Don’t you just love a great story of malicious compliance?
You know you do!
And I do, too!
And today we’re in luck!
An engineer shared his story about he maliciously complied when his company wanted to save money and cut corners.
Let’s see what happened.
New travel policy to save money ends up costing soooo much more.
“My company was on a cost saving kick and decided to look for way to shave pennies.
Now they could have looked at the amount of money that was squandered by people jetting all over the country on company time at a huge hourly rate (basically the labour spend is always much higher then the cost of the flight, car hire, hotel and food combined) or the number of ‘strategising away days’ that HR etc went on but no, they came for the lowly engineers.
When the company starts counting paperclips, you know that you are about to have some fun.
We were called to a ‘Consultation session’ (read: We are telling you what we decided based on what we think goes on and NOT what actually goes on). The session was about saving money on hire cars. In our company if you have to go away from you home site you can use your own car and choose a mileage rate up to about a 40 mile journey, if it is longer then you should have a hire car.
Hire cars are usually dropped off at the office by transporter or you can pick one up at a hire office or you can get a car dropped off at home for a small fee (£14 plus fuel).
Travel dept. announced that there were to be no more home drop-offs to save money. The engineers knew how this was going to pan out and said nothing. The thing to know here about the travel department is that they do not travel, none of the knowledge is from the real-world.
Travel announced that the new policy was that home drop-offs were to cease, we had to pick up the hire car at the office or at the nearest Hertz rental location. Sounds simple, all the engineers who travel a lot could instantly see the issues but as we were told that this is the new policy we had to comply. So we did. Maliciously.
I was on a job 300 miles away at the customer site. I travelled down on the Monday morning (starting at 6am) and back up Thursday (home about 6pm). Because of the travel time I got the Friday off. I also lived a 100 mile round trip from the office and my nearest Hertz office was at the airport. This was not an unusual situation, a lot of people I worked with travelled to client locations.
The weekend arrived. Usually at some point over the weekend a car is dropped off and the key and paperwork is popped through my letterbox for the princely sum of £14 and no time from me). Instead, because the hertz office was closed at 6am on the Monday morning, I picked up the car the day before.
Because my wife needed my car while I was away (and therefore could not leave my car parked at the airport) I took a taxi as per company travel policy (£35 and 40mins), I picked up the car (about 30 minutes) and drove home (about 30 minutes).
On the Thursday evening instead of heading home and getting the car picked up on the Friday, I headed straight to the airport dropped off the car and took a taxi back (£40 and about 40 minutes due to busy traffic).
Our expenses are done monthly so by the end of the month I have 3 weeks travel to account for which would have been 3 x £14 plus a small refuelling charge for the trip back to the Hertz office. Instead they got about £200 for taxi fares and an overtime bill of about 4.5 hours at about £80 per hour.
I was not the only one, some engineers took a taxi into the office to pick up the car (as their spouse ‘needed the car while they were away’), some took a taxi to the nearest Hertz office. All of us put in our overtime at the end of the month.
Travel has no overtime budget and so it all got claimed from the project, the project labour budget teams went ballistic and went all flaming torches and pitchforks on the travel dept.
The policy didn’t last the day.”
Now let’s see how Reddit users reacted…
This reader made a joke about a work experience.
Another Reddit user said that you should never mess with engineers.
They are sticklers for details!
Another individual shared their own work story about when the folks in charge wanted to slash and burn.
And this person reiterated the fact that you just can’t pull fast ones on engineers!
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