Today’s tale of malicious compliance comes to us from a software expert who had to battle against a coworker with an incredibly unreasonable request!
She Knows Her Program
The Original Poster (OP) is an expert in a complicated program used by almost every department in her workplace.
She is responsible for fixing any bugs or issues that arise, and if she can’t fix them, she forwards the problem to the vendor who manages the program.
A Long, Careful Process
Working on new versions of the program is a big deal and requires testing and sign-off from every department, a process that can take up to two months.
A Difficult Colleague
Enter Kim, who is known for being difficult to work with.
OP had heard complaints about Kim from other people in IT.
She was one day away from taking an upgrade that was important for new clients and had several needed bug fixes.
She had gone through the testing process and received sign-off from every department to take the new version.
Everything Was Ready to Go, Until…
In the final hour, Kim opened a help desk ticket on the new version, and the issue was significant enough to cancel the upgrade!
Even the higher-ups were angry, and OP received immense pressure to submit the issue to their vendor ASAP.
The help desk ticket stated the problem and also included a clear instruction at the bottom, “You may not contact me about this issue. There will be no IM’ing me, calling me, emailing me, or standing next to my desk.”
It was evident that Kim did not want to deal with any backlash that might arise from her actions.
OP reviewed the ticket and found that the issue was due to a user error.
Because she was not allowed to contact Kim, she went straight to the higher-ups who were pressuring her to submit the issue.
Goes to the Top
She told them about the problem and informed them that she was not allowed to contact Kim.
The higher-ups promised to take care of it.
About an hour later, Kim came to OP’s desk looking sheepish.
OP pointed out the issue to her, and Kim said she would review it.
Five minutes later, OP received an IM from Kim telling her to close the ticket.
The upgrade then proceeded as planned.
While the incident happened several years ago, OP hasn’t forgotten it.
She wished she could say that Kim got fired for her behavior, but that didn’t happen.
Next Best Thing
Instead, OP got the next best thing – Kim was no longer in charge of testing.
In fact, OP hasn’t received a single help desk ticket from Kim since.
OP was furious about Kim’s behavior.
She couldn’t believe that someone would be so arrogant as to create an issue and then forbid anyone from contacting them about it.
Her Motives Were Self-Promoting
OP knew that Kim had done this to make herself feel important, to show that she was in control, and to make life difficult for the people around her.
But OP wasn’t about to let Kim get away with it.
Go for the Ego
She knew that the only way to deal with someone like Kim was to hit them where it hurt – in their ego.
Confronting Unacceptable Behaviour
By going straight to the higher-ups and informing them of the issue, OP had taken away Kim’s power.
She had shown her that her behavior was unacceptable and that she couldn’t get away with treating people like dirt.
OP felt vindicated by the outcome.
She had stood up to Kim and shown her that she wasn’t afraid to take action. And while the company hadn’t fired Kim, OP knew she had suffered a blow to her ego.
Loss of Power
No longer in charge of testing, Kim had lost some of her power and control.
And OP felt like she had won a small victory.
A Lesson Learned
Looking back on the incident, OP knew she had done the right thing. She had stood up for herself and the people around her. And while it had been a difficult situation to deal with, she had come out on top.
Every Action Has Consequences
She had shown Kim that she couldn’t get away with treating people poorly and that there were consequences to her actions.
No Paper Trail
Reddit users loved her story. One user said, “Some managers say I’m “way too 90’s” about it, but if it’s not in an email or communication through the ticket system, I don’t talk to people. Particularly for that one reason.
There is now an undeletable paper trail showcasing who said what, what I did vs. what they say I/they did, how long it took to respond, etc.”
She Messed Up
Another user said, “I don’t know any company that would allow you to say no you cannot speak to me about this thing I use for my job. Cutting off lines of communication is how you mess up things in the workplace.
She acts like she’s the owner of the company and calls the shots.”
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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Nicoleta Ionescu The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.