Employees Share the Petty Yet Effective Power Moves They’ve Pulled at Work

Certain jobs can really pit employees against each other. Maybe it’s the boss, maybe it’s just the culture of the place.

But either way, sometimes employees have to get down, dirty, and PETTY to get ahead or get revenge on their co-workers. Hey, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there…

Let’s check out some stories from AskReddit users who pulled petty, yet very effective power moves at work.

1. Reassigned.

“Our assistant manager has changed the schedule several times without notice, then happily tries to get us written up for being late, not showing up. I religiously document the schedule by photographing the screen, since we can’t access it at home.

After having to come in to HR twice on my day off to prove the schedule had changed, I began writing her up for every single time change without notification. She is let off the hook because I’m just a peon, but she still had to walk to HR to dispute them.

A few other people started doing the same. When she had to answer for five instances of it in a week, she was reassigned back to floor nursing on another unit.”

2. “He hated that.”

“When I worked at a grocery store I was in the meat dept. We closed the counter at 8 and cleaned until 9. My dept manager said if we finished cleaning early we could head out. But he was 9-5 so he wasn’t around.

I worked there for some years, and as the years went on one of the front end managers that did closing didn’t like us leaving early. It wasn’t up to them. They were not my boss. At some point they implemented a policy where we had to call the front desk and they had to come verify cleaning was done and sign off on it.

The manager that didn’t like us leaving early would say he was coming when we called, but then he just wouldn’t come til 9 to verify so that he could keep us there the whole time.

So my solution was, after I finished cleaning I would just walk to the front desk and find him, and tell him I was ready. He would say “OK, be right there.” And I would say “OK, I’ll wait.” And I would just stand right next to him until he went to check. He hated that.”

3. Against company policy.

“I worked in a call center that had a Keycard security entry at all outside doors. My team supervisor was a tool who would penalize the smallest deviation from any rules yet he ignored them when it suited him.

One day when entering I realized too late that I had forgotten my Keycard at home. A friend swiped me in. I was ripped a new one and told everyone had to swipe their own card or they weren’t allowed entry. Under any circumstances.

Fast forward about three weeks later. Supervisor went outside to smoke on break, and left his Keycard on his desk. It was heavily snowing and probably 5 below with wind chill.

I went to the break room past the door he was banging on and ignored him. About 45 minutes later he finally entered the building and called me to his office and asked me why I didn’t let him in. I half-*ss apologized and said unfortunately that was against company policy.”

4. Faceoff.

“My director had minimal respect for me, but our corporate office insisted I be a part of the management team.

Meetings are held at a rectangular table. I knew he’d sit at the “head”, so I arrived early and sat at the other “head”. He had to face me during every meeting.”

5. Last day.

“Last day at a job, been at the place for 5 years. Going round, last chat with different folks in different areas.

One guy who always tried to get a reaction from me, I walked up to him and said I never bothered to learn your name. Walked off happy.”

6. A toxic bully.

“I learned that my manager hated me and wanted to fire me but I was so good at my job and well liked by the rest of the company that HR wouldn’t let her.

I showed up on time every day and completely ignored her. I would take smoke breaks and chum it up with the other department heads. When I finally got a better job and could escape her I gave her flowers.

She was such a toxic bully Ive never encountered someone so deliberately malicious and to this day I don’t know exactly why she decided I was the main target of her scorn. I think it might be because I requested a day off to go to a wedding the second month I worked for her.

After I left 7 others quit within a month 4 on the same day.

And then the new group didn’t last 3 months. And then she got fired.”

7. My wife.

“When my wife was first hired there were three receptionists at her job, and it was about 40 hrs per week. Then they fired the oldest and hardest working one over some bullsh*t accusation of stealing or something.

So now two people are receptionists for the job that requires two and is six days a week. She was working 55 hrs/ week now and had much more work than before. This is also while being chastised by the sh*tty office manager/ owner.

So she and the other receptionist made talks of quitting, got everything lined up and quit 2 days apart. So then they had no receptionist and the sh*tty office manager had to do all the work herself until they could find a replacement.”

8. Whoa.

“I was an MA for a very wealthy, pretty arrogant doctor. They’d regularly not finish or even properly code charts, which means we don’t get paid for anything we did, yet they never knew why we were losing money.

They’d let the unfinished charts pile up into the hundreds and then task us with going through the notes ON OUR DAYS OFF while they sat at home, cruised on their yacht, or, my favorite, left the country entirely for a vacation.

And, they were a jerk to me and the rest of their overworked, underpaid staff. I was doing charts on their computer one day when I got curious and Googled, “Medicare fraud.” They didn’t like turning off computers in the office, so evidently either I forgot to close the window or they checked their search history, because they seemed to notice this.

For the rest of the time I worked there we never had to code a chart independently again and they were extremely nice to me.

Now that I’m studying medicine, I realize that what they were doing was legitimately Medicare fraud and I just didn’t know.”

9. Nepotism.

“Lost out on a promotion to leading hand (construction) to nepotism.

Nevertheless tried to give the guy some advice when seeing some rookie mistakes popping up, which he promptly pulled rank and told me to follow orders.

So me and the team complied with instructions to the letter, resulting in $500k damage and the communications for a whole town cut off and the company nearly going under.”

10. I’m going to a funeral.

“I had a manager try to twist me into working on a day that I’d booked off for a family funeral.

It was not a direct relative and I didn’t bother checking the official policy about what I was entitled to, but I did mention when I booked it off that it was for a funeral. Nothing was asked about who it was or if I was ok, but I didn’t offer any details.

Anyway, manager fed me some crap about ‘Friday not being ideal for time off’ and asked if I could work anyway. I said no, it was for a funeral. He pushed and I said I’d let them know by the end of the day.

I went back to my desk, looked up the policy and emailed it to him. I said I’d be off Friday as well as Monday, as per the bereavement policy (which was two days if it was family, 5 if it was a direct relative).”

11. Tried to screw you over.

“My old business partner tried to enforce a non-compete even though I was only doing residential work with the business I started.

We had previously had long email discussions and arguments where he refused to do residential work and was very clear he was only ever going to do B2B.

The non-compete got thrown out 5 seconds into arbitration (sadly, I never got to use the emails I had saved). After we left the courthouse I sat in my car calling every single customer I served when we were partners. Over 75% of them preferred my service over his and transitioned to my new business.

I then called the only employee he had that actually knew what he was doing and worked hard and made an offer for what he was actually worth (his pay went from $15/hr under old partner to $25/hr+monthly bonus+paid training under me).

The best part is that I had brought most of those customers on board his business, took all their calls, and did all the work for them. I didn’t even think of calling them until he put the idea in my head when he was arguing with the arbitrator that I was “trying to steal his business” and thought “motherf*cker, I was the one who built that entire part of your business”.

I wouldn’t have ever called them if he didn’t try to screw me.”

12. Felt great.

“I regularly butt heads with the sales team so when I saw the sales director at the front door fumbling to get his access card out, instead of opening the door for him, I stood there and watched him struggle.

It’s a glass door so he could see me standing 3 feet away, enjoying my coffee.

Looked him dead in the eyes and smiled. Man that felt great.”

13. Karma.

“One of my former manager’s hated me because I was a “robot” who did their job and didn’t want to attend pointless meetings everyday to listen to her talk about weddings and babies when I had sh*t tons of work to do (that she’d ironically demanded of me).

Anyway, few months down the line I caught wind that she’d asked HR for pay raises for the other 2 members of our team who did the same job as me. I thought this a little odd as I’d out-performed them consistently for over 6 months but it was personal for her.

Knowing how incompetent and, quite frankly, dumb my manager was, I figured I’d be able to catch her out quite easily.

As predicted, with a bit of digging around, I found an unprotected ‘manager’ folder on a shared network drive accessible by the entire company (lol) that contained a range of juicy documents including 1-2-1 meeting notes between myself and my manager, as well as my manager and other employees. The notes on me were ridiculously negative with zero basis.

I discovered pay rise request documents and other sensitive employee pay material, which resulted in a data protection breach.

Fast forwarding a few months, after I won a tribunal case against the company (because they naively chose to try to protect her) and big payout, I found out that she had been demoted and is now working alongside the people she used to manage. I guess karma can be a b*tch.

The sad part is, I just wanted her to leave me alone and let me focus on my job.”

Now those are pretty good! And petty!

How about you?

Now we want to hear your stories of power moves at work!

Tell us your stories in the comments!