There Was A Reason The Good Engineers Didn’t Stick Around
“As a starting engineer, my first job was as a sales engineer for a company that provided nuclear safety products. This was the kind of place where, for each sale, you had to write a report about an inch thick. The manager would open the front cover, read down the page, circle the first punctuation error and hand it back, not even reading the substance of the report. Total jerk.
His boss, the owner, would bring in engineers once a week, and grill them for 30 minutes about their sales, keep pecking and making rude remarks until he found something, and then berate them incessantly. As a result, the good engineers didn’t stay long.
I needed the job, so I stayed as long as I could. I had been working a number of very large sales that were taking a while to land. After some particularly rough couple of days, the owner pulled me into his office on a Wednesday, and having noticed that my sales were down, proceeded to tell me that my performance wasn’t adequate, amongst other demeaning comments. I went home that night very upset. I mowed the lawn and thought hard about it. The next day, Thursday, I walked into his office and gave my notice, saying that I agreed with him that my performance was lacking and that I needed to find a better place to work. He grunted assent, nothing more. I went back to work.
The next day, Friday, the owner did his usual inquisition thing with all the engineers. I was last. In the intervening 48 hours since he admonished me, all my big sales landed. I went into his office and waited for the negative comments. He was really quiet, pulled out his calculator and realized that my sales were the equivalent to 30% of his annual revenue. He just looked at me and said, ‘You didn’t do this in two days!’
‘No,’ I said, ‘but they were on my list of quotes when we met on Wednesday.’
He looked at the reports and dismissed me.
Later that day, I went to lunch, took a longer lunch and came back to see everyone (but me) in the conference room listening to him expound about ‘clarity of communication.’ That was my last day. A few weeks later, I bumped into a co-worker, and we talked. It seemed that all the accounts had been transferred to other engineers, but the clients had canceled all my sales after they found I had left the company. 30% of millions of dollars.
It was a big lesson for me that micromanagement will kill your workforce morale, and ultimately the bottom line.”
“He Hasn’t Spoken To Me In Almost 5 Years”
“I worked for a guy, Scott, running a brew festival. I was hired on as the Logistics Coordinator, which means pretty much everything except sales and marketing fell under my umbrella. Scott put up all the financial backing for the festival, and had a partner of sorts, Wayne, who was really only involved because it was his idea and had Scott just taken it, Wayne would have sued.
Wayne was a real pain in the neck, and probably one of the slowest, dumbest people I have ever met. Everything you discussed with him was met with resistance until he decided it was his idea – after that, it was the best idea. Scott kept Wayne out of the loop on most things, which worked for me because it meant I got to do my own stuff, meet with Scott weekly for updates, and use his credit card to order what we needed.
As the event neared, Wayne dropped by our office more and more frequently, so we started locking the door under the guise of the wind blowing it open. But we wouldn’t unlock it when he came to the door. The windows were tinted, so we could see him but he couldn’t see us. This only made him more agitated and difficult to deal with.
Things really came to a head the day of the event because he wasn’t happy with where I had the company drop off the dumpster. I was on site in a golf cart full of ice bags. I was sweaty, dirty, and tired. I stopped for a moment to have a drink of water, and he approached and started really giving it to me about the dumpster. I was pretty sick of his crap. My contract was up in two weeks and I hadn’t taken the option to renew. I put my feet up on the dash, dropped my sunglasses over my eyes, and started looking at something on my phone. I told him that I wasn’t going to move the dumpster, and it was my decision and that it was final. He decided this was the best time, in front of a dozen breweries, food trucks, and community volunteers, to pull the ‘don’t you know who signs your paycheck?’ card.
I looked at him, took my feet off the dash and hit the gas. As I whizzed by, middle finger in the air I shoot back, ‘Yeah, Scott does.’
He hasn’t spoken to me in almost five years, and we run into each other around 3-4 times a year at industry events.”
After 9 Years, He Finally Had Enough Of Their Crap
“I worked in a tropical fish warehouse. The owners pretended to be nice and always said they ‘had your back’ if you were a loyal employee. They only kept 2-3 full-time employees on staff. So no one else could get vacation time, or benefits or anything like that. I worked there long enough that I eventually made it to the supervisor of the floor and full-time. They wouldn’t call me a supervisor because that would mean they owed me more money.
They never took the blame for anything. They couldn’t figure out why fish were dying, even though I was telling them why. They simply ordered too many at a time. When people didn’t want to come in on days off to help them move to a new building, it was somehow my fault. The whole moving process was poorly done. I had to get fish from two buildings somehow…and they wouldn’t take my advice. I knew they wouldn’t, because they told me that when my employees brought a suggestion to me that I should politely tell them no, no matter what. They boasted about how our process was perfect (it was not).
After 9 years of their bullcrap, they finally broke me. They kept adding hours for me without checking if it was okay with me. Thursday was a quick care for the fish day, then I spent it with my family, as my wife had Thursdays off. During a meeting where my boss was threatening to fire my assistant supervisor and I because I swept the wrong part of the floor because her instructions were vague, I mentioned that I didn’t want the extra time of putting fish away on Thursdays. I told her it was my family time, and I was never asked about it.
She told that if I wanted to see family, I would have to get a different job.
It took everything I had to not lose it. I needed to keep my income until I had a new job, but that was the last straw.
When I finally gave her my two-week notice, she looked completely bewildered. She just stared at it with her mouth hanging open. Eventually, she put on her best fake caring voice and asked why. I was dumbfounded by that question. I almost yelled, ‘You told me to! If I wanted to see my family, I would need a new job. You told me that. So I found a new job.’
She tried to explain to me that she would never say that and told me I was wrong. I told her that she said exactly that, and I had a witness, and would happily go get him to confirm.
After my two weeks and her making ‘jokes’ daily about how much my next job would suck and I should just stay, I got to leave. I handed her my keys a couple hours before I finished my work, punched out and never looked back. She called me about a half hour later and said she thought we had an exit interview and that she would be in her office for a while longer. I told her there was no exit interview because I knew how they went. She would tell me her opinions as if they were facts and not listen to a thing I said. I knew because she made me sit in on two exit interviews so I could ‘see how they ran it.’
Then I hung up and deleted her number from my phone.”
Good Thing She Didn’t Hold Her Breath Waiting For This Company To Respond
“When I first got out of school and was trying to get into an actual career, instead of just a job, I ran into the same problem most people do. Every place that was hiring wanted someone with ‘more experience,’ something that is hard to get when you spent your last 4-6 years getting a degree instead.
I got an interview with a company that I wasn’t particularly interested in, but had heard good things about their training and development programs. It was a very entry-level management position, but as I went through the interview and they described their process, I was very impressed and got quite excited about the prospect.
I found out it was a pretty extensive interview process and I had to come in for another interview with another level of management. After several attempts by myself to set up another interview, I was moved to what I thought was the final interview process, an interview with the GM of the regional operations. I met with him and was told that I should hear back shortly, and if hired, I would be flown to another city to meet with the head office, and formally begin my training. The whole process took about four weeks, but I was excited because I felt like I nailed it every step of the way.
In the meantime, I got another interview for a job that I was WAY under-qualified for and because I pretty much thought I had no chance at getting it, I had that other job lined up. I was pretty open about my lack of experience, but my willingness to embrace it as a challenge.
Well, apparently there was a perfect combination of them appreciating my honesty and having another guy who was leaving the job, but had enough time to properly show me the ropes. So, I ended up getting a job that paid almost twice as much as the first one, combined with a lot more responsibility.
Two full weeks later, I got an email from the first job, saying they were sorry, but it came down to me and two other candidates. They had some concerns about one of my answers to a question, so they went in a different direction.
Being able to send an email back, thanking them for the opportunity, but explaining that, due to the amount of time that had passed, I had already taken a position with a company that put a higher value on my time, both during the interview process and during my employment, was one of the most enjoyable emails I’ve ever sent.”
“What Was He Going To Do? Fire me?”
“I had an issue where our district manager was purposely not correcting my pay to reflect the raise I’d been promised. So, after six weeks of him blowing me off, I called corporate HR and they came down on him like the fires of Mount Doom.
He drove to my store and tore into me in front of customers for ‘not being a team player’ and going over his head.
Six months later, we were informed our store was closing and the employees could transfer to other stores. Oh, but not me, I was told I’d never be welcome in the company again because I ‘wasn’t a team player’ so I would just be laid off after the store closed… Then he told me he also needed me to oversee shipping our product out to other stores based on a list he had made.
Yeah, none of those stores got what he wanted on that list. I spent three weeks shipping whatever to whoever, playing my own music over the store speakers, and telling customers about a whole bunch of exploitable loopholes in store policies and systems.
What was he going to do? Fire me?”
The Employee Made Life Difficult For Everyone
“I was working for a huge clothing store chain as a temp student worker one summer many years ago. I worked there for two days before one of the employees started acting weird around me and bossing me around (we weren’t working in the same department so she shouldn’t even have been telling me anything). She started coming to the changing rooms where I was folding the discarded clothes to talk on the internal phone next to me to say, ‘Oh my God, the new student hasn’t even finished what you asked her to do yet. She’s wasting my time,’ and basically just being demeaning for no reason.’
One day, I realized she was following me around the store, hiding behind clothes racks or watching me while pretending to be folding pants (she wasn’t even in her own area so she stuck out like a sore thumb). At one point, she started coming up to me to berate me for the smallest things. She would leave and come back every few minutes, doing the same routine until she had a ‘real’ grievance about something I forgot to pick up in the stock room, then she’d sent me there to do it immediately.
I had been in the stockroom only a few minutes when guess who walked in? The crazy stalker.
She started yelling at me and telling me everything I did wrong. She said I was sitting around instead of working (I sat once to do my shoelaces) and said, ‘You’re messing up MY store’ (she was barely above me, only working 20 hours a week).
I listened and replied to some things, until she got to the end of her rant and delivered what was supposed to be her mic drop line: ‘Well, anyway, you’re just a freaking temp worker!’
I just looked at her and said, ‘Well, yeah, I’m a student, I’m just here to pay my plane ticket to go on vacation, you’re stuck here.’
The best part was that she went to talk to the floor manager afterward, saying I yelled at her and called her all kinds of names, the manager came up to me and told me that the girl was crazy and was doing the same thing every time a new temp student came in. It got to the point they had a hard time finding student workers.
I asked the day after to be sent to another store.”
Don’t Try To Modify The Chef’s Special
“I once worked in a casual-fine dining restaurant for a young, creative, blunt female chef. We made everything in-house and the specials came ‘as-is.’ No modifications, no ingredient swapping for this or that… take it or order something else. The owner/chef would back us up on this.
Enter this jerk, who ordered the special. A bacon cheeseburger, with bacon jam in/on the burger, fries soaked in bacon grease, a side of bacon etc. He asks for no bacon on the burger, different sides, different toppings, etc. I told him that, unfortunately, I could not modify the special, it came as is, and I suggested he order something else.
He blew a gasket on me in front of everyone. He told me to tell the chef that she’s an idiot. He huffed and puffed. Rolled his eyes and told me that it’s almost a human rights violation, then asked if he had said he couldn’t eat bacon for religious reasons, would I still be unwilling to accommodate him (haha no). Then he told me that he’d be sure to give us a Twitter shoutout for being so insane. He also let me know he wouldn’t be tipping a cent and that he wanted to speak to the chef because he can’t believe someone would do this. He said I must be lying and lazy.
I went and told the chef.
Chef came out to the table. Asked, in front of everyone, which one of them thought she was an idiot? She kicked him and the group out on the spot and told him that she will never accept a reservation under his name again and that if she sees him in her restaurant in the future, she will call the police.”
He Let Her Run Her Mouth While He Collected Evidence
“I got into an argument with a co-worker while waiting at a train station about my lack of religious beliefs. She actually interfered in my conversation with someone else and ended up becoming offended by it. We rode the same bus and train to work every day because we also lived in the same apartment complex. Well, later that same week, I got promoted to Supervisor and guess who was on my team? That’s right. The co-worker who hates me.
She was the worst employee I ever had, but I tried to work with her. Eventually, I had to write her up for call avoidance. However, she went to HR and told them that I was being unfair to her and cited her religion as the reason why. She told HR about the conversation we had but neglected to tell them that it didn’t happen on company grounds. HR and my boss came to me to talk about it where I set them straight, but since religion was involved, it was decided to not ruffle any feathers, so she got off.
Knowing that she had it in for me, I decided to only communicate with her through my Team Lead. Once again, she was avoiding calls, so I wrote her up again. This time, I allowed time to pass and tracked all of her time and got so much data that HR couldn’t ignore it. Once again, she tried to cry foul and claim religious harassment. But little did she know, I had my Team Lead and my boss watching her as well. This time, she had no recourse and HR agreed to allow me to fire her.
That was the best feeling in the world.”
She Tried To Talk Bad About The Company, But Everyone Else Loved Them
“I worked for a company that had one of those video game buses with the TV’s and couches and stuff on the inside. I was the only employee and was technically the ‘Event Manager and Supervisor.’ That was just a fancy term for me being the only one to drive the truck and set it up and do maintenance on it. All my boss did was schedule bookings and tell me where I was going. I processed the payments as well so I was basically in charge of the entire operation.
One time, this woman came into the trailer at the end of a party to yell at me since her kid didn’t have enough fun. I told her all the other kids were having a great time and nobody else complained.
She insisted I give her a full refund since her kid didn’t enjoy himself and I told her I wasn’t going to do that. She asked who my manager was and I told her I was the manager. She then asked who my employer was and I told her his name. She demanded I call him so she could talk to him and on speakerphone. My boss said, ‘I wasn’t there to see how things were going. It’s up to my employee to determine whether a refund is called for or not.’
Side note: while he was technically my boss, it was more like two friends running a business. He’s a few years older than me and hired me off the street, but we were both in our 20’s at the time (he just turned 30 like 6 months ago). His dad paid for everything for him, so he wasn’t really concerned about sucking up to customers.
I ended up telling her I wasn’t going to refund the entire $350 because one kid didn’t have a good time and promptly left. What’s funny is a bunch of the parents at the event apparently got raving reviews from their kids and that party actually brought in like eight new customers, a few of which booked us multiple times a year. She apparently tried talking bad about the company to the other parents, but that didn’t seem to stop them since everyone else had a great time.
I miss that job. Best job I ever had.”
You Might Want To Think Twice Before Messing With Your Web Developer
“I worked for a school board and they contacted me to do some additional work on the side creating a website.
When it was complete, I went to the guy for presentation and payment and he told me he wouldn’t be paying me and there was nothing I could do. I leaned over and deleted the site. He seemed curiously surprised somehow. I giggled. He later wanted the website restored and said he would pay me with stolen school merchandise. I told him I wasn’t going to steal from children and teachers just so he could have leverage over me.
Another time, I had made a website allowing people to send messages between the members of the school board. He later wanted me to send him the messages so he could ‘vet’ them. I added him to the CC of every message. I was then asked in a board meeting why he was also getting these messages and I told them why he felt entitled to their private communications. They talked to him. When I put in my notice there, he came to my cubicle on a busy floor and told me I’d have to pay them back for the training they sent me to. He said it so quietly, too. So, I asked him if he was threatening me, but I said it loudly so everyone came to see what was up.
He literally fled. What a freaking jerk.”
Former Employees Don’t Get Special Treatment
“This guy used to come into the movie theater I worked at every Monday night. Apparently, he had worked there before, but I had been there for six years at this point and I had never worked with him.
Anyway, every time he would come in, he would come late to the very last movie and then expect us to pop fresh popcorn and put new hot dogs on the clean grill. We would save the last batch of popcorn in a plastic bag and keep the hotdogs in a steam drawer, so it’s not like we didn’t have what he wanted. He just wanted special treatment. Then he would try to pull that scam where he gives the cashier a $100 bill and then adds stuff to his order and takes stuff away to confuse the cashier and get free stuff. He was always super rude, too.
When I got promoted to management, I was finally able to stand up to him a little. I said something like, ‘You come in here every Monday, talk down to my cashier and try to scam us out of money. I’m not going to put up with it anymore.’
The dude flipped out. He started saying how he used to work here so he knows how everything works and how he’s on the city council of a different city, IN A DIFFERENT COUNTY. I’m pretty sure I just laughed and said,’You’re in [my city], so that doesn’t matter.’
He was so mad, but he actually started being less rude and stopped trying to scam us all together. Eventually, he stopped coming. I don’t even know why he came to my theater since his city has like 2-3 to choose from, one being the same chain that mine was.”