Is it alright for a dedicated worker to defy their superiors?

In my book, I plan for the main character to defy his superiors to save his friends. How could I make a dedicated worker defy their own superiors and go through the whole thing without getting in trouble?

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Ain’t no way no how if I gave a directive I expect my subordinates to follow through if not that’s their ass a loophole. If I am wrong and it can be proven im wrong you can try to override me find someone above me and hope to god they fire me or I don’t find out it was you.

Im thinking a cut throat career if its something like a restaurant idk get your friend to shape up maybe idk you’re always gonna get in trouble if it was already put out that they had to go.

If its life or death like war they can escape but you shouldn’t be no where near it when they do

I mean, I think that depends on a bunch of factors. Like, what’s his job? Is his superior in the wrong to the point that his superior’s superiors would be on his side rather than his bosses?

My dad used to defy his superiors because they’d want him to do something against the law or keep his mouth shut about them or one of their friends doing something against the law. He was in the right, they were in the wrong, and other than do everything possible to make his workday a living hell, they couldn’t really do anything to him without proving he was right in his accusations.


Do you have a career in mind? Different careers would change the scenario. I work in the restaurant/fast food industry so I could help with that, but not much else.

I would like to think I’m a dedicated worker, but I’m don’t follow my superiors orders by any means. I know what’s best for the store and I’m willing to speak out if I think something isn’t as efficient as it could be.

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Okay, you want defiance (open resistance) of presumably wrong-headed authority by a good guy (dedicated worker), who’s doing a presumably good deed (saving friends), and you want a clean win - he gets away with it. Since he’s the MC and a good guy, you probably don’t want him to play dirty (e.g no blackmail).

It’s kind of a set piece - plenty of tropes at your service for a setup like this.

To not get into trouble but stick to the high road, the MC has to face down the authorities and make them feel good or at least okay about standing down. There’s a cultural question here: how important is saving face? In some cultures, the most important thing will be to ensure that the superiors don’t lose face (lose honor). In others, it might be enough that they end up feeling they either get some better reward than the satisfaction of giving hell to the friends, or avoid something bad (e.g. losing a lot of money). Best bet is to have the MC be clever and think of a way to end the confrontation with the bosses believing that they’re the clever ones who thought of the win-win solution.

That’s a generic answer to a generic problem. A concrete example:

The boss is about to fire the MC’s friends because their (the friends’) part of the product delivery is late because their quality assurance is too slow. The boss has got another team who doesn’t know anything about the product to cut corners and finish that part in half the time. Boss feels like a champ.

The MC gets up in front of the boss and other workers and tells him either with empathic passion or level-headed coolness that he’s wrong (has to be done with style, because cool people rebel - that’s a trope). Boss is enraged.

Then the MC - by clever planning and a bit of acceptable trickery - demonstrates that the product with the cheap part will fail in a spectacular way (blows up or whatever). Turns out the first people who were going to receive it include the boss’s own wife and kids. Now the boss is feeling dumb but grateful to have avoided a disaster.

So the MC pretends that neither he nor his friends understand what the solution is, but drops some hints and lets the boss figure out himself why the bad part failed and how it should be corrected. Now the boss feels like a hero - he saved his family and the business! Friends keep their jobs and so does the MC,

Something like that. Depends on your particular scenario, of course.

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The MC is neither good or bad and he is a mercenary. His boss put him off duty due to injury.

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They could take on an extra workload, get a promotion that day that puts them in a place of power, or gain access to a place of power due the trust that the superiors have of him.

You’re looking for a way for them to defy superiors in a manner that doesn’t get them in trouble? So the issue isn’t in making sure a dedicated employee would be able to break with orders, it’s in making sure that by doing it they don’t get in trouble?

Is there a specific reasons they need to not get in trouble for the defiance?

Otherwise, it would just depend on your workplace and the culture. I’m a reasonable boss, if someone did something contrary to what I asked, I would give them a chance to talk me through their process and why they did what they did. If I can understand that, I may see what went wrong.

Other places that heavily rely on authority or rigid structure may be less forgiving (it would also depend on what is being asked and what is being defied).


The main character is a mercenary who was put off duty because of an injury.

That doesn’t really answer any of my questions though. Mercenary means a lot of things. Injury, duty, what the stakes are, the boss, so on.

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I think a good example will be Severus Snape (the Potterhead in me cannot resist). It is always an option for a character to defy his/her own superiors if the character is created that way. Recall your character’s motives. Flesh out on the “why” of your MC. About the not getting into trouble, well, a sprinkle of cunning is a good way to start. Show how your character mastered his/her superiors. Make him/her do things that are off-radar.