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!
An Expert In Her Field
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 Process
Taking 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 Nightmare Coworker
Enter Karen, who is known for being difficult to work with. OP had heard complaints about Karen from other people in IT.
They were one day away from taking an upgrade that was important for new clients and had several needed bug fixes. They had gone through the testing process and received sign-off from every department to take the new version.
She Did This at the Last Minute!
In the final hour, Karen 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.
A Rude Request
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, calling, emailing, or standing next to my desk.”
It was evident that Karen did not want to deal with any backlash that might arise from her actions.
It Was Her Own Fault
OP reviewed the ticket and found that the issue was due to a user error.
Because she was not allowed to contact Karen, she went straight to the higher-ups who were pressuring her to submit the issue.
She Followed Her Directions
She told them about the problem and informed them that she was not allowed to contact Karen. The higher-ups promised to take care of it.
I’m Sure She Regretted That Decision!
About an hour later, Karen came to OP’s desk looking sheepish.
OP pointed out the issue to her, and Karen said she would review it.
Five minutes later, OP received an IM from Karen telling her to close the ticket. The upgrade then proceeded as planned.
A Blow to Her Ego
While the incident happened several years ago, the OP hasn’t forgotten it.
She wished she could say that Karen got fired for her behavior, but that didn’t happen.
Instead, OP got the next best thing – Karen was no longer in charge of testing. In fact, OP hasn’t received a single help desk ticket from Karen since.
She Was Angry
OP was furious about Karen’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.
OP knew that she 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.
Luckily She Knew What to Do
But OP wasn’t about to let Karen get away with it. She knew that the only way to deal with someone like Karen was to hit them where it hurt – in their ego.
OP had taken away her power by going straight to the higher-ups and informing them of the issue. She had shown Karen that her behavior was unacceptable and that she couldn’t get away with treating people like dirt.
Vindicated at Last
OP felt vindicated by the outcome. She had stood up to Karen and shown her that she wasn’t afraid to take action. And while the company hadn’t fired her, OP knew she had suffered a blow to her ego.
No longer in charge of testing, Karen had lost some of her power and control. And OP felt like she had won a small victory.
She Had Done the Right Thing
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.
She had shown Karen that she couldn’t get away with treating people poorly and that there were consequences to her actions.
Do You Do This?
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 Was Messing up the Workplace
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.”
What do you think about her tale of IT compliance? Karen’s request was not only unreasonable but also counterproductive. At least she won’t be pulling that stunt again!
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