Workers Share Their “FIRE ME, I DARE YOU” Stories
Have you ever had a job that you truly hated, down to the very depths of your soul? One that filled you with sadness or anger every day you had to go into work? Have you ever gotten to the point where you just wanted to scream at your boss until they had no choice but to fire you? For those of us who have resented a job that badly, there is nothing like that moment of sweet release when you finally break free.
In this list are stories of people who have gotten to the point where they wanted nothing more than to be fired. These people had couldn’t hold back to say: “Go on, fire me, I dare you!”
#1 Can’t Be Done!
I worked for a newspaper. I was responsible for arranging everything—placing the stories and pictures where they needed to be, titling, quoting, sourcing, etc. I was a one-man team and used an overly complicated system that I figured out how to use really effectively. They treated me terribly despite my hard work.
One day, the boss tells me to put a full paper together by the end of the day. He gave me no warning, so I had no articles from the journalists and no photos from photographers. It was my job to collect it all from everyone and he wanted me to do it in a single day?
I told him no. If he wanted it done, he would have to give me more time. He told me if I didn’t have it done by the end of the day he’d fire me, to which I reminded him that his paper would not be able to function without me.
I got a call an hour after I got home. He told me to come in to do the paper and said I could have as much time as I needed. I promptly quit on that jerk.
#2 Anyone Can Do It, Huh?
I worked a job where I was the only one who knew how to take apart, clean, fix, and put all the equipment back together.
One day, my boss told me that I was doing a poor job and that if I didn’t step up, I would be fired. He said they had manuals for each piece of equipment, so they could get anyone else to do my job.
That night, I took apart all the equipment, cleaned them, and then just left them unassembled. They would have to figure out how to put everything back together in the morning. I also turned off my phone after getting home.
When I turned it back on the next day, I saw that I had initially received angry texts ordering me to return and put everything back together. This lasted an hour. Then, I received texts begging me to return.
I came in the next day and over half the stuff was still not put back together. I was immediately asked to be seen by my boss to explain myself.
Once in the office, I told them that if they weren’t going to apologize they could just fire me right there. They looked at each other, then at me, said sorry, and told me that I could get back to work.
My boss never called me lazy again.
#3 Not A Volunteer
When I was 17, I worked a summer job at Pizza Hut—I had transferred to my hometown restaurant from my university town restaurant.
I was there for five weeks and hadn’t been paid yet. The jerk boss claimed it was because I gave him the wrong employee number. I didn’t.
Anyway, after five weeks of no pay, I rang him on New Years’ Eve and said I wasn’t coming to work because I wasn’t a volunteer and I wasn’t going to work for free. He told me if I didn’t go to work, he would fire me.
I didn’t go to work and had a fun New Years instead.
Then, a few days later, I called the Employment Tribunal (I’m in New Zealand) and told them what had happened. They called my boss. He then called me, offered me my job back and was nice as pie for the rest of the summer.
#4 Either Way, You Clean It
I was 17 and working part-time at a fast food restaurant. Someone wrecked the men’s restroom. The manager came out and told me to clean it. I refused. She threatened to fire me, to which I laughed in her face and told her, “You can clean it yourself or you can lose an employee and still clean it yourself. I don’t need this job.”
Needless to say, I wasn’t fired and I didn’t clean it up. I still laugh thinking about it.
#5 Just Let Me Clean Up After You
I worked at a telecom a few years ago. I was a senior manager in charge of programming, third level support, and production support. A business unit bullied through code changes (made by the business side through a side deal with a legacy programmer) that just had to get implemented immediately without going through any testing at all. I refused, but the CIO overruled me. Three days later, phone activations came to an immediate halt, customers nationwide were screaming, and the CIO called phone conference after phone conference demanding timelines for when I was going to get this fixed. He kept screaming to have members of my team to get on the phone and explain themselves to him.
Finally, I snapped and told him that if he wanted me to fix his mistake I would need to get off the phone to go work with my teams. I also mentioned the only reason they hadn’t walked out yet was that I was keeping him off their butts, but we would all happily go together. Twenty-four hours later, my team had the mess cleaned up and fixed for a clean rollout.
This was all to avoid a 24-hour delay for QA/production testing.
#6 Sick Leave
My husband was having his gallbladder taken out and was having complications before surgery. I needed to leave early from work and my boss threw a fit stating I couldn’t leave. I told her I had 300 hours of sick time I can use for myself and my husband and if she wanted to push I’d take all of it at once… leaving no one but her to do my job. She said she’d fire me if I tried. I just looked at her and said, “I have to go. I’ll send you my doctor’s note.”
I wasn’t fired. I was actually awarded that year for job performance.
#7 Fluorescent Hat, Not My Style
I was 19 and working a minimum-wage job in a shop. The owner sold the business to a new guy, who had never worked in the industry and knew nothing about any of it. On his first day in charge, he decided that I looked unprofessional and should be wearing a uniform. He told me the uniform would include a fluorescent cap with my name embroidered on it. I told him I wouldn’t have taken this job if it meant having to wear a uniform, but he told me it was going to be mandatory moving forward. If I didn’t agree, he would fire me.
Fine by me, I’d happily leave for any other job which paid exactly the same but didn’t make me wear a ridiculous hat. I’d also take with me my good relationships with all the contractors and suppliers, as well as my knowledge of how all the equipment actually works.
He didn’t fire me. Nor was I presented with a spiffy new hat when all the other employees got theirs.
#8 Costs More To You Than Me
I was a teacher at one of those Korean SAT prep schools that hired U.S College students for a summer. We taught from 8:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. with an hour lunch, but also had homework to grade every evening, prep work, etc. Well, they were mainly focused on teaching English, but I was a math and physics major, so they had me teaching SAT math and college prep physics. No problem.
Then they decided since I studied physics, I should also teach their chemistry class. I tried to tell them I didn’t know much chemistry, but they insisted. So I worked my butt off, refreshing myself on all of the stuff before I taught it, while still teaching another Math and Physics class.
One day in the middle of this, I got legitimately sick. I called in the night before, per the rules, and told them I couldn’t come in. I took one day off, sleeping in my apartment, and then dragged myself in the next day. When I show up, they pull me aside and say “So how do you plan on making up the time for the classes you’ve missed?”
“Well, we didn’t have anyone to teach your classes, so all the kids are behind now. You have to make up the time. We figured you could just extend your morning class an hour for the first week (teach over lunch) and your afternoon class could then start an hour early for the next week.”
“Why didn’t you have a sub teach my class?”
Then they screwed up. They said, “We don’t have a sub.”
“Well then, no, I’m not going to skip my lunch because of your poor planning.”
“We’ll fire you, and then you won’t get your plane ticket reimbursed,” they replied.
“Go ahead. First, I followed the rules and gave you notice I was going to be out. Second, you just told me you don’t have a sub for my classes. That means if I leave, you’re going to lose all of those students that I’m teaching. That will cost you a lot more than the plane ticket will cost me.”
#9 Fixing The Food
For the past few years, I’ve worked at one of the “nicer” restaurants in my small beach town. I’m one of the only servers there who cares about doing a good job and I’m the only one who doesn’t take a smoke break every 15 minutes. This past summer a new, very illegal rule was implemented that if we messed up an order in any way we would be liable to pay for that messed up food.
One time, I rang in a “Cherry Glazed Burger” instead of a “Cherry Glazed Steak” (stylized CGB and CGS in our terrible computer system). I fixed this with the kitchen, but not before they had already started the burger. I told my manager and she just gave me a disappointed look. Rules are rules, she said.
I dived into both federal and state workers rights code and told her she would never see me again if I found any money out of my tips at the end of the night. Never had a problem fixing an order again.
#10 Sick On Camera
I was working in a restaurant. I already knew I was sick but our managers were jerks and I knew if I called in they’d be extremely annoyed. I showed up to work around 8 a.m. I knew I wasn’t gonna last the rest of the day. The managers still made me stay.
Around 9:30 a.m., I was pre-bussing my tables and just the sight of half-eaten food pushed me over the edge. I managed to hold my vomit until I got to the dishwashing area but puked in a trash can immediately after putting my plates down.
A coworker saw me and vouched for me when I went to tell my manager that I was leaving for the doctor, he said, “Even with a doctors note, if you leave work today you’ll be fired.” I said, “You have human waste in a kitchen trash can and haven’t even done anything about it; it’s on camera. I’m leaving.”
I showed up for work a few days later and didn’t hear anything about it. Ended up quitting a few weeks later for a job at a considerably higher end restaurant.
#11 Fired… For Three Steps
I was elbows deep in an AT&T Unix machine that should’ve been replaced a decade before—parts strewn all over a desk—when the client came in to see what was taking me so long.
Me: You’ve got three dead fans, one of the power supplies has failed, there’s a bad CMOS battery and the video card is glitchy, refusing to allow the machine to POST sometimes.
Client: So how long is that going to take? Fifteen minutes?
Me, laughing: I can patch things up in a couple hours, but I’m going to have to come back in a few days with new parts.
Client: If you can’t fix it in the next half hour you’re fired. I’ll find someone that knows what they’re doing.
I stood up, grabbed my tools, and started walking.
Client: Where are you going?
Me: I told you how long it would take, and that’s longer than a half hour, so I guess I’m fired.
My firing lasted about three more steps toward the door.
#12 Necessary Communications
I worked in the municipality department. One day, the programmers updated the work PCs and blocked pretty much everything and anything. No internet at all, no authorization for installing anything, all games removed from Windows; they even removed the calculator function for some reason.
Then, the supervisors started moving coworkers around and my entire team was dispersed across a gigantic building, for no reason. We were the top team in terms of results, but the supervisors simply hated our guts.
So I tried to devise some way to have communication with my coworkers without having to travel for five minutes across the building just to get to each other’s desks.
We did this during our lunch break. Our supervisor butted in and asked what we were doing. We explained we were trying to save time and optimize communication. The supervisor (who doesn’t like us anyway) said we should get back to work and quit trying to communicate through unauthorized means.
Okay. We simply stopped trying to install Messenger on our phones.
One day later, the supervisor was looking for my co-worker. I didn’t know where he is.
“Well then, contact him through your messenger program.”
“The one you told us to quit installing?”
“We gave up on that, on your orders.”
She tried to get me fired for “refusing to obey basic orders.” I explained the situation to her superior, and he let me get back to work. I moved to a better post a few months later because she made my life unbearable from that day on, and I finally went and told the upper floor to move me elsewhere or I’d quit.
#13 I’ll Be There For Him
My dog became very ill quite suddenly and he needed to be put down. I was at work and I asked to leave half an hour early so I could be there for him. I asked my manager and she got annoyed, saying I should have told her earlier. I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize my dog was going to die,” in the most sarcastic way possible, then walked away knowing she’d follow me. I then stood at my desk and typed my resignation up in front of her.
She gave me the time off.
No one was going to stop me from being there for my boy.
#14 The Boss’s Daughter
I worked at a 7/11. My coworker and I were classmates and we were 16 or 17 at the time. The place was broken into, food and drinks were stolen, and I came to work with the owner and his daughter yelling at my coworker.
He was angry and wanted us two to be liable for the damages.
He threatened to fire me and my coworker, but my coworker told him that he’d have to clean up with only his daughter if he let us go. The owner mellowed out, but we quit a week later when we found out it was the daughter who let her friends steal and rough the place up to make it look like it was a break in.
#15 Pay What The Job Is Worth
This was about five or six years ago. I was the second in charge of our shipping department. The head of shipping had a mental breakdown, so I took over while he got help. About three weeks after he returned, the company released him because they didn’t like him and I could do the job.
When they told me they had released him, I asked if they were going to interview people for the job, or if the job was just mine already. I was told they were looking, but I would have a chance to interview once that process started.
Fast forward about six months and I’m still doing this job that normally pays around $50k a year for $11 an hour. We had some issues with staff turnover and process changes. They then told me there wouldn’t be a shipping manager, just a shipping lead, which would be an hourly position. I asked about a raise and got told to wait since my review was in two months.
I waited. Three months. Four months. Then one day, after a 14-hour night shift, I got a call from the warehouse manager telling me to come into work RIGHT NOW. When I got there, he UNLOADED on me for things that were beyond my control. We start yelling at each other, and that’s when I told him:
“I make $11 an hour doing this job. The ex-boss told me he got paid 50k a year. I don’t need this. Give me a raise or I won’t be back.”
I went home and back to sleep. When I go back to work, I was met by the warehouse manager and operations manager. They told me they appreciated the hard work I’ve been doing and will be putting me on a salary starting at $45k.
I negotiated up to $48k.
#16 Think You Can Handle The Double?
I used to work at a small, family-owned grocery store for a few years. We got our load in on Mondays and Thursdays.
One time, we got passed over on a Monday and the distributor said we’d get the missing load in on Thursday. What essentially would happen was we would receive a double load, however, two of the receiving partners were out sick. I was the only person in the warehouse at the time and had to take on 15 pallets of groceries that needed to hit the shelves immediately.
I was specifically told to not go up front and to only do what I could while the front end crew covered the aisles and cash registers. Well, a lot of them were either lazy, untrained, or just putting in their hours so they could pay bills. I put in my earbud, just one, and got to work. I was halfway through checking in the pallets when I got called up front. I ignored it and continued what I was doing. Then, I got called again. So I headed up there and got yelled at by a new hire with a bad attitude. The customer was a regular and we got along very well, and she told me that she was fine and could bag her own groceries.
Between the new hire and the fact that I wasn’t having it, I walked away. I had three years and two ranks on her, so I didn’t care and went back to my pallets. Then, I got the newest hotshot manager, who replaced the beloved manager who trained basically the whole store, in my face about having an earbud in on the clock (which was allowed as long as you had an ear free). She said I could be sent home and not come back if I wanted to listen to music, so I gestured to the pallets and said, “Go for it, these all need to be checked in and broken down. Have fun.”
I got to keep my earbud in.
#17 Knowledge Is Money
At the first kitchen I worked in, they told me the more jobs I learned, the more I’d get paid. But I came in basically knowing all of it anyway. Six months later, I had learned every job there was except one. They told me if I learned that spot, I’d get the raise. I told them I could find a new kitchen, as I had already learned more than everyone else and still hadn’t been given a raise. The head chef cracked and gave me a raise. I told him 50 cents wasn’t enough. He was forced to give me another.
#18 Screaming At Students
I was an intern at a 3D printer company, and the manager was a complete piece of garbage.
On my first week, he made a coworker cry because she sent an order to the wrong client. She apologized to the customer and he didn’t mind. She sent the right one afterward, however, and the manager still screamed and yelled at her for the entire week.
It was a small company and I was sitting next to her at the time. I didn’t know how to react to the situation because I was afraid he would fire me and I wouldn’t pass my class.
Well, the week after that, I made a wrong sketch of an advertisement and he just completely lost his mind. I called my school and told them what happened. They called the manager and they threatened to take his intern license away.
I was left alone with my schoolwork after that and he never screamed at any of us ever again.
#19 I Did Tell You No
My usual job was from 3 a.m. to noon and I slept from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. A split shift meant working from 4:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.
I had been working a series of split shifts and the wacky sleep schedule was really getting to me. I was told I would only need to do it three days in a row, but eventually, it became four days… I went to sleep after the fourth shift and woke up to my boss calling me and telling me I would have to work one more split shift. I told him no and that I would come in for my usual schedule. He started to argue with me and asked why it was such a big deal, especially since I had worked it almost every day this week. When I explained I was having issues with sleep and that I wouldn’t come in he was like, “But it’s your job! I am scheduling you for another split shift.”
I just yelled at him: “Then I don’t need this job!”
He started apologizing. I hung up.
I went to work the next morning for my usual split and everyone there was surprised to see me. My boss had told everyone he thought I might not show up at all and wasn’t sure if I had quit. I worked my usual shift, my boss came in at 8 a.m., and began apologizing right away when he saw me. Then he said, “If working a split was so hard on you, you could have told me no!” I just turned and went to lunch.
#20 Wouldn’t Just Walk Out
I told my boss two weeks in advance that I was taking paid time off on a Monday and Tuesday. She approved it no problem. I took the days off and went out of town for a school thing.
I came back into the office on Wednesday to find I had been locked out of my account. I talked to the operations manager (my boss’s boss) who was the person who hired me to see what was going on. He told me that my boss said I disappeared and didn’t contact anybody for two days. I explained what had happened to him and he said it was no problem.
I talked to my boss later in the afternoon and she was furious. She started saying how I didn’t tell anybody that I was taking paid time off and thought I just suddenly quit. I told her I had the emails to prove I did everything by the book. By this point, I was the only person left on my team of four people who were there with me when I was hired. I was already planning on quitting the next month as I had to move for school. My boss threatened to fire me. I said to her, “If you feel like you need to let me go for your mistake, go ahead.”
I ended up working there for another seven weeks before leaving on my terms. I even got to use the operations manager as a reference for another job.
#21 Good Thing I Didn’t Listen
The company was doing badly in the 2008 depression. They hired an expensive new vice president to lead our division. She asked me—barely one month in—to sack any two people from my team of software engineers as layoffs were “necessary to ensure long-term stability.” I steadfastly refused and dared her to fire me instead.
The issue really blew up after that. Before they could fire any of us though, a new project came along that needed more people than we had to execute it. They didn’t hire anyone new but we had to slog our butts to deliver the project.
The vice president got fired a few months later as she was way too expensive and wasn’t adding enough value.
#22 This Is What We Are About!
I worked at a cancer nonprofit.
We hired a lady who knew about us because her kid had cancer.
My boss wanted me to fire her because she had to come in late and left early to take her kid to chemo.
I refused. My boss said she’d fire me if I didn’t. I told her she could go right ahead. Our CEO said no way.
#23 Last Obscure Straw
I was in the military and was trying to take my vacation time before I lost the days. They denied my requests four different times. I hadn’t had a day off in three months and I was working 12-16 hour shifts most days. I was beyond done.
I was teaching some new guys part of the tasks for a job. Everything was fine, so I went somewhere else in the hangar to do something else on the plane. This Quality Assurance guy who everyone knew was a pain came in. I did my stuff well and he never bothered me so I didn’t pay him any attention. He started talking to one of the new dudes.
He then asked to talk to me and pulled me aside. He asked why I hadn’t told the new guy about some super obscure caution regarding water under a grate in the hangar floor. It was something that had nothing to do with our job so it didn’t matter, he was just being a pain.
I told him, “Listen Sergent QA, I’ve been denied my leave four separate times and I’ve been working for three months straight, so if you have a problem with the way I taught them, write me up. I don’t care. Tell my boss I said that.”
It was a little extreme but I was pushed to the limit. When I went back in I knew I was in deep trouble because the guy walked out of my shop head’s office and I got called right in. When I went in there, the shop head said, “I heard what happened out there. Submit the days you want to take leave right now and I’ll approve it for you.” He then told me I could leave. That’s all I ever heard about it.
#24 I’m Not Fired, You’re Fired
We had a big staff meeting to plan for the upcoming year about holidays and such so we could have the appropriately trained people on site to cover the guys that would be away. During the meeting, I say to the owner, “So do you want us to email you or the scheduler about this directly?” He says both, so I say, “Ok. I’ll email it in, but I will be gone for two weeks.” I tell him the date and he says it’s approved as long as I email it in. So I email it to him, the scheduler, and my foreman at the time.
My holidays come and on the last day, I send my foreman a message. He fires back with, “You didn’t tell me you were taking days off. I’m gonna suspend you without pay for two weeks.”
As you imagine, that didn’t go well. I politely told him he could go screw himself and that I had the emails detailing the exact dates I would be gone. I said that his lack of planning wasn’t my fault. I phoned the owner and told him that the three of us would be having a meeting in the morning to sort it out.
I wrote up my resignation and took it with me, along with my company phone, credit card and keys to the meeting. The owner proceeded to fire the foreman after about five minutes and gave me the job as a foreman for the crews. He thanked me for bringing the situation to his attention as it had happened before and, since I’m the most knowledgeable person about our product and equipment, he gave me the job.
#25 Will Not Leave The Company Vulnerable
A manager threatened to fire me because I wouldn’t agree to changes that would leave the company very open to a cyber attack. I had recorded a phone call between the manager and me where I explained the risk. We definitely needed someone more senior to sign off on that risk before I could make the change. He swore at me and told me to just do it.
He didn’t know I was recording.
At the human resources meeting where he was going to effectively fire me, I insisted on bringing representation and at the time the policy said I could bring whoever I wanted. I chose his boss.
The meeting starts and my manager cites insubordination. I just sat there. When they eventually said they were giving me formal notice, I just asked: “Are you sure?” He replied yes. My representative (his boss), at this point, had said nothing.
Then, I played the recording.
I was asked to leave the room. I was called back 15 minutes later, apologized to, given a pay raise and informed that the manager would no longer be working on this client site.
#26 Shady And Shadier
I was hired on as a part-time assistant manager. Immediately, they told me I would be working part-time at two different restaurants. I knew things were shady as soon as they gave me two separate paychecks. Then, less than a month later, they had someone go on vacation and needed me to cover their shifts. Suddenly, I was working 80-hour weeks.
At the end of the pay period, I took my checks into the office and asked why I why I wasn’t being paid overtime. They said that they weren’t required to pay overtime because technically I worked two jobs. I looked them in the eye and said, “This is my two weeks notice for one of my jobs.”
To clarify, I then asked, “Are you formally telling me that you require me to keep two separate payrolls so that you aren’t required to pay me overtime?” They said they couldn’t afford to pay me overtime. I stood my ground and told them that I would work a maximum of 40 hours per week. After a brief back and forth, they agreed.
Then, about a week later, another manager had a death in the family. They scheduled me for 80-hour weeks again without asking while the other manager took time off to grieve. Then, one day, one of the payroll people came by one of my restaurants and politely asked, “How are you?” I said, “I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit stressed about the number of hours I’ve been working for the last couple of months.” Then, she said, “You should be grateful you are getting paid.” I immediately told her that wasn’t true, because I was owed for overtime. I then called the office and informed them that they needed to either write me a check with back pay for all the overtime or reduce my hours to 40 hours per week by the end of the day. I told them that if I ever saw a schedule that had me listed for even 41 hours, I would walk immediately. They met my demands and reduced my hours.
#27 $10 Isn’t Anything
The place I work at sees a lot of cash flow in and out, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a day. We also have a tiny store on property that brings in about $50 a day. It’s more a courtesy than it is an actual source of income. But because of it, we have a small cash drawer for change and taking in profits. It has just under $300, and it’s normal for it to be over or under by a little bit because again, the shop isn’t really how we make money.
My old manager, however, had no business skills. She decided to do an “audit” one day behind our backs and counted it up. At the time, it happened to be short by $10. This was nothing. That money was probably in the safe. She called me in the middle of the day (when, as a graveyard shift employee, I sleep) to yell at me over $10.
I told her if she made me come in, I’d bring the money in quarters. She had a tantrum on the phone, so I hung up on her and called her manager to tell him point blank: you can’t afford to lose me, I’m the best you’ve got, and I’m the only guy you have who is willing to work the graveyard shift.
He called her and chewed her out. She did not speak to me for two months. It was glorious.
#28 Can’t Fire The Only Manager Left
I was a shift manager at a relatively quiet fast food restaurant. There was only three managers total, so it worked out to one manager per shift and two management shifts a day (open and close). We were supposed to have four managers on a rotating roster but they were cutting costs.
Anyway, I agreed to pull a double for the other shift manager and come in early the next day for stock take with the store manager. I worked with no break and stayed behind to do most of the stock take.
The next morning, I finished stock take by myself, and do the open shift without the store manager arriving. Turns out he had a heart attack and was in serious condition at the hospital (although I only found out later that night).
The other shift manager rocked up for the close, and I go home looking forward to my well earned day off… Until I get a call from the head office informing me that I am now working every open shift next week, except for Saturday, which I would be doing the close followed by stock take on Sunday. So I change my plans and deal with it.
Monday at 11 am, I get a call from the other manager. He’s had a pretty serious car accident and would need to be in the hospital for a few days. He won’t be able to work for the week.
If you’ve been keeping track, that’s two-thirds of the management team down. I call head office and ask for someone to come and do some shifts so I can literally take a break. They reluctantly agree, and my afternoon shift for the next day (Tuesday) was covered.
Our state manager ended up doing the shift they got covered, but they couldn’t spare him or organize any more help. This is when I advised them that the store will be closed then because I’d worked six shifts in four days, and I had a limit to how much I could do with no breaks. For my personal safety, I wouldn’t work without breaks or a day off.
Head office told me, “If the store isn’t open tomorrow morning, you can find another job.” This was said while I was standing next to the state manager. So I put head office on speakerphone and asked them to repeat that. They do, and the state manager got an angry look on his face. I told them to hurry up and fire me. The call ended and the state manager told me, “Take the day, I’ll get it covered.” He even put it in writing for me and gave me the close on Thursday so I got a longer rest. What a champ.
I arrive on Thursday afternoon to see a manager from another store and the state manager, who informed me the head office representative I had been speaking to had been fired, and that he had personally organized it so I was no longer doing doubles.
#29 PVC Glue Stains
I’m an electrician. My boss’ son said my clothes were too dirty to wear to work. I told him my clothes were as clean as when I first wore them to work. He could either buy me a new set or fire me.
That was a year ago. I’m still wearing the same PVC glue-stained clothes to work.
#30 Home Office’s Favorite
Recently, I was working at a concert. The management at this site was trash and never actually gave us any orders. They just expected people who rarely worked there to inherently know when to stop letting people in, when to kick people out, who was allowed in and who wasn’t, etc.
Well, another guard and I let one girl in who said she was with her boyfriend. She said he worked with the people who set up the concert.
The supervisors there laughed and called us lemons. The other guard didn’t know what that meant. Before the supervisor could say anything, I said, “A lemon is a car that doesn’t work. He’s saying that we’re bad at our jobs. He’s saying we’re lemons because blaming us for his shortcomings as a bad leader is easier than admitting he didn’t do his job correctly.”
Things got real quiet after that.
I’m 5’2″ and the supervisor had at least four or five inches on me. He got really close to my face and said, “I didn’t quite hear what you said. Could you repeat it?” So, I craned my head up at him, cleared my throat and repeated what I had just said, word for word.
He told me he’d tell the home office that I was fired. I said, “Yeah, okay, see you tomorrow.”
What he didn’t know is that the home office loves me. I’m the single most reliable guy they have. I show up hours early to a job, am always willing to stay late if needed, and usually, pick up last-minute shifts. On top of that, they’ve never had a single complaint about me. Until that night.
I don’t know if he ever did call the office, because no one ever said a thing to me about it. He scowled when he saw me the next day and didn’t say a word to me. So I’m going to assume that the office didn’t believe him when he called in.
#31 I Bet You Can’t Do Better
I worked at a Cheeburger for five years out of high school while I got my degree. I started as a dishwasher and by my third year I was the shift leader and working the grill on weekend rushes. During the holiday season, we would do $11k days for a 25-table restaurant, which meant we always had a line out the door.
For our shifts, we would generally have four people working. One would be on the grill, one on the fryer, one doing the bun setup and one dropping buns to toast. On this particular night, I had the three dumbest people on staff. These people were restaurant lifers who just didn’t have a good work ethic.
Fast forward to about 7 p.m., the height of the rush. I have at least 15 tickets on the grill with at least 10 hanging on the ticket machine. We were always told to keep tickets no longer than 15 minutes. I may not have been 100%, but I would say 80% of those tickets went out on time and CORRECTLY. The three potatoes I’m with are helping, but not keeping up. As the grill guy, I need to constantly turn around and start making buns to help them keep up.
No, I LOVE the owners of this place. They were kind to me and continue to help if I ever need a recommendation for anything. The manager on staff at the time, however, was a 55-year-old woman who seemed upset at herself at the fact she was managing a small restaurant. Sorry, Mary, I didn’t make your life choices.
Mary then proceeds to storm back to the line and scream in my face, “THE LAST TWO TICKETS WERE 18 MINUTES ANDY. GET IT TOGETHER OR GO HOME.”
I look back at her and say, “I’m doing the best I can with what I got, Mary.” She responds and says, “Well, your best isn’t good enough”.
Oh. Okay. Guess we’re doing it this way then.
I look her square in her stupid face and say, “If you can do better, go ahead. I bet you can’t though.” And I stood there and stared at her. It felt like an hour, but someone else on shift said it was about 15 seconds of us just staring at each other, as the kitchen slowly crumbled around us.
Mary said nothing and walked away. Never heard another word and continued working there for another two years.
#32 Not On My Time
I was working at McDonald’s and I had this manager that hated me for some unknown reason. We’ll call her Hailey because that is her real name and screw her.
One shift, I was working on the grill as I usually do when all of a sudden, Hailey comes back and orders me to make salads. I do as I am told and go into the cooler to get out the sack of salad ingredients.
I also nab the date gun because the date and time of creation must be stamped on the salads.
I begin working on the first salad when Hailey pops up and tells me to go on my 10-minute break. She says she’ll take over for me, so I go.
Ten minutes later, I get back from the break room to find all the salads completed and up in the salad cooler up front. I go back to the grill.
About 30 minutes later, Hailey loudly calls me into the office. I come in and she says, “Zushiba, when you made the salads today, you didn’t put the date or time on them. That is a clear violation of our procedures, so I am writing you up”.
She slides over a pink write-up and asks me to sign it to acknowledge I understand that I did wrong and am being written up for it. Three write-ups and we are fired. This is my first.
I look at her thinking this is a joke, but she is dead serious. In front of the other manager who was sitting in the office at the time, I realized I don’t care about this job, so I said, “Hailey, you made those salads. You are the one who didn’t put the time and dates on them, not me, I am not signing that.”
And with that, I got up and went back to the grill. I heard nothing for the rest of my shift from Hailey. The other manager on duty said nothing either. My shift ends and I go up front and clock out. I round the counter and go to leave when Hailey stops me.
“Zushiba, stop, we need to have a talk about your attitude today. Please come back to the office.” In front of customers, the other manager and the rest of the staff, I reply from the other side of the counter, “Hailey did you just see me clock out?” She answers, “Yes,” in her best trying-to-be-an-important-McDonald’s-manager voice. So I say, “Good, once I clock out I am on my time, I get to spend my time however I please, and I don’t care to discuss anything with you on my time. I work tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. with you. When I clock in, I’ll be on your time and we can talk in the office as long as you would like. But for now, I’m leaving.”
And I left. The look of shock on her made me feel great! I almost skipped the whole way home. I fully expected to be fired in the morning but Hailey was nowhere to be seen. Instead, another manager was on duty whom I got along with great. And incidentally hated Hailey as well. She pulled me aside early in my shift and said she heard about how well I’d been doing from another manager who was on duty. They wanted to give me a free lunch!
I never did hear about that write up ever again and I rarely heard from Hailey even when we were scheduled together.
#33 No More Tyrants
I’m sure everyone’s had that tyrannical boss who was so drunk with power that everyone hated. About 20 years ago, I was working as a delivery driver at a Pizza Hut and they transferred in a manager who couldn’t seem to get along with me. The area supervisor point blank told me that he was on his last leg and if he caused any problems they were going to let him go. I was kind of the lead driver, no title or extra pay, but I was the one who trained new drivers. For some reason, this guy decided I needed to be taken down a notch. He just harassed me and was on me constantly. Surely, folks at the head office told him he needed to adjust his attitude, but I’m not sure if this guy was capable.
Anyway, one day I told him to back off. I was more valuable to the store than he was, and if he really wanted to show who was in charge, he should learn how to do his job better. He flew into a rage, swept a big stack of lids off of a shelf and ordered me to rewash them. Instead, I just punched out and went home (it was the middle of the afternoon and I was the only driver at the time).
About 30 minutes later, I get a call from the supervisor telling me to come back because they were “taking care of things”. Got back just in time to see him sulking off with his termination papers.
#34 Just Say No
My coworker about a year ago worked at the pizza station at our restaurant and he was a good worker. He was just about the only one left who rolled and made good pizza, but he always showed up tired. My sous chef always thought he was doing lower quality work than everyone else because he was always yawning.
One day, he had forgotten to wrap some pizzas and they spoiled, and my boss really felt like going off. He yelled at him for a long time and then told him he was fired. My coworker just looked him in the face and said, “You can’t even fire me,” and just kept working for the rest of his shift. The next day, the sous chef walked up with his boss, our department head. She listened to the entire story, told him to remember to wrap the pizzas, and walked away.
I thought it was the funniest thing because if he’d accepted it and just gone home, he’d definitely still be fired. He just said “no” to getting fired and worked another year there.
#35 The Dishes Predicament
I was one out of three dishwashers at a hotel and restaurant, so there was a lot of work for us. One of the guys never did any work, and the other guy only worked early morning shifts as he had multiple jobs. I finished all my duties and walked outside for a break. The manager of the restaurant area came out and threatened to fire me if I didn’t go back inside to finish the dishes. I told him what his predicament would be if he fired me, and he stormed off.
I came back in 10 minutes later and there were maybe three dishes to do, and I was the only one working at the time so there was no way another dishwasher did them.
#36 Putting My Foot Down
I worked for a printing company. Almost an entire branch of production hinges off my area. I regularly did everything asked of me and above. Each year, they’d pile on more responsibilities with a promise of a raise. Four years went by and no raise. I eventually put my foot down and said I’d need a raise to make up for the last four years. If the answer was no, then they could consider it my two weeks notice.
They denied the raise and I left two weeks later.
Within the year, the entire department went under and two years later, the entire company went out of business. I feel bad for the other workers that lost their source of income, but the owner deserved it.
#37 This Is Not The Same
I was an outsourced programmer on my company for six months and afterward, the company wanted me to sign a contract with them and stop being an outsourced employee.
The company boss, an old lady who’s old enough to be retired, told me in our first meeting, “We will keep paying you the exact same amount as of right now, and after six months we can talk about a raise.”
I had a good income so I just accepted. There would be no change at all and I was fine with that.
Then comes the day when she presented me with the contract and it turns out, I was receiving four euros less than before in food allowance every day. They said it was because the company paid all their employees the same food allowance, and since I was outsourced, I was receiving four euros more than everyone else. At the end of the month, that makes up almost 100 euros less than I was receiving before.
So when I saw the contract, I immediately went into the boss’ office and told her there was a mistake in the contract, and that I was not going to be paid the exact same amount as before.
She then told me that every employee in the company was paid the same in food allowance and that she couldn’t change it because it was the same for everyone and because of some “legal” stuff they had going on. I told her that I wasn’t happy with it and that I wouldn’t sign any contract until they changed the food allowance to what I was getting paid before.
During that same day, I had two managers taking me into the meeting room, trying to convince me to sign the contract as is. They told me, “If you don’t sign the contract we will have to get someone else. Our boss can’t do anything to raise you, it’s impossible…” Blah blah blah.
Take into account I was doing a very specific job. I was in the middle of a big project and if they lost me, they would lose months and months of progress and probably a lot of money.
I just kept the same answer: “You told me I would get paid the same, I’m only signing the contract if I still get paid the same as before. Not more, not less. I want what we agreed on.”
And told them if they didn’t agree on that, they could find someone else. It would be very easy for me to get another job offer from my outsourcing company, and I didn’t mind leaving.
After multiple times going back and forth between the meeting room trying to pressure me to sign the contract and the boss’ office, they finally told me they were going to keep the same food allowance I was getting before. They showed up with a new contract. I smiled and signed the contract, said, “See you tomorrow,” and off I went.
#38 That’s My Future
I used to work as a bartender part-time after college and before law school as a side income while doing other gigs. We made a lot of money by selling wine on commission. This was in Japan, and being bilingual, I probably sold five to six times more than my Japanese coworkers. As I was applying for law schools, I wanted to take a month off to visit them in the states. I was planning on a month-long vacation and asked for the month off. The bar told me that they would be understaffed and they will have to fire me if I left. I told them fine, fire me. The day after I came back from the states, I got a call from my manager asking if I had any shift requests for the month.
#39 A Good Representation
I was working for a Fortune 200 company a few years back, as the Plant Manager for their flagship location. Lots of Congressional visitors for a photo op kinda place. A few hundred craftsmen, plus management. Part of our location housed a distribution for our operations east of the Mississippi, including 146 pallets of bottled water in 12-bottle packs. We regularly mobilized these supplies to support disaster relief efforts nationwide.
About 50 miles away, a chemical plant had a leak into the river, just upstream of one of the major water treatment plants in the area. The water supply was shut down for a third of my workforce. Several of these guys had very sick children (cancer, etc.), and needed water for medications.
By 7 p.m., second shifters were requesting leave to go hunt water down. Wives were panicking, having already driven up to three hours themselves. The water was sold out everywhere.
I elected to ration out two packs of water per family that needed it, to get through the night. We didn’t know how long things would go on but figured worst-case, we only had to cover until the disaster relief folks were fully mobilized—a day or two at max.
I didn’t bother reviewing addresses. This was the honor system. The plant appreciated it, we distributed 116 packs of bottled water. Our cost was less than $100. Having to shut down the plant would have cost tens of thousands.
My phone began to blow up about 6 a.m. from guys at the plant. My boss (I’ll call him Charlie), who had an office nearby, had called the night shift manager to ask how much water was on hand. When the manager told him we had distributed less than a quarter pallet, old Charlie lost his mind.
Charlie came into the plant and started taking statements from third shift. He called second shifters in too. Told anyone within earshot that my butt was gonna be fired before the day was through. Of course, this got back to me.
Well, I took my sweet time coming in that morning. I made sure I had the contact info of all the local press and drafted a public statement of why I was to be terminated. Unbeknownst to me, the nine unions at our facility organized a Call-a-thon to the ethics hotline.
I rolled in ready for war. Charlie was sitting at my desk.
“I assume you know why I am here?”
“I was tipped off. Before you do something that can’t be undone, I want to show you thi—”
“Our COO called. He said you represented the company well.” With that, he stormed out of my office, slammed the door so hard it cracked a window, and didn’t speak to me for three months.
#40 Butt-Kicking Boots
A friend of mine was the project manager over an IT group at a boat company. One of his developers, we’ll call him Jed, was the most brilliant and talented programmer in the building. A week or so before Halloween, my friend was at Jed’s cube chatting, as Jed had completed his day’s work and the development of the software was ahead of schedule. Jed was on e-Bay, (back before Amazon and two-day delivery) looking at tanker boots for his Halloween costume. A few minutes later, a director noticed my friend and Jed talking so he came over to investigate why these two were just “hanging out.” So my friend gave the director a rundown of the project plan and how they were ahead of schedule. Then the director, we’ll call him Tom, decided to passive-aggressively say something to Jed about using the company internet for personal business.
“What are you looking at on company time, Jed?”
Without missing a beat or even turning his head away from the monitor, Jed quipped, “A pair of boots for kicking your butt, Tom.”
My friend said that you could see the director’s thought process on his face. He went from a scowl, thinking, “Did this developer just talk to me, a director, that way?” to a look of defeat as he realized, “I can’t fire this guy, he’s the best we have.”
So Tom stood there awkwardly for a moment then said, “Well… Okay, Jed. Have a good weekend.” and quietly walked away.
Jed is my hero.
#41 Right In The Lobby
I worked for Burger King at one point and had salmonella. I couldn’t find anyone to cover for me (I was scheduled for a long, understaffed shift with the most obnoxious supervisor). My boss said I had to come in anyway.
I called my DM and explained. DM said to come in anyway. I had no way to contact the franchise owners. Contacted BK corporate who basically said, “We are not responsible for franchise stuff.”
So I went into work, threw up in a lobby full of people, and said I have salmonella but my boss wouldn’t let me have the day off. I got the day off, and I found another, more reasonable job shortly after.
#42 Family Before Work
I used to work in a school.
One day, while my mother was abroad and my brother was being looked after, there was an emergency and I was the next of kin.
I told my manager about the emergency and asked to leave work so I could look after my brother.
He refused, saying he didn’t have to let me go because I wasn’t my brother’s legal guardian.
I don’t know whether the law supported him or not, but I told my manager I cared more about my brother than about my job and I was leaving.
When I came back the next day, nothing was mentioned about it and I kept working as usual.
#43 Don’t Try Me
I was a resident assistant in college. I had a funeral to attend back home, so I had one of the other resident assistants cover me during one of my shifts. We signed off the paperwork and everything.
When I got back, the residence head called me into his office and gave me a warning, saying if what happened over the weekend ever happened again, I would be fired. Apparently, some huge party went down and a bunch of students caused thousands of dollars of damage.
I explained that I was out for a funeral and had signed off with another resident assistant to switch shifts. I showed him the log book and everything. I told him he could fire me but he’d be making a huge mistake. He apologized immediately and called in the other resident assistant. I don’t know what happened after that, but I got to keep my job.
#44 This Goes With Me
Without getting too deeply into the technical specifics, in an old job as part of a team of software developers, we used to have our progress hindered by a number of issues relating to the end user’s security settings.
I spent some time looking into ways in which we could allow our product to pass through these systems without hindrance. However, in doing so, an overzealous colleague believed me to be trying to find ways to circumvent our own internal security. He silently alerted IT & management.
A few days later, I had prepared a document, plan, and assessment of the changes we could make in order to modify our product. I walked into work and was immediately ushered into a meeting room, where I was accused of being in breach of the company IT policy and potentially guilty of gross misconduct. I was sent home for the day and required to return the following day for a disciplinary hearing.
I went into the meeting with a printed copy of my change plan, explaining that I had devised a way in which we could improve our product, making life easier for roll-out staff. However, I said that if I left the company, the document would leave me. I also explained that this was what I was researching.
I was reinstated and given a pay increase soon after.
#45 That’s Not Something I Will Ask
I work at a furniture rental place, and they are ruthless when it comes to on-time payments. You can’t even go a day late without my coworkers showing up at your doorstep. They will call you three times a day for payment.
Anyways, a customer called and said that he would have to make a double payment on his next due date (the following Friday—it was Monday). The customer said that he had unexpected expenses, and need to put a few bills on hold so he could take care of his personal issues. I didn’t really see the problem with this, as he was a decent customer and always followed through with his commitments and generally made on-time payments every week. But, nonetheless, I needed to run it by my boss. So I placed the customer on hold and filled my boss in.
My boss told me: “Okay? What are the unexpected expenses? We need to know so we can put the notes on his account for the commitment,” and I replied, “I don’t feel that’s any of my business. I’m uncomfortable asking him that.” At this point, my boss got frustrated and told me to ask him what he needed to spend his money on that was more important than his payment on a couch. Again, I insisted that asking that question is way out of line. And after about 45 seconds of back and forth, I said:
“You know what, you can fire me before I ask someone such a personal question. YOU ask him that. You’re the manager. You’re comfortable with it, I’M not. Pick up the phone, and you ask.”
My boss was fuming at this point. But he picked up the phone and asked. I didn’t hear what my boss said to the customer, because I had already stepped back into my office. My boss hasn’t brought up the incident again, but that might be because, after I looked at the notes on his account, the customer’s daughter had passed away in a car accident a few days prior and needed every ounce of money he had to pay for her funeral.
So, yes. I would have been uncomfortable asking that.
#46 Club Monaco Mercilessness
I once called in sick to my part-time job at Club Monaco. My manager told me that if I couldn’t find anyone to cover my shift, I was going to be fired.
So I FaceTimed her from the ER and had the doctor explain to her that I needed an MRI because they wanted to make sure I didn’t have a brain tumor.
#47 The Past Comes To Haunt You
I’m a speech therapist. At the place I used to work at, the boss was terrible to the extent that the entire rehab staff signed a letter asking to get him fired. He was basically forced out and I eventually left for another job.
I swung by the rehab gym and saw him sitting in my current boss’s office. I kind of froze in shock… I thought he was interviewing for a job there. So, I went to the boss at the time and told her flat out that if he got hired, I was walking out immediately. She got a stunned look on her face and quickly assured me that he wasn’t working there. That was my first time drawing a line in the sand like that.
#48 Wedding Priorities
I was working at a shoe store in a mall and I requested a week in August off for my wedding. My manager told me her boss wasn’t happy about that and all I said in reply was: “My wedding is more important than back-to-school sales.”
They didn’t “fire” me, per se, they just stopped scheduling me and eventually, my access to the employee website went away.
#49 Island Advantage
I’m an aircraft technician living on a very small island in the middle of nowhere.
There used to be two guys working my position, but a new company bought our old one and the other guy left for a job closer to home. Six months later, they still haven’t been able to fill the position and they constantly have to send a different temporary worker every 15 days, paying for costly flights and hotels to accommodate them.
They wanted to lower my salary by 30% or simply fire me because I got paid nearly twice what they used to pay me. They told me to accept the decrease or they would just put another guy in my position.
Yeah, good luck finding two LAMEs (Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers) who want to live here when you haven’t even been able to find one who will stay.
#50 Handling Hazardous “Materials”
I worked a Burger King as a teenager. One day, the assistant manager, who illegally brought her teenage daughter to work to help her out, asked me to clean the restrooms. It wasn’t my normal job, but I didn’t mind. I had a good attitude about it and was prepared to go clean the bathrooms.
I walked into the men’s room and discovered the reason she asked me to do it. It was an absolute mess inside — clearly, someone didn’t know how to aim and got their mess everywhere.
I walked out of the bathroom, went back to the kitchen and told the assistant manager: “I’m not cleaning that. You can fire me but I’m not cleaning it.” I had a valid reason backed by workplace health and safety standards. She sighed heavily and went to get a mop.
#51 Ultimate Power Move
My dad, a caterer, was delivering food to an office one day and the receptionist made a scene. She was yelling at him in front of her bosses, saying that he arrived too late and that the order was wrong when it wasn’t. She was making such a big deal out of it and then said she was going to report him to his manager and get him fired.
My dad made nothing of it because he isn’t only the manager of the catering company, he also owns it. She called who she thought was his boss and my dad picked up. Everyone in the room was laughing at her.
#52 Silent Treatment
I had a manager who didn’t want to keep me on her team, but she also couldn’t fire me since I was a high performer. When she got mad at me, she gave me the silent treatment, not realizing it was actually a nice break from her petty complaining.
#53 Raise Demands
The owner of the company I worked for was avoiding the meeting where we were to discuss my raise. I waited over two weeks. I finally told my supervisors that I’d walk out the door if they didn’t fix this. They told me to go talk to him. I told them they were the supervisors and it was their job to do that, not mine.
I’m in an understaffed position that is very difficult to fill. If I left, then the rest would have gone too. They knew that.
#54 Risky Move
I used to work in the service industry and one of my customers ordered something that had since been reworked on the menu. I could tell he didn’t like it, but he was too polite to complain.
I told my manager exactly that and she got mad at me. She yelled at me about how I couldn’t possibly know what he was thinking, so I asked her to just go talk to the customer. If I was wrong, she could fire me.
The customer said exactly what I had told my manager. She didn’t look me in the eye for over a month. This was the second time something like this happened with her.
#55 Sorry You Screwed Up
I used to work in a casino with rotations that changed weekly. I saw that I had four days on and three days off, which is fine; standard.
On my second day off, I got a call from one of the pit bosses frantically saying, “Where are you? You were supposed to be in 15 mins ago!” I said no I wasn’t. I even had a picture of the rotation as my phone screen saver.
Well, I went in anyway because I knew that my absence meant the other staff would have no breaks in a 12-hour shift. And when I arrived, said pit boss was waiting with the other pit bosses and the managers. He had a massive go at me in front of all the staff and customers.
I showed him the picture on my phone and he said, “You should have called to check that the rotation hadn’t changed!” I was like, “Are you saying I should call every time it’s my day off?” and he said yes. So I said, “What’s the point of making a rotation if I have to call every day off to check if it hasn’t changed?” He said I was being extremely rude to him in front of our bosses and I should apologize. I said, “Okay. I’m sorry that you messed up and are trying to make me look bad.” Then I walked off to get some air.
Later, I came back in, and nothing happened. A different boss just told me to start my shift when I was ready.
#56 Like Winning The Lottery
I told my supervisors about severe safety issues at work. There was broken equipment and such, but they didn’t do anything. I told the union, but they didn’t do anything either. I reported the issues for several months, but nothing.
Finally, I called OSHA instead of filing grievances. I had my supervisor freak out, asking if I had called them, and I told him straight up, “Yes, you’re dang right I did.” He threatened to fire me, but then I told him about the whistleblower act and how that would be the stupidest decision ever. I encouraged him to do it because I would essentially win the Fantasy 5—I wouldn’t make a million, but I guaranteed him I would get a good $200k. Never had any issues at work since.
#57 Taking One For The Team
I am a professional basketball coach in Asia. In my first season as a head coach, we were battling at the rate we were projected. I had a signed a two-year contract and the team said they were patient with my progression.
We won one of our first games by a single point and we were all excited. Our GM called me the night of the win and told me that I needed to start two of our bench players (who weren’t good enough to play) the next game. If I didn’t do that, I would have the resign.
I never hesitated and couldn’t do that to the players that had worked so hard for me.
We ended up losing the next day, and I didn’t start the two players the GM demanded. Needless to say, I was called in the next day and let go.
#58 Powerpoint Win
I made a Powerpoint presentation for my job performance review that basically ended with: “I know how much I’m worth, either pay me more or find some other person to do all of the work of five people.”
I intended for it to come of as a half-joke because my boss and I were pals, but he thought it made sense so he fought to get me a raise.
#59 Bookstore Bandit
On my 22nd birthday, I was working at a bookstore in King of Prussia Mall. My college girlfriend of four years had just broken up with me the night before.
It was around 8 p.m. of a busy weekend night when I noticed a pretty awful smell. I glanced over at my manager working at the other register and could tell he smelled it too, but we continued to power through a line of antsy customers.
Once we cleared the line, a woman came up to me red-faced and laughing in shock. She said she had walked into one of the aisles to find a girl about eight years old going #2 on the floor.
I looked over at the manager who clearly had heard as well and said, “Dave, you can go ahead and fire me, but I’m not cleaning that up.”
#60 Don’t Ignore Your Top Performer
I’m paid around $6,000 below the average market value. I’ve been the company’s top performer for two years running and I’ve had to cover my colleague multiple times for extended periods while she was sick. Without me, the sales department would’ve tanked.
I’ve not been greedy or confrontational, I genuinely just want a bit more so I can live more comfortably with all the debt I have, but they keep ignoring me and putting off meetings.
#61 Wrong Glove, No Love
I was walking in the hangar bay and heard someone call out, “Hey you!” I initially ignored it because there were a billion people in the hanger bay. That was my first mistake, apparently. After a couple more call outs, I finally turn around to see who it is and end up getting berated by some random chief. He yelled at me for 30 seconds, saying how I’m a terrible person for not stopping immediately when he called for me, then he got to the crux of the issue.
He asked me why I was wearing “illegal” winter gloves in uniform. I looked at him all confused until he filled me in. My gloves were all black; there was just an itty bitty cloth strip on the palms that wasn’t. I have no clue how he even saw that. At this point, I was about 100,000 miles over the conversation, so I hit back with, “Oh, so they’re not authorized but they’re also not illegal, right?”
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen someone trying not to lose their mind in public, but that’s the display he put on. He asked for my name, then stormed off.
My chief calls me into to shop office about 45 minutes later. I knew it was coming. The following is the best recollection I have of the entire conversation:
“Do you have any idea why another chief complained to me for 30 minutes about you wearing the wrong gloves? Actually, let me ask a better question. Do you know how much effort it takes to pretend to be interested in hearing about gloves for 30 minutes? Knock it off.”
He motioned for me to leave and that was that. I loved that chief man. Great guy.
#62 Worst Manager Ever
While I was studying in Paris, I also worked night shifts in a hotel near the Hôtel de Ville district. I worked from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. several nights in a row. The hotel was very busy as it was a highly-populated tourist area, so it was usual to only get four hours of sleep over a total of five nights. It happened several times a week that the hotel manager simply forgot to relieve me in the morning, so I’d be falling asleep on the counter waiting for the relief to come two or three hours late. When I politely remarked that I was tired and that my relief was late again, he’d simply laugh it off and say “I guess we forgot about you.”
Finally, I decided to go to a job interview for some other work. When I found out that they accepted me in that new job, I waited until my shift to phone the manager.
“Oh hello, I just called in to say that I got a new job so I’m not coming tonight in, nor ever,” I said calmly.
“What do you… But you can’t… Why didn’t you say something sooner?” the manager stuttered.
“I guess I forgot about you,” I replied.
#63 Not A Janitor
I once worked as a night clerk at a privately-owned hotel. As the overnight guy, I often had to do things that weren’t really among the responsibilities of being a desk clerk, like bringing extra pillows or blankets to guests, cleaning up small messes or occasionally plunging a toilet. There was no one else there at 2 a.m., and so I guess those things just came with the job.
One night, I get a call from a guy saying the toilet in his room is backed up. It’s the middle of the night, so I just move him to another room while I check on the toilet situation. The bathroom was a disgusting mess. It looked like someone had shoved an entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet. There was just filth everywhere, I wanted to throw up.
I probably should have thrown those guys out of the hotel, but I’m young and I honestly wouldn’t know how to handle it. So I just hand them their keys and just stare at the mess as I use the room’s phone to call my boss.
I tell my boss about the situation and I don’t know what I expected exactly… For him to call a plumber maybe? But no, he tells me to clean it up. I sit there quietly just holding the phone for a second and I say something like, “No, this is too much man, I don’t even know where to start with this and it’s disgusting.” Then he says, real aggressively as if the mess was my fault: “It’s your job to handle night shift problems, clean it up!”
I stood there, looking at the floor when I suddenly came to the most wonderful realization of my life, a realization that made me so happy in that moment that I actually felt a little giddy and lightheaded: I realized I could just quit and go home.
“I’m not cleaning this up, I quit,” I said proudly over the phone.
I remember him saying “What?!” and then yelling some more. I was almost laughing, not at him or the situation, but in relief. Nothing in the world could get me to clean that disgusting bathroom.
I said I’d close the room off and go watch the desk until my shift ended but I wasn’t cleaning that mess up. He, in anger, just told me to get the hell out then, which was dumb because, at that time of night, there were no active employees anywhere on the premises other than me. But that’s what I did, I just left and went home.
They tried to withhold my last paycheck when I went to get it, saying I was responsible for the cleanup cost and that they didn’t have to pay me because I left in the middle of a shift, but I knew that was BS. I think I literally said: “I don’t know who I have to call about this but I know you can’t do that. I’ll figure out who to call about it.” They ended up just saying, “We’ll mail it to you,” and they did.
I actually liked that job, but man, there are limits.
#64 Golden Corral Catastrophe
I worked at a Golden Corral before Thanksgiving. I had hurt my back a few days before from a pinched nerve. The pain was brutal and I could barely breathe, but I had no insurance or money, so I suffered through it.
I had to close-open the night before as a manager trainee. I walked into the place and saw three trucks waiting to be received. Apparently, the general manager and maintenance employee were having a fling together and were still in bed from a party the night before.
I get the doors open and started checking the trucks when the general manager strolls in two hours late. The first thing out of his mouth was, “Why isn’t this put away?”
I laughed at him and told him it was his responsibility, as he was scheduled to work that morning. He headed over to the office and had the audacity to re-print the schedule with our shift times switched, so it looked like I was late and not him.
I told him he could either admit he falsified the schedule and submit it to corporate or I’d quit right there. He called my bluff so I quit, and I haven’t been back to food service since.
#65 Retail Woes
I worked at a terrible retail boutique in college. Worked my way up to management. Their pay policies were illegal, and the idiot district director they hired staffed terribly. I worked open to close by myself multiple times. I locked up in the middle of the day to go take a break once. I got caught and was told if I did it again I’d be fired. In reply, I told them to stop staffing so poorly.
They did it again. I locked up and a customer called corporate. I was fired. The last laugh was on them though, because I threatened to sue them for violating employment law. It was a class action lawsuit—a multi-million dollar settlement getting back lost wages for thousands of employees across multiple states. Plus unemployment for me.
Actually, the whole situation led to a complete life change for me. I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now had I just let them continue to abuse me. Short term financial pain is scary, especially when you don’t know how you will afford food or how to pay bills. I made it through and it was definitely worth it, not only for me but for a lot of people.