His Bosses Were Letting Misdeeds By A Friend Slide, But When They Tried To Force Another Guy To Take The Blame, He Called Their Bluff
by Trisha Leigh
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading Reddit, it’s that you never want to mess with people who work really skilled jobs.
That goes double if there’s no one else at the place who can take over if they leave.
OP worked in a factory overseas.
In January 2021 I began working for a very big American company (In Europe), that was (and is) in the Energy Sector. At the Factory Plant I began working at, the Parts of Gas turbines get assessed for restauration and reworked so they can get used again.
Each single part would cost several thousand when produced new, and hold for like a decade or so. Reworking cost like 1/4 of that and the part would be good for another 8-10 years, with more inspections of course for safety.
The Customers would pay like Half or 3/4 of the cost of a new part, and since we talk 2-8K per single part, and a Gas turbine containing thousands of pieces we speak several Million for each gas turbine.
Customer would save a good chunk, and of course the company was sitting on a golden goose.
The machine was basically the heartbeat of the operation.
Over the decades that meant, that the Facility where the stuff was reworked, had an absolute uncontested income, without much of competition (since the parts were their own design and production) and a “win win” for customer and company.
Over time that lead to the problem, that competence, invention or even honesty, were not needed by the management of the facility anymore.
As long as the workers sticked to the already developed and tested processes and did their job, money would keep flowing in regardless what the office did or did not…you can see where this is going.
OP started working in Quality Control.
So i was hired there as part of Quality Control, specifically, i was to operate an 3D Computer Managed measuring Machine. Gas turbines get, as you can imagine, pretty hot and spin fast.
And a decade of heat combined with dynamic stress has the nasty habit to deform stuff.
Can’t have that for sure so, you have to measure the stuff really precisely so that the production knows what section of which piece needs reworking, or if a piece is too out of form to be used again at all.
And while operating the machine isn’t hard, understanding how it worked definitely was.
The Operation of such a machine is not too complicated. Put the piece into bracket, clamp it down, load the correct model and start the program.
You get the measurement report then as an text file, an Excel as well as a PDF. The Pieces (usually rotary blades) nearly always came in sets (24-216, depending on the size).
When all are measured you compile all the reports the machine made, into one Excel with a somewhat complicated method. Wasn’t hard, i learned all that in a week.
That Machine was immensely important for the facility, running in 2-3 shifts per day, 6 days per week. Like 80% of all pieces that went through the reworking process had to be measured at least twice.
As nearly anyone with a technical background can guess, operating a machine and understanding what it is actually doing are two big different shoes.
There were precious few of the latter type around.
When i started there were only 3 guys that understood the machine properly, as well as a Technician, Vladimir who could actually fix codes, or reprogram a 3D model, if there was a problem.
Vladimir however was the technician for the entire Facility (very busy guy) and when he had to come over, his time would need to be paid by the department, something the bosses didn’t encourage so to say…
Of the 3 guys who knew the machine, Antonio is important. He had been working there for a few centuries at least, knew every nook and cranny and, while being a simple worker, if things went wrong, he was the guy you turn to.
He had a bit of a short temper and a very…blunt language, but he was honest, open and very fair.
Although OP liked to remain professional, he and one of the other guys got along.
I ,myself am not the most social person: always held back, with a brutal honesty and i take my professional “cold” attitude a bit too serious i guess.
In general, if people share my princeples of honesty, fairness and taking responsibilities serious, than we get along greatly, but with people that are less….trustworthy i basically turn to an ice block.
Not perfect i know, but hey i don’t work in retail for good reason…
So, OP learned all of the ins and outs.
So thing is, despite some heated arguments, Antonio and me really got along swimmingly.
What no one knew was, that Antonio had, over the decades, collected such a backlog of days off, overtime and what not, that he could retire two years early…and he was 63.
He had decided to groom me as his successor, and began teaching me every little detail about the Measuring Machine, how to fix stuff, how to do proper maintance, why it did certain stuff and so on.
He was a perfectionists, but so am i , so i really appreciated it.
Also, their workplace had a lot of cliques, and there was obvious nepotism going on.
What i noticed in my first week in the company, was the biggest problem there. The Facility had a massive problem with Cliques, clans and little circles.
If you were part of the correct Clique, you could do what you want and remain untouchable. If You aren’t, well your credit goes to anyone but you, and you are a fine scapegoat. I didn’t cared much about it be honest.
I am a bit of a rule-fanatic and stick to them even when everyone else ignores them. For me this was a well paying job, with a horrible commute (1 3/4 hours in one direction), so i wanted to stay there for as long as i could, earn my money and then just take the next job.
The other guy he ended up working with was not that bright – but he was well connected.
There was a 4th guys who was “operating” the machine, I don’t remember his name, so let call him Igor. Igor was part of the same clique as my Boss (Manuel), my Boss’s boss (Freddy) , and of course his own Boss (Boris), who was also his brother.
He was working the Measuring Machine, simple because it was the most comfortable job, he could perform. He was usually doing the Night shift, as those paid extra.
He occasionally took the Late shift, while i always took the early one (was the least popular, due to start at 6 am, but i liked going home at 3 pm).
Igor was…. well as light bulb, he was like a wet match in a dark basement somewhere in a black hole.
I might be a bit too harsh with him now, but that was all i ever got to see from him.
He was also pretty lazy, rude and arrogant, after all he had an untouchable status due to his brother’s best friend being boss of the enitre assessment department.
One day, OP came in to find the other guy hadn’t finished the work from the day before.
A good 6 month after i started there was the first incident with the Measuring Machine. We received the Material in Palettes and it was the firm rule, that the Rotary Blades had to be sorted in numerically order.
Each had a serial number and a Set-Number. Stuff went a ton faster and easier if all was sorted clean 1-82 (or whatever the set went up to).
Ocassionaly an Order ( which were usually 2-4 Palettes) would arrive unsorted at the Measuring Machine, then we had to sort them.
Since we had to lift the blades out one by one anyway to measure them, it was not that big of a deal, just a tad bit annoying.
Igor never finished a set if he could help it, leaving just one or two blades left for measuring, and even when he had to finish a set and start a new one, he would never compile the reports into one excel, i am pretty sure he didn’t even knew how that worked.
When he confronted him about it, the guy shrugged him off.
One Morning i came to work, and like so often there was just 3 Blades left to measure, i shrugged without care and wanted to just finish the order and start the next.
Problem was, the Palettes were a complete mess, completely unsorted, despite them being measured. Igor had worked the late shift the day before, and would also work the late shift that day, so i would actually get to see him for a few minutes when i handed my shift over.
This of course meant, that i would have to sort all of the palettes, while also operating the machine with the next order as to avoid a delay (the machine was a bit of a bottleneck in the facility).
Usually this is a chill post. The blades are never heavier than 22 Kilogramm (48 pound?), and you had like 6-14 minutes between the measurement cycles to lift them out, and exchange them with the last measured blade.
Sorting the last order took me took me 2 hours of quite sweaty work while also operating the machine nearby, so i was somewhat annoyed.
When Igor came in in the afternoon, i asked him in a politely manner, why he had not sorted that one order. He replied in quite a rude tone, that he wouldn’t do that.
I was a bit baffled and asked, if he didn’t knew, that it was mandatory to do that. He simple replied, in a pretty rude tone again, that he wouldn’t speak about that.
Outright refusing to speak about a problem? what the heck?
I told him, that if he didn’t want to speak about it, i would have to speak about it with my boss. He just smiled in an smug fashion and told me to do that.
Their boss(es) had pretty much the same response.
Well, i did just that. Asked my boss about it, in the fashion of “hey, i though we were suppose to sort that stuff, or did we change that?”.
This lead to a four-way talk with my Boss, Igor, as well as Boris. Boris was not happy at all, and my boss was rather embarrassed, because it was all clear, that i was correct, but neither of them wanted to admit that their friend had done anything wrong.
I did my usual Ice-block impression, showing a blank face, replying in very accurate and short words and staying all polite and professional. It came out rather inconclusive with a kind “request” that we should please sort the Palettes if they came in as a mess.
Igor just shrugged and it was clear that he didn’t care. It happened 3 more times that stuff came in unsorted, but Igor managed to avoid doing it ever. okay…
Then one day there was a mistake that put the machine out of commission for a lengthy period.
6 weeks later there was the second Incident. Every morning before I started, I would maintain the Machine like Antonio had showed me to do, cleaning everything and rubbing special liquid into stone tread the Machine’s arch ran back and forth on.
One morning i came in, and turned the Machine into manual mode like every morning, so that i could run the arch to the end of the thread for maintenance.
A second thereafter i heard a grinding noise and instantly stopped the machine. The arch was a air cushion based runner, kinda like a hovercraft as where the bottom of the arch would always remain a tiny bit above the surface to ensure minimum vibration.
So a grinding sound is really really bad.
I quickly inspected the thread and found quite the deep crater in the stone surface, maybe 2-3 cm deep (an inch) and wide, that was enough for the air cushion to loose pressure so the arch was sliding over the stone surface of the thread.
This inspection also revealed scratches along nearly the entire length of the tread, so it was pretty clear, that the machine had been running with this crater for a good bit.
Immediately shut down the machine, informed Vladimir as well as my boss, that some big stuff was going on here. I also took pictures of the damage with time stamps, just out of my usual paranoia…
The Machine was put out of commission, as the arch had taken damage, the entire stone tread had to be reworked and the machine needed recalibration.
It was out for over a month due to that crater. That crater btw, looked exactly like the bottom corner of one of the blade… as if one had been dropped onto the stone tread…and the previous shift before me had *drumrolls* Igor!
The bosses didn’t reprimand the other guy then, either.
Of course he denied that he had done anything wrong, and he could also not recall seeing any scratches or hear any grinding noise during his shift…
He tried to blame it on me, but i had reported the stuff like 5 minutes in my shift, with the last blade Igor had measured still in the machine. Again it was clear to all who had messed up, but again not even a harsh word to him.
While the machine was getting fixed and reworked, we were put to different work, i got into the Pre-assessment team, where the pieces get their first evaluation. I made good friends there which would serve as my ears later on.
A while later, OP came into find odd gaps in the log from the night before.
After the machine got fixed a good month later, we had collected a massive backlog, to the point that the other departments, who did the repair, were struggling to find something to do, that didn’t needed measurements.
The Machine was supposed to work in 3 shifts, but Antonio had left for his 2 year vacacion when the Machine had been put out for repairs, and the other two Colleagues, who knew how to run (and maintain) the machine, had left for better jobs.
So it was only me and Igor by then, with me working quite some overtime for good pay (all bull aside, hourly wage was really proper).
One morning i noticed something pretty weird, the order i had just started the previous afternoon was still not finished, again with just two blades remaining.
Every measurement report has a timestamp, which i quickly had a look into. The Measurement cycle for these was like 3 minutes + 1 minute exchanging one blade for the next.
For some reason the Measurement reports from Igor’s shift had like 10-15 minutes gapes in between, some even half an hour. Igor was still around, as he had had the nightshift.
I knew he was a bit of a slacker, but these gapes where quite big, so i first though there had been trouble with the machine.
The other guy, of course, knew nothing about it.
I Asked him if he had had any trouble with the machine last night and he snapped at me, that all had been fine. I asked if he was sure and he in return inquired why i ask.
I told him that there were quite some heavy gaps in between the measurement report, and that i couldn’t find any error messages of sudden stops or such.
Igor looked at those timestamps for a moment, back at me and just shrugged before he went home.
That would had been the end of it, if it wouldn’t had been even stranger the next shift (monday).
I had, for once, not worked on saturday, so Igor had 3 shifts in since i had last clocked out. I came in as usual, did the maintaince and cleaning and wanted to check how far he had gotten.
Then, orders went un-logged.
4 Orders had went through since my last shift, so i assumed that, as usual, i would have to compile the reports.
But there were none. I was pretty confused, searching the order’s numbers, checking the machine protocol and all.
The Measuring Machine had been running over the weekend with no shutdown or restart visible in the log, but also no measurement reports at all.
I called in Vladimir, as well 4 orders worth of reports missing is a big deal.
OP told their bosses but again, nothing was done.
According to rules, i also informed my boss, that the machine was standstill due to technical issues. Both Vladimir and my Boss came in to the measuring room and we three searched for the problem.
It took us a while to figure it out, simple to it being absolutely not expected…Someone had turned off the output of the machine….maybe to avoid the timestamps.
This again caused quite some ruckus, as all 4 orders had to be measured again with reports, and production was really struggling now to have something to work on.
Again, all clear who had messed up…and finally Freddy had enough, but not of Igor….
Then, the big boss showed up to give OP an ultimatum.
The Afternoon of the same day, Freddy, the Boss of the entire Assessment department came into my measuring room, nice expensive suit, tie, polished shoes and went straight into my face.
I was currently sitting in my chair, compiling the results of the remeasured first order, when he stood before me, giving me no room to get up.
He look down on me and snapped at me, that he was sick and tired of me bullying my co-workers.
He handed me a letter, which were the sign papers of my contracts termination, signed by him of course. He informed me, that i had exactly two options now.
I could either promise to do better, apologize to my Co-worker Igor, and admit i was as fault. or i would be fired immediately.
Well…the good thing of being bullied and terrorized for most of your childhood is, you learn to keep a cool head under stress.
So i reigned in my first urge, to discuss with him or to tell him, that such was illegal. Instead i took the letter and read through it before nodding a few times.
Due to my cold, professional attitude, i was known for often remaining silent, so he took my nods as my compliance.
He informed me, that he awaited my written apologize before 2 pm (all of the bosses went home by 2 pm, and came in around 8 or 9 XD).
So, OP decided to call their bluff and quit.
Well, when he turned around and marched out with a smug grin, he left me with the termination letter…with his signature on it.
Fun fact, when both parties agree to it, a contract can be cancelled immediately, without any further responsibilities, beside paying for already issued hours (Which go directly through Human Resources, via the electronic timestamps of our clocking.
I had two hours left until his deadline, and i spent it to carefully clean my workplace, make a back-up of my work-laptop (acc. to the rules) and then, also according to the rules, clean the hard drive completely.
The Backup was put into the assigned server with all data correctly named and compiled. But of course, the server for back-up data is marked as “unsearchable” as to avoid your search list getting cluttered, after all the same parts types came in again and again, with the same material numbers of course…
If you know the rules, and knew were to search, you would find the stuff within 20 seconds, if not… well good luck mate, its only like 10 TB or so…
I made a copy of the termination paper (signed by me now, too) and send them to my email (which was allowed), put the original back into the envelope and packed my things up.
Then I went up to the office, envelope in hand. The Big Boss showed his smug smile again the moment he saw me, but was quickly confused when he saw me with my laptop, work phone and all that, too.
I handed him the letter, offered a polite nod and turned around again. He shouted, where I was going, him still holding the envelope in his hand.
“You terminated my contract, according to the rules, I am to hand over all personal equipment I had been handed by the company before leaving. Exception acc. to Paragraph B are safety shoes and safety glasses. I bid you a fine day Mister Freddy”.
I said that with a cold, calculated voice, trying my best to sound like a lawyer, simple because I knew he hated my professional attitude. Then i went to my own boss, and piled my Stuff on his desk.
My Boss was confused as heck, asking me what was up. I briefly informed him, that my contract was terminated and that once more quoted the rule.
OP’s boss realized what a royal mess this would cause.
My Boss was smug but he wasn’t all dumb.
His eyes went big as he immediately realized, that I was the only Person he had left, that actually knew how to maintain and properly operate the Measuring Machine.
And that he had such a backlog already, that other departments, relying on the measurements, had started to enforce short-time work.
He was first lost for words and then rushed into Freddy’s office to see that termination letter.
Meanwhile I changed my clothes in the locker room, went to the gate and asked the security guards to please have a full inspection of my person and my backpack.
This was likewise regulation for personal that was terminated on short notice, and while the security guards were pretty baffled, that I asked to be searched, they complied.
They searched me fully and handed me a written confirmation, that I had nothing on me, that belonged to the company.
My now Ex-Boss tried to call me all the time on my way home, but I dislike having phone calls in public transport, so I simply muted them and continued reading my book until I got home.
There, 4 pm by now, so well past his own time to go home XD, I finally answered his call.
But he called OP selfish and greedy when he said he’d come back for a pay raise (and an apology).
He tried to convince me, that I needed this job and that all this could be sorted. My Reply: “I will have a new job within a week, you will need to take at least a month to train someone new on the machine….if you had anyone that could train a new person.
I tell you what. Give me a solid contract with triple the pay and I come back, oh and I want a written apologize from Freddy, too as well as my peace when working”
He told me that i was completely unreasonable with such demands, again me: “So to get this clear..
Three times I discover massive bull happening, three times you guys try to heap the blame on me and then you guys literally try to humiliate me and Freddy does actually fire me… and you want me to be reasonable?
Well, guess it would be reasonable then to just ignore you then. Please be well!”
I hung up then and blocked his number, as well as any other number with which he would try to call me later on.
As predicted, things at the factory went from bad to worse.
As I had mentioned before, I still had ears in the company, so I have a good idea what followed. The Facility suddenly had its most sensitive bottleneck tightened even further, and then clogged full of concrete soon after.
No one maintained or cleaned the Measuring Machine anymore, and being a precision machine, it didn’t took that lightly. Vladimir was soon called in multiple times a day to fix a problem, which in return build up a backlog for him in other places.
Things I (or previously Antonio) had fixed within a minute now took hours, just for Vladimir to find time to come over and fix it (in a minute XD). He tried explaining stuff to Igor but yeah…didn’t worked well…
Other departments ran completely dry of work, and of course they didn’t wanted to bear the blame for missed deadlines, so the whole Issue was pretty quickly reported up the Ladder…and with no one wanting to take the hit, it climbed higher and higher, before it was eventually got onto the Desk of the National CEO of the Company, the highest Entity of the Company this side of the great pond. (found that out via a friend in HR).
Finally, the bigwigs arrived and asked for OP’s story.
Was followed was the arrival of the proverbial “K— Squad”, you know the modern equivalent to an Executer: a bunch of Guys in very tight suits, no sense of humor, cold eyes and the strict command to find someone’s head to put on a silver plate.
As far as i heard even a prosecutor from the USA was among them.
I was called by the company a month later, asking if I could come in for an interview, not a job interview mind you, but they asked me to give my statement on the whole affair.
This wasn’t a legal thing, and they had no way to force me to make a statement, as it was an internal investigation, but I still happily complied and even gave my signature that I told the truth.
Gave them the entire story, as accurate as i could and openly admitted what I didn’t knew or where i was only guessing.
They thanked me, and apologized (honesty i felt), that they could not pay me for the time they took from me due to legal reasons. I was all fine with that and went home.
Then they started handing out the terminations.
Igor got fired for “careless negligence”, His Brother Boris likewise got the immediate boot.
My boss went down under as well, he and Boris were fired for mismanagement.
And in one case, getting hauled through the US legal system.
Their Boss however, Freddy, he got not only fired, but dragged in front of court, no idea how that went on, as he was dragged to the US.
But given how ridiculous that justice system is, and that he had been designated as a scapegoat by one of the biggest Company’s worldwide… wouldn’t be surprised if he had to hold very tightly on the soap for a good while.
The Entire facility went firmly in the reds for that year, due to nearly all contracted reworks missing deadlines, which means a daily fees of ten of thousands per contract.
As for OP, he had a new job within the week and is very happy there.
My ears in the company soon sought themselves new jobs, despite in one case being there for 20 years. Last I heard, is that the Company had to contract the producer of the Measurement Machine to train new employee how to operate it properly.
I had asked for triple my pay, well those guys were more like “Triple the Zeros at the end” XD
Oh! and I did find a new job within 1 Day. I was “fired” on Monday, Had the Interview on Tuesday, a test work day the Thursday.
I was asked at the end of that day when i could start. which was the next Monday.
I do manual measurements now, in a Incoming Quality control department. The Boss is a blast, the team is all friendly and my commute is 18 minutes with an eletric scooter.
I work there for 9 months now, and I already am the de-facto team leader for first sample stuff, and best of all, I am appreciated for the work I do, too 🙂
This one was long – did Reddit think it was worth it? Let’s find out!
Nepotism usually doesn’t pay.
They say cruel managers get what they deserve.
And yeah, literally everyone knows you don’t screw with people who have specialized skills/knowledge.
But they do love the stories that come out of it.
Smart people know you hang onto good employees like OP.
This was a long one, and complicated, too.
That said, I really enjoyed the ending.
Want to read another story where somebody got satisfying revenge? Check out this post about a woman who tracked down a contractor who tried to vanish without a trace.