Even though JCamm comes across as a depraved, sociopathic ball buster in his writing, he’s actually a pretty nice guy in person; possibly the best and most flexible boss I’ve ever had (I’m lying, JCamm was reading over my shoulder as I wrote that and the “delete” key on my laptop is broken, HELP). Redditor zpiller, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as lucky – not only was his boss a bully, but he even tried throwing him under the bus when his own employment was at risk.
Luckily for zpiller, he managed to turn the tables on him:
I was working as a lab tech in a small manufacturing lab with a girl about my age who I will call Hannah, because that is her name, and the lab manager, a nutcase called Colin, because that was his name.
Colin was a bully, and would single me out for any reason he could, if he felt like I wasn’t paying enough attention to my work he would belittle me in front of all the bottle fillers, would make me do all the dirty jobs and generally be an awful boss. He was also pretty sexist, and decided that women should wear white safety shoes (?) and were not suited for lab work. Finally, he was prone to violent outbursts.
Anyway, I took all this on the chin, because I needed the job and it was actually nice to work with Hannah and others around the factory. A few times, however he went too far. The first, he decided that he needed to use the funnel I was using to fill up barrels. I found it and took it to carry on with what I was doing in the noisy machine room, so I had headphones on. Out of the corner of my eye I see him marching up… “Why did you take my funnel?” I don’t hear him, so I take my headphones out “WHY DID YOU TAKE MY FUNNEL YOU FUCKING IDIOT, YOU ALWAYS HAVE FUCKING HEADPHONES IN?” I asked him quite calmly not to swear, this causes him to quite literally explode with rage, he starts jumping about and getting in my face, eyes popping out of his head. “I’LL FUCKING SWEAR IF I WANT TO YOU FUCKING RETARD, YOU ALWAYS HAVE HEADPHONES IN! WHY DID YOU TAKE THE FUNNEL? I NEEDED THE FUCKING FUNNEL YOU FUCKING PRICK…” I walked away to get away from him, feeling a little shaken, but he followed me, yelling in the same vein until i finally ran away from him and hid in the kitchen, breaking down in tears. I was later told that he could be heard all over the building, even from the noisy machine room! He later smoothed it all over with the upper management, which would be a recurring theme.
This was not long before my birthday, so I had a few days off after this, I come back with him saying that I was not in his good books for yelling at him (?) and that the bosses will be keeping an eye on me (?). I ended up writing a formal grievance against him, but it did not end up helping and he upped his mockery of me.
I saw my first chance for a revenge of sorts when he brought a bottle of Chloroform into the so far windowless and unventilated lab. My chemistry senses started tingling and I asked him if he had done any COSHH forms for this (these are mandatory health and safety forms for chemical handling). He says no, I say he should, he says he has never written a COSHH form in his 25 years of being a chemist! I tell him he shouldn’t open it in the lab as it will be dangerous. I have a day off the next day and don’t think much of it.
I walk in the next day and the lab reeks of this weirdly sweet solvent smell, everyone who was near the lab has a headache and there in an unmarked bottle of separated phases of a solution on the desk. My chemist sense is tingling even more, he opened the bottle and exposed everyone to a dangerous chemical, and left unmarked solvent waste. I was prompted into action, I print off a COSHH form, fill it in and show it to upper management.
Since upper management aren’t chemists, they don’t really understand, but can see I am concerned so they go talk to Colin, who smooths it over and comes to me to chastise me for “fear mongering”. I decide it is time for me to get a new job.
After a few interviews I manage to get a job offer at the university as a lab tech in their research labs for a little more money than I was currently getting, and most importantly I am finally free from Colin. About an hour after getting the confirmation email on my phone the big boss comes down to ask me about a product that went out to our biggest client. They are complaining about the wrong flavour.
I ask him about the batch code (i kept extensive batch code logs to the chagrin of Colin, he disliked it for some reason!) and big boss tells me, I look it up and tell him that there is a note on it for a sanctioned flavour change. Big boss didn’t sanction the flavour change, I tell him that Colin sanctioned it and the notes of the change are in my lab book. Colin is away somewhere at this time so big boss asks me to come upstairs to the board room.
Big boss informs me that the flavour that went to the customer was wrong and they are withdrawing their business, and he needs me to be totally honest with him. I inform him that I had been given a job offer that morning and that I have nothing to gain from lying, I tell him that I was told by Colin to change the flavour, and that I wrote the note in the lab book (which Colin signed off).
He then got on the phone to Colin asking him to explain himself. I was not party to the conversation, but Big Boss brought the phone to me saying “Colin would like to speak with you” I answer the phone and Colin says “Don’t say anything until I get back, we will sort this out together” lol, ok Colin!
Ladies and gentlemen I sang like a canary, I told him about the bullying, the health and safety breaches and the unsanctioned flavour change, the fact that I had a good feeling that he had done none of the paperwork required of him as lab manager, which the other upper management guy corroborated with the COSHH form I had personally written.
They then tell me that they would be dismissing Colin, but as a matter of policy and doing it right, they would be suspending us pending investigation, and to not answer any phone calls from Colin. Throughout the day I had 23 missed calls from him, various frantic voice mails and several text messages.
He eventually came in 5 minutes shy of the end of the work day, telling me that I am not going home until “we” have sorted it out and that I need to tell him what went on before he faces Big Boss, the pleading tone, and the look on his face when I stonily told him: “I am going home Colin, Goodbye.” Will last in my memory forever.
So I look forward to a morning of video games on paid suspension, I get a phone call around 11am to come into work. When I arrive I am whisked into the board room and told what went down by Big Boss and upper management guy. It turns out he tried to blame me for sanctioning a flavour change. This didn’t fly with Big Boss, who had had enough of his shit by now. Colin then decides to blackmail Big Boss, as it turns out Colin had sourced a dodgy supply of flavour and had been putting it into the products, and that he would go to the press with what he had done. This resulted in Colin being dismissed with immediate effect and then escorted off premises by police.
Big Boss then offered me a promotion with a £10k payrise, since he decided that I can do a much better job than Colin did (which I have), which I took!
In the eternal words of Matt Damon…