Have you ever had a job where everything flowed just fine and then someone decided to shake things up and all it did was ruin the whole process?
And you better believe that it happens A LOT.
So what do you do in that situation?
Maliciously comply, of course!
Check out what these employees did when they were faced with this problem.
“This MC comes from a few years ago when I was working as an external developer for a software house.
Seems like they had everything down pat.
The team was great and the lead developer, let’s call him Mark, was simply the best to work with. He was a very skilled developer with also the ability to easily coordinate the team’s tasks. We also had a manager, John, who was also very friendly and easy to talk to. Our job was going smoothly.
The company tracked the progress of the various projects in a software where John divided them in various steps.
John set up these steps very broadly (es. Analysis, initial setup, development, release, maintenance), to avoid creating too many of them.
We then needed to input the time we spent on each of these steps. If the project was missing some steps or hit the budget cap, we couldn’t input our timesheets and (technically) weren’t allowed to start working.
Per company policy our duty was to inform our “direct superior” about this issues, in this case Mark.
He then should have informed John, who finally would have to increase the cap.
There were some shortcuts.
As the good manager that he was, John knew all this steps were a huge waste of Mark’s and our time, so he allowed us to temporarily sign our timesheets locally and start or continue our work, gather himself all of our cap increase requests together, do all of them simultaneously, and then directly let us know we could input our timesheets in the software.
Then, the company got acquired by an hedge fund.
Suddenly a lot of new middle managers appeared, and John was moved to a higher position in a different department. To replace him, they hired Phil.
A new guy arrived…
Phil tried to present himself as the “open to everyone’s requests” manager, but it became obvious pretty quickly that he was more a “I’ll stick to company policies as hard as I can” guy, probably to appeal to his ego or to some higher up.
First thing he did was to completely change the projects organization, to “better check the project advancement”.
Now in a project EVERY TASK, EVERY LITTLE CHANGE, HAD ITS OWN STEP and budget cap. Remember that if the step was not in the software, we weren’t allowed to start working on it.
Phil was a stickler.
He then enforced our daily timesheets input. It became mandatory to input them at maximum the next day, so we could “be more responsible about marking the project progress.”
It could have been ok if it wasn’t for the fact that projects budgets were drastically reduced. Basically, after reaching the middle of our developments, we already reached those caps and could not insert any more timesheets.
When we started asking Phil about creating those steps or raising the budget caps, like we did with John, he quickly redirected us to Mark, as “that was the company policy” and the “proper chain of command”.
Mark’s job quickly became Hell, as he basically had to spend half day asking Phil to create project steps or raise caps. We knew we were bothering Mark, and he knew we couldn’t do anything else. He tried to talk to Phil about easing these policies, but without success.
At the end of the month everyone was behind with the timesheets input, and some tasks were not started at all. Phil gathered us (and other teams) and started his rant about how “it was our fault since we required too much time to do our job and it was not acceptable”.
As our team leader, Mark was particularly targeted and probably missed some bonuses that he had no problem getting when John was the manager. His fault? Not letting Phil know soon enough that steps weren’t available or budget caps were reached.
If you really want it that way!
It was enough for him, it was time to maliciously comply to company policies.
He asked Phil to let us stay some minutes after the meeting to “explain us how to resolve this issues.” He agreed but wanted to stay in the meeting too.
Mark calmly said to us “it is imperative that you tell me, and only me, that steps are missing or caps have been reached as soon as you notice. You MUST send me an email with this precise subject. I’ll then inform Phil. Only mail requests will be accepted.”
He remarked various times that the mail needed to have a specific subject format, like “Project X – Step Y – Missing” or “Project X – Step Y – Cap reached”, and every time he was looking at us with a look that was saying “Just do like I say, trust me”
We started doing exactly what he told us, and soon discovered why he was so confident. A few days passed, and an angry Phil stormed in our room yelling at Mark that “his behavior was unacceptable and an urgent meeting with the higher-ups was scheduled in a few minutes.”
And then something unexpected happened…
Mark went, and after about half an hour returned with a satisfied smile on his face, and after him a defeated Phil.
He later told us that he basically set up a forwarding rule in his mailbox, which forwarded to Phil every single mail whose subjects matched the patterns above, with a predefined text like “Dear Phil, I’d like to inform you that the team brought to my attention the fact that project X id missing step Y” or similar.
Phil was about to be under water.
In those few days, he submerged Phil’s mailbox with our requests.
Phil probably hoped that the outcome of the meeting would have went in his favour, but the higher-ups stated that no company policy was violated, Mark wasn’t spamming as those were all legitimate work related emails, and was Phil’s duty to “appropriately manage the situation”.
Also, Mark now had proof that he was IMMEDIATELY notifying Phil about the projects issues, so nothing could be his or our fault anymore.
I stopped working for the company shortly after, but after a few months they told me that Phil was demoted and moved to another position with lesser responsibilities.”
Here’s what folks said about this on Reddit.
This person shared their own story…
Another individual talked about hedge funds.
This individual made a good point.
And one Reddit user said hedge funds are NO GOOD.
That’ll show ’em!
If you liked that post, check out this one about an employee that got revenge on HR when they refused to reimburse his travel.