what’s the most astounding first impression you’ve seen a new hire make?

Most people try to make a good impression when they start a new job. Others … do not or, perhaps, cannot. Think, for example, of the new hire who was already badmouthing the business on Twitter, the employee plotting a coup on her second day, and the new hire who brought their mom to orientation

It’s time to talk about the most astounding first impression you’ve seen made by a new coworker. Please share your stories in the comment section.

{ 1,429 comments… read them below }

  1. Lab Boss*

    Cheating by using a summer camp story:

    We had a guy apply for a staff job. His very first day he was helping clean up brush along the edge of a mountain biking course. One of the other staff said “when you’re done with that axe, I need it,” and the new guy proceeded to say “OK” and THROW THE AXE AT HIM. It went within a yard of his torso. New guy’s first day was his last day. He protested that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, he just didn’t think about the risk, and was told “Look, we know you didn’t mean it, but you’re so stupid you’re dangerous.”

    1. Order of the Banana*

      All the hairs on my arm went up at this story. This is extremely wild and I can’t imagine anyone trying to bargain for their job after nearly bisecting a coworker.

      1. EPLawyer*

        Which yeah, if you didn’t think about the risk, you can’t be trusted. Not the job saver you think it is.

      2. Cait*

        “You’re so stupid you’re dangerous.” I hope that’s what was written on his pink slip. Holy moly!

      3. Marzipan Shepherdess*

        Well of course he didn’t think about the risk! After all, what could possibly be “risky” about throwing a metal tool with an edge sharp enough to cut through wood AT somebody?!

      4. Winston*

        Yeah, “It’s not that I want to kill coworkers. It’s just that I’m not capable of not killing coworkers.”

    2. OtterB*

      And that’s just with fellow staff! He hadn’t even started interacting with campers yet! This is not someone you can trust with safety! This story brings out all the exclamation points for me!!!!

      1. Collarbone High*

        My cabin at camp one summer was an A-frame, and on the first night the teenage counselors had the idea to scare the campers on the second floor by sneaking up the back stairs and knocking on the window. A counselor rapped the glass and it shattered. Her hand went straight through and a vein got sliced. Trauma all around!

      2. Sibilant Susurrus*

        I’m glad you stopped at four exclamation points, give would leave me concerned for your sanity. “Five exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” – Pterry Pratchett.

      1. Anon for This*

        Scissors are safer to throw because they don’t tend to flip end over end like an axe does. If the recipient is ready to catch them.

    3. InvisibleDragon*

      That’s literally a Ukrainian joke: “Vasya, catch the axe! … Speak up, did you get it?”
      But yeah, someone with that lack of common sense should not be allowed anywhere near children or even adults in a position responsible for their safety.

    4. ChemistryChick*

      My eyebrows went up into my hair line while reading this. Holy mother of pearl, what an idiot.

      I used to work in a lab with a guy who was also so stupid he was dangerous. Not a new hire, which actually makes what the guy did worse. He decided he wanted to hydrate a large amount of calcium oxide all at once in a plastic drum. For those who don’t know, hydrating calcium oxide generates a lot of heat, which is why you’re supposed to do it slowly. Predictably, the scale of the reaction generated a large amount of heat and he melted a hole in the bottom of the drum. Which he then PROCEEDED TO PLUG WITH HIS FINGER. By the time I got to work, the situation was under control but holy crap. Dude was fired not long after.

        1. ChemistryChick*

          He did not. No injury that I’m aware of but there was definitely the potential for it.

      1. Pants*

        Now my eyebrows are in my hairline!!!

        I don’t think there’s enough popcorn in my house for this post and all the comments. Starting with yours! (and I hate at least 10 to 12 bags of popcorn and a whole bag of kernals)

      2. Lab Boss*

        Full. Body. Cringe.

        And that’s coming from someone who’s instinctively grabbed a piece of sensitive equipment out of 120 degree water (barehanded) and snatched a boiling-over agar flask off the heat source (barehanded).

        1. JSPA*

          Years of high-heat experience (hobbies and cooking) means I generally bare-hand items from the 55 degree (C) water bath. I notice people who’re not used to it tend to cringe. As for the agar, just point the mouth of the flask away from everyone and everything.

        2. Vio*

          Instincts can be a pain… I once happened to be barefoot while doing some ironing and knocked the iron off the board… my instinct was to put my foot out to stop it damaging the floor. it didn’t damage the floor, but it did damage my foot and result in a few visits to the burn ward

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I read this to my high school sophomore who interrupted horrified saying “No! No you don’t do that!” at the point where you identified the reaction. And at plastic drum, they continued straight into “that’s going to melt!”
        The kid with one year of freshman chemistry class knew better.

    5. Kellbell*

      Reading this felt like watching those opening scenes of 9-1-1 or Station 19. Those moments where you know someone is about to do something dumb enough to get the paramedics to show up because that’s what the show is about, but you’re not sure exactly how gruesome it’s about to get.

      Also as a camp manager myself about to head into the seasonal hiring spree this story gives me ANXIETY. Thankfully I manage a day camp in NYC and so axes will NOT be a part of the equation.

    6. Dunno, I usually just read AAM...*

      Years ago I had some work done on a tree in my garden, and the tree surgeon brought a new employee with him. Both climbed the tree, the new guy carrying a chainsaw; the tree surgeon asked for the chainsaw and his mate threw it to him. WHILE IT WAS SWITCHED ON. Amazingly no-one was hurt, but that was the end of new guy’s new job right there.

      1. allathian*

        Ugh. Power tools really should have “dead man” switches so that you need to hold it, with both hands where appropriate (chainsaw), or it’ll switch off/idle.

        1. Harvey 6 3.5*

          They usually do. My chainsaw requires me to hold two different parts down (so both hands are needed).

    7. Dunno, I usually just read AAM...*

      Years ago I had some work done on a tree in my garden, and the tree surgeon brought a new employee with him. Both climbed the tree, the new guy carrying a chainsaw; the tree surgeon asked for the chainsaw and new guy threw it to him. WHILE IT WAS SWITCHED ON. Amazingly no-one was hurt, but that was the end of new guy’s new job right there.

        1. WFH with Cat*

          I went cross-eyed reading it the first time so I thought the second time was just me … lol!

      1. SeluciaMD*

        A chainsaw. A CHAINSAW. A CHAINSAW????

        I have no words. None. With that kind of judgement how is that guy still breathing???

    8. 867-5309*

      I knew where there was going as soon as I read, “when you’re done with that axe, I need it,” and almost had to read the rest with my hands over my eyes.

    9. Observer*

      He protested that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, he just didn’t think about the risk, and was told “Look, we know you didn’t mean it, but you’re so stupid you’re dangerous.”

      Yeesh! That excuse is even worse than actually throwing the thing!

      I’m glad that someone told him straight out that his stupidity is dangerous.

    10. Suzie SW*

      This just reminded me of a coworker at an after school program when we were teenagers. It probably wasn’t a first impression, but my only memory of him that stuck. We were waiting for school to get out and he had grabbed matches from a science experiment kit we were planning to use with the kids. He was lighting match after match and found it really funny that I would flinch every time he struck a match on the box in my direction.

      Just as I was begging him to stop and he was explaining why I shouldn’t be such a baby, he struck a match that broke and flew right into my hair. I lost a lot of hair that day.

      1. Pyjamas*

        Yikes! Two weeks ago at dinner time, my cat jumped on table, waved his fluffy tail over a lighted candle, then jumped OFF table with his tail on fire. I ran after him, fearing the worst, but he managed to extinguish the flames himself by shaking his tail violently. And though I got a handful of charred ashes when I ran my hand over his tail, his fur is so thick that his skin wasn’t burned. But his tail looks pretty scraggly!

        1. Onomatopoetic*

          Yes, the floofy tailed cat is one of the main reasons we never ever burn candles. Poor kitty, I’m glad to hear there was no big damage done.

    11. DrRat*

      I’m flashing back to the scene in Teen Wolf where Argent is explaining to Scott what a hemicorporectomy is.

      “I didn’t think about the risk” is a great way to explain that you will be killing as many campers as possible but that none of it will be intentional.

    12. Choggy*

      The guy who joined our support team and kept nodding off during my training of him (in the afternoon). Come to find out, he did his pre-employment medical that included a drug test right before he started and it was discovered (later) he had drugs in his system. He was fired because of said drugs as my company has a no tolerance policy and was well within the 90 day evaluation period for new hires, and he even argued that what he did was just like alcohol and should not be penalized for it. Um, dude, you were getting high at lunch, and coming back stoned! What a waste, on so many levels!

    13. Marthooh*

      “It’s not like I’m some kind of axe murderer–I’m just criminally negligent!”

    14. babysharkdoodoo*

      I have a story about myself. I was in training for my first job out of college (accounting-adjacent) and my boss was going over the last year’s budget with me to explain the budgeting process. For some reason I decided to start asking pointed questions about the areas of the budget where we went over or under budget. To my boss. Who developed and managed the budget. I did not need this information, and she tried to shut me down a few times by explaining the need to be flexible, but I wanted to seem smart so I didn’t take the hint, and kept questioning her.

      Luckily that boss was fantastic and didn’t hold it against me. We’re still in touch and she is one of my best references

  2. Fluffy Fish*

    The guy who wore a “Straight Outta F#&ks” t-shirt. The curse word was not censored not that it would matter.

    We’re not a casual office and even if we were….no.

    1. Exasperated Trainer*

      Reminds me of the time I moved in to a very nice new apartment on Easter Sunday and the building manager, who had come to show me around and give me my keys, was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Jesus in front of a big marijuana leaf with the words “He Is Risen / Too High To Die” underneath.

      1. Forrest Rhodes*

        At one apartment, I received a moving-in-day gift from my new landlord: a thumb-sized joint (of home-grown, I learned later) taped to my front door. He was probably the most relaxed property manager I’ve ever known …
        No, it wasn’t in this century; yes, it was in San Francisco; but no, I am sorry to say, the landlord wasn’t Anna Madrigal.

        1. Heffalump*

          I moved into an apartment at 275 Grattan Street (corner Stanyan) in the Haight-Ashbury ca. 1976. The experience was pretty much like every other moving-in experience I’ve had and unlike your experience!

          1. Forrest Rhodes*

            Hi, Heffalump. We’re definitely talking the same time period; I was a few years earlier and on Potrero Hill. It was a great (i.e., interesting, challenging, emotional, and downright fun) time to be living in The City.

          2. Squeakrad*

            We live so close to there now it’s funny! And yeah that would be exactly what it was like!

        2. jilly bean*

          When you said “it wasn’t in this century”, my low caffeinated brain short-circuited in confusion for about thirty seconds.

          1. Forrest Rhodes*

            You’re not alone, jilly. The kids in my family love to remind me, “Oh, Forrest, you can’t do that [adventure/whatever] in this century!” and it startles me every time.
            Me and Ernest Shackleton, from another time … sigh …

        3. 30 Years in the Biz*

          Love the Tales of the City reference! Followed the series in the SF Chronicle when I was little.

          1. Forrest Rhodes*

            Ditto, 30 Years. I too read Maupin’s columns in the Chron; today, I have the first six Tales books on the shelf and re-read them regularly. Every re-read still brings both laughter and tears, and I think, “Yep, yep, what it was.” Extraordinary times.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        Okay, but as a Catholic and a stoner I now REALLY need that shirt. Easter is less than a month away!

        1. Nest*

          How quickly did he get escorted out? I like to imagine that he was just shocked by this turn of events.

          1. Fluffy Fish*

            This was the last straw in a series of we’ll call it…new employee entitlement. This shirt was directed at me. Because of things like as a senior employee when I found out he took sensitive plans off-site to be reviewed by someone (who turned out to be his mom), that a lot of our plans were not for public consumption and he should really check before doing that. Among other things.

            I believe it was the next day but only because his manager wasn’t in the office that day.

            It was really funny because he knew he f*&ked up (pun intended) when people were like uh that’s a choice. He made up some lie that he forgot he had it on, he meant to change before work, blah blah and wore his jacket the rest of the day.

            I do think he was truly shocked he was let go, but only because he was truly enamored with what he thought he knew. Last I knew he set up his own “consulting” business to consult on the field he was fired from the only job he ever briefly held in that field. So if nothing else, he is consistent.

            1. Anonym*

              “Enamored with what he thought he knew” is a perfect description of something I’ve encountered (ahem, dated) many times.

            2. Artemesia*

              Sounds right. I was always astounded at the number of undergraduates who had decided they wanted to be ‘business consultants’ having never worked at all as well as the number who though a nifty career would be ‘motivational speaker.’

              1. Lady Pomona*

                For a spectacular example of exactly that, check out AAM’s “No one will hire me to be their visionary” column from a few years back (you can find it via the AAM site search box.) When you read it, please remember that the LW in THAT letter hadn’t even graduated from college and was ALREADY frustrated that no company would hire him to think lovely thoughts and tell them what to do! (The letter is a total hoot, and Alison’s answer is far more patient than mine would’ve been!)

              2. Caroline Bowman*

                My best are ”life coaches” (always online course-certified) who are maybe mid-twenties, if that.

                I mean, no.

      1. Lab Boss*

        Exactly, what was FluffyFish expecting him to do? Pretend that he had f*cks he didn’t have? :D

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      I had a similar one where a new hire wore a shirt with the founding fathers playing beer pong her first day of work at the front desk of an American history museum

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I honestly think she thought we’d find it funny! Stuffy academics in leadership did not.

          1. Sorrischian*

            That’s a real ‘know your audience’ one – and definitely not for wearing on your first day on the job.

            I love when museums (of pretty much all types) are willing to be a little irreverent so as a museum guest I would have been asking if they sold that shirt in the gift shop, but I can see where it would not go over well with a lot of people.

      1. Le Sigh*

        I really am enjoying the image in my head of her trying to decide what to wear on her first day, and thinking “Oh, this is so perfect! It’ll show how much I like history.”

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        This is very true! He did not hesitate to show us who he was, for which we are grateful. I have no doubt it saved us a lot of future pain.

          1. Fluffy Fish*

            You know this is so true and I believe more people could avoid bad employees if they took tis to heart. If your *new* employee who is presumably on their best behavior is giving off bad vibes or is a problem to start? Get rid of them. They can be some other companies fixer upper.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        I can 100% assure that if you google it, it will come up for purchase! Because I often google it to show people exactly what they were wearing lol

    3. Yay, I’m a Llama again!*

      I had a guy join a training zoom session with a t-shirt on that spelt out very NSFW word using words in the phonetic alphabet. Couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Glad I only had to see him once, terrible first impression

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        Wouldn’t you just like to crawl inside these peoples minds and watch the thought process on these decisions? I’d love to know how they thought acting a fool was going to play out.

        1. She of Many Hats*

          No no no! Those brains are either so grossly slimy that you’re permanently besmirched or so disordered you get injured climbing over the debris. Though debating how they got out of the gene pool can be entertaining.

        2. CatPrance*

          I have an idiot friend who would think that wearing that shirt to a new job was The Funniest Thing EVAH — and I have to clarify that no “thought process” would be taking place when the decision was made. He’d never get past the bit about “wouldn’t it be a scream if I wore — “

    4. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      That’s worse than the guy who wore a mask AND shirt with the Playboy bunny logo to his first interview. Even though I appreciated his attempt to coordinate, he did not get a second.

    5. Quiet Liberal*

      At my old job, one new employee had a “pacifier” hanging from her rear view mirror. The part to be sucked was shaped like a piece of male anatomy. People walked in from the parking lot wondering whose car it was. She had many other issues and didn’t last long, but it was pretty gross.

      1. Meeeeeeeee*

        I feel like that’s too far and prudish. People can have what they want on and in their cars.

        1. Mami21*

          Nope, I would definitely re-consider someone’s maturity and judgment in bringing something like that to a workplace, even the parking lot. A normal pacifier hung up as a car decoration would be somewhat weird but an x-rated one is super bizarre.

          1. YoYoMama*

            Remember the guy with the ‘Fat girls can’t jump’ window decal?
            Absolutely a reason to question judgement.

        2. Quiet Liberal*

          I have to agree with you, meeeeeeee, but her car was parked right next to the customer/employee entrance. The decoration was also neon yellow…so, hard to miss.

        3. LittleMarshmallow*

          Ehhhh… I mean if you’re on company property they can usually regulate what might be seen by others. If you were in like a public parking garage then maybe not. We had a guy at my previous location that had a window painting on his truck of a very scantily clad woman in a sexual pose. No one really liked walking past soft core porn in the parking lot so that person was told by management to park across the street and not in the employee parking lot if they didn’t have another vehicle option but that the preference was to use a different car if possible. I think he opted to drive a different car.

        4. Another ADDer*

          If it’s in the car and out of sight (or at least out of sight unless you’re right up against the car looking in) that’s one thing. That, yes, is nobody’s business. If it’s where casual passersby can see it, that’s another. That’s public, and needs to be tasteful. Anything hanging from the mirror can be expected to be seen.

    6. LKW*

      Not nearly as egregious but a guy who wore a “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila… floor” t-shirt under his button down to the client’s office. The rule at the time was that men were expected to wear a button down and with the standard under-tee. He had “run out”. His manager instructed him to leave the client site immediately, go to Target buy new tees, change, come back and clarified that it was on his own time. This was close to 20 years ago so no teleworking whatsoever.

      1. Huttj*

        See, I could see if he had at least made the effort to turn the t-shirt inside out to be less visible. That’d fit with the “oh crud miscounted laundry” excuse.

    7. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

      My attended court in a shirt that said “I don’t give a rat’s a*&” (not censored) with an accompanying illustration. It made the local paper.

      1. BatManDan*

        “My…” what? You left out a key word that may, or may not, make the story better!

    8. LittleMarshmallow*

      I have a shirt that says “schnitzel happens” that I definitely wear to work. Granted… I’ve been with my company for almost 15 years and we are casual. Oh… and it makes my coworkers laugh every time I wear it.

      1. Shira Von Doom*

        I wear all kinds of tees to my current job (a fave is “Lurk, Laugh, Loathe” with skeletons around the words)…but I played it safe until I got a sense of what my bosses were comfortable with.

        Turns out they’re comfortable with a lot, but we’re also all pretty much on the same page in terms of “witchy stuff and swears are okay, haterade and anything gross is NOT OKAY”

        1. TeaCoziesRUs*

          Heh… I wrote an Ask A Mortician merch shirt that says, “The Middle Ages Were Magic,” to my theology class that was covering Thomas Aquinas last spring. Sadly, no one got the joke other than me.

  3. joeglow*

    At my last job, there was a man who, within the first two weeks of starting told one of our colleagues who was just trying to be friendly “the only people who study psychology in college are people who try to manipulate others.”

    He was fired within the first 30 days. One of the things I’ll never forget about him was that he is the only person I’ve ever worked with that had a song ringtone – the song was “Sweet But Psycho.” Sounds about right.

    1. Lyngend (Canada)*

      I know someone who says that. And umm. If she were open to change and therapy at all, could definitely benefit from it.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes I knew a psychologist socially who said that (ex-boyfriend of a friend). He was not entirely joking and was also one of the most manipulative and untrustworthy people I ever met. I was so glad when my friend saw sense and dumped him.

    2. philmar*

      In his defense, that’s a fun pop song that got a lot of air time a few years ago. it has made my spotify wrapped before.

    3. Meow*

      I have a minor in psychology (completely unrelated to and uncommon in the field I work in, so you would never know), I’d crack up if someone said that to me.

    4. JB (not in Houston)*

      This wasn’t a new employee situation, but I once had a coworker tell me that she didn’t understand the point of studying history, in response to my saying I had been a history major. I don’t think she *meant* to insult me.

      When I told her that we could all learn from history because it has a tendency to repeat itself, she scoffed and said “that’s impossible” because “they didn’t have the same technology back then.” After my brain finally accepted that she was serious, I explained to my fully adult coworker that I didn’t mean that the exact same events were recurring over and over like some kind of historical Groundhog Day situation, just that people/societies tend to be the same throughout time and thus tend to engage in the same kinds of behavior repeatedly. I don’t think she believed me.

      1. Television*

        I can empathize with her because if you come from an environment where history is often very whitewashed and boring, it can seem like studying history is a waste of time.

      2. Too many birds*

        Ok that’s amazing.

        Even farther from the prompt, but: when I was a PhD student, I taught a unit on the early history of women’s suffrage for the required sophomore history methods class. I had a student say to me, with a straight face, thay he didn’t really enjoy this unit because women’s history was such a “marginal” topic. To me. A woman. Who studied women’s history. And who was fucking grading him.

  4. Prospect Gone Bad*

    Someone joined my team fresh out of school. A few months into it he said he was going to teach himself to code to figure out a problem that was pretty complicated. I was sort of like “yeah, OK, cool” and figured he’d take months to do it, never do it, or it was just the start of a longer learning process.

    I was wrong.

    Somehow he self-taught a coding language in a week and googled all of the glitches and hitches that would’ve stopped most senior people in their tracks.

    He realized he had a huge talent for it and eventually left to be more data focused.

    1. Sara*

      The crazy bad impressions are fun, but I’m glad to see there’s a positive story mixed in here!

    2. Zephy*

      This story has similar energy to the tweet about the guy who got hired at a software company of some kind after being an end user for a while, fixed an annoying years-old bug in said software, and then immediately quit.

  5. Josie*

    I was the trainer on our team. On his first day, one new hire told me he didn’t think women should be in a position above men or tell men what to do. I am a woman. His manager was a woman. The manager above her was a woman. Most of our team members were women. Everyone with whom he had interviewed was a woman! He had never expressed this view of women in any of the interviews.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      So even if he hadn’t been bigoted, he showed a massive lack of critical thinking by not realizing this wouldn’t be a good workplace for him.

      1. Wisteria*

        He probably figured he would quickly rise to the top, and all those women would be reporting to him.

        1. Double A*

          It reminds me of that Onion article, “Man finally put in charge of struggling Feminism movement.”

          1. Jake*

            Honestly, I prefer people just say it so I at least know and can react accordingly.

            It’s worse when you find out a respected coworker turns out to be a bigot after years of working together than it is to fire somebody right away.

            1. ferrina*

              Truth. Someone I was close to held these views and never admitted it. It was only after years of “mistakes” and “forgetting” and “misunderstandings” that the pattern emerged and painted a very clear picture of his value.

            2. mreasy*

              It’s much better that they do, for sure. I just wonder about their self-preservation instinct. I guess maybe they assume everyone will agree with their terrible idea?

              1. Working Hypothesis*

                Usually, yes; that’s exactly what they believe. Also that “real women” — as distinguished from those horrible feminist types — will WANT to have a man tell them what to do (and the feminists don’t count anyways).

          2. Heffalump*

            If they think it’s OK to believe it, it makes sense that they’d think it’s OK to say it.

            1. Jora Malli*

              Some of them also think everybody else secretly believes it to, and so they are doing us all a favor by saying what everyone is thinking.

              1. Splendid Colors*

                As a white person in apartment buildings with a large plurality of POC, other white people assume I agree with all their racist bull**** about the other tenants. Wrong! (though sometimes I have other reasons to dislike the same tenants, it isn’t because I assume they do X because they are Y color; it’s because I can smell the smoke from X and it gives me a migraine.)

                1. SallyForth*

                  I visited a 4th cousin in England who lives in council flats. He complained about all the “Africans” in the building who arrive in London and go on the dole. He literally migrated to London from South Africa, couldn’t get a job, and went on the dole.

          3. Wintermute*

            you know what they say about fanatics– they can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject.

        1. TaraGreen89*

          Well I mean technically i was the new co-worker/prospective hire but in my final interview before starting as a personal assistant to my interviewer my interviewer took the opportunity to tell me she was allergic to most commercial scented products and began what i can best describe as an interrogation of my choices in personal hygiene products. After determining the brand of shampoo i used was unsatisfactory she gave me an opened half empty bottle of her recommended brand that i was supposed to use from that point on. Then, to make a final determination on whether or not i was appropriately unscented she requested the opportunity to sniff my clothing, hair, and armpits.

            1. TaraGreen89*

              I was very new to the workforce and a little bit in shock re: her request. My coat was hanging on a hook by the door and I just sort of waved it in her general direction. Went with a very strangled but polite “no thank you” when she asked to sniff my hair and armpits though.

              Weirdly enough she did offer me the job. I took it (which I regretted in very short order) but only worked for her for 2 months until I found another job.

      1. Josie*

        He lasted longer than I would have let him last if it were my choice. He left after a few months, telling everyone he had been offered a great job opportunity. Turns out that he and a friend of his were buying wrecked cars, insuring them, then staging wrecks to collect the insurance money on them. The great opportunity was Insurance Fraud!!

        1. Neurodivergentsaurus Rex*

          I laughed way too hard at “The great opportunity was Insurance Fraud!!” What a gem.

          1. Somebody Call A Lawyer*

            Me too! I’ve gotten through 1/10 of the stories and I’ve already literally LOLed three times.

          1. As per Elaine*

            I feel like he must’ve been? Like, you might be able to get away with it once, MAYBE twice (and maybe not that — I’m honestly not sure what sort of checks insurance companies do on car history), but by the third and fourth time it’s a pattern and SOMEBODY is going to start digging.

            1. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

              Insurers do check by VIN to see if another claim has been filed with any insurance company for similar damage. If there was a prior claim with similar damage, we’d require proof that the earlier damage was fixed. But if the prior owners sold it off without filing, it wouldn’t be in the system.

            2. Wintermute*

              I don’t work on that side of the industry but I have (I was very bored) done some of our fraud training decks.

              There are a LOT of giveaways, it’s very hard to avoid any kind of red flag if your accidents are not legitimate. Obviously I can’t give away too much inside baseball but trust me, they’re watching. The red flags can be on your account from when you signed up based on things the agent saw or heard or how you conducted yourself. The red flags can be on the vehicle itself. The red flag could be on your policy and how you’re using it.

              And above and beyond all of that there’s a fundamental problem: You don’t want to die. Your compatriots don’t want to die either. That means you aren’t going to cause a real high-speed accident on a freeway. But you also want an actual payout, not a bumper repair that’s barely above deductible. That means you need to get “creative” and try to stage things. You will probably not succeed at this. The cops are well-trained in what to look for, so are insurance adjusters, and once again, red flags abound– all of the what, who, where, when and how could be a red flag.

              And of course even if you successfully get a policy and stage a crash you need to convert that to profit somehow. This is not easy because insurance isn’t in the habit of writing out blank checks. The most successful fraud rings operate with the cooperation of corrupt, complicit repair shops and doctors. Their actions raise their own red flags and limit your potential profit. Basically you’re exchanging a significant risk of prison for minimal profits in most cases.

              Obviously large, organized fraud rings which have corrupted people throughout the system and are, for lack of a better term “vertically integrated”– they have corrupt auto mechanics, corrupt doctors, specialists at crashing cars in survivable ways, maybe even people inside the insurance industry corrupted– have more success and are a major problem. But “opportunistic fraud” is the subject of a lot of investigation as well.

              These yahoos basically were trying to be an organized fraud ring without the brains or personnel for it, and I would wager they stood little chance.

            1. Le Sigh*

              There was a Law and Order episode about this. Wonder if this was the inspiration.

              Though to be fair, there is a Law and Order episode about almost everything.

              1. Phony Genius*

                And there’s a Law & Order episode that every actor in NYC has been in. Every part-time actor I know has been in at least one (if you count playing a cadaver).

                1. Yvette*

                  They were known for that. Dick Wolf (L&O) producer supposedly once said something along the lines of “If you read the actor’s credits in a Broadway play and they don’t have a L&O credit either they aren’t very good or they just got off the bus”.

    2. Xavier Desmond*

      Ah yes, the person who is on their best behaviour during the interview process and as soon as they start the job think they can behave how they like with zero consequences. I’ve definitely known people who are like that.

      1. Le Sigh*

        Kind of like the guy who joined a team on the other side of my office and seemed totally normal, until I talked to him. He asked if I had a boyfriend, I said I did, and then he got really serious and told me that “he better marry you” and something about honorable men and doing right by young women? I was young and a little weirded out so I just turned to the person on my other side.

        He went on to do several other weird and creepy things until he was fired after he went on a drug binge and broke down the glass doors of a nearby building at 3am.

    3. irene adler*

      Yeah, had one of these myself.
      He was a temp lab tech- so we had the option to lose him at any time.

      And, he had the option of asking to be reassigned. But he didn’t. Instead, he kvetched-often- to the lab co-workers about how Company was failing to recognize his greatness by moving him to a position where he would be supervising me. After all, I was only a woman. And women do not belong in management-everybody knows that. He really chaffed at having to carry out my instructions. Would lecture me on every task I assigned- why it was not necessary to perform, how we ought to be performing said task, suggested that I ought to carry out the assignment instead of him, etc.

      Funny thing: he lasted less than 2 months. During this time lots of little items – calculators, kitchen silverware, the good pens, my wallet, a couple of jackets, personal coffee cups – disappeared. Never experienced that before or since.

      Management granted me permission to terminate the temp contract. He showed up the following week to express his shock that we’d done this to him. Demanded to know the reason why we did this.

      A few weeks later we were contacted as a reference for this guy. My comment: only let male managers supervise him.

      1. Empty nest mom*

        I work in labs too. Interviewed a guy who refused to make eye contact with me or the supervisor, both women. But talked non stop to the manager, a man. He was very annoyed when we asked questions, directed all answers the manager, and made comments about moving up. That was a hard no on his application. He would have been a nightmare to work with. The manager didn’t even realize it was happening! I pointed it out when the applicant left and he was like wow. I see that now. At least the manager was willing to listen and learn.

        1. Bagpuss*

          I had one like that. I (woman) and a (male) were interviewing. The candidate had been given our names when the interview was set up (so plenty of time to check out our website and see who we were) and we both introduced ourselves with our roles as well as names, so he knew we were both senior.
          He didn’t speak to me at all – even when he responded to my questions he directed the answers to my colleague.
          He was not offered the job

        2. Jora Malli*

          I was on an interview panel years back where one of the questions on our list was something like “tell us about a time you collaborated with your coworkers to improve your team’s work.”

          One man decided to tell a story about how he noticed that the women at his level in the department weren’t doing a process by the method that he preferred. He explained to them why his method was much better, but they said they would keep doing it their way. So he went to their shared supervisor and explained that he believed the women on the team were doing this process inefficiently and wouldn’t listen to his reasons for why the process should be changed. The supervisor and her manager both took the women’s side. So not only did he out himself as a mansplainer, he also answered a question about collaboration with a story of how he failed to get his coworkers to collaborate with him.

          Reader: I did not hire him.

    4. Fluffy Fish*

      We had a guy interview who expressed his very sexist ideas in the interview. The man was way to comfortable assuming the men interviewing him would agree.

      My very astute boss knew that while we would enjoy to ability to eat him alive, that it really was best just not to hire him.

      1. Middle Aged Lady*

        An interviewee said, at the hiring committee meeting, that he would do well because he was very technical and our field was full of middle aged humanities majors. The hiring committee was mostly middle aged humanities majors. He did not get an offer.

    5. Christina*

      I was seven months pregnant and a guy who worked for me asked if he could have my job when I “stayed home with the baby” – when I replied I’d be gone six weeks for maternity leave and then returning, I got a lecture on how important it was for women to stay home with kids. He then asked for a 50% raise, saying that was market (it was market – for someone far more qualified than he was in a different aspect of the field) and said he could get that somewhere else. I said we couldn’t pay him that, but if he could get that somewhere else, he should certainly take it because I didn’t want to hold him back.

      It was a contracting firm and he was placed and the client was ok with him (I suspect lots of guys at the client), so he didn’t get fired – until he hit the bench. We didn’t look too hard for another client for him. He didn’t find a job at his requested salary before that time.

      1. a tester, not a developer*

        I had a guy say that he could do my job during my (one year) mat leave because “All you do is go to meetings and tell people what to do”. He was not offered the role, and was gone when I got back.

        1. Sparkles McFadden*

          When I left OldDepartment for NewDepartment the direct report who sapped most of my management time asked me to recommend him for my old job. When I explained why I would not do that, he said exactly what your guy did and added “…and you know who to call when there’s a problem, so give me that list.” In my case, the boss DID hire the guy (despite my explanation as to why that was a bad idea) saying “I think he’ll rise to the challenge.” He didn’t. The boss had to fire him within the year.

    6. Namedafteru*

      Been there. We had an intern tell you a he did not take direction well from women. It was an issue because he was interning at a TV station on sports productions were I, am woman, was the director. He lasted one game.

      1. KRM*

        Always fascinating to me that someone would say that, as if your reply would be “Oh, of course we will accommodate you by having only men speak to you! Thank you for speaking up!” instead of “Well you best learn, child”.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      This reminds me of the time at OldExjob when my first manager there (a woman) interviewed a man for something (I forget what) and she said he rolled his eyes when she came out of her office to greet him. He was contemptuous throughout the interview too. Needless to say, he did not get the job.

    8. 1-800-BrownCow*

      Huh, new hire must have learned to keep his mouth shut during interviews as he sounds like the guy who interviewed with my team at my last company. He said nothing to the manager (woman) or I, but the rest of the team (all men) during his interview, he told each of them that his 5-year goal was to overthrow our manager and take her position because no woman is going to tell him what to do. We, of course, did not hire him.

    9. Annisele*

      I met somebody a bit like this, except that there are far fewer women in the story.

      I was working a a very male dominated industry, in a company that was even more male dominated than usual. In my division of around fifty people, there was me (around 22F at the time), one woman in her early sixties, and then everybody else was male. It was the kind of place where the women were outnumbered by the Davids.

      One morning my boss took me aside and explained that we had a new starter that day, but the person who usually did inductions was stuck in traffic. Would I mind showing new guy around, pointing out the toilets and fire exits, and then talking to him about my work until induction guy arrived? That didn’t sound difficult, but I failed miserably.

      I did the absolute best I could, but I didn’t manage to persuade new guy to even respond to my questions – he wouldn’t speak to me, and he certainly wouldn’t follow me anywhere. I wondered if maybe some kind of disability was in play, but I’d just seen him talk to my boss while walking across the office. He’d clearly been able to listen, walk and talk three minutes ago, and if he’d suddenly lost those abilities he’d have been freaking out rather than sitting there carefully ignoring me. So I went back to my boss and asked would my boss please deal with the induction; I couldn’t manage.

      I thought it was odd that my boss showed no curiosity as to why I couldn’t manage such a simple task, but he just went straight over to new guy. New guy then complained loudly that I’d been rude – and when pressed to explain, said that I’d spoken to him as though I thought I was his peer (he was much older than me, but he’d been hired to do the same job). Then he demanded to see my boss’s boss – and on being introduced, complained that my boss didn’t take his complaint about me seriously, and that my boss had insulted him by suggesting a young woman had anything to teach him. Then he tried to complain to my great grandboss, but we never worked out what about because great grandboss fired him. He was in the building less than two hours, but great grandboss very generously said he’d be paid for a half day.

      It turned out that when my boss had announced that new guy was joining our team, four separate people approached him to ask did he realise new guy had a reputation for being a raging misogynist. My boss had not known that, and hadn’t seen any evidence of it during the various interviews (all carried out by men). So he arranged for the person who usually does inductions to be “stuck in traffic”, so that he’d have an excuse to ask the youngest woman he could find to interact with new guy (he did later apologise to me for that).

      My boss learned that it’s important to check references! Apparently new guy was technically brilliant, but utterly unable to work with anybody he thought was beneath him. And he thought a *lot* of people were beneath him.

      1. Dina*

        I’m sorry, but that fucked up for your boss to put you in that situation with no warning…

    10. Dina*

      Once I got a job because the previous frontrunner told the interviewer (and hiring manager) that women don’t have a mind for engineering… not realising that she is, in fact, a qualified mechanical engineer…

    11. Suzie SW*

      This is far more mild of an offense than that, but it definitely raised a few eyebrows…when hiring for a position in a female-dominated field, I received an application with a cover letter (from a man) that began “Dear Sirs.” The entire hiring team was made up of women. We were all less than impressed.

      1. Laura Petrie*

        I was the hiring manager for a position on my team. All correspondence had stated my role as team manager and I was also listed on the job description.

        On the day of the interviews, one of the panel (a woman also from my team) was unwell, so I had to ask someone from another team (a man) to step in at last minute.

        Candidate walks into the room, shakes hands with the man then sits down, ignoring me and the other woman on the panel. The candidate was also female! Even when I introduced myself as the manager and took a lead on the interview, she directed all her answers to the man.

        She was astounded she did not get the job.

    12. Becky C*

      At least he hid it through the interviewing process. I was involved in hiring for the graduate scheme for one of the big 4 accountancy firms. We’d have actors come in and role play two meetings with the candidates while we sat in the corner taking notes.

      After the first interview round my male colleague came round to me looking shell shocked – one of the male candidates had said to him “I hope I can interview with a male next, I work much better with men, women are too irritating”. Safe to say we stopped his interview process at that point!

    13. Barry*

      Don’t understand this mindset at all. I am a man nearing the end of my working life, and looking back realise that my experience of having woman managers has generally been much better than my experience with male managers.

  6. Popinki*

    During her training period, a new secretary was a model worker. The first day she was on her own, she let out a floor-shaking belch, looked up at our boss, who had just wandered in, and very loudly said “EXCUSE YOU!”

    The boss just kind of wandered back out again, which of course she took as tacit approval to keep on acting like a character from South Park.

    1. The OG Sleepless*

      I heard a thunderous belch from the general area of a couple of large dogs in our animal hospital, and assuming it was one of them, I cheerfully called out “EXCUSE YOU!”

      It was one of our (younger, male) vet nurses. Oops. Sorry.

    2. Американка (Amerikanka)*

      My supervisor who is a librarian also belches from time to time. He has a public workspace too….

    3. Popinki*

      It wasn’t the belch itself, because gas happens, but she made no attempt to stifle it and she also giggled and kept telling everyone over and over about how she burped and blamed it on Boss like it was the funniest thing ever, and all her other “qualities” that came out once she wasn’t being shadowed. She swears like a sailor in front of the bosses and customers (I’ve got a potty mouth Howard Sterm would be ashamed of but I pick my audience… definitely not at work!), blatantly sucks up to people and badmouths them behind their backs, minds everyone’s business but her own, wears the same dirty clothes every day, and smells like BO.

      And yes, I am so far over the BEC horizon with her it’s not even funny ;)

    4. Tullina*

      My old manager was amazing. He never held back his knowledge and taught me how to do his job. He lived by the mantra that to be a great manager you have to share knowledge.

      When he left he recommended me for his position and it was easy for me to slide right into it without training.

      3 years later I leave the company and habe been at new job for about a year. We need managers at my level so I recommended my old manager. Win win right? I know how great he is and he flies through the hiring process.

      Everything is great for about 3 weeks and then he shows up drunk. Not a little drunk. But 6 martinis for breakfast drunk. I’m off when this goes down but he was fired on the spot and they wouldn’t allow him to drive back home. One of my coworkers drew the short straw and had to drive him home.

      He spent the 45 minute drive complaining about his ex, this job, his last job, all the jobs. The kicker, after a few stops to throw up, he asks to stop at the liquor store to buy a 12 pack since he doesn’t have his car.

      And that was the last time I recommended anyone for a job.

      1. Melanie Cavill*

        That’s actually kind of sad! I hope he found some steady ground and happiness since then.

      2. Mauvaise Pomme*

        Poor guy! Sounds like that may have been his rock bottom. I hope he was able to get help.

    5. pagooey*

      I had an office mate years ago who really loved the Taco Tuesday cafeteria special (or something similar)…but it didn’t love him back. We sat back-to-back in a tiny room where, once a week, his digestive system loudly protested his spicy lunch from both ends. He politely excused himself for every rumble, but half of them I would have preferred to go unmentioned and unacknowledged, if you catch my drift. And his…drifts.

      Later he threw a screaming fit at our boss over something, stormed out, and was told not to bother returning. As far as I know he didn’t, but while the screaming was happening down the hall I took the scissors and anything else sharp out of his desk and hid them in mine. :-\

  7. Wisteria*

    The most astounding first impression that I made as a new hire was … learning my way around the building. It was a building with an unusual shape, but the layout was really logical (to my mind). There were some elevators that you could orient yourself to, and if you remembered that the windows go on the outside walls, you could always figure out how to get from one end to the other by keeping the offices/rooms with windows on your left (or right). Apparently, I was the fastest new hire to figure it out. VPs praised me for it.

    I should add, this was an engineering company, presumably filled with people with good analytical and spatial reasoning skills. O.o

    1. Just me, The OG*

      That sounds like the main engineering building at my university. What is it with engineers and weird buildings?

      1. Kacihall*

        They don’t waste brain power engineering for themselves. My university has a great Civil engineering program. The campus was poorly thought out and had a wind tunnel effect down a main street created by a couple poorly placed buildings.

        1. WHOOOOSH!*

          Auburn University has this, but I’m pretty sure their wind tunnel effect at the engineering campus was intentional. Either way, hold onto your papers, hat, and skirt when walking between buildings!

      2. many bells down*

        My sister went to CSUCI, which is on the grounds of a former infamous mental institution. One of the buildings is apparently notorious for getting people lost, and the story is that it was deliberately designed that way to keep patients housed there from escaping.

        1. Wisteria*

          See: Stata Center on the MIT campus. The people who design and build the building are not the people who use the building.

          1. Fanny Price*

            I used to say that Stata Center looked like someone accidentally sat on the architectural model and they said, “Welp, I guess that’s how they want us to build it.”

          2. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

            I never heard of the Stata Center so I googled. And omg, just looking at pictures of it made me feel vertiginous. I can’t even imagine having to spend any amount of time there.

            It’s…fascinating to look at and disturbing at the same time. O.o

            1. DJ Abbott*

              It looks like it was hit by a bomb. Can’t imagine why anyone would think it’s a good idea to build a building that looks like it’s been bombed!

              1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

                It’s a safety feature. Any would-be bomber takes one look, thinks “oh, someone already did that” and goes away.

              2. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

                The thing is (as I learned when I googlec), it was designed by Frank Gehry, a very famous architect who is known for his freaky looking, oddly shaped buildings.

                If you ever have some time to kill and want to look at some “interesting” pictures, google Frank Gehry. You may feel like you’re on an acid trip, but you will not be bored!

          3. Shakti*

            Literally the building I thought of instantly! What a nightmare to navigate as well as work in

        2. BeenThereHatedThat*

          LOL I’m an engineer. Over a decade in construction. People used to ask me the difference between architects and engineers. I’d say, “The architect wants to make it pretty. The engineer makes it work.”

      3. Meow*

        My grandpa was an electrical engineer and he designed the farmhouse my grandparents lived in, and it was a very… unique house, and the heating was terrible.

        My dad always quipped that engineers think they’re smart enough to build anything even though architectural engineering is it’s own skillset.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          In a similar vein, my family lives in a house designed by a landscaper who didn’t think architecture would be that difficult.

          It is, at least, functional and doesn’t have ground wires connected to the ceiling screws. On the other hand, there was a door that didn’t seal properly so fishing spiders kept getting into one of the toilets. YMMV on which one you’d prefer.

          (Also a snake showed up in my dollhouse at once point, but he was pretty polite. I didn’t mind him at all.)

            1. KoiFeeder*

              That’s where I fall on the subject, but a surprising amount of people think that a black rat snake (utterly harmless) is some sort of levitating death tentacle.

              1. quill*

                I’m in more danger than most because I want to cuddle them. At which point I probably deserve a bite if I’m too obnoxious.

                1. KoiFeeder*

                  Yeah, this guy wouldn’t have stood for being picked up and cuddled, but he understood that I used the dollhouse too and tolerated me sticking my hand in there as long as I didn’t grab him. Which I didn’t. So we got along well.

                  The dollhouse was over a heating vent, so he used it as his little basking spot slash hide. Very comfortable for him, and he didn’t mind cohabitating with plastic dinosaurs.

          1. JayemGriffin*

            Are they the kind of spiders that will work for their room and board by eating fruit flies and moths, or are they the FREELOADING JERK KIND that just SCARE THE HECK OUT OF YOU and don’t CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING TO THE HOUSEHOLD?

            :coughs pointedly, looks at ceiling:

            1. KoiFeeder*

              Dark fishing spiders- they don’t even live in the house most of the time! For some reason, around April-June, they were determined to break into the house and perform bizarre toilet rituals. And then they’d leave again. But while most of the small ones would scatter and flee for their lives when you opened the lid and they were in there, the big one that claimed the water in the toilet would get mad at you for interrupting. Full-on threat display.

              To this day I do not have a single clue what was going on with All Of That.

        2. Ro*

          Can confirm. My dad is an electronics engineer, and as a result has designed and built his own house, “fixed” my old car so well it broke down every time I visited him, and has strong opinions on my landscape design. I love him to bits but he’s a stereotypical engineer in every way.

      4. Nanani*

        It’s like evil overlords and convoluted dungeon castles.
        Ease of use comes second to confounding those meddling adventurers.

      5. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

        Eh, this was the Communications building at my university. They said it was weird to “foster communication” as in “people asking for directions.”

      6. Becky*

        The weirdest building at my university was the performing arts building–it had four auditoriums and the entire rest of the structure was built around the auditoriums, which makes sense to a certain point, but left for a very confusing building that you couldn’t get to certain places on the same floor without going outside around the building to a different entrance and up a staircase to find it. It was infamous.

        There was another building on campus (that has since been demolished) was tiny but made no sense–there were three exterior doors and they all led to different sections of the building that didn’t connect in the interior. So go in the wrong door…you won’t ever find the classroom you are looking for. After getting to the building 10 minutes early, I was ten minutes late to class on the first day because I didn’t know which entrance to use.

      7. Night Heron*

        Heh. When I went to the University of Arizona, the fancy new Engineering building had an ugly fence around it and covering over the entrance. Why? They soon discovered after its unveiling that occasionally when someone shut a classroom door, a window would pop out and fall to the ground. Good times.

        1. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

          That takes “when one door closes, another one (or window!) opens” to a whole new level!

        1. quill*

          We had a courtyard, so… this was technically true.

          But the courtyard doors couldn’t be opened from within the courtyard. Which shortcutters learned the hard way.

        2. Le Sigh*

          Same. I went to a college with a lot of buildings that were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries, and then added onto over the years. Which resulted in some very interesting building layouts, including windows on inside walls. A professor in one of these building use to give 5 points on the next quiz if you could find his office on the first try.

        3. Ama*

          An infamous story in my family is how my aunt walked into a PTA meeting about a brand new middle school building that was about to break ground (the previous one had been destroyed in a tornado so they were rushing to get one up before fall), looked at the blueprints and said “shouldn’t a middle school have bathrooms?” There were some …adjustments to the plans after that.

          The kicker is her oldest son ended up becoming an architect who designs, among other things, school buildings. She routinely reminds him not to forget the bathrooms.

    2. Dasein9*

      Oh, I took a while to learn a weird building once. But I looked like I got it during the interview day because the custodian was kind to me. (The building was supposed to be shaped like a strand of DNA, but was badly done so you had to use stairs or an elevator to get from one end to the other of the same floor.)

        1. Le Sigh*

          My school ended up demolishing a building that was very old and had incredibly narrow hallways that I’m fairly sure could not accommodate wheelchairs. It had been updated over the years but it wasn’t in good shape, and I feel like at some point someone must have said said, “forget it, start over with a new one.” Which was the right call.

          1. Zephy*

            My alma mater got around ADA requirements by being ~historical~. Two buildings on campus are not accessible above the first floor, and they just keep filing historical-site exemptions with the city for them, I guess. I don’t know how long they’ll need to pay that fine or whatever it is before they will have spent more on that than it would cost to retrofit an elevator in either of the iconic 3-story buildings.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Ooof. Yeah, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn my alma mater did something like that along the way.

            2. Rob aka Mediancat*

              My alma mater’s one of the oldest in the US; my freshman through early sophomore years they did some construction on the oldest building on campus (about 300 years old at the time). There was a massive battle between the local historical preservation folks (who have a tremendous amount of legal authority) and the disability commission. The latter insisted that an elevator be added to the inside of the building and threatened legal action if one wasn’t built, while the historical society threatened a lawsuit if the college dared add an elevator and “ruin” the historic interior.

              They settled on a compromise that pleased no one — neither of the two groups above nor the people who actually had to use the building.

              1. DesertRose*

                You’re not an alum of the College of Charleston, are you? That sounds like Charleston (re historical preservation people), and the College is always fighting them about one thing or another. :D

                (I am an alumna of the College myself.)

                1. Rob aka Mediancat*

                  Nope; I’m an alumnus of St. John’s college in Annapolis. I’m not surprised this kind of thing happened in more than one place, though.

      1. Spreadsheet Enthusiast*

        Any chance that was the life sciences building at UGA? That’s the first building I thought of when I saw this thread.

    3. Jam Today*

      “this was an engineering company,”

      I worked for a company filled with MIT grads whose ineptness resulted in building management taking away our toaster and toaster oven because they didn’t know that both cheese and saran wrap have thermoplastic qualities and if you put a two slices of bread and a slice of cheese in a vertical toaster, or a plastic-wrapped slice of pizza in a toaster oven, either the cheese or the plastic wrap will eventually touch the heating element and cause a fire or possibly toxic fumes.

      1. quill*

        I mean, one of the guys I know who studied engineering once meticulously mapped out a grid-perfect maze for our haunted house, forgetting that the walls, which would have to be framed in 2×4’s, had actual width. So every time we joined two wall frames into a corner… the measurement was off by several inches.

        We discovered his error approximately halfway through building. The fire marshall made us add two more exits.

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          And this is why, as a construction geotech engineer, I am really in favor of having people enter engineering school from either a technical high school or with demonstrable hand work skills. I would rather educate a knitter who can adjust a pattern in calculus than get someone who took all the AP classes and never held a hammer.

          Fight me.

          1. quill*

            This is also a guy who attempted to get us to measure in thirds of an inch because it was “more accurate” and yes, somehow he has an engineering degree.

            After I was assigned to reality check his math for building set for literal years I have to wonder why, aside from sexism, he was supposedly “so smart” and “so good at math” when he literally had to have someone babysit his designs. (Yet the one babysitting this process was “okay at math.”)

            1. coffee*

              Since you mention inches – was this an alteration to the imperial system, or was he shunning the metric system? Not sure which would be weirder.

              1. quill*

                We were given a few yardsticks to do this specific measurement with. So even though he wanted us to use thirds of an inch, a third of sixteen, the traditional divisor for inches, is… not five, and not five and a half, and it added up.

          2. Grandiose spacecat*

            As i knitter who um as yes done that, as well was using the same principles to calculate yarn per stitch and weight to see if i was gonna run out of yarn… the math was definitely super extra but was kinda fun to do, and yes, i was going to run out, so i added a coordinate color scrap bit that i had and it worked out!

            I also didn’t enter engineering schools with any sort of technical skill, but am very good at following explicit instructions. My eng school experience was we need more lab instruction, not just lab and class time where there were very little skill overlap.

            (I mean i guess i can use a hammer and power tools and mostly not hurt myself) and my soldering was pretty good even though I’d never done it before, probably because some of those handicraft “home ec” skills crossed over. (You’ll have better luck trying to find a skill i havent tried instead of listening the ones i have done… i think casting metal and stained glass and bobbin lace are about all that i have tried) I guess power tools follow the same rule a a sewing machine. Listen to what the machine wants. If it’s making a weird noise, something isn’t right and it’s probably your fault.

            I’ll say coding and knitting patterns are kinda similar and it’s not just me who says so! The history of textiles and first computers is an interesting one!

          3. StoneColdJaneAusten*

            I know someone who could sew her own clothes and made that a part of her application to engineering school. She’s a very well-paid engineer now.

          4. Just Another Cog*

            Since you mention knitters and calculus: I once used area under the curve to calculate how many stitches were left in my pattern and thus whether I had enough yarn left.
            Knitting successfully has a lot of overlap with engineering, though you want to make sure they’ve made more than just scarves,..
            And I won’t start on how much my early woodworking beside my grandpa helped my math skills later…

      2. AriOliver*

        I worked for a local government with police, fire, parks, public service, and administration all in one building.

        Who kept setting off the fire alarm trying to make lunch?

        The fire department. Every time.

    4. Doctors Whom*

      I was certain this would be about the Pentagon.

      All the hallway doors for most offices are closed a lot. But if you can find the food court, it overlooks the interior courtyard. So then you can travel from floor to floor on elevators stairs closest to the center, stay in the center until you find the spoke you need, and use that spoke to travel outward.

      If the weather is good it can be easier & faster to just go to the ground floor, go outside, walk across the courtyard, and then go back up to an upper floor and out to an outer ring.

      1. Susan Ivanova*

        Apple Park, if you listen to Jony Ive’s press puffery, is a space designed to encourage collaboration and where you can walk without distractions.

        Apple, as everyone knows, is a company that is very serious about secrecy.

        The reality of Apple Park is that you can only walk without being distracted by a locked door on the first floor. Everywhere else, you often find yourself needing to go downstairs because the section you have access to is blocked by one you don’t.

        So the only person who could walk without distractions is Jony Ive.

        1. Usagi*

          I may or may not have worked for Apple in my past, and may or may not have experience with this.

          On one of my first days there, I may or may not have had problems finding my way around, and may or may not have ended up in a conference room, where the designs on the presentation may or may not have looked like a yet-to-be-released iPhone. I decidedly did not work with the iPhone.

          I was just looking for a bathroom!

          1. Susan Ivanova*

            I love the way the big numbers that tell you which section you’re in are only visible when going one direction.

            The bathrooms, alas, are only in the wedge dividers. Heaven help you if you work in the middle of a wedge and urgently need to go – you’re ~1/16 of a mile away from one.

    5. Asenath*

      I once worked in a surprisingly complicated building for its size. I think the original plan was actually fairly rational, but over the years interior walls were moved around and then moved again; people got annoyed at others taking shortcuts through their areas, and if they could swing it, would get access doors locked, meaning going the long way around, and hoping that the walls along that route hadn’t been moved since last time you were down that way. Signage, where it existed, wasn’t always updated. Then they added on some additional buildings with their own quirks and problems with access. I never knew anyone who could find any of the offices I worked in on the first shot (the somewhat more easily found locations were reserved for access by the public, although it wasn’t that uncommon to find baffled members of the public wandering around all over the place). When we were expecting someone new – say for interviews – we’d put up signs and email instructions, being very careful to specify which entrance to use, and also to provide a phone number for use in case they got lost. It was far easier to send someone (usually me) out to find someone who called and said “I’m lost, but the nearest offices says XYZ on the door” than it was to give directions, especially once they’d gotten away from the special signs we put up.

      1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        On one particular (modern!) tech campus, the buildings had their street numbers on the outside (on one corner) but did not have any indication of *which building* in the campus naming scheme they were. Nor did they have any sort of labeling about which door was which. Unfortunately, the main four buildings were basically flipped versions of the same architectural design. After about the tenth time I was interrupted to ask directions, I printed out the largest version I could of the online site map, pinned it to the outside of my cube, and added a you-are-here sticker. My team moved areas after a while, and the last time I was in that building I saw those maps were still up. (They eventually did put tasteful signage on the windows over the entrances, but only after I thought to put in a Facilities request.)

        People eventually learned where they were in relation to everything else, but it was hell on delivery people. The main reason we knew the architects had just kind of flipped the building design was because in addition to the mirrored outlines, the bathroom placement was also flipped, and you had to remember which building you were in to know whether the gendered bathrooms were on the east or west side of the building’s mid-line. It was basically a rite of passage to get the wrong bathroom or have a near-miss.

      2. MM*

        The building at my university I spend most time in was once a big, fancy, flagship department store. It still has that basic structure, but what was clearly once a central atrium became the elevator bank. (They kept the glass roof in the middle of the very top floor, at least, so if you go up to the cafeteria it’s pretty nice.) I have no idea what went into deciding how to plan out interior walls etc. to fill in the remaining space, since presumably when it was shop-floor it was pretty open, but the result is ASTOUNDING. The classrooms and offices are in a sort of…Greek-key ring around the elevators? There’s like a “ring-road” corridor circling the elevators, and then lots of squiggly bits off of that, or sometimes instead of a squiggly-bit it’s a whole sort of boxed-off department with a bunch of offices in it. I know in the abstract the building is a big, simple quadrilateral, but from the inside it would be impossible even to guess what its shape is. There are almost no windows at all. The room numbers not only start over when you complete a lap (obviously), but it’s hard to even track them as you walk along because they continue up one side of a squiggly bit and back down the other to the main ring. Everything is extremely nondescript colorwise.

        It is navigational hell. I had juuust about learned my way around the places I went consistently, and then pandemic, and I didn’t go in there for two years. I’m now there more or less biweekly (i.e., not frequently enough to relearn quickly), AND a lot of the posters and personal touches people had on their office doors are gone, so fewer landmarks. Getting around in there is like a very boring dream. If anybody’s read Diana Wynne Jones’ book Deep Secret, I always think about how the characters keep having to go around too many corners to get to the elevators in the convention hotel. It’s EXACTLY like that.

        1. RobareOwl*

          Oh, you also went to CUNY Graduate Center! I still sometimes complain about how hard it is to navigate, and I graduated in 2010…

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Our building at Exjob was a restricted-access rabbit warren with cutoffs everywhere. You literally had to escort visitors or they would never find their way back, lol. I worked there for four years and there were rooms on my FLOOR I never saw into the entire time I was there.

      And we had such an issue with people piggybacking their way past the badge readers by asking someone to hold the door that I used it in Tunerville to get a character into a secure facility. For anyone who thinks that doesn’t happen, it absolutely does.

      1. Me (I think)*

        We keep getting reminders not to let people do that coming into our building. Still happens constantly.

    7. Free Meerkats*

      On the USS Enterprise when I was on it, there was one office that every new ship’s company sailor who came on board had to check in with. I think it was the Public Affairs Office, it’s been 30+ years. It was in probably the most remote, difficult to find compartment on largest ship in the Navy at that time. And every compartment on a Navy ship has a compartment number that tells you where it is; even with that number, you couldn’t find it without directions that involved ladders (stairs) to two different levels to get to it.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I had to read that first sentence three times before I could stop seeing Star Trek.

    8. TootsNYC*

      One of my jobs, the building wasn’t that hard to figure out, but a brief geographic/geometric overview was part of the orientation I gave each new freelancer.

    9. GoryDetails*

      Heh! Made me think of the Mill in Maynard, MA, one of the sites of Digital Equipment Corporation. It was an old repurposed fabric mill, with buildings stuck together with walkways such that one end was on the 3rd floor of one building and, say, the 5th floor of the next one, without any change in elevation. Steam tunnels below water level, floors still oozing lanolin, all sorts of fun disconnects across the various buildings… Those were the days!

      1. pagooey*

        One of the buildings on my college campus was a huge, multistory Gothic brick pile built into the side of a steep granite hill. Depending on which direction you entered the building, you might come in on the basement level, the first, or the second floor. So not all the stairwells went all the way between all the floors either. One of my professors held office hours in a kind of turret. When the Problematic Author Magic School book series came out, with the moving staircases and secret passages, I thought about that building a lot.

      2. Anonymouse*

        Hey, I used to live there! Not in the Mill, obviously, but literally just down the street. I loved walking around the complex and its nice, scenic water feature, and I always wondered what the interior looked like.

    10. Bronze Betty*

      This reminds me of a building I used to work in, the headquarters of a very large corporation (that no longer exists, alas). The central core of the building was surrounded on all sides by “pods,” identified by various letters of the alphabet. I think I was in W, on the lower (basement) floor. You had to go through each pod to get to the next, and the next, and so on. No straight-through hallways anywhere. Our ID badges contained a schematic of the building on the back, I guess to assist. My first day of work I was led to my department, so that was fine. My second day I spent the first 10 minutes or so going in circles trying to find my department. After I passed one department several times, a kind soul noticed that I was lost and confused and led me to my pod. It was maddening and a thoroughly stupid design that apparently several someones thought was cool, I guess.

    11. BongoFury*

      I was always surprised by the amount of engineers I found wandering up/down stairwells in my building trying to find access to the second floor. The big sign on the second floor access door “NO ACCESS TO 2ND FLR” wasn’t…flashing? neon? big enough?

    12. ArtK*

      Sounds like a building at my last job. It was a collection of towers connected by bridging corridors. No matter what you did, you were always 90 degrees off from where you thought you were. At least the towers were color coded so there was some help orienting yourself. I worked remotely so was only in the office a few times a year and each time had to relearn the paths to get where I wanted to go.

  8. Albeira Dawn*

    Student chapter of a professional society, we were holding elections for the first-year representative in the first week of the first semester. We, the older students, and the first-years were all meeting each other for the first time. One candidate spent the entirety of his 60-second speech time talking about how much better at everything he was than the other candidates. No examples, no proof, basically just “Wakeen? I’m better than him. Carina? Better than her.” the whole time. Not as a joke, he was completely serious.
    He did not get elected and is still thought of in the chapter as “that weird condescending guy”.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Was he the Rhyme-nocerous? I’m imagining the Flight of the Conchords episode where they diss actual rappers. And they are not very good.

      1. My dear Wormwood*

        Sometimes when I freestyle, I…lose confidence.

        And that’s why I write everything down.

  9. Anonymous Koala*

    One of our interns asked his supervisor for a ride home (10 miles away) on his first day. He seemed to think it was no big deal. That was a pretty cringe worthy exchange.
    But for me the most memorable new hire was the intern I hired who was SUPER eager for the job and asked lots of questions. I didn’t think it would be a problem when I interviewed him – I ask lots of questions too, and interns are there to learn. But then on his first day, he questioned everything. Not just normal questions like “why do we do X procedure” but questions like “why are the pens kept there? Why do you hold ABC instrument at that angle? Why won’t you let me turn this bucket full of expensive samples upside down to get the one I want from the bottom?” (Yes, that was a real thing that happened). My supervisor insisted I give him a 3 month trial. It was…not fun.

    1. Fizzyfuzzy*

      When I worked as a manager at a hospitality outsourcing company ( think handling events and catering for universities/museums) we had a woman moved from another account to mine. The incredibly incompetent and toxic director claimed she was being moved to take over the basic computer work that we all had to do that was incredibly easy but time consuming, to free up time for managers to focus on actual management. Think work like typing “ranch dressing” and “chicken” onto paper and printing them out, only hundreds of those a day. Of course her first day was a Saturday when I was a manager on duty. She literally could not operate a computer at all. Like could not turn it on, couldn’t type, didn’t know how to hit print. She also caused massive issues by being adversarial to the staff.
      Turns out our director had been told by the client at this previous person’s site to get her out asap, and because our director was again, the most incompetent and toxic person I’ve ever met, and handled it in such a way that it opened the company up for a law suit if they fired her so they had to move her.
      She lasted about 6 months before getting moved to ANOTHER account where I think she eventually flamed out. I handled her by sending her offsite for coffee any time I was manager on duty because she loved doing that and it kept her from making things actively worse.

  10. Amy*

    We had a new hire and there was a work dinner with clients his first week.

    He got loudly drunk and started asking “okay.. so who’s f—king who at this table? I need to know the lay (ha ha) of the land.”

    At times, I’ve felt like my company was too slow dealing with extremely problematic employees. But they moved fairly quickly in this case.

    1. Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bouquet!)*

      Oh. My. God.

      And this is why I’m glad my workplace never has alcohol at work events.

    2. JustKnope*

      My first time ever meeting my new boss, she was two weeks into the role and we were traveling for work. She proceeded to get *hammered* at dinner, told multiple wildly inappropriate stories involving underwear and nudity, and then dragged myself and one of our external vendors to another bar after dinner. She then managed to break a glass at the second bar after interrogating our vendor about how she felt the relationship between our companies was going. (Did I mention this was last month? It hasn’t gotten much better.)

      1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        get out! get out now! maybe you don’t even have to put this place on your resume!

    3. many bells down*

      That loud bang you just heard was my eyebrows hitting the ceiling they shot up so fast. WOOOOOWWWWW

    4. Caroline*

      Lol! On OldJob we had a new starter who got far too drunk at the Christmas party and kept asking one of the Directors when he was getting a pay rise so he could buy a car. He also used to disappear for hours – it later turned out he’d been sneaking into the attic where office supplies and random junk were stored, and playing his guitar. He didn’t last long after the party incident and the attic started being locked with only the office manager having a key.

    5. tiny moon*

      We hired a very experienced project manager who was immediately put on a software project that was about to go live. He traveled to the client site for the implementation, went out for drinks with them the night he arrived (which is common in our industry), and got hammered (which is not). That might have passed, but the next day was when the product went live—meaning hundreds of people using new software under pressure—and he called out sick due to his hangover. He didn’t last long after that.

  11. Американка (Amerikanka)*

    At my previous academic library job, one of my coworkers, when new to her position, wore Lolita dresses and sometime strappy tops. Our supervisor had to talk with her about workplace fashion norms. Fortunately, the co-worker heeded our supervisor’s advise and ended up being an excellent member of our team.

      1. Clisby*

        Right? I’ve don’t work in a library, but I have never figured out why they tend to be stiflingly hot in the winter and freezing in the summer. Seems like they could save on utility bills if they figured out that (A) people generally are dressed pretty warmly in the winter; and (B) people generally are dressed much more skimpily in the summer.

        1. Asenath*

          I know a library (as patron, not employee) where the cause of all those complaints about the heating/air conditioning was alleged to be “all those menopausal women”. You can imagine the reaction! I gather they have in fact found and fixed some (but not all) of the problems, and no one’s dared blamed them on the women (menopausal or not) in a very long time.

          1. Heather S*

            In the case of my school library, it really was caused by a menopausal woman. My aunt was the librarian and apparently suffered from solar-leval hot flashes. So the library and her classroom were always frigid. Complaints had no effect. We could put more clothes on that she could decently take off, so we just dressed for arctic weather when visiting those areas.

        2. librariananan*

          I know at least at my library we have very little control over the AC and heat. Both are either ON or OFF (we have steam heat, ask me about the time it malfunctioned and one side of the building was nearing 90 degrees). Layers are a survival strategy

          1. tessa*

            Yep! Also, my campus library building is very old but not a priority for repair by the university. SIGH.

    1. ShesABrickHouse*

      That reminds me of a student assistant who wore extremely low cut tops and short shorts or mini skirts, all extremely tight. One skirt actually had the word “juicy” printed across the butt. Her desk was in the main reception area. Being a student, and knowing that students are often strapped for cash, our department head (a women) went out and bought her a blazer to wear and gently told her how our office was expected to set an example for our students when it came to attire since they often shadowed or interned in their (conservative) field. It’s not like we expected her to show up in a suit and heels every day, just show (a lot) less skin. Nothing changed. Her work was excellent but we decided not to rehire her after the semester ended.

      1. Me (I think)*

        I have seen that skirt with the word across the butt worn by preteens. I’m no prude, but neither am I a pedophile. Ew.

      2. Phrogge*

        Sounds rather like one of (excellent) secretaries in my late husband’s office several decades ago. They were making book on when her plunging neckline would meet the rising hemline and she’d show up in a belt.

    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      I had a student employee who wore spike heels every day. I mentioned to her concerns about tripping and that we were on out feet a lot, but she assured me it would be fine. Shockingly it was. She never tripped, never complained, and never didn’t wear stilettos. I’m still sort of in awe, to be honest.

      1. JustaTech*

        I had a lab coworker who always wore serious heels, all day every day, in the lab, at her desk or heading out for lunch. It’s very unusual in most labs I’ve worked in, but it was clearly what she liked best and it never seemed to bother her.

        1. CatPrance*

          I know someone who always wears heels — usually very high stilettos — and she’s done it so long, she can’t NOT wear them. Her Achilles tendon has shortened over the years and she can’t wear flat shoes without pain.

        2. My dear Wormwood*

          It’s actively against the safety rules in our institute. Shoes must be closed in and flat to be allowed in the lab.

          1. JustaTech*

            All of hers were closed-toe (she would never have violated a safety reg), and honestly they were probably safer than the ballet flats I wore once. (Once because I ended up having to dig through the liquid nitrogen freezer with my boss and he accidentally spilled some LN2 on the floor that very nearly got inside my shoes.)

            Our lab is all tissue culture and no fun chemicals, so pretty safe on the “spilling things on your feet” department, aside from that one day with the liquid nitrogen.

      2. Popinki*

        The admin. assistant at my office wears at least 5″ heels every day and zips around the office like Usain Bolt. The one time she wore sneakers (moving boxes of records around) she couldn’t take two steps without tripping over her own feet.

        The funny part was that I never realized how short she is without her heels. With the shoes on she’s got an inch or so on me, and without them the top of her head comes up to my nose.

        1. Zephy*

          If you wear heels often enough the tendons in your feet can actually shorten and it’s uncomfortable to wear flat shoes – I had a suitemate in college who, after several weeks of near-constant sorority-related events that required her to be in heels, would walk around barefoot on her toes because it was more comfortable that way than on flat feet.

          There’s also something to be said for one’s center of balance in heels vs on flat feet, and if that’s how her body’s calibrated, no wonder she trips over herself in sneakers.

        2. Anonny NonErson*

          The funny part was that I never realized how short she is without her heels. With the shoes on she’s got an inch or so on me, and without them the top of her head comes up to my nose.

          When I started dating my husband I had a job that required I dress up a bit; so our first few dates I was in heels because I’d meet up with him after work. I’m 5’4″ without heels, so they added several inches, depending on the day.

          The first time I took off my shoes when he was around he went from Tall to HOW TALL ARE YOU when I took them off, and the memory still makes him laugh – apparently I was standing there staring up at him completely befuddled.

            1. nonprofit llama groomer*

              I am a fellow short person married to an extremely tall guy and can just imagine this happening.

      3. The Rafters*

        I work with someone who also always wears spike heels. She walks normally, not looking like she’s on stilts and can even run if she has to! Very impressive skill, to be honest.

      4. Ana Gram*

        I had an old supervisor who did the same. At least 5 inch stilettos every day. She was extremely professional in every other way and always wore suits and basically looked like a senator from the ankles up. But it didn’t slow her down at all! She ran up and down the stairs and moved boxes and did everything with far more grace than I’ve ever displayed in my flats. I really admired her and the stilettos were such a lovely quirk.

      5. Apostrophina*

        My mother worked with someone like this in the 1970s! It was a busy hospital, and Mom’s former coworker had been some sort of admin or coordinator for ages, which in those analog days involved walking all over the building all day long. By the time I met her, she was a little old lady—and still in spike heels.

      6. Jay*

        I worked with a cardiologist who wore stilettos in the hospital all the time. I heard rumors she found shoe covers that allowed her to wear them in the cath lab.

      7. Birdie*

        I understand that awe. I worked in an archive for awhile, and most of the research room techs were undergraduates there on work-study. One of them wore incredibly high heels every single day. The style of the shoes tended more toward club attire than office wear, but she followed the only actual shoe rule, which was closed toes. We spent almost the entire day on our feet! She never complained, never shied away from doing rounds or pushing around heavy carts stocked with records, and never stopped wearing them. It was amazing!

    3. Turtlewings*

      I have a close friend who loooves Lolita fashion. She spends a great deal more money and time on it than I have ever spent on… anything, really. She’s also 35 and still looks 12, which is NOT helped by the ruffly pink dresses. She wears “grown up” clothes as a favor to her husband when they go out together, so that he doesn’t get dirty looks (or worse) for kissing his wife.

        1. MHA*

          It’s a Japanese street fashion and has nooooothing to do with the book– the best explanations for the name that have trickled down from the folks that started the trend decades ago are that “lolita” sounded cute, classy, vintage and (to them) foreign, and since those are the core aesthetics of lolita fashion, it was what stuck over the other early names that fell out of favor like “Alice fashion” (as in Alice in Wonderland), “doll fashion,” etc.

          1. Duckles*

            Having never having heard of this, but reading your description, I can confidently say it doesn’t have nothing to do with the book…

            1. MHA*

              In the extremely abstracted sense that Lolita is about a little girl and little girls can be generally said to be cute? Sure. In the specific sense that most ignorant people accuse the fashion of, which is sexualizing little girls? No. I’ve participated in the fashion for coming on a decade and have met hundreds of fellow lolitas, and the people who coined the name are still alive and very clear about their influences (Rococo and Victorian fashion, not Russian novels). Not sure what standing you think you have to make assertions about a subculture you have admittedly zero knowledge of.

    4. Mostly Managing*

      I supervised someone at one point who regularly went clubbing after work, especially on Fridays.
      I had to explain to her that what she’d wear to the club was not appropriate in the office, and no I didn’t care that she was planning to just stay in the city centre she had to figure something out.

      I think she ended up changing in the washroom at the end of her workday, and leaving her work clothes in the office to take home the next day.

  12. Charlotte Lucas*

    A trainer who asked where the solitaire game was on her computer the first day. I pointed out that it’s not an appropriate question the first day of her new job. She was in her 50s and not new to the world of work.

    She did not improve upon further acquaintance.

    1. Web Crawler*

      That might not be an appropriate question for the first day of work, but I also wanna know this. I used to use solitaire to pay attention during meetings, but some computer updates disabled it. I’m still salty.

      1. Violetviola*

        If you enter the word “solitaire” into the Google search bar, you can play it in browser. They also have Pac-Man and minesweeper.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          This was over 20 years ago. For an hourly position that required 6 weeks of intensive training. We were getting everyone signed on for the first time. Basically, it was asking to play a game in the middle of being shown how to do your actual job.

      2. Meow*

        When I was an intern I had a Linux machine for legitimate work purposes. Those occasions were rare though, so 99% of its use was solitaire, since Fedora came with it preinstalled and it wasn’t subject to our company’s software policy.

      3. Azure Jane Lunatic*

        In the early 2000s when I worked in the call center from heck, IT had “disabled” the games on the training computers, in that you could not open the games folder — but if you searched the windows help function, you could still access the games that way. We found out when some enterprising new hires were playing games throughout the training. This might or might not have been the same training class where two of them smashed in the driver’s side doors of my car.

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      Not in a training class for CSRs. When they are paid by the hour.

      Also, she was a trainee, I was the trainer. Typo

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      The same day, she informed me that she was only 14 years to retirement & counting down the days.

      The following week, 9/11 happened. I had to announce what we knew to the class, & she asked me if it was a joke. (I was visibly shaken at this point.) When I asked why anyone would joke about that, she responded that she didn’t know my sense of humor.

      She eventually couldn’t hack it in the position I trained for. Her trainer for the new position told me, “I think she’s the Devil.”

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          She might have been the devil. Those are so only a few stories I could tell.

          We were in a hiring crunch & management decided that the solution was to “cast a wider net” & hire people who didn’t meet our normally low bar. Then set them loose on the Training Department. It… Did not go well.

          1. FlyingAce*

            Gotta love when they do that… I once had a new hire with zero typing skills, to the point that it took me five tries to get him to type the word “manual” in our intranet’s search box to look up the document we needed to read. Did I mention that the system we used had no GUI and instead required us to type in commands? He lasted less than a week in training.

    4. Susan Ivanova*

      Early 80s, Mom worked a desk job in US Customs, they’d all just gotten Windows computers. They all knew exactly enough about the computer to get to the program they needed to use, and nothing else. This was before computers at home were a thing – we were an outlier because I was a teenage Apple programmer.

      Someone discovered that Windows came with games! on a government computer! Oh the outrage! It must be removed at once! This was also before IT departments dealt with desktop computers, so the employees were told they had to get rid of software they didn’t even know how to find.

    5. Mother of Corgis*

      That reminds me of when my dad took me to work with him when I was little. I was convinced for years that his entire job was playing solitaire and minesweeper, because that was all I ever saw/recognized on his computer.

    6. Sasha*

      On day one of one of my favourite student summer jobs, my trainer showed me the copy of Civilisation on my new computer, and explained the screen was angled away from the door so I could minimise the window if somebody came in. A couple of weeks later, the head of the department brought a little portable tv in so we could all watch wimbledon.

      I was a hard worker so didn’t abuse it, but knowing my bosses were happy for me to enjoy myself when work was slow was honestly amazing.

  13. Exasperated Trainer*

    Two fresh-out-of-college new hires started at my office, where I was in charge of training for the department. One of them was perfectly nice, but the other seemed to think that the office was a big college dorm. She’d frequently be found sitting on the desk of the other new hire to chat, decorated her cubicle with inspirational quotes, clipped her fingernails at her desk, spent her lunch breaks sitting barefoot and crosslegged on one of the armchairs in the reception area (visible to not only any visitors to the office, but anybody getting off the elevator on our floor as this was right in front of the glass front doors), and had to be told not to use a candle warmer in her cubicle (which made the entire office smell like mulled wine).

    But the most outrageous thing of all was the time, in her first or second week, when she was at my desk for some training/shadowing and leaned back in her chair and PUT HER FEET UP ON MY DESK.

    1. Американка (Amerikanka)*

      Nope! I would be so upset to see someone’s feet in my personal space! I hope she gets better trained by management…..

      1. Exasperated Trainer*

        I was way too shocked in the moment and didn’t say anything, though I did bring up all her unprofessional behaviors to her manager so she at least stopped with the candle warmer and nail clipping. She always found new and exciting ways to be obnoxious and unprofessional though (like pulling poorly-recieved April Fool’s pranks multiple years in a row, refusing to perform one of her major job functions for months at a time and leaving the rest of us to pick up her slack, making our very sweet and beloved office manager cry over a petty issue that her manager had already told her to get over, etc.) but somehow she was still working there when I left that job several years later.

    2. Cheap Ass Rolex*

      Besides the issue of imposing scents on everybody else’s workplace, I’d also be upset that someone is making it smell like mulled wine when there isn’t actually mulled wine available!

    3. Theo*

      This immediately summoned to mind our very worst employee (who was fired for some incredibly egregious reasons a few days OUT of their 90-day period, because the rest of us hadn’t yet conferred on whether the issues were happening to everyone or just one of us… lesson learned) and the way he used to put his CHUCKS WEARING FEET up on the desk. This would already have been super out of touch, but he was the FRONT DESK ASSISTANT and clearly visible through a set of GLASS DOORS.

      Sorry for the caps locks but this guy enraged me. He hid employee mail. He hid customer email. It took me, no lie, two months to sort out all the problems he caused by simply hiding emails he didn’t want to deal with.

    4. MiloSpiral*

      Wow, feet on the desk! And sitting on a colleague’s desk! How big were these desks that she could sit on it without basically becoming someone’s computer??

      I don’t necessarily think decorating your cubicle with inspirational quotes is that big of a deal, though. People decorate their work spaces differently. Unless they are decorating with something overtly offensive, inappropriately off-color for work, or the decorations were overflowing into others’ space, it’s kind of a shrug moment for me.

  14. CatCat*

    The guy who, instead of doing any of the work he was shown how to do and assigned to do, logged into his work computer and read sports websites all day. Needless to say, he didn’t last through the week.

    1. Julia*

      This is so brazen that I bet this guy had some serious anxiety issues or something. Particularly if he was apparently motivated enough to get the job to apply and competent enough to get hired, and then just utterly torpedoed his new job in the first week.

        1. Julia*

          There’s a fine line between armchair dx and just not automatically assuming the worst of people

          1. allathian*

            Regardless of the reason, he wasn’t passing the minimum requirements of holding a job, actually attempting to do it. Even if it was caused by anxiety, there’s no reasonable accommodation the employer could make to let him keep the job. Firing him for failure to do his job was the only reasonable thing to do.

          2. Who is the asshole*

            I’m all for seeing people as people, including possible mental health issues, but a) it’s fine to just go with the most likely reason and b) we are asked per site rules not to armchair diagnose.

      1. BubbleTea*

        I’ve been medicated for anxiety for years, received government-funded work coaching for neurodivergence issues, and lost several jobs due to my mental health, and I have never been this brazenly lazy. We don’t have to bend over backwards to make allowances for appalling behaviour in the name of empathy.

  15. Blisskrieg*

    At the time, after initial vetting all candidates (who were selected to interview) came to corporate and went through the full chain of command up to and including the executive Vice President. The candidate used the entire half hour with her to direct the conversation toward beekeeping! No, our business has nothing to do with bees–at all.

    1. My So-Called Username*

      I can, unfortunately, relate to this one… I went through a few rounds of interviews, starting with a co-worker, then a manager, finally the director. Wowed the co-worker and manager with on-point questions and answers. Got to the director, who unfortunately was a dead ringer for my SIL (right in the middle of a family feud she had started). I could. not. get. over. it and my questions were so, so dumb. I couldn’t even articulate reasonable answers to her questions.

      Reader, I did not get that job.

  16. Bernice Clifton*

    I work at a commercial property management company and we have security guards on duty 24/7. We hired a guard to start on a Thursday at midnight who no-called no showed. He came into the office the next day with a friend, asked me for some Gatorade and told me he and his friend would be working together (that’s . . . not how it works).

    We told him to go the security desk and train in if he still wanted to work, and he agreed. He went to the desk and told the guard on duty he would be back in an hour because he had to “take care of something” and never came back. We called him and told him it wasn’t going to work out, so he called everyone in the company he could get a number for and told him we couldn’t fire him before he started.

      1. Web Crawler*

        See, that’s the key to his plan. If he never starts, he can never be hired *taps head dramatically*

    1. Squidhead works 3rd shift*

      I’m sure this was doomed anyway, but is it possible he was confused about when he was supposed to start work? Like, he was *supposed* to start 1 minute after Wednesday ended (0000 on Thursday, which most people think of as Wednesday night) but *he* thought he was supposed to start 1 minute after Thursday ended (0000 on Friday, which most people think of as Thursday night)? Either way, you don’t get free Gatorade!

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        That is a common point of confusion in security scheduling. Different companies handle it differently, so there isn’t a magic answer where common sense prevails. There was a failure on the supervisor’s part and/or the hiring manager’s part.

        The gatorade isn’t necessarily unreasonable.

        Bringing his friend to work, on the other hand, just doesn’t make sense.

    2. Leg*

      I used to work with agency security guards and I remember two making the most incredible first impressions. Both happened on their first (and last) days.

      One was in my office, where a new guard arrived for a day shift and was sent into a CCTV monitoring room. Half an hour into the shift, my manager went in and discovered him, trousers hitched down to his knees, cradling the work phone between his ear and shoulder with his hands otherwise occupied, and a disreputable magazine open at the chat line advert section on the console in front of him.

      The other one was a guard from the same agency who was sent to do a shift sitting in a luxury car showroom overnight, and when his relief arrived in the morning, he stood up to reveal that he had somehow neglected to leave the chair to go to the toilet, and solid matter had soaked through his trousers onto the furniture.

      1. Despachito*

        I wonder whether the practice of hiring agency security guards is similar as here – they apparently set the bar VERY, VERY low to get the cheapest prices, and the people they hire (and the results) are often quite desperate.

        I feel sorry for the second guy from your example though, because it is so out of the line that he must have had some serious health problems.

  17. Peridot*

    I don’t remember how long it took our new employee to do this, but she’d come late/leave early until our manager confronted her with the login/logoff times from her computer.
    So in the morning, she’d come in, turn on her computer, and then leave to walk to the grocery store down the block and get breakfast. Which I know, because I was sitting next to her.

    1. soontoberetired*

      We hired someone new who came highly recommended. I told my boss after the first week he wasn’t going to work out – I gave him a simple assignment, explained it to him, told him to ask me any questions, and on the 3rd day I asked what progress he made, and he had done nothing. Not even re-read the assignment. My boss then assigned him to someone else. After that, he just kept disappearing during the day. found out someone else would come and log him out at the end of the day. It took forever to hire him for some bizarre reason, and on the day they had planned to do it, he didn’t show up at his desk. Eventually they got hold of him and said you are fired.

    2. EPLawyer*

      Sounds like a guy I once worked with. We took complaints from the public regarding a specific City Agency. So we had longer office hours than most city agencies so working people could still come in. We had 3 people taking the complaints. One came in at 8, the second came in at 9 and I got to come in at 10, but I stayed until 6. First person got to go home at 4, second at 5. It worked for us. EXCEPT, the first guy was SUPPOSED to take complaints and answer calls as the first one in. He wouldn’t take calls while he was eating breakfast in the office. We also took staggered lunches so someone was always available. If the other 2 were tied up and he decided it was time for lunch, he would not take calls (we did not have SET lunch times, just we got an hour a day). And heaven forbid if you got between the door and him at 4. He was out the door on the dot. He stopped taking calls at 3:45 so he wouldn’t be late leaving.

      Believe it or not he was the better of the two people we had hired for his position — the Spanish speaking complaint person.

    3. Momma Bear*

      Sounds like someone I worked with. We were both hired for a project that didn’t launch well and had to pivot to other work. The coworker was not happy. They would take super long lunches, arrive late, leave early, etc. We sat next to each other in cubicles so I was very aware of their schedule. Manager would aske where coworker was and I’d be honest that I hadn’t seen them since x time. Eventually Manager had a “shape up or ship out” conversation. I don’t know if they truly got better because I left, and then a few months later, the project folded.

  18. Triple Toe*

    New hire insisted on naming himself as the beneficiary on his life insurance policy “in case I’m around when it pays out”.

    1. knitcrazybooknut*

      I mean, he could be planning to fake his own death. But then he would need an alias to pick up the check? I’m so confused.

      1. Triple Toe*

        I explained to him several times – and finally gave up and submitted his form. I figured I’d let the carrier work it out with him. He was fired a few months later – and never got a payout on his policy.

          1. DataSci*

            Maaaybe he thought it was something that paid out at a given time? So like on his 80th birthday regardless of whether he was alive or not? If I squint I can see misunderstanding term life insurances as “You pay out until X age, then the beneficiary gets the money” rather than “You pay out until X age, if you die before that the beneficiary gets the money, otherwise not”. Basically thinking of it as a very-long-term investment rather than, you know, insurance?

              1. JSPA*

                My dad did this, back in the 80’s, I think–before they changed the small print. I don’t know how, exactly, but it was a tidy sum. (It’s not done by listing yourself on the policy, though.)

                1. nonprofit llama groomer*

                  With whole life policies you can borrow against the cash value. Maybe that’s what he did.

            1. KateM*

              I know there are dead-or-disabled type of insurances, meant mostly to insure that if something happens to the breadwinner of your family. Maybe that’s what he thought it meant?

            2. Pennyworth*

              My father had a policy that paid out when he died or got to 90, whichever came first. He lived to 96, so got the payout on his 90th birthday along with a letter saying he was, from the company’s point of view, now deemed to have died. He thought it was very funny and split the check amongst his grand kids.

    2. Parenthesis Dude*

      I mean, I have heard of people dying for half an hour and being brought back to life. And certainly there have been cases of people that were thought to be dead but weren’t actually dead. But I feel like life insurance wouldn’t pay out in those cases.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            It’s not really that exciting, honestly. I died a little. I was already in the hospital so they restarted my heart and got me breathing again. The bill goes to medical insurance, not life insurance.

    3. Nanani*

      Necromancer in training? Hopeful future zombie? Speed-reincarnation adept?
      The possibilities are endless.

    4. Gracely*

      Is he planning on being cryogenically frozen? Because that’s the only way I could see that working.

    5. Lucy P*

      Wow, that’s even better than our new hire who refused life insurance because he thought it was an incentive for his family to have him killed (it was only 25,000).

      1. COHikerGirl*

        I’d have concerns about this person if they think their family would be willing to have them killed for money.

        1. Susan Ivanova*

          Well, they might be right. If they ask that no information is to be given out to family, I’d believe them.

        2. CatPrance*

          I’d have concerns if his family would be willing to have him killed for SO LITTLE MONEY.

          It’s like someone who gets arrested for embezzling $1,372.86.

          I mean, good Lord! If you’re going to embezzle money, go for the jackpot! Make off with several million — not carfare.

      2. Margaretmary*

        Okaaay, I was joking that my mother had an incentive to kill me before I made my will (since she would get everything if I died intestate) but…it was a JOKE, not something I considered an actual possibility (or I wouldn’t have told her I was planning on making one!).

        1. FreakInTheExcelSheets*

          I have a similar joke with my sister – we’re each the other’s beneficiary so when we’re calling each other to set things up/renew/any situation where we need the other’s SSN, the request is along the lines of “I’m making changes to your motive if I die in suspicious circumstances”.

      3. A Wall*

        He’s got it all backwards. When I made my husband the beneficiary on my life insurance, I told him that now he can’t kill me because he’s the only one who would benefit by my death and would be the prime suspect. That’s the real galaxy-brain plan!

    6. Kuddel Daddeldu*

      Depends on the policy – some are death only, some pay out also in case of severe disability and/or at a certain age like a retirement fund. He obviously thought it to be the latter… or had viewed too many zombie flicks.

  19. Noel*

    I had a new hire who I was training to sanitize one of our lab spaces. In training we set up the lab to “test” how effective they are in cleaning using a product called “Glow Germ”, which lights up under black light. This helps us figure out if they are short cutting the sanitation process and all is revealed when we go over the space with the black light and the new hire present. In revealing the area of deficiency, I provided constructive feedback to the young lady that she needed to apply some “elbow grease” to remove the substance from the surface. She asked me where she could buy it.

    1. Dragonfly7*

      I can sympathize with this new hire! I encounter colloquialisms I’ve never heard before multiple times a year. The first as a teenager was my new manager asking me if I had any “rubbers.” I had never heard condoms called that before, let alone had anyone ask me for one. The most recent was “to give someone a pounding,” referring to friends and family each bringing a pound of sugar, flour, and other items someone might need when setting up their pantry in a new home.

          1. quill*

            The accidental shower of them at the interview made it less awkward than asking anyone else. (Also it could be for a microphone.)

        1. Bananagram*

          What country are you in? I’m from the US (SE) and I know a rather different definition of “giving someone a pounding”.
          Agreed, though, about condoms/rubbers, etc. To this day I’m terrified to ask someone for an eraser in a foreign language, just in case…

          1. Antilles*

            I’d assume it was punching someone out, because that’s how I’ve always heard it used.

          2. Wisteria*

            lol, it’s a phrase in use in the US. It originated from the quantities of all the stuff typically coming in pounds- lb of butter, 5 lb bag of flour, etc.

            1. WantonSeedStitch*

              I wonder if it’s a regionalism. I’ve never heard that expression, and I’m in New England. But it sounds like a delightful practice for a housewarming!

            2. 1-800-BrownCow*

              I’m from the US and have never heard pounding used in this way. It was be very region specific.

              1. GingerJ1*

                It’s southern, but it’s really old.

                When I was a kid, I remember my mom going to a pounding for a couple getting married, but I have never heard it since (probly was in the 60s).

                1. CatPrance*

                  When I heard the term in southern Virginia, years and years ago, it meant something entirely different to me. A sweet little old lady had remarked, with a reminiscent smile, “Yes, we gave the pastor and his wife a pounding when they first arrived — ”

                  Me: “You did WHAT??? To the PASTOR???”

                  “It’s sort of like a housewarming,” she went on in her sweet little fluting voice, and described it, and I got over my heart attack, and the evening ended nicely, but I don’t know if I’ll ever really forget the horrified panic of when I first heard her say that.

                2. VegetarianRaccoon*

                  You know what, I didn’t recognize it by name but after description it brings to mind something written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (author of The Yearling) about her time in rural Florida, back in the 30s I think, about being invited to a “pound party.” The idea was that everyone brought a pound of something to share as refreshments for the party (although the incident in question was apparently an excuse for a poor family to get more food without having to openly beg.)

            3. Amorette Allison*

              From Montana and 64 years old and never heard it. Maybe a southern regionalism. Around here it means something else entirely.

          3. Dragonfly7*

            I also knew it by that definition, Bananagram! This is in the southern US, and apparently an older meaning of that expression.

        2. Dragonfly7*

          She wanted to pull a prank on someone, and if they were handy, it would have been faster than running to the store so she could make water balloons.

      1. londonedit*

        Picture me, aged about 6 or 7, on a family holiday to the USA. We went to an amusement arcade where you won tickets that you could exchange for a prize. Having collected a few tickets, when it was time to go I went up to the kiosk to choose my prize, handed over my tickets, and said very politely ‘Could I have a rubber, please?’ The attendant’s eyebrows shot up to the roof and she said ‘You want a WHAT???’ Confused small me replied ‘…a rubber? Please? I have enough tickets…’. Luckily at that point my mum appeared and explained to the attendant that what I wanted was an ERASER (a word I’d never even heard – they’re called rubbers in British English! It is also a slang word for a condom but if you heard a primary-aged child asking for a rubber you’d assume they wanted to erase some pencil marks long before you assumed anything else).

        1. Ferret*

          Almost this exact scenario happened to me! Except it was at the Ellis Island gift shop. I still remember the horrified look the woman at the till gave my Dad before he clarified. I still have my collection of rubbers in a shoebox somewhere… they make quite good collectibles for a child, small & cheap and they sell them almost everywhere

        2. Asenath*

          When I was a small child, I went to a public toilet and couldn’t find a towel to dry my hands. I had a little money, so I put it in a machine that promised a sanitary napkin, thinking a napkin was as good as a towel. I pulled the contents partly out, and left the cubicle (which meant I was right in the main part of the store) waving it around and telling my mother indignantly that I tried to get a napkin and the machine gave me this weird thing! She hushed me, took it, and told me she’d explain later. She didn’t seem much upset by my lapse in cleanliness by not drying my hands.

        1. Scotlibrarian*

          Yep, rubber is for rubbing out pencil marks in the UK. The use of ‘rubber’for condom is known, but as an American slang term. In my office, I could ask any staff member for a rubber and they would know I meant an eraser and no-one would think it funny. UK and American slang is very different at times

          1. GingerJ1*

            It’s a southern thing….but very old.

            I remember when I was a kid, someone gave a pounding shower, but I’ve never heard it since then (probly the 60s).

      2. CaptainMouse*

        An ex-colleague of mine, US person and job, left to take a job in Scotland. On her first day the person showing her around the office asked if she needed any rubbers (erasers). Awkward but cross-culturally educational.

      3. Lady Luck*

        I’m in the US, and I once had a boss that was originally from the UK. One morning, she called me and told me she’d be in a little late because she was stopping to pick up some fags. I was…dumbfounded. And confused. And bothered.

        Luckily, my coworker saw my face and explained that she meant cigarettes.

        1. Fanny Price*

          I knew a similar story, except it was a high school teacher who told her student that she had seen them “out in the parking lot sucking on a fag” when they should have been in class.

      4. Happily Retired*

        I like to read mysteries from other countries, especially police procedurals. One book – I think it was Swedish or Norwegian, thus “Scan noir” – kept referring to the pot plant in the reception area of the police station. I finally figured out that the translator had used “pot” instead of “potted”, but I had the giggles throughout the book.

        Progressive countries, indeed!

        1. Dhaskoi*

          Presumably the translator was from the UK (or theoretically Australian). Pot plant is the typical term in British English – I didn’t hear potted plant until I was in my 20’s and I’ve always found it weirdly clunky.

    2. Kesnit*

      A few months ago, I got a lesson in regional terms…

      I grew up calling the side of the road the “berm.” One day in court, I was arguing to the judge and used that word. The judge stopped me and asked me to repeat what I said. Thinking he hadn’t heard me, I repeated the word. He then asked me what the berm is.

      I’m in my mid-40s and that was the first time I realized not everyone called the side of the road the berm.

        1. MsM*

          I wasn’t aware there was a word for it unless you’re specifically talking about a highway, in which case I’d call it the “shoulder.”

          1. Seawren*

            I’ve only heard berm used to describe a raised barrier made of dirt – like a dike, but holding back a slope instead of water.

            1. DataSci*

              Same. A berm is a raised barrier of some sort on the side of the road. Also used to describe the long piles of snow left by plows (which is why I wouldn’t say it has to be made of dirt per se, though without specific snow-related context that’s what I’d assume).

          2. Pointy's in the North Tower*

            I call the side of the road a shoulder as well. A berm to me is a mound of dirt used to stop stuff. As in, the giant dirt wall at the target end of a shooting range to stop bullets from going to the range. I’m in a gun-loving US state, so my usage could be regional.

        2. londonedit*

          This is literally the first time I’ve seen the word ‘berm’. I wouldn’t have had a clue what it meant. If there’s grass at the edge of the road then that’s the verge, if it’s a motorway with a hard shoulder then it’s the hard shoulder…otherwise it’s just the side of the road.

      1. kicking_k*

        In the UK it’s either the verge, or the hard shoulder if it’s paved and on a motorway.

        The berm is new to me. Perhaps I don’t much discuss the sides of roads with my US friends!

      2. Don P.*

        I’m in my 60s (from the NE corridor) and have never heard “berm” until this moment.

      3. Kimberly Sheehan*

        Grew up in a rural area NE US and we used berm all the time. I only live a couple hundred miles from where I grew up and no one uses or knows berm. Everyone says shoulder.

        1. No_woman_an_island*

          Same. I think it’s a more rural term. Shoulder is different than berm in that it’s wider. A berm is like 12 inches of space, in my neck of the woods.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            The side of the road might be a berm, but it’s not inherently a berm. I don’t think this is a rural term per se. A berm is just an area at the periphery of something where the ground level is higher. Could be a pile of dirt. Could be raised soil area with stuff planted all on it. For a not-roadway example, there is a berm around Disneyland. Meant to make it so if you’re in the park you can’t see outside the park. It’s high enough to obstruct the view from most angles. But if you’re in the park, it doesn’t look like there’s a giant wall of dirt. It’s just graded (and other stuff planted) to obstruct what they want obstructed.

      4. Nina*

        In New Zealand the berm is the strip of grass between either your front fence and the footpath (sidewalk) or between the footpath and the road. You put the bins on it on rubbish day. You have to mow it even though it belongs to the city council. You can get a special dispensation to grow veges in it but this is very rare. Some people park in them when they’re very wide.

        1. Chilipepper Attitude*

          We call the stip of land between the sidewalk and the street the swale in south Florida.
          I never heard that term till I moved here.
          I’m from NE and know berm as a small earthen wall – not the side of the road.

          1. Lizzo*

            In Cleveland, that strip of land between sidewalk and street is known as a “tree lawn”. There is an entire Wikipedia article that details the various names for it. Very entertaining.

          2. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

            We call it the nature strip in Australia, or at least in my corner of it!

      5. JustSomeone*

        I’m with the judge! I’m American, and to me a berm is a little hill. I call the edge of the road the shoulder.

      6. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Your usage is the second definition.
        I got curious & looked it up in the dictionary — maybe it’s time for them to tag it archaic.
        I’ll leave this here for the benefit of some future reader who presses “show me a random article”.

    3. Dinwar*

      I had been on the job for 10 years, in charge of multiple teams, starting to manage projects on my own, and I got told to find a board spreader. Spent a solid ten minutes looking for one. Yeah…. I should have known better than that! What tipped me off was when they said “Hey, bring the headlight fluid too!” I think I literally face-palmed at that point.

    4. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

      Well thank goodness she asked instead of spending all day trying to find the elbow grease requisition forms in the documentation.

  20. Anon today*

    New hire’s second day, while observing a client meeting, interrupts to provide recommendations on how we could improve the business process we were reviewing with the client and basically redo 3 months of work. Managed to anger boss and kill client confidence before lunch.

    1. LPUK*

      Many years ago I was a retail buyer developing confectionery products with private label manufacturers . One of my Product development techs expressed an interest in seeing how the commercial side worked, so I said she could sit in on one of my negotiations. So I’d told the supplier what I wanted and how much I wanted to pay, he sucked his teeth and said we can’t do it for that because reasons, I riposted with your reasons aren’t relevant/making too much of them and similarl badinage and the product tech chipped in ‘ oh no, it really will cost him more if we want him to do that’. Not helpful in the middle of negotiation. So that was the last commercial meeting she attended.

      1. noradrenaline*

        TBH if you throw someone who is not used to this kind of song-and-dance into that kind of situation, it’s not their fault if they don’t realize that it’s lying time. I ran into something similar as an engineer sitting in on my first client meeting; in my field it’s important to be precise, realistic, and transparent with my communication, so imagine my surprise when my boss got mad at me for answering direct questions from the client honestly! (They asked about the maturity and adoption rate of a new feature I had been working on – I wasn’t aware that we were presenting it as super-polished and wildly popular.)

    2. Mauvaise Pomme*

      Oh nooo, not the gumption!

      Something similar happened to me a few years ago. A member of the internal communications team was shadowing a massive, complex technical project where our org was one of many partners, many of whom were industry heavy hitters, and we were very much a little fish in a big pond. The comms guy (incidentally, a very nice young man, but maybe with a tendency to be a tad over-confident, bless him) was making suggestions to us on how to cut to the chase of the goal of this multi-year initiative immediately, along the lines of “Why don’t you just [do X extremely simplistic thing that would violate industry regulations]?” He was very excited and pleased, thinking he was solving all our problems. Fortunately, he had the social graces to privately talk to just his own organizational team members, and none of this happened in the hearing of our partners. There was also the added dimension that all of us (the team representing our org, with the exception of him) were women, which made me feel a little funny about the whole thing…

  21. Американка (Amerikanka)*

    Also, something cringeworthy now: when I was new to the workforce I DAILY asked my coworkers for rides home (I did not have a car, worked nights, and did not live in the safest part of town). Although they were gracious about it, I am sure they were very glad when I saved up enough money to buy my own car.

    1. FM*

      I don’t think you need to cringe at that! You didn’t have a car. People are kind. It’s okay :)

    2. Rara Avis*

      A little before I started my current job (21 years ago), a colleague invited me to dinner and offered whatever help I needed to get going. A week later, I was on my way to work by train and bicycle — no car. I got a flat. I knew he lived between the train station and work, so I hoped he was serious about offering helped and called — (I had to work that day for training but he didn’t.). He got out of bed, took me to work, and got my bike tire fixed before bringing it back to me.

    3. LeftEye*

      Don’t be embarrassed! In my office it’s the norm to ask if anyone needs/wants a ride when you’re leaving- I wish everywhere was that way. Most of us take public transit to get there and it’s a kind thing to do when it gets darker out or when people are carrying supplies/equipment home. Most of the time the driver just drops everyone off at a train station that’s on their way home anyway- cuts down commute time without cutting too much into the driver’s time/gas.

  22. BoratVoiceMyWife*

    I once worked at a major news organization and our particular team worked early mornings, late nights, weekends and was severely understaffed. The hiring process to replace two departed full-timers took forever, but we finally backfilled one of the roles while I was out on vacation and the whole team was relieved to have the extra pair of hands,

    The new guy shows up on his first day, does all the usual onboarding stuff, doesn’t seem to be particularly savvy with the basic technological requirements of the role (i.e. using a computer), but whatever. As he leaves at the end of his first day, there’s inclement weather outside. He slips, falls and sustains a major injury that requires eight weeks of medical leave. When I got back to work and enquired about the schedule, specifically why the new guy was on it, I stared in utter disbelief when I was informed he had been hospitalized at the end of his first day and would be out for two months.

    1. Nat Romanov's Much-Needed Vacation*

      Many jobs don’t do medical leave until you’ve been onboard for… months.

      1. Nails*

        As the person was possibly injured on work property, it might have been easier than the lawsuit.

      2. Free Meerkats*

        Even if it was in the US, Workman’s Comp kicks in the moment you walk in the door.

        1. KateM*

          Even if it was in US, they could have thought that better a worker in hand, even if in hospital for two months.

  23. Murphy*

    We’re all remote. We have a guy who started a few months ago. Within the first two weeks of him being here, everyone giving him training noticed that he was on his phone during training. I don’t meant just a quick glance at the phone, I mean you could see his hands and the top of the phone at the bottom of the screen the whole time. A few times he was asked a question and went off mute and you could hear something in the background like he was watching a video. Supposedly our boss at the time talked to him but it hasn’t gotten much better. He’s just off camera more often.

    1. Oryx*

      I know it’s a long shot but part of me is wondering if this is my former coworker who left a few months ago…..

  24. CreepyPaper*

    Years ago I worked a role that was temp to perm contract-wise and I started at the same time as a guy who was also on a temp to perm contract. By the end of our first day he had accused me of stealing the permanent job that was ‘his’ (no?) and demanded that the managers gave him a permanent role by the end of the week or he’d leave. Apparently the recruitment agency had gaslighted him by saying the role was permanent but he came through the same agency and recruiter as me and I was told clearly that it was three months temp with the option of permanent at the end.

    This was on a Monday. He didn’t show up for Tuesday or ever again and another lady started the following Monday and as far as I’m aware she still works there.

    1. NeutralJanet*

      Just curious, did he actually use the term “gaslighted”? I can imagine the recruitment agency lying to him or misleading him, though it sounds unlikely if they were clear to you, but I’m just going to go ahead and say…I am certain that they didn’t gaslight him. I thought the overuse/misuse of “gaslighting” was a recent trend, but interesting to hear that it was already going on years ago!

      1. CreepyPaper*

        Yes he did, this was in about 2004-ish. I remember I had to look up what it meant, I didn’t know.

      2. Veruca*

        I had to tell my teen just yesterday (when she accused me of gaslighting her) that gaslighting is when people deny facts and make you question your sanity. It does not mean grounding.

        1. Working Hypothesis*

          At least not unless the space in which you’re requiring the kid to stay has a *really* antiquated lighting system…

  25. Miss. Bianca*

    1 1/2 years ago I had a new coworker joined my team. We had the same position and title, but reported to different people and work on different accounts/projects. When she came on, I offboarded the account she was going to be working on and her manager said he would take on training her. Initially she asked me a ton of questions pertaining to her new account, which is normal and what I would expect.

    But after a few weeks she started coming to me with little issues she really should be going to her boss about. This included things such as who works on what (within our team), asking me to look at things before she sends her boss or other stakeholders and asking me if there are any of my tasks she can help me with. Every time I told her the appropriate amount of information, but also told her to check with her boss. He was supposed to be training her on all that, and it’s like she doesn’t want to communicate with him or ask him questions.

    Then we had a training session during her first week where she kept going on about how her account was a mess, asked me who managed another account within our team (she had past experience in those projects but it wasn’t her current responsibility) and that those accounts are run terribly, she doesn’t have much to do and she used to be a manager (and did what her boss currently does) at her previous job.

    So within her first month she gave the impression that she was entitled and lazy, and frankly it’s been hard for me to change that first impression of her.

    To the present day, I still find her lazy and entitled. About a year ago we had a merger, and her title changed to a lower position, but I don’t think she realizes it, or my clueless boss didn’t explain that to her.

  26. ThatGirl*

    Back in my copy desk days, we had a real rotating cast of characters (I think nearly the entire desk turned over in 2 years). Most of us were in our 20s and we skewed female, but one new person was an older man who’d previously worked at a different paper in the area. Our desk chief told us he aced his copy test so we were excited to have someone with all that knowledge and experience.

    He turned out to be slow as HELL. Took *hours* to put a simple page design together. Seemed mystified by the very common software. But that wasn’t the truly disconcerting part. The disconcerting part was that he was constantly muttering about his gun collection and got angry quickly. I had a friend at the paper he’d previously worked at, so I asked her if she knew the guy … and hoo boy did she. He’d been let go after failing to show up to work one day with no call — and it turned out he’d been in jail on domestic violence charges!

    There’s a LOT more to the story, but suffice to say he was also fired from our paper after a violent outburst, and a few years ago I decided to google him and discovered he’d been killed by his roommate in some sort of domestic dispute.

    1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      wow! I have copy desk stories too. Might have to tell some in the open thread tomorrow.

    2. The Smiling Pug*

      The ending to that story… I wasn’t expecting that. Murdered by his roommate?? Whoa…

      1. ThatGirl*

        Despite his apparent potential for violence, I *definitely* wasn’t expecting that when I googled him!

        1. A Wall*

          Right? Although I like to say that the best way to get shot is to pull a gun on someone else, so it does kinda track .

  27. Catabodua*

    New hire who came in as a replacement. It was a boring/manual data entry type job. There have always been two positions. One person left the company, one person who’s still there, and now new hire comes in.

    New hire caught up on 8 months of backlog by the end of their first week. We knew the other two were slow, but dammmmnnnn. The person who remained was given a new job, decided it wasn’t for them, and left. They never replaced her because new hire was so good.

    New hire stayed on for a few years while completing their bachelor’s degree. They never wanted a promotion or job change because the mindless / no stress data entry was just what they needed to survive (pay rent, eat) without adding to their workload for a challenging program.

    1. Generic Name*

      Aw man, I hope you gave them huge raises even if they didn’t want promotions. We’ve had some workers like that where you just know they will be on to bigger and better things quickly, but you cherish them wile they work with you.

      1. Catabodua*

        They just got regular COLA like everyone else. But also got tuition reimbursement. Theyseemed happy enough. They knew they were destined for much bigger things so I honestly don’t think they cared that much beyond it gave them health care and let them eat. I should probably try to find them on LinkedIn – they may be running a business by now.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, in that situation, having a mindless/low stress data entry job with tuition reimbursement and healthcare was perfect for them.

    2. T. Boone Pickens*

      Ha, this is great! Talk about a real MacMillan Toys type situation. “Slow down! You’re making us all look bad!”

      1. Rob aka Mediancat*

        I got that in one of my jobs — it involved physically examining documents to make sure that certain ID numbers were on every 10-15th page or so and checking that other things were present.

        We were supposed to get 1000 pages a day and one day when I did 1500+ I was told by a coworker to slow down because it would make the rest of them look bad.

        on my final day, I did 2500 pages just to prove a point.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Sounds like the job my brother did when he first graduated- he was doing very technical stuff that interested him but paid little or nothing, in his own time, and wanted a job that allowed fairly flexible hours and wasn’t mentally demanding, to pay the bills!
      He was very good at it, and has since been able to move into a job where he does get to use the techy skills he honed back then

      1. BeachMum*

        I actually had a job like this. I was in college and was hired for the summer to help with the massive backlog of unfiled mortgage documents. In my first week I created a system (rather than walking back and forth filing one document at a time) so we were caught up by the end of the second week. Since they no longer needed to file clerks (the permanent person loved the new system, which was simply organizing a stack of documents in numerical order before going to file them) I was ‘promoted’ to being the collections clerk. It was a way more interesting job and I had a fun summer.

        1. Carmen527*

          I was working a temp job 20 years ago, and I was sent to an asphalt company the Wednesday before a Monday holiday to get them caught up on some data entry that had fallen behind months earlier when they had switched accounts payable software. I went on Wednesday, then called in sick on Thursday and Friday because I was, you know, actually sick. They assumed I was a flaky temp and were surprised I showed up on the Tuesday after the holiday. I ended up staying long after I had gotten them back up to speed (more quickly than they expected) – they kept me on so I could replace their AR person when she went out for heart surgery. Months after I left, they called and offered me a full-time position, but I could make more in my actual field (teaching) than I could there, and I had student loans to pay off. I might have taken the job had they met my salary requirements – they were lovely people to work with.

  28. What the what*

    Middle aged new guy programmer says on his first day, to me (late 20s female boss). “I’ve never had a female boss before, so this is going to take some getting used to!” Within a month, he was physically fighting with a coworker at a stop light down the street. Good grief.

    1. Antilles*

      Do you know how he got into a fight with a co-worker at the stop light? Because that sounds like an entertaining story all by itself.

      1. What the what*

        Him and another volatile programmer had been getting on each others nerves. They argued in the parking lot and one tried to leave, only to be confronted at a stop light down the street. Dude tried to open his car door and yank him out. They were both ended up getting fired pretty quickly after. This was a fairly unhealthy work environment, and my only experience with managing. Still have PTSD over this place.

    2. SnappinTerrapin*

      Where have these people been for the past 40-odd years?

      My first job out of college was with a police department, and my shift sergeant was a woman. I’m old enough to draw social security. I can’t fathom anyone working in private or public sector jobs who thinks there is “still” something odd about women in positions of authority.

      1. Pennyworth*

        One of my early jobs was in part of a government agency where the only man was the trainee. This was in the 1980s, so the gender mix was very uncommon. We called him our ‘token man’.

  29. mah*

    Manager hired someone from a conference without conducting any interviews. First day she walks up to the Administrative Assistant and asks for a list of who she gets to “boss around” (in those terms).

    (Then later, when a small local conference took place she introduced herself as the “Improved [name of former person in that position]” … to the person who used to be in that position and had left to a different local job which was a step up in terms of position.)

    Not great at reading a room.

      1. mah*

        She did not last through the probation period. There were some other things that happened as well, later on, like being wildly competitive that her master’s degree was better than her colleague’s master degree and trying to “boss around” people who weren’t even in her department.

        So unfortunately a bit of a yikes first impression not improving.

    1. Working Hypothesis*

      I know it’s a lot to expect of the administrative assistant who’s probably just trying to get through the day without pissing off the new manager who’s obviously a loon… but part of me really wishes they had responded with quiet dignity, “Oh, nobody, of course. We don’t do that here.”

    2. Legal Rugby*

      I just have to tell this:

      My wife and I used to work at the same University; when we got married, neither of us changed our name, so some folks didn’t realize we were married. (Given the number of meetings we were in together, there were some funny stories there.) I interviewed for the job the day after we got back from our honeymoon, and started three weeks after we got married.

      Six months after I started, my wife was asked to move to another position because she had been the interim director for that department, and they realized there was no better candidate. It was easier to back fill her other position – my wife had been the first person to be in that position and had created most of the programs the position ran; this had been while we were engaged so I knew A LOT about the position – outside of her boss, I probably knew what the job was better than anyone on campus.

      They hired a new person to fill her old job, and one day, after I did a presentation, I was standing outside a meeting talking to my wife’s old co-workers when a women I have never met before walked up and said “Hi! We haven’t met yet, but I’m the new version of Ms. Legal Rugby!” After a moment of slightly startled staring, I realized she was the new employee filling my wife’s old job. Once everyone there stopped laughing, I explained why I was the one person on campus for whom that had a whole different meaning.

      1. mah*

        Ahaha that’s even better! What a way to find out your spouse had suddenly changed…

        And on one hand I understand why people use this short-hand, it slots that person into a position which they may or may not know the title of, or which might be a similar title to others with a wildly different list of duties, on the other hand things like this happen. I’m not sure if new is better than improved, in any case.

        But oh man, this now reminds me of a time in peace corps where someone thought the person replacing the volunteer who had been their girlfriend was now their girlfriend….what a mess.

          1. mah*

            Okay, so not first impression but a wild ride of a story:

            Peace Corps Volunteers, if you’re not familiar, usually have a site placement, which is usually a small village they end up living in (varies somewhat by country and program). Where I did Peace Corps there was a rule that if the volunteer before you had any serious romantic entanglement with someone from the host country, that site didn’t get a volunteer for a few years after that. Turns out there was a very good reason for this.

            So, the first volunteer, lets call her Allie, was dating a dude, lets say Brian, in her site and they had gotten engaged. She didn’t tell Peace Corps. Her service ended so she headed back to the US, with the plans of getting some stuff settled on her side then Brian would join her in the US and they’d do the whole thing.

            The second volunteer shows up, Cindy, and before Allie leaves, she introduces her to Brian and explains that her site really needs a volunteer and that she and Brian are engaged but she didn’t tell Peace Corps and needs Cindy not to either. Cindy agrees because she wants to be helpful and wants everything to work out, and assumes this is one of Peace Corps’ silly rules and agrees. (And to be fair to Cindy and Allie there were a fair few silly rules, like ones where we couldn’t ride certain vehicles….even though we’d then be placed in locations where those vehicles were 100% the only way to get to and from the site….)

            Cindy’s language isn’t as good as Allie’s, which makes sense since she just started. Brian speaks English very well, however, and is being very helpful, showing her around, introducing her to people and so on. Culturally, men and women aren’t alone in this country, unless they’re related or married. And at first Cindy just notices Brian kind of…ignoring that? And being okay with being alone with her, which he shouldn’t be, and she tries to make sure it’s not happening but isn’t totally successful. She talks to some other volunteers who have been around longer and they help her with some language to make sure there’s more distance without being insulting…which she uses. And Brian tells her that it’s okay, because they’re engaged.

            Cindy says something to the effect of “….No, you’re engaged to Allie.” To which Brian says, “Yes, but Allie left and you are her replacement, so now we are engaged.”

            …Cindy told Allie and Peace Corps and got moved to a different site.

  30. The Wizard Rincewind*

    We had a new hire join our communications department and he was awful at it. No idea how he got so far as to be hired. He misunderstood basic aspects of email marketing and his copywriting was third-grade level, typos and all. It suddenly added so much work to my department because instead of receiving mostly-clean work that we could look over quickly, we had to go over everything with a fine-toothed comb fixing basic spelling errors, broken/incorrect links, etc. The kicker was that he never saved any of the changes we made, so weeklies contained the same spelling and link errors the next time around.

    He last two excruciating weeks before he walked off the job. His manager (rightfully) called him to the carpet for his shoddy work and he said “I don’t have to take this!” and left the building. Never came back.

    This man was in his 40s. I don’t comprehend how some people make it through life. My personal theory is that he lied copiously about his experience but as I’m not involved in hiring or personnel, I have no way or knowing. But good riddance.

    1. Texan in exile on her phone*

      The MarComm VP and I warned my boss about the horrible writing on the blog an applicant (for a writing job) linked to from her resume, but he hired her anyway. Three months later, he told me I had been correct to not want to hire her and he would send her to training.

      I said that training a 42 year old woman with a communications degree to be a better writer was impossible.

    2. Certaintroublemaker*

      Yiiikes. This is why we always do a small sample project as part of the interview process now. You just can’t tell from resume/verbal interviews.

  31. Albeira Dawn*

    Oh wait, I have a worse one from college.
    I was in charge of Student Council. Members of SC would be elected to sit on committees with faculty to provide a student voice.
    I and this one guy were elected to be on the Faculty-Student Senate; he had just joined SC in his senior year and had never been on a committee before. The Senate was known to be kind of a joke; action was rarely taken and when it was it was usually ignored. The main value for the Student Council was that all the faculty would gossip for 2 hours straight during these meetings, giving us a heads up on what was coming down the pipeline.
    Anyway. The faculty are complaining about the college’s new President exerting unprecedented powers, which were supposedly approved by the Board of Trustees. My colleague chimes in here “so we just ask her to show us the document saying she can do that, and then we’ll have her by the short and curlies!”
    My eyes have never been so wide. I’ve never seen faculty members’ eyes so wide. The meeting moved on, pretending it never happened.
    I had to go to a conference directly after this meeting, but I informed my fellow Council Heads, who sat him down that he can’t reference the President’s body, particularly her pubic hair, during any meeting, particularly one with faculty, particularly one where he’s representing other students. He apparently did not understand what was so wrong about what he said. He was still removed from all committee assignments.

        1. philmar*

          Dorothy Sayers uses the expression “by the short hairs” in a book (and the line is said by Sir Peter Wimsey) which confused me because I always assumed that phrase also referred to pubes, and it would be very out of character. I think I figured out that expression refers to the short hair on the back of your neck, so I wonder if it was corrupted and made more vulgar (short hairs > what other hairs are short?).

        2. CatPrance*

          “The short hairs” would be the hair at the back of one’s neck — which is why “and curlies” was added to make it clear that pubic hair was indicated in the more, umm, freewheeling expression.

      1. Junior Assistant Peon*

        Wouldn’t be the first time someone naively picked up and repeated an expression with a dirty meaning.

  32. Triple Toe*

    I was wearing slides that had a bit of fluff over the toes. New hire yelped when she saw them, bent down, AND PROCEEDED TO PET them. It was both horrifying and delightful (as I knew it would be a funny work story for years). It was 22 years ago and it’s still a top story.

    1. Popinki*

      (O_O)

      OMG this one is my favorite. Because I would so want to pet your fuzzy shoes, but I’d never in a million years actually do it.

      1. Triple Toe*

        Ha ha! There were 5 or 6 of us around when it happened. Eyes were pretty much popping out of heads!

      1. Trixie the Great and Pedantic*

        You thought that too, huh? I was getting some very hobbity mental images. Not that it’s work appropriate either way.

  33. Birdie*

    The new head of office admin, who we had been very up front with about what the job duties were, told me with contempt dripping from every word, “I don’t do administrative stuff. I handle strategy.” Um, okay. I work in fundraising, so stop trying to have me do you office admin stuff?

    It’s been 16 very long months, but tomorrow is my last day. Huzzah!

  34. Anon for This*

    Can I share my own mildly cringeworthy first impression?

    I was fresh out of college in the first week of my first grown-up job. Someone from the editorial team sent me text to paste into the company web site. I did so, but I changed an apostrophe based on an obscure language rule that a professor had taught me.

    The head of the editorial team came over to my desk, nicely asking me to change it. I explained to her the common misconceptions about this punctuation and suggested that we reconsider.

    Yes, I actually said that. To someone who had been a professional editor for twenty years, and managing a team of editors for ten. To someone who literally wrote the company style manual.

    She was nice about it and told me again to change it. Thank goodness I did because it never came up again, but I certainly never forgot the lesson.

    1. Anon for This*

      Years later, our team hired a young web developer into an entry-level role. He’d never had a real professional job before, but he had a very polished personal web site and was confident about his skills.

      Too confident, as it turned out. He spent the first few days being assigned small changes to make, only to complain loudly about how bad the code was, specifically calling it “[R-word]ed” repeatedly. I told him that, one, he didn’t know enough to judge the code and why it was written like that (such as us taking over that particular web site as-is from a disorganized freelancer), and two, he shouldn’t use that offensive word.

      He kept it up. At one point he figured out how to do an unusual thing in the code all by himself, and leapt up in his cubicle, triumphantly declaring, “Yes! There is a genius in the midst of all this [R-word]ation!”

      I gave his remote boss a heads up about this matter-of-factly, then I went out to pick up a sandwich. On the way back in, I passed the new guy carrying out his things in a box. It was day four.

      I didn’t expect him to be fired — I saw him merely as especially green and in need of coaching about professional behavior — but in hindsight I think the boss had the right instinct. I hope the kid got himself sorted out in the years since.

      1. Momma Bear*

        It may have been his response to the boss’ concerns that got him fired. Doesn’t sound like he was very self-aware.

      2. Susan Ivanova*

        We hired a very experienced developer – at least, he’d worked at a lot of places and could tell good stories. And they really did seem to add up because he’d worked at some of the same places some of us had, knew the same people, etc.

        First code review goes out. Our house style for one language (ObjC) is idiosyncratic, because it was adapted from the style for a different language by people with no familiarity with ObjC norms. Nevertheless, it’s the house style, and having one means you can concentrate on the code instead of being distracted by odd layout.

        He argued about it. His trivial change took a week to get accepted. We should’ve seen the signs.

        1. Azure Jane Lunatic*

          Was this the same fellow with the extremely notable email address? Whose quarterly workload you finished in a fairly caffeinated morning or two?

          (For those who were not there: think Peter Oop having the address poop@example.com )

          1. Susan Ivanova*

            Yep! One morning, about a dozen bug fixes, and every one of them (not that I knew at the time) was on a carefully curated list for his PIP: he needed to do one of them *per day*.

      3. Bern Notice*

        I recently found an old work notepad in which I had recorded some issues with a junior employee for our remote manager. He had asked me to document some of the issues we were having w/this employee’s work because he wasn’t around for the day-to-day stuff. One of my notes says “using words like ‘[R-word]ed’ and ‘useless’ during an internal training class on our product – not good”. Good times…

      1. Anon for This*

        When a person whose name ends in S has possession of something, how should it be punctuated, with an apostrophe-S or with a mere apostrophe? Should it be “Tom Hanks’s new movie” or “Tom Hanks’ new movie?”

        I was taught the mere apostrophe in grade school, like (I gather) many American schoolchildren. But the professor insisted that the mere apostrophe was the correct way to write it in British English, and the apostrophe-S was the correct way in American English. He said that American kids are often taught the mere apostrophe as a shortcut, since plural nouns are punctuated that way (“film studios’ new movies”) and underfunded grade schools struggle to cover all of the nuances of the proper way to write everything. He spent half of the class that day explaining the history of the two methods of punctuation and why they differed, the details of which I’ve long forgotten, but it sure sounded persuasive.

        The thing is, since I took that class almost 25 years ago, I have yet to encounter anyone else who has heard of this British/American distinction when I ask them. At best, people know that you can write it either way according to different rules: AP style says mere apostrophe, Chicago style says apostrophe-S, Merriam-Webster says either, Strunk & White say it depends. Nobody knows of the origin of the split, or why one way might be truly correct.

        Since I code for a living, I follow the professor’s instruction unless a boss tells me to do otherwise, because it’s a lot easier to type “$name’s new movie” than it is to determine the last letter of $name and punctuate conditionally.

        1. it's me*

          Haha, I use just the apostrophe because it scans better but I’ve read that it’s only proper to do that with “Jesus.”

          1. Susan Ivanova*

            My brother’s name is James, and when I was in school I was taught that was one of the only-apostrophe names. There might have been some rule covering which names it applied to, but that was the only one I cared about :)

        2. mlem*

          I was delighted to see that WaPo used apostrophe-s for “Mark Meadows’s wife” in a headline. Just-apostrophe is supposed to mean the possessive of a plural! (I have also seen the “historical exception for Jesus, Moses, and [name I’ve forgotten]”, which simply seems silly.)

        3. Shhh*

          I learned that too and do what you do (include the apostrophe-S unless told to do otherwise). Incidentally, my own last name ends in S so I think that’s why it’s stuck with me.

        4. GingerJ1*

          I learned that the rule is different depending on whether it’s a one-syllable name ending in S or a two-syllable name. (Like James’ vs. Jonas’s, or was it James’s vs. Jonas’?)

          I NEVER remember which is which; my plan has always been either 1) Look it up if I have to use it or 2) better yet, try to construct the sentence in a way that does not require that name to be a possessive.

          (And I have been a professional editor and journalist, as it happens.)

        5. fhqwhgads*

          Ha. Yeah, my understanding is this isn’t a British English/American English thing. It’s a “do what your style guide says” thing – unless you’re a prescriptivist.

        6. OnlyByALaneFancyThat*

          I was taught it depends on the number of “s”es in a row. If a word ends in “ss” and is possessive and the next word starts with “s”, use a single apostrophe (so “the princess’ slipper” instead of “the princess’s slipper” but “the princess’s pocket” and “the iris’s silken petal”).

        1. Magc*

          I read somewhere that it depends on how the possessive version of the word / name is pronounced, e.g., James’ shoes (if one doesn’t pronounce it “Jameses”), but Chris’s shoes (if one does say “Chrises”).

          Which means it’s effectively however one wants, but I appreciate it when anything in written English looks vaguely like the spoken version sounds.

  35. Wishful thinking*

    We had a guy, “Dave”, start a new role in the company – think coming from blue collar to white collar work. His new manager, “Fergus” was organising a photoshoot during Dave’s first week and forwarded him an email chain about the photoshoot letting him know that he wanted Dave to manage the event on the day.

    Well. Dave immediately replied to everyone, including the third party organising the photoshoot and our CEO (many levels above him) outlining why he thought it was a huge waste of time and all the things he thought we were doing wrong in the photoshoot and the event it was for.

    Went down like a lead balloon with the CEO and Fergus’s boss. He didn’t last too long after that.

  36. Generic Name*

    I had one coworker who was hired to be a subject matter expert. I later learned that he didn’t blow the interviewers away (including my boss, who had the final say) but she decided to hire him rather than re-post the job and wait for a better candidate. She also did not check his references. My (now former, thank goodness) boss was actually not great at hiring. Anyway, we are having a team meeting on my coworker’s first day. During the meeting, we are all introducing ourselves to the new team member, telling him a little about our specific roles within the team. He asks everyone their educational background and about their work history. We’re all kind of looking at each other, but answering his questions. Boss says nothing. Mercifully, one coworker makes a joke about feeling like we’re in an interview for our own jobs, and the questioning stops. I have A LOT of other stories about that guy, and he was eventually fired. It turns out not only was he not a subject matter expert, he couldn’t even do tasks in the field independently without a lot of supervision and re-work. But I think he coasted a good long while on his good looks and charisma (while also deflecting questioning by being an arrogant jerk).

  37. Lowbrow*

    My new coworker showed up on her first day at our drab engineering company dressed from head to toe in pink: Dress, shoes, hat, umbrella, handbag. She also brought her lapdog (wearing a pink collar) as well as her husband to care for the dog while she was working.

      1. Retro*

        Elle Woods would never! She’d at most bring a dog bed for her dog to sleep in and get straight to work. Most likely, arrange a dog sitter.

    1. Resident Catholicville, USA*

      She dressed all in pink and had a Lapdog and a LapHusband. I think I might love her. If that were my office, I’d just get coffee, popcorn, and enjoy the antics.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Aside from the dog and husband (please tell me he was also wearing pink) this is amazing. Good for her!

      1. Lowbrow*

        He wasn’t…at that time. Their pregnancy announcement pictures however were them and their dog all in pink and white.

    3. Bluzcluz*

      Was the husband lurking in the background while she worked? What an odd thing to occur.

    4. Quinalla*

      This is amazing! I’d wnat to keep the person on for a while just to see if she did anything else spectacular :)

      1. Anonymouse*

        You are ignoring the important issue here.
        Did the husband look after the dog or did the dog look after the husband?

      2. Lowbrow*

        She’s an engineer. During her first year she also changed the color scheme of one of our management reports to different shades of pink. Our project director got really grumpy when he saw it and requested that she change it to more normal colors, “like brown!”.

    5. Trixie the Great and Pedantic*

      “My new coworker showed up on her first day at our drab engineering company dressed from head to toe in pink: Dress, shoes, hat, umbrella, handbag…”

      okay, this is cool, I like the flair…

      “She also brought her lapdog (wearing a pink collar) …”

      oookay, that’s a choice, but maybe this company is pet-friendly…

      “…as well as her husband to care for the dog while she was working.”

      Trixie.exe has stopped responding.

    6. Dhaskoi*

      Serious question – was she good at her job? Because if so, who cares?

      (except for the husband bit, that’s a failure t0 grasp professional norms).

  38. Chinook*

    When we hired a new rep for a call center I used to manage, she spent the better part of her first week pushing her awful jewelry MLM to everyone in the office. She didn’t understand what she was doing wrong (despite being shown in our handbook that sales of any kind (think: Girl Scout Cookies or fundraisers not sponsored by the company) we’re not allowed.

    It might not have been so bad, but she was terribly pushy, saying things like “I know for a fact everyone here can afford $5!”, and had told another new hire during orientation that she mainly got this job to obtain a “new customer base”. She refused to stop harassing others with her toxic pyramid scheme (many who would be ON the phone with a customer. She would tell them to put them on hold briefly so she could give them the newest catalogue). Thankfully she left before being shown the door, probably because she realized she wasn’t going to make a dime in this office.

    1. machinedreams*

      I can’t decide if that’s better or worse than my roommate’s one friend who was doing a jewelry MLM — sounds like it might be the same one — and once went to my FB, my other roommate’s FB, and proceeded to try friending EVERYONE ON OUR FRIENDS LISTS to get more of a customer base (without the one roommate having any idea whatsoever). I think between the two of us we had at least a dozen people go “So yeah, that was weird.”

      Roommate and friend did not talk for over a year.

      1. MsM*

        Worse, I think. Hassling everyone who’s even vaguely in your social media orbit is a pretty common tactic with these things. Applying the “be your own boss” attitude to your day job? That’s a whole other level.

    2. Dhaskoi*

      >“I know for a fact everyone here can afford $5!”

      The phrasing here really makes my jaw drop – like giving her money is some kind of charitable donation.

  39. Neurodivergentsaurus Rex*

    There was the new grad hired for a position that was mostly data entry, who remarked incredulously to his trainer on his second day – “This is really boring – I went to college to do this??” Welcome to the working world, bud, it sucks! He ended up getting fired for consistently putting more hours on his timesheet than he was approved to work, while completing maybe an hour’s work per day, before his probation period was up.

    There was also the young woman who, in her first month, logged into the morning Teams meeting, with her camera on, while clearly at the salon getting her hair done. We work with sensitive information. She didn’t make it out of her probation period either.

  40. KofSharp*

    I was fairly new at my current company (like a month in) but I’d learned how to use some of the fidgety tools well enough to write process documents and teach others and got to take the even newer hire into the field to get some measurements.
    This dude decided he was going to “explain” not only how to use the tools he’d never touched/seen before in his life to me, but also all of his political views and how he was right and I was wrong (all I had said was “This isn’t an appropriate conversation for this setting.”) He then roped a civilian who was walking by into the “conversation” until I managed to SOMEHOW point out we had 4 more locations to go and an hour left that day.
    He was shuffled off my team after about a year after “not meshing with the rest of the team.”

  41. Blue*

    Had one guy start at a counter service restaurant where I worked right out of college. He was maybe 20 years older than the mostly early-20s front staff. He was told to “shadow” me and shadow me he did. If he was more than 3ft. from me in the next 8 hours, it was for moments at best.

    Day 2, he leaned over my shoulder from behind me to make whispered comments in my ear about some female student customers.

    I told him to back the fudge off and reported it to the owner. He was fired Day 3.

    Given his very detailed timeline of his employment and sacking submitted to the unemployment office (down to the minute) as well as bragging about keeping employee house benefits from the last job he was fired from, this seems to have been a very deliberate first impression/plan.

    1. Blue2 (same as above, not other blue)*

      Day 1 topics included:
      -how his previous employer screwed him over
      -how he screwed them over
      -how many times he had been laid off
      -repeatedly asking where I lived
      -asking where I was going if I was more than 2ft. away
      -how awesome he was at food service

      And I found out on Day 3 I was the second complaint. Before the comments on female students physical appearance, he had apparently said something insulting to the shift manager about her appearance.

        1. Blue2 (same as above, not other blue)*

          He was definitely memorable. And I may have crossed the street/driven around the block if I happened to see him around town before I moved away.

  42. Jester*

    There was someone who didn’t even last a full day. A new hirer was walked around the office to make introductions around lunchtime and was gone before the end of the day. They recorded some of my coworkers talking (without their knowledge of the two people having the conversation, so illegal in that state) and accused them of talking about the new hirer using slurs. The new hirer might have been nonbinary (they weren’t around long enough for me to learn their pronouns) so I understand why they could be sensitive, but no one, even people who listened to the illegal recording, had heard a slur of any kind. It was an open office so there was zero privacy. The new hirer freaked out and had to be escorted to the elevators.

  43. FTO Chuckles*

    Former law enforcement officer here. We hired a new guy, 30s, former Air Force. Nice guy who seemed to have potential. During the second day we were going over proper frisk/searching techniques and our supervisor was playing the suspect. We showed new guy how to properly conduct a search of the legs, around the ankles and what not. It’s new guy’s turn to conduct the search, and instead of leaning down to pat down around the ankle like we showed him, he picked up the supervisors ankle and raised it up to his waist level to search it – supervisor went down right on his face like a ton of bricks..

    There was plenty of PT to go around for all the laughing. New guy did not last much longer.

    1. Environmental Compliance*

      I’m so sorry for how much I chuckled at that mental image. In what world would the guy think that was the right way to do that????!

      1. JustaTech*

        Maybe he’d lasted worked as a farrier (blacksmith who puts shoes on horses)? That’s the exact motion if you want to look at a horse’s hoof.

        Obviously it does not work for bipeds.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        There’s a Navy guy out there somewhere sitting on his hands and biting his lip, restraining himself from making a joke about the intelligence level of Air Force grunts. (My family has a couple Air Force members and I’ve always enjoyed the inter-branch ribbing.)

    2. CSI*

      We had a recruit party so hard after graduating the academy that he showed up still drunk to his swearing-in ceremony the next day. Drove himself there in full dress uniform with the loaded gun on his belt. He did not get a badge that day or ever.

  44. Anon for this*

    I used to work for a specialty retail company that would do periodic training classes for our district managers at our corporate headquarters. One new guy had been hired just in time to start training with the next cohort; it was literally his first day with the company. After the first day of training, all the trainers and trainees would go out to dinner as a team building thing. Mr. New Guy got really drunk at the dinner and groped the waitress. I’ve never seen anyone fired so fast, before or since.

  45. Kjolis*

    An employee on his first day left me with the impression that he felt he was above others. When he was looking at his cubicle, he said, “I wonder where I could hang my diplomas.” While academic accomplishments are definitely something to be proud of, it wasn’t the culture of our workplace to hang our diplomas in our offices, much less in our cubicles! (I couldn’t even tell you where mine are). Later after he went to HR orientation, he discovered that another new hire in orientation was receiving 5 fewer days of PTO than he was. He later said to me, “I guess I get more PTO because I have 2 Master’s.” I told him, no, it has nothing to do with education level; it’s because he was exempt, and the other new employee was non-exempt and could make overtime. (There’s an argument to be made here as to whether that’s a fair PTO practice or not, but that’s for another thread.)
    He really wanted to make sure everyone knew he had advanced degrees – despite the fact that at least one of them was required for the job, so yes, anyone who cared would already know!

    1. KateM*

      We were planning an exhibition of our hobby art group and our teacher mentioned that we could each put down a couple of lines abuot ourselves, maybe also education or so. For everyone but the New Joiner it was clear that we were talking about where did we learn to do art, and her two business masters that she exitedly started to blab about were totally irrelevant (and counted less than someone having graduated an art branch of high school).

  46. Wildcat*

    I mean if you’ve worked food service and NOT had a coworker show up high their first day, you’re pretty lucky.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      At OldExjob one time, we were assigned a FedEx Ground guy who would show up high—when he showed up.

    2. rubble*

      most of the new hires I worked with were 15 and we were in a “good” neighbourhood, none of them acted high and I wouldn’t expect someone that young to be able to hide it!

  47. Jane Bingley*

    Years ago I was hired to intern at a local politician’s office. They typically hired a high school student, but the pay was great and I was a university student looking for political experience, so they brought me on.

    The intern’s job was to organize a big summer event – bouncy castles, local VIPs, a barbecue, and so on. The event was at the end of August and I started in May. I had it organized in a week. It really didn’t take that long to contact all the vendors, book the space, and so on. When you say “Hi, I’m calling from [political bigwig’s office], people jump at the chance to work with you.

    They had no idea how to fill the rest of my time, so for my second week I put together a binder with all the details for future interns. After that, her assistant trained me on helping with her tasks and I spent the rest of the summer reorganizing the politician’s email correspondence, working with our city and federal counterparts on cross-jurisdictional issues, and ordering stuff for the upcoming campaign.

    I definitely made a strong first impression, and I learned how much I like keeping things organized and working behind the scenes. These days I’m an executive assistant.

    1. SpicySpice