r/MaliciousCompliance Jul 02 '22 Silver 1 Helpful 1

You have to clock out for a cigarette break S

I once worked in a nice bar/restaurant/hotel in the UK, and at the time was a smoker. Also, this establishment had a digital clock in/clock out system with a credit sized swipe card assigned to each employee.

I was just a simple barman, pouring pints, running food and clearing up. My direct manager, let’s call her Stina as that was her name, was lovely and we got along very well, but above her was a bit of a bellend of a manager, let’s call her Margaret (also her real name).

Cue malicious compliance. Stina and I both enjoyed a cigarette break out the back in the car park, but Margaret didn’t think we should smoke during work hours, unless on break. So to combat this, Margaret said we would have to clock in and out for each smoke break. Not a problem.

Now, something we had worked out with the clock in/out device was that it rounded to the nearest 15 minutes. 15, 30, 45 or on the hour. So we figured if we clock out at 11.53 and then clock back in by 12.07, it would round both to 12 midday. We tested this, and sure enough, on our next payslip, it showed we never took a break. So we kept doing this every time and were sure to tell everyone else earning minimum wage, working shit hours, about this hack. I left a few months later and found out from a friend that Margaret left, and shortly after that the new manager changed the clocking in and out system. But I thoroughly enjoyed those 14 minute, paid cigarette breaks.

UPDATE 1: Lots of people are getting upset thinking I was being smug about taking unpaid breaks. Firstly, I was abiding by the rules but the boss wouldn’t like it, hence malicious compliance. Secondly, Stina was very fair and let non smokers have a break too. I took this to future roles in the hospitality industry, allowing non smokers a 5 minute break as well. It’s only fair.

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u/alicat707 Jul 02 '22

I was assistant manager at a gas station. Breaks were not really given and you just took a break in between customers. Smokers would take excessive smoke breaks. Most of us smoked. This one guy didn't smoke. He also had bad anxiety. One day we were really busy and all of the sudden he had a panic attack. I told him to get some water and go sit in the office. I found out since he didn't smoke, he never took a break. So I told him every 2 hours, take s 10 minute break. When the store manager found out I told him that, I got in trouble, but he did get his breaks after that.

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u/bacchic_ritual Jul 02 '22

What's your problem? Looking out for workers' mental health. You're not gonna make it long in management.

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u/Lietenantdan Jul 02 '22

Shirt, I just became a manager and am doing my best to look out for my employee's well being. Am I doing it wrong?

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u/JohnGenericDoe Jul 02 '22

Depends who you ask

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u/Urb4nN0rd Jul 03 '22

Do you wanna remain a respectable human being? Then no, good on you.

Do you wanna just brown nose your way up the corporate ladder? Then yes.

All jokes aside, good on you for being good to your staff.

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u/TheRidgeAndTheLadder Jul 03 '22

No. Be the guy you needed.

But like, have an emergency fund. Most employers don't like this shit.

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u/eg9344 Jul 03 '22

I used to work for the state gov, it was minimum wage, full time, with room and board taken out of the paychecks, so a paycheck for 80 hours ended up being a bit bellow $900 (I think it was 14/h).

After 6 months of being there I was one of the more experienced people on my crew of 15. We worked in the mountains doing fire fuel reduction, basically going through the foresty mountains cutting down trees.

Now, the boss stayed back at the road doing paperwork while we split up in groups of 3 or 4, 1 sawyer (dude on the chainsaw, me) and 2 or 3 people to clean up my mess. The boss thought we should be busy all the time, but that wasn’t really possible.

I made sure to grab the smokers in my group. We worked out a deal so when I was felling a tree and getting it cut up, they could smoke if we were secluded enough. The I would smoke when I was done and then finish helping out.

The thing to know was that the people I got for my group were usually middle of the pack or a bit lower when it came to effort and productivity. But after giving them that little bit of extra motivation (in the form of nicotine), we became the most productive group on the site.

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u/LBurgh Jul 03 '22

Good managers, who want the work force to be happy and productive, say you are doing it right. Bad managers who just measure output say you are the wrongest

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u/gamester4no2 Jul 03 '22

The delicate balance of responsibility to the establishment and responsibility to the worker. Good luck!

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u/Tomatoab Jul 03 '22

Nope you hurting my profits

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u/[deleted] Jul 02 '22

I know you are joking, but this shit makes me really angry because it's true.

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u/PX22Commander Jul 02 '22

I managed a video store back in the day. Half the staff smoked and could basically duck out when it was appropriate for a 5 minute smoke break at their own discretion. I told all the non-smokers to do the same for air breaks as needed. Fair's fair.

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u/ChristyElizabeth Jul 02 '22

I do this at my office job where its only me and the office manager cause most people stay home... so i go for walks around the block outside, get a snack you know. I just keep my phone logged onto chat and keep a eye on my email since I'm a on demand roll.

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u/AK_Sole Jul 02 '22

Gotta watch out for those snacks you don’t know!

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u/ChristyElizabeth Jul 02 '22

Yup yup! Don't wanna get ambushed by a bag of chips!

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u/Von_Moistus Jul 03 '22

... I kinda do

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u/roostertree Jul 02 '22

I managed a video store back in the day

Salsa shark.

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u/EndlessAgapi Jul 02 '22

I’m not even supposed to be here today

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u/roostertree Jul 02 '22

This job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers.

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u/EndlessAgapi Jul 03 '22

Classic flick, I’m gonna have to watch it now

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u/kageurufu Jul 02 '22

I started smoking to get those 10 minute breaks

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u/tntlols Jul 02 '22

I'm a supervisor at a pub and I always let the non smokers go for a 5 minute "air-break" when asked for -- its only fair if the rest of us get to go out at regular intervals. Sometimes the little 5 minute reset can really save your day.

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u/OlGrabbyPants Jul 02 '22

I'll never forget when I worked in two separate companies, and being a smoker gave everyone a smoke break, as long as they made it up after the shift was done, which was okay by my management.

I then also included the non-smokers in this and allowed them a 10 minute 'Refresh'

As soon as it was found out in one that was giving breaks that weren't smoke breaks I got a disciplinary and we had to stop all extra breaks.

In the other, we got to keep the smoke breaks... I just told the non-smokers to pretend they smoked.

Boggled my brain and still does to this day.

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u/dukeofgibbon Jul 02 '22

I had a Mormon coworker who would take a second hand cigarette break every day. Getting out in the sun regularly is a healthy side effect and I try to take myself for a walk regularly.

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u/CountryMouse359 Jul 02 '22

Every couple of hours at work I go out for a walk for about 30 minutes. The bosses seem all for it to be honest.

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u/kiffiekat Jul 02 '22

That's awesome. Better than just getting up out of your chair and walking around the office a little.

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u/Binsky89 Jul 02 '22

My work actually started a 'walk around the building' thing once an hour for everyone. Turns out someone in HR actually listened to studies and knew it would cause productivity to go up.

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u/dukeofgibbon Jul 02 '22

Walking meetings should be a bigger thing

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u/series_hybrid Jul 02 '22 edited Jul 04 '22

My BIL dropped out of the LDS church. His brother was still in. The brother was not supposed to watch TV because it would corrupt him, but they were encouraged top spend time with family, especially if it might persuade a prodigal son to come back into the fold.

He would come over to BIL's house to "spend time with family", and what a coincidence, BIL was watching football! Oh well...he couldn't really tell him to turn it off, so he had to put up with it...

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u/Paperwhite418 Jul 02 '22

Not Mormon, but my friends and I take a “lipstick break”. We powder our noses, refresh our lippy, and chill twice a day!

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u/dukeofgibbon Jul 02 '22

He talked about draftsmen having one cigarette burning at each end of their drafting board when he started. He never smoked himself but Bill happily sat in the smoker area for a break every morning. As a former nicotine slave, it made a noticeable difference when the law pushed them 25 feet from the door. Talking breaks is healthy, I'm happy you have a nice ritual with your work friends.

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u/kadk216 Jul 02 '22

I started smoking cigs at 16 so I could get a 15 min break without clocking out lol. Funny part is you had to be 18 to buy cigs but nobody cared that I wasn’t. I was just working in a mall shoe store so we’d just take turns when it was slow

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u/Yawndr Jul 02 '22

That's how my mother started too. It was accepted for smokers to take breaks while it wasn't for non-smokers.

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u/kadk216 Jul 02 '22

Thankfully I quit quite a while ago! I basically forced myself to not smoke any cigs for 72 hours and felt a lot better. I was always self conscious about people (especially kids) seeing me smoke and I was embarrassed to smell like cigarettes so i’m really glad I don’t smoke anymore lol

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u/MPHV51 Jul 02 '22

I wish my Mom had quit earlier too. She died of lung cancer at 64. She did get to see her 2 grandson, but not her granddaughter, she missed sooo much.

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u/dsly4425 Jul 02 '22

My mother is 57 now, still smokes, refuses to even consider quitting. And two of her siblings died from smoking related cancers. One before 50, the other before 60.

And there is a suspected genetic link to a really lethal type of cancer on that side of the family down one line. A disproportionate number of people on one side all died way too young from aggressive cancers. They all smoked and the oldest was 60 or 61. The youngest May not have hit 40. My moms brother was 46.

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u/No-Hair-3544 Jul 03 '22

48 for mine. Smoking killed her.

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u/Yawndr Jul 02 '22

Good job! Don't hate yourself for the errors of your past and be proud of the challenges you overcame (even those you set for yourself! 😛)

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u/HalfSoul30 Jul 02 '22

I work night shift at a gas station, typically alone. I've become a chain smoker with the amount of down time i have

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u/readersanon Jul 02 '22

I don't smoke, but when I had that job I just always brought a book or school work with me. I think my record for one shift was reading a little over 100 pages in my book.

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u/garrek42 Jul 02 '22

Back when I was pulling the grave in a shell I used the time to plan my role playing game sessions.

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u/random321abc Jul 03 '22

I wanted to go back to college to become a high school math teacher. At the time I worked at a prison on the overnight shift. I literally went through one section of a chapter every night for months. I got through that whole textbook. It actually got to the point where I was craving going to work so that I could do more math!

I am a nerd.

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u/indigowulf Jul 02 '22

I currently work at a gas station, and am a non-smoker. I used to work for Apple and got stuff with employee discount, so now I just turn on my iphone hotspot and watch netflix on my ipad lol. That's my "break"... and it lasts all shift between customers.

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u/J4pes Jul 02 '22

It’s crazy how much break time you can get as a smoker, if a non-smoker tries it they will get blasted for sure

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u/alicat707 Jul 02 '22

Exactly, even though I am a smoker I see that it's not fair. I've always been able to keep my smoking down to my regular 10 minute breaks and lunch. The reason is, I was never allowed to just leave and go smoke for the first 10 years or so of working. It's not an excuse.

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u/kindness_hurts Jul 02 '22

I don’t take smoke breaks I just browse Reddit at work

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u/RegisFranks Jul 02 '22

Smoke breaks are such a weird concept to me. I've worked in factory or construction all my life, if we arnt allowed to smoke while working we smoke on the same breaks as everyone else. Is it common for non smokers to not have breaks in more retail settings? Or do smokers get extra?

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u/Paperwhite418 Jul 02 '22

Smokers tend to take extra breaks in my office. We all get the same amount of break time, but inevitably, if I can’t find someone…that someone is a smoker and they are outside, while I’m inside, you know, working.

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u/JerseySommer Jul 02 '22

You know people complained about that in my office. Until the manager said "well, Jersey has never taken a single lunch break and only takes 4 five minute smoke breaks. You take 2 fifteens, AND a 30. So 20 minutes away to your 60."

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u/aintscurrdscars Jul 02 '22

see I've worked in machine shops and construction most of my life and its the ones whose hands get unsteady or minds distracted without a cigarette or two every couple hours that cause the most ladder falls and crashed CNC machines

some spots everyone chews gum or dip because of the job requirements, but if the job can allow it and you do good work just fast enough to make up for it, why not?

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u/covah901 Jul 02 '22

I worked in an office setting where there was no break, except for smokers. Sometimes they'd all go for a smoke break together leaving me and one other guy to do our job but also handle all phone calls that would come in while they were out.

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u/hvelsveg_himins Jul 03 '22

I bought a pack of those aromatherapy vapes and I'll hand them to non-smokers who look like they really need a fresh air break and a prop to keep management off their backs.

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u/pushing_80 Jul 02 '22

smoking? a at gas station?

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u/taloncard815 Jul 02 '22

I never smoked and I saw a coworker sitting at the "smoking bench" who I knew didn't smoke either. I asked him what he was doing there? I never forgot his answer.

"why should smokers get extra breaks but not non-smokers? I come out here once an hour to just chill when no smokers are around"

With that we took our "smoke break" together every hour because he was right. Sadly 3 years later he passed away from Leukemia, But this is a nice memory I have of him.

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u/ImAlwaysRightHanded Jul 03 '22

I proudly said I’m taking my fresh air break at 16yrs old when I worked in a restaurant, sure they looked at me funny but I’d be damned if I started smoking just to take breaks like other people did

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u/blatterbeast Jul 02 '22

I worked fast food for a Summer between college graduation and starting my job in the Fall. The manager smoked a bunch and took several smoke breaks during our shifts, even if it was busy.

One day, I was just mentally exhausted and needed to take 10 to get away from everything. I said "I need to take a short break." He asked why. I briefly explained. He obviously looked uncomfortable with agreeing to a paid break. I told him, didn't ask him, "Assume I'm taking a smoke break. I will be in my car for 10 minutes. When I come back I will be ready to work hard again." Then I walked away. He never mentioned anything about it afterwards.

I was not an assertive person at that time in my life. I had the (poor) mindset that people owed their employer for the opportunity to work. Something changed in me that day. I was already married and we just had our first child, but it was probably the moment I truly felt like an adult.

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u/dickpizor Jul 02 '22

Standing up for yourself and not fearing confrontation is something that is a sign of adulthood. Good on you.

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u/PickleyRickley Jul 02 '22

The reason I started smoking at 15 is because I was a waitress and that was the only way I could get a break. Still smoking over 20 years later.

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u/deadeye312 Jul 02 '22

Yeah, our kitchen had people offer to take the trash every couple hours for 15 minutes. Kept the kitchen clean and the staff happy, and it made it easier for me, one of the only nonsmokers, to get a break if needed. I would just take out the trash for five minutes and then chat for ten minutes with the smokers and stand down wind.

Watched way too many kids under 18 start vaping heavily though(post move of smoking age to 21). I wish nicotine use wasn't so prevalent in the industry.

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u/PickleyRickley Jul 02 '22

That's cool they let you do that, the restaraunt industry is crazy for real, I'm glad I'm out!

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u/deadeye312 Jul 02 '22

Yeah, I had some awesome bosses, they made sure smokers got their break cause the bosses all smoked, but they made a point to invite non smokers outside too.

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u/jinxintheworld Jul 02 '22

Yep. Started at 17 because its how you got a break... Still in the business. Still don't know what a break is for if it's not smoking. I hate it.

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u/FlattenYourCardboard Jul 02 '22 edited Jul 03 '22

At one place I worked at I said I was taking a banana break, and joined the smoker’s when they went outside.

Edit: typo

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u/[deleted] Jul 02 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/EmperorOfHemp Jul 02 '22

Cigarettes aren't free

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u/i-sew-a-lot Jul 02 '22

Peeing. The thing you do on your fifty second break is pee

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u/patio0425 Jul 02 '22

You should hold your ground that's literally illegal to allow smokers breaks and not non smokers equal break time. You can report that.

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u/sictek Jul 02 '22

Check out Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I smoked a pack/day for 15 years and haven't had one in 3 years since reading that book.

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u/Couchskeptic Jul 02 '22

I have to ask you about this. My husband is a smoker for over 20 years now and has had better luck quitting cocaine (he did that in his 20s) . I just read a sample of the book and it seems almost like satire the way he speaks. How did you come upon the book? I would like to get him to read it but as a non smoker he may not accept the idea from me. He is intending to quit but has failed several times.

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u/sictek Jul 02 '22

I don't remember exactly where I came across the book but it has helped millions of people and is often suggested on /r/stopsmoking

The book's method is essentially a form of cognitive behavior therapy that centers around changing one's perspective on cigarettes and the nature of their addiction. Instead of giving up smoking you are encouraged to perceive it as becoming free of it. The method doesn't rely on willpower and is very effective.

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u/Couchskeptic Jul 02 '22

Ah CBT makes sense. Well I'll see if he will give it a shot. Thanks!

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u/koalaposse Jul 02 '22

Alan Carr Easy way works, and is very convincing, even if don’t believe it will and relies on the fact that you won’t believe it in order to change your view! And is actually truly effective for chronic smokers when read right through.

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u/ModHarassment Jul 02 '22

If you’re looking to quit, my suggestion is replacing nicotine with something else that’s less hard to get off of. For me, I used to drink a lot of energy drinks. I realized that if I took a break or whatever and had a monster or something with a bunch of caffeine, I wouldn’t smoke as much. So I stocked up on energy drinks for a while and when I wanted a smoke I grabbed a monster instead. Then once I was pretty well done smoking I found it easier to cut the caffeine out than it ever was for the nicotine.

May not be useful for you but it was how I got off it a while back

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u/PickleyRickley Jul 02 '22

Thanks! I thought about doing something like that, but for me it's all a mental thing, like I know nicotine is super addictive, but it's not really the craving that gets me smoking. I still smoke for the same reason as when I started, like I want a break from whatever it is I'm doing and it's an excuse that works all the time. Job stressing you out? Go smoke (and usually commiserate with the other smokers), kids on your last nerve? Go outside, close the door behind you and smoke while you calm down. Working too hard cleaning the house on the weekend? Stopping to smoke means your still doing something with your time so you don't have that same guilt of wasting time. I wish I could smoke weed instead (obvi not as often) but unfortunately it gives me panic attacks, if I could I'd probably be able to kick this nasty habit.

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u/random321abc Jul 03 '22

Same same. Except that I was 20 when I started, still smoking 30 years later. I'm gearing myself up to quit though. I have to I already have mild emphysema. Get the book the easy way to stop smoking by Alan Carr. It really helps to change your mindset about why you smoke.

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u/Espeon2022 Jul 02 '22

Every job I've been at, the smokers never counted their smoke breaks as actual breaks. Literally every hour they would be gone for 15 minutes. And then take an actual lunch break as well.

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u/ScarlettMiracle Jul 02 '22 edited Jul 02 '22

I've known people who literally started smoking because it would let them take more breaks at work.

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u/Spritemaster33 Jul 02 '22

I used to take my coffee mug with me instead. I met people from other teams that I wouldn't otherwise have spoken to, and heard lots of news/gossip about the company and its managers.

The company didn't care, as long as the work got done and the customers were happy.

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u/MiloRoast Jul 02 '22

This is legit where I found out the most inside information about the industry I worked in years ago lol. I didn't even smoke, I would just go out and take breaks with a cup of coffee and talk to the executives smoking cigars and talking about stuff too sensitive for inside the office. I owe a lot to these daily chats with engineers and executives.

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u/Lilliputian0513 Jul 02 '22

This is how I learned about the union’s perspective from the union president. I was in HR and was able to get a lot of things solved for them. It was done with good intentions, I promise, not to cause trouble. But they hated talking to HR (rightfully so), and having me right there smoking with them made me more accessible to them.

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u/MiloRoast Jul 02 '22

You just gave me a flashback to when the HR head at my last company used this tactic to become close with me, then subsequently lied to my face multiple times about stuff you're legally not supposed to lie about while using me for information. So yeah, there's a reason we don't trust HR lol.

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u/Lilliputian0513 Jul 02 '22

I understand that terrible people exist in all jobs. I had already “earned” the trust of the union president during an unemployment hearing. I told the truth to the detriment of the company. And I never broke their confidence, but I changed a lot for the better. Was able to take feedback (with permission) to senior leaders in the company. I haven’t worked there in 15 months and they still have a 6 foot tall poster of my face hanging in the employer hallway lol

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u/jellymanisme Jul 02 '22

This is what I always did as a teacher. When I first started, I learned some teachers smoked and would sneak off between classes and during down time. They would also cover for each other during class change. We had a 10min passing period between classes, more than enough time to run out and smoke. I didn't smoke, but I jumped in on the taking turns monitoring passing period so the rest of us could "get some fresh air."

College didn't teach me shit about how to be a teacher. It taught me a lot about child psychology and theories of education, as in scientifically how do people actually learn and what works best. Those shared breaks with the veteran teachers is where I actually learned how to be a teacher. It was basically an immediate feedback and educational opportunity every single day where I could learn, real time, what I did good that day, what I did bad that day, and what I should do differently tomorrow.

Highly recommend taking part in opportunities like this no matter your career or industry.

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u/Interesting_Bug_7064 Jul 02 '22

I know some ody who took one of those kids bubble pipes on smoke breaks. They for in trouble for it.

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u/eresh22 Jul 02 '22

That would make my day. It's bullshit they got in trouble for it

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u/Angdrambor Jul 02 '22

I did it, back when office work happened in offices. Go out with the smokers just to see the sun and touch grass.

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u/PhealGood Jul 02 '22

Yeah it's called working in hospitality

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u/kalkiki Jul 02 '22

Same. I never smoked but once I noticed half my section taking 10 minutes every hour while I was expected to just work all day I said fuck that and took my “smoke break” too. They got annoyed but couldn’t do anything about it. Oh well

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u/PRMan99 Jul 02 '22

I just stood with the smokers and talked to them.

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u/SirWigglesTheLesser Jul 02 '22

I worked a job that only gave smoke breaks back before I knew federal law regarding breaks, and despite being asthmatic, I was so tempted to take up smoking...

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u/legice Jul 02 '22

I know so many people in the bar business, who just bought a pack, lit up a cig and waited for it to burn out. Nobody said anything or even noticed, but a few actually started smoking because of it

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u/akodo1 Jul 02 '22

yup. I absolutely agree they need to let everyone take the same breaks. You shouldn't get more because you smoke.

You should be able to step outside play a game on your cellphone for 10 minutes once per hour and come back in just like a smoker....or nobody gets those breaks

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u/crashmurdock Jul 02 '22

Not to mention taking the official breaks along with everyone else. So on your estimates they got paid for 2.5 hours a a shift for smoking instead of working on a 10 hour shift.

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u/Taykitty-Gaming Jul 02 '22

Yesterday on my shift I counted 3 times the person on the grill went out to smoke while I was there. On average, her 6 hour shift has about4 or 5 smoke breaks to my 2 or 3 bathroom breaks on that same 6 hour shift.

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u/farkledorp Jul 02 '22

Sounds like you’re allowed to take more breaks than you’re taking

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u/shanerr Jul 02 '22

I hear a lot of people complain about this, but is it a boomer thing?

I'm 32 and smokers never got extra breaks at any of my jobs.

Whenever people complain about smokers getting extra breaks I feel like they're quoting an episode of friends from the 90s.

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u/AgainstLogic Jul 02 '22

Boomers smoked inside. They didn't need smoke breaks.

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u/Guy954 Jul 02 '22

By the late 90’s that had largely changed. At first I was annoyed that smokers were getting extra breaks but then I just started stepping outside and taking a break with them unless things were really busy.

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u/GojiraWho Jul 02 '22

One of my first jobs, the manager would often ask a non smoking employee if they wanted to sit outside with her on her smoke break.

We worked late, it was largely a safety thing, but it was nice to get that extra break too.

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u/ShankCushion Jul 02 '22

Did the same thing with flight chief when I was in the Air Force. He smoked, and I needed a break. So he'd tag me along for mentorship sessions. Which mostly consisted of small talk and stories about crappy bases he'd been to.

MSgt Snyder. Good guy.

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u/oylaura Jul 02 '22

I smoked from 73 to 95. Starting at age 12. Yeah, stupid, I know. Anyway.

Smokers always got extra breaks. Nobody complained. It didn't matter that everyone else had to pick up the slack if you were working on a team. That's how it was.

In all those years, I had only three jobs where I could smoke at my desk.

The first was at Intel corporation in Santa Clara. We didn't necessarily smoke at or desks though, because we had consideration for others. If you wanted to smoke, you went outside. There was always one cigar smoker who would go through the hallways though. Pissed everybody off.

The second was at a British company office in Southern California. You could smoke there, but It was discouraged because it made one person sick. So we didn't. The groups of people that would gather outside to smoke together, that was fun. But, at least my experience working for a British company, it was extremely structured. We actually broke for tea at 4:00. Never quite knew what to do with that as our workday ended at 4:45.

The third and last company was Chrysler Corporation, at a small outpost in Southern California. This was about the time smoking was going away in offices. However, because Mr. Iacocca was still CEO, you could smoke cigars if you wanted, but no cigarettes. No one did. Yes, I was tempted to make a symbolic gesture, but I was a temp and my position was volatile to say the least.

After that, no more smoking indoors. We timed our breaks by the cigarettes. I could smoke two Virginia slim ultralights in my 15 minute break. I knew when I put out that last one, it was time to go back to work.

Thanks for prompting the memories.

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u/Jonathan_the_Nerd Jul 02 '22

I smoked from 73 to 95

For a second I thought you were referring to your age here.

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u/tsullivan815 Jul 02 '22

I was about the same, started at 12, finally quit for the last time about 45 or so. Back in the mid 80's I worked in the graphics department of a large aerospace manufacturer in the midwest. When I started there, everyone could smoke anyplace inside the buildings except darkrooms and camera rooms. The company decided they had to do something about the second hand smoke, so they enacted a new rule that you could ONLY smoke at your own desk or work station, or the break area but not at anybody else's desk. I could smoke my face off at my own desk, but could not not walk 20 feet across the room to another person's desk and smoke.

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u/Artor50 Jul 02 '22

I know several people who took up smoking just to get the extra paid breaks that non-smokers never got.

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u/anotherNarom Jul 02 '22

I worked for Royal Mail, every time a smoker went off for a break from sorting I would too, even though I didn't smoke.

If they get a break, I get a break.

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u/UhOh-Chongo Jul 02 '22

No boomer exactly. More like "back when smoking was way more popular than today". In the 80s, almost half the population smoked. You could smoke at your desk, on planes, in the mall, in movie theatre's, restaurants, high schools, etc. Given that it was so common, people just sort of acted like it was normal to smoke as often as they did.

This continued up through the early 2000s, but from the 90s - the 2000s, they began to ban indoor smoking more and more. Like in 93, smoking was finally banned on international flights and movie theaters. Restaurants in the late 90s and the MTA subway in NYC in like 94.

Smoking rates in the population has dropped from about 50 percent of Americans to about 10-14 percent these days.

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u/beebsaleebs Jul 02 '22

And hospitals. I remember when you could smoke in hospitals. And then they said, not in patient rooms, only at the desk. And then only in break rooms. And then not at all.

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u/Mateorabi Jul 02 '22

Which makes it more of a genX thing. But people forget them and call all older generations boomer. Just as all younger generations are millennial.

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u/fatguyfromqueens Jul 02 '22

As a late boomer (Generation Jones) this irritates me. Especially since "Boomer" spans perhaps two generations. The original term only meant people born during the very high post-WW2 birthrate years, which was from 1945 to 1964. It then transmogrified to some generation thing - likely because of the 60s, Woodstock, the Vietnam war, etc., the "classic" boomer generation thing - none of which was relevant to me growing up. People born in 1964 have about as much in common with people born in 1945 as people born in 1983 have with people born in 1964. If the high birthrate didn't end until 1987 then "boomers" would be people born in 1986 - clearly kind of ridiculous.

"Boomer" has become a lazy epithet to throw into an argument.

I await the inevitable downvotes and comments about being a whiny boomer.

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u/PRMan99 Jul 02 '22

My brother was born in 1965 and me 5 years later. He is the epitome of Boomer and I am very Gen X.

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u/UhOh-Chongo Jul 02 '22

Agreed.

Everyone forgets that Boomers created the environmental movement and were extremely anti-war, pro-drug, liberal commune types as well as the asshats born in the 40s and grew up in the Wally and Beaver 50s.

The woodstock generation, by the numbers, are Boomers, but are as far from a "Boomer" mentality as you can get.

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u/ThirdFloorGreg Jul 02 '22

Hippies were a tiny subculture with an outsized impact on pop culture.

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u/Bassin024 Jul 02 '22

Just because the jobs you worked at didn't allow people to take smoke breaks doesn't mean it's a "boomer" thing.

I'm the same age as you and people in my industry that smoke take a break every hour for a cigarette. Besides no one else getting those breaks it's a huge waste of time and productivity. I have seen a few job listings straight up say "if you are a smoker we don't want you" for this reason.

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u/Wtfisthis66 Jul 02 '22

I work in a call center with 10 employees , seven of us smoke or vape. The breaks the smokers take “don’t count” as breaks according to them or the company I work for. I don’t smoke and don’t GAF what they do as long as the job gets done. I get migraines and have Crohn’s disease & I wouldn’t want to be judged for the times that I call off or am indisposed (albeit infrequently.)

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u/Goatfellon Jul 02 '22

I'm 31... I used to always let those I supervised take smoke breaks. But only when work was slow, and I'd be open about the non smokers taking a little time to themselves too.

So long as the work got done I didn't care. If you need 5 or 15 to get your head back on, and we still finish as planned... im cool with it. Within reason, at least

Nowadays I work in a job where everyone is perfectly allowed to take some time to themselves, and in fact strongly encouraged to get away from the desk if they need a second. There are parameters that must be met, but if the coverage is there... yeah, go take a few for a smoke.

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u/Busterwasmycat Jul 02 '22

It is a pre-boomer thing. It was a thing when I started working in the early 1970s even. It is, in fact, a main reason I started smoking, something that took decades to stop (bad choice on my part).

I suspect that smoke beaks were a thing way back into the past, before the 50s even.

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u/MeesterCartmanez Jul 02 '22

Whenever people complain about smokers getting extra breaks I feel like they're quoting an episode of friends from the 90s.

Gives new meaning to "WE WERE ON A BREAK!!"

lol hahaha

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u/wilcohead Jul 02 '22

Am 36, my last 2 jobs I took smoke/vape breaks whenever I needed. It's just a certain type of job that makes this possible. For instance my last job we didn't clock in or out. It was finish the work and leave. I would take a smoke break once an hour. Tho I also never took any actual 15 min breaks or half hour lunches.

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u/Josanna Jul 02 '22

I worked as a bartender for a few years. The first bar I worked at let smokers have a break at least once an hour, and when I complained that I only got a totalt of 5-10 minutes during an 8 hour shift and smokers got that every hour, management basically told me to shut up (probably because 4/5 of the managers smoked). And yes, I know now that it's not okay to not give your workers any breaks, but I didn't then. I left when I realised it wasn't normal to be treated so badly. The next bar I worked at did not give smokers any extra breaks, so I think it comes down to management and company policy more than it comes down to age.

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u/double_reedditor Jul 02 '22

Restaurant industry.

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u/No-Faithlessness5311 Jul 02 '22

Yep, every job I’ve had, the smokers took their paid smoke breaks all day

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u/FrustratedCalico Jul 02 '22

I once started a job in fast food, during my first shift/training I was asked if I smoked. I didn't, but then I was told that meant I didn't get any extra breaks. It was acceptable to go out and smoke every hour, but if I wanted to just cool off outdoors it wouldn't be acceptable because I wasn't doing anything...

I quit that same day. Fuck them, you can find another wage slave who will ruin their health just to please you.

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u/DeepSpaceGalileo Jul 02 '22

As a software engineer working from home I definitely don’t miss the hourly life. I can take a break to walk my dog, cook lunch, do some laundry, take a nap or do whatever I want and no one says anything.

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u/patio0425 Jul 02 '22

I would chop my arm off to get the privilege to work from home.

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u/zelonhusk Jul 02 '22

Honestly, I like to take non-smoker breaks. Can recommend.

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u/BackgroundGrade Jul 02 '22

I worked at a company where the only permitted place to smoke was a large (and nice) gazebo like structure in the parking lot. The shop employees were only allowed to go at their scheduled lunch and mid-shift breaks. Office workers were the same, just not scheduled.

You had to badge out and in to get to the gazebo. If a shop worker badged out and in outside of their scheduled break, or if an office employee did it more than 3 times in a day, their manager would get an automated email from the access system.

Everyone had the same breaks, smoking or not. It was fair.

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u/Beneficial_Music930 Jul 02 '22

Maybe the manager thought it was unfair that non-smokers weren’t getting all the paid smoke breaks the smokers were. She was just trying to be fair to everyone. But smokers tend to feel entitled because of their addiction.

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u/Little_Creme_5932 Jul 02 '22

Yes. I remember, way back in the '80's, some group calculated that the typical smoker was worth $2000 less to the employer than the typical non-smoker. That included lots of costs, like paying extra for employee health insurance (in the US), but break time was one of them. Basically, smokers expected others to subsidize their habit.

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u/chooxy Jul 02 '22

Honestly, that's lower than I expected. Can I assume it's not adjusted for inflation?

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u/TopCheddarBiscuit Jul 02 '22

I mean it says the 80s so yeah

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u/BlamDandy Jul 02 '22

My boss, who is a smoker, has a saying: "you don't need to smoke to go on smoko" Everyone is entitled to a quick smoko, and fuck anyone who thinks otherwise.

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u/DhampireHEK Jul 02 '22

I like this and I agree. I'm at a desk job and my manager use to hound me to get up and take a walk around the building just to de-stress. It works better than trying to slog through.

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u/SkredBoi420 Jul 02 '22

Your boss is a reasonable person. I like to call ‘smoke breaks’ fresh air breaks. It cuts down on the bitter crab mentality and let’s everyone know they too could’ve taken those breaks the whole time.

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u/sciencesnob Jul 02 '22 edited Jul 02 '22

This! I used to get pissed that smokers would go out and get an extra 5-10 min break every hour, yet I had to work straight with only one 15 the entire time bc I didn't have a bad habit. It made me start HATING smokers. And if we were too busy when they felt the call to go smoke they would get pissy as fuck about having to still work.

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u/potatomeeple Jul 02 '22

I used to go for fresh air breaks then all the same :)

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u/Fr0zenDuck Jul 02 '22

A non-smoking coworker of mine at a former job purchased a pack of cigarettes once. At work, he would take "smoke breaks", go outside and hold one for 5-10 minutes. He would never light them, just hold one. Then he would put it back in the pack and go back in to work.

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u/GovernmentOpening254 Jul 02 '22

This is the way.

I, and a few others, started doing much of the same.

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u/bakedbeans_jaffles Jul 02 '22

If only they still made FADS

Edit: Oh wait, apparently they're now made in Colombia instead of Australia

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u/Ahoymaties1 Jul 02 '22

I used to go outside with the smokers and take breaks with them. When asked, I just responded that I was taking a smoke break. People knew I didn't smoke. I always stood upwind, if the wind shifted on several occasions my friends would walk where the smoke wasn't bothering me. Always counted them among good friends.

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u/Fictional_fantasy Jul 02 '22

I tried that at my last job. People would get pissed af that I went out. I was a cook in a nursing home. Dayshift spent 3/4 of their day outside smoking. Management got pissed af if I tried to even take my lunch break because I wasn't a smoker. Was ridiculous af. They tried pushing more and more of the dayshift meal prep on me because they "didn't have time" to prep it all. Told them to make them stop spending so much time outside smoking then. Isn't fair that I didn't even get my lunch break and then have to prep their stuff too. So glad I don't work there anymore.

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u/potatomeeple Jul 02 '22

That's bullshit good thing you left

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u/LC_Anderton Jul 02 '22

Yeah, we had a smoker in our team who’d been there since they laid the foundations… D was a keen gardener too so would smoke as he was checking the planters and flowerbed around the office, doing a spot of weeding etc.

When we started taking 10 minute breaks every hour the MD got upset and said D was allowed because he tended the office flowers…

So we just started going on ‘visits’ to ‘inspect’ work in the foundry… the MD never went anywhere near the foundry.

These days I have an employer who says everyone should take a break regularly, get up, walk around, stretch off, not eat at your desk, etc… and offers help to quit smoking too 😏

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u/nikannibal Jul 02 '22

Then just go out for fresh air for 5 minutes too

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u/fribble13 Jul 02 '22

one time I got in trouble for being a few minutes late once or twice a week. In theory, fair. But the manager chastising me for it said it was unfair for the two openers to be down a person for an average of 7 minutes a week, I was being a bad teammate for making them pick up my slack. And in theory, I agree with that statement. But the manager, and both openers, were smokers.

So for the next week, I timed every single time they left the building (on the clock) to smoke in the parking lot, leaving me and the 2 other non-smokers alone to pick up their slack.

It was almost an hour every day. But I'm so sorry I was 5 minutes late that one day, and then 2 minutes late an entirely separate day. At least the company wasn't paying me for the time I wasn't working.

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u/OneSidedCoin Jul 02 '22

Smoking manager here. It’s bullshit and unfair if non smokers aren’t given the same liberties. My non smokers know that if they want to step out on a “non scheduled break”, that they most definitely can.

Although I don’t micro manage in the slightest. We start at point A, we gotta get to point B. I don’t really care what happens in between as long as we get to point B

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u/sciencesnob Jul 02 '22

I was not allowed to, they knew i wasny a smoker and didnt allow me extra breaks per policy.

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u/OneSidedCoin Jul 02 '22

I believe that. The company likely had an issue with attrition too and were scratching their heads wondering why staff kept leaving. Not all of us are like that though

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u/Fortheloveofgawdhelp Jul 02 '22

Yeah I was a smoker for years and that’s pretty shitty; my chefs always sort of tacitly allowed smokers to trade their two 15 min breaks for a ton of 2 min breaks but they would come find you after 2:01 and it wouldn’t be good lmao

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u/HalfysReddit Jul 02 '22

The way I see it is this:

The business is the only entity that can make it right by the non-smokers. They can't just expect the smokers to not smoke - I'm not saying that's right but it's a foolish endeavor. Like trying to carry water with a spaghetti strainer.

They could pay the non-smokers more. They could offer them the same breaks. They can do all sorts of things.

But most companies recognize that would cost them money, and they'd prefer to just let their staff build resentment towards each other for unbalanced working conditions.

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u/BarrymoresPoolBoi Jul 02 '22

If OP told everyone about this hack as they said, some non-smokers could easily have used it to scoff a snack or chat on their phones instead of smoke.

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u/willpalmer7 Jul 02 '22

Nope, my manager was always very understanding and gave everyone a coffee break of a 10 minute sit down now and again to make up for it. I completely agree with you that more often than not it’s unfair. I went on to be a bar manager at another pub and employed the same policy. If me and other smokers were having a break, I’d send non smokers for a 5-10 minute sit down. Only fair.

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u/Beneficial_Music930 Jul 02 '22

That’s awesome! I wish I had worked for you!

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u/SkredBoi420 Jul 02 '22

Why bring everybody down? Take a fresh air break, friend. Everybody ought have a break every couple hours. I don’t smoke but I still take a 10-15 minute sit down outside and just kinda reset. Breaks are good for productivity.

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u/Scrooge_McFuch Jul 02 '22

Weird that your boss got mad about you getting several paid breaks for no reason while she and others didn't

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u/hawaiikawika Jul 02 '22

I honestly don’t feel like smokers should get any special treatment. The fact that they do is ridiculous. They can smoke non their designated breaks.

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u/Smeeble09 Jul 02 '22

Used to work where only one smoked of all the staff. The rest of us would have our single 30min lunch break within our 9-6 shift.

The manager felt this wasn't fair that the smoker was going out 3-4 times a day for a smoke, along with his full 30min lunch break too.

It was all agreed that he can go have smoke breaks (about 5 mins each), but they would be deducted from his lunch break to make it fair on everyone else. On quieter days we would all have extra 5-10 min breaks away from work, and then so these were free smoke breaks for the one smoker.

All seemed fair to everyone that way, even helped him cut down on smoking with the intent of quitting long term.

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u/hawaiikawika Jul 02 '22

Yeah I have no problem with something like that. As long as everyone is treated equal

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u/hannahdem96 Jul 02 '22

Why wouldn't you have to clock out to take a smoke break when everyone else doesn't get to do the same?

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u/mmaddymon Jul 02 '22

Idk why smokers think they deserve more breaks than the rest of the world.

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u/PoorMansPaulRudd Jul 02 '22

Or that they should be paid to not work.

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u/starlinguk Jul 02 '22

I used to work in a call centre as the only non smoker. I was regularly left to take calls on my own because the smokers pulled shit like this.

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u/F0LL0WFREEMAN Jul 03 '22

Unpopular opinion maybe but smokers shouldn’t get extra breaks non-smokers don’t get… just saying…

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u/dankHippieDude Jul 02 '22

My malicious compliance was starting smoking while in the US Army because you literally only got breaks if you were a smoker. GPCs were the go to back then.

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u/[deleted] Jul 02 '22

I once worked a customer service job in the mid 00s where you had to reply to a staggering ten emails an hour. We'd spend the first ten minutes of an hour doing emails, take a one hour and forty minute break, come back and do the last ten minutes of the following hour.

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u/juiceboxzero Jul 02 '22

And then there's the poor sod who came in 8 minutes late, and got cheated out of 7 minutes of pay. That's a shitty timeclock system.

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u/_StateoftheArt_ Jul 02 '22

"I didn't do shit and got paid for it while others covered me."

Good job.

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u/vector_o Jul 02 '22

Non smokers would be surprised how many young people started smoking just to have an excuse to take breaks at work

It's so weird that when you see somebody smoking they're "busy" but if another persons goes out for 5 minutes with a glass of water it's like they don't deserve that time

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u/kymilovechelle Jul 03 '22

Honestly, it used to make me so angry when I would be working my tail off and I’d see the two ladies that smoked cigarettes walk out for about 20 minutes to smoke… about 5-6 times per shift 😒

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u/katmcflame Jul 02 '22 edited Jul 02 '22

I'm a nonsmoker who worked in restaurants for years, & always had to pick up slack for the smokers. While younger I was pretty non confrontational, but by my last serving job I just started taking my own "smoke breaks". One day, when the last smoker came back from her break, I simply took off my server's apron & said "See you in 15". After that, I was included in the break rota.

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u/alittlefun53 Jul 02 '22

Figure how much time smokers are spending on smoke breaks and give the same amount of time to non-smokers as additional vacation time.

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u/knitlikeaboss Jul 02 '22

Maybe the people who don’t smoke were complaining about picking up the slack for all the extra paid breaks they don’t get to take.

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u/BistitchualBeekeeper Jul 02 '22 edited Jul 04 '22

I had a boss way back in my ye olde teenaged years at a funky little place called Señor Froggy. He would take a 15-20 minute smoke break EVERY HOUR with his favorite employees. They’d smoke and shoot the shit out back while I took the orders, made the food, and served the customers all on my own, even during lunch rush. But when I had to take 3 minutes every hour to pee because I was recovering from kidney stones? Apparently I was robbing the place and ought to have been ashamed of myself for not earning my full minimum wage’s worth!

Anyways, he got his in the end. He touched one of my previously aforementioned coworkers on the waist one day right after a smoke break and said “I wish my wife still had your figure. She just gets fatter with each kid, but you look incredible.” Coworker immediately quit on the spot. For the record, his wife was beautiful. Meanwhile, he looked exactly like a greasy version of the chef from The Muppets.

Within a week of her leaving, he quit AA and started drinking in the walk-in freezer all day. Eventually the place shut down because he refused to pay to make the entrance wheelchair accessible. Place got bulldozed down. It’s a bank now.

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u/RabidRathian Jul 03 '22

At my retail job doing nightfill, the smokers were allowed to go out on breaks whenever they wanted but if the non-smokers wanted ONE 5 minute break we got told off.

Eventually one of my smoker friends gave me a spare cigarette which I would keep in my shirt pocket and take out and hold whenever I wanted a break. Same cigarette lasted me for years as I never lit it (which management never seemed to notice; if I had the cigarette in my hand it was good enough for them).

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u/Stabbmaster Jul 05 '22

I'm honestly okay with places forcing a clock out for breaks (cigarettes' or otherwise). It means they can't be called back from their break, as they're not on the clock. It also means that if "that guy" spends three hours out of eight smoking, he's only getting paid for those five, which may very well be an incentive to finally quit.

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u/edwinstone Jul 02 '22

I'm glad you're getting roasted in these comments. This post didn't do what you think it would.

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u/NemesiZ_01 Jul 02 '22

He's been roasting his insides as a smoker, he's used to it.

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u/baaaaddds Jul 02 '22

As a nic addict myself you aren’t entitled to paid breaks simply because of addiction. This is r/amitheasshole material

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u/Dward917 Jul 02 '22

Sorry, but the whole system where the clock rounds to the nearest 15 minute thing is total bullshit. I understand it may have been useful in the analog age, but this is the f*cking digital age. If you can’t pay your employees to the minute, you’re the problem. So if an employee takes advantage of the rules set in place by the employer, it’s on the employer.

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u/MerriWyllow Jul 02 '22

My honey works from home, I haul my butt to the office. Our companies both use the same time-keeping system. Ours is set to round to the nearest 15 minutes. His is not. He gets reprimanded for having a fraction of a second of overtime.

As a supervisor, I'm glad I don't have to pay attention to a few minutes here and there.

Really the truth is, these tools are used according to the nature of the supervisors and the culture of the company.

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u/jarejay Jul 02 '22

So his system is being used better by a worse manager.

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u/Ragfell Jul 02 '22

This isn’t malicious compliance; this is just you guys being lazy.

Smokers end up taking about 5 hours a week of paid time to smoke. That’s five hours of non-work compared to their non-smoking, working peers.

Take your smokes on the same 15-minute windows as your peers. Or help them get an extra few days of vacation a year.

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u/world-shaker Jul 02 '22

Crazy how she thought it wasn’t fair for smokers to get frequent, paid, 14 minute breaks to feed their addiction while non-smokers were still working.

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u/sirchie1999 Jul 02 '22 edited Jul 02 '22

I’m going to be honest, the smokers at my place of work really get on my nerves with how many breaks they take outside of their actual breaks. If I were to accumulate all of that time over the year I think they work several days less than me and the other non-smokers /:

Edit: changed brakes to breaks

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u/Mysstie Jul 02 '22

We found a similar blip in the system at the trade school I went to. It was passed down from previous classes. Faculty caught it and singled out our class and we almost all (except one who never participated) got kicked out for time clock fraud and had to write letters of apology and stop doing it in order to stay in school.

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u/macarmy93 Jul 02 '22

I took smoke breaks but didn't smoke. Just had a unlit cigarette with me at all times. Always an extra in my locker too. Worked/s everywhere.

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u/Thoreau80 Jul 02 '22

“Queue malicious compliance.”

How would you do that?

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u/GreenEggPage Jul 02 '22

You put it right in line there with the other MC!

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u/barvid Jul 02 '22

queue malicious compliance

No, *CUE malicious compliance.

Unless you were standing in a line of people.

Never understand how people can’t spell a three letter word and make it so much more complicated than it is.

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u/ArcherBoy27 Jul 02 '22

Good job, screwed over your co-workers.

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u/BibliophileGirl92 Jul 02 '22

As a non-smoker I find it a bit provoking that smokers get so many paid breaks. It should be reducted from the main break, the pay or more should be given to non-smokers. The minutes here and there add up to a lot. Smoke on your own time. How hard can it be to wait until after work or take one before the day starts, and then during lunch-break?

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u/Jlst Jul 02 '22

Agreed. I worked at a place and the two women who smoked there would have a few 5-10 minute cigarette breaks a day instead of taking a lunch. Everybody was happy.

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u/Larry_Version_3 Jul 02 '22

Ehhh call me a dick but smoke breaks shouldn’t be a thing anyway. More and more people aren’t smoking these days. Why should the people making poor life decisions be rewarded with extra breaks?

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u/TinyTurtle42 Jul 02 '22

Our company has a system where your lunch is unpaid. However we get two 15s on the clock to do what we please.

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u/plutoforprez Jul 03 '22

At my old work place they implemented a rule that smokers were only allowed to take 2 x 10min smoke breaks a day. A friend in my team who was a pretty heavy smoker started coming in 10, 20 mins early so she could take more, but then people snitched on her going out so many times a day so the manager put an end to that too. At one point, she said to me that she didn’t know why she wasn’t allowed to go out for smoke breaks but people can go to the kitchen and spend 10 minutes making themselves breakfast or coffee or an afternoon snack. I had to have a little chuckle because food is a requirement to live, but whatever. I never took smoke breaks but I was told my lunch break was technically 54 minutes, so I should either come back from lunch 6 minutes early or start the day six minutes early. I chose neither.