Dress codes for work kind of stink. Working from home is nice because work attire is inherently eliminated. However, people working in person still need to have work clothes. That's why for anyone that works in an area with seasonal changes, the shift to more comfortable clothes during the warmer or colder months is an important date for you.
So I was a sarcastic and easily annoyed guy in my 20s, which often didn't help me get along with older or corporate types. I worked in the flooring department at a certain pumpkin-colored big box home improvement store one spring.
It was just starting to get warm out, and the store didn't have much AC, so I was looking forward to a magical date when certain employees could switch their pants for shorts.
Problem is that we had a new department manager, I'll call him Fred, who was aggressively chasing a promotion to Assistant Manager, then store manager. He thought he could accomplish that by being a super by-the-book harda** and relentlessly metrics-focused. This translated into a manager who was a know-it-all, micro-managing.
Anyway, I'm scheduled to open at 5 AM one day on the fabled day of cooler bottom wear, and I walk in all light, airy, and bare-legged. Fred, the overnight manager the previous night, saw me and threw a fit.
'Why are you out of uniform?' He asked. 'I'm not. I can wear shorts starting today!' I proclaimed. 'Not your position in your department. Who told you that you could?' He retorted. 'The employee handbook and SOP? I can show you if you don't believe me.' I offered.
'I know the SOP, and your department doesn't get to wear shorts. That's only Garden. Go home and change right now.' He demanded, face getting redder from my defiance. 'Ok, Fred, if that's how you want to play it. I'll be back in an hour.' I sighed. 'Maybe the loss of an hour of pay will teach you something.'
I know better because I'm one of the weirdoes who read the entire Standard Operating Procedure document and the employee handbook (a subsection of the SOP).
I hate being wrong, so I checked the SOP before doing anything different. In my store, the SOP was like invoking god. If the SOP said so, that won every single argument.
So I go home, change into pants, and bring my shorts back to work. By now, Fred's shift is over, and I ask the new morning Manager On Duty, Daren, to meet with me. 'Why, what's up?' 'Oh, just an SOP issue.' 'Oh... ok. Give me, like, 10 minutes?' So I swung by my desk and printed out several things.
First, my latest pay stub included my official job title and department number. Second, the company directory listed the department names and their associated numbers. Third, the SOP dealt with when and which departments/employees can wear shorts.
Fourth, the annual email from the Regional VP confirming which departments could wear shorts starting when also included the line 'and this letter is to be posted at the time clock between the dates of xxx-xxx.'
Fifth, the SOP detailing the company transportation and mileage reimbursement policy. Sixth, a Google Maps route mirrored my route to and from work, with the total mileage highlighted. So, I met with Daren, explained what happened, and handed him each page as they became relevant. Ultimately, we agreed that I was right on every single account and asked me what I wanted.
First, I want the time. I was turned away before clocking in, so I want to be paid starting at 5 AM. Feel free to check the CCTV to confirm when I arrived. Second, I want the mileage because Fred sent me on a company errand with my vehicle through no fault of my own. Third, I want this letter posted at the clock like it says it's supposed to be.
Fourth, I want you to talk to Fred about this because I told him this was the SOP before he sent me home. Finally, I'm changing back into my shorts. All of that sounds more than fair. Get the paperwork for the clock adjustment and mileage to me today, and I'll sign it.
The letter mysteriously went missing from the time clock the next day, but I replaced it every day until I saw Fred angrily snatch it off the board and throw it away. I reported that as well, and the letter stopped going missing. He didn't talk to me much, and I was transferred to another department a month later, so all in all, win-win, I think.
It's hilarious that 'Fred' thought that being by-the-book *really* meant being a humorless harda** to his EMPLOYEES while HE was fine with violating company rules by hiding that he was lying and in the wrong.
Nothing like using SOP to show Fred that he’s acting like a d**k.
It amazes me that people do not read an employee handbook on their job. Although I was a protected civil servant, I had a brother who was an absolute troublemaker on the job when being bullied by supervisors.
He had a copy of the employee handbook of every job he worked at, usually a hard copy at home. He also had a folder of many state and federal laws and mandates that people must be aware of. One day when I visited him to watch football on Sunday, he was using a yellow highlighter for every section of the handbook that might come in use.
Absolute power absolutely corrupts even at Home Depot.