It’s only natural to not get along with everyone you work with. Though you can probably avoid the toxicity of your co-worker in normal situations, these unlucky workers were forced to deal with them on a daily basis. There’s really no way to know when someone will become a top contender for the worst co-worker ever.
#1 Good Recommendation
I hired a cook on a good recommendation. He was just fine in the first two weeks. Then I noticed food going missing. Then supplies started going missing. Then a customer told me that he was adding auto 30% tips his food purchases. When I looked at the books, I saw that he was adding 30% tips to all the credit card sales. Plus, the cash rings were off from what should have been sold. I fired him that day. The next day, he came in and apologized. He said he was using narcotics and going to rehab. I wished him well. The next day, he tried to break in after close and was caught. Idiot.
#2 Are You New Here?
He just… wouldn't work. This was in a research lab. He was a visiting researcher from another country and he spent a lot of time asking tons of non-work related questions. It was to the point of disrupting others' work. In the course of a year, he designed one very basic experiment and didn't actually do it. He just designed it.
He was above doing bench work, apparently. He picked fights with everyone doing any experiment related to the one he was planning because he didn't want to have to share credit. Plus, he wouldn't clean up after himself or pick up things from the floor. He actually called me in from another room because he wouldn't take a string-less teabag out of his mug.
On a different occasion, he'd knocked some things off a hanger and, for whatever reason, wouldn't pick them up. It was kind of like working with a child. He must've had servants where he lived. I don't know how but he was there for his Ph.D. The boss fired him. He was one of two people in her 30-year career that she'd ever fired.
#3 That’s Three!
This guy named Daniel I used to work with at McDonald's in high school. He let everyone know he worked out and enjoyed being on the football team. He had this thing about taking five number twos a day. He would walk by on his way back from the toilet, chest out, shoulders back and triumphantly announce, "That's number three!" God, Daniel.
#4 Conversation Starter
I worked with a guy who'd interrupt any conversation to talk about anything as if he was the expert. I don't use "anything" as a hyperbole. He truly had something to say about anything, including things he had never heard of or obviously didn't know much about. When the subject being discussed was something he didn't know much about, he’d slowly steer the conversation away from the original discussion. He’d then talk about something he wanted to discuss. It was both amazing and the most annoying thing I had ever had to deal with.
He was like that Wikipedia game where you start with Star Wars and somehow end up on LGBTQ+ struggles. Not to mention the "conversation" was basically 98% of him just talking non-stop. Everybody else was way too polite and against conflict to say anything, including me. So, most people just tried to stay away from him. But, he'd follow people around. I eventually left, but I even remember having a nightmare where he was the best man at my wedding.
#5 Job Description
I had this awful manager once who dumped literal trash on my desk on my third day there. She said she did it to remind me that taking out the trash was part of my job description. Now, I can’t state this enough: it wasn’t. That was never part of my job description. I was a research assistant at a mortgage firm.
#6 Cedar-Scented Psycho
This is about 15 years ago. The office I worked in instituted a scent-free policy. One woman, who was already insufferable, was so offended by it that she snuck in her perfume collection. She'd walk down the halls and spray perfume into empty offices or cubicles when no one was looking or before everyone arrived in the morning.
This went on for well over a month and we had no idea who was responsible. My co-workers and I started referring to this mysterious person as the Chanel Bandit. She was finally caught on camera in the act. She'd left for three weeks vacation and was unaware that we had installed cameras after a break-in. Some of us already suspected her, as the Chanel Bandit mysteriously stopped spraying while she was away. She quit right after she was caught. None of us were sad to see that cedar-scented psycho leave.
#7 In On the Deal
My worst co-worker was one I worked with when I was a cashier at Walmart. She approached me and asked me to cash out her paycheck. I was still new at the job and never got training on how to do that function. She was sympathetic, so she walked me through how to do it. The transaction was over and done and I went on about my day.
I got called back a couple of days later by my managers. They circled me in an office and accused me of stealing. After tears, videotapes, and telling them what happened, they told me that this co-worker of mine had stolen not only from me, but several other people that day. They just wanted to confirm I wasn't in on the deal. Walmart sucks and so does that witch for almost getting me arrested.
#8 Talking to Himself
My co-worker likes to initiate conversations, then does long pauses where you go to say something back, then he cuts you off and keeps talking. He has entire conversations almost entirely by himself. He also likes to make changes to my paperwork before it’s turned in. It ends up riddled with spelling mistakes while he tries to make the content look smarter. Fortunately, it’s all electronically stamped with who made revisions.
#9 No Recollection
He would walk in every day like it was his first day with no memory of anything we showed him before. He was only focused for the first 30 minutes, then he’d be on his phone and try to work with one hand, which is bad because I work in a restaurant. You can’t cook with one hand but that didn’t stop him from trying. One day, he just stopped showing up for a week. He was then confused when he came back and got fired.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.
#10 Full Lunchroom
I once had a guy at work make a bunch of gross comments in a full break room. My husband was sitting in the break room waiting for me and heard all of it. So, I walked right into HR and listed the 30-some people in this normally really quiet lunchroom. That dude was so gross. The good news is that he obviously got fired.
#11 The Eternal Conflict
We had a guy who would invite people to the adult club Sapphire in Tukwila. He specialized in reading handwriting. It doesn't sound hard, but digitizing 80+-year-old ledger books with the account numbers and amounts perfect is harder than it seems. He made all of the women, and frankly the men, uncomfortable.
But, after firing him once we learned about him getting charged with peeping, many people complained and demanded we rehire him. I found the conflict between being creeped out versus others having to do his difficult job very interesting. We eventually outsourced that to Bangladesh after a new hire had experience with a company there reading old genealogy records for ancestry.com. They were spectacular at that job. They did better than someone who, like me, spoke English natively and is a CPA.
#12 Building a Nest
No contest. It was the literal addict I worked with for four months. He was secretly living in the office and being completely nonsensical when he was actually "working.” We found a mattress folded up in the warehouse after he was let go and an actual, brand new pipe (with a price tag on it) squirreled away back there.
He and his family (it wasn’t only him living in the office) left discarded food everywhere. We found things like pizza crusts in the toilet brush holder in the bathroom and they left hair in the sink in the bathroom. They were obviously bathing in there, too, since we had no actual bathing facilities in the office. One day during his tenure, he sent an email saying his alarm didn't go off and he'd be in later, which kept getting moved back. He eventually showed up at 4:40 p.m. and we closed at 5:00.
#13 Ray of Sunshine
When I was an intern, there was this old shrew who would call people into her office (my cube shared a thin wall), gossip, then call those people in to tell them what was said, etc. She would try to frame people for things she did wrong. She was so arrogant. Not to mention, she refused to adapt to workforce modernization. For example, she refused to learn how to hyperlink in emails, documents, etc. A real ray of sunshine she was!
#14 I’m Handling It
I worked at a grocery store and one of the scheduling ladies was a total witch. When you work at a grocery store, you expect to have shifts all over the place, that's part of the job. So, I’m not complaining about that. Just about two years into working there, I had an accident, broke my thumb and needed surgery. I went to apply for Employment Insurance and they required a Record of Employment (ROE).
So, I asked the woman in charge of that (the scheduling lady) if she would mind sending that off so I could still pay rent while I was off work recovering. She told me that she took care of it. I went back to the EI offices and they told me they still had no ROE. So, I went back to my old work and asked her for a second time. This happened until I asked her to do it four times. This resulted in me having to borrow money from my parents for Christmas in order to pay my rent.
#15 Small Amount of Power
Back when I worked at a restaurant, I was friends with the bartender. He was a chill dude until they made him a manager. That small amount of power and increase in pressure made him so angry all the time. He screamed at me that I was "bad at my job" because I didn't do a thing that I'd never been asked to do before.
One night, he made me miss my last bus so I couldn't get home. It was pitch black outside and I cried on the bench outside the restaurant. It was the worst working day and he was the worst co-worker. It took me a long time to get over that and realize I wasn't a bad worker, he was just stressed and didn't know how to handle it.
#16 Big Matt
I've worked a lot of factories, but one I worked at was mainly for felons. The pay you complete garbage and work you so hard it tears your body and mind up. I just graduated high school and it was my second factory, so I didn't know any better. One guy I work with, we nicknamed Big Matt since we already had another Mat.
Well, Big Matt was a big fan of steroids, so the dude was absolutely jacked. But this 35-year-old stilled lived with his mom. He said it had to do with him being a kid and walking in her being attacked. Ever since then, he never wanted to leave her alone. At the time I thought wow, that would explain the addiction. Well, I was an idiot.
Two months later, Big Matt and two co-workers didn't show up. So, I asked the supervisor what happened, but he didn't know either. The next day, one of the co-workers came in and told us that all three had been arrested because after buying an ounce of grass. Big Matt's mom called the cops on them. So before they showed up, Big Matt, a 6-foot addict, attacked his mother within an inch her life for calling the authorities on him. The next day I looked him up, and sure enough, he was booked in a local prison.
#17 Incompetent in Every Way
My worst co-worker was a complete and utter idiot. Honestly, he was incompetent in every way. But the icing on the cake was when he tried to put one of the pickup trucks into gear with the wiper stick and called me an idiot when I told him it was the wrong lever. I didn’t even know what to say to him at that point.
#18 Get Off the Phone
Back in the day, I worked with a girl who would sometimes just lay on the floor and play on her phone. She would routinely flip out about something her boyfriend did and just start screaming curse words, sometimes in front of customers. She was eventually fired for indulging in a little grass while on the clock.
#19 That Special Brand
My old supervisor. She was that special brand of "too nice." Laughing was her nervous tick and hoo boy it was constant . She was incapable of being assertive, which is not the best quality for someone whose job is telling other people what to do. The best she could do was be passive-aggressively nice when she really needed something done. It just made everyone dislike her.
#20 Nastiest Attitude
I work in a hospital as a nurse’s aid. My department focuses on transporting patients around the facility for tests and room changes. I work night shift and this person started their shift at 6 am. This lady I worked with that just had the nastiest attitude. Normally, I can get along with most folks but this person just brought the whole room down with negative vibes.
Nothing was ever good and she always had bad shifts. One thing she did that upset a lot of people was taking patients down for X-rays and leave them to return to our office. The big thing to remember here is that even the lengthiest X-rays take maybe 10 minutes at the very most. Every morning, we got X-rays to do. I had to send her back down to return patients to their rooms after the technicians called right as she got back to our office.
The instances of leaving patients were common, so I informed my boss several times in-person and via email. Apparently, she had an attitude with every other department we worked with and never informed nurses that we were moving their patients. One day, she abandoned a patient in the ER waiting room when they were waiting for a ride home. She told no one, so security found a patient just sitting alone for 15-30 minutes without supervision.
It took this and a year of recorded evidence for this person to finally get fired. When that happened, it was like a dark cloud lifted and a lot of people were relieved. Oh, I forgot to add one more thing. She also tried to get various employees around the facility to sign a form to argue against her case. One person signed.
#21 It’s Beneath Me
One of my favorite things about being in the military was that your pre-military status didn’t matter. Everyone wears the same uniform and you'd never know if your favorite leader came from privilege or squalor. The uniform, for all of its drawbacks, is an objectively effective unifier. It levels the playing field.
I had a peer who was "better" than all of that. He didn't do the work unless it interested him and constantly complained that our work was below him. On more than one occasion, he tried to pay for others to do his work for him. His entire point of being in the military was to prove to his father that he could earn something. Yet, he sought to accomplish that by claiming he'd already earned it. That guy sucked.
#22 Don’t Be Like Dan
His name was Dan. Dan was 37 working at a dead-end job as a lab specimen processor in a windowless room for nine hours a day. He only ate Burger King, but without the lettuce, because that’s “rabbit food.” He drank literally a gallon of Mountain Dew a day and was confused as to why people were horrified by that. “There’s water in it,” he would say.
Apparently, if he ate corn he would hurl and have to go to the hospital. He would tell me he firmly believed that man and dinosaur roamed the earth at the same time, along with many other “theories” that came from his “gut.” One day, we got into a political argument before the 2016 election where he said, “If Bernie Sanders is elected president, there will be a civil war. I will not hesitate to end you and your family.” Dan was fired and I got out of there as soon as I could. Don’t be like Dan.
#23 World’s Biggest Star
I worked in a certain touring exhibition last summer. Of the 200 people applying for jobs, 20 of us got the job. We were all close-knit and loved the exhibit. We were content and genuinely interesting people, which made us a family. All for one woman. She thought she was the world's biggest star for having a three-second cameo on Game of Thrones . Plus, she sent harassing messages and calls to many of us.
She harassed a lovely guy on the shop team who had no interest. Undermined the bosses constantly, talked back, was rude to customers. When she thought we talked about her behind her back, she got defensive and spiteful. One day, she got knocked back for good by the shop guy, and for some reason decided to take it out on me.
She started yapping about me to every other co-worker, but never to my face. She called me a white snake. Now, I am albino and my hair colour got me seriously bullied in school along the vein of her insults. So, her name-calling was very hurtful. I had enough and took it to HR, which got her fired for her actions.
#24 Proving Her Wrong
At my first job (vet assistant), there was this middle-aged woman who was constantly snarky and rude towards me and my work. After sharing with another co-worker that I was planning to go to school to become a vet, that woman laughed at me. She said, "I don't think I could see you as a vet." I was only 16 years old, but I had goals and was taking solid steps towards achieving them. I remember standing there, taken aback, and honestly holding back tears or any indication that I was upset. Well, I was accepted to vet school at age 18, and I’m still in school, actively pursuing that dream. Guess I’m gonna prove her wrong.
#25 Twice as Delicious
The CEO's girlfriend was a devout vegan. She’d patrol the office around lunch to make sure that anyone eating meat promised not to use the sponge in the kitchen to wash anything that meat had touched. She did this in yoga pants and heels. Because her personality sucked, she wasn't remotely attractive either. For April Fool's day, I rinsed out a carton of chicken broth and filled it with mango juice. I made a point of pouring myself a glass and drinking it in front of her. She was disgusted, so it was twice as delicious.
I worked in a three-person department. It was me, an awesome dude and this terrible new co-worker. She was fresh out of college and believed that she was smarter than us because of that. She totally discounted anyone's opinions except her own and one manager who let her do whatever she wanted. It was pretty insane.
She was the worst one-upper that I'd ever met. Even for stupid things, like going to a coffee stand, she'd chime in and say how her friends work at a coffee stand and they know her order by heart. She thought she was adorable but was incredibly grating and worthless. Even though she constantly messed up, if you tried to help, she'd cry. She lasted almost four years, which blew my mind.
#27 New Skills
I worked with a guy who couldn't learn new skills. When he started, he had to learn new programs and processes, just like anyone would at almost any job. He couldn't pick up on it, though. Everyone on my team took turns showing him the ropes and it never sunk in. I remember being so frustrated because he couldn’t figure out how to minimize a window. "Top right corner, click on the straight line." It took like a few seconds for him to drag the mouse to the corner and then he'd hover around it but never on it. He was a super nice guy, but impossible to work with on projects because so much time was wasted.
#28 Is That Yours?
I worked with a teacher who sat at his desk for the entire year. Kids walked in and out whenever they wanted to. They did practically no work. He told awful “jokes” and was terrible with the students. One day, I was sitting in the teacher’s workroom and another teacher noticed a phone on the counter. She asked if it was mine. When I said no, we looked at the lock screen to see whose it might be. The picture on the lock screen was of a woman’s bare chest. A few minutes later, the bad co-worker walked in and picked it up. Needless to say, he was let go.
#29 Zero Training
The HR manager at my last job had zero training, education, or experience in HR. She was argumentative, passive-aggressive, and incompetent. Toward the end, she’d say things like, “Why are you being resistant?” and “You’re not being a team player.” She’d say that when I was advocating for client safety. I was the second person in less than a year to leave and hire an attorney.
#30 The Exact Definition
Ugh, Jami. Her picture belonged next to “passive-aggressive” in the dictionary. She knew how to stay on the good side of the boss, but treated most everyone else like dirt. She’d intentionally ignore your attempts to communicate with her regarding important work matters, then turn around and claim you were the one being difficult. Whenever you pointed out one of her mistakes (however small), she’d throw a temper tantrum. I haven’t worked with her for many years now, and I sincerely hope I can eventually forget what she looks like.
#31 Fun Times
I remember the best co-worker ever. We shared an office. She would, fairly regularly, open a can of tuna at her desk for lunch and throw the unrinsed can into the trashcan. She also put things like banana peels in there. There was a conference room we could go into for personal phone calls, but instead, I got to listen to her talk to doctors about things like her husband's impotence, her frequent yeast infections, and how her toddler got so constipated that they had to manually dig hard number twos out. Fun times.
#32 Very Old-Fashioned
I have a co-worker who's very old-fashioned and strongly believes that males and females cannot be friends. Well, it just so happens that my manager and I, a male and a female, happen to get along quite well because of our similar ages and interests. She reported me to the other managers for it and accused me of sleeping with him.
#33 Making it Up
I worked in a restaurant with a guy who claimed to have PTSD from tripping too hard on LSD. It was a busy place, around 400 hundred plates a night with only five chefs. Every time his station got more than ten simultaneous tickets, he’d run out the back. This left me and the guy on the other side of him to do his job. Also, his "PTSD" was never medically confirmed, and we believed he just made it up.
#34 Yes Man
When I was studying for my Ph.D., there were so many spoiled brats who just bought their way in. One guy was so dumb he would just say yes to everything. “Did you run the stats?” “Yep.” “Do they look positive?” “Yep.” “Can you email them to me?” “Yep.” Then he would get up and walk out of the office like he was going to his computer. I wouldn’t hear from him for three days. “Where did you go?” “I sent you the stats.” Dude, what?!
#35 Jogged His Memory
I had a packager operator I worked with on the machine I run. He did okay, but every Monday I would have to basically retrain him on the packager controls. Though, I guess he had an excuse because he had a TBI from a motorcycle wreck years before. Once I jogged his memory, he did well for the rest of the week.
#36 Super Friendly
I was the new person at work and met the creepy guy. He was super friendly to everyone and people reciprocated, but there was something off about him. I avoided him my entire time and eventually moved on to another job. A year or so later, I saw his face in the news. Apparently, said co-worker had loads of inappropriate, illegal material on his computer and somehow got caught. He was fired and went to jail.
#37 Honest Mistake
This girl I work with is overly picky about stuff. Everything has to be her way or no way. She does everything louder to make it seem like she’s working, but she’s not actually getting anything done. She’d also been caught stealing from other servers several times, but we have no concrete proof. Plus, she “accidentally” takes people’s tips.
#38 I Can Be Your Hero
I have several bad ones, but the one who drives me the craziest is a lady who creates problems just so she can solve them. Ugh. She takes a simple job, finds one tiny issue, blows that up and freaks everyone out. Then she “solves” it so she can be the hero. Just take the one minute to fix the issue in the first place. It would save the literal hours she spends working everyone up so she can be their savior.
#39 Trying to Help
I worked with someone in retail. He was my boss, and not a particularly bad guy, but he was a control freak who had to interject his opinion during every conversation anyone had with a customer. This went as far as him helping someone himself, stopping and leaning over to my till to “help” me with my transaction.
He did that even though there was no indication I needed help and had worked there for over five years. This “help” would be in the form of him telling me what button to hit next on the till to telling a customer they were wrong. Sometime, he’d tell customers that their purchase wasn’t what they were after, even if they specifically came in for that item.
#40 Inappropriate Boss
The boss who used to grab my butt. She knew I was married, and not interested, but kept doing it. I finally went to HR, but it was a small company and they were close friends. My workload then grew and she got more aggressive. She told me that no one would believe a man was the victim and everything I looked into said I didn’t have a lot of hope. I ended up quitting the job and not finding anything new for six months. It was expensive. I told my parents that I got fired because that was strangely less humiliating than admitting I was a victim.
#41 Little Gremlin
It’s tough because when you work in retail long enough, you’ll hate a lot of people. My first job in high school had this one gremlin, though. She thought she was great because she was a varsity cheerleader. She had the worst temper I’ve ever seen, it was like anger was her only emotion. Another issue was that she appeared to only be capable of communicating through yelling, insulting and berating everyone. Every shift with her was just watching her go through an eight-hour-long tantrum. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still a little gremlin.
#42 Vile Humans
I can't decide which one to pick. Oddly enough, we all worked in the same quad-cube and their crowning highlight moments both surfaced on the same day: September 11th. One was stomping around the office complaining about how she had plans to watch the ballgame that night. She went on about how her night was ruined because the game was cancelled. "For chrissakes, it's not like they flew into the stadium. It's just some buildings miles away."
The other had some sort of video capture software on his computer and kept replaying the clips of people jumping, cheering as if he were watching circus clowns. "Dude! Look, there's another one. Woah, he bounced off the side. Hey, watch this!" Then, he'd roll the video backwards and forwards, making a slide-whistle noise as the people repeatedly went back and forth.
#43 Need a Ride?
At my first-ever job, I worked with a middle-aged guy who lived in his car. He picked at his face constantly and would always ask me and the other teenage employees if we needed a ride home from work. I sincerely hated working with him. He gave off the creepiest vibe and was, thank goodness, eventually fired.
#44 We’re a Team
My current co-worker loves to watch my work. He tracks my tickets and wants in on all my meetings to insert himself into everything I do. If I don’t jump on something in one minute, he’ll ask if I missed the email. Then, he plays 20 questions with me like I report to him or something. The worst part is he isn’t mean about it. So, I can’t say something to him because he just says we’re a team, so he’s helping. I think he’s just good at being passive-aggressive. Over time, it just is on my last nerve.
#45 Overly Touchy
A female co-worker was overly touchy with both men and women. She would walk up behind you while you sat at your desk and start rubbing your shoulders. She even patted a few of us on the butt. Then, after she got her chest done, she made sure to go braless, lift her shirt and ask us what we thought. No, she was not attractive. After she inappropriately touched a married co-worker, she finally got fired. A month later, I saw her on the local news getting arrested for distribution.
#46 Incredibly Lazy
I have a current coworker who’s incredibly lazy and has anger issues. He pushes his duties onto other people and takes credit for things he doesn't do. He's a giant brown-noser to management and really knows how to turn on the phony charm when higher-ups are around. No one — literally not a single one of my other co-workers — likes the guy.
However, he's a family friend of his division manager who hooked him up with the job. Someone once complained about the co-worker to that division manager. Then that person got dressed down for doing so, so now no dares say anything. Those above the division manager don't care either, so we're stuck with the garbage co-worker.
#47 More Experience
I had a co-worker who was hired the exact same day as me and claimed to have been a warehouse manager. He held it over my head occasionally as if he had seniority and more experience. He was also a toxic ex-boyfriend to a friend of mine. Well, he’s only 25 years old and was fired last week while I still have my job.
#48 Awful to be Around
I worked with a guy who was really good at the job. But, everyone complained about him and I couldn’t figure out why. That is until I changed shifts and was around him more often. Anytime an attractive woman walked within eyesight, he'd stop and say something like, "Man. Look at the chest on her.” It was usually at full volume, too. He was just awful to be around.
#49 I’ll Be Watching You
I had a co-worker who would watch me work. Our desks were sort of offset but we had our backs to each other. She would turn around in her chair and just watch me. I would only realize it was happening when she’d comment on something on my screen. So, it wasn't even like she tried to hide it. I did my best to ignore it but drew the line when she put a mirror on her desk positioned just right so she could see both of my monitors without having to turn around.
#50 Self-Important Person
I worked retail with a guy once who was the worst. He would always go to the gym before work and never showered. God, he stank so bad. He was also a self-important person who thought he knew everything. He wouldn't let his girlfriend even get a haircut without clearing it with him first. Honestly, he never said it, but you could tell he thought men were much better at everything than women. He would regularly come and do my jobs, without me asking, jobs I was very capable of doing myself. I would just tell him to buzz off.