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People Confess Their Most Horrific Workplace Mistakes

Penelope Singh

We all make mistakes once in a while, even when we’re trying to be professional. While we often dust ourselves off and try again, there’s just no coming back from these mistakes. Here, Redditors confess the most horrific workplace mistakes they’ve witnessed or committed.


1. Wrong Place for a Fire Extinguisher Fight

Years ago, I worked for a government contractor in a torpedo manufacturing plant. The electronics were assembled in a cleanroom, which is a pressurized room that keeps dust out, and employees had to wear special suits and masks so as not to contaminate the goods. Two dudes in their 20s worked in there, and they were a couple of idiots.

Well, one day they decided, for reasons only they could explain, that it would be fun to have a fire extinguisher fight. They blasted the extinguisher material all over the cleanroom, including the precious torpedo electronics and associated million dollar pick-and-place robot. Management was displeased, to say the least.

LottyWalrus

2. Always Look Under the Pillow

One of my mentors (in life, not medicine) was telling stories from his college days when he was still an EMT and not a doctor yet. He was called to a house where the parents of an 18-year-old girl had called 911. They said their daughter was feeling really bad and having stomach pains. So they arrive on the scene, him and his partner, both still pretty new to the whole gig.

The girl is laying on the couch in the living room with a pillow covering her stomach. They do standard EMT stuff and get her on a stretcher and into the ambulance. They’re on their way to the hospital when the girl starts saying she’s been shot. And what my mentor was thinking was “Oh she’s in so much pain, she’s become delusional and thinks she’s been shot.”

Him and his partner decide to look under the pillow, which the girl still has covering her stomach, for the first time. They find a bullet wound. She had tried to kill herself in the bathroom by shooting herself in the stomach. She used a small enough caliber where the bullet didn’t pass through her body, so there was no exit wound. On top of that, her parents weren’t even aware of the wound.

BillMurraysTesticle

3. Screw Me Twice, Shame on You

Our desks were separated by a 5-foot cubicle wall. My boss was under the mistaken impression that it totally blocked sound. Thus, I got to hear all his loud phone conversations, primarily his booty calls including those with his boss’s fiancé. I figured it was none of my business and tried to ignore it. Well, there was a position in another department that I was interested in and as per procedure, I handed in an application to my talkative boss.

I didn’t hear anything further and followed up a couple of days later, only to be told that something must have happened to the application. I filled out another one and handed it in. As I return to my desk, I hear the boss on the phone with a friend laughing about how he had just trashed my application again and how he was never going to let go of me.

I go to my boss’s boss and angrily offer my resignation, telling him what I had just overheard, explaining that I was constantly hearing his phone calls like his booty calls with <woman’s name> and <woman’s name> and <boss’s boss’s fiance’s name>. He got very quiet and told me to go back to my desk and he’ll take care of everything. The next day I come in and boss is gone.

The day after, I have an interview with the other department (got the position). I tend to avoid office drama, but really, he should have stuck to screwing his boss’s fiancé, and not tried to screw me as well.

Nymaz

4. Vegetables Aren’t Always Good for You

Well, when I worked as a waitress, there was this guy who was allergic to mushrooms. So, he ordered a bacon and egg omelet and I put in a memo saying, “No mushrooms allergic.” As if out of spite, the kitchen left one shred of mushroom in the guy’s omelet. The guy had a reaction, but luckily it wasn’t so bad that he needed to be hospitalized. I apologized profusely but I’m sure he probably thinks I tried to kill him.

Permalink

5. Not Very Slick

My first job, I worked at a grocery store. I don’t remember much, but I do remember one day when the store got crazy busy, and they had to pull people like me from other departments to work checkouts. They have me as a bagger, and the guy at the scanner is another guy that I worked with in produce. At first I thought he seemed okay, but then…

Turns out, when this guy gave change, he’d “accidentally” pull out an extra fiver and pretend to put it back in the register when counting out change, then he’d slip it into his pocket once the customer turned around. I noticed this pretty quickly because he’s doing it with literally every customer. Even if they weren’t getting change, he’d pull one out and act like he forgot they paid with a card.

After I noticed it, I saw him do it a couple more times and thought, “Wow. Wonder how long he can get away with that.” Not two seconds pass between me thinking that and me turning to see that night’s manager with a police officer walking towards our checkout counter. Fired on the spot and arrested to boot. He did not look happy.

BotchedAttempt

6. Ice, Ice, Baby

I’m a commercial helicopter pilot. Probably the closest moment to “we’re screwed” I ever had was a few years ago. To set it up, I was ferrying a helicopter by myself to another location about 200 miles away. The helicopter I was flying was set up for IFR (instrument flying), and I’m a fairly experienced IFR captain. The helicopter I was in does NOT like ice.

That means that flying in the clouds when it’s below freezing is basically impossible. This was in the high arctic, in the early spring. So basically, always cold. Weather wasn’t great, but I still wanted to give the trip a shot. If it was bad, I would just turn around and come home. About 50 miles out, the cloud ceiling was coming down, and visibility was dropping.

I was over a small frozen lake, and I could see at the other end of the lake that the clouds were right to the ground. At this point, I’m at about 300 feet above ground. I make the call to turn around and start a left-hand turn, but as I’m half-way through the turn, I enter a cloud. Under normal circumstances, a VFR helicopter unintentionally entering clouds is often a death sentence, but I’m a trained IFR pilot in an IFR helicopter.

I start a climb, as I know there is rising terrain on the side of the lake. I don’t mind flying in cloud. What I do mind is the fact that my helicopter starts icing up instantly. I’m not talking about a bit of ice, I’m talking about a MASSIVE amount of ice, in a helicopter that doesn’t like any ice. There is no way I can make it the 50 miles back to the airport to shoot an IFR approach, and I know the clouds are too thick to climb above them.

I also can’t descend because the ceiling is so low that I risk impacting the terrain if I don’t pop out of the cloud soon enough. I’m running through the options in my head, but my heart rate is going up. This isn’t something that normally happens. I’m not the type of pilot who gets into situations that scare me.

I’m rapidly running out of time, so I head to a larger flat-area (as indicated on my GPS and maps), set my radio-altimeter (a device that tells you exactly how far above the ground you are) to beep at me when I reach 250 feet, and start descending. I figure if I don’t break out by 300 feet, I’m in some serious trouble.

As I’m approaching 300 feet, I break out of cloud. Good visibility, and a clear path all the way back to the airport. I do a normal approach and landing and shut-down at our hangar. The blades are covered in ice. After I change my underwear, we pull the helicopter into the hangar to let the ice thaw. The next day, the weather is beautiful, and the trip goes off without a hitch.

After flying for 10 years and thousands of hours, it was the only time I was actually scared. I’m glad I didn’t have any passengers on board at the time.

stephen1547

7. Directionally Challenged

We shall call him Chad. Chad was a guy I worked with years ago, and he was terrible with directions. He had no idea where he was or where he was going, and was terrible at identifying landmarks. So we are working less than 5 minutes from our store on this particular day in a small residential area about a mile and a half down the road.

Including the turn out of the driveway, you have to make 3 turns, all right-hand turns, and cross one intersection, and you’ll be at our store. A short time into what is an all-day job, we realize we have some equipment at the store that would help us out tremendously. I ask Chad to go get it. He doesn’t know the way. I explain it to him. He stares at me.

It’s 3 right-hand turns, Chad, I think you can do it. Chad wants a map. Fine. I draw a map. Chad leaves. 25 minutes go by. Chad should have been back by now. I call the store and I’m told that Chad left 10 minutes ago. As I am on the phone, I hear the truck coming and he drives right by the house. Well, darn. Poor Chad forgot what house we were at.

No big deal, the road is a giant circle and he will come around again in a moment. So I walk up the driveway and sure enough, here he comes again. I wave, and he pulls in the driveway. As he gets out I laugh and say, “Haha, aww man, you forgot what house we were at?” Chad deadpans, “Naw man, ya moved the truck.”

…Chad was looking for the company truck in the driveway. The very same truck he was driving.

Ziff7

8. The Sweet Sound of Something Else

Didn’t see it, only heard about it, but this one was one for the ages. So, I work at a radio station. Apparently one of the board-ops who worked here before me accidentally let some audio slip over the air from his computer. It happens all the time, no big deal. Unless you’re watching dirty movies…like this guy was.

DAVID_FRIGGIN_KING

9. Promising to Do Better

Worked at a restaurant that was having a meeting with everyone present, including the higher-ups. Pretty normal meeting and everyone is discussing changes they’d like to see or changes they’d appreciate, etc. At one point, head manager asks if anyone else has something to share. This one dishwasher raises his hand and says the dumbest thing.

He goes, “I know I’ve not always been the best, but I’m gonna work on that. From now on I won’t smoke substances in the stairwell by the dumpster. I’ll walk down the street on my break. You won’t even smell it on me anymore, promise.” Dead silence in the room. Manager speaks up, “did everyone else just hear that?” We all nod.

“Great, so now I have to look like a bad guy and fire you. What were you thinking?” Manager says. Dishwasher is shocked. “But, but I said I was fixing it. You guys won’t even know anymore!!” He was walked out and removed in front of the whole staff.

Catflakes

10. Just Sickening

I worked at a hospital for children and came in one morning to find the security guard, who was one of my work buddies, waiting for me at my desk (I worked really early in the morning at either 5 am or 6 am). He was kind of shaken up, and it took some coaxing to get him to tell me what was wrong. When he finally did, I was stunned.

Apparently this old guy who worked overnight at the switchboard operator desk, who I always thought was really nice since we’d sometimes cross over by an hour or two and would just chat about the world, had been caught by the security guard looking up very, very inappropriate material on the work computer. Like, incredibly inappropriate.

Keep in mind we worked at a hospital for children. Not that it is okay in any other scenario, but it was particularly frightening to know that this guy had access to patient areas and was surrounded by kids all day, some of whom did not have the cognitive capacity of normally-functioning kids and tend to be targeted more frequently by those with nefarious motives.

I had to cover the switchboard that morning when HR called him in. I never saw the old guy again and my security guard buddy had to speak with a bunch of people to verify (along with the IT department) what he had seen.

ur_favorite_dinosaur

11. 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. I’ll honestly never understand how someone could be so stupid.

thefreakisin

12. The Sweetest Mistake

We had two massive dip cases of ice cream at the shop at the mall. The switch to turn off the lights was very stupidly located right next to the switch to turn off the freezer. Came in one morning to find all the ice cream in puddles in the die case. My poor co-worker who accidentally flipped the wrong switch was beside herself.

It was a mess to clean up, but luckily it ultimately cost us nothing because the company refunded us for the “damaged” ice cream.

SalemScout

13. 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 it 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.

nientoosevenjuan

14. Crash Test Dummy

I worked at a nice Chevy dealer a couple years back. It was right when the Corvette ZR1 was just getting released. We got one in that was a pre-order from one of our wealthier clients. It was one of the first off the line (Jay Leno actually has the first). Anyways, one of the salesmen thought it would be a great idea to take it for a quick spin.

I don’t know what he was thinking, or how he would even account for the miles on the car when he brought it back. This behavior, by the way, is totally unheard of and never really happens. Well, you guessed it, he crashed it. A $120,000.00 car (at the time), supercharged V8, ordered a year in advance for a customer…

ronie33

15. Finally Giving an Excuse to Be Fired

I was working as a baggage handler (Ramp Agent is the real job title, FYI), and they’d hired a guy whom everyone hated. He was lazy, stupid, and annoying. One of the big rules when working around airplanes is you don’t go anywhere near the engines while they’re still running. They’ll suck you right in and cut you into a million little pieces in 1 second.

They put the fear of God into you about this during training, well before you get near an airplane. Once a plane pulls into the gate, you wait until you have confirmation that the engine has been turned off before you approach it. If you’re not sure, you don’t approach the plane. It’s just too dangerous to mess around with.

Well one day, a plane pulls up to the gate, and this guy walks right up to the engine while it’s still running. People are yelling, his vest is flapping like crazy, but he’s so aloof he doesn’t notice. Someone runs up to him and yanks him back to a safe distance. They had already been building up a case to fire him, but that made it a lot easier. The supervisor walked him into the manager’s office, and he was fired right away. We all rejoiced.

cartoonmummy

16. Not a Good Impression

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.

VictorBlimpmuscle

17. Too Late

Guy was continually late to work. This was back when I was working fast food. We’re talking 10 shifts in a row where he’d stroll in 10 or 15 minutes late. Manager gave him every chance, kept telling him he couldn’t look past it much longer, and finally he was on his last chance. He came in on time for about a week, then came late one day.

Manager changed the schedule to his shift so he wasn’t technically late, and then reamed him in the break room. Told him no more chances, get his stuff together. The manager had a real soft spot for this kid, because even though he was always late, he was a decent worker and fun to be around. The NEXT DAY he doesn’t show up on time.

Manager is furious and watching for him out the window. We see him turn into the store’s parking lot, park in back, and start strolling in. Manager grabs the drive thru headset (he had to walk past the speaker to get in, we watched it unfold on the drive thru camera) and said “don’t bother, you’re fired” through the speaker.

The kid just dropped his head and turned back to his car. Never even bothered to pick up his last check, apparently.

whenevertheycome

18. Gamble on a Customer’s Mistake

My co-worker noticed that someone left their card in the ATM. A normal, honest person would keep the card in a safe place and try to find the owner, right? Nope. He then proceeded to withdraw as much money as he could from their account. He was arrested and fired. I heard that his reasoning was he needed to make a car payment, but he spent all his money at a casino.

pillowvpillow

19. Not Really That Fun of a Day

I’m a medic in the army, and have I got some stories for you. One day, two nurses were busy arguing while we had a patient having a pretty severe heart attack. After we stabilize him, they continue arguing. Well, we had to administer some aspirin, but the dude is unconscious, so we decide to just pump it into his stomach. One of the nurses crushes up an aspirin and dilutes it in saline.

We drop a tube into what we thought was his stomach and push in the aspirin mixture. I’m failing to remember why he needed an X-ray at the time, but he got one. Nasal Gastric (NG) and Oral Gastric (OG) tubes are the tubes you see people get shoved down their noses and throats. At the very bottom, there’s a tiny piece of metal weaved into the plastic so an X-ray technician can take a picture of the patient’s torso and check placement.

Usually placement is checked up by using your stethoscope and pushing air into the OG/NG tube. If you hear gaseous noises, it’s in the right place. Well for some reason, the nurses never checked placement, and the X-ray tech tells us the tube was in the guy’s freaking lungs. The nurses had just pushed an aspirin/saline solution into homie’s lungs. That was a fun day for everyone.

Another situation, but I wasn’t actually here for this. Heard it from the doctor who made the mistake though: Doctor wasn’t an attending physician yet. He was either an intern or resident, but I want to say resident. Anywho, so he gets this larger, older woman in who is having some issues; I can’t remember what her deal was. Regardless, her body temperature was extremely high.

There is this really neat catheter that doctors can insert into your arteries and it will pump cold fluids to rapidly cool you down. The thing is, at the time they were pretty large and rigid. This isn’t conducive to trying to insert it into one of the most sensitive and dangerous areas of the human body. It’s actually very difficult.

Well…when the doctor inserted the inter-cooling catheter, it actually completely shredded her artery lengthwise. He basically gave her a manual aortic dissection. The thing is, there was no way to immediately notice it, since it occurred within her body. It wasn’t until a few seconds later they knew something was wrong when her blood pressure began to tank.

Since she was already really sick and they were trying to stabilize her, they had trouble realizing what was going on. She eventually died. It wasn’t until afterwards that the doctor learned what he had done. He didn’t get in trouble since it was just one of those bad mishaps. Apparently the family handled it really well and didn’t have any animosity towards the doctors or the hospital.

doc_birdman

20. You Can’t Cover up This Crash

Working as a cashier in a family-owned Dodge dealership a few years ago. The lead detailer was a friend of the owner, guy’s name was Tim. Tim was an older guy, and the owner trusted him enough to give out a set of keys to open the shop. Late one Friday night, Tim decides he really needs to impress a much younger lady, so he borrows a customer’s Viper out of the mechanic’s bay area.

Date didn’t go well, and now he’s very much not sober. He hits something and does a ton of damage to the front of the Viper. Tim figures the best thing to do is drive the car back to where it was and clean the stuff out of the damaged front, then run away. But Tim didn’t realize the owner had installed some cameras in the mechanic’s area.

So, when everyone shows up and holy moly what happened to this customer’s supercar, well let’s roll the tape. There is Tim, spending hours cleaning the front of the Viper in an effort to make it go unnoticed. The car ended up being totaled, but that one section of crumpled up panel was spic and span. They found Tim in another customer’s car sleeping it off.

For some ridiculous reason, Tim didn’t end up getting fired until the customer threatened to sue the dealership. It actually got reported to corporate and FCA had to give the guy a brand-new Viper. If the customer hadn’t complained to corporate, the dealership owner would have laughed it off. Because old friends, right?

Anneisawitch

21. Catching the Tumor

My dad had an interesting misdiagnosis a few years back. Since my dad was about 20 or so, he noticed that two of his ribs (opposite each other) stuck out slightly more than the others. He thought nothing of it, and his doctors always told him not to worry about it. It was especially pronounced when he was lying on his back—the two ribs stuck out about an inch above the others.

Anyway, one day he was forced to see a different doctor for his checkup for one reason or another. The doctor noticed his ribs and asked a few questions. He then strongly recommended that my dad get an MRI done on his brain, as he suspected something might be affecting the bone growth. Sure enough, they found a golf-ball sized tumor. They removed it without issue and he’s been doing fine since. He switched to that doctor permanently.

NoShameInternets

22. A Matter of Life and Employment

I worked at a facility that manufactured medical devices, mainly catheters. One day, a work order came in and my manager came into the clean room to hand me the work order and to enter in the order specs (things like dip speed, dwell time, extraction speed and cure time) for the production run. Entering in the specs is literally the one thing I wasn’t allowed to do.

That had to be done by a supervisor or the manager. After he leaves, just for the heck of it, I double check the specs before I start the test run. The specs were off. Like, WAY off. I call the manager who literally just entered them in and asked him if he knew something I didn’t and if he wanted me to correct them. He vehemently told me to leave the specs as is and run the machine as per his specs.

I ask for his reasoning (something I don’t normally do, but I had a funny feeling) and all he said was, “They won’t know the difference.” Now, considering these catheters go INSIDE of people and can cause serious injury if they are faulty, I call up the production manager and tell him what’s going down. He’s on the phone for less than ten seconds, and all he tells me is to stop production and to hang out.

Cool, I hadn’t even started, so I left the clean room and took a break. Not even five minutes later, I hear some yelling, a door slam, and the production manager goes into the clean room to enter the specs into the machine and has me verify the specs right in front of him. He turns to me and says, “If this ever happens again, with anyone, let me know. Personally.”

They put the manager on suspension and sent him home. They started an investigation, and it turns out he had been fudging the numbers for a solid month, and not with just this customer. The company that had been ordering the products threw a fit, and said they would find another manufacturing company if we didn’t fire the guy (my boss) immediately.

It was a multimillion-dollar contract at risk, so he was gone after the week-long investigation. All I got was a measly handshake and thanks from the owner of the company. In short: the boss was knowingly fudging the specs on medical device manufacturing. I found out, told his boss, and lo and behold, he got fired soon after.

warrantyvoiderer

23. Bald Ambition

This happened when I was in cosmetology school. There was a newer girl on the floor who was performing her first color job. Her client wanted highlights for the summer. Well, when we get a new client in, we are supposed to take a total hair history. She failed to do this and didn’t realize the client had previously colored her hair with henna. For those who don’t know, henna + bleach = B A D.

The client’s hair literally melted off. It fell apart and looked/felt like instant mashed potato mix. There was NO saving her hair. Needless to say, it was a disaster. The girl ended up learning from the experience, but my heart broke for the client who had to literally have her head shaved because of this girl’s screw up.

SHOWMEYAKITTIES

24. Not Enough Room for the Both of Us

My dad is a pilot. Half the passengers in this story had no idea about the mistake, while the other half likely pooped themselves. My father was a captain for Eastern Airlines and told a story about almost being at takeoff speed when another commercial jet taxied across his runway. He was going too fast to abort, so he had to pull up early and only cleared the other plane by feet.

His passengers had no idea, but the other plane’s passengers saw everything. I don’t know what ended up happening to the other pilot, but my dad got an apology call from him that evening.

HarborMaster1

25. 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 I opened it. That’s when 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 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. Wasn’t a giant raise, but you increase your own pay without permission, you’re going to be fired. But it got worse.

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 (she was black, I’m Asian, the chair was Latino) 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. Further investigation revealed, of course, that she wasn’t promised anything.

amblongus

26. No Security Like Insecurity

Worked as a student in a bank-agency. 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, darn, three 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 freaking alarm button. In short, I accidentally pressed the alarm-button while working in a bank.

rooran

27. Oh NO

Not me, but my mom. She just retired as an OB/GYN and she told me about a time early on in her career when, while not a real medical mistake, she still almost ruined the operation. She was performing a C-section I think, and she dropped her scalpel on the floor. Before she could think, she blurted out “oh crap” as a reaction.

The mother, thinking something was wrong with the baby, started panicking. It took a team of nurses, the husband, and the mother of the patient to calm her down. This was very early in my mother’s career, and she practiced for another 25 years without major incident. Even so, I think it sort of still haunts her to this day.

monstercello

28. It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Celebrity Faux-Pas!

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 the Christopher Reeve Paralysis 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 Christopher Reeve, I drive myself with a straw. Weaknesses include kryptonite and falling off horses.”

It got worse, but I’ll let your imaginations fill in the blanks. There were about four paragraphs of filler text. I came into 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: “Chris and Dana saw the site.” Me: “What? Who?” Him: “CRPF. Chris and Dana Reeve. 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 (despite how adamant Dana Reeve was about the fact) and I had to write an apology to the Reeves. I found out later that Chris actually had a pretty solid sense of humor and thought it was funny. RIP, Mr. and Mrs. Reeve. In other words, I insulted Superman and lived to tell the story. Somehow.

heyitsgarrett

29. Grandma’s Back

I have a story about a doctor that screwed up and one that saved the day. My grandmother was seeing this physician because she had multiple issues with heart disease and high blood pressure. He prescribed about a dozen different medications to fix all her problems. Soon after, she started to speak very strangely.

She would start accusing people of being in the Mafia, and said they wanted to kill her and the rest of us. This kind of talk became more frequent as time went on, until finally she just stayed in bed because if she left, she would be killed. None of us knew what to do, because who really wants to have their grandmother committed.

During this time, my uncle (my grandmother’s son) goes to the supermarket to do some shopping. While there, he meets her old physician, who just happened to ask how she was doing. My uncle goes into all the details on what we were going through. The doctor then says he wants to look into the case since she was a good patient of his, and asks for the phone number to the house.

The very next morning, he calls and says he found what the problem was. The concoction of medications she was given had severely depleted the salt in her body, causing her brain to swell. He was shocked that the other doctor had not realized this before over-medicating her. His short-term solution was for us to give her one tablespoon of salt. The long term solution, of course, was to change her medications.

I have never seen such a change in a person before. We gave her the salt in a drink, and within the hour she was completely normal again. It really was an incredible moment for us. One hour before, we thought we were going to lose grandma to some institution, and then the next moment she is downstairs in the kitchen making herself a cup of tea. That doctor saved my grandmother, and I can’t express enough gratitude to him.

othwald

30. Dumb Boss

My boss made so many mistakes. One story is the time when she 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.

um_hi_there

31. 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 call outs, etc. She refused to sign the write up because she said she was right that he was worthless. 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.

duckyblinders

32. At Least Jim Follows Directions

Guy in my aircraft technician class. I’ll call him Jim. The module at the time was about electrical power. We were having a review one Friday before the exam started. Earlier that week, we had covered the batteries used on the aircraft, what types, how they were constructed, etc. Trainer turns to Jim and asks him about the different types, expecting him to say “lead-acid, lithium-ion” and so on.

Nope. Jim thinks for a moment and says, “AA, AAA, C….” When we got to the hangar for work experience, the same trainer had lost all faith in Jim. We were all assigned jobs in the morning. Me and another guy on wings, couple more on landing gear, all down through the group. Then he gets to Jim. Placed an A4 sheet of paper on the ground and told Jim to stand on it so it didn’t blow away.

We all laughed, Jim included. The trainer was joking, right? He wasn’t joking. Jim stood there all day.

Frank_Scorpio

33. Good to Hear You’re a Better Doctor Now

I’m a doctor, and I left a swab in a patient once. He had a pacemaker and it was a complicated and bloody operation. We just lost count of the swab. Unfortunately for the patient, his wound became infected and it only became apparent that there was a swab in when we went back in a few weeks later to take it out.

Luckily as we were honest with the patient and open about the error, it was only a slap on the wrist. I’m now paranoid about swab counts and demand rechecks every time. I suppose it’s made me a better doctor.


bushido_underwater

34. A Job Half-Well Done

I incorrectly labeled about 30 pairs of shoes as being $80 instead of $150. That was not a good day.

pickeldudel

35. Can’t Paint Over Every Mistake

For many years, I worked in windows and doors. This gave me an opportunity to witness some massive screw-ups. Some were made by contractors, some were made by manufacturers, some by my mill, and indeed some by me. I had spent years developing an excellent reputation for working on high-end homes. I worked with the architects on the front end, the clients and the contractors on the back end. It was a sweet deal for a guy in his late 20s. 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 to oversee everyone and the work for the day.

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 millwork, custom glass, custom hardware. It was a real luxury villa. The total job cost was $750,000+ and I was acting as an independent contractor supplying the material.

We spent nine months planning every detail, generating a construction document of 500+ pages. We spent two 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 six 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 three trips over five 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 and 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 freaking 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 chargebacks from the contractor, I lost two 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 screw anything up that bad. Darn, that felt good to write about.

MrGonz

36. Sliding on in

Having dinner in a diner one night. As a woman was leaving the restaurant, the server called her a cheap witch for leaving a small tip. He then proceeded to follow her out the door, talking about how he hates people who don’t tip well. He didn’t realize her husband was outside. Husband then tells him to screw off.

The waiter throws a punch and the husband beats him up. The manager saw what was going on and called the cops while screaming at the waiter that he was fired. I was looking for a job at the time. When everything calmed down, I asked the manager if he was hiring. He laughed his butt off and hired me on the spot.

gsdforlife

37. 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. Worst part, 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.

Kelskoch

38. Snakes and Ladders

I work at a pet store. I don’t really know how I did this, but I accidentally threw a snake away. I was cleaning the bedding and didn’t see him buried in it. 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.

lgyure85

39. No Butts About It!

I work in a theme park, and on this particular day, I was manning the control booth. 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 department’s 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 closed for like an hour and a half, and during that time, I had at least seven or eight 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 goddarned fire alarm, and not ONE of them could recreate what I somehow managed to do in one try. With my butt. I still get flack for that one, and it happened nearly two years ago!

Wonderlandian

40. Having Your Heart Ripped out

My brother is a surgeon, and during part of his residency, he had to work in the pediatric unit. He was working with two newborns. One was getting much better and fighting for life. He was going to make it just fine. The other baby was hours from death. He wasn’t going to make it. My brother was in charge of informing the families.

My brother realized about 15 minutes later that he had mixed up the families. He told the family with the healthy baby that their baby wasn’t going to make it, and he told the family with the dying baby that their baby was going to be just fine. He then had to go back out to the families and explain the situation to them.

How devastating to be given a glimmer of hope and have it ripped away from you not even an hour later. That was the most upset I’ve heard my brother. He felt destroyed.

AndromedaStain

41. Birds of a Feather Almost Crash Together

I’m a helicopter pilot. I was doing a tourist flight and was flying low (~ 50 ft) in between rock formations to impress my passengers and give them a nice time. I’ve done this flight multiple times, everyone always loves that low pass, and I usually love it too. Except this time I saw a prey bird flying higher than us right over our flight path, and I was unable to diverge as I was lower than the walls around me.

You have to know that most birds usually try to avoid a big noisy thing flying near them. They do so by swerving left, right, or down. Prey birds are also known to sometimes attack big noisy flying things by diving at them. It all went pretty fast, and thankfully the bird didn’t do anything stupid like throwing itself into the main rotor.

We landed safely a few minutes later, and my passengers went on their way without suspecting anything. I’m more careful now when I make this flight.

RedBird53

42. Snail Mail

I worked in a mailroom for a fairly large company right out of college. 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.

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

Permalink

43. Can’t Get Worse Than That

I’m a doctor. I had a nine-year-old girl brought in one night with her parents complaining of fever and respiratory distress, presenting with coughing and wheezing. The kid was really out of it and the parents were very upset. I thought it was Bronchitis, but I admitted her and ordered treatment for her fever and cough as well as throat cultures.

I was with another patient when the kid started hallucinating, sobbing, and spewing everywhere. I figured it had to do with the fever, so I packed her with ice, but she died maybe a half hour after that. This wasn’t my first death, but it was one of the worst. I couldn’t tell the stiff neck since the kid was out of it. She also couldn’t tell me anything else that would point to simple or complex seizures.

She died of neisseria meningitidis. Completely wrong diagnosis. To make matters worse, we called in all her schoolmates and anyone else we could wake up just in time to see three other kids go. The rest got antibiotics quickly enough to save their lives. Honestly, it was and still probably is my very worst day in my whole career in medicine.

dr_harshaw

44. Crossing the Teas

This was a pretty big, really gross mistake on my part, and I don’t really have many excuses for it. Years ago, I used to work at a Starbucks. I worked an opening shift, and getting there at 5:15 am in the middle of winter meant that I wasn’t in the most awake state of mind. We had a drive-thru, and I was stationed on it for the day.

Now, to help us get through these early mornings, we were allowed (if our supervisor was cool) to make ourselves a drink to keep by the till/bar while we worked. I made myself a grande Chai latte. I get through about half of it when a customer appears at the drive-thru. She orders a grande Chai. Tired me makes said chai.

Tired me accidentally hands out my half-finished chai to the customer. She drives off, and after a few minutes, I wonder why there is a full chai latte sitting there. Luckily, she never came back to complain, but that was the biggest mistake I made at a job. In short, I made myself a drink at work at Starbucks and accidentally gave my half-finished drink to a customer.

olidubbs

45. Filling With Poop

A couple years ago, my father went in for a colonoscopy after experiencing abdominal pain. His doctor was a pretty young guy, and the procedure went routinely, with one “growth” removed for biopsy. Within hours of the surgery, my dad spiked a fever of 105 F and went to the emergency room. With no idea what happened, the doctors opened him up to find actual poop all over his body cavity.

The young doctor had removed my dad’s appendix tie-off scar, which had been done using an out-of-date method from the 90s. He had no idea what it would look like, and didn’t realize what he was cutting off, basically popping a poop balloon inside my dad’s body. He’s okay now, but he nearly died. We didn’t sue, but the hospital paid for the colonoscopy and the following emergency procedures for us, which was nice of them.

NotableNobody

46. Get Clean and Then Clean Again

I was working in a sterile hood when a massive sneeze hit me out of freaking nowhere. 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.

w4lter

47. Blast From Credit Cards Past

I used to run charges on credit cards as part of my job at a bike parts vendor. One day, I mistakenly charged a bike shop over $1,000. It made the owner of the shop go over their credit limit and get a bunch of fees. I was fired soon after. The only job I was ever fired from. I later moved to the town where that very same bike shop is. I spoke with the owner and mentioned that I had worked for the vendor long in the past.

She told me in detail about the time that her card was charged by accident. I feigned ignorance.

sirlearnsalot

48. Poisoning Someone on the First Day of Work

My first day as a camp nurse for people with intellectual disabilities, I gave nine pills to the wrong guest. I didn’t know who I was looking for and asked my friend to send out the guest. His hypochondriac roommate walks out, tells me he is the person I’m looking for, I asked my friend for confirmation (who THOUGHT the correct person had come to me and confirmed from afar that it was), and I administered the meds.

He had a LOT of drug allergies. Stomach dropped when the actual person I was looking for came out 12 seconds later. Luckily, we called poison control and most of the pills were vitamins, and the ones that weren’t were either similar to ones the guy was already taking, or in therapeutic low-dose form. He was fine and still continued to ask for everyone else’s pills at all times.

Worked there two summers and thankfully had no other disasters like this one.

ironmaven

49. The Ultimate Strike-out

Our general manager just quit yesterday before getting fired. We had a bowling party on Sunday, and he came as un-sober as could be. I feel bad because he is going through a divorce, but he hit on so many of the female employees there. One was 19, and he offered to buy her a car if she went home with him. It was such a mess.

acarso12

50. The Big Sleep

I was working a full-time job and three part-time jobs. I worked every day, and on the weekends I would work nights. I rarely slept and this went on for six months. One of the jobs was for a well-known lotion and scents store. The pay and hours really didn’t make a difference, but I enjoyed working there and was happy to keep doing so.

My manager was going out of town and was leaving a new supervisor in charge who I hadn’t gotten to know all too well, and he did not like me for some reason. Well, the stars aligned and I got a weekend off, except for a morning shift with them. My manager had offered me the day off before she left, but me knowing it would leave her shorthanded, I declined.

She told me that if I overslept or was late, it was ok, due to how much I’ve been working. So I go home that night and crash out hard. The feeling of my bed was the greatest thing ever. I set my alarms and out I went. I woke up over 30 hours later not realizing I had slept through my shift until I saw the voicemail on my phone.

The new supervisor had “fired” me and put me down as a no call no show, which was rightfully so. I called the store and he refused to talk to me. So I called the manager and told her what happened. She said it was fine and would take care of it and to come in for my next scheduled shift. Again, I’m a good and dedicated worker.

Well, long story short, this little jerk of a supervisor had already submitted my termination files to corporate and classified me as a no rehire. My manager was pissed and fired him shortly afterward. The sleep was the best I had had in years and is still on my top 10 sleeps. Totally worth getting labeled as a no rehire.

flappydappy22

Got Fired But Worth It factsKristina Dimovska | Factinate

51. Hello, Mr. Sandman

I worked at a plant nursery that sold bulk soils and sand. We loaded this into customers’ trucks with a Bobcat front end loader. Guy jumps into the Bobcat after improperly attaching the bucket and scoops up ~2,000 pounds of sand. Everything is fine and dandy until he attempts to tilt the bucket down and dump the sand. BOOM, 500-pound bucket holding 2,000 pounds of sand SMASHES the side of a guy’s brand-new Tundra.

Permalink

52. Bottoms up and Down the Drain

I work in the cold room of a busy venue with several bars. It’s my job to change the beer kegs when they run out. When it gets busy, I am literally checking and changing the kegs as fast as I can. After a keg is changed over, you pressurize the beer line by opening a valve called a fob. This wastes a small amount of beer, as it creates a siphon to allow the liquid to flow again.

The waste beer ends up in a water cooler bottle in the room outside the cold room. Anyway, one day I was really busy, and I forgot to close one of the fobs. I went off and changed another two or three kegs before going out of the cool room for a break. And stepped right in the middle of a massive pool of foamy beer.

Here’s the kicker though: my cold room had 24 of those fobs, and I had to check most of them before I found the open one. Then I tried to clean up the mess before a supervisor noticed. I failed, and I got yelled at for wasting at least double my day’s wages in spilled booze. In short, I flooded a small room with beer.

Bucklesman

53. Count Them All

Fun story, while my wife was having her C-section for our daughter, she overheard one of the nurses say, “there’s only nine,” and my wife thought they were talking about my daughter’s fingers or toes. So she’s freaking out that our daughter is missing a finger or toe, and I keep assuring her that our daughter was perfect, which she was.

We found out about ten minutes later that the nurse was talking about the surgical tools that were supposed to be accounted for, and one of them was missing. So my wife got to spend the next two hours in X-ray because they thought they had left a tool inside her and stitched her up. They found the missing tool, not inside my wife, a couple hours later, so that was a relief.

HOBOHUNTER5000

54. Burned for the Last Time

I cremated a lady too soon (I’m a funeral director). Here’s how it went down: You can’t cremate a person unless you have received a permit for that person to be cremated from the coroner/medical examiner office. Takes a few days to get one usually, and a licensed funeral director (me) has to sign the permit along with the coroner to make it valid.

So, I met with the “Smith” family, the husband and two daughters of the deceased. The daughter wanted to see her mother again before cremation took place, so I set that up for two days later. The next day was an extremely busy day. I was dealing with a very difficult family, among a million other things. I was on the phone getting yelled at by a guy over something that had nothing to do with us when the office secretary walks up and hands me a stack of permits to sign.

So, I’m glancing through the files to make sure we have everything we need for me to sign these permits, with the phone to my ear, being called every name in the book. I sign the permits, the secretary takes them and faxes them to the crematory, the crematory cremates the bodies. I literally sat straight up in bed at 1 am the next morning because I realized my lady whose daughter was supposed to see her again was in that stack of permits.

So….not good.

TackyCardia9

55. A Teacher Gets Schooled in Empathy

I’m a teacher. I had a particularly difficult student who gave me a very hard time on an unusually hard day, early in my career. After class let out, another colleague stopped by. Without thinking, I said, “Nobody wants (“that difficult kid”) in their class! It’s hopeless.” He was walking in the room to apologize and heard me. However withdrawn and difficult he was before this, it multiplied tenfold, and I felt terrible.

I tried to apologize to him, but he didn’t want to hear it. After that, I didn’t breathe a negative word about a child on school grounds. As an educator, you have to learn sooner or later that your students are the ones who get to act like children. Not you.

ligamentary

56. Just Remember What You Learned in School

I was in the process of getting my PPL (private pilot license), and I was flying circuits solo. Before I took off, the CFO of the flight school asked me if “I was sure it was a good idea to fly, it’s pretty windy.” I was flying a Cessna 152 on a day with wind pushing 15 kts and turbulence around 20. I honestly don’t know what I or anyone at the flight school was thinking letting me (16 years old) take off.

Anyways, a few bumpy circuits go by with no problem. I actually got some great practice landing in turbulence. So, the last circuit of the day, I’m on final with full flaps doing the ABSOLUTE minimum speed for approach in a 152, not taking into consideration that the air is super turbulent. For those who don’t know, when it’s bumpy, you should be going a little faster on approach than usual.

Anyways, I’m quite close to the ground, maybe 300-400 feet, and I can HEAR the wind blowing over the sound of the engine. Suddenly, no wind. I had just lost 15-20kts of almost direct headwind on final approach with absolutely no airspeed to spare. I remember my shirt sleeves looked like they were inflating, and the plane’s stall warning started screaming at me.

The controls became totally useless, like a limp computer joystick. Thankfully, I had my hand on the throttle like my instructor taught me, and for whatever instinctual reason (good instructor probably), I gently pushed the throttle all the way and slightly lowered the nose. All of this took place in the span of about 5 seconds.

I remember what I did, but not thinking about doing it. It was like when you drive somewhere, and you suddenly realize you’ve arrived without remembering driving. Darn scary. Anyways, I landed the plane just fine and went home and took a nap. My parents said I was pale as a ghost when I got home. Flying is fun until it isn’t.

matthew798

57. Working in an ER Is Hard

ER resident here. I have two mistakes (that I know of). Tried to protect the kidneys of a gentleman who had to get just a TON of contrast. Ended up giving him too much fluid and pushed him into pulmonary edema. Spent about an hour on bipap but did OK after. Did a FAST ultrasound on a trauma patient. Thought it was negative, but in retrospect had a small pericardial effusion.

He coded about 30 mins later after said effusion expanded. Had so much head trauma everyone told me he wouldn’t have lived anyway…but still feel awful about it. EVERY resident and doctor makes mistakes, and the ER is basically a perfect storm of the factors that contribute to errors. You just hope that when they happen, your mistakes are small.

Our hospitals and programs try VERY hard to have a blame-free work environment. When you review common medical errors, they are usually caused by a culmination of circumstances rather than one person just not doing their job right. Residents routinely present M&Ms (morbidity and mortality conferences) that go through the scenarios that led to the mistake and analyze the reasons and fixes that can be made.

It’s universally thought of as our best conference because you can often see how very easily one could have made the same mistake in the other person’s shoes. We try our best to do right by patients and to get the right answer. I work with incredibly smart people every day who are driven, committed, and who have excelled their whole life in order to be incredible doctors.

Unfortunately, errors are part of the job. We just need to do our best to recognize them, learn from them, and most importantly prevent them from occurring more than once.

morbidity_mortality

58. Surgery vs. Genetics

I had a manager named Roxanne (Rocky). She was a bleach blonde (literally bleached her hair once a month and then wondered why it broke/fell out) bubblehead who only had the job because daddy owned the restaurant. Rocky was really obsessed with her looks and not much else. One day, she told me and a co-worker that she had her nose job done so that her eventual children wouldn’t grow up with the same nose as her.

She wasn’t kidding. The co-worker and I just looked at each other and walked away. We knew it wasn’t worth the effort.

Adastria

59. Mistakes Can Make You Better

As a very young doctor in training, I misdiagnosed a woman with epilepsy. Some years prior, she had sustained a gunshot wound to the frontal area, damaging the underside of one of her frontal lobes and severing an optic nerve to one of her eyes, as well as some of the muscles that rotated that eyeball. Surgery saved her life, but the frontal lobe was scarred and the eye was blinded and always pointed down and at an angle away from her nose.

A few years after that, she began having spells of a bizarre sensation, altered awareness, a pounding in the chest, and she had to sit down, stop what she was doing, and couldn’t speak. These were odd spells and I assumed she had developed frontal lobe epilepsy from the scar on her brain. Increasing doses of anti-seizure drugs seemed to work initially, but then the spells came back.

A couple years after my diagnosis, her endocrinologist, who treated her for diabetes mellitus, checked a thyroid. It was super-high. The spells were manifestations of hyperthyroidism. She drank the radioactive iodine cocktail, which ablated her thyroid, got on thyroid replacement therapy, and felt well thereafter. No permanent harm done and she was able to come off the anti-epilepsy drugs.

She was obese—not the typical skinny hyperthyroid patient—and if she developed thyroid eye disease, I couldn’t tell because her one eye was already so messed up. I see how I screwed it up, but in retrospect I have never been sure what I could have done differently, except test her thyroid at the outset of treatment.

Hence, a lot of patients—thousands—have had their thyroid checked by me since then. Every so often, I pick up an abnormality and it gets treated. The lady was an employee of the hospital where I trained and I ran into her one day; she gave me a hug and let me know how this had all gone down. She made a point of wanting me to know she didn’t blame me “because I always seemed to care about her and what happened to her.”

I think about her, and how I screwed up her diagnosis and set back her care, almost every day. I am a much better diagnostician now, but I always remember this case and it reminds me not to get cocky or be too sure that my working diagnosis is correct.

brainotron

60. Hit Snooze to Send

Falling asleep while working from home was my least proud moment. I felt less bad about it when another co-worker fell asleep during a conference call, with his mic on, snoring loudly.

amandamauler

61. Pet Shop Boy

When I was 14, I managed to get a job at a local family-owned pet store. Pretty much every single one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in my entire work history was something I did at that job: On my first day, I was asked to clean out the cages for the pet rodents (gerbils, guinea pigs, etc.). While I was doing this, a kid of about ten approached me and told me it was his dream to work at a pet store and asked if he could help.

I thought that was a great idea because the work would get done twice as fast and I’d be helping this kid get his start. The owner was not happy to come in the back room and see a strange kid back there helping me out. But there’s another story. There was a huge cage in the middle of the store that had about eighty or ninety birds in it (budgies, cockatiels, etc.).

One night before we closed up, I was asked to change the water dishes in the birdcage. Those who have ever been around a birdcage know that they put little doors on the side so you can take food and water dishes out without reaching all the way through, especially useful on a cage as massive as this one. The only problem was that when I put one of the water dishes back, I forgot to close the door.

When the owner came in the next morning, all but eight of the birds had escaped and four had died flying into the front windows of the store. It took three hours to catch the escapees. There were a lot of other smaller things I did too, like try to pour out mop water in a stopped drain that I had been told was stopped, flooding one of the back rooms, on top of the fact that I sucked at cleaning in general and was constantly getting chewed out for it.

I didn’t get a lot of chances to make mistakes, though, because I was fired after a month. At the time, I thought I had gotten screwed, but looking back on it I realized there’s an extremely important lesson to take away from the experience: you should never hire a 14-year-old to do anything because they’re all idiots. Especially me.

schnit123

62. Red in My Ledger

Used to work at the theater. Sold a $100 gift card to this lady in red. I pre-loaded the gift card, handed it to the lady, then she pays on debit. Before the transaction fully completes, she says thanks and I let her go (there was a huge line). The card got declined but by the time I realized it, she was already walking into the women’s washroom.

I stand outside the women’s washroom waiting for her to come out. At this point, I don’t even remember her face, but all I remembered was that she wore red. A lady comes out in red and I tell her, “Hey ma’am, your card got declined, can you please come back and pay.” She doesn’t know what the heck I’m talking about and tells me she never purchased a gift card. I told her yes, she did, and that she needs to come back to pay for it.

The commotion caused her husband to show up, who was also waiting for her to come out of the washroom, yelling, “How dare you accuse my wife of stealing your gift card? Let me speak to your manager.” To this day, I’m still not sure if the woman I accused was the same woman who hustled me, or if it was a coincidence that this was another woman who also wore red.

taimychoo

63. Dropping the Ball

I worked at a bowling alley as a teenager. One girl was immediately fired for dropping a ball on the foot of a complaining patron.

jeff_the_nurse

64. Flight for the Whole Family

When I was a teenager, my dad was earning his pilot’s license. It was the best, and we always got to go on lessons. We all liked his instructor and had him around for dinner often. He and my dad would make sports bets. Well, instructor Chris lost, and the payment was a ride with him on this twin engine just for fun.

It’s a clear night, so we go. Chris and dad are flying, and my mom, baby sis, and I are in the back. My sister fell asleep before we even get to the runway. We take off, and immediately something is very wrong. There are suddenly loud bangs all over the plane like metal is hitting it, and the plane pitches like crazy.

My mom had a headset, so I reached over and grabbed one side so I could hear. Chris is freaked out, but I heard my dad say, calm as heck, “We fly the plane first and panic later,” then start radioing others that we are circling back for emergency landing. At this point, my mom grabs the headset back and I just sat still.

They landed the plane perfectly. Turns out there was an outside compartment on the nose of the plane that was open, so on take off it flew open and a bunch of stuff hit the plane. We got out, all of us shaken, and then my little sister pipes up, “Daddy, are we going to fly now?” We all just lost it laughing, we could barely breathe.

My dad can’t fly now, but I’m saving up. Next time he comes to visit, I’m going to make sure I’ve had a few lessons, and I’ll take him flying this time. Those flying lessons were some of the best moments of my childhood.

Sammiesam123988

65. Wrong Guy for the Job

When I was in the Navy, there was a cook on my ship. He once served “rare” chicken. I genuinely couldn’t tell whether he was trying to cover up his limitless incompetence or if he genuinely believed that rare poultry is a real thing. Another time, he just filled a pan with ground beef and called it meat loaf.

Another time he was supposed to make sugar cookies, you know, several hundred of them for the whole crew. He didn’t bother to read the label on the container he opened, and apparently he didn’t taste the batter at any point, and he actually made salt cookies. He used up all the remaining salt in the pantry and we had unseasoned food for the last several weeks of the mission, during which time the captain assigned someone to be the cook’s bodyguard.

AuspiciousAuspicious

66. How Was I Supposed to Know What Day It Was??

I was working in a warehouse with a woman who was normally very cheerful. One week she was looking a bit down, so as a light-hearted joke, I took a box and wrote “CAUTION: HUMAN HEAD” on it, with some red marker for blood drips and such, and put it on her desk. Wasn’t a great joke, but thought it’d at least raise a smile.

Now from the context, I imagine you’re thinking “No, this is a bad idea”—and you’d be right. The woman came in, saw the box, and ran to the toilet crying. Turned out it was the anniversary of her brother’s death. He had been decapitated in a motorcycle accident. Everyone else knew, so they assumed that I did. No amount of arguing would convince them otherwise and it wasn’t worth dragging it out.

happystamps

Got Fired But Worth It factsKristina Dimovska | Factinate

67. High-Ranking Doctor

I’m in the military, and as I’ve gotten closer to 40, it seems I’ve begun to develop high blood pressure. On-base doctor insisted I needed medication to control it, so he wrote a prescription. To be honest, I hadn’t seen this doc before and seemed a bit…off. Not sure how to describe it, but he just seemed a bit less than completely there.

Anyways, I walk down to the pharmacy area and wait my turn. I’m called forward and the pharmacy tech asks for my ID, looks up the order, and asks me some basic questions. “Name,” “Date of Birth,” and “Allergies.” I told her I was allergic to penicillin and sulfa. The prescription was for Hyzaar. Any medical student can probably tell you how moronic this order was.

Hyzaar specifically has side effects for those with allergies to penicillin or sulfa. I’m allergic to both. The tech actually said out loud “What in the actual heck!” She calls the doctor on the phone and starts chewing his butt. Keep in mind she’s a civilian and he’s a commissioned officer. Neither of them “outrank” the other, so he’s arguing back with her, and then she says something devastating.

She tells him, “Your pill popping is officially over. You could have killed this patient today because you’re always too high to know what’s going on around you. I’m going to the wing commander over this.” To shorten the story a bit, it’s brought before an ethics board and a court-martial. Seems he was “trading scripts” with other doctors in the area for pain pills, was high nearly every waking moment, and could have actually killed me.

He received a sentence of over one year. I’m being a bit purposefully vague to prevent anyone from tracking me down personally (as I had to testify).

Paroxysm

68. That’s Not Tomato Sauce…

I worked at a pizza place, and one night the oven guy went rushing past and mumbled something about someone taking over an oven. So, I went over and started cutting pizzas without really paying attention to what I was doing. Ten minutes later, the oven guy comes back with his hand all bandaged up and blood all over his arm.

He had cut his hand badly on the pizza knife and bled all over everything, but because the blood looked a little like grease and I wasn’t paying attention, I continued cutting pizzas with the bloody knife and cutting board. Many people had human blood all over their pizzas and I didn’t have the balls to go own up and tell them.

Permalink

69. An Incompetent River Flows Through It

I had an employee who was working night audit at a hotel. I was AGM, so he called me when I was on-call and told me that a guest complained about water dripping from the ceiling in his room on the first floor. Uhhhh did you go up to check on the room above it? “No”… How long ago was this? “Like a couple hours ago.”

I’ve never flown out of bed faster. I threw on some clothes and made it to the hotel in record time. By the time I got to the second floor, I could hear a WATERFALL. The source of the water was, in fact, not the second floor. Nor was it the third floor. No, no…it was the FOURTH FLOOR. We had the water shut off earlier in the day for work that was being done on the pipes.

A guest got pissed and checked out because it took too long for the water to come back on. Apparently, they had tried to turn on the bath and didn’t think to freaking turn it off. So, the bathtub overflowed for god knows how long, flooded the room, and the room underneath it, and the room underneath that, and finally the room underneath that.

As it turns out, my idiot employee had moved someone from the room on the third floor for the same thing, but he didn’t think to check on it. Instead, he decided to call me when a second guest, now on the first floor, complained of the same thing. THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of dollars of damage.

BurberryCustardbath

70. The Bubble Bursts

I used to work at a corn maze with several other attractions, a mini maze (my job), a giant slide, a bounce pillow, a fishing pond. We were all teenagers, none of us really UNDERSTOOD the bounce pillow, it was just always inflated when we got there. One day it wasn’t. The guy who was stationed there thought he could figure it out himself. I heard it explode while I was getting my morning snow cone.

The whole staff was replaced the next season.

SpaceAgeUnicorn

71. Consider Me Plucked

My first job when I was 16 was at PetSmart. I had been working there for a few months when one night, I was cleaning out the bird/small animal habitat. The procedure was to haul a ShopVac into the little room and vacuum up the spilled bird food/seeds/litter. Easy peasy. So, I’m cleaning out the cage with the cockatiels in it, when one of them decides to investigate the loud sucking machine. FWOOMP. The bird is gone.

I opened up the canister, no bird. I take the hose off the tank and, bird. I used a box cutter to rip the hose in half so I could get him out. So, this freaking bird is missing feathers and is bleeding and I am hysterical. I run to my boss crying and say “IJUSTSUCKEDABIRDUPINTHESHOPVACHESGOINGTODIEIAMAHORRIBLEPERSON.” He takes one look at me, then the bird, and starts laughing.

I ended up driving him to another PetSmart that had a Banfield vet in it; he laughed and gave the bird some fluids. My coworkers named him Hoover and he lived in quarantine in the back of the store for months until his feathers came back.

Permalink

72. Too Inept to Break It

I worked with a guy for a while at a maintenance job. Well, we did snow removal. One morning, I come in a bit late and get regaled with the story of true, unadulterated idiocy. This guy got a riding lawnmower with a John Deere snow brush attached to the front (think how a vacuum works) to remove the snow in a parking lot.

He decided that it would be better if the snow blew backward (toward himself) rather than away from himself for whatever reason, and asked our boss about it. Now our boss hates this guy, and he basically told him to just get the snow moved and be done with it. So what does this guy do? You’ll never believe it…

He called John Deere and talked to them for AN HOUR. They told him that yes, you technically CAN reverse the brush, but it will mess everything up if you run it like that for any real amount of time. He proceeded to tell John Deere that they were wrong, and tried to do it anyway. The only reason he didn’t ruin the brush was because he was inept, and our boss basically told him that if he broke it, he was fired.

D3mandred

73. Not Counting the Candles on the Cake

Server at an Italian restaurant. A coworker tried hitting on a guest who was celebrating her 14th birthday with her entire family. Her friends were telling him not to try anything, but he still asked for her number and her mom overheard everything. The mother quickly informed our GM, who confronted the server and fired him on the spot.

About a year or so later, he tried asking for his job back. To clear things up a bit, you couldn’t serve if you were under 18, but if I remember correctly he was around 20/21 years old when he pulled this stunt.

Aciid_Silence

74. I Was New, It Was My Fault

I’m a doctor. My first week of my intern year (year one outside of medical school, when you’re on call overnight and all that, AKA “Season One of Scrubs“), everyone “signs out” their team’s patients to the doctor on call overnight. So that doctor (intern, with an upper-level resident also present overnight to supervise) is covering many patients they hardly know, maybe 60 or more.

The situation was that a patient with dementia, unable to really communicate with people and clearly “not there” but conscious, arrived from a nursing home with I think some agitation as the original complaint. Basic labs ordered in the ER show the kidney function is worse than usual, which could be due to many things.

What really MUST be distinguished is between “not enough blood pumped forward to the kidneys and rest of the body” (e.g. heart is failing and it’s backing up into the lungs) VS “not enough liquid in the blood TO flow” (e.g. due to vomiting a lot or something). This is critical to distinguish because for the first, you give medicine to make them pee out the extra liquid, and in the second you give more fluid.

Either treatment for the opposite problem is catastrophic. Fortunately, it’s usually easy to distinguish “wet” from “dry,” based on listening to heart and lungs, chest X-ray (is there “congestion” evidence?), blood pressure and heart rate (tend to drop BP and raise heart rate upon going from laying down to standing positions if you’re too “dry”), looking at neck veins while sitting up at an angle (they bulge if too “wet”), and so on.

This patient was unable to cooperate with exam, answer questions, and the X-ray was sort of borderline (unchanged from the last X-ray maybe several weeks ago). My resident instructed me to sign out the patient with instructions to continue a 500mL saline inflow, then reassess to see whether the patient looked more “wet” or less “dry.”

I signed this out, but forgot to make the order to stop the saline after 500mL, so it ended up running slowly in all night. The intern on call (also first week as a doctor) forgot to re-assess at all or shut off the saline if it had been noticed because they were so busy with new admissions. We’d also ordered three sets of “heart enzymes” meant to diagnose a heart attack, one reason for a patient suddenly getting “wet.”

Lab messed up too, because hospital policy was that if the first set of “heart enzymes” was negative, apparently the 2nd and 3rd sets, each traditionally spaced 6-8 hours later, were both cancelled. I came in and first thing in the morning checked on this patient, who was screaming things nobody could understand and the nurses had chalked up to dementia and agitation.

I checked the labs and saw the second and third heart enzymes hadn’t been done. I went to the bedside and saw the IV fluids still running. I immediately ran to the overnight intern, who said things had been so busy and nobody had called to notify that things were wrong. We stopped the fluids, immediately got a heart enzyme test, learned this patient was by now having a massive heart attack made much worse by the addition of IV fluids all night to this frail failing pump.

I can’t get the screams out of my head, and cried a lot and was pretty depressed for a few weeks at least after this. The patient died because the status ended up being decided as not to resuscitate based on what the nursing home had on file, although no family members were known at all. This patient was totally alone, and spent the last night of their life in physician-induced agony.

But I acknowledge the failure of two interns, the nurses, and the lab. Ultimately the blame fell on the lab and I think someone was fired, but I made clear to everyone that I felt to blame and wanted quality improvements made to prevent future errors, or at least catch them early if they happen. That’s I think the best you can do when you make a mistake.

There’s a Scrubs episode where, as I recall, at the end there’s a brief scene where the ghosts of dead patients representing medical errors follow around the physicians like little trains. It’s very poignant. That’s what it’s like.

43W1n

75. Talk About a Hot Ride

Worked at Circuit City circa 2005 installing car audio. One of my co-workers put a satellite radio in a brand-new BMW, but apparently wired something wrong and the car burned to the ground. Oops!

jmpanc

76. So That’s How You Really Feel?

I worked at a café chain known for soups, sandwiches, and salads throughout high school. I was good friends with exactly three people. Whenever our group got to close the store, it was always a fun time. We ended up messing around a bit with the drive-thru headsets after-hours while chatting and cleaning up the store.

There was a particularly attractive new manager who had been hired recently, and she was a bit of a hot topic between a group of high school guys. We were unaware that the store mics and cameras ran to an app on the manager’s phone. We all got called in the next day. They didn’t fire us. Oh no, it was much worse.

The manager had a good sense of humor. She made printouts of our conversation and made us repeat it verbatim to the new hot manager, who was in tears laughing at how terrible we felt. Taught us a good lesson. Good managing right there.

YungEngineer95

Got Fired But Worth It factsKristina Dimovska | Factinate

77. Near Miss

As a doctor, I missed a gunshot wound once. A guy was dumped off at the ER covered in blood after a concert. We were all focused on a gunshot wound with an arterial bleed that was distracting. The nurse placed the blood pressure cuff over the gunshot wound on the arm. We all missed it because the blood pressure cuff slowed the bleeding.

I was doing the secondary assessment when we rolled the patient, and I still missed it. We didn’t find it till the chest X-ray. The bullet came to rest in the posterior portion of the thoracic wall without significant trauma to major organs. Fortunately and very luckily, the patient lived. But I still feel like I messed up big time.

disposable_h3r0

78. Pulling His Way out

One guy 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. I have no idea what he was thinking.

Dreams

79. Shake It off

I was running out orders and bussing tables at my cafe, just learning how to hold the tray properly with my left hand. So I get an order of one cappuccino and one strawberry milkshake for a mother and her little girl. As I get to their table, I put the coffee down in front of the woman. I then unbalance the tray and accidentally spill the milkshake all over her seven-year-old kid. It was her birthday and they were brand new clothes and shoes.

roastbeefandtoast

80. 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, he was fired on the spot.

Picnut

81. Always Check the Decimals

I very nearly injected a premature baby who had Down Syndrome with ten times the amount of Lasix I was supposed to give him: I had put the decimal in the wrong place when I did the math on the dose. That baby would almost certainly have died if I’d given it to him. I had the liquid drawn up in the syringe and had the syringe actually in the port ready to push through before I looked inside the chamber and realised how uncharacteristically full it seemed.

Paediatric IV doses of anything are simply tiny. I was supposed to give him 0.1 mls, and nearly gave him 1.0mls. I needed a very large cup of tea after that.

JaniePage

82. Beauty Sleep

I was working construction on a huge mall project. I had partied all night long the night before, so I decided to take a quick nap as soon as I got on site. That was the worst choice I ever made, because I ended up sleeping from 8am to 7pm. When I arrived back at the shop with the work van, the owner was waiting for me.

I was sure I was getting fired, but nothing could’ve prepared for me what he did next. He thanked me for working late and told me he wished the rest of the crew had my work ethic. I got paid time and a half for the three hours overtime, and he gave me a dollar raise a few days later. It was incredible, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so lucky.

AntrimFarms

83. I Spot Trouble

When I worked at Home Depot, we had a guy who was really something special. When driving a forklift during store hours, you’re supposed to have a spotter with flags guide you through the store. It’s pretty much an instant firing if you don’t. So anyway, this guy drives the forklift into the store with a pallet of cinder blocks and no spotter.

He proceeds to hit a shelf, which damages a cinder block on the bottom. He panics, realizing he damaged a $1.00 cinder block, and speeds through the store on the forklift, weaving in and out of customers, and gets caught by the manager trying to dump the entire pallet of blocks down the garbage chute to cover his tracks. That was his last day.

selfishmacaw

84. Glove on My Face, But Don’t Call Me a Gloveface

Not a big mistake, but definitely awkward at the time. I’m a doctor, and I was gluing up a laceration on a 14-year-old girl’s forehead. Anyone who has used dermabond before knows that stuff can be runny and bonds very quickly. I glued my glove to her face. Her mum was in the room, and I had to turn to her and say, “I’m sorry, I’ve just glued my glove to her face.”

pikto

85. Hair-Raising Mistake

At work, we all communicate through Skype. There was a coworker who I often flirted with. We had a game where we would ask each other questions and the other person had to answer honestly. One time, I asked whether he had chest hair—and then realized that I had accidentally sent the message to my boss instead of to him. Fortunately, my boss just laughed it off and told me to go back to work. I still cringe at the memory though…

lalaino

86. Halving the Sandwich

Back when I worked as a server, our restaurant hired a new cook. He was a lovely guy, but darn, was he stupid, at least when it came to cooking. He was still learning the menu, so some mistakes were understandable, but for some reason when a customer ordered a half sandwich, instead of making a sandwich with two half pieces of bread, he made a full sandwich and just took off one slice of bread and served it.

saaavvvv

87. So Much for Due Diligence

Financial firm looking to open a crummy cash for gold place. A senior manager led the effort. Secured a property, hired staff, rigged up high-end security, secured partners to resell the gold to. Warehouses ready for storage with their own security. Millions spent. Thing is: it’s a pawn business, and this guy never looked into if that was legal on the property/area he bought.

Whole thing was lost, and he was fired immediately.

I_Said

88. Statue of Limitations

Working as a caddy, I crashed a golf cart into a million dollar metal statue and left a huge dent in it. A client witnessed this go down. By some miracle, I never got caught—but it sure made every call for a meeting terrifying from then on!

todd282

89. Someone’s Work Performance Smells Fishy

I worked in a salmon processing plant in Alaska. There was a dude in his mid-20s who had worked there before, so they assigned him to run the holding tanks. The tanks were two huge (like three stories tall) tanks that stored the fish from the boats. One day, the dude thought he had drained both tanks of all the fish, so they called it a day.

We didn’t work with fresh fish for two days, and when we got back it smelt like absolute death. As it turns out, he hadn’t drained one of the tanks, so the fish sat in lukewarm water for three days. He destroyed about 500,000 lbs of salmon. After that, he worked in the gutting section. I’m pretty sure he was just happy he didn’t lose his job.

Permalink

90. Coffee Break

I worked at a coffee shop and lost my mind when this one extremely rude customer came in. Normally I’m really good at keeping my cool, but this day I just lost it—and threw a muffin in the customer’s face. He fully deserved it. And he was so shell shocked that I responded this way, he just stormed out to his car and I didn’t get in any trouble!

Tee-Chou

91. Heartbreaking Experience

As an ICU nurse, I’ve seen the decisions of some doctors result in death. Families often times don’t know, but it happens more than you’d think. It usually happens on very sick patients who ultimately would have died within six months or so anyway, though. Procedural wise, I have seen a physician kill a patient by puncturing their heart while placing a pleural chest tube.

It was basically a freak thing, as apparently the patient had recently had cardiothoracic surgery and the heart adhered within the cavity at an odd position. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he came to the realization of what had happened. You rarely see people accidentally kill someone in such a direct way. Heartbreaking.

pound-town

92. Someone’s About to Have Beef

I used to work at the Cheesecake Factory, where we had a chicken and shrimp gumbo. One day, I had some devoutly religious Muslim guests come in and explain very clearly before ordering that they can’t eat anything that contains alcohol or pork. I said sure, no problem. They ordered the chicken and shrimp gumbo and I put the order through.

Then I remembered that the dish had pork sausage in it, and I had completely forgotten. The lady was halfway through eating it when she asked me what the meat was that she was eating. If she hadn’t already eaten most of it, I would have taken it back—but given the situation, I just lied and said it was beef. No one caught me!

xm1l1tiax

93. Food Fight

I waited tables at a restaurant/bar, and this drunk chick tried to chuck a hot fajita skillet at me with no success. I then threw her drink right back at her and the guy sitting with her in retaliation. This resulted in the termination of my employment. I kinda felt bad because the guy seemed nice, but sometimes there are casualties in war.

StuddersCronkite

Got Fired But Worth It factsKristina Dimovska | Factinate

94. Face-First Into Unemployment (for Show)

I used to work at Chuck E. Cheese and was taking a pizza from the kitchen to the customer. 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 two-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 manager was a cool guy, so he said no, but he pulled me aside and told me he would have to pretend to go crazy on 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 hole for another year before I left for college.

Jesters

95. MIA: Missing in the Air

Not a pilot—but was an air traffic controller. I have a million screwed-up pilot stories, though. One very sad story was a pilot who flew in on “emergency fuel” in his MiG he flew around to air shows. He was erratic and didn’t listen to instructions well, but landed safely. He left my airport a few days later, then went down in the mountains and was never found.

The finding was: Likely low fuel due to scraping his fuel tanks at an air show prior to arriving at my airport. He never even had it looked at while he was at my airport. He was aware he had scraped his fuel tanks, he came into my airport using emergency fuel, yet he pressed on after that, to his death. The truth is, pilots are just people. They’re flawed like the rest of us.

internetownboy

96. 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, get this:

“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 exactly how stupid she was, and I was right. She was fired a week later because she was such a bad employee.

Permalink

97. That’s No Scratch

I’m a nurse, but I was working in the ER when a guy came in for a scratch on his neck and “feeling drowsy.” We start the usual workups and this dude’s blood pressure TANKED. We scrambled, but he was dead within ten minutes of walking through the door. Turns out the “scratch” was an exit wound of a .22 caliber rifle round.

The guy didn’t even know he’d been shot. When the coroner’s report came back, we found that he’d been shot in the leg and the bullet tracked through his torso, shredding everything in between. There was really nothing we could’ve done, but that was a serious “what the heck just happened” moment, and for a good while we thought we had made a fatal error.

pause_and_consider

98. Mic Drop

I worked in a bar with an awful boss. He would always flirt with the young female bar 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 bar 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 bar 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 clean 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.” Lost my job instantly, but it was totally worth it.

bbyrats

99. Big Pharma

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.

anon_admin_1

Workplace StoriesShutterstock

100. My Boss Is a Heartbreaker

I had a doctor who constantly ignored patients in serious pain. He thought all of them were faking it to get pain killers. After a senior director at Microsoft, who he refused to do an EKG on, died from a heart attack in our ER, it was the last straw. I went to management and told them what I had seen. Thank God they fired him. I couldn’t take it anymore.

quiet-nurse

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 78, 910, 1112, 1314, 15, 16, 17, 18


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