First days of a new job can be tough. Employees often don't know anyone at their new office and you're often more concentrated on making a good impression than actually doing well at your job. That leaves room open to make mistakes. Bad mistakes. Ones that you never live down, no matter how long you're at your job. Read these stories of employees' worst mistakes on their first days and see if they made it past them or just had to leave the job.
A Rabid Mistake
“My first day working as a receptionist at a vet clinic, I was still pretty unfamiliar with the software used for documenting what was to be done during a clinic visit. I didn’t know what to put in for a puppy’s first rabies shot and no one was around to ask, so I just guessed and checked off something called RabiesLAB.
A few minutes later the vet seeing the puppy pulled me out back and asked if I’d made a mistake. It turns out I’d called for a rabies lab test, not a vaccine. A rabies test involves cutting a dog’s head off and having it shipped off to have its brain tested for rabies.
So, I basically called for a puppy to be beheaded on my first day.”
He Couldn’t Stop The Car
“My first day working as a mechanic I was doing front brake pads on a 1991 Mercury Sable. When you replace the pads, you compress the brake piston as far as it will go into the cylinder to make room for the new brake pads. When you are done, you have to pump the brakes up until the piston is pressing the pad lightly against the rotor, otherwise, the first time you drive the car you will not stop.
I did not know this. I did not stop. I drove through the front wall of our shop, right into the customer waiting area. The guy who was waiting for his 1991 Mercury Sable was not happy with how I delivered it. It cost me $1500 but the owner of the shop was nice enough to let me make payments out of my check every week.”
A Very Powerful Kick
“This guy was brand new as a waiter in a top-notch hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa and was surprised he got the job as he’s generally an outdoorsy-lookin’ guy that can be a bit clumsy. But get the job he did, and it had the potential to earn tons of cash through tips as the food was very expensive.
This elderly couple is his first table when he gets there, and they immediately order a bottle of Cab that costs over $1000. He immediately becomes very nervous at the prospect of this and goes and gets the bottle. As he’s talking about the bottle (all nonsense, I remember him saying) his hands were sweaty. He accidentally pours too hard and to keep it from overfilling he jerks the bottle away, and it flies out of his hands and smashes on the floor. Everyone stops and looks at him, he’s embarrassed as heck. The couple were understanding enough, though, and asked for another bottle.
He’s super nervous now and goes back to ask for another bottle and the cellar guy is like ‘NO WAY YOU JUST DROPPED SUCH AN EXPENSIVE BOTTLE’ but he’s talked into providing our hero with another bottle. So he goes back and trying to be very careful and deliberate he manages to pour one glass fine and as he’s pouring the second glass the bottle slips from his now very-sweaty hands. In a last-ditch effort to try and stop the bottle from hitting the floor, he lifts up his foot to try and save the bottle, overcompensates and basically dropkicks a thousand-plus-dollar bottle of fine Cab across a super-nice restaurant. It shatters against the wall, and everyone had still been watching him. He takes off his apron, apologizes to the elderly couple, and walked out.”
An Overflowing First Day
“It wasn’t just my first day on the job…it was the during the first HOUR. My boss is giving me the overview when I start to feel a pretty strong need to take a dump. So I politely interrupt my boss, and say (famous last words), ‘I’ll be right back.’
So, I go into the bathroom, do my business, wipe, and flush. Next thing I know, the toilet is not only stuffed but OVERFLOWING ALL OVER THE FLOOR.
OMG! What do I do!? I can’t just leave it there.
So I come out of the bathroom and sheepishly fess up to my boss. He has to call some people over to help out. A few minutes later I see the CTO/founder come over with a mop and bucket.
Can you say ‘mortified?’ I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in my life.
Oh yeah, and later on, after the cleanup, I find out that that was ‘the toilet with the weak flush,’ which everyone who worked there apparently knew about but me.
It’s funny now, but definitely wasn’t back then!”
How Much Cheese Is Too Much?
“I started at a Subway shop in New Jersey when I was 16. I was immediately taught that each foot-long sandwich with cheese was to get six triangles of cheese. No more, no less.
An hour later a customer ordered one such sandwich, and I prepared it accordingly with the boss looking over my shoulder. When the customer left, my boss asked, ‘how much cheese did you just put?’
I said, ‘I dunno…six?’
‘SEVEN!’ he screamed. ‘YOU PUT SEVEN PIECES!’
‘Well, I’m sorry…it won’t happ –‘
He cut me off: ‘SORRY WILL NOT BRING BACK THE PIECE OF CHEESE!’
I didn’t go back to that job ever again.”
Way To Insult Your New Boss
“When I was about 22, I got my first proper job in an investment bank. I was introduced to the head of the department, a high-flier lady probably in her mid 30’s, but of course seemed quite old to me, not long out of university. She said that she’d noticed from my CV that we’d been to the same school. I said ‘Wow, what a coincidence. My mother went there as well. Might you have known her?’
I didn’t understand until a while afterward why she suddenly went cold on me and ended the meeting.”
“It wasn’t my first day, it was my fourth day at the job I got straight out of college. They hired me as the single software guy in their four-person IT department. The manager had been there for seven years and basically was the one-stop shop for everything. The only thing he didn’t know anything about was the intranet (the private network only the company could access). It had been made by some guy that worked there years before.
He told me to start playing with the intranet and figure out how it works so we could update it. It was written in file format that I knew nothing about.
I jumped into it the same way I would jump into any other website. I copied all the files and tried to open a test version of it. It didn’t work. So I tried to change something very small in one of the files to see if the change would be reflected on the website. It wasn’t.
I asked my boss for some help, he compiled. While messing around it popped up a prompt and he said: ‘You have a back up of this, right?’
I said: ‘Of the code? Yeah.’
He said: ‘Okay,’ and clicked Yes.
It was an old version of the intranet. The whole thing went offline because none of the database links worked. He laughed and told me to use my backup to get it back. That’s when I realized I didn’t have it.
After an hour of frantically clicking and thinking, ‘I’m so fired, oh god, I’m so fired…’ I fessed up to my boss that my backup was of the old version we’d compiled so it wasn’t going to get the job done. He joined my freak-out session, told one of the interns to start building a temp HTML page that would link to the most necessary files, and started trolling around the network looking for the actual files.
He eventually found it and got the site back online.
The whole situation was thankfully eclipsed by the owner of the company firing the GM and CEO that afternoon.”
Think Twice Before Handing Out Personal Info
“During my first week working at a library, I received a call from a guy who sounded authoritative. The library often gets calls from government agencies and such. He asked for my boss’s home phone number. There was a small book of numbers next to the phone so I gave him her number, assuming this was an urgent call about funding applications, or booksellers, etc.
It turns out that I gave my boss’s number to a guy that has been stalking her for years. She was not happy.”
Golf Job Gone South
“When I was 18, I was offered a job at a golf course driving the beverage cart. This was a converted golf cart with a cooler built into it, and I was supposed to go out and sell sodas, adult beverages, ice cream, chips, etc to the golfers. I was a hot August day, so I was sweating my butt off hustling around to sell as much as possible – the pay was something like a waiter’s wage of a couple bucks an hour and all of your real money coming from tips.
After a few hours, I returned to the clubhouse to restock, and while I’m there I count my tips and see that I’ve made next to nothing. It was about $6 an hour, give or take. I was about to give up, quit the job, and chalk the morning up to a loss, but I decided to have some fun first. I drove back out, found a nice quiet place in the shade, and proceeded to start drinking my cart’s stock of Heineken. A couple of hours and eight or nine drinks later, my boss came riding up and quickly fired me after figuring out what had happened. It was the quickest job I ever had.
I was already working full-time somewhere else at the time, and the guy who worked there before me had left because he was unhappy with his tips, so I just figured it wasn’t worth it – but yeah, it might have gotten better if I had stuck it out. Patience has never been a strong suit for me.”
Nerds + Ice Cream = Disaster
“As a teenager, I worked at Dairy Queen, which was an awesome job, by the way.
The first day, they put me in the drive-thru with two teenaged female co-workers so I could watch and learn how to make whatever they’re making.
I watch them make a few Blizzards and figure it’s easy, you just put ice cream and candy/topping into the cup, stick it in the blending thing, flip the switch and mix it up. Which, yes, it is that easy, except…
One of the girls training me finally says, ‘Okay, you can make the next Blizzard that gets ordered.’ Somebody orders one, and it’s a Nerds Blizzard. (Yuck, in case you wondered.) She advises that Nerds have a tendency to punch through the side of the paper cup while blending, so you have to use two cups.
What she doesn’t mention was that when you do this, you have to keep a finger on the inside cup while you’re blending to keep it from spinning around in the outside cup. I flip the switch, and the inside cup starts spinning furiously. The contents of the cup begin to fly out and both girls start screaming. By the time I flip the switch again, I have spackled vanilla soft-serve and Nerds all over every square inch of the drive-thru, not to mention both girls and myself. Whoops.”
Falling Asleep On The Job
“It was my first day at work in a pretty general IT job, which included a bit of tech, programming, sysadmin stuff, and the night before I didn’t get much sleep because I was pretty nervous about it all.
The office that I was working in was fairly small, and the company was having an activity there with a few important people, including the managing director. Anyway, because stuff was going on they didn’t have much time to show me the ropes and go through all the induction crap, so they left me to read some company documents in my office. At some stage, I must have fallen asleep while reading this oh-so-exciting stuff, and I wake up to the sound of the door to my office closing. Apparently, I was snoring a bit too loudly and the managing director had to come and close the door.
Luckily, he was pretty cool about it all, and was actually apologizing to me for not having anything for me to really do on my first day.”
Failing At Washing Cars
“My first day working at an auto sales lot, my boss was a huge black guy named Al. He smirked at me and said we had to wash every car on the lot. They were big ’80s Lincolns. At least we had a wash bay with a pressure washer nozzle.
I pulled the first one out from its row, threw it in reverse and promptly backed up right into the owner’s demonstration model. He ran out and yelled at me. My boss yelled, ‘We’re just playing bumper cars!’ The owner was not amused, but there was no visible damage.
A few cars later I pulled one out onto the street and rammed the tire into a sewer drain in the sidewalk that had a pointed edge. It dug into the tire and I watched as it started hissing and going flat. My boss told the owner someone walking by had stabbed it with a knife.
Things went better from there, we got almost all the cars done when the washer nozzle came apart. Apparently, it happened all the time, and I was sent to parts to get the needed fix. The guy there saw I was new and nervous and told me to tell Al to stop [n-word]-rigging the thing and fix it right. Like the moronic robot I was, I went up to this large black man and repeated exactly what I was told to say. His face went blank and got a pained look, and I realized what I had just said. The guys in the service bay roared with laughter.
Al was an awesome human being, easily the most likable guy at that place. He was in his 30s and washed cars for a living and just loved life. We became pretty good friends after that first messed up day. I used to crack him up with my brutal honesty. He tried to teach me to see the positive side of everything, but that ain’t me.
I didn’t get fired, but I did get that service manager back. He asked me months later to wash his car for a wedding he was going to. I washed every inch, except a portion on the side where I had taped in letters that spelled out ‘Moron Has Arrived.’ It looked great when I sprayed it down and it was wet. But when it dried I had hoped you could clearly see the words. You could. He came back furious. I quit shortly after that.”
A Mass Effect
“I shut down an entire Internet Service Provider on my first day. No joke.
My boss was starting his own IT company after working as the Chief Intellectual Officer for an accounting firm. He hired me a week before he quit his job and opened the company so that he could get a feel for what I knew. He had set up his own little network in his office at the accounting firm and I got my laptop connected to it.
All of a sudden the firm’s network was bogged down. I suggested using a network analyzer to find the bottleneck and he gave me the go ahead. So I plugged away from my boss’s network and went off by myself to the server room. I plugged directly into the rack. Instantly I found a mac address that belonged to a Dell; which was odd in a firm full of HP’s. It turns out that a visitor plugged into our network and our IDS detected a virus on it and closed the network. I unplugged it and my boss congratulated me on a good start.
Then the internet went down. For the entire city. Banks, grocery stores, hospitals, and schools. The only ISP in town was constructed with radios that provided wireless coverage to a special receiver you buy. My IP that was carried over from the boss’s network conflicted with one of the radios causing a trickle-down effect across the city.
I was proud.”
“I had just started working at my local Walgreen’s. I had just come from a 3 1/2 year job at a fast food place, where I was a Lead Shift Supervisor, so I was very comfortable with handling money.
Anyway, I was at the cashier station, and I needed change. The rule of thumb at Walgreen’s is that you have to call up over the speaker, give some ‘I need change’ code, and wait for a manager to come to help you. Well, I called out the code, multiple times, and no one came. I had customers coming left and right, and most of them were getting angry because I didn’t have any ones left for their change, so I started handing out quarters.
Finally, when the customers stopped, I grabbed two 20s and went off in search of a manager. I found her and told her I was in desperate need of change. She said she’d take care of it, and it was time for my break. I nodded and took off.
A week later, three days before my wedding, I get called into the office. They closed the door behind me, so I knew something was up. There was a woman whom I’d never met before, so I halfway assumed that this was just some meet and greet, so I stayed pleasant. She immediately rips into me saying how they’re going to fire me and report me to the police and such. I’m completely bewildered at this point, and I had no idea what she was talking about.
She claimed that they had evidence that I’d been stealing from the store. I looked at her with shock when she said this and responded that I had been a Shift Supervisor for three years at my previous job, and had not once stolen a dime, nor was I ever reported of stealing. She continues to go on, saying that if I just fess up, they would go easy on me. At this point, I’m on the verge of tears, thinking that they were going to lock me up or something (I was young) and that I was going to miss my wedding. I had no idea what they were talking about. They would not show me the tape; they only told me that it showed me walking off with $40, and my drawer was short exactly that amount.
After about an hour of completely denying that I stole anything, the woman gets frustrated and walks outside to call the police to come and ‘interrogate’ me (in her words, not mine). I’m left staring at my boss in complete shock. After gathering my thoughts, I remember giving the money to the manager on duty that night, and I told my boss. He says that I should stop playing games and just fess up, but I told him to check the cameras. So the woman comes back in, and they check the cameras. Sure enough, five minutes after they see me walk off, they see me hand the money to the manager, and she never went to put it back in. She actually pocketed the $40, in plain sight. The manager stole the money, and I was innocent…and furious.
I started yelling at my boss, telling him that this ‘investigation’ was completely unorganized and nonprofessional. He starts apologizing profusely and gives me the night off. I worked the next two days before my wedding without saying a word to anyone outside of my normal duties, and didn’t return after my honeymoon.”