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This Is Why I Work From Home: Pants Optional!

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: HoungryHoungryHippo | June 27, 2022

The summer after my senior year in high school, I worked collecting shopping carts at a grocery store. I lived on the coast, so it was hot as Hell during the summers. It was one of those “uppity” grocery chains so we had a pretty strict dress code: a white, long-sleeve dress shirt, tucked into khaki dress slacks. But because I worked outside for a good portion of the day, management let me wear khaki shorts and a short-sleeve button-up. All was fine until toward the end of the summer when we got a new general manager who was MUCH stricter on policy than the old one had been.

When I came in for my first shift with the new manager, he called me into his office.

Manager: “There have been some changes. Your uniform is clearly lacking in several areas and I’ll need you to correct it. We’ll need you to go home and change into pants and the provided long-sleeve button-up.”

I thought he had mistaken me for someone who worked inside.

Me: “Actually, sir, I collect carts, so I’m allowed to wear shorts.”

Manager: “Son, I said what I said. Either you adhere to the dress code or you go home.”

Me: “So, I don’t have a choice but to wear pants, in ninety-plus-degree heat, in the height of summer?”

Manager: “That is the policy. And being smart with me is not getting us off on the right foot.”

Me: “All right. Then I’m going home.”

Manager: “Good. Thank you for your understanding.”

I walked out of his office, fully understanding that he expected me to actually come back. But his ultimatum was to either wear pants or not come to work, so I chose the latter. I was going away to college in a couple of weeks, so I chose not to sweat my butt off for six hours a day for $7.25 an hour.

I was at home about an hour later, chilling, and I got a call from my manager. He was furious.

Manager: “Why the h*** are you taking so long? We are swamped and desperately need a cart collector!”

Me: “I’m not coming back.”

Of course, he didn’t take this well.

Manager: “Get back here right now or you’ll be fired!”

Me: “Well, I thought that was the idea.”

He was absolutely dumbfounded. He hadn’t expected me to call his bluff on something he considered to be so inconsequential (because he wasn’t the one outside pushing carts in the heat). He tried to talk me into coming back, but I told him he gave me two options, and I had chosen option two.

I never went back to work. I found out that the cart collectors were only made to wear pants for a few days after that until the new manager relented and let them wear shorts. I never got a call with an apology from him, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the time off before going to college.

I fully realize that this was an immature and unprofessional thing to do. I know I was fortunate at the time to be a teenager who didn’t have a dire need for a job so I was able to make this move. He was a jerk from the initial approach, and I was in a position to return his fire, so I went for it. I’d never in a million years think of doing something like this at my full-time big-boy job.

Killing Them With Kindness — Or Just A Good Contract

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: ProfileElectronic | June 26, 2022

A couple of years ago, I was working on a part-time basis in a small firm owned by friends. The pay was not very good, but the atmosphere was, and I was allowed to set my own timings, so life was good overall.

Then, a friend whom I knew only through social media approached me for a job in her company. Even though they were offering good money, I turned down the offer as I knew I could not get the benefits I was getting in my current job. Plus, the commute to the new office was very long; I would have to travel two hours one way and change three trains just to reach the office.

A month later, an employee from Human Resources of the new firm approached me again. They offered me almost four times the money I was making and I could set my own work hours. There was also extra pay for working overtime and on weekends. This was important. I joined the new company.

My friend did not know the terms of the new agreement I had with HR; where I’m from, such information is confidential. She used to act like I owed her big time for the opportunity I got. So, one day I corrected her.

Me: “I turned down the offer you were involved with. One month later, I had my own negotiations and got much more favorable terms. I’m here because your company really needs me, not because of you.”

I didn’t share the details of my agreement with her, but we both realized that she was making significantly less than I was. This totally changed her attitude toward me.

Now, she wanted me out, and I was determined to stick through for at least a year. She decided that she would make it very difficult for me to work so I’d quit on my own.

There are a lot of stories I have about how she tried every trick in the book to make me quit. I’m sharing some of them here.

She was my manager and was in charge of allocating work. She started piling more work on me than any other member of the team. I was happy to comply; she did not know that, as part of my contract, I would be paid one and a half times the hourly rate for every hour I worked overtime and two times the hourly rate if any work was allocated to me over weekends or holidays.

Every time she tried to ruin my weekend by calling me to the office unnecessarily, I happily complied. This continued until the time I left the organization and told her how much extra money she had helped me make.

After the long commute to work, I used to be hungry, so I developed the habit of stopping at the food court to pick up a glass of fresh fruit juice and carry it with me to work.

My manager thought that this way she could harass me without actually seeming to do so. She sent a notice that bringing liquids to the office was a hazard.

Ironically, she used to have coffee delivered to her desk three times a day. I pointed out that the rule applied to her, as well, and if I couldn’t have my juice, she couldn’t have her coffee. She had to literally spend an extra unpaid hour at work every time she wanted her special coffee.

Meanwhile, I was happy to leisurely sit in the food court, have my glass of fresh fruit juice with some snacks, and then begin my workday a half-hour later than usual.

Can’t Make Illegal Sales If I Make NO Sales!

, , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: ANONYMOUS BY REQUEST | June 25, 2022

I work in a supermarket, and I’m on holiday for two weeks when this story takes place. It’s a small town, and we’re the only supermarket for miles; therefore, we’re inundated with people buying alcohol, with some of it for people under eighteen. In the UK, it’s against the law to knowingly buy alcohol for underage people; at the time this occurred, the assistant making the sale could be fined up to £1,000 and the store could lose its license to sell alcohol.

As always with retail you’re taking it from both sides; the customers and the company. Local police and councilors announced a crackdown on underage drinking (a good thing) by fining the stores. The company decides to boost morale by making the most senior staff member culpable for any mishaps with disciplinary action and possibly the sack.

News of this happens whilst I’m on holiday. My friend, recently promoted to a very senior duty manager (to close down and lock up the store on an evening, when alcohol sales are at their highest) pushes back against the new rule, obviously stating how unfair it is and that there should be training for staff, extra signage to warn customers, etc.

Nothing.

So, he makes signs to put up in the store. Head office doesn’t like it and demands they be taken down.

So, [Friend] demands to change his hours so that’s he’s not responsible.

Nothing.

I get a text on Friday evening from another colleague to say at the start of [Friend]’s shift, he closed the store. No alcohol sales means no chance of being out.

Since those in charge are tucked up in bed, the news doesn’t hit them until Monday morning that the store has closed at 6:00 pm instead of 10:00 pm for three days running.

I arrive back in fresh on Monday morning to hear that [Friend] was summoned up to head office for a meeting — and he took the union representative up with him.

He leaves a few months later, the store gets increased signage warning of underage drinking, and all the staff receive training on asking for ID. Funny that.

If It Drives, It’s Fine

, , , , | Working | June 24, 2022

This happened in the 1990s in a country that used to be in the Warsaw pact. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Western firms would go east to seek new markets; however, since information between the east and west was restricted for decades, there were some stereotypes. One such stereotype was that eastern people would try and get as much of the fruits of capitalism as possible — huge houses, shiny cars, cool new machines, etc. My father was working for a western company that sold industrial printers.

My father was the IT guy, and he was tasked with fixing customers’ printers that they had purchased at the company. Since he didn’t have a car of his own, he would use public transport or the salespeople would have to drive him across the country. After gathering some data about how much time and money this arrangement cost, he put in a request with management for either a raise to afford a car of his own or at least a company car.

A few weeks after the request, the head of the car fleet came up to him.

Fleet Guy: “Are you that IT guy who requested a company car?”

Dad: “Yeah.”

Fleet Guy: “Management told me to get you a brand new car. I can order it today, but it will take months to get it.”

Dad: “Better than nothing, I guess.”

Fleet Guy: “Also, one of the salespeople quit, so his car is currently unused.”

Dad: “Can I get it?”

Fleet Guy: “Management needs to sign off on it, and they insist you get the new car.”

So my dad went to management. 

Dad: “I heard you have a car available. Can I have it?”

Manager: “You mean the salesperson’s car? It’s used; we’re getting you a new one.”

Dad: “Wouldn’t that take forever?”

Manager: “But it’s brand new.”

Dad: “What’s wrong with me taking the car that’s available right now?”

Manager: “It’s used.”

Dad: “According to the fleet guy, it works perfectly. That’s good enough for me.”

Manager: “But it’s used. We can get you a brand new one.”

Dad: “I don’t care if it’s new, or fast, or fancy. I need it as a tool to get to the customers to do my job.”

Manager: “But… it’s used. How can anyone accept a used car?”

Dad: “Just let me use the used car until you get the new one.”

Manager: “that can work. But will you be okay driving around a used car?”

Later, my dad was talking to the fleet guy.

Fleet Guy: “Management signed off for you getting the used car. The guy had it for two weeks and hardly drove it, as it could get dirty. Also, management still wants me to get you a new car. Do you want it?”

Dad: “Only if this one breaks down.”

The used car didn’t break down, though my dad would drive it all the time. Also, the fleet guy must have “forgotten” to put in the request for the shiny new car, but no one cared enough to notice.

And What A Peaceful Two Weeks It Shall Be

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: AussieGoldenDoodle | June 24, 2022

I was working at a clothing store years ago with no commission. It was the brand’s first store in my area, and I stayed with them for about two years. They were pretty desperate, too, as they hired me on the spot.

All the supervisors I liked ended up quitting and the remaining ones were just plain not nice. I was the youngest on the team and they always excluded me and bullied me. I guess jealousy? I never understood that because, although I got positive reviews and customers made sure to point out that I helped them, we did NOT have sales commissions. I just liked to help, and I liked fashion. I also was in school, and they often called me to cover for people; school was close by, so I could be there fast.

I was always adaptable for them, but this one supervisor just had it out for me. My hours got cut, and they were messing with my mental health. I needed a change. I applied for this other job and I was quite sure I got it. I decided I would book two weeks off work, around the time the start date would be. My supervisor did not even want to let me have the time off, despite it being the only time other than for exams I had booked off in two years — and they were unpaid!

Fast forward to the day before my two-week vacation. I got the job. I showed up at the clothing store when I wasn’t scheduled and asked to speak with my supervisor. We talked. I quit. She was sarcastically happy, but I did not care; I was over it.

Supervisor: “You are still required to work all of your shifts for the next two weeks, and you had better not slack!”

I smiled at her.

Me: “Thank you for acknowledging my work ethic.”

I put my name tag and keys on her desk. She looked confused.

Me: “I took the next two weeks off, so this is goodbye.”

I turned around and left. My mental health has been so much better without her. The store is now closed permanently.