June 5, 2024 at 7:49 pm

HR Set Up A Trivia Event For Employees But Made It Mandatory, So The Accounting Department Stacked Their Team And Dominated

by Michael Levanduski

Source: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

When I’m at work, I am there to get things done and earn a paycheck.

Why is it that some people think they need to force employees to have ‘fun’ while in the office?

In this story, the new VP of HR decided to schedule a trivia night for the teams. To make it even better, he made it mandatory.

Let’s see how that played out.

Show ’em how smart the accounting staff is at trivia games? Okay, boss!

At the turn of the century, I worked as an accountant for a major sports team. The owner hired a new VP of Human Resources who immediately fired the Chief Financial Officer.

The CFO’s duties were shifted down the accounting staff, and we were a small staff of six.

We were swamped.

At the same time, the new VP of HR organized an all-staff trivia contest between departments.

When those of us in accounting saw the email, we immediately deleted it. We were already working evenings and weekends just to keep up; we had no spare time to spend an afternoon playing games.

After work engagement activities can be fun, but this guy is going to FORCE his team participate! Wow.

When the VP of HR saw that no one from accounting had signed up, he called another accountant and me into his office.

He insisted we form a team and participate in the event. We explained how incredibly busy we were, pointed out the deadlines we were facing, and told him how many hours everyone in the department was working.

His face turned red. He stood and pointed a finger at me and said, “This is not a request. This is mandatory. You WILL attend the trivia contest, and you WILL show the entire staff how smart the accounting staff is.”

He glared at both of us in turn. “Do you understand?”

We nodded and left his office. Halfway back to the accounting office, my co-worker gestured to the restroom, and we ducked inside.

“If we’ve got to do this…” she said with an evil grin, “let’s REALLY do this.”

Take a look at this. It sounds like they have the potential to be the “Dream Team” of trivia.

I nodded, catching her meaning. She was a highly educated, brilliant person who was well versed in politics and current issues. I’ll call her IvyLeague.

My talent is a bizarre memory for odd and normally un-useful factoids.

The trivia teams had to be three-player, and we decided to recruit another co-worker who knew sports statistics to the point of being overzealous. I’ll call him Sportster, and he was the perfect fit because we knew they’d have a lot of sports trivia in the game.

We pulled him aside and went over our plan with him. We would show ’em how smart the accounting staff was, and we would do it as fast as possible so we could get back to the piles of work waiting for us. He was all-in!

On the day of the trivia game, all staff met in a bar in the empty arena. Ironically, the VP of HR was called away on an HR emergency, so he didn’t show up at all.

There was an open bar, appetizers, and a few of the sports team’s players and broadcasters attended. The other trivia teams represented ticketing, guest services, operations, security, marketing, broadcasting, IT, the foundation, etc. I would estimate nearly 200 people were there. They were all drinking liquor and filling up on the bar food.

I love it when a plan comes together.

The three of us from accounting drank caffeinated soda and stayed sharp. And we DOMINATED!

The game was structured so two teams would play each other while the rest of the staff watched. When a team lost during a round, they were immediately out of the competition. It started as a fun event, with laughter and teasing between departments.

During the first round, our team easily and fiercely trounced the competition.

The three of us stayed deadly serious and focused throughout the game. IvyLeague was superb at answering the classical knowledge and politics questions, Sportster covered the world of athletics, and I was able to pull up anything they couldn’t get.

As our team quickly routed our opponents and moved up in the tiers, the laughter died away, and the fun atmosphere disappeared from the bar.

We won the competition, were each awarded a small plastic trophy, and we left immediately, going back to the piles of work awaiting us at our cubicles.

What happened? The accounting team did exactly what you asked them to do!

That evening, I worked quite late, quietly plugging away. Our middle-manager accountant was in his office working and probably didn’t realize I was still there.

Someone stormed into the area and went right to the middle-manager’s office.

“What the heck happened at the trivia thing?”

It was the VP of HR.

The middle-manager talked about how IvyLeague, MN Goldengirl, and Sportster were so intent on winning, it made everyone uncomfortable.

I realized I had to make my presence known, so I grabbed my trophy and stood, prairie-dogging over the cubicles.

“Hey, you forgot to tell him…” I said. “They tried to distract us by bringing in the players and the on-air talent!”

I laughed and set my trophy on the corner of the cubicle. “But we showed them how smart the accounting staff is!”

I didn’t wait to see their reaction. I just sat and got back to work.

In the ten years I worked for the organization, there were no more all-staff trivia games played.

Don’t get me wrong, it can be great when an employer encourages employees to have fun together after hours.

When are they going to realize, however, that not everyone wants to participate? Some people are just there for the paycheck, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Let’s look at what other Redditors had to say about this story of malicious compliance.

Oh yes, they better get paid overtime for this. The boss made it very clear that it was mandatory.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

As an introvert, I feel the same way. I don’t mind if other people want to join the ‘fun committee’ but it isn’t for me.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

This commenter may be right. Intentionally going out in the first round would be easier and less time-consuming.

Source: Reddit/MaliciousCompliance

Welp… I bet they won’t do that again!

If you liked that post, check out this story about a customer who insists that their credit card works, and finds out that isn’t the case.