Legitimate Ways to Passively-Aggressively Fight the Man.

Disclaimer: Use only if it doesn’t affect safety, and if you’ve reached that  Zen-like state of apathy-burnout and are willing to suffer the consequences.


Take the elevator instead of the stairs, even if your office is on the 2nd floor.  (Don’t give the workplace any more energy than you absolutely have to).    You can do your exercise when you get home, when your “real” life starts.

If you’re a highly-trained professional, and you’re given a menial task,  just do it.   Relish the though of how much money these bosons are wasting,  paying your salary to do something a high-school kid can do.   And while you’re at it, take your time to make sure the job’s done RIGHT.

Turn down any “promotion” that requires more work but doesn’t increase your pay. (It’s never happened to me before, but I’ve seen colleagues do this, and I admire them for it).

If there’s a legitimate safety concern that could delay the project, run with it.  Notify your supervisors via company email (now it’s on record).   This is a double bonus, because not only will they have to deal with it, but you’ve done the right thing, morally and ethically.   This is one you can feel good about (even though you might end up in the dog-house).

If a toxic boss is making a jackass of themselves in a meeting because they don’t have their facts right, just keep your mouth shut and let ’em ramble on.   (Besides, you’d probably get scolded for correcting them).

When they ask for volunteers for extra duty (i.e. Emergency Steward or First Aid Rep), don’t.   It’s not like you’ll make less money.

During meetings scheduled during lunch, bring your food with you.   Make a point to eat noisily, and try to make a mess. (Sloppy Joes work best).

Any left-over cans of pop or juice from meetings are fair game.  Fill your pockets.  (They’ve  already been paid for…and who’s to say how many drinks you’re allowed?)

If there’s a real lame-ass task and you’re given a deadline (i.e. clean the papers off your desk by next week), do it JUST before the deadlines.  Not one minute sooner.

Politely decline company social events held during office hours, where you’re expected to use your own vacation time to attend.  (Seriously, you have GOT to be shitting me!)

Don’t be one of those martrys-poltroons who never take a break, and then retire with 26 weeks of unused vacation.    Spend as much time away form the office as you’re officially allowed to.  Use ALL your vacation days and free floater days and banked time, etc.    Never carry anything over, unless you’re planning on an even longer break the following year.

If you have decent benefits, and you’re having major surgery, don’t be a Jesus-hero.   Milk the sick leave as long as you can.  If the doctor says recovery will be four-to-six weeks, take the full six.  He’ll write you a note, and they can’t say anything.   The company will survive.  Besides, you’re entitled.

If you see a way of slightly improving something (i.e. making a spreadsheet more efficient), keep your mouth shut.    Let the Bean-Counters muddle their way through as they always have.   (Besides, they KNOW better…if you question their methods, they’ll resent you).

De-Recruit.  If a summer-student is considering working here permanently when they graduate,  candidly take them aside and tell them the God’s honest truth about this place.  Again, this is one you can feel good about.  You’re doing the kid a favor.

If you get scolded for chatting too much at work, then talk about work-related matters to the person who scolded you, and ONLY work-related items.   Be a robot in front of them. (After all, isn’t that what they wanted?)

Finally, don’t question, don’t’ argue, don’t’ THINK…  Do EXACTLY what they tell you. (And be careful to document it via email).

….Given the way some companies work, often that alone will be enough to grind the process to a screeching halt.

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34 Comments on “Legitimate Ways to Passively-Aggressively Fight the Man.”

  1. Eyeteaguy Says:

    Join a fucking union would ya. Sheesh.

    Then you’d get paid tonnes to do jack shit all day.


  2. Friar Says:


    I AM in a Union!

  3. Bandobras Says:

    “If a toxic boss is making a jackass of themselves in a meeting because they don’t have their facts right,”

    See once again I see you are trying to suck up to the man. This should be started “When”. Everyone knows there is no if involved in this scenario.

  4. Friar Says:


    Oh, dear. The LAST thing I want to do is to be labeled a “Suck-up’.

    Duly noted…next time, I’ll change it to “when”.

  5. Kyddryn Says:

    You know, sugar…you continually remind me why I don’t work out there in Mundania…I may be broke, scratching in the dirt and wondering how I’ll pay the next power bill…but I don’t have to put up with all that corporate nonsense.

    Sometimes, less really is more.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  6. Friar Says:


    I tried the being broke thing for quite a while, as a grad student. I didn’t like it.

    Right now, paying the electricity bill doesn’t even register on my list of worries…

    But then again, considering what I have to put up with to earn that money…

    Six of one..half a dozen of the other I guess. 🙂

  7. Eyeteaguy Says:


    You wouldn’t last 10 seconds at a REAL company. You would actually have to work. Most companies don’t care when you come or leave or what you do on the web, just as long as you get your work done.

    Since you have a PhD and have had your frontal lobe removed as part of the qualification process you don’t stand a chance in the real world.

    Careful what you ask for. If I were you I’d make your current situation work for you, seems rather a cozy place to me.


  8. Friar Says:


    I HAVE, in fact, worked in “Real Companies”.

    And it was much easier than where I am now.

    We were treated like human beings. The work environment was healhty and stimulating. And I actually did well.

    So THERE.


  9. Eyeteaguy Says:

    McDonald’s doesn’t count.

    And if it was so great, why did you leave? Caught sleeping at your desk…. again?


    And why aren’t you at work. Using one of your 62 float days, to be used when you are too stressed out? Must be nice.

  10. Brett Legree Says:

    My question is:

    Would a real company go into the second year in a row with an entire bank of offices not having any heat?

    The steam in the south side of my hallway doesn’t work, due to a plugged line.

    It is currently 13 degrees in my office, and it’s only October 2nd. I’ll be able to see my breath in about three weeks.

    At my desk.

    And before you say “space heater”, the fire department frowns on those due to the chance of them igniting the 60-year old building.


    -Bretticus Freezicus

  11. Eyeteaguy Says:

    Suck it up dude. The door sealer at the bottom of the outside office door was ripped off 2 weeks ago. My office is right next to it. I am freezing my a$$ off too.

    As for space heaters? I just turn on all the computers I can find and let them heat the place.

    Seems like poop smells the same no matter where you go.


  12. Brett Legree Says:

    One big difference though.

    If I worked where you do, I’d have picked up the parts on my way home from work that night, and fixed it the next day.

    Like I used to do in my four private sector jobs before I worked here…

    I do that now, I’ve got a grievance against me. In fact, I could be *fired* for taking the initiative.

    See why public sector employees eventually stop giving a shit?


  13. Brett Legree Says:

    And besides, you’re running fairly modern hardware, right? It won’t give off too much heat.

    Meanwhile up in “government funded land”, we’re still using ENIAC.

    Everyone huddles around the glowing tubes… heh heh

  14. Eyeteaguy Says:

    I used to fix stuff outside my pervue as well. Then it became my job. No thanks, I’m busy enough and we have people on staff who are supposed to fix things.

    And you assume incorrectly, we do not run modern hardware. Original P4s and P4D’s give off a HUGE amout of heat, all the time. Unlike the new green chips from Intel.

    I sent a very nasty email to the Operations Manager. (I started with the plant Clerk, then the Maintenance Manager, then the Plant Manager). Basically it said email stops working when the IT Guy gets cold.

    Oddly enough a grubby guy in coveralls just came by to measure the door.

    In a union, I probably would have had a gevience filed against me for that email.


  15. Brett Legree Says:

    At least you have a P4, I have to *wind* my computer twice every hour. If you look carefully, you can see where they scratched out “Fisher Price”…

    Seriously though I hear you. Glad you’re getting your door fixed.

    The work request for the heat is still in the system. I know. I put it in there. Last November.

    If you worked here, you’d have given yourself a transorbital lobotomy a long time ago.


  16. Friar Says:


    No, it WASN’T McD’s.

    It was Shopper’ Drug Mart.

    And I was a damned good stock-boy, I’ll have you know.

    Would a “real” company have an infestation of RACOONS in the building?

    Where staff are instructed to close the doors at night, so the critters don’t get into the offices?

  17. XUP Says:

    This is like that Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen sketch where they all try to outdo each other on what a miserable childhood they had. I try to force myself to remember that I’m here 7.5 hours a day to finance my life and whatever happens during that 7.5 hours is all billable time, as they say. And then I think of all the ways it could be worse. It gets me through the day.

  18. Brett Legree Says:

    Yeah, think of all the ways it could be worse. You could work a shitty job for 35 years, and then get hit by a bus on the way home from your retirement party.

    Just kidding… 🙂

    On a serious note, it could be much worse. In September, 263,000 people lost their jobs in the USA.

    Just in September. Wow.

    I wonder if there’ll be another war, you know what I mean?

  19. Friar Says:


    Ahhh…the good ‘ol “Be thankful you have a job” mantra.

    Works for some. But not for others.

    I fall into the latter category. 😉

    No, the worst thing is to be hit by a us and live, but be a quadriplegic with impacted wisdom teeth or something….

    (Didn’t’ I write a post about that, once?) 😉

  20. Brett Legree Says:


    Yeah, you did, and the bleeding heart brigade arranged a stake-out on your blog…

  21. Friar Says:


    Oh, yeah….how can I forget? 🙂

  22. Mer Says:

    @ Brett,

    I’m in one of the states with unemployment over 12%. In some areas of Cali–notably around Fresno, the Armpit of the World–the unemployment rate is between 40% and 50%. Shocking, no?

    Yet Ben Bernanke (@ the Federal Reserve), fool that he is, thinks the recession is over. o_O

    I’m not sure when folks will understand that the military-industrial complex is bankrupting the nation. We can’t afford any more wars. And yet we’re such dumbasses, there probably will be another war.

    Canadians are smarter. They don’t go to war as often.


  23. Brett Legree Says:


    Exactly – it is much, much worse than anyone knows, and than any politician will admit.

    Check this out:


    No toys for Christmas for the little girls and boys.

    This shows you how bad it really is – 1/5th of the world’s shipping is not running, whereas last year this time, it was.

    And to the war thing… well, the *cheapest* way to wage war on another nation – best bang for the buck, if you’ll pardon the expression – would be nuclear.

    You’re right, the USA isn’t capable of another conventional war at this point. But there are a lot of nuclear warheads that are coming up on their “best before” dates…

  24. Mer Says:

    Indeed. My youngest brother, who lives in Florida, works in shipping. He almost didn’t have a job at the end of last year. He told me no one was shipping anything. The industry was at a standstill. (I thought it had gotten a little better…) I used to work for a container leasing firm, but they went bankrupt in the late 1970’s. Too many parties. 🙂 It was a tough business, though.

    The thought of going nuclear is terrifying. But it wouldn’t employ US citizens, nor would it build up military contract manufacturing which is what the Republicans used to look for in a war. Now it’s items for consumption (thanks to Bush II), but not many people have the wherewithal to consume anymore.

    You know, that “fleet” wasn’t far from the earthquake in Indonesia the other day. I wonder if there are any ships left after the tsunami.


  25. Mer Says:

    @ Brett

    I had this really great reply that WordPress just ate. ;p

    Those ships were fairly close to the earthquake in Indonesia the other day. I wonder how many survived that and the tsunami.

    Nukes = terrifying

    They wouldn’t do anything to bolster the war-related manufacturing in this country, which is what Republicans used to look for in a war. Now we’ve got that “consumer” society full of “owners” a la Bush II, so they look for consumables. But not many people can afford to do that much consuming anymore.


  26. Karen JL Says:

    Friar, post about puppies or something.

    This comment thread is getting depressing…

  27. Davina Says:

    Friar, it’s Friday night 11:30ish your time so you’re probably pissed by now… but… maybe you’ll be able to read this in the morning… You’ve reminded me that my last employer owed me almost 40 hours of overtime when they “let me go”. Thanks for that 😉 Have a great weekend. Enjoy your hangover.

  28. Mer Says:

    Poor Karen. I don’t have puppies. But will this do??

    Mer 😀

  29. Karen JL Says:

    @ Mer – KITTY! Even better. 🙂

    (I know Friar would *never* post a kitty…so why ask?)

  30. XUP Says:

    No, not so much ‘be thankful you have a job’. I hate that one. They’ve been throwing that one around a lot over the last year. Like it gives them an excuse to do whatever they want and you have to passively submit. Personally, I see no reason why work has to be so miserable. If workplaces made a bit of an effort to treat employees with respect, compassion, understanding — maybe a little gratitude and esteem – they might find a more productive workforce. And we wouldn’t need unions. Seriously, you create a pleasant work environment. The people who thrive in that environment and produce excellent work get rewarded; the people who take advantage and goof off, get fired. Seems like a simple formula. Starting with the premise that all employees are only there to screw the employer as much as they can, isn’t really the way to go.

  31. Brett Legree Says:


    Yeah, nuclear war would not be good. And you’re right, it wouldn’t create more jobs for Americans (unless you nuked the factories that took away American jobs in other countries!)

    Friar and I talked about it a lot last night. What happened? I’m not sure.

    Maybe moving from a consumer/service type thing to consumer/throw-away/consumer type thing.

    You used to buy a pair of shoes. Then they’d get worn, and you’d go to the shoemaker.

    Now you buy a pair of shoes, they get worn, you throw them away, you buy more shoes.

    The shoemaker is out of a job, and this isn’t sustainable.


    You’re bang on here – even if your work is mundane, it is possible to have a healthy workplace. The employers need to figure this out.

  32. Friar Says:


    I don’t think you can blame only Bush for having a consumer society full of “owner”. It started to get that way long before that.

    Brett and I were just chatting about this. 30 years ago, people still had a decent standard of living. And everything (TV’s, cars, appliances) was made in the U.S. or Canada. Things were pretty good.

    Now it’s all imported from China, and North America’s economy is collapsing.

    What happened, between then and now? Where did we start to go wrong?

    Well, I visited a buddy last night, and played with their big black retriever-dog.

    And I just came back from Brett’s, and visited with his lovable-dumb-sack-of-shit dog, Walter. (And the little Brett-lings as well).

    So those are two puppy stories for you. 🙂


    Yep..at 11:30 last night, I was doing all right. But it wasn’t too bad…I’m only marginally hung-over today.

    Lots of stories about unpaid wages. You’re not the first one I’ve heard.

    Funny..how companies can get away with that. If only they’d get disciplined to the same extent that they discipline their employees who cheat on their time-cards, eh?

    @Karen and Mer

    It’s not that I don’ like cats. But they make me sick.

    Major itchy eyes, and asthma attacks. Even if I just go inside the house and don’t’ touch the kitty.

    Of course, the damned cats KNOW this…and I’m the first person who’s lap they want to sit on, and rub up against.


    “I dont’ see why work has to be so miserable”.


    I don’t expect to be patted on the head for doing my work. I don’t expect to be thanked and taken out to dinner.

    But at the very least, can they at least be NEUTRAL and say nothing?

    No…it’s like they go out of their way to criticize you and put you down. Even when you’re doing your job right.

    I’ve gone to the union a few times before, regarding some unfair treatment.

    Which is ironic, because I’m an engineer, and typically, engineers are considered “management” are are the unions’ enemy.

    But now I see it from the other point of view. Unions arent’ just about getting pay raises and benefits. There are times when you need someone with legal power to stick up for you and help stop harassment and abusive treatment.

    Ideally, there shouldn’t be unions. But I guess the sad reality is that in many big companies, we still need them.

  33. Friar Says:


    Hahah! You and I were on-line at the same time, and duplicating some of our comments.

    Yeah, Nuclear was is obviously scary.

    I don’t think it would be the U.S. that would start a nuclear war. (That would be the job of idiots like the Iranian President AhmadaWhackJob).

    But you can bet, that the U.S. would certainly FINISH it!

  34. Mer Says:

    @ Brett & Friar

    I don’t think it’s only Bush’s fault but he named it and owned it, so to speak. He legitimized it. Big mistake, IMO.

    I can remember in the 1980’s when there was talk about moving to a service economy. I think, although I’m not sure, the idea was that we were too civilized to keep manufacturing as the base of our economy. If you move manufacturing to other countries, we have time to dedicate to other things. Also, after the 1970’s we didn’t trust American made products because they were built to fall apart. I read just the other week that cell phones have a two year shelf life. I’m not clear that it’s about obsolescence or product breakdown, but that’s not good no matter who’s producing the phones.

    Nukes. Ahmadi talks a lot. Doesn’t have much real power. The other guy, whatshisname, the Supreme Leader. Worry about him and worry about the Israelis. I read Israel National News online sometimes. They get wound up over every little thing. Last I saw they were tweaked because the US said happy holidays to Arabs and not to Israelis.

    @ Karen & Friar, re: cats

    I wasn’t sure how to upload doggie pics from my comp without having it go wrong. I don’t have any funny ones, unfortunately. Oh wait… I made this for Talk Like a Pirate Day. (That’s Stewie, who stayed here when roomie’s daughter was moving to San Diego and roomie was recovering from heart surgery.)

    @ Karen

    I couldn’t resist. Lolcats always make me happy. (I’m easy to please) Plus, you were all depressed.


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