From a culinary graduate not knowing how to bake simple cookies, to a night audit worker who abandoned her position before the end of her shift, managers reveal why they had to fire someone on the first day.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
There Is No Point In Lying
“My company had hired five new folks into excellent entry-level positions ($50K/year). There had been hundreds of qualified applicants, so these five stood out. I did not do the hiring but was in charge of a two-day orientation. This was a classroom type orientation to go over all the policies, procedures, equipment, etc.
The first day, one guy showed up late saying his car broke down. During the morning orientation, he acted bored and disinterested. At one point I am pretty sure he was asleep. He didn’t come back from lunch but sent the hiring manager an email saying he had had an emergency and had to leave. The hiring manager said he could return for day two-orientation. On day two I caught him taking pictures under the table of another new hire. He denied it and said he was trying to text without being disruptive and must have hit the camera icon by mistake. Fired.”
“But Co-manager Is My Sister!”
“I got to fire my co-manager’s sister who called five minutes before her first shift and said she’d be there in an hour because she just sat down to dinner with friends.
Me: ‘What do you mean you just sat down for dinner? Your first shift is in five minutes!’
Her: ‘Yeah I know. But we were out and decided to go for dinner. I’ll still be there, just a little late.’
Me: ‘An hour isn’t a ‘little’ late. Be here in five minutes or don’t bother coming in at all.’
Her: ‘But [co-manager] is my sister. She gave me the job.’
Me: ‘Yes she did. See you in five, or not at all…’
Her: ‘But [co-manager] is my sister!’
My co-manger was actually happy about it. She knew her sister would be a crappy employee and only agreed to hire her because we were desperately short staffed and she could start immediately.”
“I managed a long-term care facility. I got a call one night from a resident telling me that the new nighttime worker was acting weird. This was about midnight, and the shift started at 11 p.m. I called my lead (there were three people on duty) and asked how the night was going. She told me that ‘yea Sally was sick.’ I put on my shoes and headed over. Now having the administrator show up at almost 1 a.m. is never a good thing, so I was pretty sure all three of them felt scared when I showed up.
I took one look at ‘Sally’ leaning against the wall and asked her to come into my office. I asked her if she had been drinking. ‘I never drink at work,’ she slurred at me. I told her I had to have her blow into this tube. We had breathalyzer tubes that registered if they were over a specific level. The crystals changed from clear to dark blue if it registered over the legal limit. No surprise, it turned dark blue. I asked her again if she had been drinking. She admitted she had been drinking earlier in the evening. She and her friend had been doing shots up until about 10 p.m. ‘But I’m okay I stopped and ate almost two hours ago, so it’s all out of my system.’ Nope. Doesn’t work that way. ‘Sorry Sally, but I need to let you go. Call someone to get you,’ I told her as I was filling out paperwork for the breathalyzer usage and final check request. ‘Oh that’s ok I drove in.’ Nope nope nope. She then asked what time she should come in tomorrow.
‘Sally, you no longer work here. Coming to work in that state is not tolerated’ Oh. Really? Yes. Really. Please call someone, who has not been drinking to get you.
She called about 16 hours later asking me for her next schedule. She didn’t remember being at work and getting fired.”
The Lottery Ticket Situation
“I’m the assistant manager. I hired a cashier to help with shifts (and give me days off). After about a week, the big boss and I noticed that our lottery tickets were off, and one was even messed up. She had to go through our security tapes with management to find out the problem.
So a bit of backstory before the next bit: the guy’s boyfriend at the time used to have my job, and back then the cameras were positioned differently. When he left, my boss had them moved to eliminate blind spots. So when the big boss and bigger boss opened up the tapes, they found this smart guy casually ‘dropping’ large stacks of lottery tickets, and then kicking them over to spots of the cashier area that USED to be blind spots. Not only did he get caught doing this, but because of the exact positioning of where he thought the blind spot was, his boyfriend was charged too. He was fired immediately. Oh, and every ticket stolen is counted as a felony. Each. Ticket.”
Never Worked In Her Adult Life
“I hired a new night audit worker. Her first night alone after training, she sat in the lobby and smoked all night, ignoring guests and saying she didn’t work there (with her name tag on the front of her shirt) and watched murder mysteries on the giant TV in the lobby. Fifteen minutes before her shift was over she just left the building without waiting for her replacement to show up, so there was no one in the building with over 150 guests upstairs. I saw this all on camera the next day, and she showed up that night for her next shift. I stopped her at the door and told her to go home and not come back.
She was perfectly fine during training, but she did mention that she was a stay at home mom her entire adult life and when her husband lost his cushy job she had to work. I brushed it off as whatever since we all have to work at some point, but I didn’t know her ‘Don’t give a crap’ attitude was that bad.”
Insubordination Will Not Be Tolerated
“I was a corporate field manager for a big box camping store, and my job was to travel to new locations and help open new stores. This involved a lot of hiring, building, and stocking in a short amount of time. We’re not in uniform when we’re in the stocking phase, so it’s common that no one knows who’s who. There was a couple of girls that banded together and seemed to be splitting the work of one person while still managing to do it half as fast.
I walked over and tried to give them friendly guidance, and they didn’t seem to respond positively. I came back an hour later, and they didn’t progress very far. When I told them that they needed to step up their game, one of them became aggressive and responded, ‘Or what!? Who do you think you are, talking to me like that? You ain’t my boss!’
She got right in my face and acted like she was going to fight me. Apparently, they had forgotten that I was one of the interviewers. I said, ‘Well, actually, I am…’ They looked mortified as I asked them to follow me. I took them into the office with my VP, and together we wished them well. They begged to keep their jobs, and I had to explain that laziness is bad enough, but insubordination will not be tolerated, at which point they cussed me out and left.”
Not Your Parking Spot!
“A guy was hired to manage a store in a mall who REFUSED to park in employee parking.
As I’m sure everyone knows, mall employees have designated parking places, far from the choice spots near mall entrances. This guy refused to park there, and every time he parked illegally, the store got fined $100. And he parked in customer parking every day!
He was called out on it, the policy was explained over and over. He got written up. He was told that on the next infraction he would be fired. And he did it the very next day.
He was totally blindsided when we actually fired him.”
One Huge Mess Of An Employee
“I manage a coffee shop lunch place. A young girl came in fresh out of culinary school and had previous coffee shop experience. What could go wrong, right? The first day I had her shadow the other employees just to get the hang of the POS system and general flow of the store. Nope, customers overwhelmed her, and she liked to hide in the back leaning on the ice machine. Fine. Whatever. She said she loved baking earlier on so I sent her to the kitchen to make some cookies. I’m super chill; I didn’t even care what kind, as long as they were awesome and delicious, she had creative control.
She came out sometime later admitting she didn’t know how to make cookies and needed help. Now I was getting frustrated. As we moved on into lunch rush, a wave of customers flooded the front of the house, and I was needed. I had 40 liters of soup in the back needing a titch more roux and asked her to thicken it a tad before serving. Surely she could handle that, soups and sauces being addressed in the first bloody week of the culinary school she apparently attended (I attended the same program, by the way). Nope. She found a box of cornstarch and dumped the whole box in, dry. The soup was destroyed. Her shift ended shortly afterward. It turns out I forgot to get her contact information at the beginning of the shift, so I had to message her on Facebook telling her not to bother returning. Classy, I know, but she was just one huge mess I couldn’t even begin to fix.”
In And Out Under Six Minutes
“I worked as a hiring associate at a small trucking company for a bit, friend of mine was in a scenario where he needed a job, so I hooked him up on my name.
He wasn’t interviewed, he was hired just because I gave the recommendation. The guy showed up, shook hands with the manager, walked into his office and the manager walked out and told me to fire him.
Why, you ask? Well, my friend came into the office, shook the man’s hand and was supposed to watch some work training videos. My manager gave him his own office to do this in. My manager went to start the video, turned around, and this knucklehead had his feet up on the man’s desk and was playing on his phone.
I kid you not; he was in and out in like six minutes, max.”
That’s Not The Way To Behave On Your First Day
“The job hours were from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our new hire showed up about 10 minutes late on the first day. Normally 10 minutes late isn’t that big a deal to me, but it was his first day, and I had pulled three other staff members into our 8 a.m. meeting so we could discuss the training schedule with our new hire.
So we were already in our meeting when the new guy walked in. He didn’t apologize for being late – he just sat down as I was going over the training schedule for the week. After a few minutes of listening to us discuss what he’s going to be doing for the rest of this week, he raised his hand and said, ‘Can we reschedule the afternoon sessions planned for today and tomorrow? I have to leave at 11 a.m. today and 12:30 p.m. tomorrow.’ This was the first time I heard about these plans.
I asked the three staff supervisors to give me an opportunity to speak with the new guy alone for a few minutes. They left the room, so I started talking to the guy about how he can’t just change his schedule without running it by management first. As I was talking to this guy, he got a text. He looked down at his phone and put his hand up, as if he were telling me, ‘I’ll be with you right after I finish reading this text.’
As soon as he finished reading the text and looked back at me, I said, ‘This isn’t going to work. Please make sure you take everything you brought with you and do not return. I’ll have HR email you your separation papers.’ He seemed pretty shocked and asked what he did wrong, so I told him. He tried to explain himself, but I told him that it was best he found somewhere else to work.”
DO NOT Open This Cage!
“I managed a pet store for a few years in college. I was showing a new hire around the reptile room and explaining their duties (literally just getting crickets for people and selling products). I made it clear that I didn’t want them poking around in the cages yet and I’d be assisting them if somebody wanted to see or purchase an animal. Finally, I pointed out a specific cage and said ‘don’t open that for any reason,’ explaining that the animal was expensive, it would escape and they’re nearly impossible to catch.
A couple of hours later I noticed the $250 gecko zipping up a wall.
At first, the new hire pretended not to know about it which got me pretty upset (not outwardly, but still). After pressing her for few minutes, she realized the jig was up, started crying and admitted it. It was my first time firing anyone, and I felt like crap, but I also felt it had to be done.
We never caught the gecko, though it did make occasional appearances for several months.”
Don’t Show Up Like That
“I worked as a manager in an upscale seafood restaurant a few years ago.
We had recently hired a few more wait staff (four staff), to cope with the customer demand as summer was starting.
Excited to train up new staff for the first time ever, three of them turned up on time and got started with their buddy staff. Guy number four turned up over an hour late, stunk of Jack Daniels and body odor, and had dark yellow pit stains on his ‘apparently new’ white uniform shirt.
I fired him within ten minutes. He then proceeded to knock over chairs and pull tablecloths off tables, so security was called.”
The New Hire Setting His Own Rules
“I had a small consulting company with three other guys. We’d busted our butts for almost three years to get a good reputation and expand. We scored a new contract, and we were already at 100 percent, so we started looking around, and hired someone who had a good reputation and appeared to have the right skills.
We briefed the guy on the customer and project, shared documentation, and sent him to the customer site, alone, to start the job.
We got a call from the customer at 11 a.m. asking us why the new guy was re-designing the solution we had agreed on. Apparently, the new guy didn’t even make it to 40 minutes before telling everyone that the design was crap and that it needed to be re-done from the ground up.
We called him at noon, asked him to explain himself, then fired him and told him that he’d be paid for the full day if he just packed up and left immediately.
New rule: Never bring a new hire onsite unescorted.”
What’s Done Is Done
“We would send our new drivers out of town to a corporate four-day new hire training. We put them up in a hotel next to the corporate office. It was a Marriott Residence Inn that our corporation used all the time. I received a call the day he had checked out his room that it had been wiped clean of everything except the TV. Even the pillows and fancy bedding was gone. Blow dryer, clock radio, coffee pot, dishes, etc. Gone. They were sending us a $750 bill to replace it all.
So I called the guy once he got back to town to say there was a problem and explained what I was notified and that was unacceptable, and he was being let go. He said ‘hang on a minute,’ and set the phone down. I preceded to hear him start yelling, and then other people start yelling, including an older woman. He came back on the phone a few minutes later and said his teenage brother accompanied him on the trip, and stole everything before he left the room that morning; our employee didn’t know he’d done it. I told him I was sorry, but the decision had already been made to let him go. He could bring me all the stuff and the hotel wouldn’t press charges, or he could keep it, and the hotel would press charges. He relayed that in another language to the other people in the room with him, and I heard the older woman start yelling again and hitting someone.
He lived with his folks. Mama was pretty angry at little brother. The whole family met me at our office to give me back everything. The kid looked like mama had worked him over pretty good. Our employee apologized again and asked if he could keep his job. Told him no. They left.”
An Unreliable DJ
“I used to manage a car window tint shop. We hired some young high school kid to help us clean up, grab supplies, refill inventory – basically whatever we didn’t want to do. The kid was a self-proclaimed DJ, and knowing he had school and his ‘shows,’ I told to give me a heads up when he couldn’t make it. We didn’t need him, so he could take off as much as he wanted and we didn’t care, just an extra hand. A day or two every week, he wouldn’t show up, wouldn’t answer any texts or calls and then show up like nothing happened. He would post these shows all over social media, so I would text him and ask if he’s coming in. I would get tags about coming to this party and events for that night, so I would reply asking if he was calling out. Still, no answer but would come after missing work saying how much he needed this job and had a baby on the way (still in high school). Last straw was leaving mid shift, without a word and while attending the front, because he had a show to prepare for. I waited till he showed up again to let him know we didn’t need him anymore and he nearly cried, begging us for a second chance.”
No Actual Knowledge Or Skills In The Field
“I hired a guy as a mechanic. He owned several of the type of cars our shop specialized in and did well in the interview; however, he quickly proved to have hobbyist-level skills.
His productivity was slow! I always give new hires work on my own/family vehicles or a shop vehicle before allowing them to work on a customer’s car. In this case, he was given a front brake job on my stepson’s older model. This is a gravy job, 20 to 30 minutes average. This guy took almost two hours, lost a part, started cross-threading a bolt, overtightened a bolt until it broke not once but three times, and asked too many stupid questions.
Finally, it was finished, I took it on an extended road test including on the freeway. There was a scraping noise that wasn’t going away, in fact, it started getting worse.
I brought it back to the shop, lifted it on the hoist to inspect the brakes, and found both the bolts holding on one of the brake calipers were LOOSE. Like, didn’t even try to tighten them loose, only two turns or so. If one of them drops out, the caliper rotates out into the wheel and locks it up abruptly without warning, which on the freeway will make the car suddenly swerve to the right and tumble. My stepson was driving 450 miles back to college that night!
I called the guy over to see what happened, and he looked like a guilty dog. With as much composure as possible, I explained the above to him and told him I had to let him go. He understood and packed his tools and was gone.
The interesting thing was, a week or so later, his sister (who had never been there before) dropped off her car and hadn’t heard the news about her brother’s employment demise. Without skipping a beat, she proceeded to leave her car anyway, dismissing the matter of her brother with, ‘Eh, not surprising…'”