There is always a coworker whose skill levels may not be up to par with the rest of the company. Sometimes, it goes beyond skill level into straight stupidity. People share the most idiotic mistakes they have seen a coworker make. Content has been edited for clarity.
Partying At Camp
“I worked at a summer camp, employees were usually college students, but one time we hired this guy in his early 40s. At the onset, it seemed like no big deal. He was just trying to act like he was 20. But, slowly, things got weirder. He kept getting in trouble for weird things.
He got caught at least three times working shirtless with the kids. He’d be out canoeing and rip off his shirt and life jacket. Or, he’d lay in the middle of the park with no shirt on. No one was comfortable with him because he seemed like he was trying to relive his glory days.
Then, we had overnight training. It started at nine a.m and went overnight to three p.m the next day. It was a camp, so we set up our tents around the site for the overnight portion. He was his usual self at the start of the day. But throughout the day, he kept sneaking off to his tent for a few minutes at a time. He set his tent up much further away from everyone, so he would disappear for 10/20 minute increments.
Suddenly, he was acting weirder and weirder as the day went on.
Then he took off his shirt while the boss was talking and threw it in the fire screaming, ‘WOOOO!!’.
He started talking about his ex-wife a lot. He was yelling at the birds. Things got uncomfortable when he started talking about more inappropriate.
Around dinner time, he got up, ran to his car, and peeled out of the parking lot so fast that his tires were screeching. So we were thinking, okay, he’s gone. Thank goodness; let’s move on with our training.
About an hour later, we hear his car fly back into the parking lot.
Our manager started shaking her head saying, ‘Oh gosh, he’s back.’
Soon after, we saw homeboy running at top speed out of the woods, and he cannonballed into the lake. He got out with no clothes on, walked over to where we were all sitting, and started doing the helicopter. He put his arms around both of my bosses and declared his love for them. At this point, we can all smell him. He reeked like a distillery. He asked us when would all take our clothes off, and encouraged us to ‘get this party started.’
At this point, he was thrown out. Someone went to clean up his tent and found he had been lighting it up in pop cans and had a whole bunch of happy liquid bottles.
The worst part was he was scheduled for a shift the next Monday at 11, and he texted us saying he would be late for his shift because he had a meeting with the boss. Needless to say, he didn’t make it to the shift after that.”
Who Did This? You Did!
“I worked for this abhorrent woman who used to go into direct reports documents, delete lines and columns from spreadsheets, slides from presentations, rewrite copy, etcetera. She did this to a few of mine so I learned to always keep a backup copy away from her view.
One day, we were virtually reviewing a highly detailed spreadsheet that took quite a bit of time to create. In front of our whole team, she began to harshly criticize and started deleting information and moving things around. By the end of her Tasmanian Devil tirade on the spreadsheet, she barked about how none of the data added up and openly questioned why someone would present this. I explained how the data had been tallied correctly at the start of the meeting, but due to columns and lines being deleted, it no longer did.
She defensively questioned, ‘Well, who did this?’
I said, ‘We can easily check if we look at the document history.’
With a few clicks, it showed a history of the list of changes; all with her name on each in the last 20 minutes. I clicked on the document as it stood when it was initially presented to its original state and correct tally. I was one of the very few who stood up to her. Team: one, abhorrent boss: zero.”
Interesting Search History
“I worked in a place notorious for having bad recruiters and hiring bad temporary workers. They had this one guy, on a three-month lease, and we couldn’t get rid of him fast enough in the summer of 2001.
First, he claimed all these Microsoft certifications, and after a few days, we realized he didn’t even know how to use a mouse or how scrollbars worked. So we put him in the worst detail. All he had to do was go to one of 20 popular websites, use a stopwatch to time how fast he clicked ‘enter,’ and how fast it took the web page to load. We were testing some web caching software.
Then he had to go on another machine with the software, and do the same thing. He had never used a browser. So we had to teach him how that worked. The concept blew his mind, and we wonder how an adult in 2001 didn’t know how a browser worked. We knew he lied about the certifications at this point, but he had 90 days we were stuck with him.
Very quickly, however, he discovered how to find inappropriate websites. He started browsing these sites instead of testing websites. This was in the days of MSIE five or six, so, of course, they became infected with popups and viruses.
We would catch him at it, and he denied it every time. Then we had to completely wipe the desktop and reinstall Windows, only for him to do it again. We caught him doing it with other machines in the lab, too. The guy had no impulse control. He claimed the whole test lab was infected. He would just tell absolute lies a kid would tell who had no idea how computers worked. Thank goodness we never caught physically doing anything, but I feared reviewing the lab security tapes should it have gotten to that.
‘You were browsing inappropriate websites again. We have told you many times, that’s against company policy.’
‘No, I didn’t.’
I said, ‘I am looking at you browsing inappropriate websites.’
He replied, ‘That’s not me.’
So I said, ‘There’s [website] on your taskbar.’
He claimed, ‘That was always there.’
‘You have a popup from [lewd site name].’
He said, ‘That was someone else who was here, earlier.’
I knew he was lying, but I asked, ‘Who?’
Then he said, ‘You know, that hairy guy. With the beard.’
I replied, ‘There is no hairy guy with a beard who works in this lab. You have been the only one here beside me.’
Finally, he said, ‘I know I saw him. He browses those sites all the time!’
Ugh. Like a stupid 12-year-old. I was so glad to get rid of him.”
Just Stuff It In A Box
“I worked in a veterinary hospital for a good number of years. One day, unknown to me, some little girl had found a dead/dying seagull with her family and brought it in to see if we could help it. Unfortunately, it passed away by the time they arrived.
Our veterinary technician took said bird for disposal but was too busy to deal with it then. He should have, maybe, put it in the freezer. It would have taken one minute tops with labeling. So, instead, he just packed a box with the dead bird into our storage area with dozens of similar boxes and just left it there.
Days went by while he was still working, I should add. I came back on shift, and something seriously reeked in the office. Customers were even complaining. No one knew what caused the smell, but I eventually found the box buried beneath other supplies.
I walked up to my head receptionist and said, ‘So… Seagull?’
I saw absolute fury grow in her eyes. The tech did not last long after that.”
You Forgot Something
“We took a large group of four and five-year-old children to visit a farm/petting zoo/pumpkin patch. We had three vehicles. I was in charge of my group, but I noticed one of the other teachers was very relaxed in her supervision for most of the trip.
When it was time to leave, I loaded my children on the bus with some other adults and did a head-count/attendance check. Before getting on my bus, I noticed that the other teacher had climbed onto her bus and sat down before the children boarded. She walked on first and had the kids follow her. I almost let it go, but gut instinct told me she wasn’t counting her students.
Once they were all boarded, I walked back and climbed on her bus. She seemed irritated when she realized I was checking on her. I was not a supervisor or anything, just a fellow teacher, so she didn’t answer me in any way.
She said something like, ‘We’re all good, let’s go!’
I knew how many were in each group, so without answering her, I did a quick count. Sure enough, we were missing one. I ended up leaving the bus and went to find the kid myself. He was still on the playground with children from another school.
When we got back to the bus, the other teacher blamed the kid! She said he ‘wandered off.’ She was the one who gathered the group and left the play area. She was the one who ‘wandered off.’ She was angry when I went to the administration about the incident.”
“My coworker at the bowling alley had to walk down a lane where a group of very young children (maybe four-eight years old) was bowling to retrieve a ball that had stopped in the gutter about halfway down to the pins.
When he picked up the ball, my other coworker told him to go walk it back down to the children. However, this guy had it in his mind that it would be best to bowl it back down at the group of small children instead.
Luckily one of the adults with the children was a big muscular guy who was able to stop the ball and pick it up without anybody getting hurt.”
You Are Not On Mute
“I worked for a non-profit that hired a guy in fundraising purely ‘for his Rolodex,’ and they couldn’t care less about any of his job functions as long as he kept bringing more rich people to fundraiser parties. Well, when certain world events happened, we were forced to go remote, and it became clear how incompetent he was with technology.
It is a mystery how he’d been coasting for years in the office by sticking to phone calls instead of email, etcetera. We had our first major online fundraiser coming up, and I warned my boss how this dude had no idea how Zoom worked. He never muted himself, always had the camera up his nose, and treated it like watching a YouTube video.
But again, he was the guy inviting all the rich people to the event, so they didn’t want to ‘lecture him about a computer program’ and ‘hurt his ego’.
Then in our massive 200-plus person Zoom event, he set his laptop on the bathroom counter and proceeded to take a shirtless, nasty old man dump complete with grunting, splashing, and squelching. It was so loud it drowned out the speaker. They had to end the event early because they had no way to mute him, and it kept going for a full two minutes with no sign of stopping. I nearly threw my laptop out a window that night.”
“Katy messed everything up. Everything. She couldn’t count change without giving a fifty instead of a five, she couldn’t wash dishes without breaking a few, and she couldn’t order milk without accidentally ordering 200 gallons more than we needed (we needed four).
Katy flooded the kitchen four times. She set it on fire twice. She could not be trusted to close. Not close by herself; she couldn’t be trusted to close at all.
She did minor things too. Like, if you were doing a giant pile of dishes, she’d wait until you were done and super happy about being done. She would just say here are these dishes too, and just dump them down. She would spend so much time wiping down the clean tables that she wouldn’t get to the messy ones. If you bummed her a stick, she would take it as open permission to steal as many sticks as she wanted from that day forward. She would go into your stuff and leave your stuff a mess in the process.
Then, when you went to have a stick because Katy almost poisoned someone by somehow mixing up the detergent and the caramel for the seventh time that day, you’d be out of sticks.
I genuinely don’t think she was lazy or messing up so we’d do her work for her, she just couldn’t mess up. Just every possible way a person could mess up, she’d zoom in on it and then do it three times. Each time, she would say she didn’t know about it, though. She was simply one of the most hopeless individuals I have ever had the honor to meet in this lifetime.
They did have enough to fire her, but every time they did, her mother would come in? And yell at the manager?
And then he’d say, ‘Well, you know what, never mind, just keep a closer eye on her.’
You would. You would keep a closer eye on her. You’d follow her around the place keeping an eye on her. Then you’d have to, you know, do your actual job, and you’d take your eye off of her for fifteen seconds, and boom; she messed up again. She’d take the fresh, newly-baked cookies off the tray designated for the fresh, newly-baked cookies and throw them in the trash because she decided that tray was for stale cookies.
There was no such thing as a stale cookie rack.
She was pretty nice, though, despite all of that. I hope wherever she ended up, she doesn’t burn it down.”
Interesting Work Attire
“I did landscaping and janitorial work with a 60-year-old toothless Serbian man who hardly knew English and was a refugee from the Civil War. The owners of the company took pity on this guy since he was a bit of a sad sack and was trying to provide for his family, but he’d constantly do stupid and odd things.
For starters, one of the other groundskeepers put up one of those fake owls on top of one of the buildings. The guy (let’s call him ‘Bozo’) thought it was real for the longest time, and thought it cursed the place. I tried explaining that it wasn’t, but he kept wincing about it whenever we saw it. One day, I noticed shards of the owl all over the property, and our boss reprimanded him for bringing a hunting weapon to work.
Another situation was when we were using this ride scrubber to clean the factory floor. If you forgot to clean out the dirt every so often, it’d just accumulate it all and push the dirt around, making nasty, dirty tracks around the floor.
Well, as you can guess, Bozo was the kind of person to never clean out the scrubber, no matter how long he ran it. While I was lawnmowing, he was doing that and turned a somewhat dusty floor into a pile of sludge. One of the owners noticed the security cameras and ran out of their office to him, stomping and yelling at him.
He yelled, ‘If this isn’t cleaned up by tomorrow, don’t even think about coming in.’
Last story. The other owner’s wife felt pity for the guy, so she wanted to do something charitable for him. She was cleaning out the owner’s closet of clothes and thought to donate some of his old blazers and suits for Bozo, so he’d look good at church and events.
Bozo instead started wearing the suits and blazers while he was working (remember, as a janitor and landscaper). I walked in one day and noticed Bozo on a riding mower in an old tweed blazer.
The owner came up to me and was like, ‘I think that’s my old blazer.’
He still works there, as far as I remember.”
“I worked in home health, and my client was moving to another area. I was training my replacement as the new area was quite a bit of a drive for me. We went over loading and unloading the client from a wheelchair to a vehicle and from a vehicle to a wheelchair. Things were going good, I thought the new guy got it, and all was looking up.
We took my client to the doctor, the client said he wanted the new guy to load and unload by himself as I won’t be there to supervise always. This made perfect sense. I had been doing this job solo for years, and a new guy needed to learn to do it solo. It was the best time since I was still there in case something did happen to go wrong.
It did go wrong. The client told me to go into the doctor’s office and get him checked in while the new guy unloaded. Honestly, I should have stayed with them the entire time, but the client was insisting the new guy could handle things. We trained this several times, and he would be fine.
So the new guy got the client out of the car and into the wheelchair fine. He then backed the chair away from the car so he could grab the client’s bag and close the door. Dumbo forgot to put the breaks on the wheelchair before letting go of the chair.
He turned to grab the bag, and the wheelchair was on a slight incline. The client started rolling backward down the incline. I happened to notice and dash out of the office with a quick frick. The receptionist was out the door right behind me as the client was rolling down the parking lot.
The new guy was still digging in the car. The receptionist and I took off after the client. The dude rolled down the parking lot, across the road, and into a ditch.”
“Someone working the fryers at McDonald’s was so incompetent. He was new but older than me, (meaning over 18) and he used the gloves to put raw chicken in the basket, which was correct. He never took the gloves off and proceeded to touch the cooked chicken with said gloves. Also, there were tongs specifically meant for it, so you never touch the cooked chicken bare-handed or not.
It also didn’t help that he consistently tried to touch cooked food with bare hands. This guy was at least 25 and didn’t know about cross-contamination.
This McDonald’s also had two managers who dated and frequently argued and/or went to the ‘bathroom’ at the same time. Yeah, they got caught by a coworker once.
This Mcdonald’s also frequently had problems with the fryers, and at one point they weren’t cleaned for days at a time, causing a buildup in the oil and causing smoke to emit from the fryer. It wasn’t steam or something like that. This stuff messed my lungs up after only three hours and required me to get an inhaler I still use. That three-hour window was about two months ago.
The McDonald’s I used to work at has so many horror stories about workers; like how a new girl threw a paper towel into the sweet tea container, thinking it was garbage?
It was crazy there and by far the most incompetent workplace ever.”
“A few years ago, I was working in IT at a hospital. The following was a genuine account of what occurred. We had received a call regarding a computer that was not turning on, so I went to one of the offices. This wasn’t strange because we got them all the time.
To put it mildly, 95 percent of those calls were due to ‘user mistake,’ so I was bracing myself for the worst. However, not to this extent. When I arrived, I confirmed that she was correct; the computer would not power on. I examined the plug first. It was affixed to the wall, and it appeared to be in good working order in the computer’s back office.
I inquired, ‘So, what were you doing when this computer stopped working?’
In response, she stated, ‘Well, I thought it was too hot, so I used the water cooling option.’
As a piece of background, this model of computer featured a fan port on the top of the machine that looked like a funnel. She pointed to this fan port when she said ‘water-cooled.’
I was shocked and said, ‘…There aren’t even any water-cooled PCs here.’
When I returned to my desk with the now sloshing PC, my IT colleagues were bewildered as to why I had pulled the machine without permission.
That is until I emptied the water into a garbage pail.”
“I was working in an open-plan office that had a small kitchen area at one end, a microwave, kettle, sink, toaster, and a water cooler.
We saw one of the managers fiddling with the toaster for a while. It looked like she was trying to clean it. It never occurred to her to remove the crumb tray. She was poking around inside it with a knife while it was still plugged into the wall. People just sat back and watched, wondering how long before she got zapped.
Then she turned on the tap and lifted the toaster towards the sink. Someone stepped in then to stop her.
You might just write this off as someone being a bit dim but she was the Health & Safety Officer for the building.”