Workers don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. It only takes one bad boss to ruin the workplace, and when that happens, it can feel nothing short of life-draining. Fortunately, not every employee feels compelled to keep their head down in those situations. In fact, these Redditors clapped back against their awful higher-ups in such a way that it left everyone suddenly wondering: Who’s the boss, now?
Here's the backstory: My boss is a huge jerk. All he does during his shift is walk around and yell at everyone to tuck their shirts in. He's also just generally unpleasant to work with. So, I came into work on my birthday the other day, and my friend ran up to me and yelled, “Happy birthday!” right in front of my boss’s office.
My boss then looked at me. I thought he was going to wish me a happy birthday since he undoubtedly just heard my friend say it, but that's not what he did. “Yeah, go ahead and tuck your shirt in, 'kay?” he said to me. Then, he made a hand signal like he was tucking in an imaginary shirt. I said, “Okay, no prob. I just have to put my stuff down real quick and I’ll take care of it.”
So I walked over to my desk, which took approximately seven seconds, to put my stuff down. My boss immediately came up behind me and again barked, “I said to tuck in your shirt!” I quickly tucked it in. As he literally walked right by me, I answered, “Sorry, I just had to put my stuff down first,” but my boss just kept walking as though I’d never said a word. He was acting all high and mighty, but I shut him down real quick.
I immediately busted out my HR manual and checked the rule on tucked-in shirts. It turned out that employees must tuck in all types of shirts—EXCEPT for Hawaiian or guayabera shirts. So, I took my butt to Walmart, bought 10, and defiantly wore the most obnoxious-looking Hawaiian shirt the next day. Of course, the second I walked in, my boss looked me up and down and glared at me—but there was nothing he could do.
He turned around and walked away. Then, afterward, when everyone asked me why I was wearing such a ridiculous shirt, I gleefully told them about the loophole. Now half my office is wearing Hawaiian shirts, and it’s driving my boss crazy...But it’s all within the guidelines as outlined by company policy.
I worked at a waterpark, and our supervisor was a witch who wouldn’t let the lead guards at the top of the tallest slide go to the bathroom. One day, one of the guards at the top began radioing that he needed to go #2 but she wouldn’t let him. Mind you, the boss would allow the lead guards to ride down the slide every once in a while to make sure that none of the tubes had gotten stuck.
Anyway, this poor lead guard was about to soil his pants in front of a ton of guests. So, with no other option, he came up with a shocking alternative—he went into the utility closet and did the deed in a bucket of cat litter we kept to clean up vomit. He then proceeded to ride down the slide to clean himself off and left the supervisor to clean up his bucket.
While I was in the Navy, a doctor recommended that I get extensive surgery on my ankle. In a weird twist of logic, my command said they would approve the procedure, but not the convalescent leave because they felt that I didn’t deserve a bunch of time off for surgery. Huh? They refused to sign ANY paperwork for it, but I quickly set out to challenge their decision.
They weren't ready for what I was about to hit them with. I first slapped them with the regulation stating that they were required to respond to all requests within a certain amount of time (three days, I think). They still responded with a “no,” so I proceeded to get some Naval lawyers to draw up some paperwork (in accordance with all regulations).
The legal notice stated that my command would be responsible for 100% of my medical care if they did not abide by the doctor’s orders. I also let them know that this would mean leaving ALL of my medical care for civilians to handle and that the command would then be responsible for paying the bill out of their budget. THAT got their attention: They approved my surgery, convalescent leave, and convalescent leave extension.
I worked at a supermarket, and my manager Rob was as jerkish as it gets. He gave us bad employee evaluations so that we couldn’t get raises, and he’d leave the store for hours at a time, which sometimes even confused the other managers. He treated us all like garbage—he walked all over us, yet he was probably the least productive of us all.
Then one day, I got angry at him. On that day, some old woman in the parking lot fell RIGHT in front of me. I grabbed another customer, told him to stay with the woman, and then ran inside to grab the store manager, a pharmacist, and a bottle of my water from the break room. I then helped her in her car and had someone at the service desk call an ambulance.
Afterward, I received a customer compliment (which can be redeemed for a free sub if the manager deems it a formal compliment), but Rob refused to honor it. He said, “That’s not exceptional; it’s what we expect out of you.” Annoyed, I clocked out for a break and bought my own lunch. One of the cashiers mentioned something about the incident and said, “Rob the hero,” was now taking care of the situation.
So I said, “Right. More like Rob the giant jerk.” That was a big mistake—I didn’t notice who was checking out behind me, so I looked to see if anyone had heard what I had just said. To my horror, behind me was a customer who was known throughout the store for his autism and tendency to remember and repeat phrases. I immediately took off out the door, thinking I’d surely be fired when I came back.
Luckily, the customer said nothing, so I managed not to get in trouble at all. This is where it gets interesting: For a few months after that incident, every time the autistic customer would see Rob, he’d say “Rob the giant jerk” right in front of everyone. The first time I saw it happen, the look on Rob’s face was priceless. It was very deer-in-the-headlights.
Of course, I busted out laughing, and so did all of the other employees who heard it, so I blended right in. It was unintentional, but it was probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen…AND I got to see it happen myself three times.
I worked in this one corporate kitchen where our GM didn’t like our music, so he would put on children’s music instead. When we all started singing along at the top of our lungs...Well, we quickly won that battle of attrition. But then, years later, we got surround sound in a different, closed kitchen. Once again, the uppity GM did not like our music and started passing draconian censorship rules about what we could play.
Little did he know that we had the perfect plan to really tick him off. We switched it back to children’s music for a week. The moral of the story: Never underestimate the power of a kitchen crew of misfits singing “Banana Phone” at the top of their lungs to fight fascism, jerk! Viva La Raffi! Viva La Raffi!
I used to work at the Jaws ride at Universal Studios, Florida. Our uniform consisted of a blue T-shirt, jeans or jean shorts, white socks, and white shoes. However, the “unofficial” dress code had all of us girls wearing jean shorts and white knee socks. One summer, I ended up working the Jaws ride and the Jungle Cruise ride at Walt Disney World simultaneously. I love Disney and had always wanted to work there, but I ended up finding it stifling, with all sorts of silly and over-the-top rules.
While working at the Jungle Cruise ride, I had to wear a khaki shirt, khaki shorts or pants, white socks, and brown shoes. But one day, I didn’t have any normal-sized socks to wear to the Jungle Cruise ride, so I ended up wearing my white knee-highs from the Jaws ride, which looked RIDICULOUS with the Jungle costume.
When I got to work, one of my managers flipped his lid. He told me my socks weren’t in compliance with “The Disney Look” and he made me roll my socks down. It looked like I was wearing little white life preservers around my ankles, and they ended up looking even more out of place than they did originally.
I was annoyed, but I would end up having the last laugh. When I went home, I scoured my Disney Look booklet for the policies pertaining to socks. All I could find was that the socks had to be long enough to cover the ankle bone—there was no maximum height. Heck, I could have worn white tights under my khaki shorts if I really wanted to. So, the next day, I wore my knee-highs again as a small act of rebellion.
The same manager was there, and of course, he flipped out. He actually pulled me into the office to write me up, but before he could get me to sign the paperwork, I pulled out my copy of The Disney Look. I showed him that, while incredibly silly looking, my socks were perfectly acceptable, and I told him I would continue wearing them like that.
And so I did. I looked stupid, but I didn’t care. Working for Disney wasn’t a pleasant experience, in my opinion, and it was very liberating to know that I could at least wear my socks...however the heck I wanted to.
In high school, I wore a FreeCondoms.com T-shirt to school. After three to four hours of wearing it, I got called down to the principal’s office and was told that I was promoting abhorrent behavior. I posited that I was, in fact, trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but I lost that fight and was informed that I had to leave if I did not have another shirt.
Rather than leaving, I opted for a rather devious loophole—I put a sticky note over the ‘M’ in condoms and spent the rest of the day harassing faculty about the fantastic lakeside condos that I was giving away for free.
My brother-in-law worked for UPS for 17 years. He was a bit of a joker and was constantly getting in trouble for coming to work with crazy hair colors or cornrows (he was a big Italian guy and was told by his superiors that it wasn’t appropriate). It was always something. But then, later on, he learned that his bosses couldn’t say anything to him about wearing sunglasses. So, his little rebellion at work was to wear the most outrageous sunglasses he could find.
He had ones shaped like giant red lips; guitars with the stems sticking up; purple ones with rhinestone hearts on them…Anything for a laugh. After a while, people knew him by his glasses. If someone said they lived in a certain area, I would say, “Oh, my brother-in-law is your UPS man, the guy with the crazy glasses,” and their reply would almost always be something like, “Ohhh, John. Yeah, I love that guy. He’s hilarious.”
He passed four years ago after being hit by a tipsy driver while out walking one night. When we attended his funeral, we were shocked at how his co-workers honored him—all of his guys from work attended, dressed in their browns and wearing crazy sunglasses. His best friend gave his eulogy wearing a pair of neon green glasses three times the size of his face, and the pastor even borrowed John’s guitar glasses when he went up to speak.
We counted after his funeral, and he owned over 200 different pairs of crazy sunglasses. What started as him being a pain in the butt to his boss ended up as a tribute to his character in life: He always wanted to make someone else smile.
I used to work at a TV station. This place had absolutely awful management and I complained about it to my friends all the time. Eventually, some people began asking me about my job on Facebook, and I would reply truthfully, knowing I could get fired for speaking ill of the company. So I started reading the HR handbook, and I found out that as long as I didn’t specifically name the company, I couldn’t get fired for talking about it.
Then about a month later, I realized I couldn’t take the misery of my job anymore. I did what I never thought I would never do—I posted on Facebook how terrible my job was, and even though I never mentioned the company by name, my bosses fired me the next day. I gladly walked out of that building and into a lawyer’s office. In the end, I got $17,800—my yearly salary (seriously). Felt good, man.
Back in high school, I joined a small group of students and a few teachers on a rare trip out-of-state. I was at the top of my class, but I was also one of those ruffian or hoodlum types: big pants, dark blue hair, and white-out contacts. Anyway, we were supposed to look “presentable” because we were going someplace directly after our short flight.
I’d swapped out my usual white-out contacts for clear ones, and I was pretty much dressed like a Mormon; though I still had my dark blue hair. But when we arrived at the airport, shortly before the flight, one of the chaperones, a school counselor who was quite familiar with me, caught a glimpse of my attire. She suddenly turned to me and said: “Are you serious?”
I replied, “Not usually, but what are you talking about?” She then went on about how my “unnatural” hair color was a distraction that reflected poorly on the school As a side note, for several months leading up to this point, my hair had been a variety of colors, including some very bright, annoying concoctions, like magenta and turquoise.
Also, a hairdresser friend did my hair professionally with semi-permanent hair dye, so it wasn’t changing any time soon. Regardless, the counselor called the principal over and asked her to send me home to make my hair look more “natural.” The principal, who I considered a friend, just looked at me and asked me what I thought.
I responded that the counselor’s choice of hair color (orange blonde) was not natural either. I went on that trip, and the country folk loved this city boy’s funny hair.
In the McDonalds I used to work at in Pennsylvania, it was the norm for the managers to not clock out for their lunch breaks. This, unfortunately, meant that whenever there was a huge rush, you HAD to forfeit your break to get up and help. Well, according to the rules of the state, we were entitled to a lunch break off the clock, undisturbed. But one day, I just had enough—I clocked the heck out, then sat down and had some noms.
Then the owner walked in. He immediately wanted to know why I wasn’t helping because they were backed up. I put him on notice, and everyone left me alone afterward. In fact, they actually started doing it themselves.
Nobody ever received a positive comment in their evaluations at the place where I used to work. In fact, somebody once questioned in a meeting, “Do you think we could say something nice about somebody just once?” Coldly, the immediate response was, “That’s not what we’re here for!” I resisted all of this for five long years until, eventually, certain people who’d held years-long grudges against me personally rose up to the right positions and put together a case to get me railroaded out.
Fortunately, my co-worker filled me in on what was going down, so I was able to interview around and get another job before the hammer finally came down. They were gonna drag me in on a Tuesday at 11 o’clock, and I got the other job offer at nine. I preemptively turned in a resignation that said nothing more than, “I resign my position .” I also refused an exit interview and presented state and federal statutes that showed I was not required to give one.
Even though these people so badly wanted me gone, they were furious that I’d beaten them to the punch. The reality of their intentions was much darker than I had initially assumed—they wanted to put me on a set-up-to-fail PIP so they could exploit my expertise through the summer season. Instead, I handed them a post-dated resignation, knowing they would immediately throw me out of the building.
I also knew they would have to pay me through the effective date, which gave me my annual profit-sharing distribution. Now I’m in a job with far fewer hours while making more money, with co-workers that I actually like. Meanwhile, the old company laid off 10 percent of their employees and slashed the compensation of those who remained by thirty percent.
Good. Screw them.
Our old CEO was a jerk. He made a rule saying that no dogs or cats were allowed in the office (we were previously dog-friendly). Our department head was not having any of it. One day, he decided to bring in freaking a miniature horse. He was fired a week after for it, but it was hilarious. He got rehired after we got rid of the CEO. Our new CEO lets us race our dogs.
Back when I was working and attending classes, I would go straight from campus to work and would often arrive 10 to 20 minutes early before my shift. On occasion, my boss would ask me to help him out with something before I clocked on, like putting something away or answering the phone. But over the span of a couple of months, this evolved from “occasionally” to “every day."
After doing this for a couple of weeks (still clocking in at my usual 3 pm), I decided that if I was to work for a few extra minutes each day, I’d better get paid for it. One time, I tried to ask him to pay me, and I didn’t even make it an hour into my shift before my boss started screaming at me and throwing down the employee handbook, saying that I’m only allowed to clock in five minutes before and after my scheduled shift.
That's when I decided to fight back...in the most passive-aggressive way. From that moment forward, I made it a point not to check in until five minutes after my scheduled shift every day, no matter how early I was. Fast forward to three months later, and my boss got fired. He got what was coming to him.
My father was working in a post office in the early '80s. It was an unusually hot day with ~85°F inside. There were no fans available, so it was crazy. Men weren’t allowed to wear shorts, but my dad came to work wearing shorts that covered his knees and a part of his shin, figuring he was fine. Apparently, it wasn’t, and his boss sent him home to change.
His boss probably thought that was the end of that, but he had no clue what crafty plan my dad was cooking. He returned in his grandfather’s apparel from the late 19th century: top hat and all. The boss kept asking if it wasn’t a little hot in that suit, but my dad insisted he was fine.
As a nanny, it’s weird when your boss is a mom with no actual experience in being a boss. The worst boss I worked for wasn’t that bad when I first started working for her, but over the course of the year, she kept adding more and more things for me to do. Suddenly, I wasn’t just taking care of the baby; I became their maid too, with no pay increase. Eventually, it got to the point where I was basically her personal assistant.
She got a taste of power and completely abused it. As a young 19-year-old, it was hard for me to see how bad the situation really was because it wasn’t an overnight thing. I was eventually “fired.” Then, the day after she fired me, she pulled a major Uno reverse card—she weirdly called me asking where I was. By that time, the job was so bad...I did everything in that house, from taking care of the baby to hand washing the mom’s delicates.
She even got me a “uniform” and would reprimand me if it wasn’t kept well. It was the same with her hair and make-up requirements. Then, when the woman was a couple of weeks pregnant with baby #2, she suggested that I become a wet nurse for them. After I got fired, I never went back—and the lady flipped out and showed up at my house.
My boss went away for about three to four weeks for a conference, and while he was away, a workmate and I had a brilliant idea for the office: a George Foreman grill. So, every day for over a month, we’d go to the deli and grab stuff for lunch (hamburgers, lamb chops, pork, steaks, etc.). But when the boss got back, he put a stop to it with the exact words: “I don’t want that thing inside the office.” We, therefore, decided to take the grill to the shared kitchen area on our floor (we rented a suite).
But our boss got angry at that too and exclaimed, “I DON’T WANT IT ON THIS FLOOR.” So we next took it down to the underground parking area and used the power outlet by his parking space while he was out for lunch. Unfortunately, one day, our plan was foiled BIG time—he caught us hunched over our tiny George Foreman grill cooking hamburger patties as he came back from lunch with a business partner (who, by the way, was in the car with him).
Just imagine catching three IT guys crouched on the ground like cavemen in a poorly lit underground parking lot, cooking hamburgers on the concrete floor. Yeah, it went over about as well as you would think. If he hadn’t specifically used the words, “Take that home, or I will break it and throw it in the trash,” our next step would’ve been to use the power in the church parking lot directly opposite the building (which faced his office).
When I was in the army, I pulled my car up to an ATM on base. Four guys emerged behind me, and while I was getting my cash, someone remarked, “You actually drive that freaking piece of junk? I should call in for a tow truck.” Without bothering to turn around, I yelled back, “Screw you AND your tow truck.” I never did see who it was behind me, as he was gone by the time I got my money.
But the next day, my squad leader called me aside and asked me if I told SSG “P” to go screw himself yesterday, and I had to admit that yes, I probably had. So, I was in trouble; the three other witnesses were interviewed and signed sworn statements to the fact that I had told a staff sergeant to go screw himself and a towtruck.
I was allowed the opportunity to read the incriminating statements against me before I made my own; probably just to make sure I understood there was no point in lying. Fortunately, I found out a juicy detail that worked splendidly in my favor—only one of the witnesses knew who the guy was because SSG “P” was wearing civilian clothes…He wasn’t on duty.
So, my statement detailed an “aggressively profane and hostile person in civilian attire, identity unknown to me,” whom I found to be acting irrationally. I then said that I attempted to diffuse further confrontation by “responding jovially in kind fashion.” The beauty of it all was that I would’ve been unable to mesh my version of events so perfectly with the bland facts the others reported without reading the other statements.
You see, under the UCMJ (the army’s uniform code), there is no such thing as “disrespecting a non-commissioned officer.” There’s only “insubordination,” and it’s very clear that the officer needs to be in uniform. So at that point, everyone decided that the best thing to do was sweep it all under the rug, as SSG “P” had far more to lose than I did. Magically, everything went away.
“P” continued to be a jerk to me at every opportunity, so whenever I saw him out of uniform, I made a point of yelling, “Hey, ‘P!’ Screw you!” Eventually, my squad leader asked me to stop as a personal favor to him, so I did...but it was fun for a while.
The company I work for has a dress code that allows women to wear open-toed shoes, so long as they are leather; however, the dress code does not allow men to do the same. When I started wearing leather sandals a few years back during the warmer months, some managers mentioned to me that I was violating the dress code. I had a simple but highly effective response to this.
I pointed out that they would consider my shoes acceptable if I were a woman and that it was gender discrimination to deny me the ability to wear something considered okay on someone of the opposite gender. I haven’t heard any comments or problems since.
When I worked at Best Buy, the dress code was black shoes, pants, a belt, and a tucked-in blue shirt. Except I never wore a belt nor tucked my shirt in, because as a chubster, whenever I knelt to organize the DVDs on the bottom shelf, my shirt would come untucked, and the belt would cut into my belly. First-world problems, huh?
Anyway, my boss would constantly freak out on me for not having my shirt tucked in, and she eventually got on my case for not wearing a belt, too. So, I checked the dress code and found it read something like: “Wear a belt if there are belt loops on the pants.” What I did next is pretty genius, if I do say so myself—I found an Exacto knife and cut off all my belt loops.
When I came into work the next morning, my boss again noticed I wasn’t wearing a belt and exclaimed, “WHERE’S YOUR BELT?” I gave her the biggest smirk I could muster and replied, “WHERE’S MY BELT LOOPS?” It was one of my finest moments.
When I worked at Big 5, there was a policy that the men either had to be clean-shaven or have a mustache: no beards, goatees, or star-burns. I could NOT wear a mustache without looking like a creep or an '80s-era “adult” star, but I hate shaving every day. My decision ended up ticking off my managers to their bones.
I grew out the biggest, creepiest Hulk Hogan mustache ever witnessed and wore it proudly for the entire time I worked there. Winning.
I work at Home Depot, and steel-toe footwear is mandatory. A typical pair of steel toes cost over $100 and the company doesn’t pay for them. I work minimum wage and I’m female, so finding an appropriate pair was very difficult. But I still took the opportunity to get my passive-aggressive revenge—because the company didn’t mandate any specific colors, I went out and bought bright white and green steel-toe shoes with matching laces.
They are the ugliest things ever and the first thing my co-workers notice.
At the store I worked at, they wanted a minimum of 70% of our transactions to be membership transactions. I found a foolproof loophole for this, and they hated me for it. I would deliberately get 100% by only ringing one customer through on my whole shift and I'd get them to either use or sign up for a membership. Then, on a random day, I’d ring someone though without using their membership card so that I would be at 0%.
Whenever management came to me to complain that my percentage was zero, I’d tell them that I’d been 100% all week and that I’d only had one transaction that day, and the customer didn’t want to sign up. They couldn’t get mad at me for 0% on one person (you can’t win ‘em all), and they couldn’t get mad at me for only ringing in one person every other day because my numbers were technically 100%.
It annoyed the heck out of them, but on paper, it looked great.
I used to work at a lingerie store as an assistant manager, so I had to dress nice and look professional. All the other girls wore huge heels, and they always ended up complaining about how sore their feet were at the end of their shift. I always wore flats to avoid having sore feet. They were still nice, stylish shoes, but they didn’t have towering heels on them.
My manager always used to get mad at me for not wearing heels and tried to claim they were part of the dress code. I looked up the dress code and showed her that it didn’t say anywhere that I had to wear heels; just that I had to wear acceptable work attire (or something along those lines). She then tried to tell me it was an out-of-date dress code. That's when I had the final straw.
I told my manager that she should get an updated dress code if that were the case. Eventually, she brought the head office into the argument, and the provincial manager ended up trying to convince me to wear heels to work. I replied that they would have to pay me much more than minimum wage to ruin my feet.
Needless to say, I did not get a raise, but no one ever told me to wear heels to work again.
Five or so years ago, I worked at a Petsmart in the “Pet Hotel,” where we boarded the animals whose “Pet Parents” (owners) were on vacation. Everything I did was in the back, and no customers ever saw me—just the dogs and kitties. Still, my witch boss would always get on my case for forgetting my belt. One day, she got particularly mad at me for not having a belt despite the fact that I’d only just taken that shift last minute for someone who was sick.
My next move left her speechless—I picked up a dog leash, put it through my belt loops, and said, “Well, it appears I now have a belt.”
When I worked at OfficeMax about 10 years ago, I was the only employee who didn’t smoke. Naturally, this meant that everyone in the building got to take 15-minute smoke breaks two or three times per shift—and I got squat. But I would soon have my sweet, sweet justice. One day, I asked the manager if I could have a “clean air break.” Needless to say, he was confused.
I explained that if the smokers could take 15-minute breaks two or three times a shift, I should be able to step outside and do the same without having to smoke. It irked my manager, but he knew he ultimately had to let me do it to avoid any discrimination.
I work in foodservice. My job created a rule one day that no employee's hair should touch his or her collar. I have rather long hair, but I always kept it in a braid, and we wear hats, anyway. I was informed of this new rule about two hours before the end of my shift and told that I HAD to comply IMMEDIATELY because I was breaking the health code.
I politely informed them that no, I was not. It was only a store policy, but I would be happy to come in with my hair up the next day. I didn’t think this was unreasonable—it would take me a while to put my hair up, not to mention all the pins, hair products, etc. that I would need to do it. Unfortunately, I got told, “Not good enough! NOW!!!” That lit a fire in me.
I punched out for a break and bought some rubber bands and floral wire. I then made eight braids with the wire woven inside and stuck them out in every direction. When my boss saw me, he began screaming. I calmly told him that my hair wasn’t touching my collar.
I’m a senior in high school, and one day, a bunch of senior guys decided to start up a “Tank Top Tuesday.” So every Tuesday, about half of the senior guys would come to school wearing tank tops. Our school had no rule about tank tops except that the straps needed to be at least two inches thick, so we didn’t anticipate any problems (especially considering that the girls at our school wore tank tops all the time).
But after the first day, the school announced that boys were no longer allowed to wear tank tops. When we questioned why that was, they claimed that visible armpit hair was a distraction that inhibited learning. Our solution made our teachers want to rip their hair out. the following Tuesday, we all went to school wearing tank tops and sported shaved armpits.
In the navy, you must always wear a white T-shirt under your uniform. I had a Senior Chief who would constantly check if our T-shirts were not visible, and he required that they be seen. I checked the uniform regs and found that we could wear a V-neck tee while in a working uniform. So I started wearing them, and sure enough, he took notice as soon as he saw me. That's when things got heated.
When I told him that the regs allowed it, he was taken aback. His only comment was, “One for the blue shirts,” before he walked away. Then, he hammered me for every regulation violation he could find. Smart alecks never win, at least not in today’s Navy.
I went to a Pentecostal School even though my family and I aren’t Pentecostal. They made me get haircuts all the time, but I liked having long hair and sideburns. One day, the school gave me the most disturbing ultimatum: Either I had to shave my sideburns, or they would do it. So, I told the principal that I wanted a tattoo. She immediately told me that I could not because the school’s rules were biblically-based, and then she read Leviticus 19:28: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.”
I then told her to please read the verse above, which read: “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” I got to keep my sideburns.
I worked at a chain Americana restaurant and I had this one witch of a manager who would always send me home to shave if I came to work with a five o’clock shadow. I was a busboy and I never even talked to the customers, so I don’t know why she had it out for my facial hair (which I grew out like Wolverine), especially since we could technically either be clean-shaven or have a full-grown beard, mustache, or goatee. They couldn't stand what I did next.
I took a week off, grew an amazing beard, and came to work the next day to show it off. Suck it, Stesha.
I work at a movie theater, and because I’m a girl, I always have to work concession. One of our managers even calls us the “candy girls,” which is ridiculous. Anyway, we all have to wear these stupid visors, and THEY DO NOTHING. So, I always tried to get away with not wearing one until one day, the oldest manager working there got so furious with me that he threatened to write me up.
However, I noticed one very important detail that would end up giving me the upper hand—the boys never had to wear the visors whenever they came to help with the concession, with the justification being that they “don’t have as much hair as us girls do.” So, I got a pixie-style haircut, and now I laugh my butt off every time my old-timer manager tries to say something.
We had a dress code for our “casual” days where I worked: No jeans, no T-shirts, and no sneakers. Basically, casual days are days when “men don’t have to wear a tie,” but otherwise, they’re just like regular, business-formal days. So, I decided to make a point. One of the outfits I liked to bring out for our casual days went something like this: black-and-white zebra-striped pants, a black and white horizontally striped shirt, a black and white vertically striped jacket, a black and white scarf, and four-inch platform heels.
Then there was also my glorious, perfectly respectable blouse—in neon green, neon orange, and chartreuse—which looked absolutely delightful when combined with my modest turquoise skirt and rainbow-striped knee-high socks. Technically, I was completely in compliance with the dress code. The ladies from the admin section would stare at me by the elevator banks and whisper to each other in what they considered a secretive manner about my fashion faux-pas.
Their pitying expressions read, “Clearly, she doesn’t get it.” Heh, yeah. I’m pretty sure I’m not the one who “didn’t get it.”
I worked for an IT department that was just the pits. At the time, the company was in the process of merging with another organization, so the IT budget for my department got cut by over 50% and I had to lay off six employees. Unfortunately, the company still required that the workload of those six employees get completed; otherwise, I’d get written up. I worked 80-hour weeks for about three months before I finally had it.
I was ready to quit without another job lined up just because I felt my health had deteriorated and frankly because zero effs were given. But the day before I was going to give my notice, I re-read the employee manual and found the section on terminating employment. My eyes widened with intrigue. It stated that if an employee gave their notice, they would be entitled to take their vacation time immediately because the company would not pay out that time.
In the company’s eyes, this was their dumb way of saving money. So the next morning, I walked into my boss’s office, placed my laptop, blackberry, and keys on his desk, and said, “I am resigning; thanks for everything. Take care.” He looked at me, shocked at first, and then asked when my last day was. I replied, “Right now, I’m leaving in five minutes. In accordance with the HR manual, I am taking my 10 vacation days that are in my bank, which translates to two weeks.”
His jaw dropped. He was on the phone with HR before I even walked past his office door, and I went back to my desk to pack up. Needless to say, my boss was aggravated, but HR confirmed the policy. I left in the next five minutes, and I got paid my vacation time for the next two weeks. I heard the policy was changed right after I left.
I work at a bank, and it’s in our dress code policy that women MUST wear nylons or socks with their shoes. I work behind the teller line, so no one sees our freaking legs. Also, does anyone really NEED to see the fact that I’m wearing underwear under a skirt?! They had no idea who they were messing with. Anyway, now I wear knee-high boots every time I wear a skirt or a dress to work.
Whenever someone asks, “Where are your nylons?” I stick my foot up on a chair, unzip my boots, and point: “Socks.”
Probably the worst boss I ever had was at a McDonald’s. We had a younger manager for the first 10 months that I worked there, then they decided to bring in a second manager from another store. For the first week or so, he was fine—but then one day, one of the 16-year-old girls that usually worked the drive-thru got put on the grill for no reason.
At some point, she accidentally got grease on her shirt, and the manager flipped the heck out. What she told her was disturbing: "You look like pig. Either clean it up or go home." She left crying. The next day, another underage kid asked to get a drink of water after a three-hour non-stop rush—the poor kid looked like he was about to pass out. The manager told him no, so the kid said he’d drink from the sink in the back.
The manager then told him that he would send him home if he did that. I lost my temper when I heard that. I basically told the guy to eff off and left. I never went back. I heard that a month later, that manager got fired.
I used to work at Comcast, and I had aspirations to move up into management. I was pretty green to the corporate world, so I thought that helping my supervisor with her job would help move me up. And by help, I mean help my supervisor do her entire job. I ran her meetings, did scheduling, went through all her paperwork, etc.
I did all this while she sat at her desk playing Candy Crush on her iPad. This went on for months until, one day, I absolutely lost it. I ended up snapping at a customer in a totally unprofessional way. Now, I took full responsibility for what I did, but that wasn’t good enough for my boss. Nope, she had to sit me down and humiliate me in front of the upper management.
For an hour and a half, she made me listen to a recording of my entire screw-up while pausing it every few minutes to say something like, “How could you?” I was in tears at the end, and she just used that to show how bad of an employee I was and how good a boss she was for “helping” me learn from my mistakes. She then pushed for me to receive a final notice.
Essentially, if I got out of line one more time over the next year, I’d lose my job. But my boss wasn’t going to fire me; I was going to do it for her. HR was predictably useless, as were my friends in management. Now that I had gone from being an up-and-coming star to a pariah, people didn’t care about me…except for my supervisor, who still expected me to do her freaking job for her.
My next few days were filled with a considerable amount of crying. What followed next was rage—endless, white-hot rage. I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up. Instead, I decided the best revenge was my own success. So, I went back to school to finish my degree. After a while, I got offered an internship, which I took.
While I was fighting an uphill battle at Comcast 40 hours a week, I also worked at an internship for 20 hours a week while still being a full-time student. I let my supervisor know it, too. “Sorry, Boss,” I’d say, “I can’t do this report for you. I have a final to study for.” And, “Want me to stay late? Sorry, no can do. My internship is working me hard, so I want to spend my night off at home doing nothing.”
I basically ignored her whenever possible. If she asked me or emailed me a question relating to my job, I’d respond, but if she sent out a group email about some incentive plan, I would send it to the trash. At one point, she pulled me into a “meeting,” which was actually just the two of us, where she basically just antagonized me.
She even repeatedly told me, “You don’t know me…” which was really awkward, by the way. This went on for the entire year I was on probation, and during that time, I always kept my sales numbers low. Not low enough to get fired, but just at the point where people could see I wasn’t trying. This affected my commission, but it was so worth it.
Why? Well, three months before my probation was over, I got the option to switch to another supervisor, which I did with gusto. I then upped my effort during those last three months, and my new supervisor saw my sales numbers skyrocket. You see, my old boss had totally overlooked my genius—I had intentionally undercut my commission before to make my old boss look bad.
Of course, the upper management quickly took notice of how my new supervisor succeeded in one month, whereas my older supervisor repeatedly failed in nine. It pleased me to no end that I’d humiliated her just like how she’d humiliated me. Finally, on the one-year anniversary of my probation, I put in my two-week notice.
In my exit interview, I let them know everything I’d done to improve my life (though I omitted the whole “undercutting of my sales” part). I also said that I’d spent the last year becoming a better person just to spite Comcast and that I’d waited until after my probation was over to officially quit.
I once worked a job where the client let slip how much they were paying for me. It turned out that in one month, they paid more than my annual salary. So, I asked my boss for a pay raise, only to get told there was just no more money available. I said I’d give them six weeks to find the money, and she laughed at me because I wasn’t “the type to give ultimatums.” She would soon find out that she was very wrong for underestimating me.
When I handed my notice in (after securing a better offer from another company), my boss’s boss suddenly offered me a 50% raise to stay.
The company I worked for was a large, nationally-known engineering, architectural, and surveying firm, and my position required me to work both in the office and on construction sites. Our office dress code required dress shoes, slacks, and a “collared shirt” at all times. We had to wear steel-toed boots, jeans, and long-sleeved work shirts on the construction sites.
Our former vice president, a small Jewish man in his 50s with a temper and a thick North-Jersey accent (that’s important for later), used to berate people for violating company dress codes whenever he visited the offices. Well, one day, I was required to visit a site to perform some inspections, and when I returned around midday, he was there, standing by my desk.
“Where’s your collared shirt?” he demanded. “Excuse me?” I said, confused, as I thought it was obvious to everyone that I had just come from a dirty, dusty construction site. “Where’s your collared shirt?” he repeated in his thick North-Jersey accent, louder than before, and coming closer to jab his finger right at my shirt. At that point, I got angry—and even.
I fired back with the first thing that came to mind: “Blue is a ‘collar,’ are you blind?!” I snapped, pointing to my blue T-shirt. He stood there, stunned, and for the first time, he had no comeback. After a moment, he gave me the biggest stink eye I’d ever seen and stormed off to throw a temper tantrum at someone else.
I was a legend for the longest time after that encounter, although to this day, I continue to wonder why I got passed over for every raise and promotion opportunity during my time there.
I’m currently trying to leave my job. I’m salaried, and if I work any amount under 40 hours a week, my boss docks it. If I work over 40 hours a week, I get my salary pay. A few weeks ago, I only worked two days out of the week before discovering I had been around a COVID-positive person. Soon enough, I started developing symptoms.
So, work sent me home. I got a test, and my work told me to stay home until I got the results. Four days later, I got them: Negative. Still, I was in for a huge shock. Even though I’m salaried, my paycheck showed up HUNDREDS of dollars less than usual, and my boss didn’t bother to tell me that my paycheck would be significantly less.
Luckily I went to HR, and they told her she couldn’t do that. My boss later called me and apologized, saying she didn’t know she had to pay me. Uh-huh, sure. Things like this, along with the MANY other terrible things she does, is why I’m trying to get out of there.
After working for the same company for 17 years and always getting praised for my work, I finally got a position in the department I’d always wanted. My manager was excited to have me and continued to praise me. Then, one night, when I was on-call, an “urgent page” got sent to my phone...except my phone didn’t ring. So, my manager got called instead. She texted me a few times, but I didn’t have my text notifications set very loudly.
Suffice it to say my boss was kind of ticked off the next day. I apologized that my phone hadn’t worked properly for the call and explained that if she’d tried to call me instead of text, it probably would have been fine. Besides, my “backup” co-worker got the call and quickly fixed the problem. I mean, that’s what backups are for, right?
But my boss just wouldn’t have it. She kept telling me I’d screwed up and that it better not happen again. She even suggested I get another phone as my backup. What?! I apologized again and said, “Look, what happened to me could happen to anyone. Mistakes happen. My backup co-worker got the call and handled it anyway. Besides, it really wasn’t super urgent.”
Still, she would not let it go. The kicker was, she never even asked me WHY I’d missed the call. Her immediate response before we even sat down to talk about it was along the lines of “Maelstrom, you missed this important call, so your backup had to fix it, and he should not have had to. You’re in trouble.” Our relationship went downhill from there.
Mind you, I’d put 17+ years into this place. I was a great employee, and I had lots of respect from my peers AND HERS. I would get up early and work late to accommodate our customers’ schedules. I put in extra time on my days off for truly urgent issues and never got OT pay. But I didn’t mind. I liked the job, and I got paid well.
After a few months, though, she and I ended up sitting with an HR representative who tried to mediate a truce between us. However, there was a major problem with this—he was mostly on her side. He just kept bringing up the (very few) times I had NOT performed up to par, and he’d completely skip over the context of those incidences every time.
He’d be like, “Boss-Lady tells me there was this one email where you were a little rude to the customer. Is that true?” I’d say, “Well, let me explain the situation.” HR Rep: “No. Just answer the question. Were you rude?” Me: “Well, yes, a bit, I suppose.” Then without giving me a chance to explain, the HR rep would quickly move on to the next accusatory question.
After a bit of this, I looked across the table at my boss. I asked, “Boss, is any of this situation going to change with you?” She just looked at the HR rep. So, I said, “Okay, that’s what I thought.” I then stood up, threw my security badge on the table, grabbed my personal bag (which I had prepared for such an eventuality), and said, “I quit.”
I walked out. The funny thing about it was that the HR rep followed me out the door, calling after me, “Maelstrom! We don’t want this!” I turned around. “Neither did I.” I felt SO GOOD driving home. I’ve got a much better job where I’m much more appreciated now.
I work in home care. In my case, my “bosses” are the members of the family that I work for, and it’s the families that are always the reason I end up leaving—it’s never my clients. Seriously, families are the worst. The one that sticks out the most in my mind was a mom who got angry at me because I once planned to take a week off.
I had worked for her for five years taking care of her very handicapped child. I don’t get paid if I take time off, so I’d planned my vacation accordingly. However, she told me that I’d need to make that time up and lamented that she had no idea what she would do with her child while I was gone. For context, I was one of three or four home aides; she had plenty of help.
I told her I did not need to make that time up because I don’t get paid for not being there. So, it wasn’t my problem, and I guessed she would have to take care of her own kid. Of course, she really didn’t like that answer. I went on my vacation anyway, and after deciding I’d had enough of her, I quit. I felt bad for the kid, though.
The kid wasn’t bad at all—spoiled rotten because of all the issues—but otherwise a decent kid. But I could not take that mom anymore. After a week or two, I got a new case and moved on with my life. But it’s ALWAYS the families that I hate, NEVER the clients. I have had some of the absolute best clients. It’s always just a matter of whether I’m willing to tolerate their family.
For three years, I used to run a restaurant during the weekend night shifts. They were not easy shifts and went from 5 pm to 3 am. Still, I was a night owl, and it was my pleasure. At one point, I took some time off and went to a hot spring with my now wife. Upon driving home, I felt something was very off—my leg hurt, and within two hours, I was in the hospital for an infection and on three different antibiotics at once.
So, I called in to work sick three days in advance. My AGM told me that it was cool; I should heal up, and they would cover my shift. But they did not. As a result, they put me on final warning for my very first infraction, which meant that I was suddenly only one step away from being fired—after all those years of work. So, I put in my three weeks notice the next day.
Screw you, Illegal Petes.
When Circuit City was still in business, I worked in the warehouse. For whatever reason, they had a strict dress policy of khaki pants and this awful collar shirt that employees had to wear tucked in. This rule went for everyone—even the warehouse staff. But I discovered through an old warehouse employee guide that as long as the warehouse employees wore khaki-colored shorts without cargo pockets and a t-shirt with a Circuit City logo, there would be no problem.
Circuit City stopped making Circuit City T-shirts long before I started, but thanks to a local Salvation Army, I was able to pick up two Circuit City t-shirts. Also, after a quick trip to Target for some shorts, my new uniform was complete. When I went to work the next day, my managers' faces turned red. They were not happy about my appearance, claiming I looked sloppy and unkempt.
Even better, when the giant black dude (who hated his job and just slept in the back and talked on his cell phone all day) from the warehouse found out about this, he too got some old Circuit City T-shirts and joined in. Management hated us working together. I miss Circuit City.
This wasn’t really my boss, but my school principal, who was kind of like a boss to me as a kid. I was at an Opus Dei school, so the nuns were pretty freaking strict, and I hated the freaking salads they gave us. To avoid eating them, I found multiple ways to hide my food because, as they used to tell us: “You can’t throw away food when there are millions of people starving.”
Until one day, I had enough. Tired of hiding it, my nine-year-old self just went up with my tray still half-full of food to dump it all. Immediately, the nun went ballistic, but I just said, “I’m full; gluttony is a sin,” and threw it all away. That got me in trouble.
At my old school, they had rules about hair length for the guys, and our teacher was super strict about it. The only actual rules were that they couldn’t pass our eyebrows or collar area. Being the witty guy that I am, I came up with a clever solution to this plight—I used a ton of gel to slick up my hair and do obnoxious things with it. Technically, it was all raised, so it never crossed my eyebrows or collar.
I got away with it for two months until the principal changed the rules! All just for me…
Six or seven years ago, when the torn-up jeans look was in, my school passed a rule prohibiting jeans with large holes in them. Most of the teachers only really cared about the rule if a hole showed inappropriate amounts of skin, like near the butt or crotch, but one teacher took it to mean that ANY hole was forbidden.
She was a PE teacher, and if she saw you with a hole in your jeans, she would make you either change or send you to the vice principal’s office to get it sorted out. I had her in my second-period class, and one day, I wore an old pair of ridiculously comfortable jeans that, over time, had worn a relatively small hole just under one of the knees.
She flipped out and made me change into my smelly gym shorts, and I had to spend the rest of the day smelling like sweat. I tried to tell her how absurd it was that the amount of skin now showing after I’d changed into my shorts was way more than I was showing before in my worn jeans, but she just ignored it and continued to cite the “no holes” rule back at me. At that point, I had enough.
That night, I took an old ratty pair of jeans that barely fit anymore and took sandpaper to the knees so that each side had a decent-sized hole in it. The next day, I made a point to sit in the front of her class wearing my freshly holed jeans, knowing she would call me out on them. When she finally did, I calmly stood up, walked to my backpack, and pulled out a pair of scissors.
In front of her and the entire class, I proceeded to cut the jeans where the holes were and turned them into jean shorts (heck yeah, jorts!). I then sat back down silently. The teacher was furious, but she knew she couldn’t do anything about my no-hole jorts.
My boss told me, “You have to cover Jo this coming weekend, for both days, since everybody else said no.” I asked, “How do you know I’ll say yes?” He said, “You have to. There’s nobody left.” My response made his jaw drop. “You’re wrong; I’m left. But I quit. Now, there’s nobody left.” He was speechless, and his expression was priceless. I stood there for about 10 seconds before telling him, “I’m walking away now,” and then I just left.
Thank God this happened the day after I had secured a better job. It’s probably one of my fondest memories.
My best friend and I worked at the same small company under a horrific boss (think Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada, but with early-onset dementia). One day, my friend got a great new job and submitted her notice. In an effort to get my friend to stay, our boss did something that made my blood boil—she offered her my job. I don’t know why the heck she thought my friend would accept. She knew we were friends—we’d even booked off the same holiday week to travel together.
Of course, my friend said no, and then I handed in my notice the very next week—and I let my boss know why. I mean, there were a hundred reasons, but I told her that her little scheme was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She had no idea until then that I knew what she’d done, and the look on her face was priceless as she tried to figure out some way to deny it.
I used to work for this small town, twice-weekly newspaper. While there, I learned that the editor, publisher, mayor, county commissioner, and a few other people were skimming tax dollars. But when I confronted my boss about it, he told me he’d blackball me if I said anything. Clearly, he had no idea who he was messing with.
I went to the local television station, tipped them off about the situation, and they uncovered the whole story. When those journalists subsequently won awards for breaking that story, my name also got added to the list of reporters. I still can’t get a job as a journalist, but dang, if it didn’t feel good.
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