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Woman uses ‘malicious compliance’ to get around employer’s rule against pink hair

She wears terrible wigs on purpose, and they each have their own names.

malicious compliance; funny videos; corporate dress code; viral tiktok

Malicious compliance gets woman around work rule against pink hair.

Work dress codes aren't always practical, especially when you want to have a little room for self-expression. Most dress codes include things like no open-toed shoes, no spaghetti straps or no facial piercings, but some employers have a policy against unnatural hair colors.

One TikTok user, @emuhleeebee, whose first name is Emily, recently started a new job that does not allow for her brightly colored pink hair. Since she interviewed with her pink hair on full display and still got the job, she didn't realize until after she started that the company dress code called for natural hair colors.

If you thought, easy enough, she'll just dye her hair brown or some other natural color that would cover her pink hair, you'd be wrong. Emily decided to participate in what she calls "malicious compliance," meaning she will comply with the company policy but in the most obnoxious way possible.


Instead of dying her hair (which, as she explained in one of her videos, makes her feel her best), Emily simply decided to buy wigs to cover her distracting hair—hilariously bad wigs that are likely far more distracting than her pink hair but still within company policy.

In one of her videos, she's wearing a bald wig that has a dark brown ponytail sticking out of the middle. Another wig she has in her rotation is one that makes her look like George Washington. Each wig has its own name and personality when she uploads the videos to her social media account. Since the wigs are all a natural color, there's really not much the company can say as long as she's doing her job and staying within policy.

@emuhleeebee

Replying to @iamrachelvray HOLLERING. #pinkhair #corporate #corporatelife #corporatehumor #corporatetiktok #maliciouscompliance #coloredhair #badwig #pinkhairdye

The argument for natural hair colors in a corporate environment feels a bit outdated. There are teachers, therapists and even doctors who sport brightly colored hair and tattoos up to their necks, and it doesn't hinder their ability to do their jobs. Unnatural hair colors have become so normal that a company having a policy against it may not be something that crosses someone's mind while job hunting.

But if having natural hair is a requirement, it would seem that during the job interview process, this would be something that's mentioned, yet Emily appears to have been blindsided. In a comment, someone asked if her job has said anything about her bad wigs yet.

"Not yet...emphasis on yet. I feel it coming," Emily replied.

@emuhleeebee

@Jay Benke besite. You chose ANOTHER wig that I feel really hot in TBH 😭. #pink #pinkhair #coloredhair #corporatetok #corporateamericaburnout #corporatehumour #corporatelifebelike

The TikTok creator even set up an Amazon wishlist where people have been purchasing wigs for her to wear to work. It's an entertaining series on her page and certainly a creative way to stay in compliance. Hopefully, the company she works for has a sense of humor and is also getting a kick out of the malicious compliance like the rest of the internet.

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Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

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The word "jumbo" literally comes from an elephant.

The evolution of language is fascinating, and the etymology of specific words can be a fun little trip through human history as well as human creativity.

Many English words are derived from Greek and Latin, but other European languages make up a good chunk of our language as well. The roots of some words can surprise us, and so can the way certain words came to be. And in some cases, what we don't know can be just as surprising as what we do.

Enjoy diving into the history of 15 words we use every day.

1. Dog

Dog is often one of the first words babies learn to say, and it's one of the first kids learn to spell. But don't let its simplicity fool you. This word is truly a mystery.

The word "dog" comes from dogca, a very rarely used Old English word, but how we started using it as our everyday name for canines, no one knows. "Its origin remains one of the great mysteries of English etymology," according to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Even more interestingly, no one knows the origins of the Spanish word for "dog" ("perro"), nor do they know the origins of the Polish ("pies") or Serbo-Croatian ("pas") words for our canine friends, either. Who knew dogs were so enigmatic?

2. Nightmare

It's obvious where "night" comes from in "nightmare," but what about "mare"? Surely, were not referring to a female horse here.

Horse, no. But female, yes. Female goblin, to be precise. In Old English, mare means "incubus, nightmare, monster; witch, sorcerer." And "nightmare" started being used around 1300 to refer to "an evil female spirit afflicting men (or horses) in their sleep with a feeling of suffocation." Yikes. Thankfully, now it's just any old bad dream.

3. Jumbo

We've all seen animals named for words with certain meanings, but here we have the opposite. The word "jumbo" came from a large elephant who lived at the London Zoo. Zookeeper Anoshan Anathjeysari named him "Jumbe," the Swahili word for "chief." But his status as one of the largest African bush elephants in Europe in the 19th century caused his nickname, Jumbo, to become synonymous with enormousness.

muscular man exercising

Run, little mouse, run.

Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

4. Muscle

The Latin word musculus means "little mouse." As hilarious as it sounds, they thought the movement of muscles looked like little mice scurrying under the skin, hence the origin. Kinda ick to think about, but also logical, so here we are.

5. Quarantine

Ah, a word with which we are all familiar, thanks to COVID-19. But do we know what it really means?

If you understand roots, you may guess that "quar" might have something to do with the number four, and you'd be right. In Latin, quadraginta means a period of 40 days. Our usage of "quarantine" to mean isolation from others comes from the Venetian policy of ships coming into port from plague-stricken countries in the late 1300s to remain in port for 40 days before letting people off. The usage to mean any period of time in isolation began being used in the 1600s.

6. Mortgage

Most of us grow up not really understanding what a mortgage is until we buy our first house, but even then, most of us don't know what the word literally means. It comes from Old French, mort gaige, literally meaning "death pledge."

HAHAHAHAHA. Death pledge. Mortgage. That's funny.

However, it doesn't mean you're tied to the debt til you die, even if it feels like it. The death part means the deal dies either when you pay it off or when you become unable to pay. Doesn't really change the fact that it feels a bit like you're signing your life away when you buy a house, though.

ball of yarn

What does a ball of yarn have to do with "clue"?

Photo by Philip Estrada on Unsplash

7. Clue

Oddly enough, "clue" comes from a misspelling (or alternate spelling from before standardized spelling was a thing) of the word "clew," meaning a ball of yarn.

The word itself comes from German, but its usage points to the Greek myth in which Ariadne gives Theseus a ball (or clew) of yarn to help him escape the labyrinth. Now we use it to refer to anything that helps us solve a mystery.

8. Nice

The word "nice" is nice and simple, right? It's the most basic word we use for "pleasant," a definitively positive word. But this seemingly simple word has been through quite the trek in its etymology.

From the Latin nescius, meaning "ignorant, unaware," it was used to mean "timid" or"faint-hearted" before the year 1300. A couple hundred years later, it had morphed to "fussy, fastidious" or "dainty, delicate." In another 100 years, it changed to "precise, careful." Tack on another few hundred years and we're at "agreeable, delightful," and from there it was only short jaunt to "kind, thoughtful."

What a nice journey from insult to compliment.

9. Shampoo

I would have bet money that the word "shampoo" was French in origin, but nope. It's Hindi, coming from the term champo, and the original meaning was "to massage, rub and percuss the surface of (the body) to restore tone and vigor." It's only been used to refer specifically to lathering and washing out strands of hair or carpet since the mid 1800s.

10. Torpedo

Literally Latin for a stingray. As in the marine animal. That comes from the root word torpere, which means "be numb," since a ray's sting can numb you. It doesn't become the word for a propelled underwater explosive until the last couple hundred years.

11. Ambidextrous

We know that left-handedness was seen negatively throughout much of human history, but even the word that means "able to use both hands equally" has a right-handed bias baked into it. The medieval Latin ambidexter literally meansliterally means "right-handed on both sides."

Isn't English fun?