From gossip to downright intimidation, there seems to be no shortage of drama at some jobs. These workers share the outrageous behavior they’ve experienced in the workplace.
Now This Is Just Strange
“I used to keep a bowl of individually wrapped candy on my desk, partly for my snacking and partly so anyone who stopped by to say hi could grab a candy. It was my way of being passively social in a sea of cubicles.
After I’d been out for a sick day, I came back to my bowl missing. My coworker had moved it out of my cubicle into the kitchen so ‘it was easier for everyone to get some candy’. I felt very awkward getting the bowl out of the kitchen and moving it back to my cube since it was a big office and anyone who didn’t know it was mine might have thought I was stealing it. I expressed my annoyance since the breakroom/kitchen was the furthest point in the office from my own desk, with it moved I couldn’t even get to my own candy.
I brushed it off as her not understanding that I wanted to keep it in my cubicle. That is, until another day that week when I came back to my desk after covering our front desk for an hour to find my bowl gone again. I get up to check the breakroom and notice it is sitting on a file cabinet down the aisle from me, near her cube but again in a public area. She tried to justify this one as being okay since it was close enough for me to get to.
I had to talk to our manager on this one to get it to stop, it was a bowl I owned filled with candy I bought with my own money. It was the weirdest conversation with a manager I’ve ever had to initiate, like ‘So weird coworker keeps stealing my candy bowl and putting it in public areas. I’ve had to feel very weird taking it back in front of anyone since some people might not know it’s mine. I’ve asked her to stop and she keeps doing it (the file cabinet thing happened about three times each with me telling her to stop doing it). Can you please tell her to stop moving my stuff?’
I was 20, she was around 35-40, I honestly still don’t know what made her think it was okay, we were friendly otherwise.”
It Was Worth It For That Zinger
“I work with a lot of dudes in a male-dominated field. We all get along incredibly well because they have come to treat me as their adorable, crass little sister. Occasionally, I’ll get approached for a date, but it usually goes away real quick when I remind them they once told me a story about getting so wasted that they didn’t realize their wang was hanging out of their pants all night. Then we laugh and talk about football.
One day, we hired this new hotshot who had no trouble constantly reminding us that he graduated from Harvard and that his parents had, supposedly, met in Warhol’s factory (i.e. he was a real prick). Probably because I would barely give him the time of day, he immediately zeroed in on me. He would casually stop by my cube and tell me truly mediocre things about his own life that he thought should have impressed the pants right off of me. When it didn’t, he started getting pretty aggressive.
Finally, during one of our ridiculous conversations, he said ‘You don’t know it yet, but you’re going to sleep with me whether you want to or not.’
I think he thought he was being suave or witty or something, but he walked away and I thought to myself, ‘They have a word for that and I’m pretty sure that’s illegal, buddy.’
It was then that I was on a balls-out mission to make sure that this guy was gone as soon as possible. Luckily for me, he was a grade A idiot in not only his personal life but his professional one too. He emailed me a few days later admitting that he had proudly broken the one major rule our company had (it’s a very relaxed working environment, but this had to do with the illegal distribution of our intellectual property…a big no-no.)
I didn’t even have to call the lawyer; the lawyer called me. I forwarded him the email and that guy was gone 15 minutes later. As he walked by my cube, he looked at me with incredulous eyes and said, ‘I can’t believe you did that.’
I looked at him and said ‘Well, you said I’d end up nailing you in the end.’
It’s the only time I’ve ever had a zinger like that and it. was. awesome.”
Jeremy Just Ain’t Right
“Jeremy. Let me tell you about Jeremy. He was a programmer I worked with for just a few months in video games. It was a small start-up during the dotcom days. It was an optimistic but directionless place to work. The owner had just gotten his inheritance, hired some people, and expected them to churn out a product that would make him rich. He gave himself all the leadership titles like producer, developer, designer and played other video games all day long.
Jeremy was a programmer that had his master’s in business and a few years of work experience by the time he was 19. He had already been married for two years. Any chance of finding his way socially in the world was long removed.
At a conference, he packed a shoulder bag on the plane with a baguette, water bottle and a massive encyclopedia-sized book to read. This was a bit odd for the plane ride, but once we got to baggage claim he had no bag. All of his clothes were crammed under bread in a small shoulder bag. This was what he was wearing to represent a small start-up for an entire week.
We started a company bowling night. Some of us were terrible but at least had the concept. Basic, basic bowling is not too tough of a concept. If you hit a pin, you score points. We set up and put everyone’s name down for a game, including Jeremy. Instead of crowding around the normal area, Jeremy sat in a high traffic area by the stacks of bowling balls in a chair reading a tomb of Greek mythology with his ball under his chair. When it was his turn and we got his attention he did the unimaginable.
He dropped his book, grabbed his ball, and lept from his chair in one fluid motion. Running 15 feet to the lane, he hucked the ball to his shoulder and with all his might, shot put the bowling ball down the lane. It hit an advertisement hanging from the freaking ceiling rebounded in the opposite direction and landed with a solid thud on the opposite lane that someone else was trying to use. It was so loud that the entire bowling alley came to a sudden stop. Jeremy had chosen his ball with one thing in mind, the heaviest. We had to cover for him, apologize and talk our way out of not getting the entire group kicked out. It seems they didn’t believe anyone could be so stupid and wanted to believe that he was a malicious prick. We had to convince the owner that we could vouch for his character and that he was indeed stupid, but we were indeed in charge of his education(not verbatim.)
He couldn’t handle getting to work on time living just a few blocks from work. He did calculate the time it takes to cross the average city block and when he found a high-rise apartment in downtown Chicago he decided he could still make it to the burbs easily. This led to him often getting to work at the same time others were leaving for lunch. I was asked to help him move, everything he owned was covered in crumbs or cheese. It looked like a hovel. He managed to wreck the moving van twice that day.
Now with him commuting every day, he soon got into a massive car wreck. No one was hurt but five cars were totaled. His car was a lease. This led to him taking the bus to work. The bus stopped at the mall only a mile away. Because of bad planning, it was at least a three-mile walk around gated areas and an interstate crosswalk. This was bad for someone that would be out of breath just walking to the bathroom. He would show up out of breath and sweat-drenched. One day he decided to take a shortcut. Across the interstate. I freakin’ 90 during rush hour. Each side with 6 lanes of traffic. 12 lanes of bumper to bumper interstate. I can only go off of what he told me. He made it, barely. People narrowly avoided him and almost got into wrecks across all 12 lanes. Once across he had to climb over a barb wire fence. He got stuck. He couldn’t do it. So he turned back and CROSSED ALL 12 LANES. AGAIN.
One time the boss wanted us to take a half-day and bond (he really just wanted someone to play games with so bad that he was willing to pay us to do it.) He took us to Dave and Busters in downtown Chicago because they had virtual reality Mechwarriors. The Dave and Busters a mile away wasn’t good enough. Our path took us through Cabrini Green. This was the worst project in the U.S. It’s been since torn down, but to get an idea of what it was like, watch the movie Candyman.
Most people who see a place that city services such as a garbage man would abandon think, ‘I’m gonna roll up the windows, not make eye contact, and drive through here as quickly as possible.’ Not Jeremy. He sees a sign on the front door saying, ‘Metal detector in use’ and decides to put it to the test. He parks his convertible Cabriolet. Walks to the front door despite the people who live there watching him, and dangles his car keys to see if it will set off the metal detector! Chubby white guy parks his car in front of the entrance of the worst projects in the country, and dangles his car keys in front of the natives! WHAT!
This was the guy making our programming backbone. He was so difficult to work with that no code ever got finished. His hygiene was so bad that the other programmers wanted to work in the art department and crowded us. He was there only a few months, and yes there are more and more stories.”
What Would You Do If This Happened To You?
“A little context: I’ve known all of my coworkers for nearly 10 years. I met them when I was doing an internship before I graduated, and came back 8 months ago when they had an opening for a position and I sent my CV. Got hired on the spot because they already knew me and I had the profile they wanted.
This happened last Friday: it was a morning like any other, we were getting work done and chatting about whatever nonsense, and around 11 AM I mentioned I was really hungry and I was looking forward to having lunch. My coworkers said as normal as ever something like ‘It’s less than an hour, hang in there.’
So, it’s 12 o’clock, I grab my lunch bag and head over to the kitchen to heat up my meal in the microwave, as usual (not just me, but almost everyone in the office brings their lunch and we all get together at noon to eat). Then I noticed that everybody is headed to the front door and leaving. I was a bit surprised because there wasn’t a birthday or a work lunch scheduled that I knew of. Then it hit me.
I was left all by myself to eat lunch. Everyone left to have lunch together at a nearby restaurant but no one bothered to mention it or asked me to join them.
I didn’t make a fuss about it, I just ate my food and returned to my desk, and never mentioned anything, but it still hurt to feel that I wasn’t considered important enough to at least be asked if I wanted to join.”
It’s A Video Store. How Hard Could It Be?
“In the long ago, in the before time. I’m working full-time at a video rental place. The manager leaves for greener pastures, so they bring in a new manager. He seems ok. Does some lousy stuff, but nothing too bad. Then he decides he wants to hire his friend part-time. Where will those 20 hours a week come from? From me of course. I go in to find my hours cut in half. This was the 90s, so I have another job lined up in a couple of days and I give my two weeks notice.
For the next two weeks, I train the new guy. He’s kind of an idiot, but it’s a video store. He’ll be fine. On my last day, I go in for my final shift and the manager takes me into the back office where the district manager is waiting. Apparently, there’s $50 missing from the safe and I’m the prime suspect since it’s my last day. I deny it. They want me to work my last shift, so maybe they believe me. Or maybe they just couldn’t find somebody to cover.
I’m frustrated. My morals being brought into question is bad enough, but this makes no logical sense either. I mean if I wanted to steal $50 I would do in a way that they would never know about it. I wouldn’t just take it out of the safe. And why wouldn’t I wait until my last day? At this point, I realize I’m saying all of this out loud and the new guy is standing there. ‘How?’, he asks?
I should have known better, but I was annoyed and not thinking straight. So I think about it for a minute and then explain to him that you could just not ring somebody up and pocket the money. They’re still going to drop the tape in the return box after they watch it. Do that once a night and it’ll add up quickly. He nods.
A couple of weeks later I drop in to say hi to my friends at the video store. I find out that the genius new guy decided to try my idea. Instead of not ringing up one customer and pocketing the money, he didn’t ring up any customers for his entire shift.
He was arrested.”
Watch This Guy Make The News
“I’m gonna with this crazy conservative Christian guy I worked with about seven to eight years ago.
We were account managers for a telecom company and we were part of a team that specialized in a specific type of product, so there were seven of us crammed into a small room in the back.
This was back when Glen Beck only had his stupid AM Talk Radio show, and this guy listened to it all day. We asked him to wear headphones but he refused.
He would say weird, chauvinist quotes from the bible frequently, and wouldn’t let his wife work… Even though she was in the pharmacy business and we only made about $12/hr at the time.
Up until this point the craziest thing he had done was take off on June 6th, 2006 (666) to hide in his bunker. Then one day he was served a protective order against his wife and daughter and divorce papers all on the same day… This unlocked the true craziness.
He then started spending all day talking on the phone to lawyers and family members, either quoting even darker bible verses and wishing his soon-to-be ex-wife was dead or complaining about not getting lucky anymore.
He then started saying that god ‘takes care’ of floozies like his ex-wife, and when God does it he wants pictures of his ex’s body to show his daughter what happens when women don’t obey their husbands.
It all came to a head over striped socks.
It was a typical morning, he was on the phone complaining to someone and a girl came in wearing striped socks. We kinda laughed about it and were joking around with her when suddenly a crazy Christian guy SLAMS his phone down and yells ‘OH GREAT BECAUSE YOU ALL WERE LAUGHING IN THE BACKGROUND THE JUDGE DENIED MY VISITATION WITH MY DAUGHTER!!!’
Another lady just made the comment ‘jeez Jeff, don’t go postal’
To which he replied, in the flattest, coldest tone I’ve ever heard in real life ‘Oh I won’t go postal. God will kill you all and when he does I’ll be there to take pictures of your bodies to show my daughter what happens to tramps like you.’
Oh, and when we told the supervisor he said that she laughed then said ‘what did you guys say to him? You know he’s going through a hard time. You all need to be more sympathetic towards him’.
We threatened to put a restraining order on him and so they moved him out of the room… To the first desk outside of the door. So we had to walk past him and still heard the lousy Glen Beck show.
I quit shortly after that, but to this day I keep a lookout in the news for the headline ‘man mows down office building with AK-47 in one hand and a polaroid camera in the other.’”
Along Came Maggie
“I worked at a Starbucks. After 1.5 years of solid barista work, I got promoted to shift supervisor, so I had to move to a different store. I arrived on my first day there (just orientation to introduce me to everyone and take a couple of online trainings), I reached out my hand to meet Maggie. The manager informed me that Maggie was their best barista and ‘owned the morning rush.’ Maggie grunted at me and didn’t shake my hand. OK, maybe she had a rough day.
A couple of days later, she refuses to make eye contact with me. This job requires good and constant communication, but Maggie refused to talk to me, causing several orders to get messed up or unfilled. After her shift was over, I took her aside and apologized. She screamed ‘AUuUUGHH!’ and stormed out the door raging.
I asked a coworker what Maggie’s deal was. I learned the back story that the manager thinks of her as a daughter, has strong favoritism towards Maggie, assumes Maggie is the only person who can handle any task but had refused to promote her to shift supervisor. She had been gunning for the vacant position, then I got it, so she resented me.
I had some empathy for Maggie at this point. After a year of working with her, the empathy vanished. Sure, Maggie got a lot thrown at her, but she refused to perform her tasks well. She didn’t show up for shifts if the weather was bad. Oh, also this ‘owning the morning shift’ thing – she constantly screamed at customers or was very curt with them, they would insist that they ‘like being talked to that way. They know I’m kidding.’ On more than one occasion, a customer would come over to me and say how nice it was when Maggie wasn’t there because no one was yelling.
She’d deliberately do things poorly, then turn around and say she was the only person who could do them. It became clear that it was Maggie herself who had demanded all these extra tasks.
This all came to a head one day. As her supervisor, I was explaining that I really value good communication and needed her to vocally confirm drink orders. I have the exact same expectations for all other staff and for myself. She had about 5 inches and 30 pounds on me. She lunged herself at me, red-faced, screaming that she was going to hurt me if I don’t stop ‘getting in her face.’
When I told the boss, she said that Maggie was the best barista in the store, she ‘owns the morning shift’, and I just need to listen to her. I said, ‘So I’m her supervisor, but I am supposed to take orders from her?’ Boss says it’s just easier that way (side note: worst boss I ever had. A different post altogether, though). I consulted with my old boss back before the promotion who said I should objectively document every incident I have with her, keep emotions out of it, and share the journal with my manager and district manager.
So I did that. I explained to my boss that I have journals explaining everything that happened. She said ‘Ok, we obviously need to discuss this. Come in tomorrow at X time and we will hear you out.’ I show up and Maggie walks out, looking very smug. I go in and start sharing my part with the store and district managers. They stop me and say that they aren’t interested in hearing it. They’ve heard enough and trust Maggie’s side of the story.
I went home and applied to grad school programs. In a terrifying turn of events, Maggie is now a cop.”
Mary Loves Gossip
“After pouring my heart and soul into my job for eight years, I started getting very sick. A year after this I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease but at the time, all I knew was that I was losing a shocking amount of weight and fast. My immediate manager (who had hated my guts since day 1) started spreading rumors that I was on meds and that that was the reason for my weight loss.
The rumors spread like wildfire and before I knew what was going on, I was being treated like an outsider by people who had adopted me as a sister for the past eight years. No matter how many tests I took to prove that I didn’t use narcotics, no one would believe me. The manager (let’s call her Mary) just said that I found a way to bypass the results. They eventually reduced my responsibilities and made my report to another manager who had only been working there for 6 months! I realized that they were trying to force me to resign.
Things got worse after that. They started nit-picking through my work, finding fault in every little thing that I did. Constructive dismissal is what they call it. My reputation was shot, no matter what I did to try and convince them otherwise. Mary even went so far as to confront me with pills that a colleague allegedly found in the bathroom! She was deadset on getting rid of me, that much was certain.
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a few months later but even showing them the doctor’s report did nothing to convince them. I had a sit-down with the senior manager and told her (let’s call her Karen) that she really shouldn’t believe everything that Mary told her since she (Mary) had her own agenda about advancing in the company and saw me as a threat. But Karen would hear nothing of it. I left the company a month later.
Two years later I heard that Mary had done something similar to Karen, resulting in Karen now reporting to Mary. My prediction had come true. The wheel turns slowly. I did not sink to their level, defended myself with righteousness and then eventually Karma stepped in against Karen. Sooner or later the wheel will grind over Mary as well, I have no doubt about that.”
Liars Get Fired
“This is so catty but I work in child care, at my old job this girl got hired and was my assistant teacher. Immediately I could tell she was a compulsive liar. Any story or life event I told, she had one that was the same but even better. By the time the next year came around, she was given the cook position. During that time she’d deliver food to all the classrooms and decided one day to start telling me that my friend who also worked there had been talking trash about me. I’m not sure why I believed her, but I did. She then started telling said friend that I was doing the same to her. I eventually figured it out and talked to my friend about it. We kept it hidden from the girl that we knew and she continued to spread rumors and lies throughout the whole center to all our co workers.
Well, shortly after that happened I was promoted to management position. She was clearly ticked off that I was telling her what to do and proceeded to talk even more trash about me. It was so tense and uncomfortable and I got to the point where I was finding any reason to try and get her fired. I became almost a ‘tattle-tell’ because anything she did wrong, I’d go to my boss and get her written up. It was usually her being on her phone when she wasn’t supposed to be, nothing to really get her fired. Well, one day I caught her on the computer looking up everyone’s pay. I went straight to my boss and that tramp immediately was fired. She made a huge scene when it happened and went off on me and told everyone to watch out for me because I was out to get them. No. It was just her and everyone quickly realized it after she was gone. Made it such a better environment for everyone after she was gone.
Getting her fired is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.”