Employees Share Their ‘I Don’t Get Paid Enough For This’ Story
Work is a necessary evil in life. While some people are lucky enough to land their dream jobs doing something they’re passionate about, most people are just trying to get by and pay the bills. But even people with relatively enjoyable occupations encounter frustrations from time to time. It’s both natural and inevitable.
A job is a means to an end, and when you’re forced to spend the majority of your week fulfilling the same duties, it can take its toll on you after a while. Little inconveniences start to irritate you more than they should. You find yourself slowly watching the clock until it’s time to go home, or crossing off the days on your calendar until your next vacation.
We’ve all been there. But sometimes, we have moments at work that truly test our patience and make us question our ability to continue in the role. Just take it from these employees who recently shared their ‘I don’t get paid enough for this’ stories.
#1 Unhappy Meals
When I worked at McDonald’s, I found out we didn’t get paid for closing. We got paid until the store closed, so if it took us an extra hour or two to close, that was unpaid. I wish I knew about it before because it would have been an open and shut case, but at the time, I was young and dumb. When I got my first paycheck, I noticed I had a ton of missing hours.
When I asked my boss about it, she said she could do nothing about it. So that night, I walked out when the store closed. They tried to guilt me into staying, because “the other team members needed me.” Screw that. I don’t work for free, sorry. Especially when I’m already making minimum wage. No thanks, not going to happen.
#2 Novacane Nausea
I used to work as a dental nurse. The first patient of the freaking day said he felt sick after having a local anesthetic. I grabbed the bin and told him to take it if he needed to vomit. He held it in his lap and turned, vomiting down the side of the chair and all over my pants and shoes. Of course, I had to clean it up and of course, they wouldn’t let me go home to change.
#3 Crying Co-Worker
I was at 2 a.m. in the morning at the office. My manager asked me to go to the convenience store with her to buy some snacks. She sat in the back of the car that we took to drive there. After we got our stuff, she asked if we can we swing by a particular intersection real quick. When we got there, she saw a car that belonged to someone she knew, parked in front of her boyfriend’s house. She started to wail, cry and kick around in the backseat. After 20 minutes of that, we drove back to the office, I dropped her off and I went home.
#4 Slinging Sandwiches
I worked at a fast food place about 13 years ago. The lady in the drive-thru claimed she was missing a sandwich. Our policy was to ask for the bags back to verify. I asked to see the bags and instead of handing them back like a civilized human being, she instantly started raging and throwing the food into the window while cussing me out! Guess what one of the items that she threw at me was? Yep, the missing sandwich.
#5 Scolded For Social
When I was 15, I was bullied by a 35-year-old for trying to create a Google site for our brand, as many of the people we tried to reach did not have social media. I was getting paid nothing. He was a mentor.
#6 Mad About Meatballs
I got change thrown in my face at work because a man was upset that we didn’t have meatballs. From that moment on, if I’m working, he’ll come in, see me, and walk out. As if it’s my fault we don’t have meatballs.
#7 Horrible To Horses
I worked for the University’s horse barn as a teenager. They had some pretty strict rules that I was not used to. For example, the horses were only allowed outside for two hours, no matter what. It could be the most beautiful day and we would have to stop everything we were doing to bring them into their stalls. They were only ever allowed two squirts of fly spray, which didn’t cover their butts. They were also required to have their halters on 24/7, even when in the stalls at night.
Our “boss” had clearly zero experience with animals or if he did, he just didn’t care. One day, while one of the horses was having his feet trimmed, my boss went to pull out a weed whacker from the bottom of the shelf directly next to where the horse was standing. The entire closet of machinery fell onto the horse, causing him to kick the farrier and run. Ever since that incident, the horse was a mess, so instead of hiring a trainer to fix the problem, they just locked him in the stall. All day, 24/7. I quit shortly after that, and I still wonder how that horse is doing.
#8 Puking On A Plane
A few years into my flying career, I was asked to take a bunch of handicapped children and their caretakers for a 10-minute flight in a small twin-prop aircraft. All seemed to be going well until after landing when I smelt the unmistakable stench of vomit. I looked around and all the passengers looked horrified, as the inside of the plane had been covered in what, I was told, used to be a strawberry milkshake.
I then had to vacuum and wash down the carpet in the plane. The vacuum malfunctioned after picking up a large amount of this lumpy white substance and it started to drip back down the nozzle. It was a warm day and that didn’t make the smell any better (I mention the handicapped thing not because I’m an awful person, but because his learning disability meant he didn’t think to inform his caretaker of his nausea, so there was no attempt to reach for the sick bag).
#9 Security Clearance
I work in security. A little under a year ago, I worked at some kind of public TV event. My job was to keep people without passes out of a specific area that was intended for those working behind the scenes. Anyway, the only people I allowed to enter were people with passes and other security folks. But then a word from above came that the exception was to be made for some kind of supposedly famous child music group. I had no clue what they looked like, so when four kids and their parents walked up, I stopped them. Eventually, they got cleared and started bringing in more friends. It was really annoying.
#10 Professional Phone Pranks
My boss screamed at me for something they got wrong… This was a couple of hours after two coworkers almost came to blows because one of them left their phone overnight and the other, the first person to arrive in the shop, used it to send a prank text to another coworker but didn’t want to admit it.
#11 Sleeping On The Job
I once went to sleep under my desk at work at 5 a.m. because I needed to be back at my desk for an 8 a.m. call. I had promised myself a long time ago that I would never sleep under my desk. I would go home, or just work straight through, but I wouldn’t do that. I only lived a 12-minute walk from home, but that night I realized that getting those extra 24 minutes of sleep was worth staying at the office for. I was so sad about it.
I am a corporate lawyer. I had been working (literally) around the clock for days on a deal that was going sideways. This was a Wednesday to a Thursday morning, but I had been there until 3 a.m. Sunday night, 5 a.m. Monday night, 6 a.m. Tuesday night, and had been back in the office by 9 a.m. every day. That’s when I knew I needed to quit… but I’m still here a year and change later, oops.
#12 Repo Runs
I was making $2 above minimum wage for a furniture rental store. I was supposed to be a manager in training but they screwed me and made me a jack-of-all-trades. One day, they asked me to help out on “repo runs” and get back furniture from people that didn’t pay. The nail in the coffin was going to someone’s house at 10:00 p.m., waking up the family and going into the bedroom of a sleeping child to wake him up so we could take away his bed since his parents didn’t pay for it.
As someone with young children at the time, I was disgusted by what I was doing. I was putting in 18-hour days doing these repossessions. I asked my district manager what I would be getting as compensation as I had to do some very terrible things. She promised I would be well compensated for saving the company a ton of money and product. I got a $15 gift card.
#13 Broken Eggs
I was working the registers at a grocery store. About an hour before closing, a customer came to my lane with two 48-count egg cartons. She stumbled a bit putting them onto the belt, and before I could react, the entire thing was on the ground. The best part? Apparently, the janitor had left already, so I got to spend the next hour cleaning up 96 broken eggs with nothing but paper towels.
#14 Family Over Fences
My mother was moving to a new place with my father and it was the last time I’d see either of my parents for months (I was 18 and just graduated school). I explained this to my boss and he just said I would have to see them another time because he needed a fence put up over the weekend. I told him I was leaving either way and he could put his own fence up. I quit soon after that. He also accused me of lying and berated me multiple times for random things that I either didn’t do.
#15 Off The Rails
One of my OTHER coworkers decided to rotate tires on a Chevy pickup over the weekend. My buddy forgot to tighten the lug nuts and never said anything to me. I was on the Long Island Expressway, doing about 65. I slowed down, took an exit, and felt the back-end fall down. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw two of my wheels going off in a direction that I was NOT head towards, with lots of sparks. I could have ended someone due to my buddy’s incompetence. I put in my two weeks after that.
#16 Done With Data
I knew I was done when I started getting calls at 3:30 a.m. to “clarify some data in one of the reports” I had sent in three days ago. It was all just because the jerk who called worked nights, and since he had a wife in another country with a 10-hour time difference, he wanted to stay up to match hours with her.
#17 Rat Trap
I was newly working as a bartender at a local restaurant in my city. They asked me to clean under the pop machine behind the bar since the old bartender never did it. There was a build up of old pop that had dripped onto the floor. It had turned almost into a thick molasses-like substance. Upon scraping it off of the floor, I had found a rat that had died because it got stuck to the tar. I quit working at that place soon after.
#18 Snake In The Sod
I did landscaping during the summers while in college. I rolled up a long piece of sod I had just cut and placed it in a wheelbarrow. When I turned back around, there was a copperhead snake sitting in the wheelbarrow giving me the stank eye. Apparently, I had rolled it up in the sod and carried it to the wheelbarrow. I ended up having to end four copperheads that day.
#19 Nosey Behavior
A customer broke my nose because he thought I stole his phone. Turns out, he just left it in his shopping cart. I had to leave in the middle of my shift and take the next day off, with a doctor’s excuse. I was disciplined for “missing my shifts”.
#20 Emptying Emails
Maybe I’m a jerk, I don’t know. I’ve been a network engineer and IT consultant for the better part of 20 years. I was hired on as a consultant for a prestigious architectural firm to get their infrastructure whipped into shape. They had some antiquated hardware running to support some very bad habits surrounding email and file sharing on their network.
It was a job I was working at several days a week for a couple of years. One of the partners kept asking me to fix his email. He kept every email in his inbox rather than archiving or deleting what he didn’t need. So “fix” for him meant going to his inbox and manually dragging a year’s worth of emails somewhere they wouldn’t totally slow down his Outlook.
So after doing this a few times for him, I sat with him and showed him how to do it himself. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time to drag and drop, but just some time to wait for everything to get moved. A few months later, he sends me an email to come fix his emails again. I replied that I was busy doing something with the network and he could do it himself just like I showed him previously. That day, I was “fired” and asked not to return.
#21 Condescending Car Washing
My manager yelled at me for something I didn’t do. I was cleaning cars, in the summer, outside, and she told me she could do my job better than me. I got a nice view of her giving me a dirty look as she did my job when I was driving off the lot after I told her I quit. The few weeks of not being paid while I searched for a job was absolutely worth it in every way.
#22 Complicated Customers
I work in retail at a shoe store. My job is already low-paying, but I do my job well and my manager loves me for good reason. Two of my coworkers and I were behind the counter just hanging out because there weren’t any customers in the store. This guy walked in and went straight to the counter, pointed at me, and demanded that I helped him. So I did.
I was a little annoyed, but I was still very nice to him. He threw shoes around when they didn’t fit him right. He made me fill out his order again because I didn’t capitalize the first letters of his name, which made him go on a rant about the origin of his name and heritage. He lectured me for not asking for his name when he walked through the door.
He felt very entitled and was really condescending about everything. But I gritted my teeth, smiled and even laughed at his “jokes.” The next time he came into the store, he found help from another coworker and complained to her about me, deliberately lying about the whole experience. He claimed I yelled at him the whole time, telling her, “She shouldn’t be in this business if that’s how she’s going to act.” Yeah, dude. Because selling shoes is so my passion. I get paid enough to help people buy shoes. Not to kiss their feet.
#23 Need To Change
I was the cashier. This old guy, probably a doctor, snapped at me when I happily shared the amount he owed. He fiddled with his cards, then after a few seconds, finally handed me two twenties. I told him his change was $16.83. Fine, I counted it out and handed it to him gently so as not to drop everything.
He stood there and said, “I want to ask you a question. Do they train you to handle change that way?” I replied that I never even thought of it before, It’s pretty much common courtesy. He said, “Well, in my logical mind, you should hand the change first, then the bills, then the receipt, you know, because of the weight of it.” I said cool, good idea. He then wanted to shake my hand. He gave me the death grip, squeezing. I reciprocated. Nicely. Pop goes his pinky knuckle. He let go mortified and marched out of the store.
#24 Tall Task
I was standing on a six-foot ladder two feet from an exposed elevator shaft that led six stories down. No harness, no spotter. Nearly pitch black room. I just have to wire up that AC unit, no biggie.
#25 Child’s Play
I work in a daycare. Recently, I got four new kids. Three of them kept fighting each other, and one of them went #2 on herself. When I went to clean her up, there was a mess all over the toilet. I cleaned up everything, then I had to start getting lunch ready for the class. At that time, a kid threw up all over the table.
It’s fun trying to keep 18 kids away from a table full of puke so I can clean it while also keeping them from beating each other up. This was a day full of “NO!” This is almost daily for me, but that day I wanted to quit and said it multiple times. I work 10-hour days and don’t even make $15 an hour. Teachers are really underpaid, especially in early education.
#26 Can’t Do The Clean Up
I’m a 16-year-old working at Target. I was making $8 an hour to stock shelves. Someone came out of the men’s room and told a manager that there was a mess that needed to be cleaned up. The person responsible for that was on break and the manager didn’t want to do it, so she asked me to do it since I happened to be the closest to her at the time.
I walked in the room and someone had gone #2 on the floor. I looked at it, then looked at myself in the mirror, then walked out of there. I literally told the manager, “I don’t get paid enough for that” and went back to doing my normal job. Somehow I didn’t get fired and someone else ended up cleaning the bathroom.
#27 Losing Patience For Patients
A patient attempted to bite me. A patient punched me in the face. A patient tried to spit at me. A patient was going #2 so much they were basically out of the bed every two seconds. Cold and flu season in the hospital means patients and families coughing in your face or direction all the time. Please cover your mouth and wear a mask. Families and visitors also get confrontational or violent at times… Pro tip on this one, it’s a felony to assault any healthcare staff. Even a verbal threat or aggression now gets you a visit by security or police. So please play nice and be respectful towards everyone.
#28 Canceling Contracts
I work from home as a freelance content writer and it’s a pretty relaxing gig most of the time. But, every now and then, I get a client that will constantly bug me for updates two to three times a day. I usually drop the contract when they get on my nerves since they’re not worth the stress and anxiety.
#29 Devil At The Front Desk
When I worked at the front desk in a residential building, one of the residents came to me and said a ghost was in his apartment. Then, he proceeded to stand two feet from me and start praying. He had a look in his eyes I’ll never forget and I was sure he was going to do something to me. I never called 911 so fast.
#30 Babysitting Barbarians
I worked as a nanny for a family of nine children. The youngest, at nine, was a violent schizophrenic. In one day, she tried to end her brother with a rock, chased me with a knife, left me with bites and scratches while I was restraining her, and told me how there were people screaming in the walls. I was paid $13.50 per hour.
#31 Passed Over For Promotion
That time I helped create a whole new department at my work, and then was passed over for promotion. Yup, I left real fast. If a company shows you that they don’t value you through promotion, either make a lateral move or don’t complain.
#32 No Days Off
I worked at Burger King. After working 20 days straight, I asked for a day off so I could get my depression meds, but they wouldn’t give it to me. So I called in and while I was on the phone with my manager, I got cussed at. I said I could come in after the doctor, but he said I had better be in now, so I went in, turned my uniform in and quit.
#33 Rats In Retail
I used to work at a pretty big clothes store with a massive three-story stock room. This place was huge and it wasn’t uncommon to see rats. We laid out poison for the rats and didn’t see anymore. Fast forward a few days, when I was walking down the stairs. I almost stepped on this giant half-dead rat that was convulsing on the staircase. I ran back up the stairs and grabbed the boss. Me: “Yeah, so we have a dying rat on the stockroom stairs, what should we do with it?” Boss: “Go finish it off and dump it around back.” Me: “Yeah sure, funny.” Boss: “Wash the fork when you’re done and put it back in the break room.”
#34 Fed Up With Forklift
I worked at a wholesale club. One night, I was a spotter for the forklift driver while he was in the cooler booming a 600+ lbs pallet of dairy products. Soy, almond milk, heavy cream, and butter. At 15 feet the white pallet snapped down the center and every case fell. I was soaked from my hair to my socks. The driver (who was also a boss) told me to clean it up. I stared at him, then told him it was his screw up for not putting it on a blue pallet. I told him that I was not going to clean it up and I just walked out.
#35 Spitting Peas
I’m a nanny. One time, I spent about 15 minutes with a seven-year-old trying to get him to have some of his peas. We have rules about always having at least a spoonful of veggies with dinner, and he usually always likes peas. I guess he just had a major day of hating me. The fight ended with me forcing the peas into his mouth, only for him to get up and spit the peas in my face. At that point, I felt that $9 an hour was in no way worth that.
#36 Letting Shoplifting Slide
My boss tells me to be nice to customers and help them out on the self-checkout registers, but when they ask for help, they want you to do the work for their lazy butts. They tell us to not openly admit if someone is stealing and ask them something like, “I’m sorry, have you purchased this item? I noticed you have not moved it.” If they lie, you just let them go because you can’t hold them back long enough for a manager to come. Next thing I know, I got my boss complaining about shoplifters coming and going on my shift sometimes. Stupid policies.
#37 Making A Mess
I watched a small child pour out all the salt and pepper on the table, then pour his drink out on top of it and use his hands to spread it all over the place. All the while the mom was on the phone. When I went back over she exclaimed, “This table is so dirty, why would you let us sit here!? We need a new table now.” Serving sucks… especially when you deal with that stuff and know you aren’t gonna get tipped well, if at all.
#38 Toilet Duties
I have an “I want to quit” moment every day when I have to clean the toilets at work. The thing is, I’m an engineer, working as an assistant for an elderly boss. He works from home, so he obviously doesn’t care about the office toilets. So if I want to use relatively clean toilets, I have to clean them myself regularly. Yuck yuck yuck.
#39 Ice Cream Sample Stress
I’m an ice cream scooper at a nice travel stop. On Sundays (per the OWNER’S orders) we don’t offer samples because of how busy it gets, and often times, the line would stretch to the door because everyone wants to try all 25+ ice creams before they can decide. A grown man came up with his elderly mother. They both asked to try a certain flavor. I apologized and told them I couldn’t, because of the owner’s policy.
So, they asked to sample a different flavor. I then had to explain that the “no sample” rule applied to ALL ice creams. I even explained why I was not allowed to hand out samples. At this point, this grown man is irate, saying things like how the customer deserves to get what they want and how they’re always right.
Blah, blah, blah. He then proceeded to get in my face and say, “I should punch you right now!” He spat in my face and everything. A manager was called up front and after everything was said and done, I was told to give him his samples. He looked so smug. Let’s just say, I didn’t work there for much longer. I pretty much quit within the next few days.
#40 Back Pain At Borders
When I was working as a cashier at Borders, I threw my back out. I was in a lot of pain and there was only one position I could be in that didn’t cause me pain. I had been working there for like five months at that point and had never taken a day off, so I figured it was about time and I called in to let them know I wouldn’t be coming in the next day.
My manager’s response was, “Can’t you just take a couple of Tylenol pills and come in anyway? We need you.” Screw that, I was not going to come in and be miserable in pain at that job. I said no over the phone and reminded her it was my first day off. Her response to that was that she was disappointed because she thought I was a “team player.” So I just stopped showing up. They kept calling me but I just ignored them. That was the first time I ever quit in such a manner. I just couldn’t take it anymore.
#41 Over The Overtime
After months of closing then opening the next day, I was praised by my managers and supervisors for my work ethic. They promised things would be better for me soon. My review came up, and suddenly my performance was “average” and “on par” with my peers… the same peers who called out every payday and left early for being too hungover.
My pay raise after six months of hauling about 65 hours a week at an entry-level job, was $0.15. The next time I was called to come early, I let my phone ring. Need overtime? Sorry, my time’s suddenly worth more than that. I found a new job within a month and left with no notice. I let them schedule me for a six-day work week, and I never showed. I called in sick every day and used up all my sick time before abandoning ship.
#42 Gummy Bear Battle
My CEO yelled at me for getting him the “wrong” brand of gummy candy after telling me I could get any brand they had at the convenience store. He threw a tantrum, told me to go return it and proceeded to yell at me about how incompetent I am.
#43 Calls In Church
I was in the church parking lot. My grandmother’s funeral was about to begin. I was in the car, fighting tears as I took call after call about a client accusing a team member of sexually inappropriate behavior. My boss, the owner of the company, was on vacation in Italy. Despite having international coverage, she refused to answer her phone.
#44 Left With Lice
As a teenage babysitter, being left to do a head lice treatment for a three-year-old girl with a huge head of super tight curly hair was my breaking point. I had to comb it all out with the superfine comb. Gross.
#45 Dog Dump
I’m a dog walker and most of the time I walk multiple dogs together. I was recording two of the dogs playing with each other while the other was taking a dump on my shoe.