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Employee maliciously complies with company's rules as requested by boss and exposes ineffectiveness

A determined software engineer fulfills the boss's challenging requests with precision to expose inefficient company policies.

Employee maliciously complies with company's rules as requested by boss and exposes ineffectiveness
Representative Cover Image Source: (L) Pexels | Keira Burton; (R) Reddit | u/thanos_is_the_victim

Working in the software industry can be a challenging task. Being an expert with different programming languages and having the patience to run multiple tests and solve problems quickly are what make the job unique. The inherent nature of the job, coupled with unreasonable management tactics, can make things worse for employees. u/thanos_is_the_victim had such a story to share about their manager who made unnecessary requests from employees.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lukas
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Lukas


The employee states they work as a software engineer for a "mid-sized" tech organization. They have a boss, John, who vehemently follows company policies and procedures when going about things to a "point of absurdity." They write, "He insists that every single task, no matter how small or insignificant, must be documented and approved before we can start working on it." John happened to assign the engineer with the task of changing the color scheme on their app.

According to the engineer, it was a very easy task and would take them only an hour to complete. But John insisted that the employee follow the organization's rules for the entire process. So, for the small task, they would have to draft a proposal, get approval from departments, create test cases, do testing and gain approval from the quality assurance team before implementing any change. The engineer tactfully decides to do exactly as the boss asks.

The engineer then spent two days writing a detailed proposal for the changes they wanted. After this, they sent it for approval to other departments, which took three days. The testing process added another two days to the process. The final assurance that had to come in from the quality assurance team took another three days. In short, a task that should have been over in an hour ended up taking roughly two weeks to be finished.

They write, "When John asked why it took so long, I simply told him that I was following his instructions and doing everything by the book." John learned his lesson and became a bit more flexible about the rules from that point onward. Other people on the platform agreed that most policies only wasted time and did not yield any significant benefits.

Image Source: Reddit/Ha-Funny-Boy
Image Source: Reddit/u/Ha-Funny-Boy


Image Source: Reddit/RJack151
Image Source: Reddit/u/RJack151


u/One-Cardiologist-462 commented, "This is often the case. Adhering to strict regulations slows things down to a crawl, wasting time and money. I think you should continue to do it. You can't get in trouble for following company policy. Stand back and let them waste as much time and money as possible on red tape."

u/Al-Czervik-Guns pointed out, "The mentality of John is common. He is insecure. If he ensures his entire team always follows procedure, then if there is a bad result, it is the fault of the procedure, not the fault of John. Some people focus on results. Some people focus on the process. Those who focus on the process will use it as a defense that they followed the process and were successful regardless of the results. We know which camp John falls into."

The story is an indication that many organizations unnecessarily insist on policies that are not useful. In such scenarios, organizations can rework their policies to be more efficient and flexible. They can try to find a balance between regulating employee work and ensuring a smooth workflow.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 14, 2023. It has since been updated.

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