For those working their first jobs in retail or the service industry, a cushy office job sounds like the dream! No more working on your feet, maybe get a little online shopping in—oh, someone brought in cake for Susan’s birthday? Amazing! But the sad truth is, those cubicle walls hide some of the worst people in the universe. Whether it’s a scheming coworker or a completely incompetent boss, anyone who has ever worked in an office knows that they can be the site of the some of the pettiest melodrama the world has ever seen. These stories by Redditors make situations from The Office and Horrible Bosses seem like a walk in a park—and are likely relatable to anyone who has ever trudged into an office tower at 8:59 on the dot.
1. Dumb Boss
My boss was trying and trying to save data to a thumb drive and eventually asked me to try on my computer because hers wasn’t recognizing it as a storage device. She gave me the device. It was an external battery pack. This is only one of so many stupid things she’s done. It wouldn’t be so bad if she acknowledged her stupidity or missteps sometimes, but she is too stupid to even realize that her problems are because of her own mistakes.
2. Delicious Cheesecake
Once, at a company party, my coworker grabbed a wedge of Brie cheese and took a bite out of it. I later asked and pointed it out to him and he said, “This cheesecake tastes really weird.”
3. Knowledge is Power
My boss likes to pretend he’s only making $100K-$200K a year so that the low-level employees don’t ask for more. Meanwhile, he actually makes more than $6M annually. I make more than everyone solely thanks to the fact that I run the books and know how much he actually makes, so I have the leverage to ask for more.
4. Faxing Paper
I worked with a girl who was entitled, and dumb, so we used to mess with her. Once I told her we were out of paper and asked her to call up Office Max and have them fax us over 100 blank sheets, and charge it to our account. Then we watched as she tried for a few minutes to convince the worker to fax us paper. Pretty sure she thinks the only reason it didn’t work is that the guy wouldn’t charge it to our account.
5. You Needed Me
I work for a company that fixes people’s computer problems. The big secret is that 95% of the time, we just Google the problem and don’t actually have any special skills. Instead of paying us $100 to fix your computer, you could most likely Google the issue yourself and resolve it within the next ten minutes, almost always.
6. Income Info Inequality
Once, instead of receiving my paycheck, I accidentally received a file containing every paycheck for everybody in the company. Thus, I knew how much money everybody was making, what benefits they had, etc. For the record, this included the CEO and upper management.
7. Moving Through Time
I worked with a developer who couldn’t work out why the result of subtracting a fixed date from today’s date increased by 1 each day. I literally had to tell him that it increases by 1 because we’re moving forward through time…
8. Till Work Do Us Part
I know that my boss is sleeping with the head of HR. They’re both married—and not to each other. Pretty sure I’m not supposed to know this…
9. I’ll Stick to Coffee
I know that our CEO secretly does coke before public speaking—and I don’t mean Diet or Zero.
10. Work-Life Imbalance
I worked at a cancer nonprofit. We hired a lady who knew about us because her kid had cancer. At one point, my boss wanted me to fire her because she had to come in late or leave early to take her kid to chemo. I refused. Boss said she’d fire me if I didn’t. I told her she could go right ahead. Our CEO said no way.
11. A New Level of Jerkery
My boss fired the girl who was in her third trimester of pregnancy three days before her maternity leave was to start.
12. Tailgate Technology
My boss stores cases of beer in the server room for our computers because the temperature is always kept consistently cool in there.
13. I’m Outta Here
My husband was having his gallbladder taken out and was having complications before surgery. I needed to leave work early for about two hours and my boss threw a fit, stating that I couldn’t leave. I told her I had 300 hours of sick time I can use for myself and my husband and, if she wanted to push, I’d take all of it at once—leaving no one but her to do my job. She said she’d fire me if I tried. I just looked at her and said I have to go. I wasn’t fired. I was actually awarded that year for job performance.
14. The Fun Police Reporting For Duty
We were once in the middle of a very stressful period of work, and everyone was feeling it. However, one afternoon, an off-hand comment turned into a conversation that we all got involved in which led to a few laughs. My manager, returning from a meeting, piped up “Oh we’ve finished tomorrow’s work, have we? What’s all this about (insert subject matter)?” The entire team instantly deflated. Unnecessary. Every employee needs time to blow off a little steam.
15. To Delete or Not to Delete
At a place that I used to work for, I was the only person with any IT smarts, so anything to do with computers or technology was passed on to me. One of my responsibilities included sorting through emails using a spam filter that forwarded any suspected spam to my inbox, so that I could then delete the ones that were spam and pass on the legitimate ones to the people in question. On two separate occasions, the filter forwarded me an email receipt for a large order of Viagra—which one of my colleagues had clearly purchased with his work email address. I just deleted them rather than forward them on because, well, it’s just easier that way…
16. Sounds Like Someone Needs a Detention
I work in education. My former chairman knowingly allowed a female employee to embezzle money from the school. I found out and blew the whistle. I assumed the woman would be fired and the chair would be demoted. Instead, the woman was asked to quit and given a package, and the chair stayed in his position because of his status as a coach.
He proceeded to make my job very difficult for the next five years until he gave up the chairmanship to someone competent. His secret was that the woman was his mistress, and she was also a former student of his from just a few years earlier.
17. It’s the Little Things That Count
In a very short span of time, they changed everyone’s 401K plan (for the worse) and then implemented an office-wide cleanliness policy. No eating at your desk. Only three personal items on your desk. Everything labeled. No items other than your keyboard, mouse, and monitors on your desk at the end of the day. Talk about pissed off. You could feel the gloom when you walked in. Everyone’s give-a-hoot meter broke at once.
18. But Tell Us What You Really Think
In a company of six people, the owner said in a meeting with everyone that his two sales guys are irreplaceable and that the rest of us are “just paper pushers.”
19. Not That Dire…
Our company president still took his annual raise last year, despite the rest of the company having had a salary/wage increase freeze for over two years due to our “dire financial issues.” He now makes over a million a year. There are only 30 employees in the company.
20. Pushing the Limit
I have a coworker, she likes to test her luck. Two weeks ago: “I’m not pregnant!” Why would that be an issue? “I’ve never used protection!” What about the pill? “I don’t take anything!” Last week: “I was out of town. Went to a party with a bunch of people I didn’t know. I left. I was driving, drunk and stoned, found a dude I didn’t know passed out in my backseat. Cop pulled me over. I somehow didn’t get a ticket.”
This week: “I don’t know how I’m gonna get home…” where’s your car? “I let so-and-so borrow it, but he’s not answering his phone, which means it’s dead. It’s only dead when he’s stoned, so that means he’s at so-and-so’s house. He has multiple warrants out for his arrest. But he’s cool.” Also this week: facetiming while at work “Bro, your boss FaceTimed me. Why? I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you. Talk louder. I’m at work. Why are you FaceTiming me? I don’t like you. Don’t call me again.” You know you can block their number, right? “I don’t want to.” Why not? “Because I hate him.” What….?
21. Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Try working in IT. Apathetic attitudes towards us are just the standard state of being. It’s a job where if you work absolutely perfectly, you’re totally invisible and only appear on the radar when something messes up. Just a few weeks ago we did a major office move. My department worked back to back 12-18 hour days to get everything moved over, which we managed with less half a day’s downtime (and we were moving the company’s main data center).
By the end of the final weekend after carrying 30+ servers (plus cabs) up four stories, re-cabling 200+ desks and literally moving trucks worth of gear I got home and my legs just wouldn’t work anymore. I still have the blisters on my feet from walking about 30 miles in two days… and I was still at my desk at 7 am the next day to run around the office fixing teething issues.
Then, a few days ago the chief got the whole office together to thank everyone for their hard work. He had a stack of envelopes with “thank you” cards and £50 vouchers in them. Everyone who volunteered to help with the move got one…including the people who “volunteered” to have an early snoop around the new office, spent 30 minutes on site and did precisely zilch.
Do you know who didn’t get a mention or an envelope? Anyone in IT. The people who were there working unpaid overtime until 2 am for weeks.
22. Sticky Situation for Your Boss
At my first internship, I had a very restricted laptop that needed the admin password to do just about anything. My boss kept it on a sticky note. So one time, during a meeting, I just glanced over and memorized it. I never needed him to authorize something again and my efficiency went through the roof.
23. Selectively Poor
They canceled the Christmas party and Christmas bonuses for the whole company because we “didn’t have the money for it.” I found out later the CEO and the CTO used company funds to take a week-long ski vacation in Whistler instead of doing something nice for the employees. You better believe I spread that evidence around the office.
24. Sometimes It’s Best to Keep Your Mouth Shut
The company consisted of something like 1,200 employees at the time, and rented out a big conference center for a Christmas party. At the opening of the party, the CFO was giving opening remarks, and asked—expecting cheers—if everyone liked their Christmas bonuses. He got booed. See, of that 1,200 people, a bit over a thousand were in customer service.
No one in customer service got bonuses, only people in the “corporate” departments got bonuses. And our awesome CFO decided to rub everyone’s noses in it because clearly, the Chief Financial Officer of a company would have no idea that 80%+ of his company didn’t get bonuses. At the same party, the CEO made an announcement that the company would be closed on Friday (Christmas that year was on a Thursday), and everyone got a day off.
Now, he had literally just finished making a speech about how everyone was important, and everyone was part of the company, no matter the department. He had shoveled crap hard, trying to make CS happier. The next day, we all got a memo that Customer Service still had to work on that Friday. We apparently didn’t count as “everyone” and the CEO just hadn’t realized that the announcement wouldn’t apply to anyone. January saw a 60% attrition rate.
25. A Future Accountant
I worked with a woman who became a dear friend. While I adore her, she’s… not the brightest. She didn’t believe me when I told her that Native Americans lived on the East Coast of the US and still do. She insisted that they only lived in “Oklahoma…or the Southwest…or the Northwest, whatever.” She once wondered (out loud) if we could see Earth in the sky…from Earth.
I mentioned that I have a friend who’s an archaeologist and the friend had worked in Greece. My coworker said, “What’s there to dig up in Greece, anyway?” I had to explain basic cardinal directions to her. Basic geography in general. This woman is now working on her MBA and wants to become an accountant. I’m scared.
26. I Can List All the Things Wrong With This
Changed up the metrics that determined people’s bonuses. And included things that were important for the business to know, but completely beyond the control of the people who’s bonuses were impacted. For example, we had a “right party contact” rate—how many times you actually got the person you were calling vs. the number of calls you actually made. The problem was the phone number list came from elsewhere, and the people making the calls were just given a list of numbers, and you had to call them all. No leeway. So you’re calling blind from a list you don’t control… and get penalized if the list is lousy. Oddly enough for the people in charge of making the phone number lists, their bonuses were not influenced by right party contact rate.
27. Cupcake Disaster
I used to intern at a TV station. It was really small and sometimes if too many interns were booked for a show there would be a few with nothing more to do than be an extra set of hands. When this happened, this job was often assigned to a particular intern named M, who was notorious for not caring and for being rather oblivious.
Basically, the wheel was spinning, but the hamster was dead. I have never in my life met anyone as stupid as M. I honestly could not tell if she was faking it for attention or if it was genuine. M was also a rather “thick” girl and was constantly snacking, taking extra long lunch breaks, etc. One day, we were overbooked for interns and once again, M got the duty “help the guests on/off the show, stand there, and shut up.”
This segment had a baker. Most of our cooking guests would prep their meals on the kitchen set while the rest of the show was being filmed. The baker finished her prep early, leaving a gorgeous set of cupcakes on the counter of the set, placing them perfectly for the camera. We take a few minutes to let our floor cameras set up for the next segment, and all of us in the control room relax and chit chat.
We are interrupted with about five minutes to go by the director poking her head in. She notifies us, in disgust and bewilderment, that M was eating the cupcakes. The only cupcakes the baker had. The cupcakes that were set up PERFECTLY for the shot. With 5 minutes until filming. I remember turning to look at my shot and seeing M literally stuffing cupcake down her gullet, wiping off the fondant, and slapping it on the counter only to grab at more.
Our producer lost her mind. She practically dragged M up the stairs and chewed her out in front of the entire staff. M was whisked away to be reprimanded by the intern coordinator, and the rest of us helped the baker with the remaining cupcakes, trying to hide the massacre of fondant bunnies that had now been smeared all over the set.
The cleanup created a half an hour delay. The worst part is? The staff gets to eat the food brought by the cooks and bakers anyway. If she had just waited twenty minutes for the segment to end, she would have gotten to have as many cupcakes as she pleased.
28. So How Did You Enjoy My Wrath?
The head of our department realized that we weren’t about to meet our targets for the financial year. Completely banned annual leave for three months, forced anyone who didn’t fill in their timesheet on time to attend a disciplinary meeting (despite problems with the system meaning that some didn’t get filled in) and generally had lower management terrified, causing a massive blame culture and several people to be signed off with mental health issues.
In the end, the employee survey which went to his bosses was hilariously bad, and he’s now somewhere else making some other people’s lives a misery. The best part was when his replacement came in and fired his right-hand man who was also a jerk.
29. Auditing the Auditor
The place I work sees a lot of cash flow in and out, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a day. We also have a tiny store on property that brings in about $50 a day. It’s more of a courtesy for clients than it is an actual source of serious income. But because of it, we have a small cash drawer for making change and taking in profits.
It has just under $300, and it’s normal for it to be over or under by a little bit because, again, the shop isn’t really how we make money. My old manager, however, had no business skills. She decided to do an “audit” one day behind our backs and counted it up. It happened at the time to be short by $10. This is nothing. That money was probably in the safe.
She called me in the middle of the day to whine over the $10 and demanded I bring it in. I told her if I have to drag my behind over there when it’s not my shift, I’m bringing the money in quarters. She had a tantrum on the phone, so I hung up on her. I called her manager and told him point blank: you can’t afford to lose me, I’m the best you’ve got, and I’m the only guy you have who is willing to work graveyard shift. I’m this close to quitting on you. What will you do to make this right? He called her and chewed her out. She did not speak to me for two months. It was glorious.
30. A Tale of Freezes and Fridays
It was a one-two punch. The company-wide meeting announced the promotion of several high-level management and executives (mostly title and responsibility changes). Lots of smiles and handshakes, not unlike a college graduation ceremony. After these promotion announcements, they declared that due to the stagnant economy and poor sales, the entire company would be experiencing a pay freeze as a result.
So, no raises for anyone. They then concluded the meeting by discontinuing “Casual Fridays.” So, no more jeans on Friday. It almost felt like it was designed to make people want to quit and leave. It worked though, I and many others moved on to greener pastures within the year.
31. Drinking and Deceiving
My boss is faking going through an alcohol recovery program. In the meantime, she hit her ex-husband with a car. She is never going to change or get fired because she’s the owner’s daughter, who “can’t do anything about her.”
32. Without a Trace
Told my boss two weeks in advance that I was taking a personal day on a Monday and Tuesday. She approved it with no problems. I take the days off and go out of town for a school thing. I came back into the office on Wednesday and I’m locked out of my account. I talk to the operations manager to see what’s going on.
He told me that my boss said I disappeared and didn’t contact anybody for two days. I explained my planned days off to him and he said no problem. I talk to my boss later in the afternoon and she is furious. She starts saying that she thought I had just suddenly quit. I don’t know what she was talking about. At this point, I was the only person left on my team of four people who’d been there when I was first hired.
I was already planning on quitting in the next month to focus on school. This idiot had the audacity to threaten to fire me. I said, “If you feel like you need to let me go for your mistake, go ahead.” Of course, she didn’t. I ended up working there for another seven weeks before leaving on my terms. I even got to use the operations manager as a reference for another job.
33. Pulling His Way Out
Someone at my office pulled down a male coworker’s pants in the office, during business hours, while said coworker was talking to two female peers. The poor guy wasn’t wearing underwear. The pants-puller was escorted out of the office within that hour. We were all in our 30s and this was at a publicly-traded multinational.
34. If I Can’t Have It, No One Can!
I know that the real reason my boss won’t replace the aging fleet of company cars for people below him is that he wasn’t allowed to get the car he wanted and he’s now taking it out on the rest of us. He’s pretty emotionally weak, and now he’s just pouting around. And because of that, nobody is getting a new car. Even though a Jeep Patriot isn’t supposed to live to 200,000 miles…
35. Loyal to the Bitter End
My dog became very ill quite suddenly and needed to be put down. I was at work and I asked to leave half an hour early so I could be there for him. I asked my manager and she got annoyed. She said there was “no way” and that I should have told her earlier. I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize my dog was going to die,” in the most sarcastic way possible, then walked away knowing she’d follow me. I then stood at my desk and began typing my resignation up in front of her. She gave me the time off. No one was going to stop me from being there for my boy.
36. Intercom Mistakes
An employee at my office got drunk, called a friend to complain about her boss, and didn’t realize she was on the intercom and not on a private phone call. The boss was me. I fired her immediately. Awful day.
37. The Costanza Method
The office secret I’ve discovered is that upper management has so much going on that if you just act super hurried, they will think you are doing a great job at something and will leave you alone. Honestly, that might work in most places—give it a try!
38. I’m Kind of Important…
My company is heavily dependent on me. My closest boss threatened to fire me for being home one day when I would normally be at work. Two weeks prior, I had agreed to do overtime in order to get a new schedule so that I wouldn’t miss an important event. I got a new schedule, but she had forgotten to fill in that day on it. She blamed me for it anyway, and said it was grounds for terminating my contract. I dared her to do it and to see how long they could stay in business without me.
39. Cell Phone Games
I worked as a temp in IT at a nurse’s college, and the ground floor was the student loan department. My coworker found an iPhone in one of the student bathrooms upstairs during lunch and subsequently just put it in her desk. A few hours later, the owner came to us (for some reason Lost and Found was in the IT office), reported it missing, and said that she had accidentally left in the women’s room after calling her boyfriend.
My boss found the phone by simply calling the number (it had a unique ringtone, of course). Department head walked in my coworker’s office, opened the drawer and confirmed it was the missing phone, and fired her in the middle of a conference with a student. I overheard him say, “if you can’t do the right thing in a simple situation like this, how can I trust you to do your job ethically?”
To clarify: Since she HAD to walk past the Lost and Found to get back to her office, it seems likely she intended to keep the phone. Also, instead of saying she would return it, when confronted she used the old chestnut, “if they wanted it, they wouldn’t have left it there.” There had been other minor thefts of personal belongings in the building previously, and they stopped after she left. I believe they had been suspicious of her for awhile.
40. And, The Michael Scott Method
I know so much about how crazy my boss really is that it’s not even funny. He watches weird and inappropriate videos on his office computer all the time and he almost always takes a nap at his desk after lunch. I’ve also seen him drinking beer for breakfast.
41. Getting Hammered On His Second Day There
This was at the current company I work at, about 6 years ago: dude starts on a Monday, and on Tuesday, we have our department holiday party and the dude gets pretty lit up. During a group photo, for whatever reason, this guy gets the brilliant idea to reach his arm around the woman standing next to him and grab and honk her boob. When she loudly protested, he claimed he was just joking and that she was not who he thought she was. Well, who she was was the CMO of the company, and despite his repeated protestations that it was “all a joke,” he was promptly informed that he would have to leave the party immediately, and to not bother coming back to work the next day. I will never forget that example of sheer drunken idiocy till the day I die.
42. Bathroom Break
My boss’s boss doesn’t flush, pees on the toilet seat, and doesn’t wash her hands after using the bathroom. Unfortunately, I know because I witnessed this first hand…
43. You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide
The owner of my company was avoiding the meeting where I would get my raise. I waited over two weeks. Finally, I told my supervisors that I’m walking out the door if they don’t fix this. They told me to go talk to him. I told them they were the supervisors and it was their job to do that, not mine. I’m in an understaffed position at a job that is very difficult to fill. If I left, the rest would have gone too. They knew that.
44. Giving Yourself A Raise
I ran a 5-staff nonprofit. My first week or two, the payroll information came from ADP and it was left sealed on the office assistant’s desk. I was at work early the next morning and opened it; I discovered the office assistant (who was responsible for entering staff hours online every payroll) had given herself a raise.
She got there a couple of minutes later, I asked her about it, and she said it had been promised to her (you’d think the board or my predecessor would have told me that, huh?). She was also pissed off that I’d opened it (Hello? I’m the boss. I get to look at the darn payroll). It wasn’t a giant raise, but you increase your own pay without permission, you’re going to be fired, and she needed some strong encouragement to remove her person from the office, too.
She went down the block to where our board chair worked, told him I was a racist and generally made a loud fuss, but he was pretty clear with her about why you don’t go giving yourself a raise no matter what you think you were promised (and further investigation revealed, of course, that she wasn’t promised anything).
45. Special Treatment
I know that my workplace’s super strict “zero tolerance” policy on substances only applies to some of us. Turns out that the CEO’s executive assistant and the head of HR go out and party—and I mean party—on weekends together, and he doesn’t mind. At least I always know that if they’ve been out that weekend, I don’t have to worry about getting tested that week.
46. Just in Time
My company was doing badly during the 2008 recession. They hired an expensive new Vice President to lead our division who asked me barely one month in to sack any two people of my choice from my team of software engineers because she thought we had too many. I steadfastly refused and dared her to fire me instead, and the issue really blew up at the time. Before they could fire any of us, though, a new contract came along which needed more people to execute than we even had on our rolls. The VP got fired a few months later as she was way too expensive and wasn’t adding enough value.
47. Rolling Their Eyes Out Of A Job
This guy rolled his eyes and chuckled at a managers’ meeting while the GM was addressing some issues. GM told him “And that attitude is why you don’t deserve to be a manager here. Please leave.” Guy got up and was never heard from again.
48. Dealing a Hard Blow
The college intern at my office thought that I wouldn’t ever fire him because he had given me really good connections to a local dealer—but business is business. Sorry, kid!
49. Leveling the Playing Field
Not my current job but at a past job, my manager quit and the CEO gave me access to his emails so I could find information about how to do projects that only he knew about. While on his emails, I started looking for all the salary information I could find on all the coworkers on my team. I found out that I was being paid significantly less than the person who previously had my position. I went in and negotiated about a 40% raise with the CEO based on that information.
50. Wrongful Termination
A young accountant (around 24) made an appointment to see her manager. Both parties agree that she informed him that she would be having surgery the following day to remove and biopsy a tumor. She wanted to discuss the status of her projects and develop a coverage plan for while she was on medical leave. He wanted her to delay her surgery until after a certain project was complete.
While she was walking to Human Resources to apply for a medical leave of absence, her manager followed her and screamed at her about being insubordinate and insisted that he would fire her if she didn’t return to her desk immediately. She calmly stated that this was a medical emergency and the timing of the surgery was non-negotiable, so he fired her. In front of the director of Human Resources. He was terminated the next day (which I did not witness). She returned to work once she had recovered enough to do so (about a month later, if memory serves).
51. A Little Truth in Every Joke
I brought a PowerPoint into my last job’s performance review that basically ended with “I know how much I’m worth, either pay me more or find some other sucker to do the work of five people for you.” I intended for it to come off as a half-joke because my boss and I were pals, but he thought it made sense so he gave me a raise.
52. This Sounds Like an Incident to Me
I know that the managers at my former job would falsify department records so that they would all get a nice bonus at the end of the year for not having any incidents.
53. Getting Back At The Owner
A department manager asked to go home early because of snow flurries. We said she and anyone else who was worried about getting home safely could leave, but if the roads are open the next day we expect them to come in. Next day comes and her ENTIRE department called in. They all have variations of, “I can’t get my car out of the driveway.” Day 3 comes.
One of her underlings admits that on the day of the flurries, the Department Manager told all her people to meet in a local parking lot, and told them that they all better call in the next day or she would make their lives horrible. This was apparently to “teach the owner a lesson.” Once we got another employee to confirm the story, she was fired on the spot.
I had to fire my roommate because he wasn’t bringing in enough money for the charity we both worked for. He did not see that coming and did not think I would go through with it. Things got awkward around the house for a while afterward.
55. Try a Little Kindness
I know that the reason there’s such a high turnover rate in my office is that our management fired the one competent manager for “being too kind.”
56. Bitter Over Losing The Promotion
My colleague threatened to destroy the server room if he wasn’t made my peer rather than my subordinate. He was a year older and we were hyper-competitive over a promotion that I ended up winning. I thought it was all in a healthy way, but I might have thought differently if I hadn’t got it, I guess. I don’t think for a second he meant what he said, but my boss was left with no choice but to assume he did. Both felt very bad about it afterward.
57. Your Safety Is Our Number Two Priority
I told my supervisors, manager, and safety department about severe issues at work, including broken equipment and more. They didn’t do anything. I told the union and they didn’t do anything either. I reported the issues for SEVERAL months—nothing. So, I finally said forget it, and reported them to the government. Suddenly, I had my supervisor freak out and ask if I called them. I told him straight up, “Yes, you’re darn right I did.” He threatened to fire me. I told him about the whistleblower laws and how that would be the stupidest decision he could ever make. I told him to please do it, as I would love the easy $200k I would easily win from the lawsuit. I haven’t had any issues at work since.
58. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
My office secret is that all of our CEO’s inspirational speeches about success are actually written for him by low-level grunts. Makes me wonder about all the other “inspiring leaders” and their great speeches of the past…
59. (Not) Friendly Competition
I made the mistake of hiring a friend who was going through a difficult time. I was going through a separation and I had to leave every couple of weeks or so to spend time with the kids. One day on getting back, I found out she’d been leaving hours early all week to set up a competing business. When I asked her about it, I withheld some information I already knew, and she lied to me. Breach of fiduciary duty. Instant termination. In the following week, I took over her work email and found she’d contacted at least two of our clients with suggestions that they leave with her. Apparently, I’m the bad guy though. She either legitimately can’t grasp why she was in the wrong, or she’s intellectually dishonest about it.
60. Letting It Slip
I had an employee who was brought into the office for doodling on product packaging. The other manager in the room said, “Do you know why we have you in here?” He replied, “Because I was stealing.” Yep, fired on the spot.
61. Crossing the Line
We had a sales rep with six kids, who thought no one would ever fire him because he had been working there for so long and had a good reputation. No one wanted to do anything about it. Finally, he crossed the line when he started harassing and hitting on all the female employees—including my wife. We fired him.
62. Less is More
My office purposely messes up people’s wages on their paychecks to see if A) they’re honest about receiving extra or B) they can save money by not paying people the full amount. It’s such a scum thing to do, and I’m just glad it never happened to me. Yet, at least…
63. Imposter Syndrome
I hire contractors for large teams. It was a team of attorneys working on a document review and privilege log. She was absolutely the best one I had: smart, competent, super friendly, knew the law backward and forward. Her agency showed up with a security guard from the firm. The woman had lied on her background check and was using someone else’s name.
She was not an attorney and had never gone to law school. She already had a history with the law of impersonating other professionals including an accountant, a locksmith, and a darn doctor. I don’t know the full story but I’d like to believe she was as good at those positions as she was at being a lawyer.
64. Raise a Little Hell
Over the first year I worked there, I took over most of the tasks in my department which led to a massive increase in productivity. I then found out that I was being paid significantly less than what others in my position across the industry were making. So I go to my boss and tell them I had done all this work increasing productivity and I would like to discuss a raise.
They said no. So, I work there for another year, asking for a raise every now and again until I was offered a job somewhere else that paid double. It didn’t start for a couple months so I asked for a raise again, thinking “Why the heck why not give it one last try?” My boss goes off, tells me I won’t get a raise and says some very colorful things about me.
It culminated with her telling me “If you don’t like your pay, maybe we should evaluate your future at this company,” to which I replied, “Already have, I took another job and this was your last chance to offer me what I deserve. I quit.” I then walked out of that office. My friends told me that my sudden departure caused a massive backup of work that ended with my manager being fired for it.
I know the secret password for the executive laptops in our office. The IT guy from four years ago never changed it from something that we all had all known about before.
66. Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds
God, she was a piece of work. Never worked. Called out 2 weekends in a row lying about broken legs or her car not starting. Lied to get other employees in trouble for her mess ups. Bragged about how much work she got out of to the owner’s son, who also worked there. We couldn’t convince the GM to fire this lazy little girl. He had a soft spot for her.
Finally, someone showed the GM a Facebook post she made public absolutely trash-talking him, the only person at work who didn’t hate her guts, and lying about how much she works and how the entire store is incompetent except her. He wrote her up for poor conduct, unexcused callouts, etc. She refused to sign the write up because she said she was right that he was worthless and he fired her right there. It was like a 160 lb weight got lifted off of everyone there. 90% of the staff was looking for new jobs. She was a walking toxic cloud.
67. Smell Ya Later
There is someone in my office who is great at their job, wonderful with people, a fantastic work friend, never complains, and always comes on time—but smells like they haven’t showered in months. Despite several professional mentions of the issue and complaints from peers, they have decided that they won’t do anything about it because they know how valuable they are to the company.
68. Sounding the Alarm
I found out that the managers of the company I work for secretly know that in March of next year, we will be losing our biggest contract and all employees will probably lose their jobs instantly. I can’t sleep at night, nor can I look any of them in the eyes. The company that contracts us has already started negotiating with another contractor and I am friends with someone high up in that company who privately confirmed all of this when I asked.
They’ve told me to get out ASAP. My main boss doesn’t even know as much as I do. I have been dropping hints to try and warn but I don’t know what to do. If I can, I will find new jobs for my team before then and encourage them to put in applications, but I can’t make them so who knows how it’ll turn out.
69. Taking Orders
I worked in a doctor’s office and we had a maternity leave that was being covered by help. Well, one person who came to help cover the office had been passed from office to office because she couldn’t do anything right, she couldn’t take a patient back in under 20 minutes, she couldn’t file paperwork, it was just bad.
So she arrives at our office and we put her answering phone calls, she answered the phone, “This is doctor X’s office, can I take your order.” My manager lost it and told her to leave and never come back. The worst part is, she called the boss and asked for a new assignment, he had to repeat 3 times that she was fired and there was no new assignment. She genuinely did not understand what “you’re fired” meant.
70. This One Starts and Ends With a Beach
Boss pitched a sales incentive trip to Cancun if the team hit the goal. My team exceeded the goal, and then they canceled the trip. Two people quit, I accepted a position with their main competitor, and less than a year later, they closed in bankruptcy. Karma’s a beach.
71. Sweet, Sweet Hush Money
I had found another job and was just waiting it out to get my bonus. For about three months I was free to express myself in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise. I had noticed that my vacation time had not been approved and normally would have asked about it but decided to see how it might play out. My manager called me in about two weeks before my vacation to inform me that it was denied.
I wasn’t the least upset but I informed her I was going anyway. She threatened me every way under the sun which only made me laugh at her. Everyone was surprised when I left her office smiling as they had heard her. I went to my desk, printed off my resignation and gave it to her. Got my bonus, got my vacation, and also got an extra two weeks paid because I was going to a competitor and they didn’t want me sharing information.
72. Cool Story, Bro
I know that the third story of our office building isn’t complete yet. A colleague told me about how he was reprimanded for talking about it to people not in the know. I wasn’t in the know. Makes you wonder what they are trying to hide…
73. Taking Out the Trash
I work in a big corporate building. The same older lady came by everyone’s desk towards the end of the day to collect the trash. Just the sweetest lady ever and every time she’d walk to my desk she’d give me a big smile and ask me how my day was and chat for a minute as she got my trash (usually I’d dump it in for her).
I had some rough days but she has a way to cheer me up and send me home on a higher note. I know I’m not the only one either. So then a few weeks back our work implemented a new policy to “cut down on trash usage.” It’s no longer allowed to have a trash bin at our desk and we have to walk across the room and use the community trash to throw anything away. Not a huge deal but the real reason they did it is so they can cut down on cost… i.e. the cleaning crew. Sad to say that I haven’t seen Sharon since.
74. A Little Out Of Your Price Range, Sir
My boss sold the company and about a week after the official switch to the new owners he called me up to ask me to do something. I told him my consulting fees were $120/hr. He didn’t take me up on it, unfortunately.
75. Jack of All Secrets
By jumping from department to department over the years, I knew a whole combination of things at my old job that no one person was ever supposed to know. I knew alarm codes, vault combinations, locations of keys, passwords, schedules, location and functionality of cameras and security systems. This led to pretty much nothing more than a lot of idle daydreaming on bad days of things I could, but never would, do if the company didn’t keep me happy.
76. Maybe Find a Solution Instead of Adding to the Problem…
At my office, they put up a poster that said “Complaining is like vomiting. You feel better but everyone around you feels sick.” The morale was already bad but it was just an awful way to take a hit at upset employees rather than do anything positive.
77. Going Down In A Blaze Of Glory
I had an issue where our district manager was purposely not correcting my pay to reflect the raise I’d been promised, so after six weeks of him blowing me off I called corporate HR and they came down on him like the fires of Mount Doom. He drove to my store and tore into me in front of customers for “not being a team player” and going over his head. Six months later, we’re informed our store is closing and the employees can transfer to other stores. Oh, but not me, I was told I’d never be welcome in the company again because I “wasn’t a team player” so I would just be laid off after the store closed… Then he told me he also needed me to oversee shipping our product out to other stores based on a list he had of what store gets what. Yeah, none of those stores got what he wanted on that list. I spent three weeks shipping whatever to whoever, playing my own music over the store speakers, and telling customers about a whole bunch of exploitable loopholes in store policies and systems. What was he going to do? Fire me?
78. Vanity Cam
I know that only one of the security cameras in our building actually works. The rest are for show.
79. Newsflash: Employees Are Not Your Slaves
I was one of a large number of programmers working on a project at CSC. We had a deadline coming up in a couple months and they over-promised to the client and then asked us all to work extra hard to meet the deadline, and asked us to work 50+ hour weeks. Which we did—and then some: some of us put in 70-80 hour weeks to meet this deadline.
But once that deadline was met, suddenly there was another deadline they needed to meet. And another. People got tired, had lives to lead, and scaled back on their hours. Most of us were still working 50-60 hours a week, but not a lot more than that. Once they realized we weren’t killing ourselves on their project any longer, there was an All Hands meeting where the managers told us that they were incredibly disappointed in our lack of professionalism because so comparatively few employees were now working more than fifty hours a week.
One of our harder workers stood up and said, “Look, I have three kids. I’m driving an hour into and out of work every day, I’m taking care of my family, I’m trying to get presents for Christmas, write out Christmas cards, decorate and clean the house for everyone we’re having over for the holidays—I’m having a really hard time just getting to fifty.”
And the manager looked at her and sneered, “If it wasn’t Christmas, it’d be because it’s Easter, or Memorial Day, or because it’s summer and it’s nice out. You’d always have some excuse.” There was dead silence in the room. When we left that meeting, we didn’t talk to each other, but every single worker on that project put in exactly fifty hours a week after that.
Then came Christmas—raise and bonus time! Every worker on the project got a 1/2 percent raise; the managers got a five-figure bonus. We were pissed. For management, the pain came after Christmas. First week of the year, four programmers had better jobs lined up and quit. Three more the following week. Five the next.
We hemorrhaged 3-5 programmers every single week for over three months. It got to the point where the managers had to schedule a meeting every Monday at eleven to discuss that week’s resignations and rearrange the surviving staff.
80. Company Transformers
From my last job: “Under no circumstances are you even to look at what’s going on in the other half of the plant.” I peeked. What was going on? They were building an automated side of the factory. I got replaced by a robot a year later.
81. It’s Not Me, It’s You
When I left a job I was invited to meet with the CEO because he was unhappy I was leaving and wanted to understand why. I explained that I was not being paid enough and the recently announced pay rise was not good enough. He got irritated and in a patronizing tone started trying to lecture me on how I should have handled that situation better.
I interrupted him, he didn’t like that, so I added “I’m leaving, I have nothing to lose” and then informed him that I had already been let down over pay multiple times, had witnessed others trying to get more pay and being refused, so I had no interest in begging to be paid what I already deserved to be paid.
82. Summoning the Crickets
I told the hiring manager that I was disappointed in one of his hires because he knew literally NOTHING about our job and I asked him “doesn’t that cheapen my knowledge and expertise?” His response: “Well, let’s be honest, your job doesn’t really need all that, does it?” There were four other people my level, with varying fields of expertise, at that meeting, and it got real quiet after that.
83. On the Lam
One of our guys disappeared from the office for a few years without explanation and just returned recently. I know where he was that whole time. Turns out he took a work van to rob a bank. He got arrested and after five years of “working somewhere else,” he “decided” that he wanted to come back to work for us again.
84. Reap What You Sow
I work at a call center and a customer asked to speak to a supervisor today. Of course, I had to be that supervisor. Being in my position, I have a lot more leeway with procedures than frontline customer service specialists do. I was a hair from fixing this man’s problem and drastically cutting down the call time… Until he started to insult me.
I literally chose to make this customer’s life more difficult and take the traditional route with the call instead of making a special exception JUST because of his attitude. The customer wound up hanging up on me after refusing our number, so he’ll probably call back, get transferred 500 times (my department is kind of niche), and have to do the same thing all over. Be nice to customer service and customer service will be nice to you.
85. Stepping in to Correct the Record
I, along with nine other coworkers, did a Kaizen project where we cut customer complaints from over 100 a month to single digits due to streamlining our process. The plant manager sent out a company-wide email essentially taking credit for the whole thing. He noted how he put together this team and under his direct supervision, he got the project done without even mentioning our names.
That pissed all of us off until the Continuous Improvement manager sent a reply thanking all of us in a big screw you move to the plant manager. I was just happy that the CI manager was a no BS guy. I left that job a few months after we completed it and still use it on my resume.
86. Nothing Requires Your Full Attention
They banned phones, electronics, puzzles, books, etc. from being used at your desk. I work at a call center. We were expected to just sit and wait for the next call to come in “distraction-free,” even if it was a super slow day.
87. Exposure Doesn’t Pay The Bills
An ex-client tried to make out that he never said he agreed to pay me after creating him a complex website, graphics, and marketing materials and that it was just “work experience.” This was untrue, he even agreed a price via an email exchange and I’m not exactly going to waste my time working for “experience” when I have bills to pay and an established skill set in my field.
Anyway, a swift screenshot of the emails and talks of lawyers soon changed his tune.
88. Mine! Mine! Mine!
Someone had been stealing things from everyone’s desks in our office. I set up a teddy cam on someone’s desk (with their permission) to find out who was doing it. Turns out it was the owner of the company. I confronted him about it in private. Over the course of two to three months, the majority of things then started reappearing and the stealing came to a stop from then on. At least for the most part—occasionally something would still go missing, but it wasn’t anywhere near as often or severe as before.
89. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Take a Sledgehammer to It
Had a boss everyone loved, then she got transferred to another store and the new guy that replaced her decided the schedule that we’d all gotten used to needed to be “shaken up.” He posted the next week’s schedule that was completely different than it had been under the previous manager, got a bunch of complaints from people saying they can’t work x days or y times and it SEEMED he was receptive since he took that schedule down.
Then suddenly BAM, he just reposted the same exact schedule and said screw everyone. Oh, we had some people calling in sick from time to time under the old manager, but this new manager has pretty much half his crew every single day calling out because of his scummy tactics. Here’s the first thing to learn about being a good manager… you don’t need to “shake things up” for people to be better workers. You don’t need to “put your mark” on anything if it’s working just fine the way it was.
90. Petty Power-Play Falls Flat
I had put in my two weeks notice at a job and they suddenly had me working bizarre split shifts when they found out that I was training for my new job around my previously set schedule. My schedule which had not changed in months. The schedule was preventing me from finishing college. I finally had my fill and decided to leave. As I was leaving, one of the supervisors said I had to check in with a manager and I said, “Naw, I don’t work here anymore.”
91. Side Interest
My boss is secretly a competitive ballroom dancer, but he’s too embarrassed to tell anyone. I found out when my girlfriend and I took a beginner course and he was in the studio working on a routine. I got sworn to secrecy, but I think it’s super cool and interesting.
92. Seniority Squabble
My job has a system based on seniority if you are doing the same job. For example, promotions are handed out to the people who’ve been there the longest, or if the job is overstaffed the seniors get first dibs to leave. In the interview, they ask if you are comfortable if a 20-year-old is your senior and can boss you around (assuming you are a 50-year-old), if you answer you have problem with it, they won’t hire you. So I’m 22 and this 45-year-old was telling me what to do, I am his senior by two years. He was telling me how to do my job in his first month. Hell nah, tried to throw the “I’m old enough to be your grandfather/dad” card. He told the supervisor that I was being disrespectful and rude and threatened to call HR. HR fired him.
93. Something to Get Excited About…Not!
Held a super positive, pep rally style company-wide meeting about how they were going to start combining our sick days with our vacation days and now just call them “PTO.” This was presented to us as a great thing, since we could all now use our PTO days fully as vacation days if we wanted to. Once the system was implemented, everyone realized that instead of getting 10 vacation days and 10 sick days per year, we now all had 15 PTO days. Everyone was pissed.
94. Who’s Your Daddy?
I know that my boss has been secretly having an affair with his married secretary for many years and that the secretary’s first kid—now 14 years old—is actually my boss’s biological child. It’s a big secret, no one is allowed to know—ever. My boss is also married with kids of his own, by the way.
95. Mic Drop
I worked with an awful boss. He would always flirt with the young female staff and make us all uncomfortable, even though he was 50 years old. We all knew his wife and two young children, but about six months into me working there he began to “date” a 22-year-old customer. By date, I mean he used to go downstairs to his office and sleep with her—all while he was on shift.
No one was allowed to talk about it but we all knew. He knocked her up quite quickly and ended up breaking up with his wife, but he still flirted with his staff relentlessly even when his new baby was born. He once told a male employee that he liked asking female staff to pick up things from low shelves so we would bend over and he could check out our butts.
He always broke health and safety rules if he could get out of doing a task he didn’t want to. He was prolific at asking staff to clean human waste—vomit/poop customers had done on the floor—even though legally anyone cleaning that stuff needed to have passed a certain health and safety qualification. I spoke to my assistant manager about this and she confirmed that only management can do it, and I should refuse next time.
One day he demanded I cleaned up vomit in the male toilets, and I refused, repeating what the assistant manager told me. My boss went absolutely mad—he wasn’t used to people standing up to him. He told me to come downstairs to his office to speak about it. At that moment I knew I wanted to quit, so I told him I won’t be going downstairs with him.
He asked me why, and I replied: “The last girl who went down there with you ended up getting pregnant.” I lost my job instantly but it was totally worth it.
96. What A Beautiful Sight
Over the course of six months, through countless phone calls to different union offices and the department of labor, I eventually got my boss fired for changing people’s time-keeping information to steal overtime from them. During those months I was treated like dirt by this guy, but I never actually did anything wrong so I couldn’t be punished.
At one point, management—against contract rules—denied my time off request to be at my best friend’s wedding and my boss brought me into his office and threatened to fire me. At this point, I had called the Northeast district business associate on him, and I will never forget the look on my boss’s face when he realized I knew he couldn’t do anything to me.
97. I Guess It’s Just Me and You
I was promoted to VP of my company. The company was in trouble, and the CEO had asked me to figure out why and fix it. I arranged for a random drug test. All employees, the CEO, me, everyone. All on the same day and everyone went down at the same time. Even said I would ignore weed but anyone with anything stronger would be gone. We get the results back and I fired everyone who had tested positive for any drug other than weed. The CEO and myself were the only two people left working for the company.
98. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
I used to work at an English immersion middle school in Korea. The admin was all Korean, including my boss, the vice principal. Word started going around that the school was under investigation for certain admin taking bribes to admit students. The VP got visibly anxious for a few weeks. Then one Sunday night we got a text message from one of the Korean teachers at the school: “The vice principal has passed away.”
It turns out he had died by suicide. The teaching staff still had to be at school the next morning even though classes were canceled for several days. I remember walking into the school and seeing a custodian mopping the spot where it had happened. Morale tanked pretty hard for a while.
99. Small Business, Big Problems
Small business. 20 employees +/-. Boss made a big speech about austerity measures and no raises this year. A week and a half later he drives up in a brand new Silverado with all the bells and whistles. Expensed to the business of course. He would hate to have to pay taxes on those profits. One of the less subtle members of the staff took a literal dump in front of his office door.
100. All Out of Spite
I worked very briefly with a woman who showed herself to be both an idiot and a jerk. Her grandmother died and she and her relatives discovered that the man she’d known as her step-grandfather had never even been married to her grandmother. She bragged about the family kicking him out of the only home he’d known for three decades because, “If he wasn’t good enough for my grandma to marry, he’s not good enough for us.”
He was an elderly man who lived as this woman’s husband and had everything taken from him out of pettiness and spite. It showed me how stupid she was, and I was right. She was fired a week later.