Managers hire people with high hopes. But, it doesn't always work out. Whether the new employee isn't quite what they expected or does something unacceptable, sometimes they can't stick around. These managers had to fire someone who they had essentially just hired.
We looked through Reddit and found the bottom of the barrel when it comes to regretful hires. Here are the stories of the shortest times between hiring and firing that managers have ever experienced. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I had a nightmare intern. We had to call her program and tell them she couldn't come back. She spoke on her cell phone loudly, listened to loud music in her cubicle, played games on the computer, and was constantly on the internet. When I introduced her to my boss, she laughed and said: 'That's funny, she's your boss. She's so little.' My boss was a VP with over 20 years experience who just happened to be short.
Then, when I took her out to lunch, she insisted on knowing 'where I was from.' When I kept saying 'Chicago,' she was insistent. When I finally told her where my parents were born, she commented on how good my English was. It's my first language, I should hope so. I had to go to HR on that because I was her boss and I handle employment lawsuits, so letting a discriminatory comment slide was not an option. The last straw was when the head of the department caught her sleeping. In one week, she did zero work."
"I was the store manager of a Babies R Us. This kid came in for an interview with five other people. We were gearing up for Christmas, so I hired all five. He came to the interview wearing a camouflage male romper, but he was really good at the selling portion where he had to sell me an item. He came in for his first day with two other people. I could smell weed, but I didn't know which of the three it was. He went to the bathroom to try on his shirt. I gave shirts to the two other girls who went to the bathroom as well.
A minute or two later, both girls returned and their shirts were fine. He still hadn't returned. Five minutes went by. Why was he taking so long? He was smoking weed in the bathroom. Of a baby store. On his orientation. I let him go right away."
"I was the manager at a diesel truck shop in college. My boss hired a mechanic who was supposed to have all his own tools. The dude showed up with a toolbox the size of a lunchbox on his start day. He made up some story about slowly bringing his tools over every day because his car was small. Whatever. I put him on an easy job replacing a thermostat on a medium duty pick up truck.
The book time on this job was like an hour. My day had gotten busy and I realized that like three hours had passed and homeboy hadn't come in to even grab the new thermostat from me yet. So I went out to check on him and couldn't believe what I was seeing. The intake was off, the radiator was removed, all the coolant hoses were removed and sitting in a cardboard box, there was coolant and oil all over the floor...it was totally insane.
The 'mechanic' had taken some illegal substances apparently and was on a different planet. He was rolling around under the truck, there was no reason to be doing this whatsoever to replace the thermostat on this truck. His phone was blasting the Redneck Kings of Comedy and he was covered in sunflower seed shells that he had spit all over himself. I turned off his phone and asked him what was going on?! He started crying, saying he couldn't figure out where the thermostat was.
I told him to go home. It took one of my other mechanics like two hours to undo all the destruction he had done. We had to put all new fluids in the truck because this dodo drained them all out into dirty pans/all over the floor. Then it took all of 30 minutes to replace the thermostat and get the truck back to the customer.
My boss had hired this idiot, so I told him to call and fire him. The next day, he showed up to collect his paycheck for three hours of destruction and his lunchbox filled with tools.
He made apologies, stole our yard dog that had lived at the shop for years, and we never saw him again."
"I worked for one shop out of a small chain of pet supply stores. The first manager of our store, the one who hired and promoted me, gave a job to her dealer. The first thing he did, even before the basics like register training, was order a $200 venomous freshwater fish that is illegal to possess in our state, nevermind trying to sell it. I was the unlucky one who had to unload that three-foot long monster. I called every experienced hobbyist I knew to try and give the poor creature away so we wouldn't get slapped by Fish and Game.
The third day of his employment, he tried to leave early after complaining there was nothing to do. I didn't really have the authority to say what I did, but I still told him that if he left now, he wouldn't be welcome to return. The next day, his dad showed up with his employee shirts and the heaviest look of shame that I have ever seen on a parent."
"My mom always worked for car dealerships. One time a customer accidentally left their phone behind on the service counter. They came back shortly after to look for it. The new girl, who was on her second day, who'd cashed them out earlier helped them look but to no avail.
Unfortunately for her, she wasn't aware that there was a security camera facing the service counter. It showed her plain as day picking up the phone and slipping it into her drawer after they left the first time. When management approached her, she tried to play dumb at first by saying, 'I don't know how that got there!' but after they fired her on the spot, she finally admitted it."
"I worked as an interim assistant manager for a bridal store. We had our amazing manager leave and the assistant manager that took her place was GOD AWFUL. I'm talking refused to work even mandatory weekends because there was always a 'problem' with the babysitter for her granddaughter but we would get written up if we were late. She tried to give me a .25 an hour raise after two years of raises being frozen. I put in my two weeks after that. And I mean that was my response to being offered that. I later found out the district manager had told her to offer me $4. Also, at one point, she refused to hang up the phone with her husband after her lunch, leaving me alone in the store for an hour after my shift and making me late to pick up my son from daycare. She then tried to yell at me for going over hours.
All of this is just background to make people understand how horrible of a boss she was. My last week, we had a new hire in alterations come in and do some training. He was only there for three hours, and in that three hours, two of the other bridal consultants got into a fight. Not a tiff, a full-on screaming match that the horrible manager moved to the break room and then let them go at it for an hour. I had customers complain and brides left the store, which not only cost the store money, but the consultants worked on commission. Finally, the new hire came out of alterations, asked me if this was normal, and then said he wasn't going to finish the paperwork because he was confident he could find a job where hour-long screaming matches didn't occur. He probably wasn't wrong."
"Shortest lasted one hour. I fired him, he didn't have the decency to quit.
This guy came to work on his first day, stared blankly at the Mac Pro workstation we'd set up for him to use, and wanted to know where his laptop was.
After a 10 minute back and forth where I had this 22-year-old complain that I wasn't giving him the tools to succeed, he finally accepted his 'fate' and started up.
Since it was his first day, I wanted to ease him in and gave him a fairly basic update job - a flyer that one of the others had done that needed the text and a couple of photos updated. He refused, saying he didn't come here to do other peoples' work, and he'd been promised that he'd be on 'the cutting edge of design' in his interview.
After another 15 or so minutes of explaining to him that he was a 22-year-old junior designer just starting out who'd accepted a job AS a junior designer, and that yes - bigger and better projects would be coming to him once he was established and knew the workflow process, he sulkily agreed to do his actual job.
About 20 minutes later, he knocked on my door and sheepishly asked to see me. At which point he asked if someone could teach him how to use Photoshop and Indesign since he didn't know how. Doing the most to remain calm, I asked him how - in any reality - he applied for a job as a designer that listed proficiency with Indesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator as a prerequisite, and how he'd produced the portfolio he'd shown us. Turned out that he just woke up one morning and thought that being a graphic designer would be cool, and faked the whole thing, assuming he'd be trained on the job.
When I pointed out that he lied on his resume and in the interview, he just shrugged and continued to sit there. When I pointed out that given that, he needed to pack up his stuff and go, he complained that it was our fault for not giving him the tools to succeed. At which point I lost it and told him to get out before he went through a window. The parting shot was him asking if he could take the Mac Pro home with him.
The production manager who hired the guy was lucky to survive that."
"When I was young, I got a job with Pepsi at a distribution center.
I was clean while looking for a new job so an illegal substance test was no sweat. I was clean. I went in and the interview went great and I got the job. They picked me over some 17 people. All I needed to do was the test and BOOM, JOB AT PEPSI BABY. I was 18 years old and the start pay was $15 an hour. This was like 15 years ago. I was super excited. Anyway, I head out and do the test, everything went great. So naturally, afterward, I went home and celebrated with roommates. I drank and smoked it up of course.
I got a call from the HR lady the next couple days, 'Come on in and do some paperwork.' Sweet, the test went well and I just need to go in and do the typical W2, paperwork, etc. No big deal.
I went in and as soon as I got there she said ,'Your test was too diluted, you need to head to the clinic right now, from here, and take another one.' She looked at her watch, 'Oh, and we are timing you.'
I panicked and said, 'Yeah sure' and head out to the clinic to take an illegal substances test I knew I was going to fail. I was freaking out and I remembered that I heard somewhere you can drink gelatin to pass a test. I'm a genius! I stopped at a grocery store on the way and picked up some gelatin and Gatorade. I poured the whole thing in and chugged the Gatorade as fast as I could. I got to the clinic and took another test.
They called me later and asked why it took me so long to get there. I made up some lame excuse like I stopped to go to the bathroom or something. I knew the second test was going to result in me not getting the job. A few days later, the clinic called and I failed the test. Lost the sweet job before my first day."
"I was a temp at a warehouse. I usually did shipping where I'd just grab a box the pickers assembled, double-check the contents, then tape it up to be shipped.
One day, we got a new temp in. He was a larger guy and he was at least three hours late. Our manager, who was a really cool guy, told him everything he'd need to know about picking and gave him a cart to go. He said he couldn't, after probably like 30 minutes of doing it, because his feet hurt. The manager moved him to shipping and he sat awkwardly next to one of the actual employees as he was shown how to do shipping. He spent an awfully long time on a simple order. He couldn't figure out how to count items in a box...
So the employee complained and our manager gave him one last chance. He moved him to the simplest job there was, basically putting stickers on smalls items. You just sit there putting stickers on stuff. After a little bit, I saw him leave. I asked my manager what was up because we didn't get out for another few hours. The manager said he asked if he could go home early because he was hungry. Never came back, of course. He lasted about two hours."
"I used to work as a quality control guy at a production factory that makes biscuits and rusk. At the time, I was due to leave for a new job in a week. The quality control manager had already gone through the interviews and my replacement was being shown around the site for the first time.
At one point, he came through my lab. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries, but I was curious why he was wearing a dust mask. It was somewhat dusty on the entire site due to all the flour we used, but generally, masks are only used by the production crew when cleaning out filters so they don't get wheat dust in their lungs.
He explained to me that he has Celiac's disease that the dust in the air had been exacerbating.
Somehow this guy had made it through the application, which contains health questions that specifically ask about allergies and intolerances, and never once thought that Celiac's disease might make him completely unsuitable to work in an environment with bread dust everywhere.
The quality control manager didn't think to ask health questions, and I suppose why would he if it was all ascertained before the interview. The new guy was summarily dismissed before 9 am and the quality control manager became the laughing stock of the company for my entire last week."
"I worked at a prison. We had a woman come in and who had been hired to do kitchen work, which was outsourced to a company called 'Canteen Correctional Services.' Their turnover was high and typically people hired the same day as their interview. On her first day, we started the fingerprint scan to upload data to the feds and do her physical and TB test.
She had gone down and did not come back after 3-4 hours. We called down to see what was up. It turned out she was wanted by the police two states over for identity theft and was now being housed at intake until the police could formally charge her.
The fact that she applied for a job that was in a prison was completely and utterly stupid."
"A local restaurant/catering company was hiring for banquet servers and bartenders. I worked a day job, but needed the extra money and figured this was the perfect opportunity.
I showed up to my shift at 3 o'clock, and the event manager was showing me around the building. It was absolutely disgusting. I mean I already knew the bar was kind of on its way out, but I had no idea it was this bad. Slowly I started to realize I was the only person that was working this event. Not a huge deal - I have a ton of experience in banquets, it's not that hard. Then the woman let me know its a party of 130 people for a bat mitzvah.
Uh, I'm sorry, what? You expect me to set up and work an entire event for 130 alone? Nothing was done, I had to set up tables, buffet tables, and a bar in three hours. She also had to go to another event right then and left me alone to set up. I was literally almost in tears when the host showed up with 30 kids about an hour early. I honestly almost walked out right then, but I felt awful for the little girl who was having the party.
The event went about as awful as you expect. The bar had no fruit or certain mixers and I had to be my own barback. I also had to take bar breaks to work the buffet stations and bus tables. I made about $20 in tips and was covered in food and grenadine.
The breaking point was five little kids yelling at me for not having any grenadine left. I walked up to the event manager and said, 'Sorry, I can't take it. I don't need this job and I've been here for eight hours without a single break. I'm leaving.' To be fair, it was the end of the event and 11 o'clock but she would have to break down alone, or with staff from the bar.
I actually left and did feel bad, but who thinks its ok to have one person work a large event!? I also still haven't gotten paid despite numerous requests."
"I work in an office. This was a few years ago when I was still interning while in college. We had a kid start fresh after graduating college and he was gone three days later.
He had never worked a job before except being a camp counselor at a hockey camp. He complained that 'all everyone ever does here is work' and that 'everyone was super old.' Yes... we do work during our job. And the average age of his department was like 25."
"I wasn't there when this happened, but I shared an office with this legend for a couple of years. It was a governmental agency and they had hired a new supervisor. This particular employee and the new supervisor just DID NOT GET ALONG. It was like oil and water. Cats and dogs. Constant, constant friction between them. For no reason and for every reason.
He got wind that she was planning to fire him in a day or two. So he stopped going to work. Figured that if she couldn't find him, she couldn't fire him. He refused to answer his phone. He refused to return messages. This was before email was widespread but I'm sure he would have ignored that, too.
Then a miracle happened. The supervisor got fired a couple of weeks after he stopped coming into work. The new acting supervisor, who was the person who hired me, actually, called this guy and told him it was safe to come back to work. So he did. By the way, this acting supervisor was a great guy. After I had been there less than a year, and consequently didn't have much leave built up, I had a very serious health issue. It kept me out of work for an entire month. After my vacation and sick leave ran out, he just started marking me as being present with the understanding that I would work every extra shift possible when I got back to pay back the time. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
I left that job years and year ago but saw on Facebook a couple of years ago that the legend retired. With a full pension."
"I once needed a new graphic designer in my unit. I told HR what I needed and they came back in a couple weeks with someone they had hired. He met us all, sat down and was very confused. He was an accountant, not a graphic designer. They had hired him as an accountant and asked him lots of accounting questions. They asked him nothing at all do with the position.
HR was called. He left with them. I never saw him again. I hope they kept him on as an accountant!"