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This is a question Absolute Power

Have you ever been put in a position of power? Did you become a rabid dictator, or did you completely arse it up and end up publicly humiliated? We demand you tell us your stories.

Thanks to The Supreme Crow for the suggestion

(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 14:09)
Pages: Popular, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Not the most interesting story but it is not very long
In Vancouver when the 2010 Winter Olympics was on I applied for a position, ANY position and landed the job of 'Work Force Supervisor' at one of the temporary bus depots set up for the Olympics despite having extremely little experience in any position of authority previously. This was placement was due more to the shambolic nature of the job agency I was with (hello Adecco!) than anything else. At first I tried to 'manage' (whatever that means)and 'get involved' but when I quickly realised that the staff that was working for me had infinitely more knowledge of the work at hand than I did, I just got the f---k out of the way and let them do their respective jobs. Cue two months of me surfing the net and taking naps on disused bus seats.Seemed to work quite well.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 1:53, Reply)
The power over middle-aged ladies' sexual fantasy gratification
When I worked for a mxing desk company as a test engineer, I had to test, diagnose and repair any gremlins that crept into the 48-channel monster while it was assembled in South Cornwall. All of a sudden my usual day's work was put aside as a previously-sold console was being shipped back in as an emergency case needing TLC and fixing and had to be done WITHIN 3 HOURS so they could get the thing back out- apparently mid-tour the thing had cocked up and they didn't have a spare backup. So, as I laboured away taking the thing to pieces and chasing the elusive fault through the 48 channels, 8 busses, 10 AUXs, 8x4 matrix, master section MIDI mute assignments and meter bridge. With minutes to go and with managers standing around watching, shuffling and grumbling and looking at their watches, I finally found the cause of the problem- a faulty NE5532 IC putting out a DC offset on the main L-R buss.

Quick as a flash I desoldered and replaced the chip, ran the console back through the automated end of line test sequence, air-wrench spun up the securing nuts and screws and handed it over with 15 minutes to go before the dispatch driver had to leave with it on board.

Modestly accepting praise from my immediate managers for saving their reputation, I asked whose musical event, nay UK national tour had been saved by my skill, my intuition, my manual manipulational prowess and above all working half an hour over the end of work so I had to hitch hike back home after missing the bus.

"Ah! Daniel O'Donnel's UK tour is BACK ON thanks to you".

The power to end it was in my hands and I FUCKED IT UP by NOT FUCKING IT UP! Scores of middle aged flushed ladies with repressed desires to either a)seduce the chirpy curly haired singer into a bed of lewd debauchery or b) take him home and feed him up and knit him a jumper (thinks Father Ted here) got their audience with D O'D because of me.
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 1:18, 11 replies)
Teaching Music Theory
Unless there are any people on here who can qualify to have Grade 8 theory, Grade 8 Piano, Grade 5 percussion, Grade 4 Guitar, Grade 3 violin, Grade 5 voice, play saxophones and clarinet in jazz bands, profesionally, blah blah, then having power as a Music theory Teacher feels pretty good. It's a new language, you have to start at the bottom and there are no short cuts, you can't even go to the country like in foreign languages to live there and learn it.

My latest Student is on retiring age and they are the worst. Why, why why, they keep asking me. When I started to learn it at the age of 8 I just accepted it was the form and normal. It took me 10 years to complete it, and my student wants the same information within a year.

You have to be bossy - and practical - and sometimes severe. If they dont do their homework or never practice the instrument they play it's curtains and wasting their money as well as my time.

So, anyone taking lessons in this will know the true hardship of writing a 32-bar answering phrase, open harmony and recognising cadences (to mention those are easy excercises for me) WITHOUT the use of a piano.

I did it, so they have to.

The power is GREAT :)
(, Fri 9 Jul 2010, 0:21, 16 replies)
I was working at 1 Golden Square, London and removed the circuit breakers from the fusebox.
That was when I had Absolute power.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:37, 1 reply)
Morality and children.
One day at school, aged around 10, I was quietly passing one lunch break
with a friend when the school nutter, fresh from suspention for setting fire to a bin, came up and started to hassle us. I struggle to recall the exact details, he may have called me a name, kicked me, tried to trip me, the usual stuff a bully gets up to around that age.

I bravly ran and told the diner lady. "Right!" she cried, grabbing my foe in a fierce lock. "He's been like this all week, hit him!" He was trapped, unable to escape entirly at the mercy of an old lady from the rough end of Sunderland and the boy he had just picked on for fun. "Go on, give him a thump!" demanded the harpy of the lunch line. Looking between the two, then down at my little fists, I made my choice. "No. Not like this, this isn't justice. I'd be just as bad as he is." came my response, then I turned and walked away, leaving a very relived little boy and what I imagine was a very amused old woman in my wake.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:32, 3 replies)
it's scary to think that parents have given me absolute power over their kids for the evening. kids are so gullible. i've so far managed to convince various children that:
toothpaste comes from caterpillars
moths are the ghosts of butterflies
i am related to dracula
lampshades were made for dressing up in
gnomes are evil
butter grows in dark places
adults get twice as much monopoly money as kids
donkeys are aliens
and the list goes on. absolute power over children may not seem much to people in real positions of power, but it can be funny as fuck at times.
also, every child i've babysat could make a decent cuppa by the age of 7 ;)
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:27, 22 replies)
I also used to work as a cashier in an amusement arcade
Never, ever, leave the till without checking your change.

My mate and I managed to give 48p for a £1 worth of 2p's before someone complained (after they had spent the money) about being short changed.

I made a mint in that job.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 23:00, Reply)
I used to work in the treasury dept of a large company
My duties included managing the bank accounts and inputting all monies sent and received into the accounts system and then doing all the reconciliations. Not much of a conflict of interest!

Not once did I transfer money to myself. Tempting though it was on occasion.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:58, Reply)
I worked at a summer daycamp about 15 years ago and was in charge of the tuckshop at lunchtimes.

(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:44, 4 replies)
I am the person
who makes your stupidly expensive coffee drink. Excessively rude to me? Expect to get decaf, or skim/whole milk, etc. You wont get what you asked for, and you wont even notice the difference. Same goes for food that's a little too burnt or has fallen off the plate onto a worktop - back onto the plate it goes!

The vast majority of people are very very nice customers. But try to be nice to the coffee monkey, because he/she has all the power, not you, and who knows what you might get.

(Just in case some of you are wondering - I would never touch anybodys food without gloves, or put something nasty in someones drink, that's just wrong)
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:39, 12 replies)
I reply to Sivvus below.
Simpson Eh?
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:35, 3 replies)
This might sound egotistical
but I swear it's true. It seems like it's been going on for years- people just listen to my advice, and it's getting to the point where they can't function without me. And I'm not the mayor, or some crime boss, or even a celebrity on the TV... I'm just a simple housewife.

If I decide to take a week out, go to stay with my sister or something, then someone else in my family does something, and I have to deal with it when I get home. It's like they can't function without me. And if it's not them, it's my neighbour, or a friend, or even the local pub owner. I mean, he can't even remember my name, and yet he still relies on me. And the guy's a yellow bellied coward, for goodness' sake. It's not like he won't be doing exactly the same thing next week! He never changes.

It's like the whole world revolves around me! I hope I can retire soon.

M. Simpson
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 22:12, 1 reply)
I'm the person who decides whether to refund your bank charges or not.
and generally, i'm pretty nice about it and i'll listen and understand. i don't agree with bank charges (if you look at the letter of the law, they ARE fucking illegal whatever the court decision was.) other people i work with act like they're some kind of almighty superhero and take pride in never cutting anyone any slack. those people are arseholes and prannocks and deserve to be punched in the genitalia.

the power trip comes thusly and if you've ever worked in a call centre you'll understand.

people who call up and are nice will get listened to and i'll do all i can to bend the rules to get them their refund or overdraft increase or whatever. people who call up in a rage will also get listened to as long as they don't get personal. i completely get people who call up and say "i'm not having a go at you, you're just doing your job, but you can understand why i'm pissed off." i do understand why they're pissed off and i'll help them out.

but people who call up and swear at you, call you names, talk down to you and threaten you can fuck right off and are going to get precisely nothing. if you can't treat a fellow human being with a bit of decency that's all you deserve.

i once had a nurse who lives in my city tell me that now she knew my name she would make sure i got the shittiest treatment possible should i ever be unfortunate enough to visit her hospital and hoped that day came soon. my manager and i closed her account down for being abusive.

hardly absolute power but still. if you can't treat people with respect you can fuck right off.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 21:58, 35 replies)
Positions of power?
I've had minions a few times, nothing worthy of note. However, having trainees to deal with is great. Someone to do your work for you, fetch you coffee and another mind to slowly warp with tales of penguin righters in Antarctica and other tales that are just about plausible. It's a great way of passing the day when you can't go on the internet as it sets a bad example.

Trainees are awesome.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 21:53, 2 replies)

For a while I thought I was on the right track, working my up through the company, but each time I take a step up it's just more responsibility and stuff to deal with. The next person above me is the Chief Executive, and she takes untold amounts of shit from the shareholders.


When I was Patrol Leader at Scouts I had control over life and death, well, who slept at the soggy end of the tent anyway. It looks like I peaked at 14 and drifted downwards ever since.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 21:38, Reply)
I was in charge of a whole country
I was in charge of some tiny island out the way which had been long forgotten by us modern folk. The tribes were primitive and I easily muscled my way into power and they were too puny to resist me. I single-handedly crippled their monetary values, belittled their religious beliefs and turned them on each other. I'm such a bastard. :D

G. Brown.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 21:25, Reply)
Two i can think of
When i was younger i was a supervisor in a well known high street book retailer/stationers and was given the task of key holder which meant locking up and opening the store. Well, the first time i locked up i strolled about the place and thought "what do i nick first?". You would be amazed at how little there is worth nicking in that shop.

Another time, this year in fact, i went to Vegas on a stag week. Part of the fun was a VIP night at the Palm hotel/casino night club "Moon". We had our own table, our own waitresses and to top it all off a mountain of a bouncer called "Tu" whose job it was to stand near our table guarding our drinks, and barging the shit munchers out of the way so we could get to the toilet if we wanted. Oh, he also escorted us to the front of the queue for the lifts if we wanted to go to the casino or the playboy lounge. THAT was a good night!!!!
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 21:15, 2 replies)
Im not there yet
but I am half way through my pgce
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 20:53, 7 replies)
never really been in a position of power
unless being on top counts.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 20:49, 1 reply)
It was over the last Christmas break
I went back and did some temp work at the supermarket I'd left the September before to go to uni. I had no power, but one Sunday I was working the biscuits aisle and someone who had joined the week I left and some other kid from fresh foods were helping me out. They both just assumed that because they'd been told they were helping me I was in charge. I knew nothing much about biscuits myself but they were acting out on every order I told them. I was totally like, 'put that there', 'just do these quickly', 'if you don't know where something is just ask me'. It was one of my only tastes at what having a slave might feel like, and it felt good.

The other time I had power was when I was 16 doing some team-thing with a bunch of girls from other schools I didn't know and who were all younger. I was the only one who felt like getting anything done so they all just did as I said. Pimp for a day.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 20:46, 4 replies)
I was just another part timer in a photo lab
but I was 10 years older than the other two part timers and had more experience (of printing, that is...probably other stuff too)

Anyway, this meant they assumed I was in charge. They were my minions. Minion 2 and Minion 2A (didn't want to make either feel more important. Sometimes I called them Frodo and Sam (one looked A LOT like Frodo)

Anyway, they were both young and easily embarrassed, so I ordered them to deal with any porn photos that came through. They were also frequently on doughnut and steakbake duty (we could see Greggs from the lab).

I'm not sure how I really got this power or why they kept doing the more and more odd things I asked, but it was fun while it lasted.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 20:15, Reply)
A luddite just discovered how to do <i> this </i> without doing *this*.
I have the power !

I just learnt my first bit of HTML.

But will it work?

EDIT: Title fail.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 20:03, 7 replies)
Those that don't understand cricket, ignore
When I was 22 I was temporarily given the captaincy of a reasonably-good Midlands League cricket team.

Boo, boring, you may say, but in that context it was the most mind-challenging thing ever given to me.

It's not like John Terry/Steven Gerrard shouting at players to get their arse together, it's like a complicated chess game played with real people where the pieces have varying ability. Even the chessboard isn't level.

To keep 11 cricketers together and focused, you have to choose your batsmen, bowlers, field placings, optimise the best people at the best time and place, and all the while field/bowl/bat like your game is the last you'll ever play. Coordinate and motivate the team and keep things running like clockwork, whilst keeping within the laws of the most complicated outdoor game ever devised.

After each game I was physically and mentally exhausted.

I'm now designing IT systems for a 2 billion pound project (no not the NHS) and it's a relative breeze.

Flame on.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 19:34, Reply)
My bizarre habit is posting QOTW stories a week late!

(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 19:07, 2 replies)
Totally off-topic but involves the word 'power'
*non science-geeks please skip over this post*

I heard on the radio yesterday that there are plans to build a deep storage facility for nuclear waste - as its radioactive and will continue to be so for many years. I am interested in physics and i studied at A-level but i dont really have the intellect for it to be honest.
However i know alot of B3tans do, and i was wondering if anybody can clear this up for me...

(stolen from wikipedia)

An example is the natural decay chain of 238U which is as follows:

decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 4.5 billion years to thorium-234
which decays, through beta-emission, with a half-life of 24 days to protactinium-234
which decays, through beta-emission, with a half-life of 1.2 minutes to uranium-234
which decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 240 thousand years to thorium-230
which decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 77 thousand years to radium-226
which decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 1.6 thousand years to radon-222
which decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 3.8 days to polonium-218
which decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 3.1 minutes to lead-214
which decays, through beta-emission, with a half-life of 27 minutes to bismuth-214
which decays, through beta-emission, with a half-life of 20 minutes to polonium-214
which decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 160 microseconds to lead-210
which decays, through beta-emission, with a half-life of 22 years to bismuth-210
which decays, through beta-emission, with a half-life of 5 days to polonium-210
which decays, through alpha-emission, with a half-life of 140 days to lead-206, which is a stable nuclide.

So why not use a material with a much lower half-life? surely nuclear fission is still possible?
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 19:06, 10 replies)
Orchestra Conductors
So. Conductors are usually meant to be respected by the people they're waving their arms at, which is all well and good. Or it would be, except... You know all that weird workplace-speak that makes no sense? When you have a score in front of you, it gets weirder...

"Play it like a pirate slag!"
"There's not enough depth to this. I need a bigger bottom."
"Don't ignore me just because I have a bendy baton!"
"I keep meaning to tell the bassoons off for playing badly, but every time I look up they're smiling at me. I don't have the heart to destroy the happiest section in the orchestra!"
"Trumpets, you.... hm. You're all dressed the same, white t shirts and jeans. If only your playing was as synchronised."

Counting in:

"One two three FOUR PLAY!"
"One two ohhh shit!"
"One, two..." **smacks the first violin round the head with the baton** "Raise your bow, dammit!"

Plain odd:

"Clarinets, make it dark. Make it like ebony. But blacker, smoother, like black glass. If black glass was a sound. Play that." **clarinets play, orchestra is stopped** "No, no no! Did you not hear a word I said?"

"I need to stop sucking my pencil. Rubbers don't taste nice."

This is only tenuously linked to the question, sorry. Musicians, feel free to add your own. :P
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 18:35, 3 replies)
Well there was a time I fell in with a bad crowd.
But I didn't know it at the time. I thought they were pretty cool. Anyway, things got a bit out of hand and I thought they were pushing it a bit far, but I didn't want them to suss me out (yeah, I know, falling to 'peer pressure' - really mature.

Long story short, I ended up machine gunning a crowd of people at a Russian airport to death. I didn't want to do it, but I couldn't get caught out. Once I'd killed the first person, it seemed natural. And I started chasing people down and finishing them off for fun. I'm the angel of death! The guys were impressed. But we ran out of time and had to get out, all these cops and stuff were coming.

And after all that, just as we were about to drive away in our van, one of the bastards said he knew all about me and shot me!

And then I stopped playing Modern Warfare 2 because Bad Company 2 had tanks in it!
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 18:01, 4 replies)
In a very busy
and very secure high capacity telecoms hub for a very large telco, tasked with adjusting some cabling and parameters on some very expensive circuits.

Had all my tools with me, and seriously had to struggle not to reach for the cable shears and just throw a total epi.

Not so much absolute power I suppose, more poor impulse control.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 17:44, Reply)
Stand up comedy
When a night goes well you really do have the whole place in your hand.

When you go to comedy death that's not so good. But watching acts you don't like going to that wall at the Comedy store Gong show makes it all worth it again.
(, Thu 8 Jul 2010, 17:43, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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