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Obnoxious manager learns a lesson about unions after forcing team to meet in person.

Obnoxious manager learns a lesson about unions after forcing team to meet in person.


The public sector and the private sector are very different. The private sector is driven by profits and keeping costs low, and the public sector is driven by benefiting the public good (in theory). The two are very different; trying to make one entirely like the other will always fail.

On a popular Reddit thread in the Malicious Compliance Subreddit, one employee gets a new manager from the banking industry and is not used to bureaucracy.

He writes:

I’ll keep the details vague because I’m still with this organization. I work for a government department. We have offices and locations all over the state. I’m based in a city about a two-and-a-half-hour train ride from our head office.

At the time, I worked in a team with members working remotely across the state, looking after policy, process, and quality assurance. Our old manager had gotten himself promoted for being genuinely brilliant at his role. So our new manager, Steve, was hired in from the glorious world of banking and was here to whip us 'lazy public servants into shape.'

A few days after he began his role, he called us all to a teleconference to inform us he wanted all of us to be at the head office at 8 AM tomorrow morning for an all-day in-person team meeting. He wanted to see us in 'meat space,' to 'size' us up, understand what we were doing, and see where we 'weren’t keeping up with the private sector.'

As I mentioned, we were all across the state due to the nature of our work. So in-person, whole team meetings were rare; if they occurred, they were booked weeks in advance. We were all adept at videoconferencing.

Some of us tried to tell our new high-flyer manager that almost none of us were in the same city as him and to be there on such short notice would mean travel expenses, meal allowances, overtime, etc. He didn’t seem to care and told us in no uncertain terms to 'just be at the head office tomorrow at 8 AM' before abruptly hanging up.

Now, I should explain something. I’m one of a handful of union delegates in our department. I know our award back to front, specifically the sections dealing with travel, allowances, and overtime. So I engaged in malicious compliance mode. If Steve wanted us there, fine, but it’ll cost him.

So I quickly emailed my team what Steve had done by requiring us to be in the head office at 8 AM and what to do. Because we’d have to travel outside our normal work hours, our workday clock started ticking when we left our homes and stopped once we got home.

Some of our team traveled overnight; they were entitled to overtime to travel, a dinner allowance, accommodation for the night, and the same return. As someone traveling in the morning before 7 AM, I was entitled to a breakfast allowance, lunch allowance, and, if I got home after 9 PM, a dinner allowance.

So, I left my house at 5 AM to catch the only train that would get me there in time. The train was running slightly behind, but I made it in time. So the first three hours of my work day were down, and I’d done no work.

After a brief period of us introducing ourselves to Steve, he proceeded to spend the next four hours telling us about all of the things he did at the bank, how he made so much money for them, where they’d sent him as a holiday bonus, how we’re all stuck in the past in the public sector.

He said the work he’d seen wasn’t up to 'private sector standards' etc. He had all the cocksureness of a finance bro who had always failed upwards because others had picked up his slack.

By 3 PM, my team was into overtime pay territory, and Steve was warming up with his non-charm offensive. Another three hours go by with Steve verbally patting himself on his back, deeply in love with hearing his voice, but all I hear is ‘cha-ching.’

Steve decided that 5 pm was a good time to finish up. He stopped mid-sentence, looked at his watch, and unceremoniously said, 'That’s all for today. Go home now,' and he walked out. After I and a few others gave awkward shrugs to each other, we all packed up and started to make our separate ways home after doing no work all day.

I quickly got to the train station and saw a train leaving soon that would get me home around 8 PM, or I could catch the all-stations train and get home closer to 9:30 PM. You know what? No matter how fast I could run, I just couldn’t catch that earlier train; damn, I’d just have to catch that all-stations train and be on the clock for another hour and a half, plus have my dinner paid for.

I submitted my claims the next day, four and half hours at double rate, my train tickets, my taxi fares to and from the train station, and my breakfast, lunch, and dinner allowances. For me alone, it was close to a $500 expense claim. The rest of my team followed suit and ensured they claimed everything too.

Steve tried to fight us on approval for the claims but quickly learned that, unlike in banking, most public servants are union, and we’d raise a living hell if he denied our award guaranteed allowances.

His all-day Steve-fest symposium blew a good $6000 hole in his budget. While Steve was our manager, he never required us to attend an in-person meeting again — videoconferencing was fine. He only lasted six months before 'leaving for new opportunities,' which was him returning to his old job at the bank. Guess he was the one who couldn’t keep up.

The internet can relate.

symbolicshambolic says:

Was Steve from out of state by any chance? If he wasn't, that's even worse because he should have known. I had one of these once, a new manager who I met for the first time during an in-person sexual harassment meeting that HR was conducting. When the meeting was over, she told everyone to clock out and said we got paid for an hour and fifteen minutes for that meeting.

I told her, 'I know you're from [another state] where the labor laws are different, so I just wanted to ensure you knew. In this state, if someone is scheduled, you must pay them for at least two hours.' She said, 'Oh, I'm not sure; let me ask.'

Then she called over the HR guy who had been conducting the meeting and told him I had a question. I said, 'No, I don't have a question. I'm not asking you; I'm telling you, this is the law in this state.'

HR guy came over and told her he didn't know if I was right because he was also from out of state. I told her she could look it up if she didn't believe me, but please look it up. I was trying to help her because we don't need a class action suit from employees who would rightfully be claiming wage theft, all because she wasn't taking time to learn the ropes before she jumped in.

NotHisRealName says:

I had a manager once who I didn't like, but he did teach me a valuable lesson. If you come into an organization in a leadership role, do nothing but learn for the first 30-45 days.

Top-Put2038 says:

I hate 'I love me; I'm so successful' speeches with a passion.

Steve joins the long line of failures who think they were the missing piece to make the public sector 'efficient.'

Sources: Reddit
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