We get it, art isn’t for everyone. People don’t have to get art, it’s fine.

But what they do have to get is that art is a necessity in people’s lives, whether on an individual level, or a more global one that manifests in societies and cultures.

Art, just like Rome, isn’t “built in a day”, it has to be born, develop, transcend from the mind to the body, i.e. the canvas, and that means also dealing with all of the worldly factors like rain.

But all of this can be destroyed in the blink of an eye if it’s turned into a poorly managed and absolutely misunderstood business tactic.

More Info: Reddit

Painting on a tiny canvas is hard enough, but painting on a 5-story building is way beyond that, and it’s even harder when the boss gets involved

Image credits: R.Miller (not the actual image)

So, a bit over a week ago, this one Redditor, who introduced themselves as a muralist, shared a story on the r/MaliciousCompliance subreddit, detailing how there was a change in management at their company and how it all went downhill because of how much the new guy was trying to optimize the business.

The story goes that OP has worked for a mural company for 3 years at this point. The boss they’d had until that point was a good one, knew the trade better than anyone and was generous, and hence was not only helpful, but also understanding of the nuances that come with the job.


One Redditor shared a malicious compliance story explaining how a change in management ruined the company, all because the boss was too business-oriented


Image Credits: u/sagganuts18

But, the boss decided to retire and thus decided to hand over the venture to a business partner. Now, the business partner had a drastically different approach to things—one where things have to get done as fast as possible at a minimal cost and folks will have to deal with the boss’ attitude. Taken to an extreme.

So much in fact that one of four muralists had quit even before this one huge project that was the last nail in the coffin.

The team got a job to paint a mural on a five-story building—an incredible feat in and of itself, but given the “business”-oriented approach of it all, tension started rising even before it all started.


Image Credits: u/sagganuts18

Despite the team’s estimates and demands, they—surprise, surprise—had to finish the project within three weeks instead of five, meaning the design itself had to be simplified. And this is on top of working under a regular wage with just an overtime bonus (whereas there were more under previous management), and everyone was already understaffed and demoralized from the last project. Things weren’t looking good.

The u-turn happened when they were already partly done with the project, and rainy days came by. If you’re not aware, painting a mural in the rain is a big no-no because the paint will immediately run down and ruin the mural, so the team would have to work around it.

Image Credits: u/sagganuts18

Image credits: Thomas Vandenberghe (not the actual image) 


Image Credits: u/sagganuts18

Well, one such rainy period came by and the muralists were in the car, trying wait it out. The boss had also started paying regular visits to sites to check in on things (another thorn in the team’s side), and sure enough, he wasn’t all that happy to see his team “lazing” around.

Immediately, there was a demand to get back to work—“If you’re scared of a little drizzle, you shouldn’t be a muralist. Get back to work.” Yeah… right… Cue malicious compliance.

The team began to smile and thought to themselves “yeah, all right, we’ll go back to work.” And so they did. During the rain. Despite it 100 percent ruining three weeks of work. And it did. Oh so gloriously.

OP has also provided a short explanation on how it all went after everyone quit on the spot


Image Credits: u/sagganuts18

The boss comes back after a while, only to lose his mind. While they were still painting, he called them down, began cursing the living heck out of them, to a degree where you’d expect to hear profanities you’ve never heard before.

“What the [frick] were you guys thinking???” exclaimed the boss-man. “Well… you were the one who told us to do it,” explained one of the muralists. Frustration elevates. “Well how the hell are we going to fix this???” continued the boss. “You mean, how are you going to fix it. We’ve decided to all quit.” Mic drop.

The boss continued to beg them to stay and finish the mural, as they packed their things and left the site.

We’ll let you read the aftermath yourself, but in a nutshell, the company lost the project and continued to decline. OP gave it a couple of months until it shuts down completely.

Needless to say, folks online loved the story, cause it’s the textbook definition of how to fail a business

Image credits: John Greenfield (not the actual image) 

The Reddit community applauded OP and their team for fighting back, and even more so in a very malicious compliance manner. Some pointed out that stories like this happen all too often, and it seems like bosses never learn, sharing their own stories to prove that point.

Others commiserated, expressing their understanding of the nuances of being muralists and painters, and how most folk don’t really get how much hard work goes into making it all happen.

The post got a modest 4,800 upvotes with several hundred comments and a handful of Reddit awards. And speaking of post, you can check it out in full here, along with all of the responders’ comments, or you can also check out all of the other Malicious Compliance stories we’ve covered in the past.

Or not, cause we’d love to hear your thoughts and stories in the comment section below.