People From Around The World Share The Dumbest Workplace Rules

People From Around The World Share The Dumbest Workplace Rules

For most people, life is just 5 days in a row where you sell your soul to a massive corporation until you get 2 days to actually enjoy what short time we have on this earth. What's worse is most of the time that massive corporation honestly just doesn't care about you, employee #7,958. Why are you reading this article and not filling out your TPS reports in triplicate?

But in an effort to tell us "Well at least I don't have it as bad as THAT guy" we have compiled a huge listing of crazy rules, regulations, guidelines, and various other life-controlling devices these big businesses implement in the name of "Profit, efficiency, profit, and maybe morale if we have time for it" in that order.
Just don't let your boss catch you reading it, or he may take away your designated water break for the week.

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40. What kind of job is this

At my old job, HR held a meeting to tell us that there was too much swearing on the sales floor. Someone raised their hand and pointed out that swearing is very common in our industry and that is the way that our customers speak. HR later sent out a memo explaining that swearing should be limited to conversations with clients. It was amazing.

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39. The beatings will continue until morale improves

I work in IT Support.

Everyone was pulled into a meeting one by one to discuss negativity in the workplace.

We were told we were not allowed to complain about clients between ourselves, not for the reason that I would expect and would understand (in case a client heard it on the phone), but because of the negative energy in the room.

In IT Support, complaining about people is the only thing that gets us through the day.

Previously to this, I worked in a retail store of a decent size, which only ever hired two staff, the managers would sit out the back and do nothing pretty much (would always catch them on their phones when I went back for something).

They had a policy also where you were not allowed to be doing nothing, and you were also not allowed to sit for your whole shift (sometimes had 11-hour shifts), except for the 30-minute break where the manager went on the floor and I got to have a coffee.

I was expected to run around cleaning if no one was in the store, and not be allowed to be behind the till, even if I had already cleaned every single shelf in the building. This also had the side effect of being at the back of the shop, behind isles, without a bell on the door when someone came in, meaning people would often come looking for me, and be really angry because I wasn't already at the till waiting for them to give them their smokes.

I worked morning shifts usually, and was required to be there 15 minutes early to put the papers out and start putting magazines out, before it hit open time, because we would have people lining up and knocking on the door at 6 am for their papers, this time was unpaid, as was the time I had to stay every day counting my till after waiting for the person taking over my shift to come out.

To explain the above, person starting mid-day walks into the shop at 12 which is their shift start and my shift end, they then count their till, then bring it out, then I go and count my till, then get to leave. Which means I ended up working between 15 and 30 minutes overtime every day more or less, maybe more, without extra pay. The only time we had extra pay was if we worked a full hour of overtime.

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38. This feels illegal

Had a workplace time our bathroom breaks and deduct them from our allotted 15-minute breaks or lunch. We had to go see the office manager to get a key to open the restroom. As soon as we left his office he would start a timer... when you got back he would stop the timer and tell you how much time you needed to deduct from your lunch or next break. They watched our breaks like a hawk.

Also, if you made a mistake they would stand over you and time you while you fixed it and deduct that from your lunch or breaks.

You couldn't bring anything "that smells" for lunch and they had no way of heating anything up.

I worked out my contract and split.

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37. Is this work or prison

The VP of our company just held a mass meeting to tell all of us we can't have pictures or plants or food or any form of non-office supplied object on our desk. Tons of coworkers have family pictures or their kids' finger paintings pinned up on the cubicle walls. All that has to be removed. People were really annoyed.

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36. Gotta find those loopholes

Dress code policy is just dumb at my work. Different positions have different requirements. Even though we all work in the same office.

My favorite rule though is the one on shorts. We can wear shorts on Fridays between memorial day and labor day. However, the shorts can't have pockets on the side. It was written to discourage ratty cargo shorts. But the way in which it is written allows me to wear gym shorts. So I do.

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35. How would they even enforce these rules

I used to work for some crazy people.

You had to stand in a specific area while eating so they could see you on the camera, you weren't supposed to talk to customers longer than 3 minutes unless you're making a big sale, even then, keep it short.

Answer the phone within 2 rings, keep the conversation to less than 30 seconds. You can't talk to your co-workers outside of work, and you can't talk to your co-workers while at work, even if there was not a single customer in the store.

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34. Everyone now listens to "All Star" on a 10-second delay

Old job of mine in a warehouse. Our stations were pretty far apart, so when we'd listen to music we'd all usually have our own stuff playing. Not a problem since you could barely hear the neighbors' music. Well, the CEO didn't like hearing multiple songs when walking through the warehouse. He made a rule that we all either had to listen to the same music or none at all.

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33. That's so ridiculous in every way

I once needed a pen. Figured this was a reasonable ask. I went to the supply closet on my floor, which was locked. Asked the floor's admin, she told me to go to the main supply room in the basement. Went to the basement and explained my situation of needing a pen. They told me all requests for supplies must be approved by my department head. Problem is, being new, I'd never met my department head. She also worked in San Francisco (I worked in Milwaukee), so I needed to send an email both introducing myself and asking her if I had permission to get a pen from the supply closet.

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32. Someone could break a toe

I am a fireman and our Risk Management department decided long ago that poles were too risky for us. So we use the stairs. We have poles.

Anyway, now the newest rule is no free weights, as in NO free weights to work out, stay fit. Go into burning high rise- absolutely, walk around the station carrying 40lb dumbells... Too risky.

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31. It all worked out in the end

There was trouble when I (officially) moved desks and my new desk had a phone with call display. Apparently, call display phones were allowed for people at a certain pay level. Your pay level also governed the height of your cubicle walls. My manager's solution was to promote me.

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30. All hail the bureaucracy

We have to do all of our paperwork at least three times. There is a copy of it in our personal folders, a copy online, and a copy in our store folders. Not only does it waste time and paper, but forgetting to do one has gotten people fired. They did the other two identical pieces of paperwork confirming that yes, they did take out the trash and yes, they did check the store voicemail, but how dare they forget to do the third piece of identical paperwork. Our weekly visits from corporate revolve around whether or not we've all done this paperwork. It's so redundant.

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29. I don't understand the definition of "problem", so nobody is allowed to use the word.

My workplace doesn't let you use the word "problems". Instead, we have to say "challenges" if something is wrong. As a problem is a negative word, and challenges promotes the fact that there is room to fix said problem.

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28. Glass houses, love

At my former job at a law office, one of the partners sent an email to the entire staff that employees were not allowed to gossip in the building.
What was everyone gossiping about, you ask? Oh, said partner was divorcing his wife and sleeping with one of the associate attorneys in the firm. But, you know, don't gossip.

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27. And I thought my job title was cool

All the extra toilet paper in the building has to stay in a single closet where it can be overseen by the toilet paper queen. I heard her shrieking the other day when she discovered someone had "hoarded" one spare roll of toilet paper upstairs so the people who work upstairs wouldn't have to walk down multiple flights of stairs when the toilet paper ran out.

It's the cheapest, 1-ply toilet paper available on the giant rolls that only fit in the special dispensers. I can't imagine anyone wanting to steal it.


26. This is what happens when the people who make the rules, aren't the ones who have to follow them

I used to work for a now long-defunct book, movie, and music store. Just one of the 285 reasons that poorly run business ran into the ground was the tardy/attendance policy.

If you were literally one second late clocking in, even hours before the store opened, it was a really, really big deal. You'd be formally written up, lectured like a child, and often times berated. If you were tardy three times, bye-bye. HOWEVER, if you no-showed and then called 2 hours later saying you were sick? —okay, thank you, feel better. This trained everyone to just take a sick day instead of being half a second late to work. I can't tell you how many times you'd see a coworker screeching into the parking lot before work after fighting traffic from a wreck or whatever, noticing it was 8:01, and then slowly driving off to go home and feign being sick. This was particularly upsetting when it was a pulldown stock week when we needed every hand on deck but had unusually early shifts.

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25. Not quite the best way to handle this situation

When I was in the military I saw a buddy of mine sitting outside crying. I went and consoled him best as I could - apparently he was just depressed and unhappy. After he was feeling a bit better I went to go and find someone to tell them what was happening. They knew. In fact, he had been crying so much lately that they had instituted a 'no crying at your desk' policy - which is why he was outside.

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24. Oops, sorry I drove through the fence with your 80k car, but my employee handbook says I can't back up.

I drive valet. The company handbook says you're never allowed to back up. Ever.

You absolutely cannot do the job without reverse. It's impossible.

It's in there because of liability and our insurance policy. This way it can always be the valets' fault if an accident occurs ever.

But if the rule says no reverse, yet you're expected to park a car, then how can you park the car?

Answer: Never hit anything, and always reverse despite the rules. Expect to be fired should you hit anything in reverse, but probably not. The rule only exists to cover the company's butt, but if they don't feel threatened by you working there and you're an asset, you still will not be fired. And yes, you may be questioning the legality of it and you're right, It wouldn't hold up in courts, but it's in the handbook and it's silly.

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23. Just a bunch of IT guys in Hawaiian shirts and overalls

It's not like this anymore, but for a while, they attempted to have a dress code. Guys had to wear collared shirts, but "Hawaiian" style shirts were totally acceptable. You could not wear jean shorts, but jean overall shorts were ok.

I got sent home one day because my shorts weren't finger-tip length.

We were tech support... no one EVER saw us, that was the best part.

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22. I have gotten around so many "dress codes" using this exact excuse

I worked as a call receiver. We NEVER saw a customer. We were only on the phones with them. Rule: Your hair must only be a natural color. I dyed my hair the same exact color that someone from a different shift had. I was reprimanded. I told them that if the rule is not enforced for everyone, they couldn't single me out. Their reasoning for letting the other person have that color but not me... Mine was my real hair, dyed an 'unnatural' color; hers was a weave that could be changed very easily.

Really?! Then why hasn't she been asked to change her hair? "Because that is expensive."

They gave up trying to convince me they were in the right.

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21. Try and stop me

Two weeks after I left my previous job a memo went around saying people aren't allowed to look out of the windows at work anymore.

It's a big glass building.

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20. Fun fact: This is illegal in most countries

I work in retail and we have "on call" shifts.

Your name will be listed on the schedule for a certain time as a call-in, so you have to call one hour before your shift to figure out if they need you to work for the day. For example, you would be listed as "on call for 2 pm" and wouldn't know until 1 pm if you were working that evening. If you don't call in, it's considered "not showing up for a shift," but there's no extra pay for the shift whether they need you or not.

So for three days of the week, I don't know if I have to work or not. I can't make any solid plans to do anything except call my work and ask if they need me. I can't imagine having children or elderly that need taking care of because it would be such a hassle to arrange care for them just an hour before having to work.

When someone told me this policy was probably illegal I brought it up to my manager and she said: "You consented to it in your contract" which I later looked over and found some very vague wording on scheduling to essentially cover the butt of the company. I've heard a lot of backlash lately in the news because it's such a shady practice to cut down on scheduling costs but I never thought to sue. I actually just put in my notice to quit because the stress of not knowing when I had to work was just too much.

I think the main reason they get away with business practices like this is by counting on students not having the knowledge or resources to be able to fight it. At the time I figured if it was in the contract then I couldn't question it. I specifically asked if it was legal and was told by upper management that it was.

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19. This sounds safe

We have a lock on the first aid kits. So if you just need a bandage for a cut, you have to get the key from the Safety guy. Which in turn makes it a " reportable accident" with mountains of paperwork and investigations. We use an unbelievable amount of duct tape now.

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18. Peonage was outlawed by Congress in 1867 (not that many places took notice)

"This handbook can be changed, without notice, at the company's discretion." So, medical leave? "3 days medical leave per year".

Fine, I'll use my PTO and expect to get disability for the remaining time. After I have major surgery, an addendum, two weeks later: "Medical leave for surgery must have written documentation from a doctor outlining your recovery schedule and when you may return to work."

When I return, on a limited schedule, six weeks later, the HR manager comes into my office: "You didn't have the authorization letter before surgery so you better be here or face the unfortunate circumstance of disciplinary action."

While I'm at it since I'm under contract for five years, does anybody know about the legal definition of peonage?

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17. This is scummy

I actually got a job offer with a large internet retailer. (Think large South American river) When they found out I made 10k less than they thought I did, they rescinded the offer and issued a new one with a lower salary.

Like, I was worth $A before, but when you found out I was working for less than that, you decided I was only worth $B? Screw you.

At the final interview, my manager and I discuss salary and agree upon a figure that we both believe is reasonable. Recruiter emails me and says the manager is willing to offer you "x" salary, which was the same that I had discussed with the manager. The recruiter then says we just need to finalize some paperwork before HR can get me an official letter.

Among the paperwork is an employment history packet. As part of the history, it asks for salary history as well. I answer it truthfully.

I then got an official offer letter from HR with a significantly lower salary than what was agreed upon between me, the recruiter, and the manager. I contact the recruiter, he is surprised and looks into it. He says that HR saw my current salary and decided they could get me for less money. The manager claims he didn't know and tried to get more money for me. They came back with a bit more money, but still, less than the original offer was supposed to be.

I declined the offer because I didn't want to work for a company that was willing to screw me over before I was even officially hired. I have since learned not to answer the salary history question.

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16. "Sir, they are talking too much" "Take away their chairs"

There was an issue where there was too much 'socializing' going on on the factory floor, particularly when people were working while sitting down (false - skewed supervisor perception), so they made everybody stand. When that presented ergonomics problems, they brought in these weird chairs that made you sit at a slant, had no backs, and no wheels, so they wouldn't cause "distractions."

No part of it made any sense.

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15. "If there's nothing to do, then what am I paying you for?" "My time, sir"

A rule that said "if you have time to lean, you have time to clean" which fairly obviously meant if there was no work then you should be cleaning things. It was at an aircraft servicing station that was fairly small, but we needed a crew of at least 3 people for larger planes. The problem was that sometimes there were just no planes, so there was no work. We would clean for a couple of hours and then just run out of stuff to clean, but according to management, that was no good - we had to be busy! It got to be that we would fight over work when it came in because everyone was so bored, and finding pretend busy work was much much harder than just working.

I remember getting the crew together to pick up pebbles off the taxiway for a couple of hours. There's an old joke in aviation "go sweep the taxiway!" so we actually did it.

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14. I am 100% sure this guy was a co-worker of mine at my last job

At my last workplace, we had to pay fifty cents to use a K-Cup. It was an office. They also had a 'no websites or Youtube' policy and policed us using the security cameras. We'd get messages if they noticed us on a site. It was a well-known fact that the manager watched Netflix in his office and played World of Warcraft while watching the security cameras to make sure people weren't slacking.

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13. Maybe you shouldn't own a restaurant, then

At my last job at a store/cafe, an unspoken rule, as in me and my manager were never told this by our boss, was that we were not allowed to let a health inspector see anything that they come to inspect while still getting a good grade.

We followed health and safety laws but our bosses didn't (we were one of the smaller stores/cafes in this chain of 20+ stores and cafes). The health inspector must have realized that it was the companies fault for all the health and safety breaches because we (the staff) were given near full marks on the staff's health and safety responsibilities but the boss's responsibilities were a different story.

No fly killer in-store (despite them being attracted by our bakery part and us having a fly killer out back for over a month but no one was ever sent to install it), no mouse/rat traps, only one sink (law requires 2, one for hands and one for dishes), no hot water, the counter were we put coffee down wasn't nailed down and we actually had a customer attempt to sue over a spilled coffee, some of our pastries were expired but we were made to put it out because according to our companies Food manager, "they looked ok so they must be ok." The list goes on.

Our manager ended up showing the health inspector months of emails and texts and WhatsApp messages informing the bosses of these health and safety breaches and asking them to be fixed, all of which were promptly ignored.

Later that day our boss calls and screams over the phone at my manager, tells him that it's all our fault and it's our job to make sure the health inspector never finds out about all that. Over the next week she comes in every single day where she just watches us work from the office on the security cameras and gives out at us for every little thing and makes a massive deal over everything, like for example, I had a mini-sneezing fit one of those days and was yelled at, in front of customers because I was going to "infect everyone and all our food. "

Glad to be out of that job, last I heard a few of the stores she manages (4-5 store managers quit all in one week while she was on holidays. so she took over managing those stores) are failing with massive sales drops and mass employee quitting ever since she took over them. Hope she loses her job.

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12. So you were just supposed to bleed... In a restaurant

For a while, we were going through a lot of bandages and my manager was tired of buying them. So, she locked the last remaining bandaid in the safe (we had to have one; required by health inspector) and no one was allowed to use them if they cut themselves.

I worked at a fast food joint where people could knick themselves on knives, tomato slicers, sharp edges, etc. If you cut yourself, you just dealt with it/openly bled. The rule changed pretty fast though when she cut herself while using a box cutter and we had no bandages in the store.

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11. This is America

I currently have 30 days of paid sick time. I have had that many for over a decade, since it doesn't roll over, it just accrues slowly until you have a month. In order to use sick time, you need a doctor's note. That all sounds reasonable, right? Here's the catch: you must take two unpaid days off before you can use any sick days. These are not paid retroactively, you just lose to full days of pay. Ostensibly, this is to stop people using sick days as personal days, because a doctor's note is not sufficient. Every time I bring this up with one of the bosses, on the rare occasions they don't stare at me blankly because "do today two days get paid retroactively out of my sick time" is apparently rocket science, they have confirmed that I am indeed out of luck in this manner.

But the silver lining is, I can't afford the deductible on the health insurance that costs me more than rent every month, much less the 20% of the remaining balance, so in the end, it doesn't matter how messed up my sick days are!

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10. You should talk to a lawyer

We work alternating days, 3 on / 4 off, 4 on / 3 off.

If you take a vacation on your short week, which is three working days, they dock you 5 vacation days for taking an entire week off...

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9. Imagine this at any other job

At my old job as a pet bather at a pet chain, we had a stool in the salon to sit at while using the computer, and I had a personal step stool for sitting while brushing large dogs on the floor. The cashiers next door complained that they weren't able to sit, yet we were, so all stools were ordered out of the salon. I thus had to kneel, squat or sit on the floor to brush every dog over 75lbs (you try convincing a Labrador that the short table that goes up into the air is safe for a dog his size).

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8. Ahh yes, the joys of government work

I'm a civilian contractor on a military base. We can't buy or do anything without three separate quotes from separate companies.

So my particular section has a propane-fueled forklift. It ran out of propane. Simple solution right? Wrong. Since we didn't have a propane fuel source or a company contracted to fill it we had to get a contract to have someone fill it. The problem is it's the only one the whole contract. So no company would generate a contract to come into the base to fill one 7 gallon propane tank twice a year. This went on for months until our 12 man shop decided we had finally had enough and all pitched in the 22$ to have it filled. 6 months later when it was empty again we asked about having it filled. Same problem. No one in the govt or the contractor could figure out how to pay for it. So I went this morning and filled it on my own.

I work with multi-million dollar aircraft and million dollar CNC machines but can't get 22$ in propane because no one can figure out how to get it paid for.

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7. Her boss REALLY likes redheads, apparently

One of my sisters actually got fired from a job for her hair color. She's a natural blonde but kept her hair dyed red for years. When she decided to go back to her natural hair color to cut expenses (professional dye jobs aren't cheap) her boss flipped out and INSISTED that she go back to red, pointing out that the company had a rule that prohibited dyed hair. He didn't believe her when she pointed out that this WAS her natural hair color, and fired her for insubordination and violating company policy when she flat out refused to go red again (actually, she DID offer to go red again if the company paid the styling bill).

When she went in to pick up her last check a few days later, she took in a handful of pictures of her younger self to prove that blonde really was her natural color. Her boss just looked at them and said, "That just means you've been violating company policy for years, and that I should have fired you a long time ago. Don't bother using us as a reference."

She is talking to a lawyer about a possible lawsuit.

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6. I used to just push a broom around the store for 8 hours a day just to look busy

One of my favorite stories was at a pizza shop. It was some big sporting event, so our boss brought on a bunch of extra people. Unfortunately, nobody was ordering pizza that day. So we cleaned the place from top to bottom and still had nothing to do. I was just folding pizza boxes, and one of my friends was cleaning the rack we used to let the ribs cool down. Or so I thought. He comes up to me and says "Dude, I've just been wheeling this cart back and forth for a half an hour, and nobody noticed yet. I'm going to see how long I can keep this up." He just wheeled this cart from the back to the front for almost 2 hours.

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5. Like a boss

My job years ago tried to implement a very strict attendance policy where if you were one second late you would get written up.

Till one Saturday a guy who had worked there for like 30 years shows up to work 30 seconds late. They pull him into the office and write him up. He then gets up and tells them he's going home. Working Saturdays was voluntary and he basically said I don't have to be here today so I'm going home.

He was doing them a favor by working that day but when they wrote him up for being 30 seconds late he decided they could shove off and he just went home.

That policy didn't last too much longer. For the most part if you're a few minutes late it's no big deal at all. If you're late all the time they'll have a word with you or write you up. But they understand things happen sometimes that's out of your control to cause you to be late.

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4. Why aren't you acting like the cog we pay you to be

I worked for one of the top 10 companies in the US. You might know them, they make garbage computers and terrible printers.

My job was reporting. I was very good with spreadsheets and somewhat enjoyed it, because of this every time something needed doing like that it came my way.

Eventually, I had a mountain of work that was pretty impossible to finish on time.

So I started writing scripts, macros, and more auto hotkey language than I even though possible.

More and more my work was automated and all I had to do was hit the one button. I could even leave my station and my work would finish itself.

It got to the point where I'd remote in from home to start my work and just not come in for the day.

My managers didn't care because I was doing the work of 5 people in ways they couldn't comprehend and getting them better numbers because of it.

Then the productivity nazi came to power. I hate her.

She implemented a policy where everybody had to report how they filled their day down to the minute in one of 14 categories. You were then given a productivity score and anything under 80 percent was an automatic meeting with her, your direct supervisor and their supervisor.

I was safe for a while because my boss covered for me. However, the type of person that takes this sorta role is usually the type of person everybody hates who will go on personal missions for the stupidest things. You know who I'm talking about.

Anyways, my score was always abysmal if I reported it properly. I had to start lying and pretending to be busy as more and more this lady would watch me and quiz me on what I was doing.

My supervisor would give me busy work that was way beneath my pay grade to shut her up.

Like guy before me was getting about 30k a month for the company out of his billing and I was pulling in 80k a month for them because I automated the very tedious things so it became easier to go after the minuscule stuff more and more. But here I was pushing mountains of paper into a shredder machine so I'd stay busy and keep her off my back.

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3. Dehydration is not the best policy

I used to work at a place in which my boss implemented a no more than 2 glasses of water a day policy.

I ignored this rule and complained directly to our CEO and the matter ended later that day.

What was weird though was the majority of people actually followed the rule and some even shopped me up to HR about 'breaking the rules'.

I left not long after that because not only was my boss a jerk but if my colleagues were going to HR over me drinking water, then I obviously couldn't trust them.

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2. This sounds like the opposite of efficiency

The company hired a "Corporate Efficiency Specialist" to come in and "improve" things. She came in and implemented all kinds of rules, which seemed to follow some sort of caste system.

Her philosophy was, the higher your office rank, the more "perks" you get...

Her idea of perks:

The number of pictures you are allowed in your cubicle.

Whether you are allowed to have a potted plant or not.

Coffee mugs were only allowed to senior employees. Others had to use paper cups.

Being allowed to leave the office for lunch was also considered a "perk."

Needless to say, a coup soon followed, and she was tossed out on her hiney. I guess it's easier to get a new efficiency specialist than it is to get a whole new staff.

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1. This is exactly the kind of rule a witch would create

No accusing other staff members of being witches.

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The Unfamiliar Applause


In an era where remote work was the norm, my company's HR went against the grain. One day, while on a video call, he saw that I was wearing home clothes. He went ballistic, lecturing me about professionalism and image. I defended myself, stating the obvious, 'I work at home. Of course, I'll wear home clothes.' His response was shocking. With anger flashing in his eyes, he retorted, 'Suit up, or quit if you don't like it.' So, I did exactly that—I quit. For a week, I indulged in the newfound freedom and the lack of wardrobe restrictions until I had to go back to the office to get my clearance.

As I entered the premises, a bizarre scene unfolded. The security guard, who barely exchanged pleasantries with me before, was applauding me. Confused, I asked, 'What's happening?' He replied, 'Thank you so much! Just go pick up your clearance, and you'll see!' Following his instruction, I walked towards the HR office and found my clearance on the desk. I also noticed the conspicuously empty chair behind the desk. On the clearance was a note, 'Your stand against the dress code policy led to a company-wide investigation. Unprofessional conduct from the HR was discovered. He has been relieved of his duties.' As it turned out, my stand had unintentionally exposed a tyrant. The bitter departure had a sweet aftermath after all.