When picturing an office, one pictures rows of cubicles, a water cooler by the bathroom and a small kitchen with a coffee pot. With bland decor and fluorescent lighting, many office workers feel drained at the end of the day. But at some offices, there are strict rules that make cubicle life even more unbearable than it already is.
A thread was created on Reddit after a story about a Florida teenager being suspended for a science experiment went viral. Through the thread, thousands of employees shared their experiences of "rules are rules" in the office, and some rules are unbelievably torturous.
One Reddit user said their work banned cell phone shaped objects in their pockets.
"At first, I thought it was a typo, then they started to write people up for wallets, packs of gum, and other rectangular shapes in our pockets," the user wrote.
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Another said saying "Bless you!" was not allowed at work, after one person sneezed and another said the phrase.
"Someone at work sneezed and another one said 'Bless you!' A third party heard it and complained to HR about it. Guy who said 'bless you' was given a warning and had to take a course in professionalism. That's something most people say as without thinking and they mean it in a good way," the user said.
One lawyer said things aren't different for people not working in cubicles. He said he is required to tell the receptionist where he is going when he leaves the office and when he'll be back.
"I'm an attorney, for christ's sake, I had more autonomy in undergrad," he said.
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And for those who work in the government, rules are not malleable, as a user shared that they are required to call movers even if they just want to move their desk a few inches to the right.
"Want to slide a desk across the room? Can't. That is violating union rules and taking work away from the facilities team. You have to call and schedule movers. Then they charge you for it," they wrote.
On top of that, another government worker said they are required to keep their desks empty except for a few required items.
"People used to keep snacks on their desk while working, because we're human. The employer implemented 'lean working' so every desk had to be totally empty, except for select items that had to be arranged in a certain way (pens had to be to the upper left of the keyboard, I think). This rule forbid food items, but allowed one 'personal item.' One staff member had a banana in a banana case as her personal item. She was told to put it away," the worker wrote.
"She refused and took it further until it was ruled that because she wasn't eating it and the skin hadn't been broken, it was an 'inactive banana' and thus a personal item."
At another office, workers aren't allowed to have water unless it is from the cooler at work. Even then, workers must drink the cup of water immediately then dispose of it.
Outside of the office, things seem to be just as strict, as restaurant workers shared the demands placed on them.
One user who worked at a "ritzy cafe" said men were not allowed to grow beards, and if they wanted to, they had to take a "vacation" and come back when the beard was filled in. The in-between stages of facial hair was unacceptable.
And one man who works at a warehouse said no hats were allowed.
"I work in a warehouse. No hats. It's cold here in the winter and the poor bald guys can't wear hats," he said.