              You can see how she played this game for ten years.
              Then I came along. I was trying very hard to implement staff recognition in all departments; Cruella was deliberately NOT excluded from being recognized (but it was harder to sincerely catch her doing something well or kind).
              One of her co-workers went out of her way to assist a patient and it was such a sweet gesture that I wrote a little card of thanks and hung it on her locker. Cruella saw the envelope, opened it (I had sealed it), walked over to a clinic department, took a photocopy of it, and then returned it to the locker (she didn’t even bother trying to re-seal it).
              The sweet employee asked if I had included a hospital snack token in the card (I hadn’t, the card was from me) because she noticed it was unsealed and worried someone took it out. Given the schedule, I knew Cruella had done something. The locker room had no security cameras, naturally, but the hallways and that clinic did! One camera was beautifully pointed directly at the copier when Cruella was making her copy.
              So I made copies of the videos, wrote up a termination notice, and called the union (if they bought my reasoning, so would my HR). I described what had occurred and the union rep asked what category the offense fit in. I said, “None. She violated Sweet Employee’s sense of privacy.” The union rep asked if I was kidding. I said I wasn’t and told her that terming Cruella for an offense that no one on either side of the table had ever articulated did not negate her co-workers’ right to privacy. It was the tiniest of loopholes and I wanted us all to clog dance through it. The union said if the hospital would accept that argument, they would as well.
              Cruella first loudly and scarily denied what she had done in our HR/union meeting (with union reps, HR, and legal present). I actually got to “roll tape” and we watched her do it. Good heavens, she was pissed. Her argument was “everyone snoops”, but we told her that we were not negotiating and she was termed as of that moment. She became unglued when she realized that the union was not intervening. I honestly was a bit alarmed and grateful there were so many present. Then – she flipped her reaction in a millisecond, calmed down, and asked if she could leave. HR said I would accompany her to the parking lot (they had cleared out her locker during the meeting) – this was news to me! All those people there and I was the fool that had to walk her out. I think I developed an ulcer walking next to her between the conference room and the exit.
              And now you know the rest of the story. ;)

              1. saskia*

                Wow. Wow!
                And the fact that YOU had to walk her out — as if hospitals don’t have security!

              2. Pickwick*

                I just want to echo everyone else in saying that you are a remarkable storyteller! My eyebrows rose higher and higher till they were lifting me out of my chair as Cruella’s saga continued.

        2. Savor The Peelies*

          I certainly understand being pushed to go full-time with creative endeavors but preferring to pay the bills instead! I’ve had friends and family suggest I ought to try to make costuming my career, failing to understand that the reason I can make and do fun things is because I’ve got software developer money coming in.

          I’m glad to read your little snippets where they come, in whatever form they take :)

    3. jane's nemesis*

      holy cow, Cruella is fully unhinged, in a very bad way. Good for you for getting rid of her, and poor Glenda!

    4. Piscera*

      Do you know if Cruella ever figured out why she couldn’t get another job affiliated with your union? Or if the word got around and no one else would hire her either?

      1. Stella70*

        I did hear that she blanketed the businesses which were affiliated with that union, expecting to be picked up. (That was common; employees moved around to better their schedules, etc.) She couldn’t get a call back, and I heard she blamed me entirely. To be honest, it was a bit scary for awhile – my head was on a swivel in the parking lot, or when working odd hours.
        It was totally worth it, though, to see Glenda come out of her shell. Within a year, she was a totally different person at work.

  97. SnookidyBoo*

    I once had a part time job taking minutes for different advisory committees within my city. Most of the council members were fine but one group was an absolute nightmare to deal with.

    My first experience with them was a summer retreat meeting that lasted six hours. After the retreat was over I grabbed a sandwich and turned around to find the Vice Chair two inches away from my face. He spat out, ‘Well!? Did you learn anything!?’

    Confused, I replied that I had been taking minutes for meetings for a few months now and was doing well with the job and then he snarled,

    ‘NO! I meant about our group!’

    I replied ‘I guess so?’ and apparently that was the wrong answer.

    And that was how I earned the eternal loathing of the Pretentious Pedantic Club.

    The Chair and Vice Chair used me as their personal punching bag and in the next eight months of dealing with them they:

    – Not ONCE approved of the minutes I created and spent the first ten minutes of each meeting picking apart what I had submitted with complaints like ‘I want to see the full name of this organization not the abbreviation’ and ‘you didn’t include this very inconsequential detail about this one program, you better retype the whole thing’.

    – Told me that I couldn’t sit at the table with them because there weren’t enough chairs (there were) and didn’t want me taking a seat that a council member might use (that council person never showed up and I ended up wedged in a corner of the room for that meeting)

    – The Vice Chair never failed to mention at least three times in each meeting that he had a PHD and new what he was talking about

    – Asked for my personal phone number so the Chair could ‘give me direction on how to write the minutes’.

    and last straw which was when the Vice Chair lost his shit at a meeting with me and in a room full of city officials told me I was an incompetent moron and anyone would be ashamed to use the meeting minutes for any sort information and I was an embarrassment to the City.

    I quit after that.

    1. jane's nemesis*

      I suspect it wasn’t your response to his initial question that ‘earned’ you the loathing, it sounds like you had it from the start! I’m sorry you had to deal with it, they sound AWFUL.

  98. Sandwiches*

    at the end of a VERY long week in late February, past EOD on a Friday, I wrote “lol” in an email in a perhaps misguided attempt to lighten the mood of a rush request. Came in on Monday to no less than 3 angry replies in a row from my colleague, sent at 7:30 AM, accusing me of unprofessionalism, disrespect towards the company, basically everything short of “a plague on both your houses.” Three emails. at 7:30 on a Monday. We were both in the office and she was ignoring me in person. I escalated to my boss bc I figured we might need mediation and I didn’t want to risk getting her any angrier. Now she’s mad that I tattled on her and she doesn’t want to speak to me unless absolutely necessary.
    nearly three months of this all because I wrote “lol” while tired.

    1. I Have RBF*

      I envision little post-its occasionally scattered around her desk, by everyone else in the office, with “LOL!” on them. I mean, seriously? The woman is bananacrackers.

  99. Name (Required)*

    Back in the days before online maps/directions, a coworker of mine was going to a vets office that I had been to before so I gave her directions on how to get there. Apparently, I missed telling her about a turn to take in said directions and as a result she ended up lost. As far as I remember, she did end up finding the office, but she accused me of purposely giving her bad directions so she would get lost.

    She was incredibly paranoid about normal things that happen in an office so I probably should have realized that I should just never interact with her even though it would very difficult to do that in a five person office when she sat 10 ft away from me. I tried a couple of times to explain that I didn’t do it on purpose and would never have done that to anyone (especially not given that it was pet related and I am cat/dog crazy!) but she refused to believe me and held a grudge against me until she left a few months later.

    I can’t imagine going through life with a brain that functioned like that and always felt kind of sorry for her.

  100. umami*

    I had one colleague years back, a member of our leadership team, who was extremely sensitive. One day she brought treats to our weekly team meeting because it was Valentine’s Day, and when one of our other colleagues (a man) expressed surprise and didn’t effusively thank her, she complained to the president that he was extremely rude to her, and how it was just ONE.MORE.EXAMPLE of his mistreatment of her. An actual investigation ensued, we were all asked privately what we saw and heard, which was just laughable because he really just wasn’t paying attention and didn’t understand why she was giving him a Valentine’s treat (FWIW, none of us did, my boss was just going through the motions because she insisted that we all saw what he did to her). After that, she moved to sit at the farthest possible chair at the conference table and wouldn’t engage with him or would passive-aggressively critique his projects/initiatives but without ever addressing him directly or make rude comments under her breath. The funniest part was they were both in their 60s *smh*

  101. MeridethLibrarian*

    In my public library, we had a very unpopular Director. He was a micro-managing mansplainer, in an environment that was 90% female. Literally everyone on staff hated him, and he either didn’t notice or didn’t care.. .

    At some point, he decided our breakroom – upstairs from where the staff worked and steps from his office – was underutilized. To be fair, no one used it because the odds of bumping into him or another administrator was high, and nobody wanted to deal with that during lunch.. His solution was to remove all the refrigerators and microwaves from the downstairs work rooms to force people to eat upstairs.

    There was a minifridge/freezer in our Youth Workroom that had been there for as long as anyone could remember. Unpopular Director said it had to go, but don’t send it to be auctioned, he could use it in *his* office to keep water cool for VIPs.

    We had a Youth Librarian who had real anger issues, and a hot burning hatred for Director. Without defrosting the refrigerator or cleaning it out, she unplugged it and left it in his office on a Thursday evening, when Director planned to be out Thursday-Monday. Over the weekend it defrosted, ruined the carpet in Director’s office and set up a lovely mildew-y smell.

    As far as I know, the Youth Librarian faced no consequences (Director was a little scared of her). Within 3 Months, the downstairs Fridge and Microwave had been replaced. When Youth Librarian retired, she handed out buttons to staff with a picture of the mini-fridge on it.

    1. Keep it Simple*

      If there’s one thing I’ve learned from AAM, it is NOT to mess with librarians!

    2. metadata minion*

      I feel this in my soul.

      (Your buttons remind me of the picture hanging in our stairwell that’s a memorial to the carpet that used to cover the walls. Yes, carpet on the *walls* of the stairwell — the stairs themselves were not carpeted — in an extremely 1960s-70s orange/brown/yellow/green medley. I miss it in all its glorious ugliness.)

    3. NonNon*

      Okay, the buttons made me literally LOL. Well played, Youth Librarian, well played.

  102. Nopity Nope*

    Let’s see… the weirdest:

    1. New coworker hired has dyed red hair. Natural redheaded senior coworker hated her because she was the only redhead and it wasn’t even natural. New coworker didn’t have a clue until someone said “you know I was worried when you picked up a shift with me, but nothing senior coworker has said was true!”

    2. Once more, new coworker. New coworker liked to bake. Senior coworker A also liked to bake. Neither has an issue with this. Another Senior coworker B felt new coworker was trying to replace senior coworker’s “thing”. New coworker thought she was going crazy with how Senior Coworker B treated her as the manager told her she was imagining it.

    3. No clue why two supervisors hated each other but I don’t know how they kept jobs because they would go at it even on Teams.

  103. singularity*

    I’m a high school teacher. I used to have support person who came into my room to help students with learning disabilities. I was heavily pregnant and she decided she disliked me. Sometimes I would have to sit while teaching because my legs and ankles would swell and cause pain. Whenever I did this, she would glare at me, roll her eyes, and click her tongue. If it helps, I was young-ish (late 20s) and she was older, in her 50s.

    She liked to leave the room without telling me where she was going. One time, a principal came in to observe me and asked me where she was. I was truthful, because what else do I do?

    This woman proceeded to call me the wrong name for the rest of the time I was there before I went on maternity leave. She slammed doors in my face, turned around and stomped away when I came into the room, and muttered, “lazy ass ” under her breath whenever I was around.

    Jokes on her, I guess, because I went into pre-term labor and had to start my leave early. They made her cover my classes until they found a long term sub. Apparently she couldn’t handle the students and walked out one day (in the middle of class!) halfway through my leave period.

    1. Physics labs*

      Wow! I would be surprised if she was hired back after leaving the student alone.

  104. Lou's Girl*

    2 coworkers (both females in their early 30s) who were best buds both in and out of the office. (I would also add they were both fairly long-term employees and very good employees). Married coworker decides to set the single one up with one of her husband’s friends. The four go out on a double date, but there is no spark between single coworker and husband’s friend. Married coworker did not take it well that no love connection had been made. She actually took it VERY personally.

    HR had to intervene it got so bad. Married coworker accused single coworker of hitting her. Turns out, single coworker was exiting the bathroom as married coworker was entering. The door is solid wood and has no window (as most bathrooms do) and single coworker almost hit married coworker while leaving (door swung outward). Married coworker had to transfer departments (after they were both counseled) and both had their IMs disabled (they sat next to each other in the office, but would IM each other very awful, hateful things all day- so… at least it was quiet?).

  105. Gone Girl*

    Had a peer-turned-manager who always seemed to shut down when I would have any push back or even if I was just offering alternative solutions.

    One time we were up against a deadline on a day I had to leave early for an appt (note: I had already told him about this appt at the beginning of the week), so when I pushed for more urgency/direct feedback, he accused me of just wanting to leave early. Had to remind him that he was the one who okayed my early departure.

    Here’s the “grudge”: When I finally left that place, I had an ‘exit interview’ where he told me — to my *face* — “I’ve always had a problem working with women…but I don’t know why”

    …you don’t say.

    1. Mad Harry Crewe*

      Gosh, how weird. I feel like there might be a word for that, starts with an ‘m’…

  106. La Triviata*

    The bees-and-bananapants place I worked years ago – I started right after what amounted to a staff insurrection that got the executive director being fired. They really really hated him. One person, the former executive director hated so much that he reassigned the object of his hatred to a nasty run-down office in a different building. He was the only staff person from the organization in that building.

    At the same organization, at one point we’d hired a temp to do some overflow work. I was supervising her. She wanted to be hired full time and, when I wasn’t amenable to that, refused to do any work I tried to assign her, but buttered up other people and did work for them. She was hired full time and even the fact that she kept coming back from long lunches stoned did not impact her employment. Only the time she came back after the person who she supposedly reported to had been looking for her for two hours and she was so stoned she fell off her chair was she asked to find other employment.

  107. Katie*

    Not that huge, but 18 years ago, my coworker/person I considered a friend told my store manager that I was dating a team lead in the store (I was a lowly entry level employee). My manager laughed at her and told her ‘I was too sweet for him’. I never talked to that girl again. Even 5 years later when we worked at the same (but different) company.

    18 years later, I probably wouldn’t talk to her.

    Yes I was dating that team lead and we have been married 16 years…

  108. First-Time, Medium-Time*

    I have a story of a work grudge that only indirectly involved me but ended up directly affecting me!

    While working for a State agency (important because it was a union job where you REALLY had to mess up to get fired, so it wasn’t going to happen here), I was hired to the Facilities Management section of my extremely large work campus (4 multi-story buildings, several thousand employees). Very soon after arriving I made work-friends with “Katie”, who had been in the section for a long time and was (and still is!) an absolute sweetheart. She was charismatic, funny, kind, and very good at her job, which among other things involved working directly with people to help them move cubicles, get their desktop height adjusted, that sort of thing.

    I enjoyed the work, it was varied and interesting. It also required a good deal of communication and coordination with all other maintenance areas, including telecom (the ones who install and maintain the phones). Well, the first time we had a meeting scheduled with telecom, Katie took me aside and warned me: if we’re meeting with telecom, we might end up dealing with “Angela”. Angela had been in telecom for nearly 30 years and for reasons no one could ever fully articulate to me (apparently “something” had happened during a construction project like, 15 years earlier), Angela *hated* facilities management, and *especially* hated Katie. I had no idea what to expect, but we went into the meeting and lo and behold, there was Angela. Throughout the entire meeting she was extremely chilly, bordering on rude. They introduced her to me and I gave a cheerful “hello” and she responded with a slightly scowling, “mm-hmm.” We discussed coordination details on whatever project we were working on, and she pushed back against nearly everything we said, from timeframes to logistics, with a slightly petulant, put-upon demeanor as though every decision we made or offer we put forth was an unreasonable demand on her, personally, as well as on her department. It was a miserable meeting that I left with a very poor opinion of Angela myself.

    I was in Facilities for over 5 years and everyone in telecom was perfectly professional and cordial except Angela, who I had come to accept was just perpetually grumpy. It was easy to shrug off, at least the job got done. But one day she finally went too far.

    When someone calls the facilities main line, everyone’s phone rings so that anyone who’s available can answer. I happened to be the one to pick up when Angela called for something (I don’t remember if I even learned what exactly it was) and needed to speak to Katie. Katie was out working with a client, and I told Angela so. Angela launched into a rant. Katie is so unprofessional and disorganized, she’s always causing problems and forcing other people to pick up after her. Angela doesn’t know how we get anything done with how frankly incompetent Katie is, not that we really get much done anyway. This goes on, and on, for – and I am not exaggerating here – about 15 minutes. Just heaping abuse, and abuse to Katie by-proxy, onto me for absolutely no apparent reason, just because I was the unlucky one who happened to pick up the phone. But never saying anything that I could reasonably argue was abusive enough to end the call (no swearing, not even a raised voice, just saying mean thing after mean thing in a rather polite if annoyed tone of voice, as though she were commiserating with me rather than insulting (and straight up lying about!) my coworker and my entire unit to my face). I had experience dealing with angry callers and spent the entirety of the call making vaguely sympathetic noises and short, empathetic, “That sounds frustrating” type phrases. Those were all I had time for as she barely ever paused for breath.

    When I finally hung up the phone, I burst out crying. I had been going through a lot in my personal life and was rather emotionally fragile at the time. Another coworker asked what was wrong and I explained, “Angela just spent the last 15 minutes yelling at me without actually yelling.” They immediately had me tell my boss what happened, and he took me seriously (easy enough to do, as I was still crying).

    Long story short (too late), he told Angela’s boss and a few days later we ended up in an awkward meeting where he made her apologize to me and I accepted. (I really didn’t need the apology, I just needed her to, y’know, not do that.) Interestingly enough, Angela was more polite to all of us for the rest of the time she was there. She retired the following year, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. I still have no earthly idea what in the world her problem with Katie was, but I’m glad she never took it out on me again.

  109. CzechMate*

    The scene: I’m a 25 year old who has just moved to a new city and started a new job. I’m not at the front desk, per se, but I work at a desk that is near the front, so I can easily have conversations with people at the front desk without getting out of my chair. This is a small, convivial office (almost like open floor plan) so we’re all chatting all throughout the day.

    In the first week, a woman Whitney who’s about my age from a different department comes in to make some small talk with the person at the front desk. They’re chatting very amiably and casually and everyone else around the office jumps into the conversation, and so I do as well. The woman abruptly stops, gives me this icy stare, breaks off the conversation, and leaves. Odd, but okay. This happens a few more times–she’ll come in and start a conversation with some folks in the office (again, these are not private, 1:1 conversations) and whenever I join in, she responds very coolly, makes a dismissive sort of remark, and walks away. Strange, but fine–I just won’t try to talk to her anymore.

    This comes up again at our company Christmas party–I’m seated near Whitney at dinner and try to make some friendly small talk (“So! How long have you lived in the city?”) and when I do, she pointedly turns away from me and starts a conversation with someone else. My now-husband remarked that she clearly must not like me, although he isn’t sure why, either.

    A few years go by, and Whitney gets a job offer on the other side of the country. I think I signed her going-away card, but that’s about it. As I’m leaving the office that night, a few of my coworkers run up behind me and say, “Hey! Do you want to walk over together?” I say, “Walk over to what?” and they say, “Oh, aren’t you going to Jane’s going away party?” Turns out this woman booked a private event space at the bar across the street for her farewell party and invited EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the office but me.

    To this day I’m still not sure what I did, but if you’re out there, Whitney: screw you.

    1. Kristin*

      It’s always so perplexing when someone you don’t even know freezes you out for no reason. I had a co-worker who would never look at or speak to me until two years before she retired. (She kind of had to talk to me when I joined her department.) And a neighbor I’ve never met has started glaring and screaming at me when I drive in our neighborhood. (???) You’re not alone!

  110. Alisaurus*

    I had a coworker once who absolutely hated me because I… trained her? I was in charge of training and overseeing the part-time front desk staff. Our workplace was actually really laid-back on what we could do at the front desk, so long as we put it down when customers walked in and we got all of the filing/reports/scheduling done. We could do almost anything as long as it wasn’t disruptive. (It was the perfect job for a student, and we’d regularly have people studying during quiet periods.) Well, this employee – let’s call her Jane – had several performance issues. She’d be short with/rude to customers, ignore filing and customers in favor of texting, disappear for extended “breaks” (even when it wasn’t her break time), ignore the work phone ringing, take loud personal phone calls at the front desk, and use the lobby TV to catch up on her favorite shows – which were very UN-family-friendly in a place where we had customers bringing their kids for appointments all the time.

    Jane took issue with me training her for some reason that none of us could figure out, took even more issue with me trying to coach her through the negative behaviors, and was angry I was “tattling” to our boss when I looped her in on the issues I was having with Jane.

    We basically got to the point where Jane ignored me completely every shift, made rude/snipey comments about me to our coworkers while I was sitting right there, and continued to get worse with her behavior. She finally quit before she could be fired, without notice, just a “hey it’s my last day and I’m leaving now” to the office manager. When she came up front to collect her things and tell everyone else good-bye, she glanced over to me and said, “Looks like your wish has been granted,” and then breezed out the door.

    Thankfully, her replacement was much more teachable.

  111. Joke's On You*

    Nancy and I worked at a small medical clinic in a rural area. She was a provider, I was administrative. Nancy and I were on equal footing with the agency. She complained if I got to work early, she complained if I was on time. She complained that I was ignoring patients if I was on the phone, she complained that I was ignoring the phone if I was with a patient. For the record, I had never even spoken to Nancy directly about anything. The practice manager sat down with Nancy to get to the bottom of why she openly hated me and she said that my first day in the office (three years prior to this) I hadn’t said hello to her and introduced myself. The practice manager and medical director opted to transfer Nancy to another office across town to cut down on the complaints. Within a few months, everyone at that office hated me despite never having met me.

    Around the same time, my job duties doubled and I needed extra support on some tasks. They opened a new support role in my department, the person would work directly with me. Two admin people from Nancy’s new department interviewed. The first choice was offered the role, she declined, stating she’d heard I was hard to get along with and a bully. The second choice rescinded her interest for the same reason citing Nancy’s “terrible experiences with me”. The joke was on them. Our practice manager was making my role and the new role remote with much more flexibility than we’d had before. WFH is very rare and coveted in that agency, so when they found out Nancy cost them an opportunity for remote work, they both doubled down and changed their minds. We’d already hired someone else by then.

  112. Nelalvai*

    Used to do road design for a suburb. Some years before I started there, a big boss in the transpo division got into some kind of argument with an HOA and went away from it spitting mad. Having interacted with HOAs myself, I can sympathize, but afterward the director FORBADE the department from having any interaction or doing anything for that one HOA. This meant that a high-speed road with a lot of pedestrian-vehicle crashes went sidewalk-less for several years, simply because evil HOA was asking for the sidewalk. The sidewalk is finally being constructed right now. Not sure what lesson the HOA was supposed to learn from that.

    1. Nonn*

      Wow, this one doesn’t have the overt drama level of the other ones, but people could have been literally maimed or DIED because of it!!

    2. Observer*

      This meant that a high-speed road with a lot of pedestrian-vehicle crashes went sidewalk-less for several years, simply because evil HOA was asking for the sidewalk

      Good grief! How does someone get away with something like that?!

    3. Piscera*

      IDK the whole story, but I knew of a housing development on a heavily trafficked road that got a traffic signal only after two pedestrian fatalities. One victim was a senior citizen, the other a child.

  113. Green Goose*

    I worked at an English immersion kindergarten in Seoul and there was a lot of bad blood between the owner and manager against the teaching staff.

    Parents would periodically bring food gifts to the teachers, there were six teachers and three admin staff (including the owner and the manager). When parents brought gifts for the teaching staff, it was for all six of us. One day the owner and the manager got mad at me about a misunderstanding, this was unfortunately common with language barriers and they were quick to assume the worst and were quite petty. That same day a parent dropped off six cakes for the six teachers. But the owner and boss placed a cake on each of the other five teacher’s desks and then put the sixth one in the owners office. I asked about it and they claimed that the parent had said that cake was for the owner. This was not a parent that I knew personally and it was pretty hard to believe that they would buy an individual cake for every single teacher except one. But I had no way of asking the parent directly.

    Later in the day, when the owner realized the thing that she was mad at me about was a misunderstanding she “suddenly remembered” that the cake in her office actually WAS for me…

  114. She Really Hates Me*

    I was hired into an org by a department head, Sansa, to be her assistant. She was clear in her hiring of me that part of my job duty was to do all the interfacing with other departments and clients, because she didn’t enjoy it. She hated making phone calls, and was generally aloof, sullen, quiet, and didn’t identify as a “people person.” Perfect, because I came from a background of client relations, and I also enjoy people and making everyone feel valued and welcome, whether that person is a client or a colleague. So I did my job, and did all the interfacing for her. I made all the phone calls to clients. I talked to the other departments. Sansa adored me for taking all that off her plate. After a few years of rarely speaking to a client or a colleague, she realized that I had become the universally-liked face of *her* department. Instead of taking a page out of my book, she decided that I should become more like her, and start being more sullen and aloof. She demanded I stop being so friendly to everyone, because it was making her look bad. She told literally told me I should make my tone more flat and stop “being so warm” on phone calls, and that I shouldn’t go out to lunch with coworkers when I was invited, but eat at my desk alone, the way she did. I did not. So she called a meeting with the CEO and Head of HR and demanded that they fire me for being too friendly, and explained to them that she didn’t even need me, because she was doing all the work, and I was just making phone calls and eating lunch with other departments. Instead of firing me, they promoted me to be the head of a different department, away from Sansa. When Sansa wanted to hire a new assistant, they refused, because she can make her own phone calls, and as she so kindly explained to them, and she didn’t actually need an assistant. That was a few years ago, and she hasn’t spoken to me since. I’ve also gotten another promotion since then, and now work directly with the CEO. When we pass in the hallways I still give her the warm, “Good morning!” I give everyone, and she will not respond to me. So yeah, I have someone who hates my guts for being too nice.

    1. Caliente Papillon*

      Now THIS is a great story! Seems like everyone’s outcome is as it should be.

      1. She Really Hates Me*

        Thank you, it’s taken me a long time to have perspective about this, because for a while I truly struggled with feeling like I was doing something wrong. When I got my initial promotion away from her to take over another department, I had this imposter syndrome because she spent several months (before she rallied to get me fired) basically telling me how useless I was, how she was the only reason why I had a job, if I wanted to succeed I needed to change the way I speak/act/etc. And for a while after my promotion I avoided her, too, because I felt so ashamed that I had somehow “failed” and was only here for my smile. Thankfully, I have an incredible therapist, a great support system outside of work, and a wonderful network of clients and colleagues who have championed me and my work for the last few years. So I’m now at a place where I can have my head held high and give her my warmest, brightest smile without any shame, while she scowls and refuses to acknowledge my existence.

        1. Pickwick*

          Your story had a challenging path to its happy ending, but we’re happy you got there!

  115. computer delinquent*

    I had a coworker who watched me operate my computer once and was furious I wasn’t using certain keyboard shortcuts for our very specific software. He was so aggrieved about it he once almost shouted at me in a meeting about it when my computer was connected to a projector. While I’m aware I might be losing a second or two with the software, I’m ambidextrous and I prefer it because it’s easier to switch between right and left hands (I’m aware I can reprogram my keyboard, but it doesn’t solve the problem that most key combinations will favor the left or right side). Anyway, this bothered my coworker SO MUCH the rest of the time I worked with him, he would sigh heavily and pointedly look away when he saw me using a computer the “wrong” way.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Why does this remind me of the guy who wrote to Alison about getting fired for disabling ed his new boss’s caps lock key because he didn’t like that she used it instead of holding down the shift key?

  116. Seriously?*

    Taught with a woman who considered herself the best teacher who ever taught ever! She had a PhD, but not in the subject we taught, and not in education. She especially disliked new young teachers and was very rude to them in meetings. And in every department meeting, she would mention her unrelated PhD, usually multiple times. We really wanted to have a drinking game tied to this, but several drunk teachers leaving campus would have been a bad look!

  117. Donuts Donuts Donuts*

    My first job after graduating as an engineer was in an automotive plant. I was a process engineer working on the floor. There was a steep learning curve to the job and some of the mechanics were really helpful when I had questions about the machinery (maybe because I was a young woman and there were mostly only males in the whole building). Regardless, they were very helpful and kind and in order to thank them, I brought donuts to a meeting we were having. Other employees who were not invited to the meeting (because it had nothing to do with their work) were incensed and made a complaint to the union. They launched a grievance complaining that some, but not all, employees were given donuts. When the union rep found out that I bought the donuts with my own money the grievance went away, but the other employees continued to give me nasty looks for months and complain that they hadn’t gotten a donut.

    1. OtterB*

      My husband is an engineer in his 60s and he has found over the years that (a) befriending the mechanics/operators/technicians got him lots of good information and cooperation, and (b) taking in bagels occasionally endeared him to people who tended to be ignored or taken for granted. So it’s not just that you were a young woman – it’s that you were an engineer and you valued their expertise. But I’m pretty sure he never had anyone object to the fact that *they* didn’t get bagels.

      1. Donuts Donuts Donuts*

        I totally agree – they were incredibly helpful and were a wealth of information. Their willingness to support my work really helped me success in that job!

    2. A cat named Brian*

      Same, I got along well with the technicians and machinists. And I also brought cookies. My prototypes were also chosen first. Really upset a couple of the other engineers. They had temper tantrums, complained to the boss, said I was getting preferential treatment because I was a woman, etc. It’s just common decency to be nice and treat people with respect. That place was full of bees. Left after 2 years.

  118. Aimless*

    I once worked as an admin at a pretty big corporate employer in New Orleans. I had a coworker, N, who initially was really nice and sweet. We talked all the time and bonded over our love of animals. One day about three months after I joined the company, I walked into work and saw N in the corridor. I said, “Hi, N!” and she actually turned her head so she couldn’t see me and kept walking. I shrugged it off at first, but it kept happening. I’d say hi, she’d ignore me. There would be food left from one of her meetings and she’d whisper to the other admins so that they could get the leftovers, but excluded me. She was my backup and was supposed to answer my managers’ phones when I was at lunch, but she decided she didn’t want to do that anymore so stopped doing it. My managers noticed and asked me to fix the issue, but N wouldn’t even discuss it with me. She just said she wasn’t going to answer my phones anymore. I went to our big boss and he said that in his experience women admins always ended up in feuds and as far as he was concerned we had to handle it on our own and not to bother him anymore. So I stopped answering her managers’ phones. This made one of her managers so angry she stormed over to my desk and said, “Look, my phone is ringing. You answer it since N isn’t here.” I said, “Oh, N won’t answer my phones anymore, so I’m no longer answering hers.” She screamed, “I’m a lawyer and I’m telling you to answer that phone!” I smiled and said, “I’m an admin and I’m telling you I’m not.” She went running to N’s other manager but nothing changed. It was the custom for admins to buy birthday cards and circulate them around for their managers. So when one of N’s managers had a birthday, she circulated the card. When it hit my desk I told my coworker who put it there that I’d better not because N wouldn’t like it. She said, “Don’t let her intimidate you. Sign the card.” So I signed it and put it back on N’s desk which was in the cube next to mine. When she came back from lunch, she saw the card and I heard her yell, “OH, NO SHE DID NOT!” and then ripping sounds. She tore up the card and threw it away because I signed it. Then she sent out an email to the whole floor saying she was buying her manager a card, but if we wanted to send a card, we had to buy it ourselves. This went on for months and months. A new admin started and was initially nice and then she started ignoring me and I asked her why. She said, “Oh, N told me that you are a slacker and don’t pull your weight here so I shouldn’t associate with you so I can stay in good standing with my bosses.” N had more seniority than me and her manager was more important than mine. I was called into a meeting with mine and told that N was out to get me fired and if I were smart, I should start looking for a new job. I asked them if they could help me because obviously she was bullying me, but they said their hands were tied. (And these were lawyers!) So I luckily found another job in the same company, just a different department. On my first day HR sent out email to my old department and my new department announcing my new job and congratulating me and wishing me luck as was the custom. N responded with REPLY ALL in 57 RED font “OH, HAPPY DAYS! HAPPY DAYS! SHE’S GONE!” Did she get in trouble? Nope. Just got a little talking to from her boss. I was happy in my new job where no one bullied me. About two years later I heard that N got fired because she refused to help another admin and her boss said, Well, either you help her or you’re out” and N packed up her things and left. Years later I went out to lunch with the coworker who’d encouraged me to sign N’s manager’s birthday card. We were both not with the company anymore and had other jobs. We started talking about our old jobs and she said, “Okay, I’m going to confide in you now. I know why N hated you.” Well, the reason was that I brought in a Witch’s Almanac calendar one day and hung it up in my cube. It was New Orleans and the vibe there is really eccentric and pretty much anything goes, so I didn’t even think it would be an issue. The calendar did not have explicit pictures or anything. It was arty more than anything. Crows, cauldrons, stuff like that. So N thought I was Wiccan and since she was such a good Christian, she made it her mission to destroy me professionally. The funny thing is that I was NOT Wiccan. My friend owned an occult shop in the French Quarter and I bought the calendar there to support a local business. I can’t believe that lawyers let this happen to me or that no one told me the reason she was bullying me, but she was, by far, the worse coworker I’ve ever worked with. I laugh about it now, but there were so many nights I went home crying. I know I should have gone to HR, but I was told HR would likely side with N and I’d end up out of a job and I really, really needed my job. Also, since my own laywer managers couldn’t/wouldn’t protect me, I knew HR would not help either. Lesson learned – no witches almanac calendars in corporate cubicles. Even in New Orleans.

    1. Mad Harry Crewe*

      I’m distressed that your takeaway is no witches calendars, rather than that you were being harassed on the basis of your perceived religion and you deserved better.

      It wouldn’t have been ok if you were a Wiccan, it’s not ok because she just thought you were a Wiccan.

      1. Rebecca*

        Yep. N created an actual hostile work environment, and the lawyers were just like, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      2. Aimless*

        I was being sarcastic. If I had known I would have gone to HR. There was a huge wall of silence from those who knew and didn’t want a possible lawsuit. Or they genuinely didn’t know and had to Back Big Boss whose misogynistic views were also a huge problem. It was just toxic there and I was glad to get out. But if this had happened to someone I knew I would have spoken up. It sucked that no one spoke up for me.

    2. Future*

      Wow, what a good Christian she was. I’m sure Jesus would have applauded such Christ-like behaviour.

  119. Yup*

    The VP who was having an affair with the boss blew up at an underling who the boss left the VP for. Cue loud closed-door arguments and having to keep both women off the same accounts, out of the same meetings, and away from each other at parties. Meanwhile boss just kept trying on new arrivals for size. Everybody else had to pretend like nothing was happening.

  120. Keep it Simple*

    I worked at a private school in an office, not as a teacher. One of the huge perks was free onsite daycare; the hours were 8 – 4 because that was the school day. It was in my contract that my hours were 8-4. My department got a new VP, who was the most passive-aggressive person I’ve ever had the misfortune to know. She literally bullied one of my coworkers out within two months by assigning her work that had never been her responsibility, and then writing her up for every single mistake. I called her Cobra Woman. One day CW called me into her office and said “You get in earlier than I do. I notice you leave at 4.” Me: Yes, those are the daycare hours. Her: “Well, I’m very busy later in the afternoon. I’m really bearing down and working hard.” Me: Silence. Her: “Could you take (child) home at 4 and then come back until 5:30?” Me: “Child is three.” Her: “Oh, I guess that wouldn’t work then.” I quit a few weeks after that. I was very gratified to see that CW was fired less than a year after I left, and could not get another job at any other school in the area.

  121. Gas Lit*

    Worked in an on call position where the week you were on call you would take a vehicle home. At the end of your on call week you were expected to get gas in the car and run through a car wash (all on work’s dime).

    I hadn’t been last on call, and I didn’t normally drive the vehicle that will come into question. Crazy co worker got into said vehicle. Crazy stomped into the office, red in the face, screamed at me for leaving the car on empty with the gas light on. Crazy then proceeded to throw the keys at my head and declare I needed to go get gas.

    Dear friends, I’m 5 inches shorter then Crazy and when asked if she had to move the seat forward or back when she got in, Crazy said she had to move it forward. Then declared I must have moved the seat way back when I got out so I could cover my tracks and someone taller then me would be blamed.

    And the kicker, another coworker who witnessed the entire thing went to the car. The gas tank was half full and not on empty.

  122. Llama Llama*

    There were two managers in the department I worked in. Both of our names was Llama. She was a bit much and most of her team did not get along with her. I honestly didn’t have issues though and knew most of them problems stemmed from our manager.

    In elementary/high school, I had a classmate also named Llama. She and I were rivals and didn’t get along great (though friendly now!). I told my 8 year old daughter about her.

    The same day, we ran into another Llama who was good friends with one of the people who disliked coworker Llama.

    My daughter goes, “So you are the bad Llama right?’ Llama 3 bursts out laughing thinking she was talking about coworker Llama.

  123. Camelid coordinator*

    The worst boss I ever had had a problem with me, perhaps because of my expertise and the way I didn’t say yes to all of her ideas. Fairly early in our time together I bought a lovely suit and wore it to an event we both attended. We chatted about the purchase and, unbeknownst to me, she went out and bought the same suit. She then wore the suit to an event I was running, my biggest event of the year! Naturally I was wearing my new suit, and it was incredibly clear that she was wearing the same suit just to mess with me.

  124. carolinawrensuperfan*

    at Old Job, the receptionist was widely known for doing as little as possible, and even figured out how to get her desk moved to an inner office so that team leads instead had to serve as the office greeter. She complained often about not knowing the answers to questions my team handled and having to forward us our calls and mentioned cross-training multiple times in staff meetings. When I wrote a guide (and printed it out–this receptionist also didn’t understand hyperlinks, let alone Ctrl+F) she complained it was too long–four pages front AND back! She laughed in my face. We served literally hundreds of clients with many questions, but there was a ton of white space for notes, and it was double-spaced. The rest of the time I worked there, she would reference it any time I spoke in staff meeting and roll her eyes whenever I said something she thought was too complicated.

    I’m in a similar office but in a different role now, and literally this week I got trained on this exact protocol for our office. I knew back then that I wasn’t asking too much, but this really soothed some old scars.

  125. Oranigina Limone*

    Ooh, I have one. Years ago in grad school, I got a fellowship to do some work overseas. So one guy promptly posted an article on the door of our student bullpen that “explained” how men are being systematically and unfairly disenfranchised (he hadn’t applied for the fellowship, but apparently, on principle, I shouldn’t get it, because Woman), and from that point until I left he and his small cadre of four pals shunned me — like I didn’t exist. for example, if I spoke, they took it in turns to casually start a conversation and talk over me (because was someone speaking? No.)
    A year later, I returned and the main bad guy had graduated, fully three of his four pals had failed out of the program, and one guy was left, and this one guy was the first person I saw on my first day back.
    So, feeling pretty awesome from a freaking great year, I very consciously decided to mess with him. I ran over to him, gushing, saying “Oh, man, Philbus! I’m so glad to see you! It’s been so long! How are you? How’s everything? Wow, it’s just… wow, so great to see you.”
    I’m not sure what I expected but something along the lines of maybe him being alarmed and then avoiding me for our last school year together?
    But no! He was so touched by my (apparently genuine?) friendship for him that… we became friends. Lunches. Mid-day chats. I drove him to the airport when he left for his job. I’m still baffled, to this day.

  126. Kristin*

    I, like many other employees, would make my own coffee in the Director’s Office and then wash out the coffee pot when I was done, and set it on a paper towel to dry.
    When I started doing this instead of buying coffee everyday, I noticed a very high level administrator would wait until I left, then enter the Director’s Office, wash out the coffee pot I had set out to dry, and set it down on the paper towel facing the opposite direction!
    Eventually I brought my own coffee pot and allowed others to use it. People made a mess, slopped the coffee on the burner so that it stank (and the clerk who was eventually fired complained she “hated coffee” and blamed the mess on me), and never cleaned up after themselves. (We’re talking high-level admins.) I became so disgusted I took my coffee pot home, and made coffee at home before work to bring. Problem solved. Now I work remotely and love it.

    1. I Have RBF*

      I am an IT person, not an admin assistant. So it bemused me when other (male) not IT people would wait until I got in and made a pot of coffee to get some. Either someone else made the first pot at 7, and they drank it all then rinsed it out, or the entire area waiting until I got in… at 10… to get coffee. Now, I kind of understood this, because I always rinsed the pot, rinsed the filter basket, and wiped off the drip area. But I’m a bit of a coffee snob.

  127. Anonymouse617*

    Many years ago when I was fresh out of undergrad, I worked on a team of temps at a local company handling and influx of calls due to a recall.

    There were two other temps, both women in their mid to late 50s who HATED each other for reasons unknown to anyone else. They would refuse sit in the same row of calling stations (even though they were assigned to do so) and would constantly tried to sabotage each other’s work. They also did not understand the meaning of their temp contracts, as they each would occasionally try to give an ultimatum of “if you don’t fire her, I’ll walk!” Keep in mind, we were answering phones in a back room and filling out surveys to triage the recalls with the understanding this contract would last a couple of months.

    The final straw was when one of the women decided to be the “bigger person” and reached out to the head of HR asking for a mediation meeting so they could work out these issues before they became a “long term” problem for the company. Apparently, they were both convinced that aside from this “small issue”, everyone would love them and ask them to stay on permanently. Needless to say, that was the last we saw them and the contract ended three weeks later.

  128. Blarg*

    I had two coworkers (both within 5 years of retirement) who got in a huge fight about email volume that went on for months. All of the emails were work related. She just didn’t like them, and felt overwhelmed by tech. They ended up in union mediation, and the agreement dictated exactly how many emails one party was allowed to send the other party per week.

    The anti-emailer retired first, and I got her job and her office. In the office, I found a copy of the mediation agreement and a folder of the “offending” emails, which, of course, she’d printed out and saved. To be mad about them. The pro-emailer became a great friend and mentor. She’s awesome.

  129. Chaos coordinator*

    At a former workplace (a library) we had a library assistant (Sue) call HR and complain about another library assistant (Mary) because Mary had googled Sue. As far as anyone could tell (and both Mary and Sue were big talkers) Mary had googled Sue as soon as it was announced that she’d accepted the job and would start and TOLD Sue on her first day that she’d googled her. The HR complaint came much later— like 6 months later. It was all weird.

  130. Green Goose*

    Just thought of one that I might be part of currently?
    I just started a new job four months ago, and my coworker Anne started two weeks before I did. We’re both new, did not know anyone at the company previously and work closely together. There is another woman Paige, who works at our company and she worked in our department until about a month before we started. Paige’s role encompassed both my duties and Anne’s duties, and when she decided to move to a new department our boss (who was also Paige’s boss) decided to split it into two roles.

    It’s clear that there was bad blood between Paige and our boss but she has been very frosty to me whenever we see each other in the office, but will always say hello to Anne. I had reached out to Paige my first week to ask if we could meet and she said no. She’s also not involved with our onboarding at all, which is so weird. Even when we were interviewing for our roles she was not very helpful when I asked questions but apparently she provided a lot of information to Anne when Anne interviewed.

    I’m pretty confused by it all, if she were frosty to both Anne and I, I’d just chalk it up to her not wanting to be involved with anything that has to be with our boss who she does not like, but I don’t know why she says hello to only Anne since my interactions with her have been so limited. It’s not something that really bugs me as I rarely see her, but whenever I do and she avoids eye contact it make me go hmmm?

  131. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

    We had 2 union employees who really did not like each other. Their boss was conflict-avoidant and didn’t want to work with the union to fix the problem, so their solution was just to make sure they didn’t have cubicles next to each other. During renovations, departments had to move around several times, and each time the manager made sure they had cubicles of equal size and the same distance from windows that weren’t next to each other. A lot of cubicle Tetris.

  132. Star Trek Nutcase*

    In the olden days, I worked in a auto tag office when everyone in Florida had to reregister with a 1.5 month period. So they hired ten temp typists, all 18-21 year olds. We sat around a huge table & just typed new registrations all day. There were 5 older ladies who were full-time year-round. One, P, was a pill & constantly complained about us temps. At one point I got permission from the big boss for a small radio to play quietly on our table for the rare quiet times. (We were very quiet young boomers.) P would try to catch us playing it & claim it was loud (it wasn’t), but eventually we surrendered it. So being a petty youngun, I suggested we start singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” very quietly whenever P was the only one around us. She went bonkers after a few days, we pretended ignorance, and boss told her to stay on her side of the office. To this day, I think boss knew we were guilty but P was a pain in many ways. And the next year, 9 of us were rehired (1 graduated) and P stayed away from us.

  133. WannaAlp*

    I had an ongoing bad situation a few years ago with a co-worker “Mitt”. It started as a complete surprise one day in our small open-plan office, when Mitt brought up, for the first time, a problem he had with a noise I was making (the occasional loud cough), misophonia I assume. Except that his method of bringing it up was just to start yelling at me. Fortunately, there was a witness. My reaction was initially a pretty stunned silence, I responded levelly by saying I couldn’t help it, but then I went home and bawled my eyes out.

    In the months that followed, there was a lot of coming in early and leaving early, avoiding being alone with him, and gradually as he behaved himself, we got back onto speaking terms. And then a year later he did it again. This time, I spoke up for myself, there was a noisy row, and we disturbed several people further down the corridor.

    There followed several conversations with boss and HR, removing his office key, and a few months later, we were in a much bigger open-plan office, and he was banished to one end. By this time, I had changed to part-time work and left the workplace mid-afternoon, and he developed a disturbing habit of trying to ask me some work question just before I was due to leave.

    I told him directly that any questions he had, he should ask me by [a time 30mins before my leaving time]. He then changed to semi-lurking when I left the building. At one point I ended up trying to leave the building by the weirdest most contorted route, but he was faster than me, I still kept glimpses of him spotting me and changing course, still keeping a distance.

    I finally managed to get out of one of the doors without being spotted, and rounded the corner, only to find Mitt outside, hovering. So I went past him directly, only to have him ask me questions about time travel?! He was SERIOUSLY wanting to know how he could time travel, I got the impression it was so that he could go back to the first incident and have a do-over.

    Several other employees had also had encounters with Mitt where he asked them about time travel. Shortly after that, HR whisked him away on medical leave, and we never saw him again.

  134. Rage*

    This was a long time ago, and it’s one where I was surprised there wasn’t lingering animosity.

    I worked at a small Employee Assistance Program. So, counselors, therapists, etc. The employee who had been there the longest, Courtney, originally was an addictions counselor (since that was the primary focus of EAPs back in the day), but decided to go for a Masters to be fully licensed. At the time, our state had just opted to grant licensure to Marriage & Family Therapists, so Courtney got into the first cohort in the first university program for MFTs in the state.

    As with other counseling/therapy licenses, you start with a standard license; after 2 years of practice, with supervision, you can apply for a “clinical” license (so LMFT becomes LCMFT). But since there were no clinical MFTs in our state at the time who could provide the appropriate supervision, this first graduating class was allowed to be “grandfathered” in without the usual supervision requirement. The therapists just had to collect letters of support from three people with other clinical licenses (or a higher license, such as PhD).

    Courtney had a number of people willing to write letters for her, but in the end she selected 2 PhDs (who had their own private practices) and 1 from an internal colleague: Janice. She thought it was a courtesy to ask Janice, since they had worked together for a number of years, sort of a recognition of her as a colleague and someone whose opinion she valued.

    The 2 PhDs submitted their glowing letters of support to the state board. Janice…did not. Oh, she submitted a letter, but it basically called everything Courtney had ever done into question, questioned her skills, her practice, her ethics. Just everything.

    The board put her under administrative review, and Courtney almost lost her license entirely. It was only after a lengthy investigation that they agreed that the letter Janice had submitted was not accurate, removed the administrative review, and granted Courtney her “C”.

    The motive? Well, at the time, Janice was the only person working at that office with a clinical license. The prevailing theory was that she didn’t want to share that distinction. But it’s weird because she didn’t even have the same degree! Janice had a clinical social work license, and Courtney had a marriage & family therapy license. It wasn’t like Courtney was going to be taking money or clients out of Janice’s pocket; they weren’t competition.

    That all happened about 10 years before I started working there, and both Courtney (with her clinical license) and Janice (who apparently suffered no consequences for her behavior) were still employed. I about fell over when I heard about it.

  135. Mumbles*

    This was my first job ever, in the records office of a police department. I was 17 and was part of a high school work/study program. I’d help with processing requests for police reports, mailing them and so on (this was in the mid-90’s, so the internet was *just* starting to become A THING). One of my coworkers, a full-time 24-year-old that I’ll call B, was a bully – but only to me. She had the same background as me, she was a POC like me, and everyone there was very nice to me except her. I’m not a shy person, but at the time I’d only been in the mainland US for 3 years, so my accent was more pronounced than it is nowadays (I speak/write perfect English, otherwise, and even was about to be and English major after graduating). At any rate, I began mumbling answers to questions from the group and not interacting, because B would make fun of either my accent or my answers – even when they were perfectly fine. They decided to nickname me “Mumbles,” which didn’t bother me too much. One day, all the bullying from B finally broke the camel’s back, and I raised my voice (to normal levels, mind you) and told her to stop. She said that I “needed to get laid.” I was 17!!! So I reported her for sexual harassment and she finally backed off. What still baffles me to this day is that she was going to night school to get a law degree – all the while creating a hostile work environment for a minor. She really was a B.

  136. Doughnut Party*

    One of my favorite stories!

    Several years ago I was working at a place where my boss (Roberta) and I had a complicated relationship, which was made worse when the other person who reported to her (Karen) left and publicly called Roberta out on some less-than-ideal things Roberta was supposedly doing. I can’t speak to the veracity of what Karen said about her and don’t even have a lot of the details because Karen did her best to keep me out of it, but after that Roberta became downright paranoid and convinced that I was going behind her back to sabotage her and conspire with our colleagues that disagreed with her to do things she didn’t want them to do. That’s a whole other story, though.

    Good news: I got a new job and was getting ready to leave after having been there a few years, and tradition/office culture dictated that Roberta should plan a going-away event for me – nothing big especially given I hadn’t been there too long, just a doughnuts-and-coffee-in-the-office-common-area kind of thing.

    She planned it for 9:30-10am on my last day of work, which was the Friday before a three-day weekend. So of course many people couldn’t make it because they were not in on that Friday and if they were, it was too early in the morning for them to make it to our office. She insisted her schedule just didn’t work for any other time. I, of course, said that was fine.

    Tradition also dictated that she give some kind of toast, which she did not do, and instead simply showed up at 9:30am, stood around for exactly 30 minutes while everyone else had a doughnut and chatted, and walked back into her office at exactly 10am and closed the door behind her.

    She also asked for a meeting at 3pm that day, so that we could close out any remaining projects and I could turn in my laptop, badge, etc. It being the day before a three-day weekend, however, the company decided to close at 2pm (a fairly common practice but not common enough to be a sure thing that you could just assume it would happen). I stayed around until 3pm, at which point I received an email from Roberta that she had already gone home for the day and that I should leave my laptop and badge on the executive assistant’s desk.

    Reader, I cackled. Literally cackled, so hard and so loudly that I had to explain to the one other person who was still in the office (relatively new, still getting her bearings) what was happening and fill her in on the bizarre drama I’d somehow found myself in (and found my way out of).

  137. NCA*

    I was hired on at a company as a level 2 IT support technician. In that industry, it was vital to confirm the identity of the caller before assisting with their tech issue. From day one I was given access to a certain piece of identity verification software, which was pretty standard for me to have at my level, and thought nothing of it. Neither did the person training me. So I’m about a week in, and this manager walked behind me, working with the trainer, and BLEW THE HECK UP when she saw me using this software. Threatened to fire me and my trainer on the spot, for ‘stealing’ my trainer’s credentials and data about the callers. When we explained that we were in fact using MY credentials, and that yes, I did in fact have my own creds, she got even madder.

    Apparently at this company you weren’t supposed to get your own access to this ID software until you had ‘proved yourself’ by an arbitrary process that was never defined. Until you ‘proved yourself’, you had to have a colleague with the creds do the verification for you. All other level 2 techs had the creds, so no one on the floor thought twice of me starting with them. But according to exploding manager, I need to be ‘proved trustworthy.’ How does one do that? Never had an answer for me. For the rest of the six months I worked there I had to pretend I didn’t have access and get my caller IDs verified by another coworker. They never actually took my access away.

    Exploding manager docked my pay every chance she got, illegally had me work OT without paying me for it by adjusting my timecard manually, yelled at me both if my calls were too long (within average for the team, and others weren’t yelled at) or too short (for simple things like a password reset), and HATED that I had among the highest customer satisfaction scores every month.

    All because I was given access to a thing she thought I shouldn’t have.

  138. NewFlora*

    I had a male coworker (Fergus) who had kids later in life and clearly didn’t realize how much time and energy they were going to take up. When he had 2 kids under the age of 3, he was going around the office complaining how tired he was and how he couldn’t possibly take on any more work and that he was only going to do the bare minimum on tasks assigned to him. He also started delegating a lot of his work to a new female coworker (Jane) on the team (who, by the way, also had two younger kids at home). Jane got fed up pretty quickly and started job hunting and resigned just after Fergus went off on a bit of parental leave. Our supervisor had been aware of some of the attitude issues, but didn’t realize how bad the situation was with Fergus until Jane did her exit interview and revealed all and named Fergus as her primary reason for leaving. Supervisor contacted me only to corroborate some of the details that she had heard in the exit interview. When Fergus returned from leave she told him to get his act together or he would be put on a PIP (supervisor told me this as a follow up to let me know she was dealing with the issue). He refused to talk to me and avoided me for the next 6 months! I can only assume that he thought it was me who ratted on him, but because he went all avoidant rather than asking me about it, I never had a way in to address it with him and let him know it wasn’t me.

  139. Former Employer Working Abroad*

    Okay, this might be a long one, so buckle up. I spent about half a decade working with an overseas religious nonprofit. As our story opens I had just moved to this new country and was spending the summer working with a short-term team. There were about 5 team members, another staff member, and me, sharing a tiny studio apartment with bunk beds and no air circulation while the temperatures outside were in the low 100s F (about 40 C). Not a promising beginning.

    The other staff member (whom I shall call Mariana) and I were… not good companions for this team. We had very different coping methods for going through tough stuff, and both of us had a lot of personal stuff that month (for me, I was adjusting to a new country and language, was homesick, my childhood dog died right after I moved abroad, and one of my siblings announced that they were getting divorced. It was… a bad month). Plus we were sharing a studio apt that was like one of the upper circles of Hell, while barely knowing each other or the team we were with.

    Add to this all that Mariana could be… harsh when she was stressed. She was raised to fight back when yelled at, and had no respect for someone who cowered. I meanwhile learned growing up that cowering would save me from physical harm, and had never been taught that standing up for myself would in any way work if someone was yelling at me.

    So there we were, both super stressed out, me trying to figure out my role in this new job, and having very different ways to deal with conflict. The handful of times I tried to take initiative, she shut me down HARD. I figured this meant that she was staking her claim to being absolutely in charge, which was fine – she was a National of the country where we were living and had been doing the job for awhile, so was better suited to it anyway. But I have to underline that I did not have a single idea that summer that she liked or would tolerate. (Some of them may well have been bad and given that I was very young I’m sure I was also difficult at times. But I don’t remember that bit.)

    So by the end of the summer I was legit terrified of her, and not sure what to do since I planned on working for this nonprofit for several years. Finally I got together with our supervisor, and told her a bit of this. Unsurprisingly Mariana had already given her a (somewhat biased) version of what was happening, and my supervisor decided it was all my fault (not sure how this happened since everyone knew that Mariana tended to be super harsh, but there you go). She sighed, told me she didn’t have time to deal with this, explained how I should have taken more initiative, and told me to take Mariana out for coffee and explain to her. This seemed about as palatable as going out to coffee with an aggressive tiger, so I nodded, shut up, and left.

    The follow-up was even more banana pants than the original. The next summer I was told months ahead of time that I would be working with Team X in location Y. Great! Good to know! Then at the last minute they decided not to have me do so, for reasons they never told me. How did the head bosses handle this? They called one of our nonprofit’s volunteers, told HER that I wouldn’t be working with Team X, and then she called Mariana and told her. Note that in the intervening time Mariana and I had managed to repair things and had become friends, but as far as I know the head bosses (who lived most of the year in the US) didn’t know this and their most recent info was that we couldn’t stand each other. She was also in a completely different unit than me with no authority over me, so there was NO reason for her to get this info about me, just like there was no reason for our volunteer to get it but not me.

    So they had a problem. What to do with me if I wasn’t going to be working with Team X? Mariana volunteered to have me in her team, and without asking me or discussing it with me at all (reminding youall that as far as the head bosses knew, we did not get along and had both complained about the other person, and I had said I was AFRAID of her), they put me on her team for the whole summer. Now, ultimately it ended up going well and we had a much better summer together than the year before, but I still don’t understand how out of the 5 or 6 different summer teams, all of which needed at least two staff members (and all of which involved living in super close quarters), they decided to put me back with Mariana again without asking me or ever having an official conversation with me.

  140. I'm so old I'm historic*

    We had two staff members that were really not getting along and it seemed to escalate every time they worked together to the point that I had to mediate a conversation between them because he was smiling at her. Grown adults.

  141. Salamander Jones*

    In my first retail job post-college, I worked at a popular phone store with a coworker, Lexus, who thought she was my boss. One day, she texted me to let our manager, Kevin, know she was running late. I told her to let him know herself since our schedules were public, I was off, and she had Kevin’s number. She proceeded to threaten and insult me.

    The next day, I told Kevin what transpired but he didn’t care. From then on, Lexus antagonized me whatever chance she got and things got worse.

    As it turned out, she was drinking on the job, had gone through my things, stolen from the workplace, and was having an affair with Kevin, whose wife and kids were five minutes down the road! I ended up willing the beans to another manager, and he then went to the District Manager. Chaos ensued as people took sides and other managers, guilty of having inappropriate relationships with their subordinates, felt I had overstepped my boundaries.

    Kevin got demoted, moved to another location, and quit before the investigation concluded. Lexus changed her tune and started behaving towards me, and then quit a few months later before more was revealed. I wish I could say things got better, but the next manager was somehow worse!

    I’m glad I’m not in retail anymore.

    1. Salamander Jones*

      Also, Kevin’s wife stayed with him but she did wonder how I would come to the conclusion that he was having an affair if things had not, at least, been inappropriate with Lexus.

  142. new post, new name*

    Years ago I worked an admin job for a custom manufacturer that did work all over the state. For each project part of my job was to file all the necessary permits for the work. This meant I was to work with our draftsman to get the drawings I needed to file the paperwork for each permit based on the municipalities requirements. I was a 20-something female and our draftsman, Bob, was a 40-something male. I was respectful of his time and talent and even bought some his art (he worked in stained glass). Every request for work I made was along the lines of “Hi Bob, XYZ person (business co-owner or salesman) is working on ABC project and wants me to have the permits files by X date. Will you be able to get the drawings done by then?” He always pleasant. I thought we had a great working relationship. Boy was I wrong. One day I couldn’t find him and asked my boss (company co-owner) when he would be in. I was told he wouldn’t be coming back. Apparently he had quit the evening before in a rage because he resented being ordered around by a girl (me) and couldn’t deal with it anymore. Considering that in those days I was the furthest thing on earth from bossy, it was bizarre. A week or so later when he had cooled off he came back and asked the owners for his old job back. My bosses said, “nah, we’re good.” We had a new draftswoman within a month and she and I got along great.

  143. Abundant Shrimp*

    I had a coworker who didn’t like me and to this day I don’t know why. We weren’t on the same team, and sat in the next aisle from each other. I hadn’t even realized she had something against me until we ended up on the same project. I’d make suggestions, that the project lead loved, but that were all open to discussion and I would’ve happily agreed to a better solution. This person however would respond to each one with a, directed at the project lead, “Do we have to?” or (again speaking to the lead) “What did she say?” With no further explanation of what was wrong. Drove me batty.

    One day she decided to be a friend, which lasted about a day. I was walking down my aisle and she was standing by my teammate’s desk talking about jewelry and stupidly I stopped by and joined in. My nemesis Tangerina said to me “why are you not wearing your wedding ring?” and I told her the truth which was that I was in the middle of divorce proceedings. Tangerina showed up at my desk the next day telling me to reconcile with my ex. I didn’t and she went back to her old ways of having something against me.

    I handled it in a really misguided way which was, I tried to ignore all of it going on and hope it would go away. One day she was at her desk with a friend and made yet another snarky comment about me that I heard from my aisle, and I lost it. Not proud of it. I raised my voice and asked Tangerina if she ever tried using her brain before opening her mouth. Lesson learned, never letting these things run their natural course again. I got off easy on that one, didn’t get in any trouble and as a bonus, Tangerina stopped talking to me or acknowledging that I existed. It was beautiful. Then she transferred to another department and I never saw her again.

    This is all pretty tame compared to what I’ve seen – another teammate was once caught trying to start a full-blown fistfight in an aisle with a coworker – but that one was the worst I’ve ever personally experienced.

  144. School Daze*

    Worked for a non-profit with multiple locations. The party line was that pretty much any job in the organization could be done from any of our locations. Except, of course, when a position was created that should have pretty much automatically been a promotion for me – but I basically wasn’t eligible because my supervisor insisted that it could only be filled in the office they worked out of, which was 2 hours away from mine and I had no intentions of moving. So yeah. I still hold a pretty big grudge against them.

  145. Katrine Fonsmark*

    At a long-ago job, I was full-time and had a co-worker whose role was similar to mine but she was part-time. She had been there at least 10 years when I started, and was much older than me (think, older than my mom was at the time). She was quirky, but it was the arts, so we were all quirky! I never had a problem with her.

    We needed to share information as it was an office with coverage about 16 hours a day, so someone was working days and someone was working evenings, it moved around week to week. While we overlapped in the afternoon, we’d catch each other up on what had happened that morning/what to expect for the evening.

    Then one day, she stopped talking to me. Just refused. I STILL to this day don’t know why. She wouldn’t even tell me “so and so called for you”. She would leave me little notes on my desk even though she was 6 feet away and could have just said it out loud. She looked right through me and acted like I was invisible. I asked my manager what was going on (loved her, but not the greatest manager) and she was like “oh you know Sharon….” – well not really!! Anyway, after 3 weeks it was like a switch flipped and she started talking to me again LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. No weirdness, no nothing. Just back to normal.

  146. Burnzie*

    We had ‘bananagate’ in our office of about 15 staff. Staff members would bring fruit to work each day for a mid morning snack. They were placed in a communal fruit bowl in the kitchen. No hard rules, everyone just bought fruit when they could and everyone was free to help themselves. One day colleague 1 came out and said that her banana was gone. Myself and another co-worker explained that we’d seen colleague 2 eating a banana and that she had probably not realised it was hers. Colleague 1 decides to just take another banana from the bowl instead. Later our head of department comes out of the kitchen very angry that her banana is gone. The rest us explain what has happened and she decides to rummage through the desk bins to see who took her banana. Colleague 1 comes back in to find HoD holding up the peel from her bin and shouting that she wrote her name on it so colleague 1 should have known it was hers. Which then escalated into an argument with lots of people over whether it is normal to write your name on fruit and whether we should be checking for names before taking fruit from the bowl.

  147. Cookies For Breakfast*

    At an old job, I was the office admin, but the owner treated me as his personal assistant. He would go on and on about how essential it was that he could trust me on everything, and that we communicated closely all the time.

    In practice, he was so busy, he would assign me work and not talk to me for days as I went through it. I never knew where I stood with him. So much for close communication (not the only problem at that workplace, I shall say).

    A few more facts that are relevant to this story:

    1) He was extremely moody. On a bad day, absolutely anything might have him fly off the handle. He was known for yelling and throwing objects at employees.
    2) He had a few family members involved in the business, or stopping by to visit occasionally, and he pretty much worshipped the ground they walked on.
    3) He did trust me – I’ll give him that much. Therefore, I was one of the few people allowed access to the company credit card.

    One day, the card, which was kept in a drawer in the office I shared with the Finance person, mysteriously disappeared. We got questioned extensively, and neither of us knew where it was. Last time we used it, we put it back, and that was that.

    We got questioned again and again. It’s clear the bosses didn’t believe us. I started doubting myself. Maybe it was me who lost it, after all? Oh crap. Oh god. This was it, I was about to lose my job.

    But wait: wasn’t that the day the boss’s brother came to visit? And didn’t I have a vague memory of the boss lending him the card for something I’ve now forgotten? Yes, they were right in my office, and that was the last time I saw the card – it was in the brother’s hands.

    There’s no way I could explain this to my boss, because a) he would chop my head right off if I tried to involve a member of his family, and b) he had completely stopped talking to me. He was not around when I had questions, he didn’t answering my emails or instant messages, he didn’t even assign me work anymore. FOR SEVERAL WEEKS.

    He clearly suspected me of having taken or lost the card, and was holding one of his notorious grudges. I was proven right when the card finally reappeared: my boss started interacting with me as if nothing had happened, and one of the other managers told me that the brother had realised he still had it on him and handed it back.

  148. Seven If You Count Bad John*

    So there I was, working in a small commercial radio station as a traffic and production dogsbody. This station was owned by a small regional media conglomerate—they’d started with a couple of local papers and then acquired the station and I don’t know what all else—so our accounting and HR and stuff was centralized at the corporate office in a larger city 2 hours away.

    Friends, we could not get paid. There was ALWAYS some issue with timekeeping, benefits calculations, etc for us in-office bods, and lord help the commission sales people and any freelance contractors. As is usual for these types of jobs, I was hired on at $Payrate (barely over minimum) with a promise to raise it to $NearlyMarket plus health insurance at 90 days. (I was desperate for *any* paycheck at this point.) Anyway, at the 90 day point, my boss contacted HR/Accounting and said “I need to convert Bad John to permanent” and HR/Accounting goes “ are you sure you want to do that? we would need to give her benefits and a dollar more per hour, it’s expensive” and Boss and I look at each other like… what does she expect him to do, fire and hire someone new every 90 days to avoid the expense of a full time employee???

    Anyway shenanigans continued until one day several of us (sales people, the receptionist, Boss, and me) were out to lunch together and Boss says something about Accounting having had botched breast augmentation surgery (radio stations are often Very Special Hells similar to restaurants and retail in terms of Shit That Goes Down, this was far from an unusual type of lunch conversation) and says “they were so beautiful! And now it’s all janky scar tissue” and I just stopped and put my hamburger down and looked at him and said “wait a second. You’ve *seen* her naked breasts? On *multiple occasions?? No wonder we can’t get paid!”

    We never did ascertain the exact nature of the relationship or the subsequent presumed falling-out, but based on his reaction, most of us were confident in our conclusion that there was a personal grudge involved and that’s why the station personnel were constantly getting screwed over.

  149. Lizzie Bennet*

    Until VERY recently, I had a coworker who made it very very clear that I was the source of everything that was wrong, if not in the ENTIRE world, than in her world.

    Technology issues? My fault. She would throw her phone and computer at me because I needed to “fix them”. (Reader, I am not in IT)

    The fact that she had not done her taxes in two years? My fault. (Reader, I am not in payroll, nor am I an accountant)

    She started smoking. It was my fault. She wasn’t managing her medical conditions. My fault. She wasn’t going to the gym or yoga. My fault.

    Eventually, she got fired. And Reader — that was, actually, my fault. And I did not feel bad at all.

  150. Never getting hired by my enemy*

    Not high stakes, but found this out today coincidentally. An ex coworker of mine is now a manager at a different company whom was fishing for information on candidates. Some background info, this person was/is incredibly insecure, professionally and as a person. They left the company when they were pushed out. The pushing out came directly after the ex came on-site and threatened the affair partner (can make another thread on this alone) so the company and department leadership did not want to risk further drama and potential harm to exisiting employees. This person also had a series of mistakes, not firable but enough to not warrant a promotion or change of position/responsibilities. Fast forward almost a decade later, this person told my coworker that they refuse to hire anyone from the company (even if they never knew or worked together) and prefers to hire young and inexperienced personnel because they are less set in their ways compared to our mutual company.

      1. Expelliarmus*

        Or that they left the job sometime back and just haven’t updated us yet. Or that for whatever reason, someone else involved (Karen, Nancy, or Dave) has since left the company.

        OP to this story, if you’re reading this, please send an update! Even if it’s something boring like “I didn’t wanna deal with this anymore and I got a new job”

  151. Joyce to the World*

    As a team lead, I was once reported to HR by a person from another team. She said I was watching her. She was just feeling paranoid because she spent her entire time doing homework which is not what she was getting paid for. She sat off the main aisle and was between me and the room where I had about 10 computers set up to run macros all day long and the bathrooms She decided she hated me and would “bump” into me when we passed each other in that main aisle. She was about twice the size of me. I would just ignore her. She didn’t last long. She was a production associate and the homework caught up with her stats.

  152. Orbital*

    When I worked for the federal government as an engineer, there was a contractor on my team who would jokingly call all *gasp* THREE of us women each other’s names because they were sort of similar. Think, like, Lisa, Laura, and Linda. After a month or so, I finally worked up the nerve to ask him to please call us by our real names because it felt like he was singling us out as women (he was). He complained to everyone around us, very loudly, that I couldn’t take a joke and then refused to talk to me about anything except directly work-related topics and with almost no emotion. Honestly, I preferred that anyway (I hated that job).

    1. Savor The Peelies*

      It’s always so weird to me when people get those three names mixed up! Lisa and Linda, maybe, but Laura gets caught in the crossfire sometimes too. (One of those is my name, and one of them was my mom’s name. Maybe two months after my mom died, my boss, who never met her, and for whom I didn’t work when she was alive, called me by her name, and I was absolutely at a loss for words.)

  153. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

    This is going to be long and it’s already been buried but maybe someone will glean some… entertainment? … out of my story. However, this individual’s reasons for the grudge are conjecture because she pretended later she had never been upset with me.

    When I was in grad school, I had an assistantship through a department that wasn’t my own. Fall semester of my last year, I was chosen to take an assistantship position through my own department that was a really great opportunity and one that I really wanted to do. I talked to the professor in charge and said that I would absolutely love to take on this position, but I’m wary of giving up my assistantship from another department for the position since I still had a semester to pay for after this assistantship would be over. She said that she was 80% sure they’d find a position for me. The head of the department suggested I ask this professor if I could switch semesters and keep my other assistantship fall semester and have her assistantship spring–but she became upset at this request and felt the department head was overstepping. She said she wouldn’t give me the assistantship in spring and it would only be available to me for fall. I decided to take it.

    Surprise surprise… they couldn’t find an assistantship for me for the spring. My only class left was thesis hours, so I ended up adjuncting–and my entire salary for teaching the “class” (which wasn’t even a class and I was paying to write my own thesis, lol) covered only tuition. So, naturally, I had to get a full-time job so as to not starve.

    Well, the tasks from the fall assistantship weren’t actually complete in spring. This is how it always is–the person in the position usually has unpaid duties the following semester, BUT they are paid by the department for their other assistantship, so it’s never been a huge problem. But I was working a full-time job on top of teaching a class and writing my thesis. She was expecting me to use my working hours at my full-time job to complete tasks, which obviously I couldn’t do. She had to do them instead, and I could tell by her emails that she was ANGRY.

    But I thought it’d be fine and she’d get over it. Wrong. Unfortunately for me, she was also on my thesis committee and was scoring my comprehensive exams. Despite passing my comps with flying colors with my two other professors on the committee–she failed me. My thesis director (a different professor) made sure to tell me she didn’t agree with failing me, but she didn’t have a choice. Luckily, she only made me re-take one essay question AND she tailored the essay question to my very specific interests and skills, so it actually wasn’t too bad to retake.

    And then came my thesis defense. The other two professors spoke highly of my work, asked interesting questions, and provided in-depth feedback on how I could improve my work. Not this professor. She sat there with her head laid on the desk and her hair covering her face for a good portion of the defense. She only criticized my work but couldn’t actually come up with reasons to back up her criticisms.

    And I’ll be honest, I thought maybe I was being too sensitive. But I had two friends from my department in there with me and one friend who didn’t go to my school but has a doctorate and know how these things go. My friend with the doctorate ended up leaving early because he was so mad at this professor and was afraid he’d say something he shouldn’t. My two friends from the program went to lunch with me afterward and they were like, “no, that was absolutely ridiculous and not okay.” The same friends went to another friend’s defense a week or so later that also had this professor, and they said she was like a different person.

    So, yeah. I’m really still not over that. I wanted to get a PhD after working for a year, but this experience really soured me on academia. And I know some people are going to read this and think my work just sucked and she was being honest, but I know that’s not true.

    1. Part time lab tech*

      No, Some people don’t take responsibility for the consequences of their own choices. She could have given you the assistantship. She chose to punish you for the results of not doing so.

      1. wannabe academic... or I used to be....*

        I think it’s probable she didn’t have the power to give me an assistantship in spring… but she EASILY could’ve said “sure, you can have my assistantship in the spring and keep your current assistantship for the fall.” But no, she didn’t like that the department head suggested that because she saw it as a “power play,” I think. She was always sort of obsessed with what little power she had because she was an instructor rather than a full professor (for reasons but the reasons were the industry standard).

        Oh and also, afterwards, she said she never told me I would likely have another assistantship…. She said, “no, I said you probably WOULDN’T” and I didn’t get it in writing because I was young and naive….

  154. Quartermaster*

    I used to work at a historical park, and the coworkers who had been there for a really long time had a really hard time of letting things go, with the excuse that we might want it for programming in the future. Well, one day I had enough, and another coworker and I decided to clean out the kitchen where we stored food/ingredients for programming. We only threw things out that were expired/moldy to avoid arguments, but alas, that didn’t work. One coworker was very upset that we threw out the acorns she had gathered the previous fall (because they were moldy). She never forgave my coworker for the unforgivable sin of not letting her feed moldy acorns to visitors.
    (As a side note, the oldest thing we found in there was a spice with an expiration date of 1998, the year before I was born, and people still gave me shit about throwing it out)

    1. anon24*

      I mean… I still gave a hard time accepting that people born in 1998 are old enough to go to school, let alone be in the workforce, but I definitely would think for a second before giving you a hard time :D

      1. Madame Arcati*

        I work in a job where identifying whether someone is a minor or not by quickly looking at their date of birth is a regular thing. *titanic old lady voice* it’s been six long years since the year starting with a 2 stoped immediately answering that question…

    2. AnonForThis*

      We have chemicals from 1994 in our store, they are out of spec due to age and we can source new ones. But am I allowed to replace or dispose of them? Nope.

  155. Reb*

    Not sure if grudge is the right word, but my dad would always gossip to me about why his employees were wrong, one of them in particular.

    He thought she was into him because she was friendly. He once told her that if she did X, it meant she consented to him doing Y, where was sexual in nature. He claimed that since she still acted the same after that, it meant she didn’t hate him and was therefore into him but just hesitant.

    On the anniversary of her husband’s death, he complained to me that she was sad and she shouldn’t be sad because she’s got a big family that being sad on every death anniversary would be too much. Despite the fact that she had PTSD because of her husband’s death.

    When she quit she told him she needed a break from work, and then he found out she’d gotten a job somewhere else. He was really mad that she lied to him.

    I don’t blame her from getting out, though I didn’t understand at the time.

  156. Milton's Red Swingline Stapler*

    Back in a former life I used to do real estate PR, mostly for big luxury developers and a major brokerage. The drama was absolutely wild, and it’s zero surprise to me the industry has spawned its own subgenre of reality TV. I’ve never met another group of people who were constantly fighting in public — and actively suing each other — but also claim to be friends and would socialize with one another all the time. I also worked for a developer who at one point was being sued by both his ex-wife (because she found out he’d paying millions so keep his mistress in a luxury pent house) and his son (for business and succession reasons) simultaneously. It almost broke me and I’m so glad I don’t have to pretend to care about these people anymore, but the stories are pure gold.

  157. Galinda Upland*

    When I was in grad school, we all juggled teaching responsibilities with our courseloads, as many do. Part of our program involved regular review sessions with our entire cohort and our program supervisor, where we discussed our research and projects and offered feedback on each other’s work. In general, you would probably present a few times per semester, and you were generally expected to bring improved versions each time, incorporating the feedback from your previous session.

    Cue two of my colleagues, Dogberry and Polonius, two of the most self-satisfied people I have ever met. One week, it was Dogberry’s turn to present his work. It was still in the early stages and needed refining, and we all gave feedback and moved on. When his turn to present came back around, his presentation was… nearly identical to the first one. We spent most of the time essentially rehashing our original critiques. This time, Dogberry got defensive. Finally, Polonius snapped and chewed out Dogberry for having made no real changes and wasting all our time. I rarely sided with Polonius on anything, but in this case, he was right.

    But then, oh then the drama started. Dogberry filed a FORMAL COMPLAINT against Polonius for a hostile learning environment and harassment. He demanded that Polonius be suspended or expelled. Dogberry also attempted to drag ME into it, without my permission or even knowledge, by claiminig Polonius had harassed me too. I only learned about this when Polonius sheepishly approached me to ask if I had, in fact, been bothered by him, and if not, would I mind saying so on the record. (Polonius had, actually, been helpful to me earlier on before he went full-on smug, so I did make a statement to clear up that particular bit of confusion).

    As you can probably guess, Dogberry’s complaint went nowhere. But the hostility it created in a fairly small group led to a lot of drama. The “solution” was to actually override the degree requirements for both men so that they would never have to take a class together again.

  158. Ella Bee*

    I guess in this case I’m the one with the grudge, but it ended up being justified. I worked at a summer camp for several years when I was in college, and there was one of the age group heads that I just hated on sight. I wasn’t rude or unprofessional enough to do or say anything about it other than complain to my friends, even when he was my ‘manager’ for a session. The kids looooooved him even though he barely did anything, but he just had the worst vibes. During my second summer on staff (his fourth, so he would have been 22ish), he was caught sleeping with a 16-year-old who was one of the local day staff. (He was let go.) He wanted to be, and I think currently is, a teacher, so…..yikes.

  159. Urban Fervor*

    I used to work at a restaurant where I seemed to be one of the only front-of-the-house employees who cared about following many basic food safety standards. When I’d complain to management they’d agree that I was right but would still basically refuse to enforce the health code.

    On one of my nights off I was having a drink at the bar, and I was introduced to a new girl who had just finished up a training shift. She joined me for a drink and we sat talking and getting to know each other. She seemed cool and we were getting along well.

    At one point I asked her which of our dishes she’d tried and she told me and then added kind of nervously, “Actually, a few days ago I got pretty sick after eating the ____. I think it was food poisoning.” I said emphatically, “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry that happened to you.” Then, since she was a trainee and I saw this as kind of a teaching moment, I said, “For some reason most of the other servers don’t seem to care about following the health code. I’m always on them about it but no one seems to get how important it is – that people can get really sick. Honestly you should consider saying something to management.” Then I went on to tell her the story of a dear friend of my family who’d actually died from food poisoning. I even teared up talking about it. We went on to talk about many other things that night and she seemed to like me and be having a good time, SO I THOUGHT.

    From then on, she was kind of cold to me when we’d work together. I thought it was a little weird but just chalked it up to personality differences and didn’t give it much thought going forward. Months later, another coworker said to me, “You know she hates you, right?” Shocked, I was like wha??

    The coworker went on to explain, with an amused smile on his face, that she told him I’d *spiritually attacked her.* She thought that my telling her the sad story of my friend who’d died from food poisoning, right after she herself had had food poisoning, was a deliberate, I repeat DELIBERATE, attempt by me to make her deathly ill by “putting that out there in the universe.” Because, you know, my friend’s death was all about her.

    For context this was a hippy town where people tended to be into the woo-woo things. And to be clear, I would have never told that story to somebody still suffering from food poisoning. She’d definitely fully recovered.

  160. Petty Feud Feminist*

    I had a coworker whose ego was always the source of an eyeroll, but when I got assigned to lead a high profile project that was going to rely heavily on his area of the company, he turned it into a power struggle and put up roadblock after roadblock to (presumably? for unknown reasons?) try and tank the project. For months, I was on the defensive in a battle for power that made no sense to me (it should have been a collaborative effort – we were at the same level of hierarchy – the project was a company priority). There was a lovely layer of misogyny to the whole conflict as well… this coworker had a history of not responding well to women in positions of authority and something about me triggered that. I worked really hard to not escalate the conflict, but when a major deliverable was missed and then my concerns about that dismissed in a meeting, both my (female) boss and I reacted somewhat harshly. At that point, others in the meeting reported they felt “uncomfortable” with the tension. Me and my boss were both told by the (male) head of our company that we needed to “bring the temperature down” and “be more patient” with this coworker. The company head also ACKNOWLEDGED THAT COWORKER’S BEHAVIOR WAS SEXIST and was like, “we haven’t figured out the best way to coach him past that.” Well, that was the final straw and I seriously considered quitting my job. I didn’t issue a direct ultimatum, but I reported the conversation to HR and basically said, the company is acknowledging that this person is behaving in a sexist way and then asking me to “keep the temperature down” — I don’t know if I can stay here and have any self-respect after that and, also, maybe the President shouldn’t casually acknowledge sexism and then ask me to deal with it more gracefully? Well, after that conversation with HR, things took quite a turn. The President had another conversation with me and apologized (sincerely, believably, effectively) for how the previous conversation had gone. I was assured that the behavior was being addressed and that I was a hugely valued employee. About a month later, sexist asshole coworker was fired. Many in the company were shocked. I was not. My boss took me out for a martini lunch to celebrate.

    I’m still at the same company and my project has been a huge success. However, almost 2 years later, I’m still dealing with fallout from coworker’s mis-management and the nerve is still raw enough that I struggle to be graceful about it… This was truly one of the hardest and most awful things I’ve ever been through professionally because I found myself in this feud that I wanted no part of and it became so much drama and the only way I could end it was by creating even more drama which goes against my nature. But, ultimately, I’m glad that I stood up for myself and stood my ground.

  161. The Bill Murray Disagreement*

    I have a couple from one of my very first jobs after relocating to the west coast in the mid nineties. The first was after I had joined a clinical laboratory working as a late shift courier. I liked that the job provided a free company car for personal use. I got along *really* well with the manager over that department, but my shift supervisor was a bit of a strange one. He prided himself on being “too smart for distribution” and would constantly talk about how learned and cultured he was. I forget exactly how it came up, but he made a joking comment in front of me & the whole crew about me being Madame Bovary and taking an axe to my husband (and it’s only just now that I realize how wildly inappropriate that was to say to a subordinate in the first place!) and I replied, “What translation of Madame Bovary did you read? Because that’s not what happens in the book!”

    After that, he HATED me. He made sure that any drop-in shifts would go to me and when I found out I was pregnant and needed to take a different role that wouldn’t involve sitting in a car for 8 hours a day, he tried everything he could to block my moving to another department.

    The second ‘grudge’ was at the same company, but this time it was entirely my own nonsense! I changed departments and started working alongside this woman who irritated me so much! I felt like she was so smarmy, and micro-managing, and would explain things to me like I was a toddler.

    Lo and behold, I got back after my maternity leave and thought she had changed so much and was a super helpful and pleasant coworker! (Ha — nothing had changed except my own mood / hormones. It was more like that Mark Twain quote about how he thought his old man was so stupid when Twain was 17 years old but when he was 21 he was shocked by how much his old man had learned in 4 years).

  162. GoldenHandcuffs*

    In high school and through college, I worked at a fast food restaurant and worked my way up to assistant manager. I had a great relationship with the store manager until I gave her my month’s notice because I was moving into a job that aligned with my college major. She didn’t speak to me for two weeks after and then only barely the last two weeks. It was so disheartening.

  163. BookWitch*

    Many years ago when I worked at a public library, there was a Coke brand soda machine in the employee breakroom. When I started there were 2 slots for Diet Coke, 3 for regular Coke, and 1 each for Sprite, water, and maybe something else. No one on staff drank regular and I happened to be on break when the refill guy stopped by. I asked if we could switch one of the regular Cokes to Surge because I really liked it and Coke never sold. He said no problem and did it that day. It was great! I don’t drink soda at all anymore, but I am one of the very few folks who loved Surge back with it was still a thing.
    Public libraries are a magnet for interesting folks, patrons and staff alike. One of my most mercurial coworkers pitched a month long fit because he was certain there used to be 3 Diet Coke slots and now there wouldn’t be enough. He huffed and puffed, slammed things down, gave me one-word answers, and basically pouted like a child. Eventually the manager told him to knock it off and confirmed that he was wrong. There had always only been 2 Diet Coke slots. He is now retired and it’s honestly for the best! He was also one of my laziest coworkers, but I could always use that to my advantage. If he was being an extra curmudgeon, I could go do some shelving, dusting, or shelf-reading to get away from him. All tasks encouraged by our awesome branch manager.

  164. Hush42*

    I didn’t realize a co-worker had a grudge against me until after she was let go-
    I had a co-worker who worked in a different department from me but whose office was in the same area where my team’s cubicles were. I was a baby manager and was still sitting in a cubicle with my team at the time (we didn’t have enough offices to go around). The cubicles were across a “hallway” area from her office. She was known for doing some pretty strange things but overall I found her to be a nice woman although we very rarely interacted. I did find a few of those interactions to be off but I chalked it up to that just being her and didn’t really worry about it.
    She was let go about 2 years after I was made a manager and I found out from a co-worker after the fact that she absolutely hated me. Apparently she was absolutely convinced that my whole team sat there everyday and waited until she was on the phone with a client and then intentionally started laughing to distract her from her phone call. Apparently she went to HR about this because we were trying to sabotage her- HR never came to me about her complaints, I assume because they knew she was off base. Were we a little loud? Probably and that 100% should have been addressed and it eventually was. Were we even paying attention to when she was on the phone? Absolutely not. When it was *very* quiet in the office (which was actually pretty often) I could hear her on the phone (she never closed her door) but I definitely didn’t fake laughter to sabotage her calls. I did tell my boss about them once though- she frequently would say “sorry if I’m hard to hear I’m on X brand phone…” she was trying to set appointments with clients for our sales team to try to sell them our products, which include X brand phone. Not a good look to tell a potentially client that the product we’re trying to sell them is causing poor call quality. I have no idea if that conversation led to her firing though.

  165. Blarg*

    I just want to say that I’ve thought of a couple examples today and then realized — wait. The bad guy in this story is not who I remember it being. Yay for reflection and growth and changing workplace/school standards and expectations. I am letting go of quietly held grudges/annoyances after decades.

  166. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

    I don’t know if this qualifies as a grudge, per se, but here’s my story. I was working as a departmental secretary and a job opened up in another department. I applied and had a good first interview, and was contacted a few days later to set up a follow-up with the hiring manager. The day of my interview, I came in to the office to a voicemail message from HR left the night before cancelling my interview because they’d hired an external candidate. I was blindsided but moved on. A year or so later, after that hiring manager had suddenly left to pursue other opportunities, a colleague from the department I’d missed out on let me know that the hiring manager was excited about possibly hiring me until someone who’d left the department due to promotion praised me. He didn’t want to hire me if the person who’d left him was saying nice things about me.

    The kicker is that the person hired instead of me stayed on and worked up to a project manager position over time, and her workload got heavy enough that they decided to create a parallel position. That parallel position just happens to be the job I was hired into seven years ago, and most of the feedback from our internal stakeholders during the 2 years we did the same job was that I was better at it.

  167. Mermaid of the Lunacy*

    I work on the business side in a tech-adjacent role. I often have to work with our tech teams to get things done. One particular woman just has an enormous chip on her shoulder. I’ve been at the company for decades and I’ve NEVER had an issue with anybody…except this woman. Nothing I say is ever right and her emails to me are full of berating remarks. I’ve tried everything to make nice with her. I created process docs to show her that I was trying to learn her methods and not make her angry with my “incompetence”…and then she’d change the rules, so when I followed the process charts I was still wrong.

    After years of this, I figured out this woman is just miserable and out to get me. Instead of dreading interactions with her, I decided to just give up and turn it into a game. She thinks I’m an idiot? Fine, I’ll act like an idiot. I ask a million questions about everything. I play dumb and make her explain things two or three times. I started to look forward to her snippy emails instead of dread them, because they were a badge of honor in my new game. All of my requests are logged as tickets, so she couldn’t just ignore me. Eventually I noticed that my tickets started getting assigned to other people on her team, which is just fine with me!

  168. Dilbert Had Nothing On These Guys*

    At Previous Toxic Job in a large non-profit, I was a manager, and our IT department was under the impression that everything related to technology in any way was Their Turf. They expected to, for example, be in charge of our social media accounts (marketing was… not in their skill set), decide whether to set up technology that had already been purchased for a specific purpose (rest in peace, unopened customer-facing kiosks), write the content for our web site, etc. New computers would take 6-9 months from the time of order to actually be set up. At one point, IT had a room full of dozens of computers that had been ordered and delivered, that IT simply refused to distribute to employees. As a manager, I routinely asked IT to support the things we needed to do our jobs, which caused all kinds of problems for me. I was advised, at one point, to “just stop asking them for things” so that they would be less mad at me, and become more likely to provide the technical support we needed. Once, one of my employees committed the cardinal sin of recommending a free software to their colleagues, a couple of whom asked IT to install that software (the users could have installed it themselves, they just didn’t). The IT department was so angry with me about that, and my habit of “asking for things,” that when my computer reached replacement age that year, they passed me over for a new computer every year for 7 years. Another person on the same initial timeline got three computers (more than he was entitled to), during that same window of time. If I nudged my computer too hard while it was sitting on a table, the battery fell out. I think they actually wanted my computer to just implode so that I would lose everything (I was smarter than that – with a computer that old every single thing I needed or used was in the cloud.) Eventually, our IT support was transitioned to a larger centralized team, and when they found out how old my computer was, they had a new one on my desk and functioning in less than two weeks, because in addition to being very likely to die any second, the computer represented a security risk to the entire network, since it was too old to update a bunch of the software on it. People had been very skeptical of my long-time claims that IT was retaliating against me and my team, until they found the paper trail about my replacement computer being refused, and then they realized that IT had been doing stuff like that to a whole bunch of people. On the bright side, the new IT team loved us, because everyone was so grateful for very basic IT support, which they had never gotten before. The retaliation against me personally was always very frustrating, but then and now I think the retaliation against my team, just because they worked for me, took their petty vindictiveness to a whole new level.

    1. Enai*

      Oh dear. Did the head of IT get a salary that looks more like a phone number and also have there been several suspicious “accidents” with loss of life happening to people who crossed the IT department? Because this reads like something the company the BOFH (Bastard Operator From Hell) works for would write. I always thought the column at The Register was just fiction…

  169. Anonforthis12131415*

    I moved to a different internal position; if they’d shut down the job I was leaving, that would have been fine, but they weren’t sure. There was a risk of an overly-enthusiastic nightmare getting the job, so I recommended Underwhelming Guy and he ultimately got the promotion.

    In retrospect, I should have recommended that job get shut down, because he was pretty contentious in the role, didn’t accomplish much, and didn’t demonstrate the collaborative qualities the position needed. I was embarrassed to have recommended Underwhelming Guy, but chalked it up to a learning experience on my part. That position was ultimately shut down a few years later and he was shifted to an adjacent but limited role; most of his duties were rolled into my job and we were to work together.

    Except over the next few years, Underwhelming Guy somehow convinced everyone that the original position still existed. And the only reason I told people the original position was gone was not because I was correcting confused people to come talk to me, but because I hated him on a personal level.

    I couldn’t even get Underwhelming Guy to talk to me or return emails most days, but I got a whole lot of condescending advice from a few senior leaders to “just work with him” after he convinced them my problem with him was a weird grudge match.

    I think I won; I left the organization and my new job is great!

  170. LCS*

    A colleague was in an quasi-open desk – cube walls on two adjoining sides, open on the other two. There were walking paths on both open sides of her desk and you had to choose one to get to the printer (back when we used the printer more regularly). Not an ideal setup obviously but the cube was located near the front counter and her role was general admin / customer support (ie. stand up and assist at the front counter very regularly) so not terrible given the job requirements. Apparently I had been choosing to walk on the “wrong” open side to get to the printer with zero indication that this was a problem for her. Until she lost it on me one day, burst into tears, roped off the open sides and blocked the path with an absolute abundance yellow safety chain – the kind you buy at the hardware store – and refused to speak with me for the rest of my term there.

    Looking back it was one of many red flags in the job that management was totally fine with this solution and left the chain up for months in full view of the public.

  171. Office Autist*

    I was working for the first time in a small medical clinic as a receptionist, and during an early goals meeting with the Boss, asked if we did any sort of holiday decorations to bring cheer to the patients. She said no but thought it was a great idea and asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the decorations and even reimbursed me for buying a fake Christmas tree. I came out of my own pocket for all kinds of extras – ornaments, tree star and skirt, garlands, and I even bought a mini stocking for each of the doctors and clinic staff and glitter-glued each personal name onto each one.

    Always the first in, I started decorating upon arrival and got the tree decorated and the garlands up and the stockings hung on the fake fireplace that was already a part of the dated waiting room. The patients that came in were delighted as were other coworkers….but NOT Kelly. Kelly was another receptionist in the clinic who had, until this moment, been friendly enough with me and helped to teach me about the new position I was in. When she saw the decorations, she was like, “What the f***? Who approved this?” and other furious exclaimations. She stomped back to her desk and opened up a cabinet filled with tubs of all different holiday pen toppers – Valentine’s hearts, Halloween pumpkins, shamrocks, turkeys, you name it – and starts angrily dumping them into the trash. Not knowing what to do or what set her off, I went over and picked some of them up and said, “What are you doing?” and she proceeded to get two inches from my face, cock her fist back, and scream, “DON’T TOUCH MY STUFF!”. I was shocked and stammered and apology and retreated to my desk.

    The next day, I got called to the Boss’s office and she told me that I had to take the decorations down, but I could move them to the break room where employees could enjoy them. Apparently, Kelly had told her crony at the other clinic location that we had holiday decor – knowing that other location was not allowed to have decor (due to the fact that a medical director’s wife had designed the other office and was against anything marring her “style” and “taste” – even joyous and temporary holiday decor). Boss explained that the other office had found out about our decor and employees there threw a fit (Kelly’s crony) and it would not be fair for our clinic to have holiday decorations if the other clinic was not allowed to have any.

    I later found out that Kelly had, in the past, asked a previous Boss to decorate our office for holidays but was told firmly ‘no’ and her way around this was to have her festive pen-toppers for every holiday, which she had now thrown in the trash. So I came in, one month fresh, and was unknowingly granted permission to do what she had not been!

  172. Ciela*

    Receptionist / CSR where I work (so first point of contact for most customers) will not forward e-mails sent to her that would be better handled by someone else. She either just deletes them, or tells the customer that she is not responsible for whatever question they have, and THEN deletes the e-mail.
    When asked, repeatedly, to forward e-mails to whoever would best handle them, or to Boss if she doesn’t know the correct person (note, small company, only 5 of us have work e-mail) she just… doesn’t.
    She is super bitter about having to take and pass along messages. As a receptionist.

  173. Sometimes You Just Have to Shrug*

    When I was 20 years old, I worked as a part-time cashier at buildings material store. There was one full time woman who had been there for a decade. She felt very entitled and always wanted the first check-out lane. On Saturdays, the store was very busy (way before self-checkouts existed) but during a lull a supervisor was training a new cashier. I had gone on a break but before I came back the supervisor had asked me to pick up a bunch of random items: different sized nuts, bolts, nails, etc. so she could show the new employee the differences. The full timer was next to go on break, so we used a chain to shut down her register. She was furious that I had taken so long to get back from my break, she yelled at me and even though the supervisor was standing right there (she didn’t interfere at all), she called me ‘trailer trash’ and then she threw the chain at me which hit me in the face (it bled just a little). I walked away. No one from management said a thing. After that she held such a grudge against me, I guess for delaying her break, trashing me to anyone else that would listen for weeks afterwards.

    We were required to put any $100 bills in a bag and give them to the office, they would then put a receipt in the drawer that you had so much money in the safe to be added to your drawer count that night. Each night we had to cash out. One night she went to close out and she was missing $500.00. She frantically was looking for this bag where she had put the money, demanding to know if anyone had seen it. I started to tell her something that I had seen but she cut me off and told me to mind my own business. This was definitely a firing offense. I quietly told the supervisor (same one as before) that the janitor had emptied her trash can and I thought maybe it was in the dumpster. Supervisor tells her. She goes and gets in the dumpster. Finds the money. After that I guess the ‘grudge’ between us was over, but she never really spoke to me again although my suggestion saved her job. You just got to love the 1980s!

  174. Festively Dressed Earl*

    When I was younger and still had the habit of passive-aggression instead of speaking up like a grown woman, I had a coworker who spent a good part of her day either posting racist memes on Facebook or laughing and showing them to other people on her computer. Instead of getting our boss to tell her to knock it off, I’d cheerfully chime in with helpful facts about whatever crap she was laughing about. Not repeating offensive junk here but my oh-so-mature format was “Hah-ha! That’s funny because [insert actual statistics that countered malarky in question]! Hilarious!” After a few months, I responded to one of her racist FB posts with the Oatmeal cartoon that shows the Confederate flag with the explanation “A sticker you put on the back of your pickup truck to announce that you plan to marry your sister.” Coworker didn’t speak to me for a week, but she stopped with the memes at work. I’m a WOC if anyone was wondering.

  175. the Viking Diva*

    The backstory is too long and convoluted to relate. But my favorite moment was when the colleague told me she could feel me “glaring at her” through the office wall we shared… and I told her that she was sorely deluded, as I honestly tried hard not to think about her at all.

  176. H.Regalis*

    Thought of another one! This is from a friend of a friend who’s a supervisor at a manufacturing place. Everybody who works on the shop floor has their own tools and their own spot to keep them. FOAF is the boss and this happened on his day off.

    It’s a quiet day in the shop. Young Guy is working, and notices that some of his tools aren’t there. He notices that Middle-Aged Guy, who is the only other person working, is using those tools; so he goes over to him and is like, “Hey man, can you put my tools back on my bench when you’re done with them?” Middle-Aged Guy, who had only been there for a few weeks and was already known to be a bit of a hothead, absolutely loses it. Starts screaming at YG, shoves him, tries to fight him, and then goes back to his work bench and starts slamming everything around angrily and loudly muttering to himself. YG left and texted his boss saying that he left early because MG was raging out and he didn’t want to deal with it. Boss came in the next morning and fired MG. The guy hadn’t even been there three months and this was not the first incident where he flipped out at someone.

  177. Polly Darton*

    We ended up with a bridezilla face off in our department. “Jess” and “Annie” both got engaged around the same time, worked in similar roles and were pretty competitive with one another for promotions, raises, good projects, better schedules. They caused a lot of department disruption with the two of them undermining each other, constantly bickering and complaining, and trying to get people to take sides in their squabbles.

    Most of us didn’t see the wedding problem coming until it was too late. Jess managed to get the last open booking with a florist who was notoriously hard to book with. Annie was livid because that was “her” florist so she scalped Jess’s venue. Jess stole her dj, Annie stole her caterer, Jess stole her hair dresser and on and on. Every single day in the office was some kind of bickering fight with the two of them to the point our boss stepped in and said no wedding talk or planning on company time. That quieted things down for about a week. Then the big fight came one day because they didn’t invite each other to their respective weddings. That were booked on the same date.

    I accepted a promotion and transfer so I don’t know what happened after that but word around the company was that the competition and grudge holding continued.

  178. Spicy Tuna*

    This was very low stakes, but still grudge-worthy, apparently. The company I worked for had a policy that everyone manager level and above got an office with a door, and in the event that there were not enough offices with exterior windows, directors and above got first dibs on the window offices.

    I was a senior manager and I had an office with a window. I liked having the window for natural light, but it was to my back, so I didn’t get to appreciate the view.

    The building was being renovated and in the reorganization of our floor, there was one less window office, so my boss told me I had to give it up to the HR director at the HR director’s request. However, a new interior office had been created and it was MUCH larger than the exterior offices with windows. This new large office would be mine.

    I truly didn’t care, and I actually preferred having more space versus the window. Also, my old office was directly across the hall, and now I could actually see out the window since I was facing it (albeit, across the hall and through two glass walls).

    HR director was quite pleased with his new window office, until he saw my HUGE interior office. He immediately started complaining. I told him we could switch if he preferred more space. He refused. Then he moved into his new office and complained that the window made it way too hot. I once again offered to switch, and he once again refused! Then he overheard me talking to my boss about how I actually had a view now and he started keeping the blinds closed!

    This exchange of him grumbling and complaining but refusing to switch offices with me continued until he left the company a few years later. He was also a body builder and only ate hard boiled eggs and canned tuna (alllll day and only in his office). The new occupant of the office had to have it professionally cleaned and painted to get the smell out!

  179. Specks*

    Ah, I wish the “keeper of the zipper” had an update! Allison, any way to follow up with her?

  180. Tinkerbell*

    I was the “branch manager” (and only employee) of a one-room library. It was technically part of NearbyBigCity system, but my branch was funded by the TinyTown I was in. I was in my early twenties at the time. The mayor of TinyTown – my boss – had not been on speaking terms with the branch supervisor at NearbyBigCity for over a decade. Mayor said Supervisor was racist (which she was), and Supervisor said Mayor was pig-headed and opinionated (which was also true). I had to sit both women down, who were twice my age, and tell them I can’t do my job if they can’t stop sniping at each other.

  181. H.Regalis*

    Another one from a friend:

    My best friend works at a really crappy, extremely low-paying job. Some of her coworkers are normal, but a lot of them are raging assholes who work there because they are too bad-tempered to get a job anywhere else. Lots and lots of bullies.

    One day, one of the normal people, Single Mom, got fed up with the bullying coworkers, and told one of them off. In retaliation, the bullying coworkers lied to the manager that Single Mom was doing heroin in the bathroom, and also called CPS with the same garbage and tried to get her kids taken away from her. That didn’t go anywhere, but it was understandably extremely stressful for her. She called my friend in tears not knowing what to do. She’d gone out to the parking lot of her apartment building to cry in her car so her kids wouldn’t hear her.

  182. KayDeeAye*

    When my organization went from individual offices to an open plan office, one of our attorneys was a little concerned since she sometimes works with confidential documents. So she asked that the glass in the partition directly behind her be frosted so no one could look right over her shoulder and see what she was working on. The desk immediately behind her is occupied by the admin assigned to her, and of course most of the documents actually go through that admin, so obviously this action wasn’t directed at the admin but at anyone else who happened to be wandering around back there. I mean, obviously, right?

    Wrong. The admin was SO. OFFENDED. She cried (and cried and cried), she ranted, she stormed, and in the end, aside from work related stuff that she couldn’t avoid, she didn’t speak to the attorney – the attorney she worked for – for more than 9 months. She should have been fired, of course, but the attorney’s supervisor instead just kept his head down and waited for it to go away.

    Which it did. After 9 months.

  183. Not That Kind of Lawyer*

    I put a certified letter in the office mail tray to be picked up. This letter included the little card for signature confirmation when delivered. My co-worker, “Tara” whom until this moment I had a great relationship with, saw the envelope and told me I needed to check the box for a package. I declined because I was sending an envelope, not a package, and went on my way. Tara sent me a how-to document on filling out the card and yelled down the hall that she was right and I needed to read. She then came into my office to make sure I read the document. I pointed out that the document confirmed I did things the correct way because of separate instructions when mailing an envelope. Tara LOST IT. She started yelling that I was calling her stupid and accusing her of being unable to read. I tried to deny everything, and she kept getting louder and closer to my desk, yelling about how I make her feel stupid. Finally, my boss comes in, sees me cowering in my chair gasping, and Tara gets a long talk with the boss and HR.

    Tara stayed for one more year, and during that time she would openly tell me to stop using “fancy big words,” she never went out to lunch if I was invited, and criticized anything I would do. I know my boss talked to Tara after each incident because Tara would then complain to me about it and demand I tell everyone that “we” have settled the “card fight.” Through all of this, I would keep my head down and roll my eyes a lot.

    Tara eventually gave two weeks’ notice because she found a new job. During Tara’s last week, she walked into my office because she needed to “clear the air” and put me in my place about my “fake niceness.” Cue a new rant bout how I was set on sabotaging her, and how I made her look mean because she would be the only one yelling, complaining, or upset. Also, Tara – who has a college degree – said I needed to stop talking like I “went to college.”

    This time, I finally responded. I told her she was hurting herself and she needed to talk with a professional. I then wished her luck at her new job because if she is willing to tank a work-friendship over a card, then she needs prayers and luck.

    Just past lunch, she pokes her head in my office and says, “You win. I’m gone.” It turns out, today was her day to tell off everyone in the office. She had words with the admin assistant, the IT person, the media person, and our boss. Tara told the boss, “I checked out of this job weeks ago.” Boss told her there was no reason to finish the notice period or the rest of the day. She cleaned her desk and left. She is not eligible for re-hire.

    1. Savor The Peelies*

      Based on your name, I’m assuming you’re Some variation of lawyer, which makes the complaints about you “talking like you went to college” even more inane. I would expect that from a lawyer!

      1. Enai*

        Yeah, the “Sovereign Citizen” kind of “lawyer” tend to lose way more cases than the “went to law school and is a member of the bar association” kind of lawyer…

  184. JanetM*

    The Oxford comma is the last comma in a series of three or more items before the “and.”

    My canonical example is, “This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand and God” as compared to “This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.” (I am an Oxford comma user by preference.)

  185. snoofly*

    I tried so hard to make this shorter, but, well. This all happened about 10 years ago.

    • My manager, Walt was an all-around great guy. He and I were the two lone representatives of our department in one city; rest of our department plus the C-suite were many states away
    • Dirk came on as a young, brash new VP. Walt clocked him as a phony. (In fact, Dirk was pretty much universally despised.) After about 6 months Dirk put Walt on a PIP.
    • Walt had always had a great relationship with our CEO, Jerome, so he appealed to Jerome for help. Jerome said he was “aligned with Clive” on all personnel decisions
    • Walt was hurt by Jerome’s passivity and decided to take early retirement instead of hanging around waiting to be fired by Dirk
    • I was on vacation when Walt made his decision; he called me on, say, June 25 to let me know his last day would be June 30 (the day after I came back to the office)
    • In the midst of my sadness that Walt would be leaving, it occurred to me that I should probably try to throw together some kind of retirement party for him – the standard cake and punch type of affair in a conference room. However, I was at the beach with limited access to the internet. (This was 10 years ago)
    • I was able to call our HR rep, Crystal, and get her to agree to order a cake. I asked her about a gift – was it appropriate to just collect money for a gift card? She said that wasn’t appropriate at Walt’s level, but what about a nice gift baske