"We (management team) spent months working with a business coach trying to collectively come up with meaningful core values.
We devoted a ton of time to it and really tried to decide which direction we wanted to take the company culture.
Everybody agreed on teamwork, reliability, a couple others that I can't remember now, and then one day the owner came in and called a meeting.
He sat us down in the boardroom and told us he spent all weekend brainstorming and had decided on the core values.
Meaningful Ownership Neighbourhood Engagement You
Does anybody see what that spells? He literally wanted it to be money and just came up with words that sort of worked the way you do in elementary school writing your name poem.
He rebranded the entire company from t-shirts with giant first letters and smaller letters for the rest of the word straight down the arms, to signs, wraps on the cars, EVERYTHING.
And that's when we all knew it was going to get bad.
Money is great, but it was mortifying walking/driving around with that plastered everywhere."
"Not me, but my husband worked for two weeks for a 'family owned and operated' business that touted how important 'family' was and that they were all one happy 'family.' My husband was on his way to drop our 2-year-old son off at daycare before work when our son threw up all over himself. Husband called his employer to tell them what happened and that he needed to take our son home and clean him up but he'd be in ASAP. His manager told him he needed to get his priorities straight. He responded with, 'You know what? You're right, I won't be back in at all.' He was still working part-time at his previous job where they had been upset that he was leaving, so he called them and told them to put him back on the schedule full-time. The 'family' business is currently in the process of liquidating assets before going out of business and I cackle every time I drive past it."
"My last job was at an independent school in the UK (the wealthy type).
During a period of 'streamlining,' the entire faculty were called into a hall and told, in upbeat terms, that we were struggling to make ends meet. Salaries were too high, the perks were too abundant and spending was unsustainable. For clarity, salaries weren't too high - and perks were practically non-existent. Spending was definitely unsustainable, however - in part because they were spending hundreds of thousands redesigning the senior staff offices to hide all the cabling and install 'proper' wood paneling.
So then they started listing off perks and assigning them a value. For example, 'free parking.' Well, no kidding - the school has a lot of land and isn't in a city. Why would you charge? Secondly, 'nice surroundings.' Well again, no kidding - that's part of your marketing appeal. Long holidays? Nice try, but I work all holiday.
They didn't even get as far as telling me what they planned to do with my job and pay - I was gone in less than three months."
"We had a 'wall of crazy' where the CEO wanted to spend $20k on cool and edgy stuff for the office and staff could make suggestions (Slides, beanbags, napping pods, etc)
The project was scrapped when the top suggestions ended up being: Desks, chairs, working heating, working WiFi, and health insurance."
"Whole Foods Distribution denied my partner his meager annual raise because he had to leave work early one day, one time because our house was flooding during the deadly Memorial Day flood in Austin. He left work ONE hour early, with his manager's permission, to help me try and save our stuff while the entire city was flooding terribly. That same manager denied him his raise, too. You can't have any strikes on your record for the whole year or you get denied the raise. He was the fastest picker in his warehouse, too. He knew his rank because the bosses put a ranking of all the pickers up daily.
That list also made everyone act like jerks to each other and no one helped one another out. The company also tenured the guys that maxed out their raises, so those guys don't do anything but are not fireable. It's insane. He quit shortly after that evaluation and got a management position at another company almost immediately and has since risen to manage entire warehouses and shipping operations for a global plastics company. He loves his job. Whole Foods may look good on a resume, but they're a terrible company to work for. I'm assuming things have only gotten worse since being acquired by Amazon."
'Where will Pizza Hut take YOU?'
During the interview, I was told: 'The work is hard but we feel like a family and we can always complain about the bad customers after a shift.'
The people there were horrible. The managers made you do two people's jobs for less money, I was paid minimum wage for my age ($4 an hour) and the company purposely brought on 16-year-olds for that reason.
I was also told that they didn't have enough money to pay me so my shift was canceled, I was told I'd be paid to complete my training, and I wasn't.
Our manager would fling the corks of prosecco bottles at the waitresses to make them scared, there would be regular breakdowns from cooks and waiters.
I would regularly get screamed at in front of the whole restaurant for silly things like the knives and forks not being straight enough, even though they would leave me by myself (as in, I was the only waiter still working) one week after my first shift.
The waitresses would always complain about the other people in the restaurant and would shout at me for asking questions. Even on my first day.
At one point, an outside chef was brought in from a different restaurant and he didn't realize he had to wash up cutlery because he doesn't have to as his place, that's an entirely separate job.
So we ran out of cutlery and the two more experienced waitresses instead of helping me and washing up the cutlery or teaching me how to do it myself, would just hoard the cutlery so it was me that would run out, then my manager would have another go at me.
I hated that place."
"I worked for a company that prides itself on being in the top 100 places to work in the U.S. They bought the hospital I was working for currently while I was doing IT work there. For a year they let me stay at the current hospital I was at I worked with a team for countless hours getting ready to switch out IT infrastructure over to match the places new software etc... we changed out all 900 computers at our location.
After that was done I was then told that in the next few months I would have to commute to the main campus to keep my job a drive that for me was over 5 hours round trip. They did not offer me to transfer or even pay compensation for driving there. I was literally forced to quit at this point. All because a new manager took over on the new fiscal year and decided that the IT department needed to all be at the main campus."
"I was asked to sleep with a potential client.
At the time, I was in my early 20s. I'm a female. Looking back, I realize I had more going on looks wise than I knew back then. This was decades ago.
My boss (business owner) always told us that he thought of the office as one big family. He also referred to the female employees as 'his girls.'
A new client was coming into the office. My boss called me into his office and told me he was going to give me the company credit card so I could take the potential new client out for dinner and drinks. He told me to sleep with him, we need this client if everyone wants to get paid. Nice added pressure. I said no and the next day quit.
A couple of months earlier, my boss had invited me over to his house for dinner with his family and a swim in his pool because he said he knew how hard I had been working. I was a little surprised that he finally noticed and thought it was kind that he wanted to do something nice for me. I get there and his wife and kids are gone, but there was a 25-year-old guy in his pool. The son of a client who just got out of the Army. He told me he was trying to fix me up on a date because I needed to get out more. Like an idiot, I believed him. It wasn't until later that I realized that he was hoping I'd show more interest in the guy.
I found out later that he had asked all the female employees at one point to sleep with clients. The secretary actually did. She was a young, single mom and was worried she'd be fired if she said no. After I quit, she told me she wished she had the option to quit. I didn't realize what she was saying until we talked later.
At the time, his daughter was around 4 years old. When I quit I asked him how old would his daughter have to be before he asked her to sleep with clients. I thought he was going to hit me. I have a thousand stories about working at this place. The guy was an unethical idiot. A dangerous combination. But I learned a lot about how to not run a business from him. I've owned my own business for 30 years now. I've never asked an employee to sleep with clients. Or even go out for drinks.
I had the benefit of growing up in a family with money. I wasn't earning much and would probably not have been able to quit and move without the assistance of my parents. I never told them what happened. When I told my dad I quit, he was happy. 'You hated the place!'
Now that I'm older and times have changed, I would know what to do. I would hope he'd face consequences. Today this isn't considered a regular part of a business. #Metoo wasn't a thing back then. No one really cared. This was the only time I was directly asked to sleep with a client, but not the only time I face harassment at work. It was so common for me and my friends that when we pushed back against it, we felt like we were really on the leading edge of changing work environments for women. I guess we were, but sad that we needed to be. I'd certainly hoped women didn't face this anymore, but the recent news set me straight on that."
"My last job was for a large cinema chain, the incentive of working there was free movies and great culture with the colleagues.
This seemed great on paper. There were 5 pillars of the company (a newish thing since they were bought out) one of them being 'fun'
Now, I worked at one of the largest branches of the company, with 50 or so employees at the time. Every morning before we opened the doors, the managers made us huddle together like a football team and gave us our morning pep talk:
'Alright, guys listen up! Today is going to be great! We've got the new (superhero) movie and whoever sells the most of its promotional item gets a free soda drink! Woo! Go go go, it's going to be amazing, can you top this weeks record for best reviews? Whoever gets the best reviews today gets a free popcorn! Woo!'
Man...I hated it so much, no one cared but they preached this speech at the beginning of every shift change despite every single employee being completely deadpan. It was like a school care worker trying to get adults to play bricks and build the tallest tower.
"I worked for a hospital that was going through a 'culture' change. They brought in a management group to help them get in better financial shape and what was their first recommendation? Cut nursing staff and pay. Within 90 days, we lost 10% of our nurses. We were struggling to legally and safely take care of patients.
Meanwhile, the management team and the senior management went on a two week trip to the Caribbean, all paid for by the hospital. Flights, food, rooms, drinks....all of it. I came into work that next morning after discovering that and saw an email saying the four nursing jobs I needed filled were denied due to budget costs.
I pride myself in being levelheaded and rational when I'm angry or frustrated, but that was enough. I know that cutting some of their benefits weren't going to save the hospital, but you lead by example. I never opened the email (as the info was in the subject line) and I called the local newspaper about 5 minutes later. I set up an interview with a journalist and told him to bring a big notebook.
I resigned after making sure that my staff had their vacations approved and their bonuses (if any) were locked in to be paid. I did everything possible to help my unit out and then I just sort of left. I left the key to my office with my resignation letter in HR. They called and offered to keep me and I told them it would cost four new nurses. I never heard back. Spoke with the reporter two or three times after that and told them everything. I told them exactly what the community was paying for on a daily basis. He dropped a small story that eventually grabbed some serious attention. I know from some former employees that a lot of people were forced out over that. A few had to stand in court for minor monetary charges and one was charged with embezzlement.
They were in serious trouble after that and eventually a bigger entity bought them up. Supposedly, things are doing much better now and those that rode it out went through some serious hard times. I don't know how or why they stayed. The funny part was that the new culture program was never implemented. They paid a ton of money for it and never even opened the box."
"When attending a management retreat, I was pressured into buying charity raffle tickets I couldn't afford. ($20)
The two people who won before me donated their winnings to the same charity they bought the raffle tickets from. They were middle management people who make $100k+. I made $32k, with a young daughter.
I won a drawing for $400.
I literally had nausea for two days trying to figure out how I was going to pay my bills after my job had just moved the goal posts on some sales performance bonuses I had coming my way, dropping it effectively from ~$1,000 to ~$200
Now I'm the jerk who's going to keep the money I won.
Guess I'm not a team player.
This was a four-hour drive from home, an overnight stay, and one of those middle management jerks, in an 'example' of what should be on or off the clock, said we shouldn't be paid for the drive to the retreat.
Eff you. I was on the clock from the time I left Friday until I got home Sunday. If you're forcing me to be somewhere as part of my job, it's all on the clock.
My district manager didn't like that and I was already looking for the door."
"I was working for a financial firm: 1,800 employees, with a sales force of 200. I was one of the salesmen. We had our annual meeting in April. It was a big affair. Most of the employees attended and the CEO gave a big speech about how the previous year was the best in the company's history, blah blah blah. The next month, May, we each submitted memos basically justifying why we qualified for - or should qualify for - bonuses at the end of June. I wrote mine out and explained the sales growth in my territory over the course of the previous 12 months, and what percentage of my sales were out of last year's total sales. Coming off the company's best year ever, it should have been a slam dunk, right? All of us were excited about how much we'd have coming in June.
June rolls around and my bonus is zero. ZERO. But it's not just me. It's all over the sales floor. Less than 20% of the sales force got bonuses and holy smokes, everyone was REALLY ANGRY. All the supervisors were dealing with angry subordinates, the sales manager was too, and even the VP and director above him. Everyone was furious and insubordinate, angry accusatory emails were flying, and the company was facing a mutiny. It got worse when it came out that the supervisors were offered bonuses that they could determine for themselves. Most of them took them but a couple - knowing their subordinates wouldn't be getting anything - refused. My supervisor took his. When it came out, he tried to explain to his sales team about how he felt it was justified and how hard he worked. He ended up with people screaming at him about how they felt the same but they didn't get jack crap.
So for a week or so, things on the floor came to a stop. A lot of people just didn't show up and the ones that did were angry. I came in and started reading Monster.com ads at my desk. I also stopped selling anything or answering my phone. When confronted by my boss, I told him that as soon as I got the bonus my sales justified, I'd start working again. Until then I'd be coming in late, reading and responding to want ads, and leaving early. He could expect me to keep that up until I found another job or was fired.
The following day, I was sent to the regional sales manager's office. She said she'd heard about my work stoppage and asked me to explain myself. I told her that if she heard about it from my supervisor then she already knew why I wasn't working and I didn't need to explain it again. She tried buddying up to me, being friendly, then being stern, then being angry. I kept my composure and told her that the longer the company held out on my bonus, the longer it was going to miss out on sales from my territory. I then gave her my average daily amount of sales from the previous year, quantified what the total loss would be for a week of me not selling, and how much cheaper it would be just to pay me the money I was owed and get me back to selling. Then I thanked her for her time and told her I'd be leaving work as soon as I left her office. And I did.
The following day I came in, checked my emails - some of which were farewell emails from coworkers who quit over their stolen bonuses - and sat on monster.com until I was told to go to the office of the national sales manager. He's the gatekeeper - he's in charge of all 200 of us. He told me he understood that I was upset, and could see why. I asked him if withholding the bonuses from 80% of his sales force was his idea or someone else's. He didn't answer. He did tell me that I would be getting a check on Monday, and could I please go back to work now? I told him I'd be going back to my desk, but work wouldn't start until the check was in my hand. When I went back and checked my emails - yup, more defections.
The next day, an email went out to the entire salesforce: management had taken a look at the numbers, re-evaluated the financials, and determined that June bonuses would be issued shortly. The email also apologized for the delay and reminded us that as salesmen, we were the core of the company and our hard work was appreciated. I also received another email, this time from the national sales manager, who told me while bonuses were scheduled for Monday, he'd be walking my check to my desk the following day.
The following day I showed up, sat down, and shortly afterward the national sales manager walked on up and handed me my bonus check. I thanked him and handed him my resignation, effective immediately. In my resignation letter, I requested that a check for my unused vacation time please be cut and given to me before I left the building. When he finished reading it, I told him I'd clean out my desk while I waited for the vacation check. While I was doing that, one of my coworkers also resigned effective immediately. We were walked out at the same time and ended up getting hammered at the bar across the street. I learned later from coworkers that remained that even though the company issued the bonuses, they lost about 20% of the sales force in the following two months.
Gotta love corporate greed."
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