Share your workplace horror stories

Share your workplace horror stories

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This is a discussion on Share your workplace horror stories within the Education & Career Talk forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; Not sure if a thread like this exists, so I'll start one. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to ...

  1. #1

    Share your workplace horror stories

    Not sure if a thread like this exists, so I'll start one. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you at work? Any stories worth sharing? Let's hear them, so we may grieve together, empathize together, and perhaps even laugh together. I'll post mine later on, after a few others share theirs. Courtesy and etiquette and whatnot.
    dulcinea thanked this post.

  2. #2

    Not a horror story, but the head guy of the program I'm interning at is just...weird.

    He's got all these connections to important people and is the administrative lifeblood of his music program, but he's a bit...odd.

    He can talk all day about planning and events, and he smiles and is friendly. But his mind is always in a different place, and he's socially awkward. You join him in a circle of standing people, expecting to have a conversation, but it's quiet and boring. It's so uncomfortable!! I can't tell if he likes me or not because we can't have a spontaneous conversation! It has to be planned, but then it's really good. He's one of those personable people who isn't actually personable. He has a wife, and she is really nice and personable, and they have romantic weekends somehow—I don't know how he got a wife in the first place!


    So it was time for the ginormous band concert, and he had to announce stuff in the microphone. It's mandatory that band directors say mushy stuff about their kids and how proud they are of them, etc. at band concerts. When it was his turn, I kept snorting because it sounded so insincere! I'm sure it was sincere, but it sounded so fake!! Especially because I know the ways he acts hypocritically concerning some of the things he said. If you cared about all the students like you say you do, you wouldn't run the program like an elitist operation...

    There is a position opening up at that place, and I'm not going to apply. I wouldn't feel comfortable working there, and I think it's because of him. I've seen the dirt, and I don't want to get into that.

  3. #3

    A few years back I worked at a fast food restaurant and one day I started feeling sick during a shift. Lucky me, it also happened to be New Years Eve, so the manager didn't believe me when I said I was sick and wanted to go home. I truly was about to throw up. Back then, I used to get sick a lot, and had previously thrown up at work in the bathroom and left early. I truly felt nauseous and wanted to get the hell out of there. But this nasty ass lady started making fun of me in front of all the other workers and customers, saying that "She felt sick too" blah blah blah. And I was like uh huh honey, and asked her if she wanted me to throw up on the fries. Sis told me I wouldn't do that, but little did she know I was actually sick!! In hind sight, I wish I had thrown up all over so that she would have felt stupid for thinking I was faking sickness to leave early.

    Long story short, we started arguing and I got really heated and when I'm angry I cry sometimes lmfao. It was awkward. As I was getting my bag and jacket from the back room, I heard her say that I better not come back. So my tiny 100 pound teen self yelled back "I won't be, bitch." I was wild that day.

    Anyway, I walked out and quit that day.

    It's funny because she thought I was trying to get out of work to go party but I was 17 and straight as a ruler. I never partied.
    ButIHaveNoFear, Monandock, PiT and 2 others thanked this post.

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  5. #4

    I used to work for Wal-Mart. How much time you have?

    Okay, so I used to work in the Deli, and anyone whose ever worked in the walmart deli knows that the acoustics there are TERRIBLE. Like, you can hear a conversation from the other side of the store, and for some reason, children and babies save ALL their screams from the area around the deli, and their screams are shrill. So I had this couple come to the deli for meat (what else right?) and I couldn't hear their order because their stupid baby was "nyanyaing" I was kind of waiting for them to try to quiet down their stupid baby, but nope, kept "nyanyaing" while I have a difficult time regulating my voice, so I talked loud, but I guess I talked too loud, because they called the manager on me, and I got a "Coaching" for it, and of, course, managers at walmart never hear your side, because you're just a stupid employee who does everything wrong.

    So, I was closing the deli by myself and this piece of crap manager, says we have to close less that 2 FREAKING hours before I had to clean up and go. And cleaning and stocking up a deli is not an easy matter. I had to work both side, and that piece of crap wouldnt' send anyone to help me. Needless to say, I had a panic attack. I had most of my panic attacks at walmart, because they expect you not to go a single minute above your hours, God forbid!!! But if the deli is not spotless, you get a write up. If it's not fully stocked you get a write up, if you stay too long above your time you get a write up. This is why I'm telling you guys. WALMART IS PRISON. The only difference is you get paid and you go home every night.

    Also, sometime we had managers pull people out of the deli, even if it would be busy and there would be just one person there, or just one person closing, for no other reasons than, they were sadistic bastards.

    So this one christmas eve, people left the deli when I came in, and I was left by myself and nobody told me nothing. All of a sudden I was getting these people to get food trays, that nobody had even started on or wrote a note that I needed. I hustled to get these trays together as quickly as possible. I got five trays done in less than an hour, plus I got managers to come and give these people discounts for having to wait so long. It was ridiculous. Thankfully, I have a nice manner, generally, and the customers were pretty nice. If it was that red-haired skag, I probably would have been fired for something that wasn't even my fault.

    I have way worse ones than this, too. Honestly I've blocked most of Wal-mart out of my memory, because I have PTSD, but I'll see if I can remember some more. I'm serious when I say DON"T WORK FOR WALMART!!! Let that place go under.
    ButIHaveNoFear, Monandock and WickerDeer thanked this post.

  6. #5

    How about that time I went to a job interview (as well as getting the bus there and back) and when I got home I realised my 2 middle shirt buttons had popped open? (I'm busty so the bra was evident). I did get the job and people joke I must have had a male interviewer (which I did, along with the female manager) but it was an interview for a job with people with learning disabilities and I was actually asked questions by one of their disabled customers, so it wouldn't have been appropriate for me to wear something busty and get through based on that. So I figured my shirt must have just popped open when I got home or on the bus (which was fine because I rarely used the bus and probably would never see the people on that bus again anyway) because I don't think I would have got the job after making a .. boob .. like that. That is until a couple weeks later when I met that disabled client again to work with and she brought it up in front of one of my colleagues :P cringe.

    I have a lot of horror stories from my work as you can imagine (lots of poop puke and blood). Oh god that time one of my customers got a new catheter inserted and I had to empty a 2 litre night bag basically full of bloody piss. Or that time my autistic client hit the bus driver and called him a bad boy because he stopped too hard and she almost fell. Or that time I walked in a colleague and the assistant manager, both married, kissing... eek.
    caity811, ButIHaveNoFear and Monandock thanked this post.

  7. #6

    bouncing at a mob owned night club in da hood 25 y/a I was in 2 drive by's and a actual shoot out
    WickerDeer thanked this post.

  8. #7

    Not much of a story but...
    Most of the people at my work are male. The toilet which they all use is a disabled toilet. Now, I'd like to stress that nobody ever briefed me on the toilet situation. Meaning that I had no idea where the female toilet was, or if they even had one. So, naturally, I started to simply use the disabled toilet, which everyone else was using, since, after all, it's a disabled toilet. It turns out that only the guys use that toilet, and there is actually a separate female toilet, which nobody ever told me about. Meaning for the first 3 months of my job, I was using the male toilet and when everyone saw me coming out of the toilet they never even questioned me.

    It does explain why they all had a semi-surprised look when they saw me though.
    Monandock and WickerDeer thanked this post.

  9. #8

    I had a long saga over a coworker with mental issues. It first manifested in terms of an inexplicable tardiness with projects. She had to set up an email campaign, and had weeks to do it. Ended up staying at work until 2 AM the day before it was supposed to go out at 8 AM (we normally leave at about 5 PM) and still didn't get it done. The emails finally went out at 2:30 PM of the scheduled day. She did call me that night to chew my ear off for an hour about her various grievances.

    A day after the email campaign went out, she treated me to lunch as "thanks" for helping. Turned out it was an excuse to talk to complaint to me about the management style of a superior in our unit. I noticed at that time that she was acting oddly manic. Shortly afterwards she went on medical leave. The rest of the email campaign was given to one project manager and her spring campaigns to another.

    Several months passed, and she returned. She did alright, but she had an easier time with only two projects to worry about, one of which was wrapping up. I also found out later she was medicated at this time. Things continued like they had before for a while, until we got back to the same email campaign that this kicked off with.

    At this point she began breaking down again. Important decisions had to be made and they weren't being made. We missed a deadline to get the first send out and were approaching more critical deadlines. At this point I went to my boss with my concerns that the appeal would fail. This coworker was again put on leave and we repeated the same song and dance from the previous year. We just managed to get our emails out and the spring appeals were split up rather than all being given to one person.

    She returned early in the spring and took over the campaigns again. They rapidly started falling behind, because she was clearly suffering from untreated bipolar disorder and the work was not getting done. A light came at the end of the tunnel, however; she had a job opportunity with a brother down south. This would enable us to replace her and get these projects done.

    There are gaps in my knowledge of what happened next, as I was no longer the favored go-to for her rants. This made me fear that I was now a potential target. My understanding is that her family got her institutionalized as 5150. She was upgraded to a two-week hold, and then released in the middle of that. She came back to work here, but by this point her projects were taken away and would not be given back since it was demonstrated that she could not manage them. The plan was to give her different side projects to handle. This did not go over so well.

    Monday was a day off. She was supposed to come in Tuesday, but slept in. Wednesday was the day then. She talked to me about a project she would need help with, and utterly miscommunicated it. I could tell that her condition had not improved. She then went and complained to the head of another unit that her projects had been reassigned; this unit head had nothing to do with these projects, so the claim was bizarre and unfounded. She proceeded to try to intimidate two fellow project managers, accusing them of betraying her and saying that she had the projects under control (which was demonstrably false). She ended up being told to leave the building. I missed this whole event, but later noticed my coworkers gathered by my cubicle. They often gather for social reasons, but I sensed something was different and got all of the details of the story from them.

    After this happened, I was worried she would go postal, so I spent the next day working from another office that our organization maintains while the targeted coworkers worked from home. Turns out that she was busy assaulting her roommates and was arrested for causing a ruckus at a bar and refusing to leave when told to do so. I don't know what is going on with her now, but regardless it is unlikely that I will ever see her again, and I am fine with that.
    Monandock thanked this post.

  10. #9

    During my first year of college I worked at a gas station, alone, in kind of a bad neighborhood, during the 2pm to 10pm shift. Another girl who worked there was sexually assaulted by a customer who lured her out behind the store under the ruse of getting a propane tank for him. The propane tanks were kept in a locked cage behind the store, so if a customer wanted one we had to go back there to get it, and by the way there were no security cameras back there for some reason. Going back there with a customer to get a propane tank for them was something I had to do a few times before the manager changed the policy because of what happened to the other girl, so sometimes I wonder "Holy shit that could have been me..." It was also robbed a few times. It wasn't robbed during any shifts I was working, but ya know it was still iffy going into work and being told "Oh by the way this place was robbed this morning".
    ButIHaveNoFear, WickerDeer and Monandock thanked this post.

  11. #10

    Depending on perspective, I'm either blessed or cursed with a work story that becomes something very cinematic when all its gory details are laid out. Thus the length and attention to specifics in this story is done for the purpose of enhancing a narrative and not to make what happened seem more important, or to act like my situation was worse than someone else's. I know other people have gone through much, much worse. That said...

    I used to work for a company that builds sheds in people's yards. We were a three man crew: me, another guy and our foreman. We'd drive to your place with a truck and a big trailer loaded up with supplies, and build you a complete, fully usable shed in a few short hours. The work itself was very fun and I'm proud of what we made, but the job came with glaring downsides, one of which was the extreme hours we worked. We started our workday before the sun rose and at least one day a week, we would not arrive home until after the sun went down that night. These hours, when combined with the physically demanding nature of the job (you're constantly lifting heavy loads, climbing on top of things, battling the heat, etc.), is part of why I don't work for this company anymore.

    We didn't only build locally. Some of our customers lived hours away, and we would drive over 100 miles to get to them. This story happened on a day like that. We completed our morning drive and were to spend the day building two sheds in a mountain city.
    The first build went fine, I remember it was in a neighborhood of manufactured homes. Three hours labor and we had our shed done. But then we had to go to our second build and the entire day changed.

    Most sheds we made stayed within similar dimensions. 6x8, 8x10, maybe 12x12 for a large one. On this particular day, our second build was to be the largest shed we had ever made up to that point: a monolithic 10x20. Bright red with white trim. This build took us from a modest neighborhood, to a wealthy, isolated neighborhood, high in the hills, with rather steep streets and large "mountain cabin" -looking residences.

    We reached our destination and the homeowner directed us away from the front of the house, to backtrack a quarter-mile the way we came, until we were to exit the paved road and enter onto a private dirt road that took us along the summit of a ridge, an alley leading to the rear of the house, where the shed would be built. The road was narrow, with houses on one side and the woods on the other. The dirt of the road was loose, unfirm, difficult to grip. Once our truck started driving down this backroad, we had hit the point of no return.

    We introduced ourselves to the homeowner in her backyard, she showed us where to build, and we began. This shed was giving us problems from the get-go. The pace of creation just seemed slower than average. A larger shed could take twice as long as a smaller one, and this unsurpassed challenge would probably take even longer than that. I didn't expect to be out of there soon, but I wanted to move faster and I wasn't sure if my co-workers were up for it.

    When we made sheds, we had to assure they were level. Usually a quick process. Just place a level on the floor of the shed and insert a couple of shims or a cinderblock if one side is too low. For some reason, this huge shed required excessive work to balance it. We dragged the heavy frame around on the ground, from one place to another. Our foreman had to place a pocket jack under one corner to raise it, and this one corner was very close to the edge of the ridge, with something of a ravine past that edge, making the whole thing into a huge risk if we took a wrong step. Just so much time spent to get it levelled approvably.

    None of us came prepared for the weather. We were used to building in the scorching summer heat, and that entire year was unseasonably warm, so the possibility of cold didn't seem to cross our minds, even though this story takes place in autumn, in a higher-altitude environment. But the cold still came that night, steadily decreasing digits as the afternoon became evening. Eventually we were suffering in T-shirts at 43 degrees Fahrenheit as we slogged on.

    This shed came with plastic windows which had to be nailed on with a coil nailer. Due to the cold, the plastic had hardened and become brittle. Every nail I shot into the windows caused the plastic to crack loudly, causing hideous damage to the frame, and one nail caused the section it punctured to explode everyhwere, like shrapnel. Freaked me out! These window frames are covered with wooden trim pieces, and after the windows were on, I quickly added the trim pieces to hide something utterly broken underneath.

    After the floor frame, floorboards and walls were attached, the rest of the shed was supposed to flow quicker and more naturally. But then I hear my foreman and fellow builder both groaning in dismay. Going over to see what was wrong, he realized: we had installed two of the wall pieces the wrong way. The shed's walls were supposed to fit together like puzzle pieces, and if one piece was wrong, you knew another was also going to be wrong. This was a major, major setback, un-nailing these huge heavy pieces from the shed floor and hand-carrying them across to the other side took another 20-30 minutes easily. We're now becoming physically fatigued, the cold is biting us, the mental frustration of mistakes made is eating at me, and this thing is massive and isn't even close to being finished. Our work day started probably 12 hours ago by this point. How long were we going to be there?!

    Trying to be spartan, I continued the best I could and over the next three hours or so, we painstakingly attached the shed's trusses, the roof ply, the rest of the trim, the drip edge (long pieces of metal allowing rainwater to slide off the shed and avoid rotting the structure) and I applied some touch-up paint to the necessary areas. Yet, this was all done at the same slower pace that I had noticed earlier. We couldn't kick anything into high gear because the stress of what we'd been through earlier. Constant struggle was the only thing we had left because we'd bitten off more than we could chew.

    More time passed and more work was done. The sun went down and...we found another big mistake. The door hadn't been hung in a very good position. This one was my fault, since installing the doors was something I'd only tried to do a few times. My more experienced coworkers had mercy on me and rearranged the door, and then continued on to the last and most time consuming step: shingling the roof. My foreman only at a later date would instruct me on how to put these on, so for the time being, I just handed him and the other guy packs of shingles and retreated into the warmth of the truck cabin since I was no longer useful and I was just eager to get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

    This is more minor, but while the roof was being shingled, our foreman received a text message from his girlfriend, telling him there was a huge UFO sighting back home, and back home was far enough away that we weren't able to see it. Such a shame, I've always wanted to see something bizarre like that and extraterrestrials/secret military technologists would have possibly made me forget all about our sorry situation. It was not to be.

    Finally, after time had crawled its way to 9:30 at night, the last shingles were placed and this behemoth was DONE. I exited the truck to help pack everything up and we were ready to leave. I thought the worst was over. I was wrong.

    You know how I described driving that huge trailer down a backalley road of loose dirt as "the point of no return"? That's wasn't a mere figure of speech. In order to exit the alley and get back onto the neighborhood's paved streets, we had to drive our truck and trailer over an incline of about 15 degrees and 10 feet long. We approached the incline, our foreman floored it, and...the truck's wheels spun in place, no traction. He backed up, and we tried again. The same thing happened, the wheels kicked up the soft dirt of the road without travelling anywhere. We tried a third time and nothing changed. This was insane. This shed had given us more grief than anything we'd made before and now for the finale, our truck was trapped from escaping its vile clutches.

    Panic and dread kicks in. It was so late that everyone was asleep and we had no one to call for help. It was up to us alone. For an adrenaline-filled half-hour, we tried everything we could think of to get our trailer over this incline: we tried approaching it at different angles. We made a makeshift ramp out of plywood that we hoped would provide better traction. We briefly considered sawing down a few fully grown ponderosa pinetrees to carve an alternate path, but rejected it as too risky, the timber could fall the wrong way and crush us. We manually tried pushing the trailer over the hill, but it was too heavy for us to get it that far and desparation gave way to defeat. This thing was stuck. At some point, we all accepted the trailer was never going to make it, leaving us only one option: unhitch the trailer and abandon it, drive back home, explain to the company owner what happened, and have someone pick it up the next day. That's what we went with. The trailer DID get removed, God knows how.

    And so with no trailer, we left, free at last. We drove the 100+ mile drive back home, a severe frown on my face, my brain pulsating with stress and my eyes glazed over. I had, no contest, completed the absolute worst working day of my entire life. I remember very little talking between the three of us, aside from me making a couple of threats about how things needed to change or I'd have to find another job.

    When we got home, we dropped the truck off at our company headquarters and I drove back to my place. When I arrived back, it was, IIRC, 11:00 PM. 17 hours after the day began. Hours and hours of my expectations getting repeatedly violated. That was my workday. So, how was yours?

    The cherry on top is that after we arrived home, I told my foreman I wasn't coming in the next day. I would have to be up in less than 6 hours to do all of this again, and I couldn't. I had exhausted myself. So I take the day off to rest and the day after that, when I arrive at work, my boss (above my foreman) tells me that telling the foreman I wasn't coming in wasn't good enough. I need to tell HIM if I wanted time off and that I'd be fired if I made the same mistake again. No expression of sympathy for our situation that I remember, just a minor insult to our injuries.

    This all could have been avoided if the relevant parties had known beforehand what they were doing. Before we built for a customer, we'd receive a paper in preparation, where either the customer or a sales representative(I forget which) had to sign off, indicating yes or no, if we were going to have "easy access to the build site". This order was marked "Yes", which means someone had no fucking clue what equipment we were going to be lugging down that difficult dirt alley. I hope whoever it was got reprimanded accordingly for that incompetence. It should have been marked "no" until the alley was made more heavy duty. It could not handle our trailer and we shouldn't have attempted to travel down the alley with it.

    Dear God, I will never forget that night. I know where that house is located, and I still remember the customer's name, first and last. All I can say is: Ruby, you'd better be storing the king's gold in that shed for all the shit we had to put up with to get it built!
    WickerDeer and ButIHaveNoFear thanked this post.

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