They say that if you love your job, it won't feel like a job at all. Well, the following people definitely did not love their jobs—in fact, these jobs were so hellish that they felt they had to quit on the spot. Read on for some interesting workplace tales.
#1 Selling Vacuums
An ex of mine worked for Kirby if I recall correctly. He was expected to be in a person’s house for TWO HOURS to sell them this freaking vacuum. I wouldn’t want a salesman in my house for ten minutes. He lasted maybe a month and then his paycheck bounced which meant our rent check bounced. It was a mess, much like our relationship.
Retrieving used formwork. Ten guys throwing 20-kg pieces of nail-infested timber down from five floors up. My job was to dodge the falling bits of timber and avoid stepping on nails while I did it for ten hours a day. Screw that. There was no first aid guy on site and I got a nail through each foot on my first day which I disinfected and bandaged myself. Then I went back to work.
#3 Age Limits
When I was 14, I got a job at one of the few fast food places in town that hired kids under 16. I went to orientation, where they explained the positions different age groups could fill. My job would be to take people's orders out to their cars. I wasn't allowed to touch money or work the fryer. I showed up on the first day and was told my whole shift would be on the fryer. I told them I was 14 and not allowed to, plus I hadn't been trained on it. The guy basically said tough luck and tried to hand me a hair net. I just left.
#4 Set Up To Fail
I remember my uncle telling me a story about a vacuum cleaner salesman who came to his door one day and offered to give a presentation on how great the cleaner was. My uncle lets him in and he begins spreading dust around the floor that he will then clean up. After he spread it all around, he noticed the lack of electrical outlets. He never bothered to ask if my uncle had hydro before he started making a mess.
#5 A Horrifying Surprise
I worked at a recycling plant for medical supplies. My job was to get inside the compressing machines and clean them. The machines were filled with blood, needles, and other disturbing things. It was absolutely disgusting. Plus, the place was infested with rats. It was literally horrifying and I quit on my first day.
#6 Shady Business
Some help desk job. Recruiter lied big time. You have to be careful with them. I’ve been sent into some bogus interviews because a recruiter just wanted to meet his quota. Another tip an old guy told me was to always send your resume as a PDF. Recruiters will tweak your resume without you asking just to try and get you into an unqualified interview. It’ll set you up for failure.
#7 Hidden Operation
I was working at a restaurant. A co-worker told me the boss asked him if he would sell him his passport. Then, a different co-worker said the boss asked him to be a guarantor in a totally blank passport application. Some customers came up to me to say they overheard some men on the patio talking about trafficking people. Like, in the way that they were discussing plans to do it. Unbeknownst to them, one of these men was the owner. The owner was from Albania, by the way. Not trying to generalize. but they are known to be one of the human trafficking hotspots. I quit that day and called the RCMP.
#8 Out Of Their Minds
Away at college, I needed a job. I got hired on at a national pizza chain with a table involved. Anyway, I showed up the first day and quickly noticed every single person working there was on something. Everyone. No way I was going to deal with that, so I quit after my first shift. The manager asked why, and I told him the truth. His response: "How did you know?!" Maybe it was the dilated eyes, the fact that everyone was sweating like it was 113 degrees out, yet I needed to wear a long sleeve shirt to stay warm?
#9 The Constant Cycle
I worked for a company installing security systems and cameras. I was sent on a project to install a few new cameras and maintain a few others. We had to drop our tools and equipment off 24 hours before and shower in and out. I can still smell the ammonia now and vividly remember the 6-foot pile of lifeless pigs I had to install a camera over. The cameras I was servicing were so horribly corroded from the heavy ammonia and humidity that they were no longer functional. This was apparently a constant cycle.
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#10 See Ya Later
I got a job at a sawmill right out of high school. It was probably opened in the '40s; it was dangerous as hell. On the first day, one of the guys that worked there was bragging about how good the owner was to work for. He held up his two-fingered hand, touched the two nubs one at a time and said, “I got $500 each when that happened!” About an hour in, I went to my car under the auspices of grabbing my thermos. I left and never went back.
#11 Tough Communication
Wendy's now, at least locally here in Seattle, is almost all Mexicans that don't speak English well enough to understand your order. The usual cashier working when I go to lunch seems to think the word "no" means "mucho." It's somewhat amusing to watch people order, for example, "no pickles" and get a huge pile of pickles. I used to order no ketchup, but the last time I did that, there was ketchup on both sides of the patty and so much of it that the patty slid out of the bun and into my lap. Now I just wipe the ketchup off the burger.
#12 Don't Try Me
I was in a seconded job but was later offered another job by the CEO of the company I was seconded to. He tried to convince me to take the job without any contract or any assurance that the position was in any way secure. Then, later that day, he tried to withhold my salary after he heard rumors that I was resigning. I was thinking of resigning but I hadn't made my intentions official yet, so I pleaded my case until they finally released my salary. An hour after withdrawing my salary, I submitted my resignation.
#13 Cockroach Chicken
When I was 16, I got a job at KFC and it was disgusting. The kitchen was dirty and people were rude as heck. They had me making the coleslaw. It came in separate bags, that is, the cabbage in single, huge bag, carrots, mayo... I was mixing it by hand and in a huge vat thing. I found a cockroach in there. I told the manager and he replied that it was normal. I quit then and there. Noped outta that place.
#14 Looks Are Deceiving
It was not uncommon at all to see new Amazon delivery drivers quit after one to three days. Initial applicants picture it as driving and just sitting on their butt, but delivering 250 packages to 180 stops is hard work. Loading the van, then walking some stupid driveways and stairs with heavy packages and traffic can be overwhelming. I’m a warehouse worker for Amazon and I just finished my first week. It took everything in me not to quit on my third and fourth day.
#15 The Brewhouse
It was a "brewhouse," which is code for an independently-owned Applebee's with more beer options, usually local. The cooks never washed their hands on the line, trash was thrown on the floor ankle-deep until the end of the night, the "confetti" in the ceiling light covers were bugs, the ceiling tiles were brown from having never been cleaned, the floor even with non-slip shoes felt like I was walking on ice from the oil and whatever else, the chimney of the fryer caught on fire... and I was told that happened every two to three days. I worked 4 hours, got my shift meal, told them I couldn't do it because I didn't want to be there the day they got a less lenient health inspector.
#16 Creepy Call Center
I applied for a call center in my local area. The interview went well—I was hired on the spot and introduced to coworkers. I was then left by my manager to chat with my future coworkers while I waited for my mom to pick me up (I was still 17 at the time, three months shy of 18) when one coworker let slip some mumble about how he hoped "this young girl doesn't leave like the rest."
I couldn't get the guy's words out of my head so when I got home, I did some more research on this business and found out they've been hiring for months and constantly losing people, but primarily hiring females who then left the company pretty quickly after. I found a forum of such employees talking about being harassed while working there, how they never got paid what they were promised, etc. Immediately after learning about the claims, I called and said I would not be taking the position after all. They didn't even ask for a reason.
#17 I'm Next
At my current job, employees don't last very long. I'm the new guy and I sit at a desk with a camera right above me with my back facing the office. Everyone can see what I'm doing, but I can't see anyone else in the office. My desk is right next to the window of the chairman's office. This window allows him to see outside but I can't see inside.
The last person to sit in my seat resigned in his first week. The guy before him resigned before his first day. The guy before him got fired in his first year. Everyone in the office speaks to me as if I'm going to leave.
#18 No Morals
A couple of months ago, I got a job working at this sales company. I was told that it was going to be pretty straight forward and I would be going to stores and selling them some phone stuff. I think I quit an hour into my training when I was told that morals have no place in sales and that I should say whatever I needed to in order to get our customers to sign their contracts. I have no issues with sales in general, but I like to think that my integrity is worth more than a terrible sales job.
#19 Not Worth It
I worked at McDonald’s when I was 16. I was thrown straight in to work the grill during a very busy lunchtime. I kept getting shouted at because I was making mistakes. Then, afterward, they gave me a brush that was the size of a toothbrush and told me to clean the grill. I just went in the back, picked up my bag and went home.
#20 A Happy Ending
I started at McDonald's when I turned 16. I spent my first six-hour shift on a computer learning about the job. Fryer, register, grill, etc. It was a cartoony program but pretty effective. The next day, I was on the grill by myself for all six hours and was told I did a great job. I told them I'd been cooking on my own since I was 10 and wasn't fazed by the lunch rush.
The manager gave me a free sandwich and said to keep up the good work. I stayed there for just over a year. It wasn't bad money for a high school kid and I often got free food. I've had worse jobs for sure. Usually, people don't leave bad jobs though. They leave bad managers. I was lucky to have good ones.
#21 First And Last
I stood at a stack of about 20 unfinished doors. I lifted the top door one inch and slid it forward three inches so another guy could grab and feed it into a machine that trimmed the sides. When all doors were cleared, I rolled along another stack and started again. I repeated this for about five hours in the deafening noise. My first day was my last.
#22 That's What Heroes Do
I tried being an ice cream man over a summer. I worked an 11-hour day, made around $80 and was considered a top seller. If that was the best, I didn't want to see the average day. My highlight was buying a kid ice cream. He started crying when he didn't have enough. I bought it for him instead. “Because that’s what heroes do.”
#23 Popcorn Torture
I used to clean up after basketball games at a university. I still can't stomach the smell of popcorn seasoning. It brings me right back to the stench of huge wheeled bins filled brimming with pop soaked popcorn covered in dill and all dresses seasoning. God forbid the bag broke taking it out of the bin... which happened a lot.
#24 Greek Tragedy
I started working at a Greek restaurant. On my first day, I got locked in the walk-in freezer by some coworkers, got food thrown in my face, and the owner threw plates at me and my coworkers for getting an order wrong. I also had to work from 5 pm until 3 am without breaks... even though I was 15 at the time. In most places, it's illegal to keep a 15-year-old working that late.
#25 A Horrible Boss
I was a teenager working for Stewart’s in NY. The manager there was nuts. Always treated me like garbage, called me stupid on a regular basis, refused to train me on the register because “we need a guy to do the stocking and women on the registers.” I knew I wasn’t going to last long when I went in the back cooler and it was a disaster. She told me to clean it up and organize it. So I did. She came to check on it and decided to knock over a whole stack of milk and eggs and told me to fix it and do it again. Last I heard she had gotten demoted and is no longer a manager but still an employee.
#26 Placing The Blame
I was hired as a GM for a Popeyes in my local area. We were going over the food safety procedures, which included handwritten tags on the open chicken in the refrigerator. The open time allowed was 48 hours, and I was instructed to retag them for a further 48 hours when the tags expired instead of disposing of the chicken. Then, I was told if the food safety officer showed up and actually tested the chicken, it would be the manager in charge that would be held accountable. Two hours into my first day, I noped right outta there.
#27 Mindnumbingly Boring
I wanted to quit, but I couldn’t since it was my college internship. I was a computer science student back in 2004 and interned at this web development company back in the Philippines. The first task they gave me was to help my mentor with his job creating an online shopping experience for a client. My job was to take an entire catalog and type it word-for-word into a text file so he could copy and paste it into the pages he was creating. To this day, the most mind-numbing experience I’ve had.
#28 It's Beneath Me
So I went to work at a payment processing office in a department store. This is in the days before OCR. A pneumatically operated machine would queue up a paper bill and a paper check and the operator was supposed to verify that the amounts matched and enter the number into a mechanical keyboard (a very clunky lever-operated device).
It was a terrible environment and quite demeaning. I had a degree in computer science and this was the assignment I got sent to by a staffing agency. It lasted four hours. My next job involved system software development on UNIX... much better.
#29 Trial Run
I had a working interview at a busy restaurant for a bartending position. I'd never bartended before and they knew that. I showed up and it was so busy it was reservation only. They told me my trainer called out, so they were just going to throw me in to pour beer and wine. They ended up having me make all of the drinks and would talk down to me if I had questions even though I'd never made these drinks before. A customer even asked where the bathroom was and I couldn't tell them. I didn't get paid and the servers kept all of their tips. I never went back.
#30 The Worst Scam
Telemarketing for end-of-term life insurance. Basically an autodialer would patch you through to some poor old person in a nursing home and you'd have to read them a disgusting script about how their families would be so much better off when they die if they just paid an additional $21.99 a month. When lunch came around, I told the owner to have a nice life and didn't come back.
#31 Never Again
I worked at a call center briefly a few months back as part of a church-group that funds housing for the homeless. It was terrible. Reading scripted dialogue and begging for donations for five hours in a tiny room full of people. I lasted five days and blew off my last two shifts after they sent me home on my second shift. I got a whole day off from calling but I had to go to church functions, etc. just to stay in the program.
#32 The Fine Print
I work for the distributing end of a company. They're always hoping to hire people who are illegal and either don't know their rights or are so desperate for jobs that they don't care about their rights. It is an extremely predatory and unethical business practice. It's really important to read all the fine print before agreeing to anything.
#33 Craft Store Problems
Working the night shift to stock shelves at a craft store. I thought it would be a dream job. I could organize my favorite kind of stuff all night when I'm up anyway and listen to headphones. I ended up quitting after my first shift because the people in charge were very negative about everything and completely impossible to please. They were particularly mean about the dayshift employees, but they had nothing kind to say about anyone. That made me uncomfortable, but the worst for me was that they'd tell me there's no organizational system, to just put stuff wherever in the new holiday display, but then correct every single choice I made. Just give me a planogram.
#34 Bad Experiences
While in graduate school, I got a summer job working for a landscaper that was doing a huge project in a newly constructed tract housing community. When I arrived, he set me to work digging a hole in a patch of rocky dirt. He didn't have a spare shovel and no handheld digging tools; he wanted me to dig a hole by hand. I tried it with gloves on but it was nearly impossible so I had to use my bare hands. After an hour or so of sharp rocks digging under my fingernails and cutting my hands I walked to my car and noped the heck out of there.
I ended up getting another job with a company that constantly violated labor laws. The violations weren't that hard on me so I stuck it out for the summer. Turns out, a coworker was documenting everything so I spent the last few weeks of the summer watching the company try to convince everybody to lie about our work conditions to try to save their butt. Everybody hated the owner so nobody lied.
#35 Not For Me
This was one of my first jobs as a teen where they promise upward mobility. On my first day, I tried to sell $20 briefcases to offices, or whoever would listen. It didn't help that I cringe trying to sell anything (which I discovered in this experience). So I ducked out at around 11:30 across the street to eat an A&W lunch.
When I finished, the guy running the crew made eye contact with me like I was gonna cross back and resume work. Except I had negotiated enough change after paying for lunch, and as luck would have it a northbound bus was arriving. I jumped on without skipping a beat going the wrong way but I transferred my way around to make it home in time for a badly needed shower.
#36 Barf Pit
Chuck E Cheese. I was 18, fresh out of high school. A kid barfed in the ball pit. They wanted me to clean it with paper towels and a spray bottle of water. No bleach, no gloves. That was 30 minutes into my first shift. This is probably why they got rid of the ball pits about 20 years ago, at least in my area.
#37 Family Business
Decades ago, I got work as an office assistant for a small garbage company. The "office" was in the owners' kitchen, where the wife ran the admin stuff. I started taking calls, and many were complaints about recycling. The company charged extra for the recycling service, but they put it all in the trash. We were told to lie to them.
The wife-owner also ran a daycare out of her living room. I worked for them for two or three days, and never once saw anybody tend to those kids. She used a baby gate to separate the kitchen from the living room, and I still remember seeing those babies crying while they stood there in saggy diapers.
#38 Body Pains
Bricklayer's assistant. Mostly, it was mixing and hauling mostly full five-gallon buckets of mortar up scaffolding and moving thousands of bricks 12 at a time (six in each hand using some lever thing) up scaffolding and around the worksite to keep the actual brick layer provided for. I was 17 and not unfamiliar with hard work, but that was physically the hardest job I have ever had. I didn't leave the same day that I started, but the next morning when I literally couldn't get out of bed because nearly every muscle in my body had seized up.
#39 Hoarder's Guilt
I cleaned houses in college... I would put out my flyer in nice neighborhoods to get work. A lady called me and said she didn’t need a maid but her daughter did... so I followed her out to the country where her daughter lived, and when I walked in I saw my first hoarder house... the whole family of four was living in filth. I turned around and left. They actually thought that I would clean it before they got home from work. It would have taken WEEKS working full time. Big Nope. I did feel sorry for the mother though. She stayed to try and clean it.
#40 The Longest Three Hours
Cold calling people to sell them new windows and conservatories. It was a hyper-competitive, hostile environment after a super friendly and informal interview process. I could see why afterward. People you called never wanted to talk to you and you were encouraged to basically lie to people to keep them on the phone and agree to a follow-up call with an actual salesperson. Longest three hours of my life.
#41 Bad Manager
I was hired as a hostess at a restaurant and bar that had just been rebuilt after the old location “mysteriously” burnt down. The owner’s son, a big, mean, steroid-head looking guy, comes out to greet the staff, who are all gathered together for orientation. He says, “First off, don’t mess with my money.” I decided at that moment that I didn’t want to make than man one penny, left and didn’t look back.
#42 The Joke Is On Who?
My boss was being really inconsiderate when he made me, along with the rest of the transferred workers from another location, get on a table to prove I’m higher than the people that already worked there. To top it all off, the boss fired me when I tried to quit. So guess who gets severance. The joke's on him too, I guess.
#43 Dangerous Flying
I was a pilot and got a lead on a job flying advertising banners up and down the beach. Because the planes drag giant speed brakes along all day, they are worn out pieces of junk. I got hired in the interview, so far so good. Then I went flying... While we were waiting to take off another one of the planes came in to pick up a banner. It crashed and burned right in front of us. I used the confusion afterward to nope myself home. Never went back.
#44 Nope Outta There
It was a lumber yard where they assembled trusses for houses. It went on four hours longer than they said the workday would be. At the end of the day, I went to punch out but I had never done it before so I asked the manager how it worked. He grabbed the time card out of my hand clocked me out and threw it back to me calling me a freaking idiot.
#45 Fainting On The Job
At 16, I got a summer job for an AC repair company in Tucson, AZ. The first day was 10 hours with no lunch break replacing condensers on the white-painted roof of a steakhouse. I wasn’t informed of any of this beforehand, so I didn’t have sunglasses, nor did I bring lunch... Condensers are painted black so they are freaking hot, especially in the summer desert sun. By four o’clock, I was so hungry that I was faint. Yeah. I was done with that.
#46 Worst Job Ever
I worked for a digital video supply company for 4 hours. I was trained by the "top" sales guy who was wearing a tank top and cut off short jean shorts. Not to mention, he only had one tooth. I was given a cubicle with a three-ring binder full of phone numbers, a headset, and a numerical keypad. I would start at the top and work through all of the numbers calling and asking if their video security system was up to date. 100% of who I called yelled profanities at me and told me to never call again. I couldn't take it and I clocked out. Worst job ever.
#47 Good Riddance
Best Buy warehouse. It was a typical warehouse job—I had left one warehouse to go to Best Buy's because the money was better. It was not worth it at all. I was working receiving of international crates, nearly had a full piano fall out onto me first day, the supervisor screamed at me because I let this 500-pound instrument hit the ground and break... I walked into HR that minute and just dropped everything on the desk and left.
#48 Bye, Minions
Amazon warehouse worker. Their organization and handling of workload literally stresses out the workers, which is why they have huge turnover rates. I thought to myself... “Wow, a lot of money has to be spent on nutrition and health to keep obtaining their goals.” Okay, here’s my badge, bye minions. I choose my health over dirty money.
#49 Downhill Spiral
I got a job in a local cafe and a customer told me off for sweeping too loudly. Then, I was asked to clean the toilet with just toilet paper... and a customer just left the stall. I was given no gloves or disinfectant. I'd just lost my job because of the virus, my boyfriend of seven years dumped me for a girl on World of Warcraft and it was my birthday the next day.
#50 An Unhealthy Environment
At a restaurant. They were expecting me to be able to do everything on the first day and left me alone several times without me knowing what to do. They had me take orders and make soup and everything else. The only thing the boss did was cook and command. They served us cold food for dinner and got angry when I didn't finish it. I ended up having several breakdowns bc of them and then I just grabbed my stuff and left. I never returned there again.