Proof That Picking a Fight With the U.S. Army Is Never Going to End Well

People who serve in the United States military, reserves or otherwise, know that they have the full legal force of that military at their backs, and therefore are typically confident when dealing with civilian managers, etc.

Civilian managers typically realize what they’re working with, too, but listen. Sometimes our egos really do get the better of us.

This guy is a captain in the Army reserves, and took a job working nights while he was finishing his master’s degree. He stayed on afterward while he searched for a job in his field.

So this all happened in the last few weeks. For reference, I’m a battalion level officer in the army reserve. While I was getting my masters, I took an overnight gig doing unimportant things. Mostly my coworkers are 19-22 year olds in college or just out of high school. Pay was good and I could focus on my studies all night.

I graduated with my masters in 2018 but job market for my field in my area was hard for a while. I had a good relationship with the owner of my company and the pay was really good, plus the army has me working in my field so I just decided to stay.

All of his managers liked him, he got the job done well, and had a good relationship with the owner of the company.

Then they brought a new manager on, and while things were fine at first, they quickly started to go downhill.

Fast forward to 6 months ago. I’ve been here four years now. Every manager or supervisor has nothing but praise for me and I’ve made zero mistakes that cost the company any money or time. New boss. Good guy. Flexible. Works with people to get people schedules they want.

But over time, personal issues or something get in his head. I suspect he doesn’t like struggling to schedule around my military duties, but who knows.

And then the sh*% really started to roll, with this poor man at the bottom through no real fault of his own.

He starts name calling, being condescending, or ranting and raving at me for unclear reasons every time he sees me. He wants things “cleaned up” but is never able to quite articulate what that means, and my attempts never satisfy him.

One time he ranted at me for sweeping wrong. Another time for calling him when nobody showed up to relieve me for an hour past my shift, and the guys on the schedule said they were told they didn’t need to come in.

When he does manage to give a specific instruction, he’ll show up the next day and rant and rave and yell that I didn’t do it before he told me.

OP took this as a sign that it was clearly time to move on, no hard feelings (or at least not many).

Well now my comfortable, well paying job is no longer peaceful and I have better things to do than listen to a man child be angry at the world every day. So I hop on indeed and apply for a couple jobs in my field.

By now I have the masters and 6 years experience doing it in the army so I land some interviews and within a few weeks get an offer for double my salary.

An incident took place that confirmed he’d made the right decision, which ended in his boss threatening to fire him.

Not knowing, of course, that OP was in the process of leaving on his own.

Soon after, as I’m still working on the on-boarding process for the new company, he becomes enraged that a garbage can is dirty. I shit you not. A garbage can. Is dirty. I listen to him rant and name call and all that fun stuff, and the next day, I roll my eyes and wash the garbage can.

He responds by yelling at me some more because I didn’t wash it before being told to, called me some names, then threatened to fire me.

OP handed in his two-week notice, and a few days later, noticed that his time off request for upcoming military duties had been denied.

So I shrugged and wrote up my two week notice and handed it to him the next day. Turned out that threat was a bluff. He is now VERY short staffed, and he blew up again. Yawn. The next day though I noticed something peculiar on our work app.

My time off request, filed months ago, for upcoming “military orders” had been denied. I laughed it off because obviously that’s a miss-click on his part. But uh… nope.

And no, it wasn’t a mistake.

The manager doubled down, though, with plenty of attitude.

I come in for work again, and he very smugly informs me that I will be working through the whole next week.

“Uh. I have military obligations.”

“I don’t care. I denied your time off request.”

“I have orders from the military. I can’t be here.”

“Nope. I denied it.”

“Uh… You can’t do that.”

“Yes I can! This is what you get for not respecting me and acting like a child! I’m denying your time off request so figure it out.”

That’s when OP asked for the denial of time off in writing.

And when the manager stepped in it, because literally everyone should realize that they need to think twice before putting anything in writing.

“Can I have in writing that you’re denying me unpaid time off for military duty?’

Ladies and gentlemen… If asked for something in writing, a smart man would stop and reconsider. A smart man actually would have realized WELL before talking to me that trying to tell an army battalion that they can’t have one of their captains because a 35 year old civilian middle manager is being petty is a REALLY dumb idea, and is in fact illegal. But my boss is not a smart man. Maybe he once was, but he is now an angry, vengeful, petty man that, at this point, believes he has won a mighty victory over his enemy. So he puts it in writing, and then walks off with a confident swagger, shouting over his shoulder,


OP figured it out by calling the owner he was friendly with in the main office, who assured him he could have the time off.

He also asked for OP’s opinion on the new manager, so…he spilled.

If you insist. So after my shift, I wait for our main office to open and I call the company’s owner for the first time since this new boss started. Friendly chat, and then I tell him I’m calling just to warn him that his manager is trying to pick a fight with the DoD, and that I wanted to call and let him know and get it resolved unofficially. Owner thanked me for calling him, assured me that I would of course have those days off, and asked me what my perceptions were of the new boss. I gave him my opinion that he was once great, but has turned into the most toxic, abusive person I’ve ever worked for. We wished each other well, and then hung up.

I don’t know what happened next, but I suspect the owner politely and calmly informed him that small businesses don’t like their managers picking fights with the federal government, because when my new schedule came out, I had my drill days off, and my boss avoided me after that. I’m taking a vacation after drill and then starting my new job as an expert in my field on Memorial Day, working autonomously with clients and he will remain there, angry, frustrated and stressed.

I figured it out, bossman.

Honestly, I think the dude is lucky he didn’t get fired. What a jerk.

Have you ever worked for a boss like this? Tell us your most appalling stories in the comments!