Who doesn’t love a good arbitrary workplace rule?!
Reddit recently asked the question: ‘What is the Most Ridiculous Rule in Your Place of Work?’ Here is the full thread, but below are some highlights.
I’m a teacher, so I have a million stupid rules I have to follow. But the worst one is that my performance evaluation is based on student improvement on the STAR literacy test. I teach wood shop.
I once needed a pen. Figured this was a reasonable ask. Went to the supply closet on my floor, which was locked. Asked the floor’s admin, she told me to go to the main supply room in the basement. Went to the basement and explained my situation of needing a pen. They told me all requests for supplies must be approved by my department head. Problem is, being new, I’d never met my department head. She also worked in San Francisco (I worked in Milwaukee), so I needed to send an email both introducing myself, and asking her if I had permission to get a pen from the supply closet.
The VP of our company just held a mass meeting to tell all of us we can’t have pictures or plants or food or any form of non office supplied object on our desk. Tons of coworkers have family pictures or their kids’ finger paintings pinned up on the cubicle walls. All that has to be removed. People were pissed.
Not my current job but I used to work for some crazy people.
- you had to stand in a specific area while eating so they could see you on the camera
- don’t talk to customers longer than 3 minutes unless you’re making a big sale, even then, keep it short
- answer the phone within 2 rings, keep the conversation to less than 30 seconds
- you can’t talk to your co workers outside of work
- you can’t talk to your co workers while at work, even if there was not a single customer in the store
I’m sure there’s more I just can’t think of right now.
At my old job, HR held a meeting to tell us that there was too much swearing on the sales floor. Someone raised their hand and pointed out that swearing is very common in our industry and that is the way that our customers speak. HR later sent out a memo explaining that swearing should be limited to conversations with clients. It was amazing.
If you are stuck in traffic on the way to work, you must email the CEO. Phone calls and texts are not permitted, only email.
I used to work at a place in which my boss implemented a no more than 2 glasses a day water policy.
What a cunt. I ignored this rule and complained directly to our CEO and the matter ended later that day.
What was weird though was the majority of people actually followed the rule and some even shopped me up to HR about ‘breaking the rules’.
I left not long after that because not only was my boss a bellend, but if my colleagues were going to hr over me drinking water, then I obviously couldn’t trust them.
Had a workplace time our bathroom breaks and deduct them from our allotted 15 minute breaks or lunch. We had to go see the office manager to get a key to open the restroom. As soon as we left his office he would start a timer… when you got back he would stop the timer and tell you how much time you needed to deduct from your lunch or next break. They watched our breaks like a hawk.
Also, if you made a mistake they would stand over you and time you while you fixed it and deduct that from your lunch or breaks.
You couldn’t bring anything “that smells” for lunch and they had no way of heating anything up.
I worked out my contract and split.
Business casual dress code even when i work at home. (They skype me to check)
My dad told me this one a while back. He used to work for a PR firm… The way he described the office environment, think “The Office” but in the 1980’s.
The company hired a “Corporate Efficiency Specialist” to come in and “improve” things. She came in and implemented all kinds of rules, which seemed to follow some sort of caste system.
Her philosophy was, the higher your office rank, the more “perks” you get…
Her idea of perks:
Number of pictures you are allowed in your cubicle.
Whether you are allowed to have a potted plant or not.
Coffee mugs were only allowed to senior employees. Others had to use paper cups.
Being allowed to leave the office for lunch was also considered a “perk”
Needless to say, a coup soon followed, and she was tossed out on her hiney.
Dress code policy is just dumb at my work. Different positions have different requirements. Even though we all work in the same office.
My favorite rule though is the one on shorts. We can wear shorts on Fridays between memorial day and labor day. However the shorts can’t have pockets on the side. It was written to discourage ratty cargo shorts. But the way in which it is written allows me to wear gym shorts. So I do.
Old job of mine in a warehouse. Our stations were pretty far apart, so when we’d listen to music we’d all usually have our own stuff playing. Not a problem since you could barely hear the neighbors music. Well, the CEO didn’t like hearing multiple songs when walking through the warehouse. He made a rule that we all either had to listen to the same music, or none at all.
We got a new vacation policy where you could take UNLIMITED time off. When he announced it, we looked at the big boss like he had a dick growing out of his forehead; all the while he assured us that if we wanted vacation, to take it. Really! A little bit afterward, he changed it to “discretionary” time off meaning that if your boss approved it, it was ok. Then it changed to “160 hours should be the max and if you go over 200 hours then you probably don’t need to work here.”
Fireman…our Risk Management department decided long ago that poles were too risky for us. So we use the stairs. We have poles. Anyway, now the newest rule is no free weights….as in NO free weights to work out, stay fit. Go into burning high rise- absolutely, walk around the station carrying 40lb dumbells…too risky
I used to own a pest control company. One day I walked into one of our bays and found a technician licking the inside of a cap from a bottle of herbicide. When asked he told me that he just wanted to know how it tastes. I told him that any future pesticides will taste like unemployment and created a no ingesting pesticide rule complete with signs.
My workplace doesn’t let you use the word “problems”. Instead, we have to say “challenges” if something is wrong. As a problem is a negative word, and challenges promotes the fact that there is room to fix said problem…
All the extra toilet paper in the building has to stay in a single closet where it can be overseen by the toilet paper queen. I heard her shrieking the other day when she discovered someone had “hoarded” one spare roll of toilet paper upstairs so the people who work upstairs wouldn’t have to walk down multiple flights of stairs when the toilet paper ran out.
EDIT: It’s the cheapest, 1-ply toilet paper available on the giant rolls that only fit in the special dispensers. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to steal it.
I used to work for the now long defunct books, movies, and music store Media Play. Just one of the 285 reasons that poorly run business ran into the ground was the tardy/attendance policy.
If you were literally :01 seconds late clocking in, even hours before the store opened, it was a really, really big deal. You’d not only be formally written up, but lectured like a child often times berated even. If you were tardy three times, bye-bye. HOWEVER, if you no-showed and then called 2 hours later saying you were sick?—okay, thank you, feel better. This trained everyone to just take a sick day instead of being half a second late to work. I can’t tell you how many times you’d see a coworker screeching into the parking lot before work after fighting traffic from a wreck or whatever, noticing it was 8:01, and then slowly driving off to go home and feign being sick. This was particularly upsetting when it was a pulldown stock week when we needed every hand on deck but had unusually early shifts.
Former job: There was trouble when I (officially) moved desks and my new desk had a phone with call display. Apparently call display phones were allowed for people at a certain pay level. Your pay level also governed the height of your cubicle walls. My manager’s solution was to promote me.
Another former job: We were mandated to work on a engineering related research project outside of work hours, because a responsible engineer always gives back to the engineering community. I could live with that. However, your project had to be related to the company’s business.
I drive valet. The company handbook says you’re never allowed to back up. Ever.
You absolutely cannot do the job without reverse. It’s impossible.
It’s in there because of liability and our insurance policy. This way it can always be the valets fault if an accident occurs ever.
Edit: Perhaps this will answer the most repeated question… If the rule says no reverse, yet you’re expected to park a car, then how can you park the car?
Answer: Never hit anything, and always reverse despite the rules. Expect to be fired should you hit anything in reverse, but probably not. The rule only exists to cover the company’s ass, but if they don’t feel threatened by you working there and you’re an asset, you still will not be fired. And yes, many people are questioning the legality of it and you’re right. It wouldn’t hold up in courts, but it’s in the handbook and it’s silly. So I posted it.
All recreational activity is forbidden on company time & resources… Except fantasy football.
Two weeks after I left my previous job a memo went round saying people aren’t allowed to look out of the windows at work anymore.
It’s a big ass glass building.
Edit: To answer those that have been asking, it’s not American Express. Eyes shifting
A rule that said “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean” which fairly obviously meant if there was no work then you should be cleaning things. It was at an aircraft servicing station that was fairly small, but we needed a crew of at least 3 people for larger planes. The problem was that sometimes there were just no planes, so there was no work. We would clean for a couple hours and then just run out of stuff to clean, but according to management, that was no good - we had to be busy! It got to be that we would fight over work when it came in because everyone was so bored, and finding pretend busy work was much much harder then just working.
I remember getting the crew together to pick up pebbles off the taxiway for a couple hours. There’s an old joke in aviation “go sweep the taxiway!” so we actually did it.
I used to work for Amazon in Ireland and their toilet breaks were crazy. Maximum of 10 minutes a day but also a max of 20 minutes per week. You had to change the status on your computer so everything was recorded and some managers would call you out on it and even go as far as threaten your job.
I had an understanding with my manager and told him if i need to take a shit then im going for it. Like any good manager he just told me that as long as i give him the numbers he wants then i could do what i want.
Edit: this has seriously blown up so i thought i had to add that i was treated with great respect while working there and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I cant speak for other employees in the business but i have heard the stories.
Incidentally i now work in construction where someone isn’t looking over your shoulder and checking every minute of every day. If you haven’t seen the great movie office space, watch it. Describes my situation perfectly
To answer your other question - my manager was looking for performance numbers. I was the one looking for 1’s and 2’s
My boss was an inbox Nazi, like if you had old emails in there he would flip and make you respond to them or delete them. Apparently you shouldn’t have anything left at the end of the day, deal with them or delete them.
Jokes on him though, I just made a subfolder marked “personal” and everything went in there
Get fucked Bill you old wanker