Everyone is nervous on their first day of a new job. A new employee might let their nerves get the better of them and they'll make stupid mistakes, but managers can understand those first mistakes and can still have hope that the employee will improve with time. But sometimes, a new employee messes up so badly on their first day that a manager is left wondering how this person made it through the interview process in the first place. The employee's mistake is so serious that they're sent packing on their first day.
Content has been edited for clarity.
Take Away The Sellotape
“Customer service desk at an insurance company. Basically just rerouting incoming calls to the relevant claims handler. 18(ish)yo lad comes from a temp agency. Seemed a bit dippy but should have been able to manage this easy job.
After a couple of hours he’d secured his headset to his head by wrapping sellotape around his head and face several times. Weird but…ok. Checked on him again 15 minutes later and he’d also sellotaped his telephone handset (each workstation had both) to his head in the same manner. Not only that but he’d sellotaped his whole head to his monitor and was just sitting there going ‘I don’t quite know what to do about this’ while the call queue stacked up.
I know no one can be quite that inept and it’s most likely he was either trying to be funny or he just decided he didn’t like the job and wanted out, but I prefer to think he was absolutely freaking mental, and imagine that he’s now a stuntman or a rodeo clown or something.”
The Subway Standard
“I was assistant manager at Subway. I usually liked to give people time. It’s a tougher job than it seems from the outside, everyone sucks at first, and taking someone’s livelihood away is not a decision to be made lightly.
But I had one lady who only lasted 3 hours. She was perfectly fine for the first couple minutes, while the store manager was there. But she had a doctor’s appointment, so she introduced us and told the new employee I was in charge when she wasn’t there. As soon as my boss left, this lady just flatly ignored me when I asked her to do stuff like food prep or dishes. So I was already pretty ticked but trying to be patient. When we got busy, I stationed her putting veggies on sandwiches. She said a few things to customers that annoyed me, but nothing too bad at first. Then one guy asked for extra olives and she told him no. He was a bit offended and asked again, and she practically shouts, ‘You don’t need any more olives, you have plenty!’ So I tell her to give him the olives he’s asking for. Then she starts shouting at me about Subway standard veggie portions like I wasn’t the one who taught her 45 minutes ago. I tried a little to explain that it’s a default amount but customers can get extra, no big deal. She wasn’t having it, so I stepped away from my station, gave the poor guy his olives, and apologized. That’s when she lost it and started screaming that I was undermining her (??). I told her to go do dishes and I’d cover her station. She went storming off, thank God.
I was already planning on talking to the store manager about it, because what the heck. But as luck would have it, the franchise owner dropped in for something or other. As soon as new girl realized who he was, she started ranting about how I didn’t control my veggie portions or some bull and I should be fired. When the franchise owner took my side, obviously, she shouted at him too. That was that, except that she called the store manager later, in tears, begging to know what she’d done wrong, and made it sound like she didn’t realize I was her boss or that shouting at the owner about how he doesn’t know how to run a business is inappropriate.”
But First, Let Me Take A Selfie
“The guy signed a nondisclosure as we were working around movie sets and production offices.
Throughout the day he continuously asked if he could take photographs. Finally, I realized that his employment was not worth risking my own employment or the production companies information. He was relocated elsewhere but, he did not last long from what I hear.”
Call Her Mommy
“The employee just left, I couldn’t find her anywhere.
I called her later at her parent’s home and fired her. Mom was ticked… at me. Couldn’t even have lunch that day because of her. So grumpy and hungry me just hang up.”
He Caused A Flood
“So technically not their first day but this was the last day of their temp trial period and then the next day they were going to be made full time.
He was a forklift driver and we keep materials stacked high on very tall racks. Operators are told never ever to drive with the forklift raised up. You remain stationary, lift up, get the pallet, bring it all the way down, then drive.
Driver decides to drive the forklift while raised, clips the water sprinkler, tears the piping from the ceiling, causes the water system to go off and half our warehouse flooded. We make labels in our shop and paper and water don’t go well together. He ended up destroying over $40K worth of finished product. That’s product we already spent money and time making.”
“What A Nice Boy”
“He interviewed really well, seemed excited to be a part of, kept mentioning his mom (in a ‘what a nice boy’ way). He even brought his mom in after we hired him, she seemed really nice too. It’s not so weird when you consider how small town is.
His first day? He showed up like a freaking space cadet. Seemed to barely understand English, wasn’t making eye contact with anyone but staring off into the distance like crazy, asking if he could take an early lunch 45 min into his shift. Dude was high off his gourd and we politely told him it wasn’t gonna work out two hours into the day.”
“Do You Even Want To Be Here?”
“New hire snorted in disgust when I asked her to clear a table in her section. She refused to be shown how to set a table, and snapped at another manager.
‘Do you even want to be here?’ I asked.
‘OK, grab your stuff, good luck to you.'”
Not A Night Owl?
“Dude got a job as the overnight shift in my gym. The overnight is here alone. He arrives at 9 and is here till 7 am.
At about 10:30 another employee comes in to workout and notices the ‘Please scan here’ sign is up. This is used when the overnight goes to the bathroom or has to step away from the front desk for whatever reason.
The employee works out for an hour and notices the sign is still up, he walks into the break room, bathroom ect and cant find the new guy.
Turns out he left an hour into his first shift. Manager had to come cover. He wouldn’t have known till the next day if the employee wasn’t working out there.
Dude ignores all calls from the manager and doesn’t even come get his check from his training days.”
“Hired a guy on the recommendation of another employee.
He no-call no-showed the first day. Second day he no-call no-showed, but halfway through the day called to tell me that his kid was sick (which I’m sympathetic for because I have kids too), but I had to tell him we couldn’t use him. Then waves of abusive texts and phone messages from him and his wife. His final text was super-long and explained how I’d just made it an enemy for life and that he was going to get even by starting up a rival business and putting me out of business. If only he’d put that much energy into showing up.
The employee who recommended him is actually awesome. He was dumbfounded and tried to contact him to see what was up. No response.”
He Tried To Appeal
“Pub & bar manager here. This happened at my previous pub.
New guy’s first shift and he was constantly on his phone and going for cig breaks without permission. 2 hours into his shift his mates came in and he gave them all free drinks, shots and snacks, a few of them were under 18. Fired him on the spot and he had the audacity to appeal, despite overwhelming evidence against him including 5 witness statements and cctv, not to mention the stock count deficit.”
“He Was Such A Mess”
“My boss hired a new lab technician, I am the manager so he had to report to me.
At the end of the shift he tried to clean medical equipment with dish soap.. because he didn’t want to wait for the machine to finish. Which the other crew would be responsible for. He tried to microwave blood.. in a microwave for food. And last but not least he forgot to put someone in the freezer. For five hours. He was such a mess.”
Who’s The Real Tony?
“So I was managing a low end casual chain restaurant and had hired this kid (probably 17-18) the prior week… lets call him Tony. I had done orientation with him his first day and then I had a week off for vacation. On my first day back to work, Tony is an hour late. We are super busy so I just tell him to get to work cooking and I will address it later. He looks very lost and confused even though he had 5 training days with my lead trainer. He pulls me aside and says he will be right back and needs to go to the restroom. I’m a bit frustrated with him already and confused why he’s asking but I say its fine obviously.
Then it happens.
My lead trainer comes to me and tells me that this kid is not Tony. I reply with, ‘What to you mean?’
She says, ‘I was training Tony for 5 days, that is NOT him. I honestly thought he was another new hire.’
Now, I had only met the kid once for an hour right before vacation so I honestly didn’t remember what he looked like. I bolt to the bathroom to confront him once he comes out to find the bathroom empty with a folded up shirt and hat on the booth outside. The next day I call Tony to ask what the heck happened. He ignores the first call and then blocks my next call, so I try from my cell phone and he answers, I say my name and he immediately hangs up and blocks me too. So my staff and I were left to assume that Tony apparently sent his friend in to work his job, in full uniform, and nobody but my lead trainer caught it. I don’t know if I should be embarrassed, or impressed that his friend has some major balls to go undercover like that.”
“I Thought I Was Going Crazy”
“I was an internal consultant for a regional healthcare provider. I was integrating a smaller and newly acquired healthcare provider that was mostly residential homes for elderly individuals with moderate mental health issues. Technically I was also the interim director of this new division during the transition period—once they were fully integrated I would step away and return to my consultant role—and during the transition period I was everyone’s boss.
I was at one of the sites reading charts and coordinating with the site’s program manager about transitioning patient records to our system when I physically witnessed the program manager berate a patient for requesting something completely reasonable—it was something about requesting transport but the exact details escape me. Berating them would have been verboten regardless but the request was simple, reasonable, and easily granted. In our system this would have been a simple ‘yes’ without any fuss. But even if it were a ‘no’ it should have been delivered in a respectful way with an appropriate explanation.
And then she immediate got on the phone and complained about the patient to a coworker while making fun of them.
In. Front. Of. Me.
I was sitting across the table from her.
I looked at my assistant because I thought I was going crazy and her eyebrows were so high up on her forehead they merged with her hair.
I fired her on the spot.
To clarify, it wasn’t the program manger’s first day on the job, it was her first day as an employee of my organization.”
“The dude who showed up in pants so tight you could see all the detail of his crotch.
We worked at a children’s bounce play area/fun zone.
We told him to go home and change. He came back over an hour later, with Starbucks, in blindingly white skinny jeans that presented the same issue. Parents complained the first time.”
“I worked at an upscale restaurant in college. Like servers are wearing a tie and have those fancy table scrapers for crumbs and we had monthly vino classes to educate us on our extensive vino list.
We hired a bartender with an impressive resume. She stripped on the weekends, but had a very good resume of lots of different bar tending experience, looked professional during her interview, she was really great!
Her second shift, a Sunday lunch, she showed up in a fishnet croptop with neon green pasties and shorts showing half her buttcheeks. She said she forgot her uniform so just came in wearing what she had in her car. She was told to go home and change, so she went to her car, took off her fishnet top and replaced it with a bikini top. Said she didn’t have time to go home because she’d miss out on tips she was owed. Then she was baffled when the manager just outright fired her. Over half our clientele was uptight old ladies, and it being Sunday lunch it’s gonna be the church crowd, you’re not getting the tips you think you’re going to get from them, I promise.”
A Call From The Great Beyond
“What he got fired for happened on the first day but we didn’t know about it until a bit later.
Managed a team and hired a bright guy. All seems good on the first day.
At the end of the first day he received a phone call where he announced his father has passed away.
2 weeks of compassionate leave for funeral out of state later, he was supposed to start work again but called from the car park to say he’s too distraught.
This goes on for 3 more weeks until one day we got a phone call from someone looking for this worker.
It was his father.
As it turned out he’s been running this scam where he gets jobs with multiple companies and pulls this same stunt getting paid during the probationary period regardless of what happened for as long as he can. He sets up salary payment to multiple accounts himself and to friends to avoid detection from tax agency.
This guy was smooth. Lied and cried. Conned the lot of us.
Not sure what happened to him but we reported this to the tax agency for a case of tax fraud.”
Can’t Spell Under Pressure
“Obligatory not a manager, but I was training temps for our help desk. I’d done this a few times and help desk manager told me to let him know if there were issues with any of the temps. While there were a few people I knew weren’t going to be very good, there was never enough to get rid of them.
Until one day I get a group and one lady is just kind of glazed over while I’m going through stuff. Everyone had their logins and was following along to get a bit of experience seeing what to do and then having the opportunity to do it themselves. After my demo is over, I have everyone come up and show me that they can do what I just went over.
There’s the normal nervousness of being put on the spot, people blanking for a second before I prompt them on what to do, fat fingering the keyboard, etc. All normal stuff until I get to the quiet lady. She comes up and sits down and I wait for her to log in. And I wait. And wait.
She’s locked out her account. Were you able to log in at all to follow along? No. Well that’s annoying because seeing and doing at the same time really helps people grasp the concepts of what they need to do, but whatever. I unlock her account and have her log in. She relocks her account.
The new accounts had temp passwords that were all the same like ChangeThis01. Thought maybe she got a randomized one by mistake and reset it to the standard to be sure. She locks it again. The other two people in there training class are getting uncomfortable and I’m running out of ease the tension jokes. Reset the password again and really watch her.
She’s using hunt and peck to enter the password, so it’s easy to see she’s misspelling change every time she enters her password. This time I reset the password to Password1 and she’s finally able to log in and change her password. It’s the only time I recommended they get rid of a temp.
Nice lady, but there’s no way she would have been able to handle doctors yelling at her for ‘the system being down’ if she couldn’t handle entering her own password or speaking up when she had an issue.”
A Walking Safety Hazard
“Not a manager, but was training a new guy on a plastic bag cutting machine. The kind of bags used for products like fiberglass, peat moss, or salt.
These machines sometimes have plastic build up around the sealers and when this happens the machine needs to be stopped and cleaned. Usually this only takes a minutes. Power off, engage killswitch, remove excess plastic, change teflon strip if necessary, disengage kill switch, then power back on. This was explained multiple times.
Twice on the first night, he disengaged the kill switch and started the machine while I was working on it. Could have had my fingers crushed, or had it clamp on the tools I was using and send shattered pieces everywhere.
Lucky for me the machine starts to vibrate a second before it actually starts and I was able to pull away quickly enough both times.
I stopped the machine, grabbed my manager and my union rep, explained what happened and he was gone in 5 minutes.
“I had an ’employee’ call off on her first scheduled day. On her second scheduled day, she showed up 2 hours late. This was a sub shop. We weren’t open yet but we had been in doing prep, baking bread, and building our sub trays for catering orders. We told her that this wasn’t going to work out and she got TICKED. She started yelling that we were all prejudice pricks and as she stormed out the door, she knocked over stacks of sub trays. We lost 15 trays to her tantrum.
My boss went running out the door after her and the girls boyfriend got out of the car and reached behind his back swearing and telling my (female) boss that if she keeps ‘stepping to them’ that he would ‘stop her good’. (We are pretty sure that he had a weapon). My boss checked the license plate and came back in. We had all of this girl’s information (address, phone, social security, etc) from the paperwork so with that and the security footage of her destroying the trays, we were able to press charges for the damage.”
Yelled At The Wrong Guy
“I’m not the manager in the story, but I was there for part of it.
Dude gets hired, starts training. During training, the General Manager (GM) instructs him to take out the trash. He refuses, gets into an argument. Apparently, he didn’t know that he was arguing with the GM despite the big, fancy name tag with ‘General manager’ printed in block letters on it. Gets sent home.
For some reason, he still comes in the next day, smelling of drinks. He grabs food (this is a restaurant) without paying, right in front of everyone, including a manager. He then proceeds to start coming at a server because they couldn’t tell him where the takeout silverware was (not the server’s job). This evolves into a literal fight and the police get called. We never saw him again after that.
This was all before his first actual day of work.”
Should’ve Done The Background Check First
“Undisclosed charge for beating up his old manager, giving her a broken nose and fractured eye socket, for not approving a holiday request. We were a little late with his background check but he had done really well on the interview and completed training without an issue.
First full day on the job he comes in and I give him the tour and introduce him to his team and I instantly get the feeling that he’s being shifty. Turns out not 20 minutes before his first shift he got out of his car at a traffic light and screamed at another driver who didn’t go through a yellow light. Imagine his surprise to see it was our reception desk/security guard. Apparently he was really aggressive and threatened to slash his tires if he saw that car again. Two hours later (and about 10 minutes after I found out about that morning) his background checks come back.”
“Health And Safety Nightmare”
“I’m a bar and restaurant manger. One day the new Kichen Porter walked through the front entrance carrying a huge bag of cheese over his shoulder, which the head chef had told him to pick up. He walked through the restaurant and, right in front of customers, launched it through the hatch in the kitchen, flying through the air as everyone just watched open mouthed. The huge bag of cheese landed hard in the deep fat fryer. The chef working near it got scalded in hot oil and had to go to A&E.
He’s the only person I’ve sacked on their first day. I’m mostly pretty chill but he was just a walking health and safety nightmare. Even after everything that happened he still couldn’t accept responsibility or apologize to the chef he hurt. He’s the only person I’ve let go without a hint of remorse or sadness. The safety of your team always comes first.”
Not Fit For The Sea
“Chief Officer of a merchant vessel here. Technically, 2nd in command of the ship after the Captain.
A seaman joined our ship while our vessel was berthed in Mobile, Alabama. He was carrying a plastic water bottle during familiarization rounds on deck with the 3rd Officer, and when it was empty proceeded to throw the bottle overboard. My Russian captain saw this, calmly asked me to call the seaman to his office, gave back all his documents, asked the agent to book him a flight back to where he came from.
All of this happened in a span of 3 hours.”