People Reveal The Worst Ways They've Seen A Coworker Screw Up On The Job
It's never fun to watch someone dig their own grave. While it might inspire a sense of "gee, glad that's not me!" it still leaves a lasting impression on you.
People are usually doing the best they can with what they have. And sometimes that best is truly not enough to get them through the day in one piece. Sadly, if you work with them, you're beholden to this horror show, too.
These are their stories.
Be A Jerk, Get Kicked OutGiphy
A grad student was invited into a professor's office for a meeting and was left alone for a moment. There was a pile of cumulative exams on the professor's desk that had just been graded. These are subject exams for grad students, wickedly difficult, and you need to pass 4 to continue in the program.
This jackass decided he'd take a look at the stack of exams, then upon finding that some of his fellow students did poorly, he took pictures of their grades so he could use them to ridicule them and pass the results around the department. This was a big deal because numerical grades aren't ever given out for these exams, only pass/fail, and also it's a pretty big FERPA violation to distribute others' personal academic information like that.
He was found out almost as soon as he sent the pics around and was dismissed and forbidden from campus immediately. Someone else had to pack up his desk because they were that serious about him never setting foot in the building again.
21st Century Dumb Moves
Guy drops a glove in a deep fryer, sticks his entire hand in it before realizing it's on and set to 350 degrees F. My current job is a lab technician at a major university, and we had a new guy unplug the small -80 degree C freezer full of recombinant DNA because he wanted to charge his phone.
He's Gonna Win That Case
I was once a bank teller. One day, a guy comes in to pay off a line of credit that he shares with his son. Apparently, his son is a drug addict and ran the line of credit balance up to $10k (maxing it out). The guy comes in, talks to my fellow teller, pays it off, and signs to close it out. He asked my coworker at least 3 times that it was closed. She assures him that it is (she is also addicted to her phone and loans most of her attention to it). Guy leaves.
Several months later, the same guy comes in enraged with a line of credit bill. He comes to my window and explains the situation. He thought it was closed. It turns out that our bank's policy (not sure of this is universal) is that both he and his son have to sign off to close it out unless there was some sort of special circumstances that never happened. Dude owed another $10k because of course his son isn't going to sign off on closing it out if he can run up the balance again. He says he is going to sue. I point him in the direction of someone more qualified than me. My manager tells me he has a good case and will probably beat our corporate bank in court. I'm just a teller. Some days it's good to be on the bottom. Glad it wasn't me that messed it up.
The Cost Of Being Lazy
I used to work at Popeye's, this fried chicken chain. It sucked and I eventually quit. A week after I quit the night crew decided they didn't feel like putting the boxes away from a truck shipment. Someone could deal with it next day. Few days later, and several reports of food poisoning later, they got in a load of trouble. Boxes were full of raw chicken. So glad I quit.
Car-ry On My Wayward Son
Couple of years ago, we had a new supervisor directly from corporate. He got a promotion and moved from another city
He was a complete jerk, micro managment nightmare, arrogant, etc,etc. But someone up the corporate ladder really liked the guy, so he had full support from the bosses.
Then in his first month of work his company car was stolen, it was insured so no big deal. A week later his replacement car was stolen again and a third car two weeks later. Turns out the guy had a trouble with alcohol, he got really drunk and left the car open, on the street and he just forget about it.
He wasn't fired, he was just moved to a desk job with no company car.
This Will Teach Ya
I used to work in a grocery store and I had an HR person repeatedly "lose" my doctor's note stating that I have Reynaud's Syndrome and couldn't be in the freezer. I got a stack of them from the doc and would have to bring in a new one every few weeks. Finally, I had a department head fax a copy in to corporate for me before dropping off yet another copy to HR B*tch. The next week the HR b*tch called me into her office and told me I was going to have to put the frozen load for bakery away.
I told her I couldn't do it and I had a note on file. She told me she didn't have any paperwork on file for me and that she could "make me do anything she wanted to." I called my department manager into the office and told him what she had said. He got corporate on the phone and asked if they had received the copy of my doctors note detailing the fact that I had Reynaud's Syndrome and had already previously gotten frostbite at work from being forced to be in the freezer when I wasn't supposed to be.
They said they had it, and he then told them what HR B*tch had said. He then handed HR B*tch the phone. She had to hold the phone about a foot and a half away from her face because they were yelling at her so loud. It was one of the most satisfying days ever working there. She went on leave shortly after that and never came back, and the official story was that she was having health problems.
Big Mix Up
Worked in a single story cinder block office with parking spaces out front. There was a big window that overlooked the parking lot. We had an older engineer (early 70s) that worked there. He pulled up one morning in his parking spot and must have gotten the brakes and the gas confused. He drove the car right through the window, taking out some of the wall with it. I can still remember seeing him gripping the steering window with this terrified look in his eyes while he kept slamming on the gas. The car must have gotten stuck on something because it would just lurch forward and the engine would rev. Luckily he didn't kill anyone. He retired soon after that.
How Can You Keep With The Same Mistake?
My coworker sold someone an auto insurance policy but forgot to check the effective date. Turns out she had pushed the start date of the policy out a month. Guy got into an accident a few days later. Cumulatively, we probably spent 10+ hours on the phone trying to get claims to cover this guy's accident.
She ended up messing up the effective date on about 10 other policies before she left.
Someone In The Government Is A Giant Jerkface
I'm a welfare caseworker. A few months ago I got a call from a client wondering what was going on with her case.... Read the case comments and found that one of my more intellectual coworkers shut down this case and assessed a FIVE YEAR overpayment on this client for her cash aid (basically saying that all the aid she had ever received was fraudulent and she needed to pay it all back). Her reasoning? There was a glitch in the system that made this woman's child show as a resident in a different county.
Rather than following established protocol and calling this woman, or ordering a fraud investigation from our literal unit of full time investigators, or anything else that would make sense, she went out of her way to make this woman's life hard.
For the record, I called the other county and the worker I spoke with confirmed that the child was no longer a resident, his father had reported to them that the family was moving to our county 5 years ago, and they'd been trying, unsuccessfully, to update his county residence ever since.
Because I caught the phone call, I had to un-f*ck the case and close out the overpayment.
Surgeon was a notorious *sshole to colleagues but had been getting away with it for years. One day he was doing a minor surgery on a lightly sedated (mostly awake) patient and said some horrible things directly to the patient. And the patient remembered it.
He contested his firing, and the hospital had to go through an arbitration process, but all the other staff in the room corroborated the patient's story and testified against him. And now he's gone.
And he deserved to be gone a long time ago.
Ain't No Party Like A Sexist Party
I got promoted. New guy who'd been there a month (Id been there a year) threw a sexist fit that I was promoted instead of him. His fit took the form of walking to the back door and slamming it open so hard the automatic closer ripped clean out of the metal door. I was the MOD for that shift and terrified. I sent him on break, called my boss, explained the situation. He was gone the next day.
Not All Doctors
I'm a medical device rep - One time a Surgeon decided to just rip/peel a particular organ off/out of a person rather than take the 15mins it usually takes to properly cut and coax it off/out. This routine procedure ended up taking nearly 3 hours because he could not stop the bleeding. It got a little awkward. C's get degrees people. Not every surgeon is world class. I know who I wouldn't let operate on me and my loved ones, that's for sure.
Another time I saw an anesthesiologist elevate a surgical table mid procedure without paying attention to the mayo stand hovering over the table. The surgical table knocked the mayo stand over and it all came crashing down. Multiple glass scopes were broken and all new instrumentation had to be wheeled in etc.... it sounded like someone kicked over a crash symbol from a drum set. Those laparoscopes are like $7k a piece...
Way Out Of Line
A manager was operating a hi-rail vehicle on the mainline and rear ended another vehicle.
- He was not qualified on the vehicle.
- He was not expected to operate said vehicle.
- He was travelling more than 25 mph over the limit.
- He shortened the truck by 6 inches.
- It wan't reported to control (me) until 2 hours after the incident.
Racism Doesn't RockGiphy
Working at a company of about 5000 people and one day, we all get a message from some guy named Ming Wong saying "Hi, I can't remember the password to my timesheet software. Can anyone help me reset it?"
Then, a few minutes later, he replied to himself with "Oh no! Sorry, I didn't mean to send that to everyone."
It would have been just your standard accidental reply-all except then we got a third email. This one was from some guy who was trying to forward it to his friend, but also mistakenly replied to the entire company with "lol ching chong bing bong. Ming Wong send email wrong". Both him and the intended recipient were fired immediately.
Refined, But Unrefined
Was working at a refinery one time and a new unit was being built. Someone bumped the insulation of a large distillation column with a lift. There was only a small dent but the whole section had to be replaced. $30,000 later the person that bumped it was looking for a new job.
Your Uppance Came
In high school I worked at Babbages. Our manager claimed one of the employees was stealing stuff and fired him as a scapegoat after a regional manager said we had a lot of missing stock. Fired employee knew the manager was actually stealing and reported him to the regional manager. RM and police made a surprise visit and inspected manager's car. Found over 100 Dreamcast, PC, and N64 games in his back seat through the back window. He got fired and arrested on the spot. I was working that day.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.