The Weird Workplace

HR boss held hostage; Even terrorists have to file expenses; 'Beam me out of here'; Ummm… please change your password; 'I could tell you why I'm not at work… but I'd have to kill you'; China's communist party butting out
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/28/2014

‘Beam me out of here’

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. — A North Carolina town councillor who is planning to run for Congress has quit by submitting a resignation letter written in Klingon, the language of an extraterrestrial warrior species on Star Trek, according to Reuters. David Waddell chose the language because the fierce-looking science fiction characters value integrity, honour and duty. The city’s mayor, Michael Alvarez, a self-described Trekkie, said he didn’t understand the letter and only realized Waddell was leaving when he started getting phone calls about it. He was disappointed by the resignation (and the use of Klingon to do it) but had this sage Vulcan advice for the councillor: “Live long and prosper.”

HR boss held hostage

AMIENS, France — It’s hard to say what’s weirder: That French workers are kidnapping their bosses in an effort to stop plant closures or that nearly one-half of the population approves of the extreme tactic. Workers at a Goodyear factory in northern France seized two managers — the plant’s director and the head of HR — and held them inside the plant for more than 24 hours. The company has been trying to sell or close the plant for the last five years, according to the Associated Press. It’s a tactic that’s been tried before in France. Staff at plants run by Sony, 3M and Caterpillar have held managers inside factories overnight, a practice dubbed “bossnapping,” according to a 2009 Reuters article. And while 50 per cent of French people disapproved of the acts, 45 per cent thought the tactic was acceptable, found a poll that same year.

Even terrorists have to file expenses

TIMBUKTU, Mali — Documents seized over the years from Al Qaeda show the terrorist group is run a lot like a corporation, complete with corporate workshop schedules, salary spreadsheets, job applications and letters from what essentially amounts to a human resources department, according to the Associated Press. It’s also obsessed with tracking expenses. “For the smallest thing, they wanted a receipt,” said Mohamed Djitteye, who runs a market in Timbuktu. “Even for a tin of Nes-cafe.” Receipts found in Al Qaeda hideouts include $1.60 for a pot of mustard, 60 cents for a bar of soap and $330 to buy ammunition. Former leader Osama bin Laden, who studied economics, was “obsessed with enforcing corporate management techniques,” according to Lawrence Wright, an expert on the terrorist organization.

Ummm… please change your password

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The most common (and worst) passwords used by employees are the all-too predictable “password” or “1234.” But even those might have been preferable to the secret password used by the United States to safeguard its arsenal of nuclear missiles during the Cold War — “00000000,” according to the Huffington Post and the Centre for Defense Information. An extra layer of security was put on the missiles by order of the White House, according to Bruce Blair, who used to be a missile launch control officer. However, there were concerns the locks would delay the launch of the missiles, so the locks were set to all zeroes — “Everyone knew the combination,” said Blair.

‘I could tell you why i’m not at work… but i’d have to kill you’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “I won’t be coming in to work today, I’m on a top secret assignment with the CIA.” That’s essentially what John Beale, a 65-year-old adviser at the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA), told his bosses. But, in reality, he was just playing hooky. Beale skipped work for two-and-half years out of his 13 on the job while claiming to be working on a project for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other jobs. He even falsely claimed he had malaria in order to get a parking space worth $200 a month — for a job he wasn’t even showing up for. During his time off, he was still paid by EPA and even received a bonus. Beale was sentenced to 32 months in prison, ordered to pay EPA US$886,186 in restitution and will forfeit another US$507,207. EPA has since tightened its spending oversights.

China’s Communist Party butting out

BEIJING — Communist Party officials have been ordered not to smoke in public places or buy cigarettes using public funds, according to Reuters. They should also encourage colleagues to quit smoking, a top Chinese government body said in a circular earlier this month. China is the world’s largest tobacco consumer, and smoking is deeply entrenched in Chinese social life, particularly for men.

Add Comment

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *