We’ve all heard stories about bad first days at work. The nerves, the pressure to make a good impression, and the overwhelming fear of messing up can make anyone’s palms sweaty.
In this recent r/AskReddit thread there were tons of cringeworthy stories, but here are 30 of the best.
I didn’t fire this guy personally but I did one better, I arrested him.
I’m a police officer in the UK, I was forced to help on a recruitment event in our headquarters where applicants turned up, listened to a talk and did a few exams. Almost all wore suits or shirts and ties, except one… One was wearing a black polo shirt, black combat trousers and tactical boots, weird and a bad impression but whatever.
Whilst they do the exam I went into the yard for a smoke, all the applicants had to park in a certain area, which was just by the smoking shelter. One car stood out, it looked just like our unmarked cars, exactly like our unmarkeds. I was a little confused so I had a closer look at it. It had radiator lights and on the back seat was a police issue stab vest.
I thought that it must be one of our cars parked in the wrong place, it happens. After the exam they left, I watched them leave and lo and behold polo shirt man gets in the “unmarked car”. Immediately I jump in a real unmarked and take off after him. I found him 2 streets away *putting blue lights on* and driving through a red light. I overtook him, put my lights on and blocked him. He gets out waving a fake warrant card telling me he was en route to an emergency.
Arrested for impersonating a police officer. He was also suspected of doing the same in about 3 other forces. – Icarus638
I’m a teacher.
I was on a committee to hire a new 5th grade teacher.
I was showing her the ropes and monitoring her in class behavior. I watched this bonehead tell a student “I don’t like you very much. Figure it out yourself.”
The next thing I showed her was the door.
In the exit interview (had on the walk to the door) I demanded an explanation and she said of the student she ‘didn’t like’ she said “He was wearing designer jeans. You know his life is all peaches and cream, taking from us little guys.” I say “Did he make an inappropriate comment to you about money?” She says “No. But I know their kind.”
Tl;dr: 30 year old woman was classist against a 10 year old. – ligamentary
He tried to buy weed off a customer just because the customer looked like someone who might have weed. He didn’t. – Graphitetshirt
I worked at a drugstore.. They hired some girl and on her first day behind the counter alone she spent 20 minutes scratching unpurchased lotto tickets and throwing away any losers until the manager saw what she was doing on the security camera and booted her. – Shodan30
I got to fire my co-managers sister who called 5 minutes before her first shift and said she’d be there in an hour because she just sat down to dinner with friends.
>What do you mean you just sat down for dinner? Your first shift is in 5 minutes?
>Yeah I know. But we were out and decided to go for dinner. I’ll still be there, just a little late.
>An hour isn’t a ‘little’ late. Be here in 5 minutes or don’t bother coming in at all.
>But is my sister! she gave me the job!
>Yes she did. See you in 5, or not at all
>But is my sister!
EDIT: wow this blew up! RIP inbox. And gilded Thanks anonymous! To answer the most common questions:
My co-manger was actually happy about it. She knew her sister would be a s****y employee and only agreed to hire her because we were desperately short staffed and she could start immediately.
And to those asking if an hour is that big a deal, yes. Yes it is. This was a hospitality position and the roster is based around expected volume of customers. An hour short staffed means less customers served, which means less money through the till short term and pissed off customers which means less money long term. – anon
The job hours were from 8am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday. Our new hire showed up about 10 minutes late on the first day. Normally 10 minutes late isn’t that big a deal to me, but it was his first day, and I had pulled 3 other staff members into our 8am meeting so we could discuss the training schedule with our new hire.
So we are already in our meeting when the new guy walks in. He doesn’t apologize for being late – he just sits down as I’m going over the training schedule for the week. After a few minutes of listening to us discuss what he’s going to be doing for the rest of this week, he raises his hand and says, “Can we reschedule the afternoon sessions planned for today and tomorrow? I have to leave at 11 today and 12:30 tomorrow.” This was the first time I was hearing about these plans.
I asked the 3 staff supervisors to give me an opportunity to speak with the new guy alone for a few minutes. They leave the room, so I start talking to the guy about how he can’t just change his schedule without running it by management first. As I’m talking to this guy, he gets a text. He looks down at his phone and puts his hand up, as if he were telling me, “I’ll be with you right after I finish reading this text”.
As soon as he finished reading the text and looked back at me, I said, “This isn’t going to work. Please make sure you take everything you brought with you and do not return. I’ll have HR email you your separation papers.” He seemed pretty shocked and asked what he did wrong so I told him. He tried to explain himself, but I told him that it’s best if he finds somewhere else to work. – Atomicspunks
My chef hired a guy who was less than a week out of prison for dealing. He was just going to wash dishes. Seemed like an ok guy, just looking for some work because he had just done 5+ years. So, day one, he goes to head chef and asks, “Hey man, you know anybody here who wants to buy h****n?”
Out the door 2 hours into his first job out of the joint. – bobmystery
I worked at a popular teen/college kid clothing store. I wasn’t the manager, but I trained new hires. This one girl shopped at the store a lot and we were excited to hire her.
She was let go because she was late, was caught trying on clothes instead of greeting, and apparently laughed when anyone asked for a size larger than a medium.
Her family showed up at the end of her shift, and tried to buy $2k-$3k worth of clothes with her employee discount. Corporate policy sucks, so they got a good portion of it. Her mom tried to bring it all back years later (completely worn/destroyed) and threw a fit saying she should get full price because the girl had died. Guess who we could all see sitting in her mom’s car?
Edit 1: added a word for clarity
Edit 2: Because a lot of you are asking, the store is American Eagle. – LHugs
My old manager (matron at a psychiatric secure hospital) told me of a guy who was employed as a healthcare assistant, working with people with a learning disability. Part of his role involved escorting patients into the community to help them with shopping. He took his first charge to a shopping centre and proceeded to spend £250 on their debit card buying electronic goods for himself…which he then brought back to the hospital and asked for them to be stored in the staff room until the end of his shift. He left with the police. – Log-jammer
Probably too late to the thread – but I have a story where I had to fire a staff member on the Sunday BEFORE I started work. Year was 2006.
When I first moved to London UK from New Zealand, I got a job managing a Taxi call centre – I knew nothing about Taxis, my previous experience was in managing Retail and then Banking call centres.
Anyway some investor had bought up a bunch of mini-cab companies and consolidated them in to one professional/office environment.
So I got the job and was due to start on the Monday – I got a call from the founder who asked me if I could urgently drop in to the office to sort something out – he was at some airport about to board a flight to London back from Thailand – he didn’t give me any details but I agreed to see what I could do to help.
I arrive and there is about 15-20 Eastern European drivers outside hanging around outside the office. They were obviously angry/upset about something but they didn’t know me so I walked past and swiped my access card and went in to the building.
There was about 10 call centre staff inside, some of who I had met as part of my interview process so at least I was recognised so they could answer my questions.
Turns out that the drivers were upset that the dispatchers were giving all the more lucrative airport jobs to their friends/family/etc.
I thought that’s impossible because I was told that the system was automated and delivered the job to the nearest taxi (Basically the system would automatically send a job to the driver’s PDA, the driver would then accept the job, then drive to the pick-up location to pick up the customer).
The dispatcher was only required when something out of the ordinary happened, i.e the system wouldn’t allocate a job as well as a human because it would simply allocate a job based on distance “as the crow flies” rather than a more practical “closest car by driving distance”.
I logged in to the dispatch system and used the user guide – which was in badly translated English (the system they were using was Russian-built).
And I finally found a report of jobs that were allocated – there was a column on the report indicating which car number the job was allocated to. There was another column indicated the job was manually changed from say car 42 to car 89.
About 30% of the jobs that day had been manually changed. I wasn’t 100% sure if this was suspicious or not because well I knew nothing about the taxi industry! I needed more data!
I was able to manually look up the car numbers and find the names of the drivers.
I spent about an hour manually compiling a list that basically had cab numbers and driver names and it basically looked like:
Drop-off location -> Job Allocated to -> Manual Change to:
Gatwick Airport -> 23 Nowak -> 99 Khan
Heathrow – > 56 Kowalski -> 11 Ahmed
Heathrow -> 78 Wiśniewski -> 45 Hussain
Gatwick Airport -> 12 Wójcik -> 32 Ali
Gatwick Airport -> 1 Kowalczyk -> 101 Akhtar
99% of the airport jobs were clearly switched from names belonging to one ethnic group to another. Looks suspicious I think – so I decide to confront one of the dispatchers.
I sit down next to the dispatcher who is about 30 years older than me and probably been a taxi dispatcher longer than I had been alive and say “Hey so you know what’s going on outside right? I just want to hear what you thought about it”?
He immediately stands up, smashes his keyboard in to the monitor, bits of keyboard flew everywhere! (the monitor didn’t actually break – it was a massive old-school CRT monitor and the keyboard was flimsy plastic). And he walked out and was promptly chased down the street about 20 metres and cornered by the drivers waiting outside – it was very dramatic but amazingly no punches were thrown.
The dispatcher was dragged back inside by the drivers who managed to get in to the office because one of them must’ve held the door from closing as the dispatcher made a run for it.
And they demanded that I fire him on the spot or they would all quit.
And faced with about 15-20 angry dudes with an old dispatcher in a head-lock in the middle of a call centre, I fired the dispatcher.
TL;DR: The story of how I spent a Sunday in London learning how to be a taxi dispatcher. – H_He_Metals
Know someone who works at a warehouse that stores and ships boxes of pharmaceuticals. There are some understandably pretty tight handling rules so nothing goes missing and everything is stored properly.
One day they had a guy start that asked if they should open the oxy to count them to make sure that there was as many in the bottle as it said there was. He asked multiple people this, was gone shortly after. – zoobrix
IT position, supposedly had a BA in computer science with 2 years experience in relevant technical position. I didn’t interview him.
We very quickly discovered that his computer abilities were non existent, started asking questions until he broke down and said he lied on his resume because he wanted to make more money. His previous job was drywall installation.
We gave him a list of software he needed, available via a URL. He didn’t know what to do with a URL or what a URL was and then it quickly unravelled. It was about 3 hours because the first 2 were paperwork. – PaladenConnery
He asked my boss out. She said she’s married. He then asked her if she’s up for casual sex. – sackofmangoes
The most memorable firing I witnessed was this man who got hired as VP of Marketing. He thought the title gave him the right to be late on his first day for an important meeting with our board members, VP and CEO. Though irritating, he was given a pass since he was new and rewarded with a second chance to impress.
This proved to be useless as he was later heard propositioning our new interns for sex in exchange to be in this imaginary marketing campaign that supposedly would come with endless perks and cash. The CEO personally escorted him out and kindly told him to go f**k himself. In the most PC way of course. – anon
I work for a company that takes care of the HR needs of other small companies in my area. New hires often come in to fill out paperwork.
We had this guy who came in, filled out his name and social security number, gave it to us, then proceeded to steal the front desk guy’s wallet and keys. Right in front of the very visible security camera.
Turns out the police knew the guy as we was a repeat offender. He lived right around the corner. – l2np
I manage a coffee shop lunchy place. Young girl came in fresh out of culinary school and had previous coffee shop experience. What could go wrong, right? The first day I had her shadow the other employees just to get a hang of the POS system and general flow of the store. Nope, customers overwhelmed her and she liked to hide in the back leaning on the ice machine. Fine. Whatever.
She said she loved baking earlier on so I sent her to the kitchen to make some cookies. I’m super chill, I didn’t even care what kind, as long as they were f*****g awesome and delicious she had creative control. She comes out some time later admitting she doesn’t know how to make cookies and needs help. Now I’m getting bloody frustrated. As we move on into lunch rush a wave of customers flood the front of house and I was needed. I had 40 litres of soup in the back needing a titch more roux and asked her to thicken it a tad before serving.
Surely she could handle that, soups and sauces being addressed in the first bloody week of the culinary school she aparently attended (I attended the same program, btw). Nope. She found a box of corn starch and dumped the whole box in. Dry. Soup destroyed. Her shift ended shortly afterwards. Turns out I forgot to get her contact information at the beginning of the shift so I had to message her on Facebook telling her not to bother ever returning. Classy, I know, but she was just one huge bloody mess I couldn’t even begin to fix. – Xand3rs
A new hire posted to her Facebook page that she was starting a new job, but she was just doing it for the health insurance because she was trying to get pregnant, then she was going to quit. Basically, she was going to work there for 9 months, take paid maternity leave for a couple of months, get the medical expenses paid for, then leave.
Boss got wind of this on the first day and fired her.
That’s very tricky legal territory, but essentially she had lied in her interview saying that she wanted a long career with the company then admitted online that she was just scamming them for healthcare. – anon
Worked retail management. On black Friday we had a new guy and his one job was to greet customers. Literally “Hi welcome to ___.” Two older ladies walked in and he says “what the f**k is uuuupppp.” I told him ” your time working here.” I clocked him out remotely and told him to enjoy his family, because he wouldn’t be shopping with the $4 he made working that half hour. – StraightouttaDR
I managed a bookstore that had an auxiliary calendar kiosk at the other end of the shopping center. Hired a woman to man it, did her morning training, left her alone for a bit. Went back to check on her and found half the calendars stolen and her asleep behind the curtains we used to hide back stock. I’ve never been so angry.
Edit: Yes, I hired a woman to “man” something. How clever all of you are for making the exact same joke. Excellent work. >_> – BookerDeWittsCarbine
He showed a relatively flat chested girl in the office the results of his wife’s breast augmentation on his phone and gave her the contact details of the plastic surgeon. – anon
“Now that I’m hired, I need the next 3 weeks off starting tomorrow and the entire month of December.” – myspiritreddit
New firefighter in my city. Had just finished 5 months academy, graduated the night before, his whole family is there, the mayor, half the city council, and the fire chief pins his badge and then he is assigned to a station. The rookie is told to report to the police department the next morning for tactical driver training (obstacle course and skid pad).
Dude shows up the next morning at the police department, an hour late, still drunk from all the celebrating from the night before. Not only fired, but arrested for DUI. That’s the end of his firefighting career. – SyCoCyS
Did a Tarzan swing on a overhead hoist remote cable going some 20 feet before the cable tore out. It only took maintenance 20 minutes to fix, but he was gone by then. – anon
Not an employer or manager, but a girl at my job showed up absolutely plastered on her first day of work. Working at a machine shop, I’m sure you can imagine that this was especially a no-no.
I still wonder why anyone would show up drunk on their first day of work. Nerves maybe? – Chromation
Work at a used record store. While giving the guy the tour he mentions how we underbelly our LPS and let’s us know he’s just going to use his employee discount to re sell all the good stuff that comes in in our eBay Store. He lasted about an hour. – FightTheWindmills
I was 13 and secured my first job at a pet supply company called PAWS. after my first day we were all done cleaning up the store so we all milked the clock for the last ten minutes sitting around chatting it up. The topic of my age came up and I told them I was only thirteen. I didn’t know it was illegal at the time and the job required you be 18 to work there because it was a warehouse environment.
The next morning I came to work on time and was pulled into the office. I was told I couldn’t work there because I was underage. I walked 3 miles home crying like a little b***h because I thought I was fired for underperforming. – TheFAPnetwork
Not quite first day, but when I was in the Army, we had a Soldier who came to the unit. Within about a week of his arrival, one of my good Soldiers came and told me he’d been in the car with this new kid, and the new guy had started telling him about how cool it would be to pull out a gun and start shooting other drivers randomly. Bear in mind, this took place only a few months after the Nidal Malik Hassan massacre at Ft. Hood.
He was in the psych ward by the end of the day, and his separation paperwork (that I had to complete) was done by the next morning.
Edit:. Damn, this has gotten a lot more response than I expected, so to clarify on a few things.
-I got MY portion of the separation paperwork done by the next morning, that doesn’t mean ALL the separation paperwork was complete.
-This wasn’t a ‘that m**********r cut me off! Man if I had my gun on me…’ type of thing. The dude straight up said how awesome it would be to just start killing people at random. – Ihateregistering6
Caught him snorting some kind of pill. He probably could have gotten away with it, if he wasn’t doing it in my office. – SuperJSledge
Security supervisor at a hospital. At the end of my first day, the girl relieving me comes in 37 minutes late. She didn’t know I was going to be there so she took her time getting there. She promises up and down that the next day she would be there on time. The next day she is no call/no show. She was gainfully unemployed after that. – Honeycombz1989
I’m not a manager, but I had a potential co-worker who called in sick. I guess he didn’t know that the manager didn’t have to work through the evening and bumped into him at the movies. My boss told us this as he fired him the next day. – BlackBox-