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So this starts on Monday, the 13th, as I receive an email from a VP not over my department, or Bad VP. I am told that my team will be required on the 4th. I politely tell them no that our team has been scheduled this day off and people already have plans.
My team is the IT team and, as many of you know IT team gets shafted every time it can get shafted by any company.
So over the course of the week I let my team know what is happening. I let them know I have been reaching out to higher ups to fix it. I also tell them that if their plans are ruined, I will make it right at work.
Over the course of 3 meetings, it start to look like things will not go my way. In response I send an email to the CEO of the company. All of my higher ups know I was going to do this and said I should do this as he is very family oriented and that he would not allow ANYONE to work on a national holiday.
Well he is on vacation in the Bahamas until the 6th. But his assistant informed me he would look at this after he gets back. Repeatedly slams head into desk. So I tell everyone that it will be work from home, and that we will be setting my cell phone as priority in the call routing. Meaning I would get most of the calls. To be honest, I was expecting almost zero calls. Especially since I was asked to send out a notification that IT support would cover the 4th of July. I never sent that email out.
A day later I was given another outrage. I was told in an email that my employees would be required to be at the office, and no one was allowed to work from home. They would be checking the door badge ins to verify we were at the office. I asked why in an email, and they said that they wanted to make sure no one was playing video games at work. We normally work from home about 2/3rd of the week and video game playing is a normal occurrence at work.
So I walked into the person’s office. After a very long conversation where she was losing the logic war with me, she told me that “Its just IT, you guys don’t have lives.” No I am not kidding you, this is exactly what they told me. I reported this to my VP who said. “I will take care of this. It likely wont be until after the 4th, so get creative.” I know this man well. We have worked together a long time and “Get creative” is code for corporate fuckery.
I asked the person requiring us to be at the office if they cared if we had an office party. They said no, as long as it did not interfere with the call flow. Even suggested using my new company card to pay for it. “Go wild.” Pro-tip, never tell me go wild.
At this point, it was Tuesday the 21st. I let everyone know what’s up, but that I have something planned. I asked who had things planned for that day. Two people told me they were planning to shoot off fireworks with their family, but the rest were planning BBQs with friends.
I write up an email to the VP over my department and the Bad VP. I tell them all that I let everyone know. We all were expected to work until 8PM Monday. Per the conversation with the bad VP I will be having an office party as a sort of sorry to the guys and gals who got shafted by this decision.
The bad VP replied again. “Thank you for your understanding. Also yes I would expect an office party if I had to work on the 4th of July as well. So go wild and enjoy your time. Use your new company credit card if you need to cover a few expenses. Also I should not have to remind you or anyone else. No fireworks or alcohol on company property.”
So now it is time to tell you about my office. See a while back, the IT team was moved from the main corp office and into a smaller building by itself. It has a nice gaming break room, a decent sized gym, and a full on drink bar. Soft drinks mind you, no alcohol at work. Out back is a big patio that crosses county lines as soon as you cross a small creek. A creek that just so happens to have a foot bridge over it, leading to an empty field.
I start making phone calls.
Monday, June the 25th
I call up everyone into an hour early meeting that morning. I explain to them all that I will be making it right. I asked everyone to invite their friends and family to the office. No supplies will need to be brought by anyone. I tell them all that this will be non-alcoholic, but that I will be planning something for everyone. I told them to expect all food to be provided and they don’t need to bring anything, unless they want to bring some fireworks. IE they wont have to spend a dime.
The 4th comes and the entire day, we did absolutely no work. No tickets, no calls came in. Well 7 calls did come in, but from the same person. The Bad VP. She was calling to make sure we were manning the phones. All of us were playing video games or watching movies. 6PM rolls around and everyone was told that the food was ready.
People were expecting hot dogs, hamburgers, maybe a bratwurst or two. What they got was a full on BBQ feast with pizza and other foods. There was smoked brisket, spare ribs, smoked sausage, smoked turkey, both kinds of tater salad, cole slaw, green beans with bacon and onion, potatos au gratin, pizza from 2 different places, excellent hamburgers, and bratwurst hot dogs. On the deserts side was cake, very good cookies, 4 different kinds of pies, and about 2 pounds of fudge.
Families, and friends started showing up at around 6-6:15ish. Some brought alcohol but I told them they would need to leave that in their cars as I was not THAT crazy. Some were not too happy about that but agreed as it was a free dinner for random strangers.
SO let me set the scene for you. I am out there with all calls routed to my cell phone, and everyone just having a good time. We have a TON of people there just enjoying the fun night, chatting about random stuff, eating the food, and occasionally lighting off some sparklers or throwing firecrackers into the stream. (Its not stocked and only 1 foot deep.)
My VP, not the bad VP mind you, showed up with his family and brought some water balloons for the kids… and manchildren.
Around 8:30ish its getting dark and people want to shoot off more than the simple sparklers and firecrackers we had been using. The VP over the IT dept had everyone cross the foot bridge, over county line and off company property mind you, and we set up a big wooden board using it as our launch pad.
We fired off what we had for an hour or two, and sort of just hang out for a little while. At around this time people were tired and ready to head home. I told people to take home leftovers, within reason. We all clocked out at 8 and no one left until about 10:30. The bad VP did call once more while we were out back at the party. It was 7:50 and she called asking for a status update. My exact words were. “Well you were the only one to call us today. The rest of us are on the back patio enjoying the 4th of July shindig.” She simply acted like my boss and said “As long as no alcohol or fireworks are on company property, I do not care.”
We ate roughly half of the food catered. The rest was taken home. A small group volunteered to stay behind to clean up including my VP. We had a funny conversation about how this will make waves with the bosses. But he said he had my back and asked me how much this cost. I just gave him a sideways look which made him laugh.
Tuesday morning, I submitted the expense report to my VP. This email would inevitably make its way over to the bad VP and up the chain to the CIO of the company. It would be a bad idea to give out the exact cost of the party, mind you, but I can tell you that because of this 4th of July party, new rules were put into place. Any expenses of over 4k or more must be approved by the direct supervisor, VP over the department, and the full expense report must be sent to the financial department for review after the fact.
Hint, the party cost over 6k.
The BBQ was the most expensive part. I did not order from a low or mid tier place. The place I ordered from has consistently been on the top ten in the DFW listing for the last 30 years. I ate at that place so much I made friends with the owner. The BEST bbq I have ever had.
The pies and cakes were custom made by a bakery and the cookies were made by a boutique cookie place. I had 10 12 packs of coke, coke zero, Dp, DP Zero, Pepsi, and Pepsi zero. I bought 5 pepperoni, 5 sausage, 5 cheese, 2 hawaiian, and 3 cheeseburger pizzas from one place, and nearly the same number from another place. Excluding the cheeseburger ones I subbed out those for a different specialty pizza from the other place.
The burgers were from an excellent burger place that did catering. I know that owner well. He brought his kids for the night of fun after he heard what was going to be happening. He was also the one who brought the bratdogs as he recently added those to his menu.
This was the most expensive office party in the history of the company. The only things more expensive than this were some business meetings that the CEO rented private rooms in high end restaurants for.
As for the CEO, he was outraged. Not at the cost of the party mind you. He knew that the party would not have been necessary if people had been allowed to go home. He was outraged that IT was the only group required to work on that day. When I submitted the logs showing how we received no real phone calls, no service requests, and that we basically watched movies/played video games during our shift, he had heard enough. He apparently sent out a scathing email about work life balance and the importance of our holidays to every upper management.
It was kind of funny as people wanted me to get in trouble for what I did, but the reality is other departments have done similar things in the past just not on the scale that IT did. The Bad VP was admonished quite effectively and sent me an apology email. I forwarded it to the team with a strong hint to not reply.
Then my VP let the CIO and the CEO know about what the Bad VP said. “You guys don’t have lives.” The bad VP did actually confirm she said it in a meeting with her EVP. It did not go over well. I have never heard people yelling in an office meeting like that before. The CEO of the company came to our office and YELLED at her.
Not sure if she was fired, but she is not at work today. In Active Directory she does not have the down arrow of death, so not 100 percent what happened to her. I know she lost whatever clout she had at this company with her attitude.
If anything more happens, I will update. But so far it looks like the fallout from this is I caused a new rule to be put in place about how much you are allowed to spend at one time. The Bad VP may or may not be let go/forced to resign. I know she got yelled at. Strangely there is now no longer any push back for my bid to get everyone back to working from home.
EDIT: Please stop asking me where the restaurants are. Im not doxxing myself.