At most jobs the most used of the soft core punishments is when "they" (some butt-sputter who somehow has rank over you) threaten to write you up, or what they think is worse yet, actually "writes you up." This moronic exercise serves to do little more than piss you off while allowing the butt-sputter to feel really, really self-important. It takes place in every sort of job from the name tag Joe-jobs to the airline pilot's cockpit seat. I'm proud to say that as a lifelong smart ass I've been written-up at every level... except for now, perhaps... because I'm self employed and own my companies myself... so I'd have to write myself up.
In the airline pilot's job I was written up by the worst captain on earth. I countered by going directly to the chief pilot and demanding a competency check ride "Right now" (by the way I was a probationary new hire at the time.) I got my check ride a few days later followed by another meeting in the chief pilot's office with the check airman to discuss why we did the ride. I was just fine in the operation reported the check pilot- so why did we do this? I told them that I wanted to prove they had flown with the wrong guy- the captain who wrote me up was the real problem. A lesson to me, however, did come out of it. There after, I asked every captain that I flew with to "write me up" because every airline pilot needs a pile of good write-ups in their file to provide a cushion when some asshole decides to turn in a bad report on you.
Most of my write-ups were earned while working the Joe-jobs as I worked my way through Embry-Riddle. I found K-mart to be the most fun to be written up at... because, although they threaten to fire you after your third time being written-up, they actually will do nothing of the kind. My first K-mart write up came when I was working in the Over-the-counter Drugs department. I was content to just keep my shelves stocked and show customers where the toothpaste was, but nooooo... the butt-sputter department manager insisted that I do "PAs." These are announcements over the store PA system to advertise some product to the people in the store. Management kept score as to how many PAs that each of us did, and my score was zero. Soon the pressure grew until I was told to make a PA "or else." I asked what they wanted me to PA and the answer was "Anything... just take a product off the shelf and PA it." Can ya' see this one comin' folks? Yep... I got written up for PA-ing Glycerin suppositories, "...with ease and comfort you apply them into your..." I read from the bottle as the butt-sputter department manager came running up the aisle toward me- I can still see the look on his face. Sure, I got written up, but no one ever tried to force me to do another PA.
Of course K-mart turned out to be a rich place for a smart-ass seeking a record for being written up. I was later transferred to the Garden Shop/pet department and got written up there for things such as, teaching the parakeets to say the word "slob" (who knew that once they learn a word they repeat it until they die?), wrapping an action figure in chains and a little padlock and dropping it into an aquarium, altering the pricing board outside that originally said "5 pound fert." replacing the day manager's noted instructions to the evening crew and having an entire section of hoses replaced with plastic pink flamingos, mounting a dead guppy on the sign that read "Pets Clearance" taking a freshly killed rat and placing it into a store bag then taking it back to the damaged goods clerk and asking her if it was repairable, attempting to dress a parakeet in G.I. Joe cloths... Yet the one that I snickered about the most took place after closing and after I'd learned what a nifty ride the hand-forklift was when you turned it around backward and rode it like a scooter. I'd been ordered to "Take it to the back stockroom and hurry." So I rode it up to the back aisle and really got her goin'. Made the sharp turn at the grill and burst through the double swinging doors that led to the stockroom only to come face to face with the little old lady who worked in the millinery department. I swerved, missed her and ran smack into a huge stack of boxed toilet paper that arrived that evening by truck. The entire wall of stacked butt wipe came tumbling down on me... and I deserved it. The next day I cut a small flower from one of the plants and took it to the little old lady that I'd nearly killed, gave her a hug and told her I was an idiot... she agreed.
It is always a hazard to have someone who is clever and a smart ass doing simple labor- because they have too much time to observe and exploit. Once while working at a hotel as a "set-up" guy, or the person who sets up rooms for meetings, I observed that nearly every employee made multiple trips in and out of the front office every day and when they did, they passed the desk of one of the office staff, a personable girl by the name of Linda. EVERYONE would stop and chat a bit with her. I also noticed that we had tons and tons of hotel pens in the store room. I convinced the staff that what we all should do was to get a pen and when you stopped and said hello to Linda- casually leave your pen on her desk. We could then see how long it would take before she caught on. Of course the word quickly spread. By the middle of the second day, poor Linda was swamped with pens. Of course the hotel manager, a Nazi, found out and soon everyone finked on me and I got called into my manager's office to be written up... like I cared, I was on my way back to school in a month anyhow. On orders from the Nazi hotel manager, my boss went through all of the steps- then winked and told me he's left 11 pens on Linda's desk himself.
Oddly, some of my pranks did not get me in trouble. When working at AirFlite's Hangar 6 in the late 70s as the "hangar rat" or the guy who does all the crap work, I pulled one of my best pranks. It had been snowing real hard and the hangar ram-rod told me to go get the big rung ladder, go up on the hangar office roof and see how much of that snow I could shove off. I went and got the ladder and also recruited two of the idle mechanics to help me in my prank. In order to get the ladder outside I had to take in down the hall past the ram-rod's office window. I had one mechanic stand on one side of the window, and one on the other. Then I took the front of the ladder and did the old Three Stooges bit... as I walked past the ram-rod's window with the front of the ladder under my arm I bumped into his window sill, he looked up I waved and kept walking. Then I handed off the ladder to the other mechanic, got down on hands and knees and scurried under the window and grabbed the back end of the ladder from the first mechanic. As I passed the window carrying the rear of the ladder I bumped the sill again and he looked up, I waved and kept right on going as if I was on both ends of the ladder. Later that day, after I'd finished on the roof I was out in the hangar mopping the floor or some such thing when the hangar ram-rod came out. Looking down and picking at his finger nails he simply said "How'd you f#;%kin' do that?"
Thus, if you are out there moppin' hangar floors, or tossin' bags of cow poop in a garden shop trying to pay for flying lessons or if you're a new-hire pilot at an airline- don't fear being written-up. It's just the way that the butt-sputters document the fact that they exist on this planet, because they actually need proof of that... and you don't. In the end, the ways of the universe always even things up. The captain who wrote me up got hired by a major airline and fired while on probation- likely for being a dick. The managers at K-mart are suffering by still being employed there 3 decades later and the Nazi hotel manager (who was a real member of the local Nazi party by the way) has to contend with Nancy Pelosi and her friends joining his socialist movement- which is probably as insufferable as being in a tough street gang and having Richard Simmons say he's one of you... "Say what?"