30 Employees Who Went The Extra Mile Just To Be Taken Advantage Of Interview
Having a great work ethic is something many of us are proud of. It can feel really wonderful to know that you’re skilled at your job and that you make valuable contributions to your team. Problems can arise, however, when bosses don’t value their star employees. Going above and beyond sort of loses its luster when everyone is paid the same amount for unequal levels of work.
3 days ago, Reddit user MikalCaober shared a post on the Antiwork subreddit featuring a woman explaining how she got fired from her job at a bakery after realizing she got paid less than everyone else and asked for a raise. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. The comments on MikalCaober’s post were flooded with examples of employees realizing that if everyone receives minimal reward, everyone might as well put in minimal effort. We’ve gathered some of the most frustrating stories from those comments to share with you below, but we’ll warn you: you may feel the spontaneous urge to ask for a raise after reading this post. Below you’ll also find interviews we were lucky enough to receive from MikalCaober, who sparked this conversation, and Mark Anthony Dyson, a career consultant and host of the podcast “The Voice of Job Seekers”.
Then when you’re finished reading these stories, we recommend checking out a Bored Panda piece where employees actually were appreciated for going the extra mile right here.
I worked for Miss Moffets Mystical Cupcakes in Olympia WA. I worked there for three months. Two months through an internship program where I was by a different company and then 1 month directly for Miss Moffets.
Despite my boss, Rachel Green, refusing to train me on proper cake decorating, I was still expected to frost cupcakes and was yelled at for not knowing precisely how to place the strawberry slices.
Rachel would schedule me for overnight shifts and watch me through the cameras. She called me to scold me everytime I dared to sit down during mixing or baking times. Or when I stopped baking to clean. Or when I finished up early and left instead of staying longer to bake the next shifts cupcakes.
Rachel Green owns Miss Moffets Mystical Cupcakes. And at the end of my third month, the first month I would be paid by Green, she pulled me aside, told me my work was subpar and that even though I could mix, bake and frost a cupcake as fast as her star baker, clearly I wasn't good enough to stay. And that since I put out such subpar cupcakes, she would not be paying me for my full months work. And then she told me to leave and not come back.
I was fortunate enough to know D, the person who gave Green the money she needed for starting her business. I went straight to D and she let me listen in when she called Green. Oh man she screamed at Green for nearly 10 minutes. Then D told Green that if she don't pay me immediately, that Green would be sued for breaking labor laws and have to pay me at the very least everything she owed me if not a whole hell of a lot more. Oh man it was glorious.
We got in touch with MikalCaober on Reddit to see what inspired him to originally make the post that sparked this conversation. He told Bored Panda, "I felt a sense of injustice when I saw this tweet, not just because the employee was fired for asking for pay reflecting their worth to the bakery, but also because the gender pay gap may have also been an issue." We then asked him if he believes situations like this are common. "From what I've seen on r/antiwork, it sounds common," he says. "Of course, we shouldn't assume that all employers do take advantage of their best employees, but it seems that many do." In terms of what he looks for in an employer, MikalCaober said, "I look for employers who genuinely see employees as human beings, not just assets."
In reference to his post, he also raised the point that, "Many of the Redditors who responded suggested that the person might have been fired for different reasons and that they could have been spinning the story to make it look like they were fired for being a good employee. It doesn't help that Twitter's character limit doesn't permit all details to be included (not unless you make your story span multiple tweets). I'd be curious to know what the employee says and what the employer's side of the story was." People online are always looking to play devil's advocate, so I would be curious to get a larger scope of the situation as well. As of now, we haven't been able to get in touch with the woman who made the original Tweet, but I have to admit, I'm inclined to be on her side, rather than her employer's.
I have a high school friend who owns 15 franchises of a business. He brags regularly that he personally makes about 5 million dollars a year.
The other week he was complaining to me about how he would go out of business if he had to raise the minimum wage pay from $8 an hour to $15.
I asked how many total employees he has, and he said 120. He could give every single employee a raise or 25,000 a year and still make a million bucks yearly without even affecting the actual business profits
We also reached out to Mark Anthony Dyson, founder of The Voice of Job Seekers, to hear if he thinks it’s common for employees who work exceptionally hard to be taken advantage of. “Yes, and those exceptional workers have values placed on the quality of their work, and many view their work as the pathway to getting promotions and raises,” Mark told Bored Panda. “Employers who take advantage of hardworking employees understand and encourage it even if they experience burnout.”
We also asked Mark if he thinks employees require incentives to work hard and wondered what he thinks of the idea that minimum wage jobs will yield minimum effort from employees. “No, people aim to work hard, but need incentives for productivity that their boss values the most.” He went on to explain that, “Hard work is subjective when it’s undefined. Quantitative and qualitative data goals define productivity, then it is more motivating. There are times when the eye test is enough, then effort counts. If there is transparency behind the goal (like a leaderboard), and the results are based on data, the rewards will matter. There are always top performers in minimum wage jobs, but outstanding performances are often unnoticed.”
I was working a full commision paid job, no hourly. After two years, I asked for a 10% raise because I found out I was paying the entire rent and bills for the business just based on my commisions. My boss threatened to Lower my percentage from 55% to 50% if I brought it up again. I quit the same night, brought in 6 of my friends and took everything I had.
Almost all of my clients followed me to my next Job, which humbly offered me 60% at the door and another 5% for every two years I worked up to 75%. The few clients that were unable to make it to my new location still didnt go back to my old job, just went to another place closer than were I had moved.
Business went under a year after I left because he wasnt good enough to keep it open by himself [and whatever clowns he hired after me]
10 years later I still send my ex-boss Photos and Updates of his building. He usually gets two updates a year, every 6 months. Its now a small clothing store. They're doing very well, even launched their own in-house brand in the last year
Next, we asked Mark if he had any tips for employees who feel their contributions go unnoticed by their employers. His first suggestion is to “amicably meet with your boss and ask for clear performance goals and incentives”. He then recommends asking for frequent feedback and keeping records of it. “Ensure documentation is in place, and make sure your boss signs off on it,” Mark added. He also says to “keep a list of how you add value and present it to your boss regularly”. “The list keeps your accomplishments in front of them and helps you to remain productive in his eyes.” Lastly, Mark added that, “If your boss allows their boss to join the meetings once in a while, use the opportunity to put your work and ideas out there for their feedback. This will help your visibility and potential recognition for future promotions and projects.”
If you’re interested in more tips from Mark, be sure to check out his podcast “The Voice of Job Seekers”.
Dont you know you were supposed to be grateful just to be there? I'm a baker. The only way I got a raise was from leaving to work at a place paying me almost twice as much. This was the ONLY way my boss understood that I was worth more than 9 an hour.
I keep telling people. Get up go to work, be on time leave on time. Be decent/ good at what your specific job is. Do no "take one for the team" unless you are able to do so without discomfort and if you are helping a colleague who is likely to help back.
Your real life and friends take priority always.
I worked at a NYC style pizza place in the small suburban town I grew up in. When it was bought back by the original owner he belittled my 4 year degree after I JUST graduated, the same degree his daughter said she wanted to pursue, and asked me to deep clean a deep fryer w/o eye protection or skin protection. I read the label on the junk I was handed to use and it was a big fat OSHA violation to NOT HAVE SKIN PROTECTION. I asked if gloves or safety glasses were available. I was told no, so I left and never looked back.
The idea that valuable employees are taken advantage of is not new. In 2015, Stanford Business published a piece titled “Why Companies No Longer Reward Loyal Employees” featuring insight from Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer. He notes that in our regular lives, we make agreements with one another all the time and we understand how to reciprocate treatment. At work, however, these social expectations seem to fly out the window. “Implicit contracts are violated in the corporate world on a daily basis,” says Pfeffer. “Workplaces not only fail to acknowledge past employee loyalty and contributions, but they also renege on what has been implicitly or explicitly promised, such as pensions and retiree health care.”
When I worked at McDonald’s in 2018 I was hired on at 7.25 an hour, I got really good at the job really fast, was one of the fastest order takers and McCafé makers and eventually they let me learn grill too. After 13 months working there I got 2 raises and was now making $7.70 lmfao. I found out that the owners wife was doing interviews and hiring new people on at $8 an hour. So I was training new people who were making more than me after I’d already had 2 raises just because they were hired by someone different than me. Eventually they made me crew trainer which would’ve upped my pay to $8 an hour and they had me working the position for months and never gave me the raise so I quit. Now at my new job I make $18.50 an hour
I took a university job to advance my career. The position wasn't approved but I was overly enthusiastic and did the work regardless. I did this for 2 years; took the department to the next level of division 1. My boss and I agreed to have the conversation about permanent employment at the end of one summer after I took 4 athletes to the Olympic games. My boss had advocated for the position to be full time and we finally had the talk; he had offered the job to someone else and expected me to continue my "unpaid" position indefinitely because it was "good for the university." I left on the spot and never worked in the field again.
Never ever ever ever give even the slightest of f*cks about your job.
I worked somewhere similar and the owner stopped coming in to the shop, except to drop off groceries. I was the only cook during shifts with one dishwasher and I only made 13.50 an hour in a very high priced state....when I knew I had to quit for my kids' and husband's school schedules, I gave her TWO MONTHS notice... find someone to replace me and I'll step down after training before my notice was over. She started snubbing me in the restaurant so I ditched out. Good luck with finding someone before the 2 months are over
Pfeffer worked with doctoral student Peter Belmi on several studies investigating why people feel less obligated to reciprocate favors in a work environment than they do in their personal lives. What they found, Pfeffer says, is that, “People operating in organizations generally have a business mind-set, which is more calculative and oriented toward the foreseeable future. They tend to make decisions that maximize the benefits to them personally while minimizing the cost.” The studies also showed that participants were strategic about who they would offer help to, noting that if someone could be valuable to them in the future they were more likely to receive a favor. The participants even said that they tend to question the motives behind workplace favors in the first place, so they don’t feel obligated to reciprocate if the original intention wasn’t genuine.
On the other hand, these studies found that when we receive personal favors, we want to reciprocate them without considering how useful the person can be to us in the future. We simply understand that it’s the right thing to do. “But we found almost the exact opposite in an organizational context,” Pfeffer says. “There, it’s all about calculations. If we don’t feel repaying the favor will benefit us much in the future, we won’t do it. That calculative, future-oriented mind-set means we shouldn’t expect companies to be as strongly bound by moral norms.”
My wife got a job at DVF a few years ago. She was top sales in her store, district, state, and region within her first 3 month. She continued to just kill it quarter after quarter.
She got a new coworker and was training him (she liked him as a person but said he was a terrible employee who could barely follow simple instructions.) She gave him a ride home and learned that he was make 3.50 more an hour since hire compared to what she was currently making (before commission)
She called her boss right after dropping him off, quit on the spot and mailed the key back into corporate. They blew up her phone for 3 days offering her more money, store management, better scheduled etc. She told them straight up she isn't an after though.
I worked at a coffee shop and I loved it. It was terrible pay, but the work was something fun. I loved making coffees, loved the food prep, loved the customer service. I'm not a morning person, but I even loved the 6am shift.
They gave me a promotion about a month in. On my first day as a shift supervisor, I got the safe codes and learned the opening procedures. The next day, I was pulled aside and told that $300 was missing from the deposit, and that I was the most likely suspect because I just got the safe codes. I, of course, was gutted and furious. Either they thought I was incredibly stupid, or that I was so unprinicipled that the second I could get my hands on money I ran with it.
As it turns out? The day I learned the safe codes, etc, a woman accidentally dropped her large coffee on the sales counter and fried one of the debit terminals. I remember it happening, but had been told cash was missing, so never put two and two together. But they would have been able to see that the cash balanced, and it was the debit totals that were out. And they didn't bother to say a word to me.
I stayed just long enough to get a new job, and left without notice. As**oles. Like I'd risk my reputation and clean criminal record for $300 on the very first day I got a promotion.
I used to believe that if you scratch their back, they scratch yours. We asked for a price hike for years, and we went above and beyond for our flooring outfit we subcontract from. "There's just not enough in the overhead" was the track stuck on repeat. Still. Above and beyond. Scratch their back. They WILL scratch ours.
Then I found out that the owner of the company goes golfing 4 times a week, minimum.
Now I do what I HAVE to. Not what I CAN do.
Pfeffer went on to note that this calculative culture creates a vicious cycle. Employees that don’t trust their employers to follow through with promises are more likely to quit, and people who believe they have been treated unfairly are more likely to channel their resentment in how they treat others. Pfeffer says that it would benefit everyone for companies to begin placing greater value on morality and ethics. “Research shows that when people believe implicit agreements have been violated, they are more likely to be dissatisfied, less engaged, less committed to work, and less productive,” he says. “There are hard consequences to breaching these norms, and yet we breach them all the time.”
My mom had the same thing when she was younger, but didn't get fired. She quit her job.
After a couple of months, they asked if she wanted to come back and have a raise. She ended up asking for even more money than they offered and they accepted.
She also asked for her own department and got it and it is now the most profitable department of the company. And she is a total bada*s.
What’s sad is that $1 an hour raise is only about $100 a month after taxes.
So many places losing people because they won’t pay 1, 2 or 3 hundred dollars more a month to keep them. Like the company won’t make that up in the next 20 minutes.
My wife used to work for a vet clinic where she handled the finances for them and they only payed her $14 an hour.
They make $20k a DAY and refused her a raise of $100 a month. She no longer works there. She gave them her life. She came in 6 days a week, 8 hours a day for 3 days of the week and 12 hours a day the rest and they lost her over $100 a month.
This happened to me also! I worked at a bakery, was told I had to work at least one, if not two weekend shifts every weekend because I was the only one that could do it and was threatened to not be rostered any hours if not - and I did it dutifully, would stay back to clean the bakery after work when everyone had gone home and start all of the crazy morning shifts as well! I later found out that literally everyone else got paid more than me and penalty rates on weekends (I didn’t) which is why they insisted on me coming in! When I asked to have more convientent shifts or also be paid penalty, the owner baker got really defensive, turning it back on me for taking home the day old bread (literally everyone did, and it goes in the bin otherwise) saying « I only make 10cents in the dollar for every loaf we sell » in order to guilt trip me
While many companies demand loyalty from their employees, unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic made it clear that those corporations don’t hold themselves to the same standards. In March of 2020, a string of powerful CEOs made public statements declaring that their employees did not need to worry about job security within the pandemic. The list of companies promising their employees were safe included Morgan Stanley, Salesforce, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Visa. However, over the next 7 months, many of those companies changed their stance on layoffs. By October 2020, Citigroup continued a layoff of 1% of their employees that had paused during the pandemic, and Goldman Sachs got to work eliminating 400 jobs. Wells Fargo also announced plans to cut thousands of jobs, along with Deutsche Bank and Salesforce.
This happened to me. I started when the company had only two clients. When I started working, the turnaround time for the sample processing was less than 24 hours, because I was more than willing to do over time and come in at odd hours throughout the day to make sure the samples were received. Because of the quick turnaround time, we were able to secure more clients. I then Asked for a raise. And then suddenly I was being “terminated” for unprofessional behavior and not doing tests according to SOPs… which I WROTE. After that, I haven’t volunteered at any of my jobs to do extra stuff. If you want me to do more stuff, then you gotta pay me more.
It’s a lot like being in IT lol. Learn everything do work above your position no raises, no promotions. The best option is always leave and go elsewhere take your new skills and get a better job.
Years ago I worked for Cadbury Adams , I did the job that every shift needed 2 people to do ! I was killing it ! So after 3 months I asked to be hired on full time , they said they couldn't hire at the moment, so I quit ! Coworker called me 2 weeks later telling me they had to hire 2 People to do what I did ! Moral of the story, know your worth , never settle and always work hard even if they don't appreciate you , that way when you leave , they f*cking wish they had done everything to keep you !
The significant number of layoffs during the pandemic are an upsetting reminder that employees cannot trust corporations to look out for them. Concerns have also been raised about these ruthless corporations beginning to replace as many jobs as possible with robots and AI workers. While that prediction sounds like the plot of a dystopian novel, it’s not an impossible future. Some companies have already allocated funds towards robotics and artificial intelligence, and Amazon even has robots working in their warehouses. Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is particularly concerned about the future of American jobs, when companies are showing their true colors already. Yang is advocating for Universal Basic Income to be paid to Americans to ensure that, if they can’t have job security, the government will at least provide enough help to get by.
I was working in a nursing home in which the boss's daughter and the daughter's best friend both got hired for $6 more per hour than even their most experienced and senior staff. When I found out I asked for a raise, got told if I want to make $X then I need to go work the other side of the building and sign up for over-time. (Other side of the building is about twice as much work and has grueling back-breaking lifting with mandatory stay-over if the next shift calls out.)
I ended up quitting, I'd like to think I was one of their better workers, so hopefully they regret losing me. I did get a call from the administrator on behalf of the CEO that they were going to look into the situation and see if they can get me back, but that was 4 days ago, so who knows if they'll come back with a counter offer or not.
I was working in a law firm and knew I was the lowest paid employee because that was just my rank. But then a project came and I was hand picked to work on it alongside a partner. It was urgent, so I had to drop all of my other work/push deadlines back. I came through. Firm got a big payout and everyone received windfall, down to non-legal staff. Twice the monthly pay for everyone. Great!
Except I didn’t get anything on top of that bonus. I worked my a*s to get the same bonus as everyone else. People who literally never touched the file got more money than I did. I confronted the partner about it and he said, didn’t I get a bonus? That was the moment I decided that clown wasn’t worth my efforts and I was never coming through as clutch for him again.
I resigned a few months later. I now get paid twice more than what they were paying me, for less stress and less work on my part. That partner has asked for some files here and there, and had it been any other partner, I would’ve combed through my personal copies of files to see if I could track it down. Nope. I left a USB with my old secretary, go ask her.
I send gifts to friends who are still at the firm (both legal and non-legal staff, all the partners I’ve worked with) every Christmas. I leave him out every time.
I’m going through the same thing! I’ve worked at this small business for almost 5-6 months and I like it for the most part. Pay is pretty poor ($14/hr in Las Vegas) but not the worst. This week my boss put a job posting on Indeed offering $15/hr. I’m confronting him about it today and if I’m denied a raise then I’m walking.
There will always be employees who are a bit more concerned about punctuality and deadlines than others, but it’s important for employers to boost motivation among their staff and acknowledge those who are giving 100%. Positive reinforcement is proven to be more effective than punishment, and it creates a more pleasant work environment. Offering incentives like bonuses, gift cards and additional vacation days are great ways to boost productivity and morale.
In 2006, one Sears department store was having trouble getting customers to sign up for the store’s credit card, so they took the approach of offering employees bonuses in their paychecks for each credit card they registered. Every 90 days, the employee who had submitted the most credit card applications was also rewarded with a gift card. It didn’t take long for the store to activate more credit cards than any other Sears in the state, and employees were able to benefit from the increased paychecks.
Stuff like that happens at a smaller scale almost routinely. People fresh out of high school or college will start a job and have a lot of pep in their step giving a lot of effort and eventually something will happen where they don't feel appreciated and then they figure "why give extra effort or care when everyone else doesn't" ...
Got hired for 1 specific job title.. then when word got out about my resume that i had actually gone to school for something different, they asked if i would be willing to do BOTH things for them. Meaning not only will I do what i was hired to do.. but also help them with development on projects in line with what I took in school. When I said. OF course.. I then sent an email to the COO and CEO about possibly a raise since i would be doing both things.
anyways, the next day the COO told me "I'm not a good fit" lol
Worked for a bakery owned by crazy neurotic Christians, Found out that they were giving 'incentives' to poor performing employees at the end of each week for hitting certain thresholds that I was already hitting. The incentive was $20. We worked the same hours.
They were literally getting paid more to be worse at their job than me. Absolutely stupid. Capitalism is stupid. I hate it here.
There are a few factors for companies to keep in mind when it comes to positive reinforcement tactics. According to Manley Feinberg, a business speaker and author, in an article for Entrepreneur, “Momentum is the real key to success with any positive motivation program, and momentum is driven by consistency. Consistently recognize and reward the behaviors and results you want. Also, beware that when you accept, tolerate or otherwise allow behaviors you don’t want, you are rewarding those as well by continuing to employ and compensate the employee.”
Staying future oriented is also important for positive reinforcement. Employees must understand the long-term goals to stay motivated in their daily tasks, and they have to be able to see advancements in their own futures. When promotions and raises seem like they’re on the horizon, employees have a reason to work harder.
I once worked at a place and got the highest sales every month even though I often took off because of major depression. Instead of praising me, my bosses made my colleagues hate me by saying stuff like, 'Animefaerie is off sick all the time and still makes higher sales than you.' Made the workplace rather toxic.
A “mom n pop” coffee shop tried to do something similar to me. Went in for my first day of training, knocked it out of the park! My second day, the guy who was training me ghosted and did not show up. I had to call the owners at 4am because I could not get into the store. We worked our butts off getting everything ready for the morning. I thought I did amazing. When the wife gave me an official offer letter I asked if I would be getting additional compensation for working an undesirable shift. They ghosted me completely and I had to chase them for my check for training. They kept saying they sent it via direct deposit and I explained to them how that is literally impossible because in my new hire paperwork I selected “paid by check” and did not enter in any bank details.
Finally was able to get the check that I had to go get from the store. I told the employees there what happened and they were like, yeah, not surprised, this place is terrible.
Reminds me of the time I was doing work study tutoring at my college and I found out that my coworkers were making almost double than me hourly. Asked for a raise was denied and never went back lol.
While no employee should feel that their skills aren’t being valued at work, it should not fall on their shoulders to improve the way a company is run. Employers should constantly be looking for ways to improve morale and ensure that employees are motivated to do their best. With more and more workers calling out their bosses online, we can only hope that employers are paying attention and changing their ways. Enjoy reading the rest of these stories, and don’t forget to upvote the responses that you found the most upsetting. Then let us know in the comments if you have any stories to share of employers that tried to exploit your skills, we’d love to hear how you reacted!
My girlfriend which is an adorable short and cute woman was literary the best barista on her well known branded coffee place/take away. She would make the best coffee I would ever drink in that or any other same brand place.
She really loved her job, I would go there sometimes to enjoy a capuccino that wasn’t burned or felt like drinking ashes.
She would do extra cleaning duties, always smile and cover shifts.
Then there was the other girl. Tall big boobs, pretty sexy woman. Sh**ty coffee almost always late, almost always on a hangover, she did cover shifts too but also caused a lot of her shifts to be covered because she was drunk. That girl which started a month after her was taking 20% more hourly than my gf, doing less work, offering worst service and being a pain to other employees that had to almost always wait. As a customer watching her hangover face was disturbing every time.
After 1 year the boss decided to sell the place. The drunk one got promoted to manager of the place and my gf got laid off a month prior to the sale for asking equal pay to others after being there for a full year and doing such a good job.
So yeah these sh*t exist and are not made up. Communication skills, attractiveness and stuff like that get you better pay with less work done.
Jesus getting underpaid is so incredibly common, I just had a company try to poach me, offering half of what I know they paid previous employees prepandemic. 60% of what their competition is offering.
They must have forgotten that I’m 10+ years in this industry with my own clients and not only know many of their clients as well, but also previous employees, and their competition. How they could forget when they tried to poach me because of those facts, escapes me. F*cking depressing though. Deflated the entire conversation.
On my first job, they announced the employee of the year. They said he is a hardworking guy, who works for free (yes, 0 salary) - they gave him this "opportunity" to get experience in the field of IT.
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