For most of us, going to work is a necessary part of life; bills to pay, mouths to feed. Considering we spend so much time at our jobs, we all hope it would be doing something that we're passionate about, something that keeps us excited to get up and go to work in the morning. And for some lucky people, they are able to land that dream job. Yet unfortunately, things don't always work out as we hope, and that "dream" job can turn into a nightmare.
We took to Reddit to find such cases, of people who thought they had the greatest job ever, then hit a point when they realized it was anything but. These are their stories. Content has been edited for clarity.
"When I was much younger and working in a factory, my boss found out I was going to college night classes. He called me into his office and demoted me from a technician position to a line worker. His reasoning was that since I was going to college, I wouldn't be around much longer so he promoted a line worker to replace me.
I knew absolutely everything about their custom made machine. Shortly after he demoted me it started to give them problems and eventually stopped functioning completely. He came begging me to fix it but I told him to pound sand. I wasn't doing anything and if he hadn't demoted me the machine would have gotten the proper preventative maintenance and the current issue wouldn't be happening.
I pushed a broom around the warehouse with the other 5 line workers for 10 hours a day watching the idiot he replaced me with slowly destroy this house-sized multi-million dollar machine over the course of about 3 months.
That department of the company ended up closing permanently."
"A few months ago I had a 'come to Jesus' moment with my boss.
I always prided myself on being able to get my job done in the most efficient manner possible. The fact that I could run my department flawlessly and still put in 'bankers hours' was something I thought was an example of doing my job well.
Well, it wasn't. My efficiency was my downfall. The 'come to Jesus' meeting was over the fact that I wasn't putting in 40 hours. Turns out that management's measure of doing a good job was how many hours you put in, rather than how much work you got done.
So now I make it a point to show up a few minutes early, wave to the security cameras, and leave a few minutes late, waving on my way out.
You know the thing about it is that my boss used the example of 2 other specific co-workers who do 60-70 hour weeks where they actually bust their butts.
My opinion is that they're either not very efficient, or they're not taking care of themselves. I even said to my boss 'that's not healthy.' His response?
Well it is if you get enough sleep.
What I learned during that conversation is that there is no amount of hours I can put in that will ever be 'enough.' If I figure out how to do my job in 20 hours, then fit another 40-hour job into the other 20, my boss will still come at me with 'why are you only working 40 hours?'
Here's the thing. I'm not scamming the company by working less than I could. I'm giving them what they're paying for, but not more. Their goal is to get as much work out of me as possible for the least amount of money. My goal is to get as much money out of them for the least amount of work possible.
It is a deal they don't know they've made, but I'm keeping up my end of the bargain."
"I had worked at this bar about 7/8 months when this happened. I hadn't eaten all day and wasn't feeling well, and then couldn't eat anything before my shift. Told the day manager and supervisor I was feeling very sick and couldn't eat and therefore couldn't work - their response was that the Sunday prior someone no-showed and it was 'tough' so I had to work regardless. (FYI I'd worked that Sunday and the only bad thing about it was that I couldn't have the early finish I'd been promised the night before.)
I assumed I'd get sent home when I started vomiting just an hour into my shift - I had been in the kitchen just 30 mins before, and we were still serving food. Nope. They 'needed the staff.' On a Sunday night. Over the next few hours, I tried to keep hydrated (I also had a UTI at the time) while my supervisor tried to ply me with medication (which I didn't want to take) so I could make it through my shift. She gave me an anti-sickness tablet fizzing like crazy in some water and made me down it, then got annoyed when I vomited in the bin 5 seconds later. Despite the fact that a) you can't down a bomb shots worth of liquid when you're sick, and b) I don't like fizzy drinks, so even if I hadn't started vomiting at that point, I'd have had the same reaction.
After 3 hours of vomiting, she told me I was going to the toilet too much and banned me from drinking water. I was running to the toilet to vomit because I'd been banned from vomiting in the bin behind the bar and knew that if I vomited in one of the sinks I'd be forced to clean it up, which would make me even more ill. I was losing lots of fluids because I was vomiting, and had been told by my doctor to stay hydrated anyway because of my UTI. She gave me a bottle of tonic water to drink instead because it has like 0.5% quinine in it. Again, I don't like fizzy drinks, and tonic water tastes like carbonated butt water. I vomited after every sip I took.
6 hours into my shift this mean supervisor decided that she was going to have the early finish. I had spent the majority of the shift clinging onto the bar so I didn't fall over. I kept falling asleep (even if only for a second) every time I vomited and whilst stood at the bar. My supervisor knew this, as she'd been working with me the entire time, and I even told her I was so out of it I was falling asleep standing up.
I ended up doing a 9 hour shift where I was vomiting for 5 of those hours, and when I complained about it to the night manager, who started 2 hours after I started my shift, he said that he hadn't noticed I was ill. So neither the day manager nor the supervisor had informed him when he arrived that one of his staff was violently ill. And how could he not notice when there were only 4 of us working that quiet Sunday night?! Safe to say I left there about a month or so later."
"The cameras in the German prison I worked at could be used to catch the first shower cabin in the women's and men's communal showering rooms on each floor. The cabins were basically this long row of shower heads separated by tall opaque plastic walls and a half-door in front, so if you walked in and an inmate was taking a shower you'd see their feet and head/maybe shoulders if they were exceptionally tall...but whatever creep installed that ONE camera on each floor made it possible for a top-down view into the very first cabin on that row. It took me years to figure that out. It never even occurred to me to try to move the camera that far.
Once I came back from the women's floor and caught a male employee watching one of the female inmates taking a shower. When he saw me coming, he pretended he'd just accidently pushed the little disco stick that moved that one camera. I didn't say anything to him, which I now feel ashamed of, but I brought it up with my supervisor. Was told to keep my mouth shut. I brought it up with another supervisor. Was told to keep my mouth shut. My position was the lowest rung on the ladder. My immediate superiors were what in America are the Corrections Officers, and in that prison, they were a rather tight-knit bunch with a 'we're better than you' attitude.
Then I thought, you know what, forget them, if I lose my job so be it, and went to the prison director (and at that time, I really needed that job). They reviewed a month's worth of tape, matched it up to that employee's schedule, and fired him.
I expected to be treated like a traitor by my colleagues afterwards, but funnily enough most of them were on my side. But yeah, after that, I went from 'I like this job!' to 'Just pay me and leave me alone.' Watched the camera settings like a hawk, though, and made a point of telling female inmates to not use that first cabin. Still, the one thing in my life I'm ashamed of it's that I had to think about doing the right thing at all."
"After a year of sleepless nights, taking work home with me, no weekends, and caffeine related heart issues, my company held the end of the year thank you awards ceremony. We were all excited because corporate had rolled out new incredibly expensive packages that we were forced to sell the heck out of. Selling them was hard and often times sleazy and immoral, but my location got it done. Christmas bonuses for all!
Nope. GM calls her two managers to the front, and has us congratulate them on the trip to Acapulco that corporate is awarding the three of them in recognition of their leadership. Um, yay? One by one, the rest of us were called up to shake hands with management and presented with a generic mug with You make a difference and The More You know shooting star printed on the side. No money. No bonus. Just a cheap mug bought in bulk. I looked around the room, and saw the realization that all the stress they endured, and all the unethical garbage they had done was for nothing more than a mug. I saw souls die a little that day. After that, I did my job but forget lifting one finger more than I absolutely had to."
"I had to miss 2 days of work for my great grandmother's funeral. Boss seemed cool and understanding of the situation. I told her what was going on Thursday night (things weren't looking good so I tried to let her know ahead of time), and on Friday, when my great grandmother did pass, it was finalized that I was going to be out the following Monday and Tuesday for the funeral (which happened to be the week of Thanksgiving).
Wednesday rolls around and I'm back at work. By noon, everyone except me and the receptionist has left work to catch flights/celebrate Thanksgiving early. All of my work is done by this point, so I text my boss (who had logged off for the day - she was working from home) to ask if it's okay if I peace out a little early too, since my boyfriend and I were trying to drive to North Carolina that day.
She tells me that I need to stay until 3 pm because I missed Monday and Tuesday and that it wasn't a holiday so it's a privilege that anyone gets to leave early at all. Now normally, this would be understandable, except:
1) There was no more work to be done for the day. Even stuff I was working ahead on was done.
2) She didn't let me know that I needed to stay that long until I asked to leave, which seemed really unfair considering everyone else had already left.
3) I didn't miss work that week because I was sick, or because I was on vacation, but because I was at A FUNERAL.
That was the beginning of the end. A few months later, I found out my parents were taking me to Hawaii for Christmas, so I told my boss I would need to use 8 of my 14 vacation days. (This was in April when I told her - a good 7 months before the trip.) She called me disrespectful several times for going 'behind her back' to schedule the trip and flights without talking to her first. She even asked if I was definitely going, implying she wanted me to cancel the trip because she wasn't cool with it.
I quit not long after that. Best decision I ever made."
"I was a 'Team Lead' for 5 years, while also training dozens of people on the new product that the company launched, writing documentation for it to help people learn, review people's work, etc etc etc... all while the 'Managers' didn't know the product, didn't do any actual work aside from asking me for updates. I wanted a promotion - aside from those 5 years, I had 5 previous years with them grinding day in and day out. 50-60 hour weeks to try to get make this product successful. I'm offered a 3% promotion and that was the best they could do. My wife encouraged me to look elsewhere, I did, and I was made a ridiculous offer I couldn't believe. Other company now magically offers to match (literally equated to a 35% raise). Nope, that bridge has burned. You lost the one person that cared about that product - they finally just had to sell it off not 3 years later because no one could manage it and it was a sinking ship. In my current company, I've already been promoted, another ridiculous raise, and I couldn't be happier. Grass is indeed greener my friends."
"I was working in the kitchen at a popular Italian restaurant chain on a super busy night. Something like 60 people were sat at once, and the kitchen was getting backed up because the pass needed to have a manager tray up the plates.
Of course, the manager was in the office 'busy doing manager stuff.' He walked by at one point, there's a pyramid of plates waiting to get sent out, and I said the kitchen was going to be super in the weeds if that food doesn't go soon. For those who don't know by now, the heat lamps in the pass will turn food to 'rubber' after 5 minutes or so. The manager asked me why I cared so much about what's going to happen to the food, I'm not the who paid for it I just made it. I told him I do care, that's why I applied in the first place. 'Maybe you shouldn't care so much about your job and just do it!'
I walked out and called the GM first thing the next morning and asked to use the open door policy that the handbook said was available. I also refused to come to work till the issue was sorted. I was told she 'was busy' and she would call me when she had 'time.' Of course, I never heard from her again. I honestly fell for their dumb of 'best place to work' awards."
"Unfortunately, my first job was being a cashier for a popular farm supply chain. I loved it! I loved the customers, most of which were farmers and lovable old people. Sometimes, I'd get to recommend products or different techniques for various projects, but I mostly just causally greeted/chatted with regulars. I loved my co-workers. My store manager was a little weird, but soon enough, she was bringing me breakfast on days we opened together and genuinely caring about how I was getting on. Then, my store manager left to open her own location about 50 miles away. I should have just relocated with her when she offered, but I already had a 30 min commute (one way) for little over minimum wage and forget that!
The new store manager started messing with corporate policies and asking us to do weird stuff that I was NOT okay with. One was that cashiers no longer counted their own drawers at any time. I never knew how much money I was actually 'responsible' for. I was just waiting for the day that they accused me of being short.
He also couldn't make a schedule to save his life and refused to let our Assistant Manager do it, even though he had been doing it for the year and a half that I'd worked there. Now, I'm driving all this way to work for 4 hours at a time because New Manager sucked at making the schedule and was overworked when I was there because he was busy doing 'important' manager stuff. That, or I'm getting 5 a.m. calls on my day off because he forgot that he needed a cashier to run the store. The customer base didn't respond well to this as they had to wait an extraordinarily long time for any assistance. Every day, I just robotically echoed, 'I'm sorry.' 'I can't leave the register to cut your chain.' 'I'll page that out a fifth time...maybe they didn't hear me in the office.' Then, I was constantly running out of money to make change. I've waited for over 20 mins for ones. Apparently, running out was MY FAULT.
This prick, we'll call Lennie (cause he should star in Of Mice and Men) was a Team Lead (read: CEO/ god in his mind), became the ultimate suck-up and for whatever reason decided to begin harassing me. I would like to think that he saw me as a threat because of my stellar performance, but we'll never know. It took a long time for me to get so stressed out about it that I went to the manager about it. Guess what happened? NOTHING!
My final straw was one morning when I opened with the Store Manager, Assistant Manager, and Lennie. Why so many people you ask? The GENERAL MANAGER was dropping in. Remember how I didn't count the drawer or even put it in the till? Lennie opens the store. There is NO drawer. NO money at the register at all. They all forgot about it. I started looking for a new job right away. A Team Lead position opened up and I was expecting them to offer it to me as I had seniority, not that I would've taken it, but they never even offered. I'm unemployed to this day, but I wish that I'd quit a lot sooner.
I'm traumatized at how quick it went from being a job I loved to loathed. I quit 6 months ago and no one (10 people) that I worked with is there now, other than the New Store Manager...not even Lennie. He got fired because the cashiers that I proceeded went straight to corporate with their very own harassment complaints. HR even called to ask about mine. He, apparently, had like 5 complaints and the New Store Manager hadn't fired him yet."
"Worked at Walmart pharmacy for 7 years. Started out with a great crew, we got along like pigs in mud, most of the time, and we did our work really well. As with any place, people come and go, and things just kept going downhill. Bust our butts, skip our breaks, shorten our lunches, we were never not busy.
Then the market manager would come in with his laptop and corporate vocabulary and explain to us all the things we should be doing. Get our hours cut because we didn't meet numbers. Get scolded even worse the following week because they don't understand why our performance is even worse with less people/hours. One of my old coworkers messaged me the other day and said their hours got slashed nearly in half. Just before Christmas. Fantastic."
"My last job I sat down with my employers to ask for an earned promotion and raise. I'd run the department by myself for ten months, cut turn-around times more than in half (from two weeks to two days!!), brought in customers, always volunteered to help the other departments (even though I wasn't trained to do so), developed me procedures and formal SOPs, updated our data tracking and actually started tracking data, worked weekends, overtime, never complained when they promised timelines to customers before talking with me, etc.
When I sat them down and asked for the raise and promotion they actually laughed at me. I was told my position doesn't require overtime, I didn't seem to have the drive for a supervisor position, I lacked the prior experience they'd want for me to ever be in a higher role with their company, oh and didn't I know I was expected to help out the other departments? When I said I had never been told that prior they said 'oh, well we should have told you in your interview. Guess we forgot. But that's expected.' They then spent twenty minutes talking about how great this potential candidate was that they hadn't even interviewed and comparing all the ways I didn't measure up.
The kicker? They kept saying they didn't know why I didn't feel appreciated, but when I asked them specifically why they appreciated me or what I'd done for their company they couldn't give me a single answer.
I've never felt so good about leaving a company in my life."
"I worked at a bank during its last several difficult years before they declared bankruptcy, got a couple hundred million dollars of extra capital, and then were bought out by some other bank a year or so after I quit. During those last few years they eliminated way more people than they hired, loaded certain departments (including mine) with more responsibilities, pushed more and more sales garbage onto us on top of everything else we had to deal with, and consistently ignored problems we brought up that made things more difficult for our department and for our customers.
Well the last couple years I was there, corporate held a giant company-wide event at the end of the year celebrating all of our 'accomplishments' and how we managed to pull the bank away from the brink of collapse. There were rumors of pay raises and bonuses being announced, but we got nothing while the execs got praised on stage as we were supposed to applaud them. They clearly spent a lot of money on these events, one year hiring a freaking marching band to perform in front of us, and it's like, not one person sitting in the audience here gives a care about the marching band. They could have taken the money spent on renting this place out and the marching band and their ridiculous catering and shown us the only kind of appreciate an employee really gives a darn about. Forget them and I'm glad I left them behind. Walking out the door for the last time was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life."
"I work in a small clothing store. Between two people working it's both easy to manage and not hard to keep clean even with customers. There just isn't that much to do.
I was recently spoken to by my district manager in regards to my lacking performance. She said I did too much standing around, even when there weren't things to do or customers to help. She suggested I clean the baseboards and toilets if I felt I really had nothing to do. She also said I didn't take my employment seriously. I replied that I made minimum wage and due to that the company clearly didn't take my employment seriously. If they pay a minimum then the quality of my work would be minimal. I added that I had no issue cleaning up, including bathrooms, if she was willing to give me a livable wage. Until then, minimal work for minimal pay. Shocked, she let me off with a warning. But really, employers like this should just go out of business."