Exposing cruel and unusual workplaces since 2005.
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Showing 1 - 5 of 34 Tales in "Management".
Tale # 47
Dept: Management Score: 2321
Dec 27th 2005 Submitted by Anonymous
“Temporary Promotions”
A donut At a former employer of mine it was common practice to only grant the pay raises and other benefits associated with a promotion six months after the promotion was given. The official rationale was that management needed to know you were going to work out in the position. Not suprisingly in practice the vast majority of promotions were recinded 4-5 months after they were announced. They always managed to catch people slipping up SOMEHOW over that time.

It was an horrific system but jobs were so scarce in that area that no one quit. (Obviously it wasn't a union shop.) Finally things came to a head when my friend and cubicle mate was promoted to group leader. The poor guy was put on earth to do the kind of Quality Control work the job entailed. He loved his job and worked at least three times faster than everyone else. Better yet he was obsessive about being on time for everything never slacking off during work hours.

In a normal company he would have shot up the corporate ladder. In this case the management freaked when they couldn't trip him up after 5 months. They started increasing his workload by the day. To the point where he was doing five and a half peoples share of analysis. He was my good friend and had a kid and needed the raise so I'd stay late for the first week and would help him finish his work. Then suddenly everyone was banned from assisting one another in their work load.

They finally got what they wanted and he missed a deadline and had his promotion canceled. It was honestly the saddest sight I have ever seen in any workplace. He literally cried the entire day in his cube while still doing his work faster than any of the rest of us.

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Tale # 15
Dept: Management Score: 1370
Dec 1st 2005 Submitted by Max
“The Magical Disappearing Office”
A donut My company was very big on open plan: not one employee anywhere in the world, it was boasted, had an office. Instead, we all had mini-cubicles: there were giant floors of maybe two hundred employees and the only internal walls were for the bathrooms and elevator shafts.

One day in my far-flung regional headquarters, carpenters arrived and started building something in the corner where the new General Manager sat. As the weeks passed, this contraption began to look more and more like an actual office.

Naturally this was the topic of hot conversation, but the word was that the General Manager believed that whole "open plan" thing to be more of a guideline than a rule, and not controversial at all.

His office was not quite complete when, quite by coincidence, the worldwide CEO announced he was planning to visit us. It was the first time in maybe decades that this had happened.

The next day, the carpenters began dissasembling the office. LINK
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Tale # 39
Dept: Management Score: 1117
Dec 13th 2005 Submitted by Anonymous
A donut I was a web developer in a mid-sized company. My department, which ran a pretty large consumer web site, consisted of my boss and me.

My boss's main skills were in marketing--in fact, all he did was find people to cough up for banner ads. He was the CEO's younger brother.

He was completely clueless about the technology and proud of it. He held customers in complete contempt and blamed every technical problem on me (which wasn't fair: only half of them were due to me). He set ridiculous deadlines without an understanding of how long things would take, and rarely listened.

It got to the point where we were having shouting matches amongst the cubicles. Eventually I gave up and went over his head to the VP of Information Technology. I started to outline the problems as objectively as I could, but he cut in and said, "Well, frankly I'm surprised you've put up with him for so long. Nobody else in the office can stand him, and they don't even have to work with him."

He told me I was no longer allowed to talk to my boss. And then he brought my boss in and told him he was no longer allowed to talk to me. Someone from customer support was appointed to run messages between the two of us.

This, of course, was an absurdist situation, and would have been funny if it wasn't for how desperately unhappy this poor "runner" was. It went on for about three months, the atmosphere was terrible. I eventually resigned, much to the relief of the customer support guy.

When the VP's 'no-communication' edict came down, the CEO was on holiday. I tried to avoid him when he came back, but eventually he cornered me. He asked, "Is it true you're no longer on speaking terms with my brother?" I felt very sheepish and nervous, but said, "Well, yes."

He burst out laughing and shook my hand. LINK
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Tale # 24
Dept: Management Score: 676
Dec 4th 2005 Submitted by Omni
“Soft-Boiled Customer Service”
A donut Call centers collect a lot of stats on their employees, "average handling time" being one of them. They're meant to be be measures of efficiency, but when these stats are the only thing team leaders have to justify their existence sometimes that can lead to wackiness.

Take my mate, who was a genuinely nice guy. Far too nice really to be doing the job he was doing.

He thought he was there to help customers get their broadband services connected, his manager thought his job was to get customers off the phone ASAP in order to get good stats for the month.

Naturally this difference in goals lead to the amusing situation where the manager brought in an egg timer, set it to go off after a minute then would literally stand over the employee yelling, "Why are you still talking to this customer?!?" while the employee tried to juggle an irate customer and an irate boss.

After a couple of days of his he was really stressed out. I guess it wasn't helping that he had this whole Pavlovian dog thing happening with egg timers going off (yes, I'm a big meanie for setting one off during lunch) and he came to me for advice.

The only honest answer I could give him was to help 2 out of 3 customers and that should bring his handling time down. Just hang up on or transfer the third one. Although he baulked at this (nice guy), it did work, got his boss off his back and everyone was happier... well, except the customer obviously.

I suppose that's why I got promoted when I made the suggestion to management that they should make "Customer Satisfaction" a measure for team leaders as well? LINK
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Tale # 86
Dept: Management Score: 572
Jun 19th 2006 Submitted by Walt
“Scholarships for the Deserving”
A donut At a medium-sized private textile company, the CEO prided himself on his benevolence to his employees. He even created a non-profit Foundation which provided college scholarships for the children of plant workers. Though each scholarship was only $1000, for the very poor it did provide assistance in helping them achieve their dreams. Each year, the winners were proudly announced in the company newsletter.

After several years, my old computer died and I needed a new one. The IT guy brought in a used computer from Accounting for me to use. I soon found that this computer had been used for running the Foundation. The IT guy hadn't wiped the hard drive and so I was left with lots of information.

As I reviewed the documents (of course I looked), I noticed the CEO's children's names popping up quite frequently--like once a month. They weren't even in college, so it didn't make sense. And the numbers were much larger, too.

A little digging revealed he was paying his kids' private school tuition out of the Foundation, to the tune of $25,000 per year for three kids!

Strangely, this one didn't make the company newsletter. LINK
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Showing 1 - 5 of 34 Tales in "Management".