A Tale Of Malicious Compliance And Petty Revenge

, , , , , | Learning | March 10, 2021

There once was a university that made a person dean of a school. This person was unqualified for the post, knew it, and consequently overcompensated with power trips and micromanagement.

When one person didn’t reply to one of his emails quickly enough, he instituted a rule — in a school-wide email — that all emails must have a response sent to all concerned parties, preferably immediately, but at any rate within one business day.

A humble and obedient faculty member began following the policy to the letter. Every email received had responses sent to all concerned parties within one business day. Of course, a simple “reply all” takes care of the “all concerned parties” clause. However, a non-faculty person would be surprised how many department-wide, school-wide, and university-wide emails the average faculty member receives in a day.

Within two days, said humble and obedient faculty member was receiving emails requesting, then begging, and in some cases demanding that they stop replying all to fill-in-the-blank-wide emails. In each case, the requestor/beggar/demander received a prompt reply, explaining the policy and attaching the original email.

The policy lasted approximately four more days. The new dean lasted approximately four more semesters.

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