There's always some anxiousness on the first day at a new job. It can be stressful trying to make a good first impression, learn the lay of the land, and figuring out who to sit with at lunch. Unfortunately for these folks, their first day on the job had a lot more in store than just finding a nice group of people to enjoy their midday meal with! Content has been edited for clarity.
"My first rotation through the ER as an imaging student, there's a code call and I had no idea what was going on. My tech (teacher) looks at me and says, 'You had to pass CPR to get in here right?'
I just look at him blankly and say, 'Um, yeah?'
He responds, 'Good, you then me.' Next thing I know I am in ER 1 (trauma room) with about 20 other people doing CPR on a woman as the main doctor does his best. Two people before my turn to try, the doctor calls time of death. My tech and I go back to our little x-ray room and just go on like someone didn't just die in front of me on my first rotation."
"I was overlooking a job site where a very expensive rock saw was cutting a 20ft deep trench, initially in what should have been - as surveyed - a solid limestone bed.
My new boss at the environmental consulting firm let me know there was nothing that could possibly happen, that I needed to be there for the initial cut, and that it would be the easiest day of work I had ever had. Then he took off for a different job site.
A couple hours later, the saw begins its first cut. It broke through an ancient clay sewer line that was directly underneath the giant saw machine. The machine sank about 7 ft into the ground.
The best part, the operator gets out of the saw, walks over to me, the site manager, and the other official individual and says, 'It was like that when I got here.' Then he got in his truck and drove off. We never saw him again."
"I tried out as a magician's assistant back in like, 2013, and got the job. Cool, right?!
Nope. The 'magician' was this old dude who had to make sure his 'girls' could do slight of hand and everything because he did nothing except tap his stupid plastic wand as the assistant did the tricks and props.
So, I'm thinking, whatever. This dude can't do magic, I'll get better, maybe I'll join the circus when he inevitably chokes on a magic dove feather. The pay was decent.
After our first rehearsal, I'm there, sweating my butt off, hair a mess, tired, just wanna go home, but this magician and his roadie invite me to get coffee, and I think, 'Well, I'm gonna be working with these people, may as well make nice and also drink coffee.'
It's a little awkward and then the magician starts talking about what kind of girl he had been searching for - the proper look, physically capable, basic talent... And no ring on her finger.
At this point, I'm like, 'Uhhh, ha ha, what's that supposed to mean?'
This squat, hairy, pucker-lipped toad says to me, 'Being a magician takes control, we do dangerous tricks and I need to have complete control over my assistant, like this,' and then proceeded to grab my arm and bodily drag me into his lap, where he forced his fingers into my jaw and kissed me full on on the mouth.
Now, a magician's assistant needs to be relatively petite or extremely flexible to fit into trick boxes; I am very petite, standing at 5'1. I've been short my entire life, and being one of eight children, I had my share of hazing during childhood, especially as the chubby one. As an adult, I came to realize that I would never survive the zombie apocalypse if I was small and weak - I was also working as a model during this time, so staying in shape was part of my job. I'm pretty strong, especially for my height.
I immediately jumped backwards, knocking over our table, and then planted my feet on the ground and two handedly shoved that sucker right onto his butt while he was still sitting in that chair.
The coffee shop was stunned silent, the roadie was a particularly fantastic shade of grey, and then I started shouting:
'Take THAT for control, you prick!' Or something similar came out of my mouth. I proceeded to scream something about how he better never touch me again and that I was reporting his entire production to our state's theatre producers, all of whom are vocally against workplace harassment.
Coffee shop called the police, witnesses told the police that I was being assaulted when I reacted, I sent the police report to a director who then sent it to the theatre the magician had booked and he never had a production in the state again.
So, yeah. I lasted one day before I burnt the entire thing to the ground."
"My first day working in a mental hospital, we had a patient elope and we had to chase him. He jumped over a barbed wire fence. I figured if he could do it, then so could I. I could not. I got caught, my pants ripped and I suffered cuts on my hands, legs, and abdomen. Then once I finally got over, I lost a shoe in the creek bed. I met my shift supervisor who was wearing jeans that turned into chaps and he was bleeding everywhere. They had me go home to change. I had just bought a new car and I didn't want to get it dirty, so I stripped down. I scared the socks off of my family, showing up five hours early, barely clothed and covered in blood and mud."
"I worked in an outreach while in college. We worked with underprivileged children (9-10 year olds). We had minimal training just a couple hours before we first met with the kids.
My group was cool and very street smart. Maybe a little too street smart. Come lunch time and I think back to the training 'sit with them and talk about what they want to talk about, but if possible, try and have a conversation about their dream jobs.'
I asked the quietest kid in the group and the kid next to him said, 'he won't have a job, he'll probably just lie on his couch all day and smoke rocks.' At no point in the training did it cover what to do if a 10 year old starts talking about illegal substance use and so, flustered, I gave an embarrassed half laugh and changed the subject. Unfortunately the kid then spent the rest of the day saying 'he'll smoke rocks'.
It was only later on that I realized how sad it was that this kid obviously had personal experience with someone who does just that."
"I was brand new and stocking some things in the store, and my coworker (who was relatively new) was operating the tills. The manager went to go to the bathroom.
This lady with the 'speak-to-your-manager' haircut walks in and says 'Um... I'm not sure if you guys are aware of this, but there's a truck on fire in your parking lot.' And wouldn't you know it, there was a truck on fire in our parking lot.
I bent the bracket trying to yank the fire extinguisher off the wall and eventually put the guy's truck out. Five minutes later the manager exits the bathroom to a busted wall mount, a missing employee, and a pickup truck covered in white powder."
"A guy was killed on site on my first day. Unfortunately, no one found him until the next day so my second day was a bit crazy. We actually got sent home.
I was working in an open cut coal mine. An engineer went to look at an old pit and fell over the wall. He fell about 45 meters landing in shallow water. He managed to swim to the edge, but died there on the edge. Because it was an old pit, nobody went there, and his wife was out of town for the night so she didn't raise the alarm until the next day when she realized he never came home. They found his car still idling at the top where he fell from."
"I was hired on as an 'Operations Manager' in a factory. I was in charge of about 40 people. The job required lots of walking up and down grated stairs. It was a loud and dusty work environment, and almost everyone there did nothing but slack off when management wasn't around.
Now for the interesting part: On my first day, one of my employees got their hand caught in one of the grinders and lost the tips of his fingers. There was blood everywhere and he was screaming. I immediately saw what was going on and ran towards him. I kid you not, I slipped on a banana peel and landed flat on my backside. I'm 6'4, so as you can imagine, it was a hard fall. I got up immediately and took care of my worker until the ambulance arrived. He unfortunately was unable to recover his fingers, but we did come up with a new trash policy!"
"My first day with an exotic animal company, we were hired to bring a lion to a rooftop party in Vegas. Some high roller rented out the entire roof of the Cosmopolitan and wanted a fully grown African lion there. The coordinating company who hired us built a special cabana next to the hot tubs that could hold the lion.
It was quite the experience having an entire security team secure our path up to the roof. We had to take the door off the cage to get it to fit in the elevator, and even then, I could be the only one in the elevator with the cage because of how tight a fit it was.
I had a close call or two just on that gig, and the gig didn't even pan out anyway. We had to leave the party early."
"I was 17, first day on the job at PetSmart. It was hot as heck outside. My boss ran in the door carrying a limp Australian Shepherd. He screamed at me to go get ice from one of the nearby restaurants. Some jerk had left the pup in their car to go grocery shopping. My boss disappeared into the Banfield at the back of the store and throughout the day I kept an ear out to hear if the dog would be okay. At the end of my shift, he finally came out, tears still running down his face, and fuming mad. The dog did not make it. I spent the rest of my shift trying to hold it together but eventually ended up quitting. I wasn't sure if that would become a daily occurrence and didn't think I could handle it."
"'Well, you're on the crew now. Here's your pager, but don't worry, there probably won't be a fire for a whi-'
My first ever call as a volunteer firefighter was for a four car pile up after a high speed chase on a remote stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. Patients were ejected from their cars fifty yards into the brush. Med-evac helicopters flew in one after another. There was brush fire from a truck that exploded, and units everywhere from CalFire, CHP, Sheriff’s Department, State Park Rangers, and Forest Service showed up. I saw my first fatality declared while preparing to load them onto a helicopter.
Still haven’t (and hope I don’t have to) respond to something like that again but it did inspire me to enter the medical field so I can be as much help as possible when something like this does happen."
"First day as an Echocardiography intern at Robert Wood Johnson hospital in Rutgers, I was taken with my supervisor up to the NICU. There were triplet premature girls, about a month early. Hope, Faith, and Anna. They were so small that there were no diapers to fit them so they used a piece of gauze.
We had to check their hearts to see if their ASD was closed or not. We had to reach in the incubator and very gently scan their little hearts.
The father just sat there in a chair in the dark with his head in his hands. It was surreal.
This was a while ago but that image is seared in my mind.
We went back everyday to check them. One by one, they passed. I heard the mom never went to see them. The dad just sat in the same spot."
"Any graduate student could work for university admissions office, but I was still surprised they picked me, a masters student in the clinical counseling department. A lot of men and women applied for the position and in the end, only three were selected. Needless to say, I was ambitious and overzealous during my first week. Every first year freshman survey submitted, I poured over rather than just entering in the numbers. I paid close attention to the responses. There were hundreds of these papers, maybe even close to a thousand. That’s when I read one survey that just didn’t sit right with me.
She spoke in a pessimistic way, only of the past and present... almost as if there were no future plans for herself. Keep in mind, this was an entry survey seeing what goals or aspirations they had for the upcoming year. It seemed wrong. I notified my supervisor (who I had only known a few days) and he allowed me to contact her to meet one on one. What I thought might be a ten minute meeting with the student turned into five hours. Turns out she had been planning on killing herself that semester. I stayed with her in the office until her parents were able to drive over from the next state. She dropped out and got the help she needed. A year passed and the department kept me on as a grad assistant again. I found myself going through the same student surveys when I got a knock on my office door, and there she was. Ready to be a freshman again. I pretty much ugly cried as professionally as I could, and it further cemented my desire to be in the field of mental health."
"I babysat all the time in high school. Your first day with a new family can be a little tricky, because kids know the baby-sitter has no real authority over them and you have to develop a good rapport immediately if you want any hope of getting the kids to bed somewhat on time, at least in my town. But my little sister is six years younger than me and all my previous jobs were watching her classmates and their siblings. So I had the advantage of already knowing the kids, and hadn't dealt with anything too difficult.
Then a couple from church hired me. They knew me from 'Crib Room' (place where your infant/toddler can hang out & be supervised while you listen to the sermon) and their daughter liked me because I build amazing block towers. But I'd only interacted with the girl for an hour on Sundays, in a room filled with other children. I didn't have the same rapport with her as I did with my sister's classmates. And I didn't know her older sister, 'Jenny,' at all. I was going in blind.
I show up, the girls seem pretty amicable, they like that I'll go right into imaginary games with them, aren't freaked out that Mom and Dad won't be home for a few hours. It looks like everything's gonna go smoothly.
The parents start to leave. Just before he shuts the door, the dad says, 'Oh, just to let you know, Jenny doesn't like clothes.'
I whirl around.
Babysitting with your eyes shut is really difficult.
Eventually I was able to establish rules like, 'Underwear is mandatory unless you're using the bathroom.' But it took a while."
"I was 15 and desperate to find a place that would hire younger than 16. I'm walking around my local strip mall and I see this hole in the wall Chinese take out with a help wanted sign. It's about 4 pm.
I walked in and was greeted by a 4'10 version of the land lady from Kung Fu Hustle with an American replacement name of 'Becky.' She pulls out the carbon ticket and says, 'Help you? What you like?'
'It says "help wanted" on your window.'
'I'm looking for work.'
'You want work?'
'Okay,' she waved me to the counter as I was near the now closed door, 'you pick up phone say "Chinese Takeout, I help you?" Then write order on ticket. Ok? Large or small, NO MEDIUM. Ok? Ok, now the calculator. Add up order and tax is like this (8.1%), ok. Tickets go here, both. Delivery is 45 minute, ok?'
And she went back to the kitchen. I winged it on the phones for an hour (only 2 orders) until another employee showed up. A nice Mormon girl named Katherine. She spends the rest of the night teaching me more about what to do and the ticket shorthand the kitchen staff can read. Great girl, super grateful for her.
Couple other employees show up a little later, 2 delivery drivers and another counter girl. Around 8pm my ma calls me saying, 'Where the heck are you?'
'I'm...at work? I think? She said I'll be done by 9, it's a Chinese takeout place up the street.'
9 pm rolls around and she asks what I want to eat. I tell her I'm broke. Turns out each employee gets a pint of half whatever (as long as it's not expensive) and half rice. I get some orange chicken and she says, 'Come back tomorrow, 5 clock. Ok?'
Best job I ever had. Loved those people."
"I started an internship when I was 21 and was told I would be helping out with media releases and social media.
Two months later, I walk into the office to start my internship, and I'm managing an international trade mission with delegates from all over the world to Africa.
This was an unpaid internship by the way.
It went about as well as one might expect."
"I got a job at Sony and was flown to Tokyo on my first day.
Before I left, I went to a map store and got a Tokyo street map book. At the time, I believed it was a useless book because none of the streets had names.
I volunteered to be the 'navigator' for our group, using the map book. I managed to find most of the places we needed to go, but it was hard.
We were standing on the street. I was looking at the map book, trying to make sense of it. A Japanese dude came up and said, 'I'm learning English, can I speak English to you? Would you like to hear the inaugural address of John Fitzgerald Kennedy?'
He then proceeded to recite it with a Boston accent. I think he memorized the sounds of the words from a recording. He then asked, 'Would you like to hear the inaugural address of Ronald Wilson Reagan?' I said no, we just need help finding a place.
He then proceeded to tell us his master plan. He wanted to learn English, move to the US, become a lawyer, get elected to congress, change the constitution to allow foreigners to be elected president, and be elected president. I responded, 'Uh, you should know that two kinds of people that many Americans hate are lawyers and politicians.'
He gave us directions to our destination, and we thanked him.
Later, I learned that the map book I used was THE official map book of Tokyo, used by cab drivers. I also learned that Japanese streets don't have names."
"My boss changed my start date and time without telling me so I showed up a day and a half early (this was after orientation, so we had already met at this point). He said it was fine so I started then, but he didn't actually have any time set aside to train me so I just kind of shadowed him for the day.
My first interaction with an employee (I was middle management), he made her cry by berating her. Turned out a lunch shift person called out (hotel restaurant) and he wanted an opener to cover it, only it was her birthday and she was having lunch with her parents who were driving 3+ hours to see her. She was also like 18 and still in school. So he literally yelled at her about how little she cares about her 'career' and how she's wasting everyone's time.
I didn't last 3 months there. Their annual employee turnover was 97%. I laughed when they told me because I thought they were kidding. Other than upper management, I only knew one person who had worked there longer than one year."
"It was my first project as the lead archaeologist. It was a monitoring project. I basically had to watch an excavator dig up dirt, occasionally sift through it, look around to see if there were any artifacts (or artifact debris) on the ground.
I was told it would be a simple 4 hour project and I would unlikely find anything...
It turned into 2 days and I found: 2 sets of human remains, a domesticated dog skull, fish bones, elk and caribou bones, eagle bones, a hearth and a stone bowl.
Also, turns out the excavator operator I was working with was the man that had to remove the excavator from atop another archaeologist that was killed earlier in the year."