Now that our work days revolve around remote conference calls, there's no telling what sorts of awkward or disturbing things can happen. People are outside a professional environment, so there's bound for some randomness to occur, especially in a person's own household. Unfortunately, these people encountered the most inappropriate, bizarre actions when working with others. There's a reason you should keep your work life separate from your personal life. Content has been edited for clarity.
Unleash The Torrent
“Years back I worked for female vice-president. I worked from home and basically had two cordless phones. One had a plug for a headset but no mute button. The other had a mute button but no headset plug. So I’m on a very long team call, and I switch over to the headset so I can move around and free my hands. Out of nowhere, I get that gut-wrenching pain that lets me know I need to offload the troops immediately. I was crowning as I ran to the bathroom, dropped my pants, and sat. Then the panic set in. I had no mute button and the troops were breaching the barricade right that moment. I proceeded to unleash a 30-second torrent of gas and liquid at a decibel level that could cause temporary hearing loss. There was a brief respite while my bowels reloaded. I noticed the call was dead silent. It was only broken by the vice-president saying, ‘I’m buying you a phone with a mute button.’
I managed to get out, ‘Make sure it has a headset jack,’ before hanging up. About 10 years later, I was having dinner with some old friends from that company. They told me that this story was still the vice-president’s favorite one to tell at the bar.”
Daddy Is Hurting Me!
“I worked for one of those big enterprise companies, that liked to have an all-hands conference call every quarter. Everyone could mute their own phones (which you should do unless you’re asking a question), and the organizer could mute everyone but themselves (which they usually did just in case someone forgot to mute themselves). Most of us were in the office, but there were a fair number of people that worked remotely from home. So we had our pep talk from the senior vice-president, and the secretary gets on the line and says, ‘Okay, we’re going to take the main line off mute for the Q&A session.’
As soon as she does, everyone hears, ‘Oh my GOD, you stupid piece of trash, I told you not to bother your father at work! GET OVER HERE!’
‘No, Dad, I’m sorry, ow, daddy you’re hurting me, ow ugh!’
‘We’re turning the conference mute back on, please submit your questions through the web portal instead,’ said the secretary.
Never found out what happened to that kid, or even if they figured out who that angry voice was.”
That’s Gonna Leave A Mark
“My boss and I were in her office on a conference call with another office. Directly outside my boss’s office is the door leading into our main workroom. A co-worker, who is extremely flatulent, had been asked by the other workers to step outside the room when he was going to fart. A monitor on my boss’s desk shows the camera feed from directly outside her office. She has a very thin office door.
So my boss and I are mid conversation with the other office when the work room door opens and my co-worker comes stomping out of the room laughing, lets a huge fart go followed by 8-10 smaller ones, while he stomps around in a circle holding his butt. He’s laughing really loudly, strains and groans, lets one more fart go, then leans back into the room and screams, ‘Hey guys I just farted like 12 times in a row, I’m gonna go check myself in the washroom. There’s no way that last one didn’t leave a mark!’
Then he stomps off down the hall laughing. My boss is staring at her screen in shock while I’m trying not to burst out laughing. The other office goes silent for a few seconds and then asks my boss, ‘I’m assuming this man is on a break?’ thinking it was me who was screaming and had left. My boss buries her head in her hands and I burst out laughing and proceed to explain the situation to them. I told my co-worker later on that we heard everything and he was heard on the conference call. He refused to believe me (I’ve messed with him before), until my boss mentioned to him in passing that maybe he should look into anti-flatulence medication. He was mortified.”
“My Face Was Beet Red And Burning”
“I didn’t hear it, I said it. I used to work a contract that required 100% travel, so I was always out of town. This, of course, came with the expected conference calls with dozens of colleagues and management in order to share our issues and tricks of the trade, in order to more efficiently service our large contract. I was provided with a mobile device for this purpose. Along with that mobile device, I carried my personal device to keep in contact with friends and family.
During our weekly conference call, we would report our status one by one at the end of the call, then drop off when we were done. I reported my status, dropped off the call, and made my nightly call to my wife. On this particular evening, she was feeling rather frisky, and loneliness being what it is, the call got rather intimate. We were on the phone for about 10-15 minutes.
I hung up the phone and I heard tiny voices hooting and hollering. I picked up my company issued device, and noticed that I hadn’t actually hung up, but had only taken it off of speaker phone and set it down beside me.
I was horrified, my face was beet red and burning. I wasn’t sure how to handle it, so I picked up the phone, and in my best Elvis voice said, ‘Thank you. Thank you very much,’ and I terminated the call.
“I was working as a consultant on a software installation and initiated a conference call to introduce the client to the technical resource (let’s call him Bob) for the project. Everyone is on the call and Bob has yet to join, so I text him to find out why he’s running late. It turns out that Bob was at the gym, and there was excessive traffic, but he says he’ll ring in on his cell as soon as he gets inside his house.
I notify the client that Bob should be joining soon and just then the call beeps to notify us that someone has joined. I say, ‘I believe this is Bob. Bob, introduce yourself.’
Bob responds with a series of very long and very colorful expletives. There’s a bit of a stunned silence, so I pipe up with, ‘Bob, we don’t know these people well enough to be cursing them out yet. Let’s wait until we get further into the project before we do that.’
Everyone then relaxes a bit, and Bob then explained what happened. In his hurry to get on to the call, he rushed into his house and bumped a rocking chair. His cat was sitting under that chair and got it’s tail pinched when he brushed it, so his cat then launched onto his leg. Bob was wearing shorts, so he then reacted quite naturally to the process of having his leg shredded, by cursing like a sailor.”
Training Goes South Real Fast
“My company several years ago decided to do their company wide (about 500 employees) harassment training via a conference call and web meeting. During the training, there came a point where the presenter would give us a scenario and everyone would draw an ‘X’ mark in one of three columns. The columns would be a green, yellow or red column, based on whether we thought those scenarios would be appropriate for work. The key here is that each individual connected to the web meeting was given the ability to draw an ‘X’. What the presenters hadn’t thought of was not only could everyone draw an ‘X’, they could draw anything they wanted. And so they did. There were explicit drawings all over the screen. Once, the first naughty image was drawn, a bunch more followed until they stopped the training. Needless to say, there was a memo that went out to managers to talk about what had happened with their staff. There were also a few dismissals because some of the artists just had to brag about how they shut down the training. It was also the last time they did harassment training via a web/phone conference.”
Definitely Got The Point Across
“This happened to me a few years ago. I was working in the IT dept of a Fortune 100 company leading a high severity incident conference call. Basically, when something was broken, we would get involved and page the necessary IT groups to the conference call. I was a solid 20 or 30 minutes into it and the people we needed were on the conference call and working on the issue. An offshore resource from India joined and started asking the kinds of questions you would expect at the beginning of this type of call. I recapped the current status and flatly told him that his team was already on the call and working on it. Over the next few minutes, he continued to ask questions and I continued to re-explain what was happening.
Finally, in frustration with this guy, I muted my phone and said more to myself than anyone else, ‘Why don’t you shut the ‘eff up and stop asking so many stupid questions!’
I heard someone gasp out loud on the call in my headset. I turned to look and realized to my horror that I had missed the mute button on my Cisco phone and was in fact live on the conference call. Then, I heard the offshore resource say in heavily accented English, ‘Okay. I am shutting the ‘eff up.’
I didn’t know what to do first, laugh or cry. I thought I was so going to be fired.”
What Was He Doing To Himself?
“I had a conference call with my group, about 8 people, and something like 30 other people from our international branches. Someone in the UK was breathing heavily. Like the kind that you would imagine someone doing in order to harass someone over the phone. We also heard like a chewing sound. Basically, it was the most uncomfortable sounds you could make with your mouth, along with an ‘Ughmmmhmmmmmmmmmm.’
I only lasted about 45 seconds before I had to leave the room because I was giggling so hard. Once I got out of the conference room, I completely broke down laughing hysterically. When I finally got my composure, like three minutes later, I came back to see everyone else trying desperately to hold back their laughter because this dude’s disgusting vocalizations became louder, more frequent, and blatantly disgusting. Seeing my coworkers faces and hearing his breathing/grunts/chewing (or whatever it was) sent me into a laughing fit that followed me all day. Seriously, hours later I would be walking down the hall and see someone who was with me on the call, we’d make eye contact, and I would immediately start cracking up. Oh man, I hope that guy got fired for whatever he was doing to himself.”
The Only Solution
“I was on a call where a guy shared his screen, and then he forgot about doing so. There were about 15 people on the WebEx.
Someone was talking for a while, and it became long and boring, so the guy sharing his screen opened his email. He opens an email and while I didn’t see the beginning part, I saw him scroll down and it said, ‘And then the maid walked in!’ and there was a picture of a topless girl in a maid outfit.
After a few seconds, he closed that and then, no joke, opened CareerBuilder and started looking for jobs.”
“I had to come into work over the weekend for a long training session held via conference call. Having a weekend training meant a lot of people were working 12 days without a day off, and it wasn’t popular decision.
10 minutes into day one, someone who sounds like a kid starts casually saying the most vile, offensive things. Then someone else joined him. Another kid. Racial slurs and graphic descriptions of intimate acts. If it can offend people, these people said it.
They changed us to a different bridge, and it happened again not long after. After a while, the trainer asked the callers why they were doing this, the first one said they got the number from 4chan and invited her to do some pretty nasty stuff.
Some disgruntled employee was posting our call-in numbers and codes to 4chan, in retaliation for weekend training.”
Honesty Is The Best Policy
“A long time ago, I was having a conference call with some early investors and my co-founding partner. While on the conference call, my co-founding partner was located in Las Vegas at the time. I can clearly hear that he is getting head during the call. This girl was like a loud Dyson vacuum.
One of the investors spoke up, about two minutes after I caught onto what was going on. The investor asked if he was receiving head while presenting our business model. My partner simply stated, ‘Why yes, I am.’
The investor responded, ‘Okay, carry on.’
We ended up closing the deal. Somehow, we are still partners after many decades of success.”
They Heard Everything
“Every Monday, my department has a meeting to sync up on what is going on around the group. There are typically between 50-75 people in the actual meeting room and then another 40 or so call in. With the meeting software that we use, everyone can see the presenters screen, and they can also see who is talking when someone starts saying something. Basically, a little pop-up window shows up that says ‘[name] is talking’ in the corner.
As you can imagine, with 40 people calling in for this meeting, we like everyone that isn’t saying anything to mute their line, so we don’t get overwhelmed with background noise, and then if you want to contribute, you can unmute, comment, and then mute again.
A few months ago someone that had called in was commenting on how sales figures were going for the remainder of the month and then we went on to the next topic. The caller, however, had forgotten to mute his line again and proceeded to go to the bathroom. The entire call heard him doing his thing and then flushing, all while ‘[name] is talking’ was displayed at the bottom of the screen. This happened a few months ago, and I’m still not sure if anyone has told him.”
First Month On The Job
“I had just started working a contract job for a MAJOR computer hardware company. We were doing one of those weird conferences where everyone sits in an identical room, and the conference is between different rooms in like five states. The projector displays everyone else, and it appears as though everyone is in the same room. Anyways, they get into talking about some project plans, and I’m looking through work emails and getting things done in this meeting. I had stuff to do, so the conference was second priority.
Suddenly, the boss says something along the lines of, ‘So who is going to work with Asok?’
I just muttered in a very low volume, ‘Ashoe obviously!’ and then laughed a bit to myself. The room went quiet, and I realized that probably everyone heard me make a completely politically incorrect joke. This was my first month working there. Blood drained from my face. I was mortified and didn’t say anything else the rest of the conference. None of my nearby co-workers had heard it, so they claimed. But they laughed when I re-told them what happened to verify. Nobody said anything about it during the conference either.
Thankfully whoever the Asok person was, they weren’t in the conference to hear it.”
“Not a conference call, but I monitor calls for a call center in Utah. I was listening for the group located in Provo one day, when I happened across a 25-30 minute long personal call of one of our more notably difficult employees. We’ll call him J. It started off innocent enough, an employee was returning his roommate’s call to get some notes from a class and to pick up the dog from the groomers. The roommate (E) seemed upset, so the employee J started to pry. He opened up a little saying that he had hung out with his friend of the female persuasion again last night.
J told him that wasn’t a good idea, because he knew that things had been getting heated recently and he’d hate to see it go down the wrong path. E insisted that nothing funny was going on between them, and that it was just friendly. They went back and forth a bit and E admitted that maybe things were happening. So J advises that E not be alone with this girl, or that he stops seeing her entirely. E is much more upset by this comment, and starts saying that he couldn’t do that because the girl would feel used. J insists that as long as nothing had happened, that she wouldn’t feel used and it was better to stop these things before they get to deep. E squirms a little more, saying that maybe they had started getting too ‘deep’, and that he couldn’t just turn his back on this girl. J starts prying more, asking what had happened last night when they hung out, and E’s voice gets shaky. He starts to talk about how he just couldn’t control the situation, and how he didn’t know if he could take it back, and how dirty and guilty he felt. There was a pause in his details, silence, and E bursts out, ‘WE HOOKED UP LAST NIGHT!’ obviously in tears on the other end.
At this point I’m just rolling around laughing. J was taken aback by this revelation but, he told E that he could repent and fix it all if he promised never to do it again. Who knew doing this activity was something to cry so intensely over?”
That’s What That Popping Noise Is
“My company is on the smaller side, around 100 employees, and we have 3 owners. The president of the company is the most unlikely guy for the job, you would never know he makes almost a million a year by the way he acts. He moved to Florida about 8 years ago after a messy divorce (she wanted the company), and he started working out of our Tampa office. While down there, he meets a call-girl from Ft. Lauderdale and ends up marrying her. He is pretty uncouth and jokes all the time.
Now my company has thousands of customers across the country, and we are routinely on several calls throughout the day with them. One day, we had a call and needed our president to be on it, since we were trying to get them to sign a big service contract. When the call started, we noticed one of the callers sounded like they were outside. You could hear wind and water and cars every now and then. It was our president, and he was ‘on the road’. He muted himself after he said that and the call commenced. We had a salesman, a sales engineer (me), one of our field techs, and about five people from the customer side. The salesman was doing most of the talking. About 15 minutes in, a question was asked that our president was more qualified to answer. He unmuted himself and we immediately heard the outdoor noises again, but with more water splashing this time. He answers the question and made some other comments then went silent.
We thought he would mute himself again but didn’t, so we asked him to. He said sorry and was quiet again. My guess was that he thought he did mute himself and he later confirmed he thought so too. The conversation had started up again, so no one bothered to ask twice since the noise wasn’t that bad. About a minute later we hear a light pop pop pop sound, then our president comes in loud and clear breathing heavily, ‘Yeah get it all in there,’ followed by a moan. Turns out he was getting blown by the pool and the sounds we were hearing was his wife bobbing up and down.
Our sales guy immediately said, ‘President, we can hear you.’
President yells an expletive and hangs up. I was on mute myself and couldn’t stop laughing. Luckily, after apologizing profusely, we did end up getting the contract a couple weeks later.”
Everyone Has Their Suspicions
“I worked for a multinational service/retail center as an assistant to the regional manager. There was a monthly sales strategy conference call where the regional managers would go over sales reports. I thought they were a huge waste of time, but they were required, so our team would listen in.
It was my manager’s turn to present, (let’s call her C), so the director announced her name and gave her the floor. Right as she was about to launch into her presentation she was interrupted.
‘Hi everyone, starting at slide-‘
“Dude, have you seen C’s chest? Fantastic. I would do so many nasty things all over those things.’
By this point, C had turned bright red. Suffice to say the conference call was dead silent. The monster on the other end didn’t notice, as he obviously wasn’t listening to the call.
‘Her butt leaves quite a bit to be desired though, but you know. Hey, why isn’t the mute button lit up?’
Silence followed, but not too long afterward, a female voice came over the call.
‘C, you have a great butt. Pay no attention to that turd.’
C immediately left the room out of embarrassment. The call ended prematurely. With over 100 people on the call, no one found out who it was, but everyone had their suspicions.”