Employees Confess The Time They REALLY Messed Up At Work

Everybody feels like this once in a while. Well... maybe not THIS bad.

I use the company car, which is wrapped in that advertisement stuff with our name in plain sight. A lady cut me off, so I sped up, nearly side swiped her, then flipped her off, forgetting that I was in the company car.

Later that day, the lady called and complained. I was lucky enough to be the one that answered the phone. I assured her that I would "get it taken care of".


Back in high school, I had a job as a web designer at a small web shop servicing non-profit organizations. My bosses didn't let on that I was as young as I was, and they handled all the face-to-face client meetings.

My job basically entailed designing and preparing the website for our clients. One of our big clients was a famous celebrity's charity foundation. I sliced up the site and put in filler text, knowing full well that only people coming from our internal IP would be able to see the development.

I should mention that my company was small, close-knit and had a great (albeit vulgar) sense of humor. Rather than going the standard lorem ipsum route, I instead filled in something along the lines of "Herp derp I'm X celebrity. Weaknesses include kryptonite and falling of horses." It got worse, but I'll let your imaginations fill in the blanks. There were about four paragraphs of filler text.

I came in to work after school one day and all three of my company's owners/my bosses were waiting for me. I thought they were pulling some prank, but they asked me to come into their office. At this point I knew something was definitely up.

My boss: "Charles and Diana saw the site."

Me: "What? Who?"

Him: "Charles and Diana... The director wanted to show them the progress. Apparently he didn't check before he showed it to him in person."

At this point I think my stomach hit the floor and kept going straight on to the Earth's core. My boss told me he'd let me know what the next steps were, but just to know that I was in deep, deep trouble.

Anyway, I didn't get fired and I had to write an apology to the family. I found out later that they actually had a pretty solid sense of humor and thought it was funny.


My roommates at the time were 3 welsh rugby players, some wild guys. We all go out one night, I had a bit too much to drink, and go back to pass out for work the next morning. I am a little late waking up so a quick brush my teeth and bolt out the door. I'm riding the metro to work, and everyone is giving me very odd looks.

I down 3 tylenol, down a bottle of water and head to my first group for the day without think anymore of it. About thirty minutes into the tour, I hear snickering and laughing from the younger kids. Even some adults were looking at me trying not to laugh. A guy comes up to me in the middle of me explaining where the structure got its sandstone and says "Hey man, you have drawn dick on your face, and it's glittery". I kind of laugh it off in disbelief, but he shows me on his iPhone camera. I sprint to the bathroom to wash it off, plotting my revenge on my roommate, which I eventually got.


Fell through the roof, attic, sheet rock, and landed on the living room table.

It just wasn't for me.


I prepare welcome packs to give them useful information. Bus timetables, teacher contact details, a map of the University campus, etc... But the most important thing is the timetable that tells them where to go on their first day.

I'll let you guess what does not go into the pack.

So lots of international students with various levels of English, in a brand new place, that have no idea where to go on their very important first day. Pure chaos. Pretty much my fault.


This gave me an opportunity to witness some massive screw ups. Some were made by contractors, some were made by manufacturers, and indeed some by me. I had spent years developing an excellent reputation for working on high-end homes. It was a sweet deal for a guy in his late 20's. The money was good and I was turning away clients.

So it was a real boon for me to land a gig in Seattle working with some great clients on some amazing homes, being from the bay area, I reluctantly agreed to move to Washington. These jobs were big and needed serious project management so I needed to be on site a few times a week.

Well, the primary residence I was working on was located in the Orca Islands and was a completely custom job; custom paint, custom wood, custom mill work, custom glass, custom hardware. The total job cost was $750,000+ and I was acting as an independent contractor supplying the material.

We spent 9 months planning every detail, generating a construction document of 500+ pages. We spent 2 whole days before ordering the product going over the specs line by line. I had the client and the contractor sign off on every line item. Finally I got a deposit on the material and initiated the order. The whole order took 6 months to receive.

Once everything was in and the contractor was ready, I made plans for the delivery. It was not an easy delivery, so I brought in a driver I knew from my work in Big Sur. It was muddy mess getting the material to the job site and took 3 trips over 5 days to fill the unfinished garage with all of the windows. We met with the contractor and inspected the goods, everything was fine. He signed off and all I needed to do was go home, wait for the final check (the part of the payment that had my profit in it).

I stopped and had a beer with my driver friend and headed back down to the ferry dock to take the ride over to my house on Bainbridge when my phone rang. It was the interior designer. "These aren't the right color." he said. All the blood in my body drained, I quickly grabbed my briefcase and started to flip through the work order, every single page of the 500 pages of order said the color that was delivered. I insisted, "I've got the contract signed by the client and the contractor. It's the color that was ordered!" "This color will not do! I have ordered siding, trim, everything is coming in for the color we changed it to!" I hesitated and asked to let me review everything and get back to them.

I got back to my office and gathered all my paperwork and right there, dated on the order's file folder, "Change color to blah, blah, blah"!

I ate the windows, I ate the temporary windows I supplied them to keep the job on track, I ate charge backs from the contractor, I lost 2 upcoming jobs, I ate the cost of sending a crew out and replacing the windows with the correct ones, I ate everything and had to order the windows again. I had moved my family up to Seattle for this job, I got a house, I bought a new car, etc. I was All In on this job.

I went out of business at the end of the job. Returned to the Bay Area and went back to college. I will never put myself in the position where a one line screw up will mess anything up that bad.


I was bored.

I had to run past the entire deli counter screaming to get to the sink when I lit my shirt on fire.

There were at least 15 customers in line.


My job was to clean the cars, get them ready for customers and do the inspection of the car before people took off with them. One day I was in the lot parking a truck that I had just cleaned and got out to head back into the office. It wasn't uncommon for people to come up to me with their rental papers and ask for the keys to their car so as I was walking back, a couple of older sort of grimy looking guys walked up to me.

The one guy said "hey, we're all done inside and the lady said that truck is ours." I'm not even going to make excuses for why I did it but without even asking a question I said "ok great, here ya go!" and handed him the keys. I thought it was weird at the time because when I handed the guy the keys, his friend said "f*ck!" under his breath and looked pissed. Anyways, I walk back into the office without a care in the world and I see my boss. She asks if I saw those two guys out in the lot and I said "The guys who rented the truck? yep." Then she looks at me with her jaw on the floor and says "NNNNnnnoooooooooooo." She turns around immediately and calls the cops to tell them we just had a truck stolen from our lot.

Weeks go by and eventually the truck turns up out in the middle of nowhere. The cops find needles and booze all over the inside and they returned it back to us. I had to go to the police station to pick the guy I gave the keys to out of a photo lineup.


Due to a snowstorm that day, I predicted a cancellation, so myself and about 5 other stagehands hit the hotel lobby bar for about 3 hours prior to doors. The radio DJs who were supposed to introduce him did not arrive on-time.

Even with the snow, the house was sold-out and packed... I walked out on stage and stumbled over a cable, and almost fell from the deck - recovering, I walked up to the mic (with spotlights on me all the way) and proceeded to blank on his name, and managed "JEWEL-E-O EN-GRACIAS'" and ambled off the stage. Narrowly escaped unemployment.


This often led me to play pranks on my fellow coworkers. Occasionally the pharmacy would get shipments of dry ice and I would get to play around with it once they received the medicine. I thought it would be a fun idea to put it in the mop bucket of my friend who was working on a patient floor. I would call her about five minutes later and it would be the perfect prank.

Well, I did call her five minutes later and she answered in a panic. She told me she was having a chemical reaction in her mop water and she alerted the head nurse and the on-call hospital manager so they could start preparing to evacuate the floor. I quickly explained the whole situation and the next day I had a talk with my boss. It turns out that even though most of the staff involved thought it was severely inappropriate, they also found it really funny (once all the panic was over with) and my boss even complimented me on my creativity, even though I probably should've just been fired.


The company had just received a shipment of 50 104" screens from a vendor. A brand new employee was charged with transporting and stacking them. Just as he stacking the 50th screen it slips out of his hands. It falls and shatters all 50 screens. In his first 4 hours of work he manages to destroy more than $2 million in material and set back production by weeks.


When I was installing, I cut the pex pipe before the shut off valve.

By the time I got the water main shut off down in the basement, the water had run down and destroyed their basement ceiling and was running like a river into the guys fancy man cave and his electronics.

The wife was screaming at me, she called her husband who was a huge steroid looking muscle head, I was sure i was going to be murdered by him as he screamed and raged. His veins in his neck looked like they would explode!

The bosses insurance covered the damage. $6000.00 for repairs and damages. The company did not fire me.


At the time, it was extremely busy and there were little devils running everywhere; and this lady was at the far end so I had to zigzag through the games to get to her. So after successfully maneuvering through a bunch of games and small children with two pizzas on my hands, I came within 10 feet of her table and thought I was home free.

Well turns out there was a 2 year old kid crawling right in front of me. I tripped on the kid, the pizzas went flying and hit another kid, and both of the kids were crying because I stepped on one and nailed the other with pizza. And before you think this can't get any worse, I then had to deal with the parents...that part alone still makes me shudder to this day. After about 45 minutes of yelling at me, they pressure my manager to fire me. My managers a cool guy so he said no, but he pulled me aside and told me he would have to pretend to freak out at me to make the parents happy. He did and it was the finest acting I have ever seen a non-actor pull off. It even scared me for a minute. I continued working in that hell hole for another year before I left for college.


Working the races was probably the most boring four hours of my life as it required listening for the lead into commercial breaks, switching the feed to our local commercials for a couple of minutes, and then switching it back to the race. I would usually watch TV or browse the Internet throughout the entire race.

At one point I switched to commercials and completely forgot to switch the race back on. So after a few minutes of commercials, the station went completely silent and stayed that way for about twenty minutes until I realized it was way too quiet in the studio. A minute or two of dead air was enough to get us in trouble; twenty minutes should've gotten me fired, but it was NASCAR so nobody noticed...


The force of it caused me to duck my head under the hood and blow mucus everywhere inside. The whole lab froze and eyes slowly rolled my way in disbelief. I contaminated every sample and they had to call in an outside company to re-sterilize.


We often times had Overnight, Next Day AM packages that HAD to be there or apparently the world would explode. I was responsible for getting these to the drop boxes before pick up time, which means I had to take them with me when I left work and drop them off.Well one Friday, had one of these urgent letters. Left work and completely forgot about it. It sat in my car all weekend.

Got to work the next Monday, the CFO and several upper management were literally freaking out cause the letter didn't arrive (got yelled at, etc). It apparently was a half a million dollar check that this company was waiting for or they were going to take some kind of legal action or something.

It turned out fine, but I wanted to die at the time. Been there.


I wasn't 18 yet, so I wasn't allowed to be at the front desk (some insurance-issues), basically I was doing paperwork in the back. Once, a customer wanted to enter, but one can't just walk into a bank, you have to ring a bell, and have an employee open the door for you by pressing a button under the front desk.

Long story short, he rang, all employees were busy, so I went to press the button. I check under the desk, uh-oh, 3 buttons. The man was looking at me, looking pretty pissed by the waiting-time, so I just press a random button. Turns out it was the ALARM button.


I was cleaning the bedding and didn't see him buried in his. I dumped it. 

2-3 days later my department manager brought it back to me after finding it in the receiving garbage. Somehow I didn't get in trouble. Snake was fine.


I was sitting in the chair, which was a rolling office type chair, when I decided I wanted to stand. I hopped down and somehow managed to propel the chair into the wall with my butt. The chair slammed directly into a fire alarm, and the lever ended up getting depressed AND pulled down. By a chair. I stared at it in horror for a moment, but nothing happened... until suddenly: "BEEEEW. BEEEEEW. BEEEEW."

Yup, I set off a fire alarm. With my butt. So when you have a fire alarm at a ride, you have to cycle all of the guests clear of the attraction, kick all of the guests out of the queue, and then evacuate all of the employees while you wait for the fire department to come and give you the ok to resume normal operation. Once we had gotten the venue fully evacuated, I was freaking out. I figured I was in huge trouble, what with inconveniencing several hundred guests and wasting the fire departments time and all.

I came clean to my supervisor immediately- I mean, I was the only person in the control booth, it would be obvious that I had done something, so better let her know of my clumsiness before she thought I had had a more sinister agenda. To my great surprise, she started laughing hysterically and told me not to worry about it.

The ride ended up being close for like an hour and a half, and during that time, I had at least 7 or 8 managers and supervisors from around the park come and make fun of me.

I think the best part of the whole situation, though, was that after the incident, my supervisor and I decided there should be a cover over that fire alarm, so we gave a call to the safety department. We never did get a cover, because apparently a room full of engineers and the man in charge of safety resort-wide spent hours trying to fling a chair at that damn fire alarm, and not ONE of them could recreate what I somehow managed to do in one try. With my butt.

I still get crap for that one, and it happened nearly 2 years ago!


The main part of my job was to take the players (which were usually 10-13 year old kids for birthday parties) for a "Safety Briefing" and explain all the rules stressing they they should never take their mask off, etc, etc. Well 1 day I come in and we have a huge party, Like 40 kids from like a hockey team or something. Well my manager says

"take the kids to the staging area for the safety briefing".

Usually we have a room designed for the briefings, but we wouldn't fit inside. So once we get to the staging area i completely blank out, and i just send these kids out on the field.

The result, 10 kids remove their mask, and 2 of them are shot in face, 1 permanently losing their vision. As a result the field shut down.


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