October 8, 2023 at 1:41 pm

Employee Knew He Was Going to Be Fired So He Threw Out A Notebook With 15 Years Worth Of Knowledge

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/AITA

Sometimes, if you’re gonna get fired from a particular job, you have to take the ship down with you.

And in this case, a maintenance man decided to get rid of 15 years worth of inside knowledge about the place he worked at because he found out that he was going to be fired.

Take a look at the story below and see what you think about what this fella did.

Maintenance Guy Throws out Fifteen Years of Important Knowledge.

“A while ago I worked at a baseball store called Bal-Mart (or a general goods store that sounded like that) not so long after the Great Recession of 2008, and management was trying to cut costs because of falling profit.

One of the first things management did was fire two of the three full-time maintenance/cleaning guys. The one guy they kept, I’ll call him MG for maintenance guy, was amazing at his job. Everything in the store ran well because of him and his willingness to go beyond what was required to help people. A genuinely nice guy.

For six months management tried to make having one third of a maintenance staff work, and it failed miserably. MG could not do everything, and over time management increasingly asked him to “coordinate” some part-timers that were supposed to do the cleaning and carts, he spent so much time “coordinating” that he had no time for maintenance. The night crew was also cut, so they couldn’t pick up the slack.

Then two things happened within the space of a week that told management how important he was to the store running well. First, some cleaning machines broke down. Turns out they have to be properly cleaned weekly, if left alone they gum up real bad and parts wear out quickly.

A several thousand dollar repair bill because he was told to prioritize coordinating part-timers over “tinkering” with machines. A few days later the deli lady nearly quit after the blade on the deli slicer went flying off and could have cut her face badly. Turns out that the bolt that held it in place was loose, and MG had tightened it weekly for her.

When he didn’t have time to do that anymore he told management it had to be replaced for safety, well management didn’t do that because it cost money, but they told people it was fixed. That could have been a lawsuit or criminal charges, they and deli lady got lucky.

So management sat down with him and asked him why things were going wrong. MG told them point blank he needed enough time for maintenance, and someone else had to coordinate the part-time cleaners and check up on them (they were rather lazy).

Management called BS, they said maintenance should be easy and done quickly. MG got mad because that insulted his professionalism and he pulled out his notebook from his back pocket. It turns out that over his fifteen years he had filled the book with charts, schedules, and diagrams of how to do his job and keep things running. There were over one hundred things he checked weekly or monthly.

There were a lot of machines he kept in running order, some had certain things that were half-broken and had to be wiggled in a certain way, etc. To be honest, a lot of these things were minor or major safety hazards, but over the years management was fine with not replacing multi-thousand dollar machines if MG knew how to keep them working.

As well, he did things that he should not have done, like calibrating machines for departments that should have done it themselves or contracted it out, etc, but he was a nice guy and he liked helping people. He told me that he spent about a half-hour telling management about what he did, and he suspected that until then nobody had ever known how much he did.

Well, he may have said a few swear words and derogatory things while telling management why he needed time to do stuff, it was not a good moment for him and he was ******.

At the end he put his notebook back in his pocket and offered to take a week to write up everything he knew so that management would have written proof of why his job mattered in case a higher-up asked why they increased maintenance costs when corporate was demanding they cut costs. The multiple managers in the room looked at each other, and asked him to leave so they could talk in private.

He told me (several years later, when I ran in to him somewhere and had lunch with him) that he had a premonition as he walked out of the room, so he went to the backroom and tossed his notebook in the garbage compactor. For good measure he then went around the store and emptied all the garbage cans and tossed those bags in so his notebook was properly buried. He was fine with it, all that information was in his head.

After a few minutes later management called him back. They told him that they could not allow him to keep working there because of the level of insubordination he had showed. They said as soon as he surrendered his badge, box cutter, and notebook he would be escorted out of the building by security (they basically treated him like a criminal, most fired people are not escorted out unless they were suspected of committing a crime that could not be proved).

He handed over his badge and box cutter, they asked for the notebook. He said he threw it in the compactor. Their eyes went wide and they asked why he threw it out. He said he thought he was going to write everything up nicely on the computer from memory so he thought he was done with the notebook.

At this point management starts looking at each other worried, because they had intended to take his book, fire him, and have a less subordinate part-timer (who doesn’t get expensive benefits like a full-timer) do his job. Now they couldn’t.

One of the managers suggested that he be allowed to write up the info before being escorted out, the others agreed. He was given the chance to be unfired just long enough to give them the info. How kind. He laughed and walked out, head held high, and management followed him to his car to make sure he left.

I don’t have exact numbers, but I guesstimate the store had to spend at least twenty or thirty thousand bucks to replace stuff that MG had kept working beyond the equipment’s lifespan, and the new guy they hired had a hell of a time figuring out how things worked.

To be honest, in a few cases MG had gone too far, like creating fire hazards by taping broken chargers together after rewiring them instead of tossing them, but management had never complained when he saved them money. There was also a lot of things that should have been done by the health and safety team or the departments, but they also never complained about having less work.

I asked him if throwing out that notebook was illegal, but he said it was personal property to help him remember things, it was not a work-provided notebook. He was proud of what he did, his pride clearly showed in how he told the story. He said that nobody is allowed to question his professional judgement by implying he is lazy. I agree.”

Check out what people had to say about this.

This Reddit user nailed it right on the head.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Another individual thinks they know exactly what’s going on here.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And one reader sounds like they know what it takes to be a good manager.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This is what happens when you treat people like they’re disposable.

Note to employers… respect your employees or suffer the consequences!