Business is all about taking a chance. However, some risks can open the door to disasters that companies may have a hard time recovering from. In these stories, bosses recount the mind-boggling mistakes a new hire made that ultimately made them regret ignoring the red flags, to begin with.
All stories have been edited for clarity.
Taking A Load Off
“I hired a kid named Simeon right out of school for a basic sales job. After two weeks, most of the office went to a convention downtown. On that same day, I left the office early to finish the day from home. I realize now what a mistake that was. However, the day ended fine and nothing happened.
When Monday came around, security stopped me as I was walking into the building. That’s when one of the guards asked about what we planned to do to ‘the kid’ after he got caught.
‘Caught doing what?’ I asked nervously.
Well, it turned out that Simeon decided to take a ‘break’ after I left for the day. He left the office, bought a 6 pack, and broke onto the roof of the building to drink beers and tan. We were in an eleven-story building. On either side of us were fifteen-story buildings.
Mr. Simeon decided to strip down to only his underwear and tan on the roof. Witnesses reported that he was drinking beers and smoking what appeared to be joints. When security confronted him, Simeon blew smoke in the guard’s face and told him to ‘piss off.’ He was immediately kicked off the property.
I was absolutely mortified to hear one of my employees acting out like that. However, Simeon was ‘sick’ and worked from home the rest of that week. Eventually, the building contacted our HR department. but only gave Simeon a warning!
He was somehow allowed on the property again but was informed that he had two strikes against him now because he had consistently been showing up over an hour late each day he worked from home.
The next day, Simeon showed up at noon for his 9-5 shift. He called in first to see if it was ‘ok’ to come in because he slept through ‘six’ alarms. I told him, ‘Sure, come on in.’
Simeon arrived and I finally fired him on the spot.”
Where’s Your Paperwork?
“My Dad works for a small heating and AC company. He’s a supervisor, which means he is in charge of hiring and firing new technicians as well as making sure all the guys are on top of their paperwork.
I remember my Dad talking about a new guy earlier this year who he claimed was just awful. His name was Kenny. Anytime a guy goes out on a call, they have to fill out paperwork stating what was completed. The paperwork is due to the office within two days of when that particular job was completed.
Kenny would not do his paperwork for weeks at a time. My Dad hounded him about it non-stop. I remember my Dad said that for one job, an entire week went by where he had to tell Kenny every single day to do the paperwork to no avail. He wanted to fire Kenny, but my Dad had to run all decisions by the owner before he fired someone. The owner kept telling my Dad to give Kenny another chance because he was a ‘good kid.’
Kenny eventually did get fired, but it was due to failing a drug test.
When he failed the first time, my Dad confronted him about it and announced he would be starting the paperwork to have him terminated. Kenny begged to be allowed to retake the test and claimed there had to be some mistake.
So, he was given another chance. By company rules, workers are allowed to go to a clinic of their choice within the allotted time. So for his second drug test, Kenny allegedly brought in a handwritten note from a doctor that just said ‘Kenny passed his drug test,’ with the doctor’s signature.
He submitted no paperwork, and no test results were faxed to the company. So, the owner asked Kenny for the contact info for the doctor so they could call and speak with him. When they called, the company found out the number Kenny provided was a random number. The people on the other line had no idea who Kenny was. After the owner confronted Kenny, he confessed that he wrote the note himself because he knew he couldn’t pass a drug test. My Dad was then allowed to fire him, finally.
The whole story was so absurd that it’s laughable.”
When It Rains It Pours
“I worked on the human resources team at Target. I was the primary person that handled phone screens to determine who was worthy of being called in for in-person interviews.
One day in November, I was out sick so one of my HR teammates scheduled a girl to come in. It was the holiday season, so if they made it past the phone screen they were most likely hired for seasonal work.
This ‘angel’ somehow slipped through the cracks and got hired to be a seasonal cashier.
On a team member’s first day, they have to take a few quizzes and training modules depending on their department so they can legally work for the store. Even for the departments with the most in-depth training, it should take 1-2 hours before you go train with another associate.
The new girl was training to be a cashier, so I knew she had maybe five ten-minute, multiple-choice quizzes to take.
She didn’t finish the training until 4 hours into her 6-hour shift.
When her first official cashier shift was scheduled, the new girl never showed up. Instead of calling out ahead of time with an excuse of sickness or emergency, she called three hours after her shift started and said her ‘baby daddy didn’t want to drive her in the rain.’
She then asked if she could talk to the head of guest services about making up the time later that week. Coincidentally, her department head was in the office when she called and took the call on speaker.
The words that came out of that girl’s mouth when he swiftly fired her over the phone would make Samuel L. Jackson blush.”
It’s A Dirty Job
“I had to train the new guy at my job where we installed TVs and other electronics in expensive houses. I hired him even though he wasn’t from our industry. At the time, the guy seemed to have skills in related fields. Plus, he was eager to learn so I gave him a shot.
Our first two weeks were spent finishing up a really nice in-home theatre. Then we moved on to the next job. We had to wire the house, which involved crawling through the attic and underneath the floors to pull in the new wires.
I turned to the new guy and instructed him to run the five wires down underneath the house and crawl them to the other side.
That’s when the new guy looked at me as if I had three heads.
‘What? No way!’ The new guy crossed his arms. ‘I am not going under there.’
I was stunned. This was a huge part of the job. He had to have known when he was hired. After a couple of minutes of talking to him, it was clear the new guy had no intention of doing any ‘dirty’ work. He ended up going out and sitting in the work van to pout.
I ended up calling my boss. When we drove back to the office at the end of the day, the new guy’s final check was waiting for him.
He was completely dumbfounded and got extremely upset. He even tried to blame me as his trainer for ‘setting him up’ and ‘making him do stuff that no one would ever want to do.’
I didn’t get to see the final encounter myself, but it became the talk of the company for a while. Apparently, the new guy never managed to get it through his head that we all had to do that type of work and I wasn’t singling him out. He blamed me and the company for him losing his job all the way out the door.
He also tried lying to the unemployment office. But, he got shut down hard when my boss explained the real reason why he was let go.”