"I'm a former teacher. The administrators at my school were usually pretty chill, but had a habit of randomly coming up with minor rules that they would enforce for us (male teachers had to wear ties even on jeans day, etc.). Overall it wasn't bad, except for the time an administrator made a crucial mistake... they banned staff from drinking coffee in front of students.
Now if you've never worked in a school, you'd think this isn't a big deal. When you spend nearly 100% of your day in front of students, it definitely is a big deal.
First, we tried to find any loophole we could. Energy drinks? Banned the next week. Tea? Banned two days later. It was chaos.
Eventually, we realized they couldn't fire an entire school's worth of teachers and aides, so we ended up doing the one thing that private schools fear most: we formed a union.
Realistically, it was more of a weird pseudo-union focused specifically on civil disobedience regarding the coffee issue, but it ruffled feathers nonetheless. The administrators caved to our 'demands' and allowed us to drink coffee again. They even bought each of us a reusable coffee mug as a gesture of goodwill.
And that's the story of how a handful of school administrators almost accidentally created a teachers union over a complete non-issue."
"I worked in a large factory (not unionized).
Each department clocks in at a different place, mainly that department's breakroom. My department clocked in across the facility from the main entrance, which meant it took about 15 minutes to walk from the front door to where you clocked in and out at, and another 5 to walk from that entrance to the parking lot. There was a side exit that we would use, however, that literally cut that walk down from 20 minutes to 3, since our department was right next to the parking lot.
Management decided that ALL employees must enter and exit through the SAME DOOR. Which meant we had to walk all the way down to the main entrance and then back around to our cars.
There was so much rebellion from the employees in our department that they had to bar the door shut with 2 x 4's. Jokes on them, even non-unionized employees can be a pain in the rear. We contacted the fire marshall, who upon seeing a fire exit barricaded, fined the company $8,000.
We still were not 'allowed' to enter through this door, but they stopped trying to stop us."
"I was one of a large number of programmers working on a project at CSC. We had a deadline coming up in a couple months and they over-promised to the client and then asked us all to work extra hard to meet the deadline and work 50+ hour weeks. We did this and then some; some of us put in 70-80 hour weeks to meet this deadline.
But once that deadline was met, suddenly there was another deadline they needed to meet. And another. People got tired, had lives to lead, and scaled back on their hours. Most of us were still working 50-60 hours a week, but not a lot more than that.
Once they realized we weren't killing ourselves on their project any longer, there was an 'All Hands' meeting where the managers told us that they were incredibly disappointed in our lack of professionalism because so comparatively few employees were now working more than fifty hours a week.
One of our harder workers stood up and said, 'Look, I have three kids. I'm driving an hour into and out of work every day, I'm taking care of my family, I'm trying to get presents for Christmas, write out Christmas cards, decorate and clean the house for everyone we're having over for the holidays - I'm having a really hard time just getting to fifty.'
And the manager looked at her and sneered, 'If it wasn't Christmas, it'd be because it's Easter, or Memorial Day, or because it's summer and it's nice out. You'd always have some excuse.'
There was dead silence in the room.
When we left that meeting, we didn't talk to each other, but every single worker on that project put in exactly fifty hours a week after that.
Then came Christmas - raise and bonus time! Every worker on the project got a 1/2 percent raise; the managers got a five-figure bonus. We were so angry.
For management, the pain came after Christmas. The first week of the year, four programmers had better jobs lined up and quit. Three more the following week. Five the next. We hemorrhaged 3-5 programmers every single week for over three months. It got to the point where the managers had to schedule a meeting every Monday at eleven to discuss that week's resignations and rearrange the surviving staff.
"I worked at a family owned market that was well known and loved by locals. The owners were a lovely couple that took care of their employees and would bend over backward for their customers. They were very active in the community and highly respected. They had a few core employees and would hire temp staff during the summer and holidays. The temps were mostly high schoolers and college kids that were home on break. They would bring back the same people as long as they could and the kids would try to stay as long as they could. The pay was well above market for those positions, we could shop there and get a 75% discount, after six months you got two weeks paid vacation, and the owners would close the store a couple days a year and host a party for all of the employees. It was the best job any high schooler in the area could get. I lived right next to the store and my parents were friends with the owners so I was given a job there. All my friends were jealous.
After working there for a few years, the couple decided they wanted to retire to spend time with their daughter and her children in another state. Many tears were shed and they had a huge retirement party where they introduced their son to everyone and told us he was taking over. They gushed about his prestigious business education and background.
As soon as they were gone, the son decided he was going to remake the store in his image. He fired basically all the staff, most of whom that had been there for 10 to 15+ years. He then staffed the whole place with homeschool kids and junkies. He cut the discounts and vacations. He hired some old high school friends to manage the place so he could take the profits to go party and get coked out.
The shop went from having the same staff for years to having to retrain an entirely new staff every other month. No one wanted to stay. Managers were reporting perfectly good product as damaged and taking it home. Shelves sat empty. Locals stopped shopping there. The place became a corpse of what it had been. The original owners had enough of their friends complaints to them about their son that they came back for a short time and tried to make it right, but it was too late. Their original staff had all moved on and vendors had stopped doing business with the store. They decided to close the store, sell the property, and move away permanently. Last I heard, the son was in trouble with the IRS and his wife divorced him when she found him banging an exotic dancer."
"I used to work at Goodwill.
We had a meeting at 7:00 am to tell us our health and dental insurance were going up significantly (must have insurance to work there), there was no longer going to be food or drinks, including water, at workstations or donation area (summer was a nice 98-102 with a broken ac unit in the warehouse and now we didn't get water at our table, want a drink after moving heavy boxes? Gotta walk all the way to the break room, but not longer than 10 seconds or 'I know you're on your phones back there').
No more talking in the break room as some employees were badmouthing policies and the company....wonder why.
No more storing my bike I rode to work in the always empty 3rd storage closet. I had to put it outside where it was then stolen 3 weeks after the policy change.
We had mandatory donation quotas. This was the most insane and ridiculous policy. We, as donation attendants, had to each have a certain number of donations a day and if we missed our number 2 days out of a month we get a write-up. 3 write-ups and you're out. As if we could control how often people willingly give away their things.
Then, to top it all off, they fired the manager we all loved and respected and worked hard for. They replaced her with a lady who promptly gave a speech the next day about positions and respecting those above you. Then she wrote everyone up. Until this point, only one person had a write-up and it was because of poor time management (clocked in late a lot). She went through all of our time punches for the year, which the software kindly highlights in red, and wrote up anyone who had more than 4 late clock-ins. Everyone had more than 4 because the clock software was constantly messing up, there was a section to write a note and if the manager agreed with it they'd adjust the time. It was a common occurrence and got fixed, however, the system logs show the mistake punch (clock in at 11:30 and it loads.... loads..... loads.... clocked in at 11:31 or 11:32) and the correction.
She didn't care about the corrections. We were all 'consistently tardy' and she wrote everyone up.
A month of her bullcrap, corporates bullcrap, the summer heat, no drinks to cool off easily, and my bike being stolen, I told the asset manager, who we all loved but she didn't have much power to do anything, that I was leaving.
8 people worked at that store. I left first and the rest followed within the week.
They had to rehire a full staff and ended up asking our original manager to come back which she wisely declined.
Keep in mind every Goodwill is running entirely by a local corporate office and the Goodwill's here aren't the same company and leadership as the one in your area. However, the goodwill in my state is absolutely disgusting to work for."
"It was a one-two punch.
Around 2010, I worked for a mid-sized manufacturing firm. The company-wide meeting announced the promotion of several high-level management and executives (mostly title and responsibility changes). Lots of smiles and handshakes, not unlike a college graduation ceremony.
After these promotion announcements, they declared that due to the stagnant economy and poor sales, the entire company would be experiencing a pay freeze as a result. So, no raises for anyone.
They then concluded the meeting by discontinuing Casual Fridays. So, no more jeans on Friday.
It utterly destroyed employee morale that day. I can understand the need for promotion to fill positions from vacancies, etc, I can understand the need to have a pay freeze (beats, layoffs right?), but doing the prior two right after each other and then saying, yeah, and no more casual Friday's just seemed really vindictive and malicious.
It almost felt like it was designed to make people want to quit and leave. It was pretty stupid, as only the mobile and capable talent moved on, while those incapable of finding another job or the lifers (who would probably stay on even if the company announced they planned to cut the oxygen supply to the building by 50% to save money) stayed on through it.
It worked though, I and many others moved on to greener pastures within the year."
"Several years ago, I was employed at a company that was notorious for its high-stress, heavy-workload atmosphere. There were a number of different departments that all collaborated (to some extent) on upcoming projects and releases, along with a few ancillary teams that focused on either legal matters or community management. Despite everyone having discrete tasks and assignments, the organization's structure for bonuses was based entirely on overall profits, meaning that many people (particularly those folks working in a support capacity) had about as much control over their own success as they did over whether or not a suicidal bird would smack into one of the building's windows.
That didn't stop the folks in upper management from pretending otherwise, though.
'If you all work hard,' various high-level managers used to say, 'you'll be taking home five percent of your total salary as a bonus! If we meet certain milestones, you might even get ten percent!'
'What about those of us who always work hard?' someone would respond. 'Our jobs don't directly affect revenue!'
'Shut up,' the managers would reply. 'Also, shut up.'
I may be paraphrasing.
Anyway, this state of affairs was eventually recognized as being a less-than-appealing carrot for the company's workhorses, and a solution was proposed: every department's quarterly budget would be weighed against quarterly revenue, and the resulting percentage would be used to calculate individual bonuses. There was some kind of complicated equation which allegedly governed this, and the change was trumpeted as being good for everyone. Finally, we were told, our individual efforts would actually contribute to our bonuses!
It didn't take long for someone to notice a slight problem, though: The so-called 'change' wasn't really a change at all. It was just a convoluted way of hiding the fact that everyone was still being held accountable for overall success, regardless of what they actually did. Furthermore, it was discovered that the 'milestones' had been pushed up significantly, meaning that nobody would get a bonus unless some fairly unrealistic goals were met. The fanfare and fawning over the whole thing seemed disingenuous at best.
Needless to say, someone pointed this out.
'Shut up,' the managers replied."
"I work in a big corporate building. The same older lady came by everyone's desk towards the end of the day to collect the trash. Just the sweetest lady ever and every time she'd walk to my desk she'd give me a big smile and ask me how my day was and chat for a minute as she got my trash (usually I'd dump it in for her). I had some rough days, but she has a way to cheer me up and send me home on a higher note. I know I'm not the only one either.
So then a few weeks back our work implemented a new policy to 'cut down on trash usage.' It's no longer allowed to have a trash bin at our desk and we have to walk across the room and use the community trash to throw anything away. Not a huge deal, but the real reason they did it is so they can cut down on costs...by firing the cleaning crew.
Sad to say that I haven't seen Sharon since."
"I was an engineering intern at a factory owned by a German company, but located in the US South. It happened to be the summer of the World Cup and US-Germany were playing on a Thursday.
The factory had engineers, fabricators, and line workers. The engineers worked on long-term timelines, but the fabricators and the line workers had weekly quotas. In general, the line outperformed quota. So normally the line reached the weekly quota by sometime late Thursday or early Friday.
The engineering interns brought up that we wanted to watch part of the game during our lunch break on the big projector in one of the conference rooms. The HR guy in charge of scheduling the room ran with the idea and ordered pizza for the entire factory to sit and watch the game.
Thursday comes and the line is on pace to finish quota that afternoon (so had Friday to work extra/cut off early). The whole factory staff shows up to watch the game, eat food, and relax for a bit. Morale is high as a bunch of East Tennessee folk are hooting and hollering over a soccer match of all things.
Out of nowhere the plant manager strolls by and says, 'I thought we were here to work.' Room was empty in about 100 seconds. The interns were all so angry and hid in the warehouse watching the second half on one of our phones.
Forget that guy."
"For years I worked in a high stress, high turnover, low paying job doing caregiving for adults with developmental disabilities. These issues are typical in this field, and my company, like many, exploited salaried employees by expecting them to work 50-60 hours regularly and often more. I went months at a time working 70, 80, 90 hour weeks. I stayed through a lot of bullcrap because I loved the folks I served.
Last year, corporate required all managers to attend a mandatory training about Caregiver Fatigue.
It made it worse for me to have the language to describe the fatigue and burnout I'd been experiencing for years.
During the meeting, corporate acknowledged that they didn't pay us enough and that many employees we supervised were literally homeless, food insecure, or on the verge of it. But, 'increased pay is not on the table right now so let's talk about other things we can do.'
They crowdsourced this exhausted group of salaried workers, who suggested things like starting a company food pantry, a company clothing drive, and compiling lists of shelters in the area.
That meeting was so blood-boilingly infuriating to sit through that I made the decision that day it was time to finally get out. I worked my last day for that employer this summer.
I'm still looking for a full-time job, and I'm trying to hold out for a company that values my work enough to pay me fairly. In an ideal world, this new company doesn't add insult to injury by mandating training about how to recognize tell-tale signs of being ready to snap.
Hopefully, when I've had some time to recover, I'll be able to come up with some lasting ways to change things in the caregiving industry. These systemic problems will only compound themselves as the baby boomers continue to age."
"I used to work as a helicopter mechanic for a company primarily in the oil patch. We'd do a 28 on, 14 off rotation in the middle of nowhere, getting up before dawn to prep the helicopter to be flying as soon as the sun came up, fly as needed all day until sundown and then tie down the machine. Typically the day was pretty easy in between, maybe three or four hours of flying so you'd refuel a couple times and take care of incidental crap like making sure you had enough fuel or maybe going back to camp to grab hot lunches for yourself and the pilot. Overtime was paid out as straight time and the extra 0.5 was banked as paid vacation. It wasn't unusual to work double a standard week for the duration and it was the only thing that really made the travel and long shift rotation worthwhile.
Anyway, after I'd been with the company a few months, they announced that they weren't paying overtime anymore except for rare special instances like staying up all night to do a 100-hour inspection. We were expected to basically work a split shift early morning and late evening, and spend the days just sitting in camp doing nothing.
I guess a lot of people were pretty angry, but I didn't stick around for the fallout. I gave my two-week notice, which coincided with my two weeks of earned vacation, and said goodbye."
"I worked for a concierge company owned and run by a crazy lady. We had contracts with buildings and she'd routinely lose the contracts by taking meetings with them and then acting crazy. She was actually banned from one of the buildings that we still had a contract with.
Anyways, I worked at a building with about 4 other people. We were basically security guards checking in guests all day and we didn't make much money. After hiring this crappy employee who basically wouldn't do his job and instead surfed the internet right in front of the guests, rather than firing said crappy employee, they took away our internet access. This made employee performance worse as now everyone had to stare down at their cell phones, instead of straight ahead at the computer. Even I would occasionally get caught staring at my phone instead of the guest in front of me (some people are incredibly quiet). So then they banned our phones. Which, banning someone's phone basically just means that whenever a supervisor is present (which was about 5 minutes per day) nobody was on their phones, and the rest of the time it was phone-city all day every day.
This was like a month-long battle and most of the 5 person team we started with ended up quitting. Guess who the one dude that didn't quit was? The original crappy employee who I know continued to ignore guests and stare at his phone because I stayed friends with some people in the building and would stop by from time to time, always catching original crappy employee staring down at his phone."