have you ever quit a job in your first week?

Have you ever quit on your first day? (Or should you have?)

If you’ve ever had a job so bad you quit on your first day — or okay, in your first week — we want to hear about it. Please share in the comments below and include:

  • why it was so bad
  • how you quit
  • how your hasty exit was received
  • and any other interesting details

{ 1,105 comments… read them below }

  1. wondermint*

    Not me but my boyfriend. He worked at a small law firm owned by a husband-wife team. He was working as a part-time office manager. On his first day, he witnessed a huge screaming match between the husband and wife, and sent an email that night that he wouldn’t be back.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Yikes. I also had a job where this happened regularly. Married owners seem to treat their work like an extension of their home.

      OldExjob Boss and BossWife NEVER did this, though. I’m sure they argued from time to time, but we never saw it.

      1. Mister_L*

        Didn’t happen to me, but bonus points if they treat their employees like children that have to pick one parent.

    2. Chainsaw Bear*

      I used to work in a law firm where we shared office space with the active partner’s wife’s OTHER LAW FIRM, and the whole thing was just a mess.

    3. NoName*

      I worked for a husband and wife (they were Americans but descended from Austro Hungarian nobility, and had property etc restored after the fall of the Soviet Union. Their self importance was…embarrassing). They would pop their just-out-of-college aged children into senior/supervisory roles and bring family arguments to team meetings. I am pretty sure they’d use their kids roles as leverage, as in “we’ll demote you if you don’t do x.” I worked there for a year, and made it that far because I didn’t have to interact with them too frequently. But hoo boy. I didn’t understand how people could work with them directly and not quit immediately. They had no boundaries or respect for people’s private lives/personal time.

    4. Xwordmama*

      This also happened to me when I worked at a husband-wife owned accounting firm. She would come running out of his office and right into the single person bathroom where she would stay until she was ready to come out (our building was a converted house). The rest of use had to do the potty dance while the bathroom was being held hostage.

    5. Your Mate in Oz*


      I started a new job at an IT consulting company. Day one I wandered in shortly before the 9am start time and while the door was open there didn’t seem to be anyone in. I heard talking from out the back so wandered that way to introduce myself. A woman was on the phone, saw me, gave me the phone, burst into tears and ran away.

      So I said “hello” into the phone and got talked through restarting a server. Note that he was scrupulously polite to me, very “can you do me a favour”. The woman came back once the call was over and said “my husband gets very angry sometimes”. Not “angry with me sometimes” or “is having a terrible day” or any excuse, just “angry sometimes”.

      I made some excuse and left. Rang the recruiter who had sent me there and said that I wasn’t going to partitipate in an abusive marriage, sorry about that. The recruiter gave me some guff about my behaviour being unprofessional and I should have let him handle it and I think we mutually decided never to deal with each other again.

      The only amusing thing was that the same day I got a call offering me a different job. I’d done interviews with multiple companies and the one I quit without really starting was just the first likely prospect. So I was able to start the new, new job a few days later.

  2. Anon for this*

    Several years ago, I quit a seasonal retail job after 2 days. This was very out of character for me, but I did it because the store was filthy (which I did not realize before I started working there); the restroom was disgusting; the manager seemed really disorganized and did not seem to know how to use the store computer, which was required for onboarding new employees; the other employees seemed really sullen and disengaged; and while I took the job to make some extra money over the holidays, I realized I didn’t need the job so badly that I had to put up with all of those things. As it turned out, a better job came along shortly afterwards and I was much happier there.
    How did they react? They didn’t. I texted the manager that I wouldn’t be coming back and she never responded. *shrug*

    1. king of the pond*

      Did you get paid for the two days you were there? I’d honestly be surprised if they didn’t bungle that somehow.

        1. Distracted Procrastinator*

          have you checked that state’s unclaimed property website? Every state has one. It’s usually a pretty easy process to prove you are the owner of the funds and get a check. My husband had a last check from an old job in a state we no longer lived listed. We spent 10 minutes filling out the form and he had the check a couple of weeks later. It had been more than 15 years since he had quit.

    2. Tio*

      Ah, retail. Many moons ago, I took a job at Target when I had just graduated. It was supposed to be weekends only; I had a regular full time job, I just had a lot of bills to pay. I told them that upfront, they said it was fine. I was only being hired as part time and I knew weekends usually needed more people, so it seemed like a win win. Except the day of my orientation, they handed me my schedule, and it had several weekdays on it. I went to the manager and told them there’d been a mistake, I wasn’t available during weekdays. They said I had to show up or I would be fired. So I quit and didn’t go back.

      1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

        It blows my mind that they think this is a threat when you told them it was a part time job lol.

      2. DeskApple*

        haha I got put on Targets “do not hire” list after I’d gotten tons of written customer compliments, and accolades from the store and regional manager during my one and only summer there. the reason? The school year started again and I (16) called out on my last day of the two weeks notice to finish my summer reading. “This will follow you your whole career” was a phrase used.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          That’s the equivalent of “this is going on your permanent record, colleges will care!” threat when you get detention.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Ah yes, The Permanent Record. Like, I really want to know what college is actually checking up on a detention someone got in seventh grade.

        2. Hedgehog O'Brien*

          I know someone who was fired from Target (on the customer service/non-store side) for “falsifying” their time sheet, when in actuality they made an honest mistake on their timecard and when they explained that it was a mistake they were told “well, we have a zero tolerance policy” and walked out of the building. Honestly ridiculous.

          1. Magenta Sky*

            To be fair, that *is* what someone who actually was falsifying their time sheet would say, and it’s common enough.

            (Still a hard-a$$ policy.)

            1. Lydia*

              True, but unless it’s egregious, it makes way more sense to go with benefit of the doubt the first time and keep an eye out for a pattern.

              1. Magenta Sky*

                I do not disagree. But I can see how a (bad) manager, or corporate person who hadn’t been in a store for years, could arrive at that point.

        3. Some People’s Children*

          How long ago was this? Like if you tried to get hired now would they tell you you are on the list because of something that happened in 1990?

          1. DeskApple*

            16 years ago for a 2 month cashier job. I’ve got an MBA now and could technically work in corporate, but your question has me tempted to apply just to ask about that mark that will follow me my whole career.

            1. Generic Name*

              Fanfic: You get a job in corporate and become the boss of the “this will follow you your whole career” person.

          2. Tio*

            My story was in like, 2010ish and I was also told that I would be put on the “do not hire” list. I now work in corporate supply chain for a major retailer in the country and just like Desk I am tempted to apply and see what they say!

            1. I forgot my user name againn*

              I know at retailers I have worked for, you drop off the do not hire list in about three years. Records aren’t held onto for that long. If someone was truly a horrible employee, you have to hope an oldtimer remembers them and tells you the scoop before you hire the person.

            2. Amanda*

              I was put on a “do not hire” list for a corporate record store chain that no longer exists. The reason? I caught one of my coworkers falsifying cash receipts. Turned out the owner was in on the scam but it was easier to just blame me.

      3. Bear Expert*

        Retail management somehow ends up being really disconnected from what the actual relationship between company – employee is and how much leverage they have.

        My current white collar business job that pays me decently and I have benefits and vacation days? I can tell my boss that I can’t work after 3 on Tuesdays starting next week and he shrugs and we all go on with life.

        The drugstore I worked at part time in college? I told the manager four months in advance when my final exams were (literally “I will be sitting an exam from 9-11 am on this Thursday and not be able to get to work until noon.”) and reminded him in writing a month before, and two weeks before, and then the week before he threw a literal tantrum complete with throwing objects off of store shelves and screaming that I needed to examine my priorities and figure out what was really important in my life. Weirdly, my priorities were to get my engineering degree.

        I am still impressed and confused by what his worldview was that a) his behavior was at all acceptable for someone over the age of four and b) that I’d do anything other than go sit the test.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          This follows my human being/meat puppet theory of employee/employer relations. Many employers do not think of their lower level employees as human beings with all the awkward needs and wants that entails. They think of these employees as meat puppets. If your manager had thought of you as a human being, your taking that exam would have been regarded as perfectly natural, even laudable and cause for congratulations. But since he regarded you as a meat puppet, your taking that exam made you an inefficient meat puppet that failed to meet his needs. Often, but not always, there is a certain level of advancement where the employee turns into a human being. You have arrived at that happy state in your current job. Congratulations.

            1. Laser99*

              I saw a post here once where a commentator used the the term “meat shields”. It meant a person a boss or a superior would use to shield themselves for the consequences of their actions. As in, “Well I screwed up the Penske report. Let me call in a meat shield to deliver the news.”

              1. Em*

                I got hit by a car while in a crosswalk. In the first few years after my injury (esp when I was on crutches) I constantly referred to other pedestrians in my head as “meat shields” when I was crossing and tried to keep the meat shield between me and the oncoming lane lol
                I got the lingo from RTS games like Starcraft.

            2. Deejay*

              On notalwaysright they talk about bad customers and bosses thinking of life as a roleplaying game. “I’m the Player Character and everyone else is just a Non-Player Character. A mindless drone controlled by the gamesmaster/computer following a fixed script”.

              1. I forgot my user name againn*

                I may not completely get the reference, but I’m having flashbacks to my district manager whose behavior can be described as someone who is playing the role of district manager in the high school production of retail store where the sound system isn’t that great so make sure you over annunciate your lines. “Hellooooo WELCOME to retail store”. Everytime.

          1. kicking-k*

            Yep. When I was young and waitressing at a hotel, I was asked for any scheduling preferences. I asked for anything but Sunday breakfasts if possible (I was hoping to get to church sometimes). I never DIDN’T get scheduled for Sunday breakfast, but two of the other wait staff were friends and had a more-or-less standing golf date together on Sunday morning. This irked me no end, but looking back, they’d been there a little longer, the manager knew them better (and they were all men…) and I was going off to college soonish. I guess, also, they may have had other golf buddies who only had time off then – nobody ever said!

            1. Michelle*

              This is something I’ve noticed happening a lot. I haven’t worked retail in a very long time, but I have several young adult aged kids, and a few of them have had managers who, if you ask not to be scheduled a particular day, they’ll turn around and make sure you ALWAYS work that day. It’s some kind of weird power trip, IMHO.

              Then there was the time my daughter and her wife worked at the same restaurant. They asked to be scheduled on opposite shifts so one of them could be home with the kids. Their boss threw a FIT. Actually told my daughter that I should just babysit the kids (for free) every weekend instead.

          2. Heffalump*

            I’ve heard of the punk band the Meat Puppets, and I assume this is where they got the name. All this time I’d been assuming they made up the name out of whole cloth.

            In the early 1990s I was trying to make a living through temporary word processing assignments and not really getting enough work to live on. There was an online workplace-issues columnist whose name I forget, and I poured out my frustrations in an email to her. I don’t know if she routinely wrote back to everyone who emailed her, but she wrote back to me. Among other things, she said, “Temp agencies see temps as a bunch of interchangeable bodies. The really sleazy agencies see their on-staff employees the same way.” Different phrasing, same concept.

            1. Resentful Oreos*

              Oh my gosh!! I haven’t thought of them in a long time! I was in college when Kurt Cobain brought them out on his MTV Unplugged appearance. I saw it one afternoon in the dorm lounge and used up all my calling card minutes contacting my friends to see if they knew he had the Meat Puppets on stage with him!

              On the leaving the job topic: My car had been broken into while at a concert. They took my house keys and my purse, along with my friends’ stuff too, from the trunk. So these thieves had my address and keys. I refused to leave my place until the locksmith changed the locks so I had to call in late for my cashier job. I was 8 days into this job and they refused to allow me an excused absence, I was planning on coming in three hours late for an 8hr shift. Instead of taking the write up I quit, deciding that I didn’t want to work for people who weren’t willing to take my safety seriously.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            I think this is spot on. Lower level employees, especially in retail, are either robots or potential shoplifters (if you go by the tests you’re given when you apply).

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              Gah, those tests! A combination of insulting your intelligence and insulting your character.

            2. works with realtors*

              What’s worse is when a person who was in a little bit of power in retail is your boss in the office world and thinks they know how to manage.

            3. House On The Rock*

              Many, many years ago when I had a college degree from a fairly prestigious school, but not much else to my name, I applied for a retail job and was given one of those tests. I was rejected for being “dishonest” because I (naively) thought that providing nuanced, thoughtful answers to their questions would win me points for being smart. Ha!

          4. Phryne*

            I can see another explanation. In uni, I worked selling coffee at a train station. Almost all the workers at all these kiosks at the station were college and uni students part timing. The hours were flexible and easy to arrange around lessons and it did not pay terrible, but it was a large enough town that there were always plenty other gigs. So workers there were all pretty much in the position where this was just a temporary part-time job which we knew we would leave as soon as we graduated, and in the meantime, if it sucked too much we knew we could always leave and find something else.
            The managers on the other hand, where people whose career this was, whose living and income depended on it and who were pretty much at their intellectual peak in this small time managing job, so there was not a lot of scope of advancement either here or elsewhere. So there was a huge disconnect between workers and management’s outlook on the seriousness of the job, and how bad it would be to lose it. Not so much that they did not see the workers as not human, just that they did not really live in the same reality.

            1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

              I like this framing and think you are right, but I also think that “not really living in the same reality” is the same as “not seeing other people as human” – like, recognising that someone else is human IS recognising that they have different experiences, priorities, realities.

        2. Anon Again... Naturally*

          20-*cough* years ago, my husband and I were just starting out and he was working retail. He told his boss over a year in advance that he would need a particular week off for his sister’s wedding and was assured it was no problem. We got the plane tickets, and then the day before we were scheduled to leave, another employee quit. Said boss then said the hubby needed to cancel his vacation, and used the same “priorities” line when he quit without notice instead.

          The wedding was lovely and he had a new retail job within a week of our return.

        3. Magenta Sky*

          I took over a store where my predecessor was like that. He would literally throw things at people (and being a hardware store, these were things like brass pipe fittings.)

          I was there two weeks before I met everyone face to face, because they literally hid from me. I couldn’t blame them.

        4. PresidentBob*

          For a few weeks before I graduated high school (2000), I worked at a grocery store as a bagger/cart-getter. The manager of the front end was the absolute worst when it came to “get your priorties straight.” Most of the employees were highschool students and we went through so many because she just flat out refused to honor said requests, especially for Important High School Things. Like, say, graduation (but also prom, plays, school events, etc). We’d joke that she’d look at our requests off and would purposely put us on it. I ended up quitting on the spot because she scheduled me for graduation. I mentioned this and she said “Your graduation isn’t important. You did all the work already, it’s just a piece of paper. The paper that counts now is your check.”

          On a final note – I had to have a manager override the system every time I clocked in. When I collected my final (very important) check, another person said they found out why – a manager of a different department fired me, without telling me, because I didn’t immediately get out of his way when he started going down the stairs I was going up by turning around, going back down, and letting him pass.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            That is bananapants. Like, all the bananas in that store were secretly running things.

          2. Chesire Cat*

            Is this the same manager wouldn’t give their best worker her college graduation off? Really hoping that there aren’t two bosses with that attitude!

            1. Goody*

              Oh, there are definitely lots of bosses with that attitude. We just don’t get to hear about most of them.

            2. Fishsticks*

              I still think about that LW all the time. Like, how did you write that long of a letter, with those details in it, and NOT realize halfway through, “Holy God, I’m the bad guy”?!

              1. Heffalump*

                “My employee wasn’t respectful enough after the company messed up her paycheck” doesn’t get the self-awareness prize either.

                AITA? Yes, YATA.

        5. Algernon*

          My little nieces think that I have a less important job than their other aunts and uncles. Why? Because I can call off at short notice if the kids need something and their other relatives can’t. I haven’t tried to explain that the opposite is true.

          1. Jayne*

            I am in academia and my mother had a medical episode. My siblings treat my job as less that either the one’s retirement and the other’s job because I was able to start driving the eleven hours to her retirement center after one email to my supervisor.

            Of course, in response, I despise the one for refusing to cut his vacation short to help and the other one who couldn’t be bothered to take time off his job for the first week and his vacation for the second week.

            Academia has many, many problems, but at my place, you can prioritize your family over your work.

            We have had people go to lunch and not come back, usually people who were in corporate and don’t expect the tolerance for weirdness and weird people that is academia.

        6. Steve for Work Purposes*

          I had a similar thing happen to me in college. I was in my last semester of undergrad, I’d already worked at this one small town law office for a year (as a receptionist/filing clerk/translator/general dogsbody) and halfway through the semester my manager tells me she needs me to start coming in on Wednesday afternoons when I’d said I was unavailable due to classes. She told me I was graduating anyways, why not just skip it? She needed me Wednesday and she also needed me to start coming in on Saturdays as well to do filing. I told her that wasn’t feasible either as Saturdays I was taking a different course (and when I wasn’t in that course, I was doing my homework for my other classes). She got mad at me for not telling her I had a class that day when I hadn’t put it on my availability either (the office was never open weekends so I didn’t see it as relevant) and how I was being inconvenient and irresponsible and college students were so unreliable and how unprofessional this all was, and then told me I could pick up my last paycheck that Friday. When I came to pick it up, she told me I was being let go because they found “too many errors” in my work (but couldn’t name any specific ones that I’d made when I asked). Funny thing is, if she had waited like 6 weeks she could have had me full time all summer until I moved cross-country to grad school.

          She thought it’d be brilliant to hire undergrads as receptionists/dogsbodies etc because we’d be accept $10/hour, but then got really frustrated when we had class schedules and so couldn’t be at her beck and call whenever she felt like it. She also told us it was unprofessional to discuss pay with each other and I actually got written up for it, so I think part of it was also taking advantage of people who weren’t very experienced, and using the fact that she was a lawyer to intimidate us. But she was also really frustrated that I didn’t back down when she tried to intimidate me into skipping classes because it was more convenient for her.

            1. Phryne*

              To be fair, this site specifically collects stories of unpleasant workplaces. No one writes for advice on how to deal with the best boss in the world.

              1. Laser99*

                You are correct, of course. I would like to suggest a “Best Bosses” in addition to the “Worst Bosses”.

              2. Avery*

                Yep. And it’s specifically unpleasant incidents and problems in the workplace that are collected, so even if a person really is a good boss 99% of the time, you’re going to hear about the 1% of the time where they’re causing problems here.
                Relatedly: my boss, a lawyer, doesn’t have the best reputation among other lawyers in his field. I think people think that he’s stuck-up, or a know-it-all, or something along those lines? To me, though, he’s the best boss I’ve ever had… but then, that’s exactly why I’m unlikely to write to AAM about him, while colleagues who had an issue or disagreement with him might well submit letters about that. (And I’ve written to AAM before myself about previous bosses that weren’t so good…)

        7. goddessoftransitory*

          Retail management is this bizarre pocket universe where managers are in a Schrodinger’s Box of having both massive and no power at the same time. I think it messes with their brains to the point where they just gorble and snap at anything that might bring Corporate down their necks.

          It’s commonest in big chain stores, where they’re between the Scylla of trying to actually manage the physical space and Charibdis of higher up dictates and policies.

        8. Michelle*

          I’ve mentioned this here before, but when my son was in high school, his manager at his part-time, minimum wage grocery store job regularly scheduled him to work 8 hour shifts starting at 8am on school days. I don’t know what part of “I’m 16 and in high school” was confusing for her. Then she’d make him find coverage when he couldn’t skip school to work.

          Eventually she figured it out, but then summer started and she kept scheduling him for after school hours only. He didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to have to explain everything again when school started back up.

      4. Anon for this*

        I have never understood retail scheduling. Some stores do it really well, and others…not so much. They ask for your availability, so you’d think they would note this somewhere important?

        1. Le Sigh*

          My experience, at least in the US, is they want to minimize costs, which includes having as few employees as possible in general (and scheduling as few as human possibly at a for each shift, and then they get mad when theft increases). They want employees available whenever they’re needed, whether for a scheduled shift or last-minute call to come in. They don’t provide consistent schedules to anyone (making it very hard to balance it with a second job, nevermind they’re not paying you enough to live on and keep you just under full-time), they “forget” about agreed-upon scheduling needs or requests for a day off and then make you fight to take it off, and very quickly shunt out the door at the slightest issue. A lot of that is about corporate — I’ve had some lovely but hamstrung managers, and some awful managers — but I can’t say much nice about major retailers.

          1. Anon for this*

            This has been my experience as well. I currently have a second, part time job at a well-known retailer who has the schedule thing figured out. They also treat their employees decently, which was a nice surprise. But this is definitely not the norm, unfortunately.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Yeah they exist but they’re rare. Especially if you live in an area with fewer employment options.

              And this isn’t even new or a post-pandemic thing. My experiences with retail are 10+ years ago. And judging from the comments here and the experiences of people I know who are currently in retail, the details might change but the general problem hasn’t.

          2. Looper*

            I currently work for a major US retailer and yes, this is it completely. I like the people who work within the 4 walls of my store but corporate leadership are ghouls.

            1. Le Sigh*

              Yup. Sometimes it is in fact the managers, but more often than not, they’re just trying their best in a tough job. I was asked more than once if I was interested in an asst manager’s job and I never took them up on it. As far as I could see, it was a steadier paycheck, but not a lot more money and likely not a living wage. The benefits were still pretty bad (if they had them at all) and the hours were so, so much worse — bc now you’re salary, no overtime, so they don’t care how many hours you’re working, and and you’re stuck trying to make a store run on not enough resources, knowing there’s almost no way to make corporate happy. The only managers I met who didn’t seem stressed out were people who just have some sort of natural zen to maintain calm or were stealing from the store, so they didn’t really care.

            2. MigraineMonth*

              I re-watched the Muppet Christmas Carol this year and struggled to remember why I thought Scrooge was so evil when I was young. Sure, he didn’t pay his employees a living wage, foreclosed on people who couldn’t make their mortgage payments, and kept the offices cold, but he did give all his employees a paid vacation day. Better than many corporations.

              1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

                Yeah, the main difference between Scrooge and the corporate brass at many big companies is Scrooge was grumpy and upfront about it, while big corporations put up cheerful signs about how much they care! about their employees! and their customers! while providing lousy workplaces and lousy customer service.

                1. HG*

                  I would love a modern adaptation of Scrooge as a disingenuous small business owner who pathetically thinks his employees are his family while underpaying them, constantly violates labor laws he doesn’t know anything about, and complains that no one wants to work anymore when the unemployment rate goes low.

          3. Laser99*

            I can confirm this. I used to work for CVS and corporation was constantly pushing to “reduce payroll”. The last time I was in one I asked the counter person for help finding something. “I can’t help you, my co-worker is on break and there’s no one else here.” This is a national chain we’re talking about. Oh, and the theft was through the roof bc there were so few employees around.

            1. Le Sigh*

              I had to ditch CVS for my prescriptions. It was never good before the pandemic, but it seemed to get a million times worse post-lockdowns (I know this is an industry-wide staffing problem but I swear it was so much worse at CVS). The pharmacists and techs were nice, they worked hard, but I kept having issues with refills, they would take far too long to get filled so I would run out, etc. At one point an issue came up that could have potentially been medically dangerous for me that had been overlooked for quite some time. At that point, I just cut my losses for fear there would be a dangerous mix-up one day.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                I try to avoid them even for basic stuff but I can’t, always.

                Same with Walgreens — they backed a pharmacist who refused to fill a legal prescription for a woman ACTIVELY having a miscarriage because Jesus.

                1. sagewhiz*

                  It is worse at both CVS and Walgreens. I recently heard an interview with a DOCTOR—not nurse or med office staff—put on hold for hours at each when trying to help patients. And not bc staffing isn’t available. Bc the co’s refuse to hire enough staff.

                2. a good mouse*

                  In a lot of areas, those are the only pharmacies available. A lot of smaller independent pharmacies were pushed out of business, and some insurance agencies deeply restrict where you can fill prescriptions. I had Aetna in Florida, and one day got a notice that if I wanted my medication covered, I could only get it from CVS. Luckily there was one near my office since there was nothing around my home.

                3. Autumn*

                  The Target based CVS and a local Walgreens pharmacy both refuse to answer the phone at times. I presume because of poor staffing. I wanted to ask a question and, because I can be stubborn, I let it ring for 20 minutes. I never got an answer. I also don’t go into that Walgreens…

                  The CVS in target I only know about 2nd hand. They used to be ok. But now often only have a single pharmacist on.

                4. VivaVaruna*

                  I get my prescriptions filled through Wegmans (a grocery chain on the East Coast). They have a whole branch of their pharmacy that is mail order only, and will ship anywhere in the US. IIRC, you don’t need to start your prescriptions at a brick and mortar location to be able to use the service, or need to live anywhere near the store itself. I lived in an area that didn’t have any locations for a while and didn’t have a problem getting my scripts filled, one of which was a schedule II ADHD med.

              2. works with realtors*

                Fun fact: you do not need to be a Costco member to use their pharmacy – they’re probably the least evil of the big chains if you want to support that kind of thing.

                1. Bruce*

                  I get good service at grocery store pharmacies (Lucky and now Safeway), so much better than the big pharmacy chains

              3. In the middle of nowhere*

                The CVS in my town was featured in the NYT for having a 20%(!!!) error rate I filling prescriptions.

            2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

              Theft is through the roof in general in my city and the response at grocery stores and pharmacies has been primarily to lock up often-stolen items (I’m not talking just the top-shelf liquor, but also the dish soap and toothpaste) so the customer has to push a button to summon an already-spread-too-thin employee to come unlock the cabinet. This means spending time waiting around in the toiletries aisle and also longer wait times at the checkout because the checkers are helping someone else get shampoo.

              1. JSPA*

                so one person pings for shampoo, then changes their mind, while a buddy grabs what they actually needed?

              2. birb*

                I couldn’t buy an under $10 iphone charger at a Wal-Mart last week unless an employee was called to unlock a glass case, and then I had to check out with just the phone cord in the electronics department because they can’t let you leave with it unpaid. The first employee I found couldn’t help me or even call for someone to help me with the case because they didn’t get allotted a radio. It’s absolutely absurd.

            3. Lydia*

              The theft thing is so aggravating. It is because of the lack of employees in the store, but instead of scheduling enough people, they put things behind locked doors (which is even more annoying because there aren’t enough staff around to unlock them), hire armed security guards, and put up barriers so it’s more difficult to leave. Gosh, the self-check-out lines make it really easy to walk out with merchandise? Maybe staffed check-out lines are better.

              1. a good mouse*

                Or just close the stores all together, in areas where they might not only be the only place to get these sorts of items, but the only pharmacy in the area.

              2. Michelle Smith*

                Especially since shoplifting and organized retail theft are a dramatically overexaggerated non-problem that the National Retail Federation admitted they lied about. Retail theft is actually down, so it’s not the reason these places are closing stores, but they published the lie so often in the news that people believed it.

              3. Leira*

                My local grocery store closed all the self checkout lines (I secondhand heard an explanation that managers can jump on those lanes if it’s busy) and there was only one checkout lane staffed. The cashier was trying to leave, but people kept coming up because she was the only one there. But there’s still security guards, and shiny new gates at the front of the store, and sometimes someone standing up front to advertise their rewards program.

            4. The Cosmic Avenger*

              The CVS closest to me is like that. But if I drive 10 minutes past that one, there’s one where, somehow, the employees are all helpful and pleasant. So I always drive to the further one when I need to go, I will NOT go in the crappy one any more.

            5. Long time gone*

              Long’s Drug-stan here. I was so furious when CVS bought them out and I found out how awful they were in comparison, I have seldom darkened their door since. Long’s was awesome! (at least from a consumer experience) CVS is the opposite in almost every way.

            6. WLP*

              I was in CVS not to long ago and had a coupon issue at self-checkout that seized up the transaction. There was one person there, but they were a vendor stocking product. Said there was no one there this morning manning the front since they had gotten there & wasn’t sure what was going on. They tried helping me, but it was hopeless. Only people in the entire store were in pharmacy in the way back.

          4. goddessoftransitory*

            And the pandemic drop in employment in retail and hospitality doesn’t seem to have changed much as far as those policies are concerned!

          5. Goody*

            Add in the fact that available payroll hours are determined by sales volumes.

            I had a manager once tell me that the starting hours for a pay period are determined by LAST YEAR’s sales. If sales are low (say, because there’s a storm and the roads aren’t safe), the store manager will send people home or cancel shifts last minute to save payroll hours. And while it would seem that higher than expected sales volumes (say, preparing for that storm) would generate more staffing hours, that never seems to result in actually getting more staff in the store.

        2. PresidentBob*

          It was easy at my movie theatre manager job. The person’s availability was entered into the scheduling program. It would automatically set-it up for that person. Either was white for available or darkened out for not. That’s just what it was unless they e-mailed the dedicated address for changes, overall or one-offs. The manager who saw it would fix it in the system and e-mail back that it was noted.
          Both parties had proofs if there was a goof-up, and accountability via the e-mail chain.

          1. Le Sigh*

            That sounds like a dream. Part of what was maddening to me is it’s *possible* to have a decent scheduling system (as you know!). But it felt like no one cared or bothered, and the consequences flowed downward. My friends currently in retail have apps they’re supposed to use…which work about as well as a bike without wheels.

            1. PresidentBob*

              The job was great overall, too. We had a great GM who hired a fantastic management team (with some exceptions of course). This GM was in the business for so long, but really put his employees first. Very much was a “happy employees mean happy customers”. Very fair and friendly, and he made it a great place to work.
              He would not put up with corporate shenanigans, and would step in between them and us if he thought we were right in a complaint or not following a policy he thought was dumb (he would also listen to constructive criticism from his underlings to how the theatre worked). He would purposely over-schedule so we’d not be SOL for call-outs or if busier than expected. As a movie theatre, sometimes things over perform from estimates, and we were one of the busiest locations of the company, and we did more than average for sci-fi movies.
              Sorry for long block of text, but in a post filled with awful managers and corporate cultures, it’s nice to yell out “my former boss was great!”

            2. Autofill Contact*

              Yes, 15 years ago I was a scheduling supervisor at a big box store and our app was AWFUL. I’m pretty sure I had to manually override almost every single shift it scheduled. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some of these retail managers just take the automated schedule and post it without giving it any thought.

          2. Chick-n-Boots*

            Yep. This is how it worked at the bigger retail store I was a manager for in the early 2000’s. That program was a dream and so much better than the paper and pencil worksheets I’d had to use at the prior job!

          3. WearAllTheHats*

            You’d think they’d all use that! But even if they do, sometimes there aren’t enough resources to cover it. I literally have to quit reading this thread, it’s making me enraged.

            1. WearAllTheHats*

              Clarification to first comment: enraged not because people don’t have availability and managers can’t schedule them but because corps are so egregious in their handling of what should be simple sh** in order to save $5k a year on a billion in revenues.

              1. Rex Libris*

                I forget where, but I read about an experiment years ago where researchers mailed random checks for miniscule amounts (like 2-7 dollars) to some randomly selected people, and also a bunch of millionaire and billionaire CEOs. I’m sure you’re unsurprised that the CEOs were far more likely to go to the trouble of cashing the checks.

        3. AnotherOne*

          and a lot is managers. are managers willing to come in and cover if they need to, so employees can go and handle their lives?

          I worked retail when i was in college at a big box book store that is still around. they had a standing policy that you couldn’t take blocks of vacation at Christmas. a rule I knew nothing about. i very innocently told my department manager when my christmas break was and she just told me to have a good time visiting my family.

          i mean- they were already hiring for the holidays, what was one more person? I’d be back in January. but i look back on my time in that store really fondly and a lot of that was because of the management, especially early on.

        4. Starbuck*

          It’s so wacky because it’s actually easier to do it right! At my college student job doing food service, they’d ask for everyone’s shift availability at the beginning of the quarter, then give us our shifts based on that for the next three months. They only had to re-do the whole schedule four times a year! And it made it much easier to plan around people asking for occasional shifts off. I kept that job all four years of college because management clearly knew well how to work with students. It was great.

      5. Random Biter*

        Target is notorious for this kind of stuff. My daughter had applied as a part time thing and told the hiring person she wasn’t available these days at this time because she was already working full time. Even though they had said they’d work with her over her schedule they ended up telling her nope, you either work the schedule we give you or you’re gone. She noped on outta there.

      6. Michelle Smith*

        I had a similar experience with Target!! I was told when Target hired me that they would accommodate my desire to keep both of my jobs (I was making $5.15 an hour in fast food working around 30 hours a week), scheduling me only at night and on the weekends. Instead, they just put me on the schedule for whenever and said I had to work that schedule or quit, so I quit and kept the food service job. That boss was great enough to give me a raise up to $5.50 but it was still 50 cents less than I would have made at Target. The job was so much worse though that it wasn’t worth it.

    3. Peon*

      Yeah, the only job I quit THAT quickly was also retail. It was a new mall store so the first two days it was a lot of unpacking and folding clothes, and it was after I’d had a full day of classes at college, which my boss knew. She made a comment about being tired, and I agreed it had been a long day. She responded with a snarky remark about how SOME people had been doing REAL work all day.

      I decided I really didn’t want to work for her and told her fine, find someone else to help with the REAL work and walked out. I came back a week later for my pay check and that was it; I already had a new job in the same mall.

      I had a bunch of jobs at different stores at that mall and they all eventually showed their crazy, it just took longer at some then others.

    4. Macropodidae*

      I am a widow with minor child. At the time he was 13 so could reliably walk home from school and get snacks for himself, so I said I could work occasional late shifts but would prefer not to and would need advance notice.

      This was as a pharmacy tech in a retail store. Day 3, I successfully shelved the entire drug delivery alone, while also working the register and doing training modules. KILLING IT. Like literally, the 3PM person came in and said, “Where is the delivery?” “Macropodidae finished it.”

      Day 4? The head pharmacist changed my schedule from 9-3 to 11-7. I never went back.

    5. Sarah U.*

      I was serving at a local restaurant for the summer before my new teaching gig. I bought my uniform (about ~$100) and showed up fresh-faced and ready to learn to my first day of training. Walked in and immediately had a flashback of emptying the grease trap while gagging when I was a server in high school. Food at this new summer job was crap. And then I asked how much a server made on an average dinner shift. $35. Thirty-five dollars in tips (for reference my rent was $700/month to rent a room). I went on my break, called my new teaching job and said “Now that I think about it, I AM interested in teaching summer school.” Went back into the restaurant and quit and they couldn’t give two hoots. I was stuck with a $100 uniform, a much higher paying summer job, and an easier school year because I had prepped my classes during summer school.

  3. IT Kat*

    In my teen years, I was looking for a job – any job. Got a job selling magazines over the phone to people who didn’t opt out of their credit card company selling their info. Did training for half the day (shadowing someone while they made calls) while the trainer complained that my questions slowed her down. Second half of the day I was thrown on the phones. On break, I went to my “supervisor” and told them that I couldn’t take it, I quit. He said “What do I put down, ‘you couldn’t take it’?” I said yes and walked out.

    Suite was empty next time I walked by (this was in the mall).

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Ha! I love that you told your supervisor he could put down “I couldn’t take it” as the reason for quitting!

    2. Former Retail Manager*

      This was literally my very first job! Found it via a newspaper ad in the 90’s. I also quit at the end of the first day. The way the script was written basically got the person to agree to a bunch of magazine subscriptions, at ridiculous prices, if they answered “yes” to a certain number of questions in a row. It all struck me as very unethical and most of the people who answered were elderly and seemed lonely and only stayed on the phone because they wanted human connection. The lady who sat next to me said she hated the job but had kids to feed. I gave her the only $20 I had on me at the end of my shift and just never went back. I didn’t feel that they deserved an explanation.

      The only cool part of it was the job was in an old bank building and the manager sat in the old bank vault, which was the first time I’d seen a bank be repurposed and they kept the vault….it was the mid 90’s.

      1. Shift Work*

        The town I work in has a bakery in an old bank building, complete with old vault. It is call “The Bankery” :)

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          There is (or used to be, anyway) an old bank in Harvard Square that got turned into an ice cream shop. You could sit in the vault and eat ice cream! It was so cool! It might now be the location of Mike’s Pastry in HarSq but not being a fan of cannoli I haven’t been inside to be sure, nor am I located within walking distance anymore. (If you ARE a fan of cannoli, you should definitely go to Mike’s.)

          1. Unladen European Swallow*

            This space has gone through a few different restaurants. It is now the Hourly Oyster Bar and very good. We ordered the seafood tower one time with friends. Spendy, but worth it! They have a nice large bar as well and make good cocktails.

        2. Formerly*

          My office building used to be a bank. The huge vault is now the lunch cafeteria, which is also open to people from outside the building. The only downside is that there’s obviously no daylight.

          The big room where the tellers used to work is now a clothes store. The floor where the bank managers used to work is still much fancier than the rest of the offices, and you can look down into the clothes store a floor below through a huge window.

        3. NotAnotherManager!*

          Last time I was in Boston, we stopped by a drugstore in an old bank building, and they had the vault open and some museum-like signage around it explaining its history. It was pretty cool that the left it available to the public.

            1. Bay Stater*

              NotAnotherManager! is probably referring to the Walgreens at 24 School St in Boston. I went there when it was a Borders bookstore and they had a book display in the vault.

            2. Cranky-saurus Rex*

              Not the person who replied, but I used to work in Boston, and I think this is the Walgreens on the corner of Washington and School St, across the street from the Old South Meeting House. My office was just down the street and at the time they had home goods in the vault.

        4. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

          Vancouver has a new event space in an old bank called The Vault! I think the vault itself often has a small second sound system going, as well as the larger space. It sounds really neat, but there’s zero airflow in there so I won’t be able to see it for a while yet.

        5. BatManDan*

          Charlottesville VA has a co-working space in an old bank. My town, Columbia SC, has a lofts-style apartment building in an old bank. One tenant has the actual vault as his bedroom. Up the street, a Sheraton in an old bank, bar in the old vault.

      2. Jessica*

        In Cambridge, MA there used to be a Herrell’s ice cream shop in Harvard Square that was in a former bank building. You could kind of tell that the counter where they scooped the ice cream used to be where the tellers were. And they kept the vault! You could eat ice cream in it! There was a massive permanently open vault door, and they had painted the interior of the vault like you were under the sea (leaning into the slightly claustrophobic vibe in a cool way!), and there were a few tables and chairs in there. There were more in the former lobby, so you didn’t have to eat your ice cream in the vault, but you could, and it was fun. This was also the 80s/90s.

      3. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Yeah, I think my brother also had a job like this, selling encyclopedias or something. He felt so bad that the only sale he’d made that day was to an old guy who just wanted to talk that he quit at the end of day 1.

      4. Turtlewings*

        I used to work at a library that was in a former bank building. The YA section was in the vault!

      5. kicking-k*

        I’ve been to several pubs in old banks (including vault) in the UK, and I once worked for a banking archive which had repurposed a vault as a archive repository. It was certainly secure! And opening the big door was pretty cool.

        1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

          Shout out to the Midland in Bearwood, Birmingham! Can’t drink in the vault, but the ex-bank atmosphere is perfect.

      6. sb51*

        There’s a grocery store in Cleveland that has back offices in an old vault – for MCU fans, it’s where they filmed the Winter Soldier chair scenes in before the grocery store took over the old bank building. (It’s also just a drop-dead stunningly gorgeous old building now that the grocery has restored it, though I’m not actually sure if you can see any of the vault as a customer.)

      7. Nancie*

        My mom’s childhood church purchased the vacant next door bank building back in the 70s or 80s. For a while, one of the Sunday school classes was held in the vault.

      8. Actually, WTF*

        I worked at a place like that too, in the late 90’s, for one day. Turns out it was a scam that I read about in the newspaper a couple of months later. The script was the WORST! It had objections for everything, including how to overcome an objection if a spouse has recently died.

    3. Miss Thymia*

      I was in a similar position at my university, their call center asking alumni for donations. Had one day of orientation and training — listening in on calls, role playing calls, and making a couple real calls by the end of it.

      But I hated every minute, so I just never went back. I never got a call or anything about why I ghosted. I’m guessing it happened frequently enough that no one cared.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        My school’s alumni association has tracked me through going on forty years of moves. I joined it right after graduation because it gave me library privileges through the entire state system. Once I moved out of state that no longer was relevant, so I let it lapse. I have never notified them of any change of address since, meaning that they have paid good money to chase after me. I feel not the least urge to send them any, but back when I would get the occasional phone call from one of the students I was polite as I declined the honor.

        1. OMG It's 2024*

          I love the John Mulaney bit about this. “I paid you over a hundred thousand dollars to go to your school and you’re asking me for MORE MONEY?”

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            I can see two scenarios where someone might reasonably give the college money out of sheer sentiment: A small school where everyone, students and faculty, knew each other and this was a grand shared experience, or a football school where the donor regards this as paying back for a winning record. I loved college. I can honestly say that it was one of the happiest periods of my life, with the freedom of adulthood but without the responsibilities, and with a tightknit circle of friends spending practically all our free time together. But the school itself was a large state school with a student body in the tens of thousands. I have no sentimental attachment to the institution itself.

            1. OMG It's 2o24*

              True, and I get it, but also, SO MANY schools have enough in endowments etc… that every student could attend for free, and they make so much on athletic programs, etc… I left with 60K in student loans. I was NOT about to give MY college any more money for sure! And of course, John Mulaney is much funnier than I am ;)

          2. Zephy*

            That’s more or less what I said the last time the alumni relations office called me to hit me up for donations. I pinky-promise I’m not going to forget where I went to college, so if I should ever find myself in a position to make a donation, I’ll call you. To their credit, no one has called me in ten years.

            1. AnonORama*

              I’m always nice to the students who call asking for donations, because I remember some of my friends doing it for their work-study jobs and being miserable. I do have to admit that one year I said I was renovating the house and couldn’t donate, which was semi-true (I did have to cut back on donations, although I wouldn’t have donated to my college even if I’d had the money). Fine for then, but I’ve used that line now for at least 15 years, including the 10+ since I sold that house! I’m not a fan of lying in general, but it’s quick, polite and understandable.

            2. goddessoftransitory*

              I get hit up occasionally from my old school (online) and snort at the idea. Funny how you couldn’t track me down for the reunion but the alumni fundraising office had no trouble, school.

        2. elle*

          I flunked out of my first attempt at college (small community college) due to too much partying. They now send me the alumni newsletter and regular requests for $$$, just as if i actually graduated. *shrug*

        3. Some People’s Children*

          I try to be polite since they are students trying to pay for school. I made a girl cry one year when I agreed to let her update my info so they’d stop bugging my mom. She started crying when I wouldn’t actually give money. Apparently she made more money herself if I actually gave money.

        4. Jonathan MacKay*

          Could be worse – Two years after I graduated, and the same year my ex-fiancee cut all ties with me, I got a letter from my school’s alumni org addressed to us both. That was an ‘entertaining’ phone call, because I was talking to someone who knew us both pretty well, so it was almost hilarious to hear their reaction to my issue – forget bending over backwards apologizing, this was akin to body origami!

      2. LAM*

        The call center army university overscheduled almost nights and sent a number of people home if they had more people show up than phones. Toward the end of my lone semester, I volunteered to go home most days because I hated core of the work. I’m lying, I do like data entry and didn’t mind the data portion. I didn’t like the fake small talk.

        We did get to go on some cool tours and meet key figures to help us the different schools, programs, history, etc. And we got free food multiple times a month. I guess that helped with retention a bit as it seemed they just wanted enough warm bodies to make it through the semester. We had some people quit end of the semester, but I’m surprised most made it. Especially as it was in the early aughts.

        I went to work in the campus bookstore and library/archives/museum afterward. So much better for my sanity and resume.

    4. bishbah*

      My one-day telemarketing job was selling subscriptions to the city’s major opera company on commission. Good product (if niche), non-scummy tactics, but I knew firmly by the end of day one that it was Not For Me. I told my supervisor on the way out that I would not be back and she didn’t look surprised or particularly disappointed.

      Not longer after I had another job that involved cold-calling and I only stomached it because it was not 100% of the job, my success at it didn’t directly impact my pay, and the campaign was of short duration.

  4. Goose*

    Got an internship right out of college–it didn’t pay but they promised there would be space for a full time job soon. Learned on my first day that instead of writing content, we were writing SEO articles on “Top Five Rooftop Bars” and other stuff to lead people to the main website that sold…. something. I halfheartedly wrote one piece, then quit over email.

    1. Knope*

      Okay, but this is a legit content writing job. That’s a decent intern gig for those interested in becoming writers/communication professionals. SEO writing is a huge thing and almost all companies look for these skills. Perhaps this company was not one you were passionate about, but the concepts learned here would have been highly transferrable to another company.

        1. Swiss Army Them*

          listicles are actually where most content writers start. they’re a simple way to learn SEO basics while also producing fairly easy content. they’re also hard to mess up; you’re not gonna give an intern an article that represents the company’s ethos and thought leadership. from the reader side, yeah, listicles aren’t great, but they’re really excellent practice for beginning content writers. SEO writing isn’t intuitive.

      1. Starbuck*

        Still good that they quit because I highly doubt it was a non-profit they were writing SEO listicles for so there’s no way this was a legal unpaid internship.

    2. Belle*

      It sounds like this would have been writing content – just not content that you agreed with or found valuable. Totally understand it wasn’t a good fit for you but definitely could be for other interns.

    3. Swiss Army Them*

      As someone who works in content and SEO, though, that IS content writing. I’m honestly curious about what you were expecting. The vast majority of entry-level writing jobs are for marketing blogs and SEO purposes. Yeah, soulless listicles aren’t exactly fulfilling to write, but they are content and do serve a purpose. I started out writing those things and now I’m far enough in my writing career to craft interesting and fulfilling pieces to read, but still serve a marketing purpose.

      The fact is, you can write an excellent article for a blog. and pour your whole soul into it. But if you don’t know SEO basics, no one will see it. It’s not for you, but it is valuable.

      Were you thinking you would be writing pieces more akin to thought leadership? Because entry-level copywriters or interns rarely write those, they’re saved for leadership.

      1. Swiss Army Them*

        Also, “Five Rooftop Bars to Try” is the exact kind of assignment you would give an unpaid intern, so that their paid writers can craft the richer pieces. Again, totally fine if that isn’t for you, but I think this is a case of you misunderstanding the content writing industry.

        1. Starbuck*

          A for-profit content writing business shouldn’t be using unpaid interns for tasks like this. They also failed one of the other requirements for offering an unpaid internship by lying about the possibility of a job afterwards:

          “Courts have identified the following factors as part of the test:”

          “The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.”

      2. k*

        It is certainly a legit job, but it’s one that actively makes the internet less usable and has contributed massively to the current decline in the usability of search engines (see: Cory Doctorow and the concept of platform decay with regard to Google Search). The writing is often low-quality and keyword-stuffed, and imo can be borderline unethical if content is not clearly marked as advertising/marketing. I don’t blame anyone for having philosophical problems with it or not wanting to produce it, especially unpaid.

        1. FionasHuman*

          Thank you! I’m a journalist and writer, and have been quietly seething reading the comments about how “content” writing supposedly serves a useful purpose. You have responded not only correctly, but with far more tact and grace than I would be able to manage. “Content,” including now the sewer of AI-spewed garbage, is leading to the enshitification (another Doctorow term) of the internet well beyond social media.

          1. Florp*

            Yeah, this drives me nuts. Half my Google searches these days return long essays on websites that are just stuffed with SEO spam or scraped from other people’s content. I just read a how-to article that stopped halfway through the steps (I guess it hit its target word count) and another was a wall of text that included the same unfinished sentence repeated in each paragraph. Probably most of them are AI generated. Meanwhile, I’m writing relevant high-quality content about a specific product I make, and Google dings me for not writing enough filler.

            Also, props to the Doctorow fans.

        2. Emma*

          Agreed, but we’re now entering an even worse phase with this stuff: where it won’t even serve the side purpose of helping people get a start in the writing industry, because it will all be produced by LLMs at horrifying environmental cost.

    4. Nameless*

      Isn’t an “unpaid internship” for someone who’s no longer a student just fraud (at least in the US)? My understanding is that internships have to be compensated with credit hours if they’re not paid, and if you’re no longer a student…

      1. Avery*

        It’s not necessarily fraud, but it’s suspect at least. An unpaid internship is only legal if it benefits the intern more than the company; the exact details of what qualifies can get hazy, but giving interns school credit is an easy way to a) give them something tangible for their work and b) connect it back to their school and education. Without that… it’s possible that an internship could still be legal, that they really are teaching an intern more than just using their work output for free, but a lot of the unpaid internships out there don’t actually live up to the criteria that would make them legal. As with so much else in labor law, the trouble is in getting it enforced when many employees either don’t know or don’t care about the laws being broken…

    5. BecauseHigherEd*

      I used to do this! To be fair, SEO is a factor in a lot of content writing nowadays, even if it’s not explicitly about marketing. It also taught me a TON about churning out good-enough content on a short timeline. Not a forever-job but definitely a good way to earn your stripes!

      1. BecauseHigherEd*

        Adding also–my husband is a marketer. A lot of “articles” you read today (even on news sites like The Guardian) are really just ads that have been sponsored by private companies with tons of sexy little keywords built in.

    6. Ancient Llama*

      For us non-writers, what is an SEO? Also how does an “content writer” differ? Legitimate question, but the 2 words together aren’t making sense to me. Are you a content writer if you write articles for a newspaper, including their website? Is writing the material for a retail company’s website not content because it is advertising? What about opinion pieces, advice columns or humor for a newspaper website? To me all those things are “content,” thus my confusion.

      1. Hi-C*

        I don’t have a good answer regarding content writer, because I kind of feel the same way. but SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, it is a way of using key words and phrases so your page will be a top Google result.

      2. BecauseHigherEd*

        You’re 100% correct–it’s all content writing. SEO is just a form of optimizing the content.

  5. red flag anon*

    I once had a supervisor in a call center spend my entire first day of training telling me (very dull) stories about her personal life and listing all of my soon-to-be coworkers and giving reasons why I shouldn’t trust each one. I should’ve left that day but unfortunately I stuck around for three horrendously toxic years.

      1. Technically a Former Director*

        “Have you ever quit on your first day? (**Or should you have?**)”

        Seems to fit the second half. :)

    1. FricketyFrack*

      Honestly, all call center jobs would probably warrant quitting on the first day. I’ve worked at 2 and they were both horrifically toxic because the job itself kind of sucks and the monitoring is so OTT that it’s usually the worst people who stay long enough to make it to management, and they perpetuate the cycle. I worked at the first one for almost 3 years and I wish I’d never even applied.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I had a friend who was extremely embarrassed by her retail job at a clothing boutique. (I never understood why it was so embarrassing; something about it being in a mall?). She told me she’d found a new, more prestigious job with growth opportunities… in a call center.

        I still don’t understand why she thought it was an upgrade.

      2. Bananaphone*

        I quit a job in my first shift. it was for adults with disabilities and they did not tell me I would need to transfer people who could not weight bear out of their wheelchair by myself. I couldn’t do it, and I was a very young not very strong person with absolutely no training. I also couldn’t reach my supervisor for help. this is over 30 years in my past so I barely remember what happened.

        1. pedant*

          “they did not tell me I would need to transfer people who could not weight bear out of their wheelchair by myself”

          what the unholy heck? how would even go about doing this without hurting themselves AND the client? I’ve worked 25 years with people who use wheelchairs, and I am at a loss, unless these adults weighed 65 lbs!

  6. Non techie tech editor*

    I did data entry for 4 days as a second job many years ago. I’d leave my day job, grab something to eat on the way, and report to the second job where I sat in a silent cubicle with hardly another person in sight and type for 4 hours. After 4 days I couldn’t take the mind numbing boredom and told my boss on my way out I wouldn’t be back.

    1. Spicy Tuna*

      I don’t know, a silent cubicle with no other people around for 4 hours sounds pretty sweet to me!

      1. Lenora Rose*

        It really really depends on the data entry.
        Entering a bunch of different data into a system, with some discernment needed, ideally with music allowed? Sure, I’d do it. Even enjoy it for stretches. It’s an easy job to not take home. I did a lot of temp jobs like that and even liked it.

        Entering the exact same code over and over into each already existing data line on the same system for hundreds upon hundreds of lines because the spreadsheet is proprietary and the (not-small, very solvent) business is literally unwilling to buy a $500 upgrade that will let them fill that info and any future such items into all lines in one shot? I literally sang every song on some of my favourite albums to myself to try and drill through and was still miserable. I called that one soul-killing when I asked the temp agency if I could be assigned to a different task. (I’d done other data entry and filing for the same company, but it was nowhere near that horrid. Although that’s also the company that caused me to lose my wedding ring, so I can’t say they’re on my favourites list.)

        1. Happily Retired*

          “Although that’s also the company that caused me to lose my wedding ring, so I can’t say they’re on my favourites list…”

          OK, I’m sorry, but I really need to hear the rest of THIS story!

    2. king of the pond*

      This would be my ideal side gig if I were allowed to listen to music or watch videos in the background. If not… yeah, I wouldn’t be able to handle the boredom either.

      1. The Original K.*

        I did a temp gig years ago that was basically this – enter the data (it was a finite amount, I had literal piles to get through), listen to or watch whatever as long as it was safe for work, you get an hour lunch that we’ll pay you for. My introvert self loved it!

        1. Smithy*

          I had a student job like this in a hospital, where I was scanning forms that tracked how long people were restrained to their beds and then cleaning the data from the scan into the system. As a part-time student job, this was great. I don’t remember if I could listen to music (I don’t remember if this was pre/post iPods and if the idea of asking to bring my discman would have occurred to me), but even so, I do remember it positively because I could do it largely independently, let my mind wander, etc.

          That being said, the content of this data was rather grim, so I could easily see how it would not be the job for everyone.

        2. kicking-k*

          I had a similar one pre-smartphone (and pre-YouTube etc. by over a decade) and we were all at dumb terminals, so no internet… I don’t recall if we were allowed headphones. (Maybe not. They were very focused on optics, and we weren’t allowed to come back to our desks during lunchbreak lest we be seen not working. Which wouldn’t have been an issue if there had been a breakroom.)

          It wasn’t so bad. The major snag for me was the pressure to exceed targets for the amount of data entered – and that they made you clock out to go to the toilet!

        3. Deejay*

          The best temp job I ever had was spending a week tracking desk usage at an office. Every hour I’d go round four floors with a handheld device inputting whether someone was sitting at a desk or not. I’m a fast walker and typist. And also, one and a half of those floors were unoccupied so all I had to do there was stick my nose in to make sure there was nobody there and input a line of zeros. So I was all done in about ten minutes and I could then spend fifty minutes sitting in the canteen with a good book. Repeat every hour for the working day.

        4. radiant*

          I had a temp job like this too, inputting grant applications for an EU grant (pre-Brexit obviously) for students. They had booked me for six weeks but had underestimated my typing speed, I got through the giant piles in three. But it was a lovely office and they liked me (and I’m still in touch with someone I worked with there, and it’s been 15 years since I did it!!) so they kept me on for the extra three weeks and I just hung out and did any ad-hoc admin stuff they threw my way haha.

    3. ferrina*

      I did this once upon a time. It’s definitely something that some people hate and some people love. I listened to a certain D&D podcast while I did it and found the whole thing quite lovely.

      1. OMG It's 2024*

        Dungeons and Daddies? (Yes, before anyone loses their mind and thinks it’s porn; it’s legit a D&D podcast that is often hilarious!)

    4. Panicked*

      I did this too! It was a fantastic summer job for me. No coworkers to talk to, no meetings, no real management to speak of as long as you were hitting your input targets. I listened to so many great albums that summer.

  7. Former Red and Khaki*

    Many many years ago in the ye olde days of phone books and finding jobs in the classifieds, I was in college and desperately needed money. I answered a classified ad about what I THOUGHT was an admin type position; even the short interview sold it as such. I showed up to the training the next day, and come to find out it was actually a telemarketing job where you literally sat at a cube with a phone book and phone, they told you what letter to start at, and you just started at the top and cold called people trying to sell them something. It’s been *cough* over 20 years so I don’t remember exactly what, but I’m pretty sure it was something insurance/medical related, and they definitely had a specific script if the person was older/vulnerable to try and trick them into buying whatever scam it was. I suffered through that first day, and then I went in the very next day and quit. I just remember telling the guy that this was absolutely not what I signed up for and I honestly didn’t care if I got paid for my one day. I don’t think I ever did get a check from them. A great many bees dodged that day.

    1. Spooncake*

      The exact same thing happened to me, except the company I worked for sold double-glazed windows and almost every call I made resulted in the customer yelling at me because the windows they’d already bought were garbage. Towards the end of my second day, I went into another room to ask a question and was told, “the girls don’t come in here when the men are talking.” I didn’t go back for a third shift- and no, I don’t think I ever got paid either.

      1. milkdudsnotdrugs*

        My eyes are bugging out of my head reading this. Not only is it just astoundingly offensive and demeaning, but the distinction in the sentence between “men” and “girls” is so very telling. Without a doubt, you made the right decision!

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        THE GIRLS.

        And the place didn’t burn to the ground because you are a better person than I.

    2. Merci Dee*

      Something similar to this happened to me. I was working with a temp service for a while, during a period when I was trying to find a full-time job. I told the temp service that the one type of job that I absolutely could not work was telemarketing/collections calls, but that I could work data entry all day long. No big deal — the lady that I was working with was great about finding jobs that fit in with my request.

      One day, the owner of the temp agency (a guy) called me up and said they had an assignment for me. One of the law offices in our city needed someone to do some data entry, so they were sending me and another person over for the job. We get to the law office, the office manager show us each to a separate office. As I sit at the desk that had a phone and no computer, the lady hands me two piles of stapled pages. As she explained, one was a script, and the other was a list of people I was supposed to cold call to sell the legal partner’s Very Important Guide to Legal Stuff You’re Not Smart Enough to Know That You Don’t Know (TM). The office manager whirled around and disappeared to her office while I sat there blinking. I briefly read through the script (which got more and more ridiculous as it went along) and went to the office manager’s desk. I gave her back the script and the list of targets, and told her that there must have been some kind of misunderstanding because I had been brought in for data entry to get their database up to date. She told me they never outsource any kind of data entry jobs like that because of confidentiality issues, so I needed to get to making the calls. I thanked her for her time, gathered my things, and walked out about 15 minutes after I walked in.

      When I got back to my car, I called the temp agency and talked with the lady that I had been dealing with for my entire tenure. Told her about the phone call from the owner about the data entry gig, the location where I was sent, and then about the cold calls I had been asked to do. She said that the owner had been sending people out to that gig for weeks, but most of them left after a couple of days. He had originally asked her if I would be available for the job, but she told him that I had opted out of telemarketing gigs, so she wasn’t going to call me about it. That’s when the owner decided it would be a great idea to call me up and lie about the kind of work that was required in order to get me over there. He thought I’d just sit there, suck it up, and do it rather than walk out. He was shocked (shocked!) when he found out I walked out of the job almost as soon as I got there.

      Turns out she had a much more suitable job for me that I was able to go to the next day, so that worked out.

      1. You want stories, I got stories*

        This reminds me of my own story. I was also working for a Temp agency and had said I wasn’t interested in any telemarketing jobs. They respected that I never offered me one.
        Until they did.
        I show up and they had been working on this project, and they needed me to call hospitals to find out who the CEO, CFO, a few other high ranking positions, their mailing address, so that we could send them information to invite them to something.
        Needless to say I was very slow at doing this, as phoning people was not my strength. I only lasted a day there.
        When I spoke with the temp agency and they told me that I didn’t need to go back, I said, “That is ok, that was a telemarketing job, I didn’t like it anyway.” The job was only for a few days, so sucking it up for that long was entirely plausible. But then the temp agency did inform me that “Cold calling people is not telemarketing.”
        But I did get called to go back the next day, because a slow worker is better than no worker, and the temp agency had no one else available. They also had no one other place to place me. So I went back one more day, still hated it.

        1. Princess Sparklepony*

          That isn’t really telemarketing. That’s more info gathering. You aren’t trying to sell anything, you are just updating databases.

          Telemarketing is trying to sell someone a product they likely don’t need at all.

          1. I Have RBF*

            Splitting hairs. Any time you are cold calling people to get something from them, money or data, could be considered telemarketing, IMO.

      2. Kayem*

        I was going to say, that feels so much like the temp job I posted about near end of thread but my temp agency straight up ghosted me after that. I wish I was surprised that there’s so many stories of temp jobs turning out to be call centers, cold calling, or telemarketing.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      For me it was a pyramid scheme going from office to office flogging knock-off perfume. I figured out pretty quickly what it was, but not before I had foolishly gotten in my “trainer’s” car and rode to the next town over to hit the pavement. So I tagged along until it was time to drive back, then walked away.

    4. Bibliovore*

      I had one of these in the early ’80s. Lasted one day. Just didn’t show up the second day.

  8. Ex-prof*

    My first day working as a waitress at a subterranean cafe in Crystal City, Virginia. I was too slow, very confused (did not know at the time I have ADD), no one left me a tip, and one guy left without paying. When I was told that his $12.59 lunch bill was on me, and did the math on what I’d earned for my shift (12.54) I quit on the spot.

    1. Siren of Sleep*

      I’m not sure if you know this, but at the least for anyone who is serving and doesn’t know: This is illegal. You manager cannot force you to pay unpaid tabs/bills. Also, if you are a server and don’t make enough in tips to average out to minimum wage the restaurant is obligated to pay you the difference so you make minimum at least.

      1. i drink too much coffee*

        ^^^^^^ this!!! When I was a bartender I had a manager try to make me pay a walk out bill of about $150. He tried to say policy was that after 9 p.m. we had to have a card on the tab to pay. Which was true, but it was never followed. However, as it happened, I didn’t trust this dude and DID make him have a card on file. It just declined. Literally 0% of it was my fault.

        I’d worked there for probably 3-4 years at that point and told him he could take it up with the owner because if I had to pay it, I was quitting. It was never brought up again.

      2. boof*

        Yep; although I think the US fed law the tip min wage is only $2.13 per hour (less than regular min wage); and an employer will probably fire a server who doesn’t consistently make min wage in tips so still tip your server in any tipping place! This has been a PSA (I still kinda hate that scene in reservoir dogs where this notion that servers automatically get min wage and tips are on top of that goes unchallenged – no tips are pretty much their entire money – again for servers – tipping creep for a lot of other gigs has gotten weird and confusing to me tho)

        1. TG*

          No you have to be paid up to the states minimum wage so for example in MA it’s $15 an hour. At a fine dining pan e I worked out staff were paid 90 minutes at that rate for setup and then went to server rate of five something and wanted tips and if their tips were less than the $15 they were “grossed up” to that.

        2. Zombeyonce*

          I was a server at a breakfast-all-day restaurant for a month and made almost no money. The people there the longest got to choose their sections and always gave me the one where only 2-3 tables would be sat during my entire shift (I still wonder if they were paying off the hostess). After filling out the paperwork day after day to get paid the $2.13 minimum wage because I didn’t make enough in tips, I gave up.

          I’m still not sure how they thought making 2 servers incredibly busy with full sections all night and letting the third just sit there for hours was a way to keep new people, but I wasn’t management.

          1. Random Dice*

            I never tip less than $10 if I sit down and eat.

            That’s such a low bar, but most people don’t tip well.

        3. Parttimer*

          In some states, like Montana, servers do make minimum wage and get tips on top. Granted, when I was a server in VA my employer told us that we got no wage because we were “guaranteed one table per hour”. So only got tips. Definitely not legal, but it’s so hard to push back!

        4. Yorick*

          Employers are required to pay minimum wage if the tips don’t equal that. Let’s stop going along with the idea that employers can pass their expenses on to customers without actually putting them in the price of the product.

        5. Observer*

          Yep; although I think the US fed law the tip min wage is only $2.13 per hour (less than regular min wage);

          That only applies if you get enough tips. That is, your employer needs to pay that much no matter how much you get in tips. But if you don’t get enough to bring you up to the regular Federal minimum wage, the employer needs to pay it.

        6. fhqwhgads*

          The reason there is a lower min wage in some states for tipped positions is because the tips are supposed to make up the difference to the real min wage, and when they don’t the employer has to pay the difference. It’s rare for them to actually do it, but that’s a whole different illegal kettle of fish.

      3. Reality Check*

        Former waitress here. I waited tables for 10 years during the 90s. We knew it was illegal to make a server pay the tab for a dine & dash customer out of their tips, but restaurant owners made us do exactly that, All. The. Time. Hopefully things have changed since then, but somehow I doubt it.

      4. Ex-prof*

        I didn’t know it then, though I do now. The guy who left had committed a crime, and I just accepted that I had to make restitution. Ah, to be young again, but less dumb.

        Later I had another waitressing job and different violations, so I quit again. The violations in the restaurant biz just go on on and on.

    2. Ex-prof*

      Just saw Alison’s updated instructions:
      * why it was so bad
      Well, besides the above, on the one winter day I worked, I left my home in DC, took the metro, walked underground to the undergound job, worked underground, took the metro back to DC, and never saw the sun.

      * how you quit
      The manager started to ream me out for having done such a bad job on my first day. I told her I quit.

      * how your hasty exit was received
      She immediately changed gears and tried to talk me out of quitting.

      * and any other interesting details
      While I was there, I heard another waitress, who was Black, being scolded by the manager, who was not Black, for wearing black stockings instead of “flesh tone”. Hoo boy.

    3. Laura*

      Side note, but I used to love going to the subterranean mall there when I was a kid in the 90s. My grandparents lived nearby.

      Sorry about the job though

  9. Calpurrnia*

    Mine is very tame compared to some of these, but in high school I got hired at a mall store known for their scented soaps and lotions. My first day, after filling out all my tax paperwork and whatnot, they had me sit in a cramped back room and watch training videos for 5 hours. One of which was focused on repetitive close-ups of how precisely to rub sample lotion onto customers’ hands. I was really uncomfortable with the idea of having to demonstrate the concept of hand lotion in what felt like an overly intimate way, and told them actually this job was really not for me.

      1. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

        I kind of love this, because I’m a member of the population that a) hates being followed around stores by overly solicitous sales people and b) DOES NOT WANT TO HOLD HANDS WITH THEM. Hoping this kind of service is dying off a little in the pandemic.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          I also haaaaaate overly solicitous salespeople. On the rare occasion when I actually am looking for a specific thing, I will talk to the salespeople, but otherwise, a quick, “Hi, welcome to our store, let me know if you need anything” is all I want. (Ironically there was one time when I really did want help at a store that normally did have overly solicitous salespeople and for some weird reason not a single person approached me at all. It was mind boggling.)

          1. Some People’s Children*

            Some salespeople seem to have a gift for bugging you except when you actually need help. Yes, you Best Buy!

        2. Yorick*

          OMG and this particular store has SO MANY employees bothering you, you can’t just go in and buy your item and get out.

      2. former recruiter*

        Definitely Bath and Body Works – I worked there in college and remember these videos from the mid 2000s. I definitely did not rub lotion on people but also didn’t get fired/talked to for NOT doing it, so there’s that.

    1. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

      Was this Lush? Because my daughter worked there for about a year as a college freshman, and she said creepy guys would sometimes come in and ask for sample hand massages *retch*

      1. froodle*

        the Lush version of customer service is SO open to making their staff vulnerable to predators. I loved the scents and took a job just for the discount, but it was not worth it.

    2. Curtis E Interview*

      On a slight tangent, I’d love to hear more of people’s weird/terrible training stories. I had a retail job where the “training” was a quick session in the back room where we were told to smile and that the customer was always right, and then they sent us all out onto the shop floor knowing absolutely nothing about the store, the stock or the policies. (We were told we were expected to learn about this off the clock. I was a student, on a four-hours-a-week contract, so I simply didn’t bother.)

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          The customer is definitely always wrong. (Doesn’t AAM have a post or two about how “the customer is always right” is actually a terrible policy because it means that customers can abuse employees and management won’t do a dang thing about it?)

          1. Merci Dee*

            I really wish the whole saying had persisted in the mind of the general public: “In matters of taste, the customer is always right.” But when the original saying was meant to mean that customers can buy all the ugly-ass shirts they want to without the store staff telling them those are ugly-ass shirts, I guess I can see how the public has twisted the phrase into something that they believe can get them anything they want whenever they want it.

            1. Chirpy*

              THIS EXACTLY, it absolutely does NOT mean “throw all store policies and prices out the window per customer whim”

          2. Snailing*

            To my knowledge, the original concept of “the customer is always right” is more about what type of product/service sells and informs how to lay out your business plan and practices, not that the customer can demand anything and everything they want and they must get it. But a lot of retail establishments understand it the second way and thus let customers abuse their staff, which is really awful.

          3. Lowly office bod*

            the full expression is supposed to be

            “the customer is always right… in matters of taste”

            if a customer wants you to help them find the perfect pair of orange culottes to go with their purple shirt? of course, the culottes are in aisle 6.
            if a customer insists that they did actually get the owner to agree to give them a 20% discount the last time they were here? get out.

          1. Magenta Sky*

            Our philosophy is “The customer is always right, except when they’re wrong.”

            If there’s any doubt, give them the benefit of it. But when they’re wrong, they’re wrong. (And being abusive to employees is *always* wrong, even if they have a legitimate problem.)

            It’s good to work for a boss who understands that, in retail, *the* most valuable asset he has is his employees.

      1. Slartibartfast*

        Burger King, 1991. The training video had a plot, to make it more entertaining. It was about teaching aliens from outer space what hamburgers were and how to make them.

        1. Urban Fervor*

          Wait, I think I watched that recently on YouTube. I got a few minutes in before I said to my husband, “I would have quit on the spot if I’d been made to sit through this training.” Like it literally seemed to be marketed toward children, yet it was a training video for adult employees so, wtf?

        2. Wedge Antilles*

          As someone who has built training courses for a living, I absolutely love this idea. I’m sure the people taking the training thought it was super dumb.

        3. Ama*

          Target had a very similar one around 1997! The aliens were played by Dana Carvey and Victoria Jackson (who were still near the peak of their SNL fame at the time).

          I don’t remember anything except the weird network sitcom style intro that set up the premise.

      2. Distracted Procrastinator*

        I got hired as a dishwasher at a small town golf course restaurant. The owner was the cook. Obviously there was no training for the dishes other than “this is the on button.” But he also made me peel and devein the shrimp for the Wednesday night special and then at one point decided I needed to be the one to start making country gravy for the chicken fried steak. It was basically mix a packet and liquid but he just threw the stuff at me and told me to do it. No training. I guess I did it ok, because he started making me do it every time someone ordered it.

      3. Jane*

        When I worked at Starbucks years ago, the portal I had to log into on the store computer on my first day had a teeny-tiny Howard Schultz who would walk around the screen talking about the company after you finished one of the training videos and then tell you which video to watch next. Bizarre!

      4. MargoWin*

        The pulp knife (box cutter) safety training video at my summer mill job during college:

        Pat Cashman (from Seattle’s Almost Live tv show) played a tv news field reporter investigating a dangerous pulp knife on the loose.

        The script:
        ::Employee working with knife unsafely::
        :GIANT human-sized pulp knife lurking about::
        ::Employee on the ground with fake blood::
        ::more screams::
        ::GIANT bloody pulp knife skulks away::
        Pat Cashman: “I’m here on the scene…”

        To this day that remains the only training video I can remember in 35yrs of yearly work trainings. That giant pulp knife is legend.

      5. Steve for Work Purposes*

        I had a catering job at ~age 16 where the owner assumed (but did not ask) that I knew how to drive stick. He told me I would drive the catering truck to the event and he’d ride shotgun and navigate. I had to tell him that I’d only ever driven stick once in the mandatory ‘let’s get this over with’ day during drivers ed 2 years prior (they did the one day of state-mandated coverage and then said ‘if you actually ever need this your parents will teach you’). Instead of deciding to drive it himself, he decided he was going to teach me to drive stick as we were driving to the event. Turns out that’s not really the best way to teach someone how to drive stick, let alone a truck bigger than anything I’d ever driven before (I did have a car at 16 but it was a tiny sedan I used to drive me and my sibs to/from school and me to/from my various part-time gigs). We got to the event okay but I never got asked to drive the truck again. Haven’t driven stick since!

      6. goddessoftransitory*

        Yeah, inadequate training of all kinds has gone beyond a pet peeve into an entire menagerie of peeves for me. I work taking phone orders and we train new people for a solid week before they start taking calls. There is no point to dumping your employees cold into a customer facing job (or any job, really) and letting them flail.

      7. Kayem*

        In college, I used to work for a big blue retailer notorious for union busting. We had to watch these terrible anti-union training videos where the evil union reps would accost innocent workers in the parking lot to try and sign them up for their evil union scheme which for some reason involved handing cash over in the parking lot. Now the poor innocent employees are trapped in an evil union scheme when all along they had the benefit of an open door policy that was so much better because we’re all family!

        The actors playing the evil union reps were always POC while the innocent employees were always white. It was so gross. I wanted to sneak in and copy one of the VHS tapes while I was there so I could leak it but never could find a safe way to do it. I’d like to say this was the 20th century aughts, but this was the 21st century aughts.

    3. coffeeeecup*

      Ha, I worked for what I assume is the same shop many years ago and I got into a stand-off with one of the other assistants (I was a temp) who wanted me to do EXACTLY this, approach people in the queue and give them hand massages! I said no, firmly, and she acted like this was the most bizarre thing she’d ever heard. I can’t even imagine anyone would want to be offered this when they just want to buy soap.

      I found working there utterly hideous for the way they placed ‘being quirky’ ahead of ‘basic comfort and norms’.

      1. AnonORama*

        I worked at a smaller skincare/beauty/scent store in college and not only were we supposed to do hand massages with the lotion, we were expected to do small makeovers and offer to rub this super astringent peppermint oil stuff on folks’ temples as an “energy booster!” I’m a huge klutz and figured I’d probably blind someone if I got near their eye with the peppermint stuff or a mascara wand, so I didn’t offer and no one noticed. (If the manager was in the store, she LOVED to swoop down on people and suggest the weird touching stuff, which was weird but whatever. She didn’t make the rest of us do it, and it just didn’t happen when she wasn’t there.)

        I lasted a couple weeks, and mostly quit when I was ordered to follow younger customers and people of color around the store to see if I could catch them stealing. But the touching stuff was creepy for sure!

    4. Carrots*

      I know which store this is because I worked for them too in college in the 00’s. I can proudly say I never rubbed lotion on someone’s hand and never saw anyone else do that. Worked there for a year.

  10. Zona the Great*

    Yes. Two jobs ago. I was hired from an internal recruitment and it was mostly a lateral move. The interviews, all communication, and the job offer came from a man I really got on with and wanted to work for. When I started the job, suddenly I’m being told that my manager is actually a lady named Cruella. I had never met her and I now understand they deliberately hid her from new hires. On my first day, she looked at my body and, verbatim, told me I needed to be sure “control my tits” from bouncing as there were Muslim men working in the office (I was raised as an orthodox Jew so modesty was not foreign to me but I have DD cups). Next, she said she didn’t like working with women. She then told me she paid me too much money to train me (this was state government and she didn’t pay me a dime, the state did) so I was to figure out how to do a newly created job without asking for guidance. During lunch, I went to HR and told them I needed out right away and they told me I could only resign and that they couldn’t help me. I filed a Civil Rights complaint before I left and she’s still there two and half years later. Government, amirite?

    1. Zona the Great*

      I should add that when I told Cruella I wasn’t staying, she feigned ignorance at her stance that I couldn’t be trained because of my salary and said, “Wow! I didn’t know you made THAT much?!” basically gaslighting me. I know based on policy there that she got my full exit interview where I laid it all out there and I have seen her at industry conferences since then. She pretends she doesn’t recognize me.

        1. Zona the Great*

          Very well known. However, men will say, “I kind of like Cruella” and that’s because she loves men but they all seem to know that she’s utterly horrible. The bad thing is that she is very very good at her job.

          1. Llama Llama*

            Oh I had a Cruella as a manager. She was very good at her job but was hot and cold to people she managed. Everyone hated her but because she got stuff done and well nothing ever happened. She retired recently and management fawned over her and I honestly was ecstatic that she was leaving even though I hadn’t reported to her in 10+ years.

          2. Magenta Sky*

            She might be very very good at *parts* of her job, but a manager who quits the first day to get away from them is *not* “good at their job.”

            1. Observer*

              She might be very very good at *parts* of her job, but a manager who quits the first day to get away from them is *not* “good at their job.”

              Yeah, she is definitely costing the agency money, and she’s opening them up to trouble.

  11. Athenae*

    I’d just taken a part-time job working in an animal shelter. The place seemed kind of chaotic from the start but as a volunteer at another shelter I knew animal care could be like that sometimes. It didn’t pay great and the hours weren’t what I was promised, but … work hard and hope for improvements, right?

    The owner/manager was a screamer. On my second day she came into the shelter raging about her neighbor taking her parking space, complete with several racial and homophobic slurs, at the top of her lungs. I went home at the end of that shift and called the next day to tell them it wasn’t going to work out. She hung up on me before I finished quitting.

    The next job I took was sucky and chaotic in its own way but at least nobody screamed.

    1. Nuke*

      Animal shelters just seem like nightmares! I worked at one too, and it seemed like everyone there only had skills with animals, none with people. It was a non-profit, so we dealt with stuff like getting paid minimum wage for hard manual labor (which at the time was $7.25) while the CEO made six figures. The 2 supervisors were married to people working at my level, below them. These spouses were able to leave early all the time with unfinished work. We were “gently encouraged” to not take our 15 minute breaks, and shorten our lunches. I was written up for being 2-3 minutes late several times because I arrived to the building to find a locked front door, and was told it was my responsibility to find a way in (I was not given a key). When supervisors arrived with the keys, they would push ahead and clock in first, even if other people had been waiting 10+ minutes.

      Unfortunately I needed the job, so I was there for almost a year!!

      1. Dust Bunny*

        When you pay minimum wage for hard work you often get people who can’t command better pay and working conditions. Even my kennel tech days (at a vet’s office) paid better than that because my boss wasn’t stupid. He also wasn’t a screamer, and he trained kennel techs into veterinary assistants once he knew they were good workers.

      2. LCH*

        aw, i volunteered a lot at a shelter recently (during my unemployment) and they were lovely. yes, the majority of us were more comfortable with animals than with people, but none of us were missing stairs (unless it was me and i didn’t know). the manager at least was a people person.

      3. former animal person*

        I worked as a zookeeper for a while and a wise senior co-worker once said to me, “People don’t go into working with animals because they’re good with members of their own species.”

        1. Steve for Work Purposes*

          I use a similar version re myself when explaining why I went into animal science rather than following a lot of my family into healthcare. “I like dealing with cows more than I like dealing with people”. I am a people person but a lot of my relatives have to deal with people going through a lot of really difficult things and for me that’s a straight ticket to burnout. I do outreach/extension in my job, but it’s usually me collecting data from people, doing workshops/field days, or “here’s how [govt agency] can help you with this” so I see people on their good days. But if things are going weird, I’d much rather troubleshoot a cow or a sheep than a human.

    2. Allura Vysoren*

      I thought I didn’t have a story but you reminded me of mine.

      Horse barn. Paid under the table (like many of them are). The horses were well taken care of, this isn’t that kind of story, although I did side-eye the fact that the stone floors in the aisle crept into some of the stalls.

      I was hired to help feed, turn out, and clean stalls in the morning. The big issue, though, was disorganization. Two horses belonged to each stall–one horse in the stall during the day, a different horse in the stall at night. They had white boards with the names of the horses on the outside of each stall.

      Person I’m working with says, “Go get Cherry.” So I go to the stall that says Cherry. I do not find out that this ISN’T CHERRY until I’ve already turned her out with the others and the person yells that’s the wrong horse and takes off running to catch her again. I often wonder how I was expected to recognize all of these (very similar because it was a training operation for a specific breed) mislabeled horses when I spent about two hours total at this place.

      They told me they were trialing someone else and would let me know if they needed me back. Thankfully, I got a job offer for a full-time office job a week later and was able to tell them I wasn’t available anymore.

  12. Dances with Code*

    Yes, indeed I have quit a job within the first week.
    It was for a very small business, maybe a dozen employees total, in a bookkeeping/admin role. One of the things I was requested to do immediately for the job was become a notary public, and that was in process before my start date. On the first day of employment as I’m getting oriented, and procedures are being described to me, it was made clear that I would be expected to violate at least the letter of the notary public oath as I understood it on a regular basis in notarizing documents for other employees without actually witnessing their signatures. That and certain accounting procedures that seemed problematic to me regarding destroying documents including canceled checks on a very short time window convinced me it was not a job I could do without compromising myself. I quit the second day, having mulled it over after the first.

    1. Dances with Code*

      My immediate exit was received with disbelief and mild anger. The prior person in the role was due to be leaving, possibly retiring?, in a couple weeks, and apparently I was to be blamed for interrupting her departure. I didn’t feel safe enough to fully explain my reservations. I did cite the notary part, which was dismissed as me being hyper-fixated on rules, so I didn’t figure it would be of any use to explain my accounting procedures concerns.

      1. MassMatt*

        Wow. Since the only function of a notary is to certify that the signatures on the document are of the people they are professing to be, that’s not a minor detail. Those people had no ethics.

        1. Ama*

          Yeah I’ve had to get a couple documents notarized recently and even the online notaries require that you have a video call with them and show them your ID to prove you are both a real person and the real person you claim to be before you actually sign the document.

        2. Clisby*

          No kidding. That’s not some technical violation. (I hold a notary certificate, although I’ve never used it.) It’s a big deal.

      2. Claire*

        And who would be liable if someone took that document to court and tried to undermine it? The notary! You were totally right to not be willing to put yourself at risk of being sued for fraud!

        1. Dances with Code*

          Honestly I’m not sure, but I suspect not. I don’t even remember the name of the company, and of course it never made it on to my resume since I was there two days. This was almost 30 years and three careers ago for me.

      3. Distracted Procrastinator*

        I once had an employer who would have their assistant use their notary stamp when signing docs. So the assistant was signing and then notarizing with someone else’s stamp. No one thought anything was wrong with this. They did get more people registered as notaries so it stopped happening but it was a mind bender when I heard what was happening (first hand, not gossip.)

    2. JP*

      It is kind of crazy the attitude I’ve dealt with as a notary for my company. I’ve had employees’ family members come into the office to have me do (free) notaries for them. One even gave me attitude because I asked them for ID. I’d never even met them before. Another time I was asked by a coworker to notarize a signature of a client sent via email, who I’d never met before and wasn’t even in the same state as we were. When I explained to coworker that I couldn’t do that, he was like “yeah, I know, just thought I’d ask.”

      A friend of mine was also a notary for her company, and she ended up letting her commission lapse because she dealt with even worse than I did.

  13. Anon for this*

    Right out of university, I applied to work at a commercial art gallery. I had an interview and they asked me to come in the next day to do a “trial run” (read: unpaid!) in the gallery space itself. Once I got there, it seemed clear that the gallery was some sort of front for their kitchen cabinetry business that operated out of the back of the gallery and the whole thing seemed so sketchy that when I got home at the end of the day, I emailed them and told me it wasn’t for me. In retrospect, the “come do a trial run!” should have been the first clue something was amiss, but I was young and didn’t know anything.

  14. jen hen*

    One summer I got a job as a telemarketer. Cold calls, trying to sell a vacation package. I was sixteen and took it because it was close to my house and several dollars an hour more than the other jobs available to me at the time.

    It was awful. I had no idea what I was getting in to. I completed the two day training and spent one day on the floor, which was full of broken and half-working equipment. I figured most people wouldn’t answer – but they did. I was screamed at, cussed out, told to “get a real job”, and one memorable person asked me if I worked in a tall building, because if I did I should go jump off the top floor.

    On day four I went to lunch and just didn’t go back. I took a closer look at any job I applied for after that.

    1. Lenora Rose*

      Reading all of the telemarketer stories makes me so so so happy I decided I could not do that work and not even try.

      The folks I know who can still do phone-based work are all on incoming calls, outbound only on call-backs, usually tech support.

      I wonder who does actually thrive in cold call sales?

        1. Jaydee*

          My parents both smoked when I was a kid and I thought it was a gross habit and swore I would never smoke. Then I got a job in the call center for my university’s foundation. Calling the older alums was bad enough, but at least some of them had money and fond feelings and would make a donation. I wasn’t worried about my stats, just doing the work and getting a check. But then we started calling recent grads and it was so awful I started craving a cigarette every time I went outside with coworkers and some of them had a smoke break. I didn’t quit after only a week, but I did quit via a voicemail about 5 minutes before my shift was supposed to start one day, and I do not regret it at all.

      1. HavingWritten*

        In my early 20s I worked a few months part time in the call center of a prestigious regional theater in my area, selling season subscriptions. It was predictably awful in that mostly the people you called didn’t want to talk to you, and also the supervisor would hover and breathe down your neck while you were on the line and nitpick your responses afterward. They also advertised “bonuses” for hitting sales goals, but the goals were really high and then the bonus would be a $3 Starbucks gift card. But the really icky part, to me, was the way they aggressively recruited aspiring actors/theater kids, and framed the job as a way to get a foot in the door to the theater side of of things. It was very, very much not that at all, nobody from the theater side was EVER going to talk to any of us and I can’t blame them. After I’d been there 6 weeks I heard the supervisor refer to me as “one of our more seasoned callers” because turnover was so high, and soon after I ended up calling in to quit from public transit on the way to my shift, because I had texted the one friend I made there asking if she was coming in that day and she told me she had found another job. I got off a few stops early and met her for drinks instead. She was the only thing keeping me there, although I guess the hours were predictable and we did get free theater tickets sometimes. Not only have I avoided telemarketing since but it really soured me on that particular theater as a whole. I guess if you have too many bright eyed youngsters auditioning, funneling some of the poorest ones into a soul sucking non-theater job that will drive them away forever is one way to thin the herd?

      2. MigraineMonth*

        I’ve done get-out-the-vote calling (which I realize is very different from cold call sales in many ways), and I managed to get through it with a very low threshold for success. If I managed to tell one person in the entire shift where their voting location was, that was a superlative success.

        1. AnonORama*

          I did that once, and the organizer assigned me the list of people in the opposing party (apparently by accident). After three calls, having been called a dumb bitch, an f-ing communist, and various other delightful names, I walked.

      3. The New Wanderer*

        During college in the 1990s, I got a summer “receptionist” job at what turned out to be a telemarketing place claiming to support various charitable organizations. The receptionist job was basically just one of a half-dozen office helpers who did some data entry, envelope stuffing, and check collection from the mailed in responses to the stuffed envelope solicitations. The telemarketers sat in the adjacent building, which I entered exactly once for a very quick tour. The manager (son of the owner) liked to brag to the college-age office staff and told us to notice how the telemarketers dressed/looked – he said the ones who have dyed hair, lots of piercings, ripped clothes, actually make the best telemarketers because they don’t care about or aren’t bothered by the poor treatment they got during some calls. Obvious biases aside, there’s probably some truth to the type of people who can tolerate these jobs through an ability to prevent the faceless abuse from affecting them.

        I should have walked out and found a better summer job. I settled for removing the information of everyone I knew and all the obviously elderly check-writers from their phone directories so they wouldn’t be contacted again. There were a lot of problems with that place, nepotism was just the tip of the iceberg. It was investigated at least a couple times by the FBI and shut down altogether a few years after my summer working there.

        1. Zarniwoop*

          “ I settled for removing the information of everyone I knew and all the obviously elderly check-writers from their phone directories”
          Love it!

      4. goddessoftransitory*

        Yep. I’ve taken incoming calls for 20 years at this point, and there is no amount of money anyone could pay me to make cold calls.

    2. MadCatter*

      I worked at a telemarketing firm for several months in high school. The whole place was teenagers and retirees. Worst job I ever had, but it paid more than fast food I guess. I was told by one very angry man to walk into traffic.

    3. Pumpkin215*

      It is terrible. I had that job once because I had no options and was at the end of my rope. People could be so MEAN.

      I understood that no one wants to be bothered, especially at dinnertime. Just say “no thanks” and hang up! Women were the worst. I found it sad at how mean a woman would be to another female. I was yelled at, called names, told to find a “real job”, commit suicide, etc. You name it.

      The worst one, I will never forget. The name on the paper in front of me said “Mr. Smith”. So I called and asked for “Mr. Smith” when a woman answered. “Well he is down the street in the cemetery if you want to speak to him”, she growls at me. I’m in the middle of offering a horrified and sincere apology when she slams down the phone. It still haunts me.

      I didn’t know! I wasn’t trying to open a wound. I was trying to make enough money to buy groceries and pay bills, like every other human being.

      Please be kind. No one wants to be a telemarketer.

  15. Juliet O'Hara*

    I was hired to be a long-term substitute for a middle school science teacher. On the first day I showed up, I was handed a folder with all my class rosters, school emergency information, and a stack of what had to be 50 discipline referral forms. Naively, I told the school secretary she must have accidentally given me all the referral forms for all the subs that day. Nope. They were all for me. When I got to the room, there were no lesson plans. Generally, long-term subs are provided plans for the first week or so, and then they take it from there. I got nothing, so I had to wing it the best I could.

    Within an hour of students arriving, the teacher next door had called the school resource officer to try to help me restore order. That worked for about five minutes. In later periods, nobody would tell me their names, and I had no seating chart or pictures to figure out who was who. One student tried to tell me who she was when I took attendance, but the other kids drowned her out by chanting, “Snitch! Snitch! Snitch!” Kids started leaving the room without asking for or receiving permission and not returning. When I called the office to report this, I had to give physical descriptions, because I still didn’t know anyone’s name. I tried to get another staff member to come to my room to help me identify kids, but I couldn’t leave the room and no matter how many times I called the office, nobody came.

    By the end of the day, several fights had broken out, a desk was broken, and I hadn’t even had a lunch period because they pulled me to cover a different teacher during that time. I was done. I returned to the office after student dismissal, gave them back all the papers they’d given me, and let them know as politely as I could that I would not be returning the next day. Nobody seemed surprised and I walked out. With the eternal sub shortage, I had a different job the next day and nobody cared that I had quit the previous job. I subbed exclusively in elementary schools the rest of the year, then got a permanent job as a 4th grade teacher that I kept for almost 15 years.

    1. Neysalmd*

      I was working on an elementary Ed degree and started subbing for experience. I somehow got sent to a middle school one day. I came home in tears and swore I’d never work in a middle school again.
      (and mine wasn’t nearly as bad as yours)

      1. Ally McBeal*

        I volunteer at an afterschool program. We have a lot of paid-employee turnover because most of the teachers are in school for their teaching degrees and move on once their training hours are complete. The one guy who’s been there for longer than I have is the middle school teacher, and I literally dread the day he eventually leaves. Middle schoolers are ROUGH.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        My sister started out as a middle school teacher and almost gave up the profession entirely halfway through the first year. She moved to high school and love it. I just think middle school is terrible for everyone involved – teachers, students, and parents.

        1. Alison*

          As the parent of one middle-school student and one high-school student, I fully endorse your last sentence. The main selling point of my kids’ middle school seems to be that the teachers there genuinely love that age group and are happy to be working with these kids. You would have to, it is such a tough age!

          1. Ama*

            I taught after-school classes for middle schoolers and yeah, it’s rough even when it’s something they *want* to be doing.

            My mom likes to say that all three of her kids were very good for teenagers but the year we each turned 13 she wanted to send us to boarding school just due to the *constant* crappy attitude and boundary pushing.

        2. Lana Kane*

          My son just started 6th grade this school year and I’m already crying inside. And he’s a good student, I can’t imagine if he also struggled academically. I generally like his school, but you can definitely tell which teachers actually like and can work with this age group, vs the ones who are there for who knows what reason.

        3. MigraineMonth*

          Middle school seems like a bizarre institution. Let’s take all these young teenagers whose hormones are starting up, who are starting to rebel against authority, and who are focusing on peer social relationships above all else, put them all together, and see what happens!

          Not going to lie, I applied to private boarding schools just to try to get away from mine. Then as soon as high school started, all the same students who had been bullying and ripping each other apart mostly just chilled out an found their people.

      3. Katherine*

        Weird, I recently did a stint as a sub, mostly working at high and middle schools, and the one day I got assigned to an elementary school, I came home and said, “Never again!”

    2. ferrina*

      That’s awful. Part of me is impressed at the kids’ coordination, but chaotic middle schoolers are their own type of demonic torture.

    3. SarahKay*

      OT, but I love your user name – although I don’t think any of the Chalet School classes were ever that badly behaved; not even those naughty middles.

      1. Sharpie*

        The Chalet School had Miss Wilson, the terror of the Middles.

        (Great series, I much preferred the Chalet School books to Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers or St Claire’s books.)

    4. Richard Hershberger*

      I did a stint as a sub. I vastly preferred high school. I would probably do better that I did then with elementary school, now that I have had kids of my own, but at the time that age group seemed like aliens. Middle school? Always a challenge, but usually a manageable one. I was one of the few subs who could teach math at any level you would find in a high school, so the math teachers started requesting me. So that worked out. The advanced classes, where the kids were serious about it, even achieved rapport. I would explain things slightly differently than the regular teacher–not better, just differently–sometimes resulting in the light bulb turning on for a kid struggling with a concept: actual education!

    5. Irish Teacher.*

      Your experience sounds similar to, but even worse than, the situation I describe below.

      I will say in Ireland, it is pretty unsual for subs to get plans. Maybe if you are covering for a day or two, maybe. Though even then it would depend on why the teacher is out. If they are out due to bereavement or serious illness or something, you wouldn’t. If it was a planned absence, it’s possible. I did once get plans for the first couple of days of a longish term job but that teacher was super-dedicated. It was a maternity leave and she called me the day after her child was born to check in on how things are going. Just a cultural difference.

      1. not irish not a teacher*

        Wow, that’s interesting! Do you just come in and make an educated guess on what they’re working on, or is there some sort of “they should be learning about fractions, gravity and adverbs today” but it’s up to you on how to teach it?

    6. kicking-k*

      I was an English-language assistant, aged 20, in four schools in France. The elementary schools were delightful. The three hours a week I had in a collège… Well. It was middle school equivalent. The thirteen-year-olds were the worst. They wouldn’t tell me their names either (eventually I learned all but the identical two-of-triplets – thankfully the third brother was in another class). I wasn’t allowed to hand out disciplinary notices, and they knew this, so it was a free-for-all. I was not meant to be left alone with a class, but…

      Because I was only expected to be working in elementary schools, I was only trained for that, and I was useless. But it WAS only three hours a week. I didn’t quit, but I also didn’t go into teaching.

      1. Lana Kane*

        It’s really strange to me how kids can get away with not telling subs their names. I have a memory of this happening when I was in middle school…once. The sub passed around an attendance sheet for us to write our names, and many of the kids wrote things like Mickey Mouse, Superman, etc. The principal came over later and gave everyone a good reaming (I mean, she did have written proof!) Didn’t happen again.

    7. She of Many Hats*

      It takes a very specific soul to be a middle school teacher! May the Powers That Be rain eternal blessing on those who are happy teaching those hormonal, dangerously creative, boundary-stomping, life-is-changing-too-much kids!!

    8. virago*

      My sister has taught middle school (social studies) for years and wouldn’t teach either elementary school (not enough of a challenge) or high school (too jaded). So the goblins do have their fans!

  16. Kyrielle*

    I had just graduated high school and I took a summer job at a call center. I asked before taking it whether I would be making sales cold calls because I didn’t want to deal with how people react to those. They told me no. Truthfully.

    I was making non-sales cold calls, on the particular day I started, for the local teacher’s union pushing all their members to call their representatives and argue for a particular political position. Or if they wouldn’t call, write. Or if they wouldn’t write, let the union send a postcard on their behalf and in their name.

    There was, of course, a script. When they said ‘no’ to one you were to ask the next. About half of the recipients were willing, but I also got handed off to someone’s (based on voice and speech) preschool-age-kid, yelled at, etc. The most memorable one was someone who took the time to “educate me” about why the position was wrong and how stupid the union was, and how she wouldn’t be a member if she didn’t basically have to be. I chose to interpret that as ‘no’ to calling it in, and the ‘will you write in’ popped up. I looked at it, pressed no, pressed no on the postcard, and read the script thanking her for her time and got the heck off the call.

    I finished the day (I am not sure why, any longer!), went to the guy in charge, and told him I wasn’t coming back, I couldn’t do another day of that. It was very low-key all around; I was very shaken up and not aggressive, and meanwhile, he was resigned. I think he actually *said* something like “Yeah, that happens a lot”.

    When asking what I’d be doing, I should have just asked about cold calls, period. I’d rather be yelled at about someone’s customer service issue they’ve called in about than call someone who’s not expecting it, let alone about anything political.

    1. ferrina*

      My college does the thing where they get student workers to call alumni to ask for donations to the school. I was never rude to the students, but I told them exactly what my degree got me (i.e., nothing). My philosophy was that if I ever started getting a return on my investment I’d consider donating. I was factual and calm as I told these poor students my crappy career story (it was a really rough start). On the other end of the phone, I could hear the students regretting their life choices more and more.

      Finally someone put me on the do not call list.
      I really don’t get why they want you to go through the whole script. Surely your time would be better spent calling more people rather than wasting time with people who clearly aren’t receptive

      1. Ally McBeal*

        I feel really bad when my university calls me – I went on full need-based scholarship so I know that a lot of students in the call center are in the same scholarship program that I was in. But my university has made a lot of high-profile mistakes around race relations, and the Board is 98% white boomer men who don’t care at all about racial equality. So I tell the students “until the university comes up with a sufficient answer to deal with [Specific Issue that’s been plaguing us for 5+ years now, mostly because the Board collaborated with a white supremacist organization when making the decision] you will not see a penny of my money.” Fortunately they’ve all agreed with me (conservative board, liberal student body) and I can usually stop them before they run through the full script.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          I almost wish they’d call me instead of sending me mailers all the time. Calls are so much easier to ignore. Instead, they send me a chore (taking the unwanted mail to the building recycling bins).

          I am still high five figures in debt from that school. I’m not sending them a dime lol.

      2. Anonymask*

        I had to do a job like that for the week of spring break where I wouldn’t have had housing otherwise (non-working students had to leave campus, students working with the school got to stay). I was making cold calls to all current students living on campus and ask if they wanted to come back next year. I got a lot of “no” responses. I tried not to take it personally — we were calling long after students had already made plans for the next year, and many of them didn’t want the restrictions of living on campus. But man, it was rough.

        I got the award for most phone calls/engagement though. Most of the names on my list I recognized as seniors (graduating), or people I knew had already chosen to live off campus the next year, so I just marked them down as “left voicemail” in the system and moved on.

      3. Wendy Darling*

        I MA-ed out of a PhD program because my advisor was abusive. The donation calls started pretty much immediately (which really burned because I was broke from working for GSE wages for years and also unemployed because I had no job qualifications to speak of) and I kept trying to get them to put me on the do-not-call list but that would last maximum six months before they were back at it.

        I finally just blocked all the alumni association phone numbers. They haven’t called in a while so possibly they have my number down as nonfunctional now.

      4. A Little Birdie Told Me*

        I was one of those callers for a few weeks my spring semester. They had me calling either our fresh theater grads (who have no money but massive loans) or Boomer business school grads (who didn’t get their money by giving it away). The biggest givers were, of course, our social work grads. I quit because I was so stressed, I got a sinus infection. I swore if I were ever called, I’d donate just to prop up the poor kid on the other end of the phone, but I’ve never got a ring. I guess in the age of cell phones, they no longer have easy access to contact info.

      5. JustaTech*

        At my undergrad working the alumni donation phones was the best-paying non-work-study job on campus, but it paid well for a reason, ie, cold calling alums and asking for money.

        After I graduated I would either doge the calls or chat briefly about some school thing (“Oh it’s Sunday, how was steak night?”) because although I remembered my friends doing the job, I also didn’t have a great start to my career and felt very low about the whole thing.

      6. TaraGreen*

        I did the college alumni phone call gig for my school as well.worst/most awkward response I got was someone telling me (in an absolutely deadpan emotionless tone) that they were sitting at someone’s deathbed so could I call back later.

      7. Lily Rowan*

        If you don’t want the calls, you should ask to be put on the do-not call list proactively. It works!

      8. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

        One of the best side benefits of taking a job at my alma mater’s fundraising office (I was there in a non-fundraising role) was going into our system and marking myself as ‘do not call’. Chef’s kiss! I donate to research or scholarships I think are important, but on my own dang schedule.

  17. Gahhh*

    I got a part time job at a household goods-type retail store while working on my master’s degree in a big city. I thought it would be easy enough and not intellectually difficult. I was so wrong! During my first day of paid training, the existing employees were SO ENTHUSIASTIC about every item in the store. Really, they were just gushing about all the items and knew every little thing about every little aspect of those items. I could not imagine filling my brain with that much knowledge of household goods nor scraping together even half of their enthusiasm. One of the trainers was pretty cute (and was the most enthusiastic of all), but that wasn’t enough to stay. Plus it was an annoying bus ride downtown to get to the store. I quit after the one day of training.

    1. rahab*

      This sounds like a Store that sells goods that Contain things. They’ve got a reputation for being kinda culty.

    2. Cacofonix*

      Would be so nice to shop where employees knew a lot about their products tho’. My friend and I were thinking of going into business together once. She had a lot of knowledge and contacts in Europe in olive oil. We thought it would be fun to have a curated tasting bar and retail, before we ever saw such a thing. I loved the idea but hate olive oil. Anything but olive oil. Or any oil.

      Best be passionate about your product if going into business with it. Or interested enough as an employee. I would have been entirely bemused with all that household goods excitement too, and followed you out the door.

      1. JustaTech*

        When I worked at a used bookstore one of the general requirements of the staff was that we were at least sort-of interested in books, and vaguely knowledgeable about one general topic so we could shelve those books correctly (I worked Food and History).
        You would think this wouldn’t be super necessary, but then they had an employee shelve “Angels and Demons” (back when Dan Brown was *huge*) in the “Religion” section.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          I worked in a library during that time, and every time someone added their name to the absurdly long waiting list for ‘Angels and Demons’ I wanted to tell them it wasn’t even very good.

        2. goddessoftransitory*


          I worked at Large Chain Bookstore years ago, and it astonished me how much customers expected us to A) have read every book in the place and B) be able to give them full essays on every topic under the sun.

          1. Laser99*

            Oh, I have direct experience with this. They think all bookstore employees sit around reading all day. Utterly absurd.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      Back in my Walmart days, management (at least management above the store level) desperately wanted the hourlies to have this level of enthusiasm. There were a handful eager to buy in, but nothing like a critical mass. The rest of us quickly determined the minimum acceptable pretense required before we could get on with doing our jobs.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          That’s an above-minimum number of exclamation points. Possibly even excessive. *squints suspiciously*

  18. Busy Middle Manager*

    Temp office job that paid the equivalent of about $23/hr today. I could barely live on 40 hours X the amount but could make it work for a while. First day, find out “full time” = 35 hours because that’s when you get benefits. Got a few “why are you complaining” type comments in response as if it was some personality quirk that I live on a budget on a low salary.

    this was in 2009 and they processed foreclosure paperwork so in hindsight it was probably not a great environment to go into anyways.

  19. FormerProducer*

    I lasted one day at a fundraising call center at my university. The job was to call alumni and get them to give us money, there was an extremely rigid script we had to stick to with no deviations allowed. In my first call, the alumni said “this is a very awkward conversation” (couldn’t agree more, pal) and I quit that day and got a job as a nude model for the art department instead.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Confession: I got a fundraising call from my college literally as I was walking out the door–I thought it might be my mom, whom I was going to meet, asking me to bring something that I had noticed she had left behind. I told the guy, sorry, I can’t talk now, I have to be somewhere, and hung up (which I will admit was pretty rude).

      I was headed back toward the back door when the phone rang again. I ran to answer it, again thinking it might be my mom, although I had already decided to bring the thing she’d left with me, just in case, but, no, it was the kid calling me back to chastise me for hanging up. “I’m just trying to make some money. My family can’t send me money for books.” (The tone implied that he thought my parents must have paid for all my stuff and I couldn’t understand.”

      “Neither could mine,” I told him, “So I scraped plates in the dining hall for four years.” And then I hung up again. When I was there, kids would deliberately make their trays extra messy before they sent them back. Dining hall was hard work. But it paid 10 cents an hour more than anything else.

      1. Goldfeesh*

        Oh, I loved my dining services job for the most part. It paid 7.75 to start in 2000, which is still higher than my state’s minimum wage. It was also a wonderful multicultural experience. I met one of my best friends there and my husband as well. ISU Dining Services 10/10.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          I loved mine, too. The lunch ladies were great. I’m sure they dreaded each year’s new crop of incompetent “help” but they never showed it. Even the ones who are retired come to school reunions because we all want to see them.

    2. Lita*

      I quit the exact same type of job after, I think, one week? And I’m someone who later worked in the same field – but those call center programs are awful.

      1. Elsewise*

        I lasted all four years in mine, and then later ran one at a different university for two years. Personally I learned a lot from having that job in college, our scripts were less rigid, and my boss was fantastic about making it as not-horrible as possible. We still had a lot of people quit in their first day or first week, though. It’s not for everyone. Or for most people. Or really for anyone long-term.

        (I’m also a fundraiser, predictably.)

    3. CallWaiting*

      I have a similar story! I lasted about a week at my Big 10 university fundraising center – a few days of training and then a few days solo. The script was very awkward/unnatural and the conversations were brutal. Most conversations resulted in people begging me to take them off our call list because they were being harassed by the university. After those first few solo days they pulled me aside to review my calls and I told them I quit before we even got to the critique. No regrets!

    4. College Career Counselor*

      It says something that cold calling donors was more awkward than nude modeling! The no deviation from the script is a killer as well. I did telemarketing one summer for “the nation’s newspaper” when it was first starting up back in the mid-80s. I was so bored with the script that I would conduct little experiments by changing the nature of my voice to see if I could get better results:
      1. Normal speaking voice (admittedly did not have the local accent, so I probably got coded as “not from around here” by people picking up).
      2. Variations on the local accent.
      3. “Broadcasting voice” (flat/midwestern).
      4. “Game Show Announcer” enthusiasm level.

      None of them made any difference that I could tell. I kept that job for the entire summer because I needed the money ($3.35/hour, but you could “be paid more by commission” once you sold 10 subscriptions in a shift). Never managed to get more than seven in one shift, and the usual number was 0-2 (I was so bored, I tracked it). There were 3-4 of us grinding it out in an anonymous office park weekday evenings and Saturday mornings, interrupting people at dinner or whatever. I don’t recall that anyone else ever got the commission level per shift, although some did better than me.

    5. Beth*

      I got paid better as an art department model than I did at most of my first several years of “legitimate” work.

      (Yes, I did undraped modeling — it paid twice as much, and the artists or art students were usually very serious and well-behaved. And they would kick out anyone who wasn’t.)

      No corporate team-building events, though.

    6. Lana Kane*

      This brings back a memory! I was less than a year out of graduating and got one of these calls. I tried to be nice to the kid, and told him I’m just out odf college and wasn’t making enough to donate. He replied with, “well, maybe you could cut back on the Starbucks”. (This was in 1998 and already there were smarmy aholes out there telling young adults to make their own coffee). I answered something like, “I don’t drink coffee so please explain where else I can pull money out from”. I still feel kinda bad because it is a sucky job and he was probably under pressure, but I also feel like he asked for it. I hung up before I could go into how he could look forward to repaying student loans once he graduated.

  20. LJ*

    I quit my first real office job (aside from a few internships) after the first week. I had been working retail and waiting tables previously. The training I got made no sense to me and I felt like I would never succeed (the outgoing person told me what keys to press on the keyboard but didn’t explain why or what I was actually DOING in the system). It was TOO MUCH for my early 20s anxiety and depression. I told them there was a family emergency and I had to go to NY for an indefinite amount of time (I lived in California at the time and remote work was not a thing back then).

    I don’t know how they received it; I was too absorbed in my mini-breakdown. But I did feel very guilty/ashamed about it for quite a while. I lobbied hard for the job bc it was in an industry adjacent to what I very much wanted to be doing.

    I saw one of the other staff out in the world a few weeks later. I don’t know if they saw me, but it was in the airport, so my story would have held!

  21. Lemon Squeezy*

    Early on in my career, I was desperate to get any job and interviewed at a company that billed itself as a company that helped other companies with their business taxes. I was part of a group interview of three (the first of many red flags that I ignored) where we were all hired on the spot. The actual business turned out to be a predatory call center, just barely bordering on a scam, where we would get a big list of businesses in trouble with the IRS and try to pressure them into using the company’s services. After signing paperwork, we were trained by being sat down with another person in the call center and going through the company’s script with them. While sitting with my second trainer, I made a call to a man who yelled that he didn’t want to be harassed and hung up. The trainer made me call him three times before moving on to the next company on the list. After three hours of “training”, we were set loose with a list of our own to start harassing other people. If you managed to get a “lead” (by which I mean, successfully pestered someone into agreeing to talk to an actual sales person), the manager would come by your desk and you could play blackjack for an extra fifteen minutes on your break. I finished out the rest of the day, numbly dialing phone numbers and getting hung up on, and then went home and decided I really didn’t need a job THAT badly. I called and left a message that I was not going to be in tomorrow, or ever again, and two months later got my first real professional job.

  22. Short timer*

    Should have quit first week but quit after a few weeks. I was in college and took a summer internship with Lockheed Martin. They wouldn’t let me come on-site before accepting my offer so had to accept it after just a phone call with the hiring folks. The building I worked in was OLD and had asbestos warnings at the door as you walked in. I worked in a tiny cubicle with about 6-8 middle aged men (I was 19F) who spent the morning counting down the days until retirement (literally years away) and chewing tobacco and spitting in their cups (so, so gross). They gave me NOTHING to do the whole time I was there, even after me asking multiple times. I spent the days playing computer games bored out of my mind (this was also 2005 so no cell phone or much internet to really spend my time on). One day I came in and the women’s ceiling in the bathroom had collapsed and there was, what I can only assume to be, asbestos all over the place. One day I’d had enough and my “boss” was even out of town, I called HR and asked how I could quit. They had me come down to the underground, windowless tunnels (I think they called the people working there tunnel rats?), and the (very nice) HR lady confirmed I wanted to quit immediately, I said yes fighting back tears because it was all so awful, and she said I just needed to give her my badge and gave me a big hug.

    1. Short timer*

      Clarify: not all in the same cubicle, lol, mine was tiny. They had a mix of cubicles and offices.

      1. Frank Doyle*

        Thank you for the clarification, I actually was picturing you in a cubicle with six or eight middle-aged men!

    2. i like hound dogs*

      My husband did a “co-op” for Lockheed Martin in college and had a similar experience. He said he had nothing to do and was bored out of his skull, but his dad made him do it because he was convinced being an engineer was the only valid career path :( (He did not become an engineer … at least this confirmed that wasn’t the right path)

      At least the HR woman was nice to you!

      1. Spearmint*

        I had an internship with a city government like this. Apparently previous interns had done a lot of manual data entry, but that had been recently automated and they didn’t really think whether they had anything for future interns to do. Since it was paid I stayed for two months though (they offered to let me stay longer, but I declined). No asbestos though!

    3. Anon for this*

      That sounds a lot like an internship I had in college many years ago – it was with a state government agency where most of the employees were just marking time until they could retire. I don’t think anyone there ever did a full day’s work. The admin asst would sit there and smoke all day while doing crossword puzzles (your tax dollars at work!).

  23. Spurs*

    I quit within an hour! I was supposed to be a tutor for my community college, and they really stressed how important I would be there since I could be an accounting tutor, but once I started my first shift they had me handing out flyers for the school’s donut day. When I asked when I’d start actually tutoring people, they told me that my first year would be mostly marketing the tutoring center (AKA handing out flyers). They told me that the mostly male “business school tutors” had decided they didn’t really need anyone who specialized in accounting (even though they had practically begged me to apply since they didn’t have an accounting tutor and the students were requesting one). It was apparent that the manager let this group of dudes run the tutoring center, and I knew that the “marketing experience” BS was just the tip of the iceberg on how dysfunctional this place would be. I already had a few part time jobs and only wanted this one for tutoring experience, so I turned in my little red tutor vest and bounced immediately.

    1. Wordnerd*

      As a university tutoring coordinator who is currently looking for accounting tutors, this makes me want to go sit in the corner and weep.

  24. cardigarden*

    This may not count because it was my first babysitting gig when I was 14, but I’ll tell it anyway.

    Close family friends wanted to use me as their babysitter for their 4-5ish year old daughter on date nights. We did a try-out Saturday afternoon while the parents were in the house but busy doing other things, and it was an absolute nightmare. This child was FERAL. Kicking, punching, screaming, throwing things the entire time I was there. Did the parents ever step in? No. Should I have called my own parents to come pick me up early? Probably. But I stuck out the 3 hours, which culminated in the girl yelling “Cardigarden, I hate you go home!”

    The real kick in the teeth was that after all of that, the mother only paid me $5.

    So I eventually got to my mom’s car and I told her “Never again. I you go way back, but their kid is a nightmare and I’m never doing this again.” Sure, I foisted that social grenade at my mom, but I figured hey I’m a kid, too, so…

    I did hear through the grapevine that the child actually did grow up okay and is now a well-adjusted and successful 20-something. So good for her.

    1. Name Anxiety*

      I had a babysitting/mother’s helper job that I got as a teen because we knew the family through church. I showed up for my first day and was watching the 3 year old while the mom was somewhere else with a newborn. The kid started throwing metal hot wheels cars at the windows and television and I said something along the lines of “Oh, no! Stop throwing cars, we do not do that!” and the mother came running in to yell at ME because “We don’t use that kind of language in this house.” She gave me a pack of Clorox wipes and told me to clean the bathrooms for the rest of the day. I told my mom that I was never going back and she would just tell them that I was unavailable if they ever called again. A few years later I was the regular babysitter for a different family and when I got there one of the kids had a black eye and his mom started telling me about how an uncontrollable child at his school was throwing rocks during pickup and the mom did nothing to stop it. I just said, “Let me guess…. was it [child name redacted]?” and she was both horrified that I guessed right the first time and very impressed.

    2. Spicy Tuna*

      I am not a “kid person” but there was a situation on our block where the neighbor’s husband had died, and her early ’20’s daughter, who had just had a baby, was living with her. Something urgent came up and mom and daughter had to go somewhere on short notice so my mom volunteered me to watch the baby for a few hours.

      It was summer and roasting hot (no one had a/c, we lived in a usually cool climate). The baby WOULD. NOT. STOP. CRYING. I had no clue what to do so I fled the house, ran across the street and got my mom to help. Of course, as soon as she picked up the baby, he stopped crying!

    3. Zombeyonce*

      I babysat for the most nightmarish children I’ve ever met in my entire life regularly when I was 12 because my mom made me (their dad was away in the military and their mom just…didn’t parent them). I was kicked, punched, bitten, and screamed at by 2 boys who were almost my size for hours at a time, and I was paid the handsome price of $1.50 an hour for the privilege. My mom finally let me stop when I came home crying a few weeks in.

      1. Artemesia*

        my first husband then fiance was hired for a weekend so a mom could get a break and a short vacation with her husband. Boys 4 and 5 — they had taken hammers to the basement plastered walls, while he was supervising they managed to flip the dining room table — just totally out of control. When he was first talking to the mother, the older kid grabbed the newspaper from under her arm and threw it in the sprinkler — guess that was his clue to say ‘no’.

    4. FashionablyEvil*

      Omg, I had totally forgotten about the time
      I was babysitting for these two girls. They had an older brother who was only about a year younger than me who was also there but not trusted to be left to supervise the girls. Which became immediately apparent when he pulled a knife on his little sister. I told him to stop being an idiot and took the girls outside where we waited until their parents got home about 20 minutes later. Still not sure what the parents must have thought when I said, “So, Stephen pulled a knife on Jenny…” It was BANANAS.

      1. Observer*

        It was BANANAS

        Sounds like it! What on earth were these parents thinking? If they had a half a brain between the TO think?

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      I did a lot of babysitting as a teenager, and the one family I refused to schedule after the first job was my mom’s best friend at the time. Her child was a terror and kept hitting me (hard), and they paid far less than other parents did. Not worth the hassle, but I’m sure it occasionally made it awkward for my mom to maintain the facade that I was “too busy” when my regular sitting job was on the same block, and those kids and I were out playing or walking the dog all the time.

    6. AngryOctopus*

      I babysat once for a family where the only kid issue was that the kid didn’t want to go to sleep in his bed. I assumed fair enough, I’m not his parent, I’m only like his second babysitter, he’s not into it, but I eventually got him to sleep. Then the parents called late (at time they originally said they’d be home) wanting to stay out even later (it was a school night and at this point the earliest they’d be home was 11). I was taught well by my mom so I said “no, it’s a school night, you said you’d be home by now, which is late enough”. When they finally got home, they expressed surprise that I got the kid to sleep in his own bed (they never told me that he usually slept on the floor in their room), and then the dad said “Well, I GUESS I have to drive you home” (I didn’t live far, but there was no sidewalk and it was a windy country road). Got home and told my mom ‘never ever again for these people’.

    7. Susie Occasionally(formerly No)-Fun*

      I had a babysitting job that started ok. The mom said to just let the kid (~6 or 7 years old) watch tv while she was gone for a few hours. Eh, it was the 80s and not an uncommon thing. Except as soon as the mom was gone, the kid switch the tv to hardcore porn. I told him no and to turn it to something else. He swore at me and refused. I changed the channel myself. He turned it back. I turned it off. He physically attacked me—kicking and punching, while calling me names. I was only 15 myself and had no idea how to handle this. Eventually I shoved him into his room, which had a door that opened outward. I sat against the door while he kicked and hit it, shouting profanity of course. It seemed like an improvement over him doing so to me. His mom eventually came home and I told her everything. She shrugged and handed me $5.00. I went home and told my mom that I would never baby sit for them again. I have no idea what happened to that kid. Or his mom, for that matter. I hope things worked out ok.

    8. JustaTech*

      Oh, the babysitting gig I wish I could have left in the first ten minutes.
      I was 12 and lived in a rural/suburban area where this family lived across the creek from me and had a “model” farm, as in they had a few of your average farm animals (cows, chickens, a goat) but the parents both had day jobs *and* they ran a restaurant.
      They had 3 boys ages 4, 2 and 6 months and needed a sitter for a Saturday night, so I agreed. The Saturday comes and I arrive to find not the parents but the grandparents, who have done the day shift with the kids while the parents worked. I was told the parents would be home at 9.
      And then the blizzard warning start. I eventually got the kids to sleep and was waiting (impatiently) for the parents to come home so they could drive me home (walking back over the creek would have been very dark and I didn’t have boots). I see a car and am like “yay, I can go home!” but no, it’s only the dad, the mom went to the grocery store for milk, along with everyone else in the county. We can’t leave the kids, so the dad and I just sit there in the kitchen of this creaky farmhouse until like 11:30 when the mom finally gets home.
      I have no idea why I didn’t call my parents to just come get me.
      And the kicker? For my 6 hours of work with 3 kids, I got $20.
      The next time was worse, although didn’t have any snow, and after that I asked my mom to say I was busy.
      At least I was never the sitter when the cows got out.

      1. StarTrek Nutcase*

        At 15, I was the go-to neighborhood babysitter with the reputation that I could handle the worst of the worst. I went to sit for a 6-month girl for the first time. She was asleep in playpen when I arrived but mom still left. Girl wakes up 15 mins later and just sits there looking at me. I freak the heck out and call my mom to tell her I can’t stay so she has to come sub for me. We argue while kid just sits there. Mom returns early (gone only 45 mins). I run home. Mom is crazy laughing at me. Why? Because this little girl was the scariest looking kid ever – no deformities or disabilities, just *ugly ugly ugly*. Even telling this decades later, I get the shivers. I never sat there again but a year later saw her and she was just a normal looking kid. I can’t explain it – well I did watch The Exorcist the night before, but…..

    9. Slartibartfast*

      I did a lot of babysitting as the only responsible teen in a yuppie neighborhood. I had a new family, three boys age 6, 4 and 2. Oldest was severe ADHD, extra emphasis on the H. Youngest had cerebral palsy, he had some special leg braces but was doing pretty well with intensive therapy. Middle was normal but with 2 special needs siblings and both parents working full time, there was definitely some acting out for attention. I babysat them once. Youngest was climbing the picnic table and jumping off,braces and all. Middle was crying full on meltdown while I was trying to keep the baby from killing himself. Then I heard the oldest child yelling for my attention and look up to find him ON THE ROOF WITH A BIG ASS KITCHEN KNIFE.

      Somehow I survived the night with no injuries to myself or any of the kids, and I did get paid really well, but Never Again.

    10. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

      I had a babysitting gig where the kid had just received all of his 12 month vaccines in the afternoon, and they didn’t bother to tell me. I was 13? I was a busy and popular neighbourhod babysitter, but mostly for kids that were in preschool or older. I had zero ability to manage this screaming, crying, uncomfortable child and made my mom come over and take over until she finally got him to bed…and then pretended not to be home until the parents stopped calling our house.

      More than two decades later, I saw that house come up for sale and looking at the photos of the inside literally gave me the shakes. Yeesh!

    11. Chirpy*

      I babysat for a teacher, and it was supposed to go all summer while she was teaching summer school. I was probably 12. The second or third day, the toddler managed to climb up on a counter and get into some candy (so, sticky and blue) and I was never able to catch the one year old long enough to change her diaper. Absolutely the worst kids I ever babysat. Technically, the mom told me not to come back, but I was so relieved because I didn’t know how to quit.

      (I felt bad for a while for leaving her with no childcare for the summer, until I found out what a horrible teacher she was to my sibling. Parents literally started a tutoring group to re-teach the kids in her class correctly. )

    12. KYParalegal*

      Oh, this brought back memories of the worst family I ever babysat. I was 13-14 and my mom worked with one of the parents and volunteered me for the job when her coworker complained about how hard it was to find a babysitter. The parents agreed to pay me $10/hr to watch their 4 kids ages 2, 5, 7, and 10, and it was supposed to be a 6pm to midnight deal. The family lived about 20 minutes away, so the mom picked me up from my house and they were going to drop me off when the night was over.
      The first hour-ish went ok, but then the sun started going down and I tried to get them all inside (like their mom told me to!) and all hell broke loose. The two middle kids starting throwing things at me, the oldest refused to do anything I said because I was “practically her age”, and the baby started screaming hysterically when one of the kids accidentally hit her instead of me with whatever they were throwing (I can’t remember anymore; I think it was gravel). After 45 minutes of the shitshow, I called their parents’ cell phone and said “Your kids are out of control” and the oldest hung up the (landline, corded) phone in the middle of me talking to her mother. I stared her dead in the eye while I hit redial and told the mom “You need to come home. I’m calling my mom to come get me, so you need to be here before she gets here.”
      For the rest of the time until the parents got back home, I monitored the toddler to make sure she didn’t hurt herself, put the middle kids in their room, and ignored the 10yo freaking out that her parents were cutting their night 4 hours short because she and her siblings had been nightmares. The parents tried to lecture me about fulfilling my agreements, but my mom got there, saw my new bruises and scratches, told the parent she worked with to pay me the full amount for the night, and took me home. I never babysat for those people again. My older sister babysat them one time (more per hour and a shorter time frame) and also would never babysit for them again.

    13. A Genuine Scientician*

      It’s funny how among all the kids of my parents’ friends I ever baby sat for, the ones who a) asked rather than told me I was babysitting, and b) in some way compensated me were also the kids who were well behaved enough that it wasn’t a serious imposition. While those who just expected me to do it for free had feral nightmares.

      Imagine that.

  25. Momma Bear*

    Not the first week, but by about week 2 my then-friend went AWOL from a job I had gotten him. It was a lower level customer service job to help him through the summer and never advertised as any different. Unfortunately for me, he fancied himself a network engineer and felt it was “beneath” him so he just stopped showing up. I forget what his excuse was for no notice. We didn’t stay friends.

  26. Crazy Chicken Lady*

    I took a job working for a couple who wanted to become real estate magnates, and needed someone to help with their marketing. When I interviewed, they told me they would have an office, but for now it was working out of their house.

    I was told not to wear so much perfume the first day I showed up (I wasn’t, I’d just…washed my hair?). The first day, I was directed to watch all the recordings of the real estate coach they had paid thousands of dollars for to make sure I “knew the industry”. The coach was a mix of Rich Dad, Poor Dad + Tom Robbins, and absolutely horrifying.

    The second day, I had to pick up a birthday cake for their assistant, and got lectured for taking so long (I had to drive across town and wait in a long line at a tiny shop to get it). Myself and the assistant whose birthday it was had to each sit and eat a slice, but the real estate couple did not. When asked, they said they didn’t celebrate birthdays. A friendly “Oh, why’s that?” was met with “religious reasons.” and then just complete silence while we finished our cake slices. It was so. awkward.

    Every morning, the wife of the couple would text me to pick her up a Starbucks coffee on my way to their house, then lecture me about being late when doing so. The Starbucks was down the street from their house, and closer to her than to me.

    Nothing could be done without the wife of the couple editing it herself, lecturing about doing the task “better”, or simply taking over everything herself. I was assigned filing tasks, envelope stuffing, and general low-level admin work. All of this was done in a spare bedroom in their very large, very expensive home.

    I’d interviewed for a more senior level role and had thought I’d be running campaigns/larger scale marketing initiatives, not acting as an assistant that might someday be allowed to post to their social media. After the fourth day of being texted, while still in bed, about picking up another Starbucks order, I just texted back “I quit” and rolled over and went back to sleep.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Wait…they ordered a birthday cake and made you go get it even though they don’t celebrate birthdays??? And they made you and the other employee eat the cake while they sat there and watched???? That is absolutely bananas!!!!

      I really want to know how long ago this was and whether they ever actually did get an office for their obviously-going-to-be-very-successful-except-not real estate business or if they crashed and burned as of course we all know they did.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Yup. It really does cry out for an update. Are they now fabulously rich real estate magnates? Are they now homeless?

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        My brain is making this couple into the duo that was the subject of that documentary: the ones who were trying to build Versailles in their home town?

      3. Expelliarmus*

        I guess they were trying to be thoughtful of the assistant, who does celebrate their birthday, but yeah, just awkwardly watching them was weird.

      4. Crazy Chicken Lady*

        They did eventually have an office, and I’d drive by the sign occasionally (it was located next to my favorite sushi restaurant). This was back in 2014, 2015. The cake thing was *so* weird. It felt like they were trying on ways to “Be Good Managers” but because the rest was so bizarre, it just didn’t land.

        The office disappeared about a year later, so I assume they crashed and burned.

        Other weird things that I’m remembering –
        – They had a joint LinkedIn account (yes, like those Facebook couples who have a joint Facebook account? That, but LinkedIn)
        – They never removed me from any of their digital accounts; I removed myself about a year later when I got annoyed by the notifications
        – They only posted to social media a handful of times, pictures of the wife sitting at cafes. Never the houses they were selling, or neighborhoods, or anything.
        – When I first got there, they gave me a brief tour of their house, and made sure to mention that the view from their dining room made it worth extra (I want to say a million dollars, but can’t really remember). I think all I said was “oh, that’s nice.”

        When I went to pick up my check for the few days I’d worked, the husband gave it to me because the wife “didn’t want to see my face”. He asked me if I’d quit because of her. I said yes, and he thanked me, and then closed the door and we never spoke again.

  27. Ruby*

    I moved to a city right after college to join a startup which had everyone, c-suite on down, work two weeks in the call-center after a week of onboarding classes. It was basically a week of “here is the culture of this company, isn’t it great?” and I looked around and thought that it seemed like a good place for a lot of the people there, but I would personally hate it. Work drinks and overly vulnerable one-on-ones sort of deal.

    I had enough to pay rent for six months so I approached my training leader to tell her I’d like to terminate my employment. She was surprised and said “leadership has been looking at you as one to watch. This is really unexpected,” arranged a quick exit interview with one of the people leaders, and walked me out a side door. It was the right move.

    1. SquarePizza*

      “We thought you had a lot of potential,” is a tactic that toxic/culty places use to get people to stay in situations they intellectually know to get out of.

      Source: Was told I had a lot of potential once. I did not.

      1. HavingWritten*

        Sometimes it’s a tactic, yeah. But sometimes it’s genuine! As in, “we were really excited about you because you’re by far the most functional person who has ever wanted to work here.” Either way, big red flag.

    2. Hermione Danger*

      I once left an agonizingly awful job interview in which the interviewer was accusatory and hostile. Even though I desperately needed a job, the words, “No. Fucking. Way.” flew out of my mouth as soon as the door to the building closed safely behind me. I went home and immediately sent an email withdrawing my candidacy. Their response included the sentence, “We’re so sorry to hear that because you were our top candidate.”

      Well then, y’all should have treated me like it.

      1. linger*

        Nor were they lying! Though possibly the full sentence was:
        “You were our top candidate; all others we’ve contacted so far noped out too.”
        Because of course such outfits have to keep going down their list until they find someone desperate enough to say yes.

  28. Caz*

    I had been working at a job that I LOVED, but very part-time hours and they informed me they couldn’t offer more. I took a full time job at a local supermarket and – very reluctantly – resigned from the beloved job. I was at the supermarket for a week when the old job wrote a letter to me with my final payslip offering me increased hours and an increased hourly rate – so i could do 25 hours per week, instead of 40 at the supermarket, for the same take-home amount. I quit the supermarket on the spot. Supermarket job had such high turnover that they had deliberately over-recruited so they weren’t left short when people inevitably left! Stayed at the beloved job for another year then moved on to another org in the same field, where I’ve now been for nearly 20 years.

  29. NoBeesPlease*

    Showed up on my first day to learn that what I had been told was a full-time permanent position was actually a temp position being filled by two part-time people and they’d decide after a couple of months if they wanted to make one or both of us permanent. Oh, and it paid less than half of what I’d been promised per hour.

    I left at the end of my four hours and never went back.

    1. ferrina*

      Any time a place does a bait-and-switch with permanent vs temp position, run.

      I worked somewhere that did that. We had posted several full-time permanent positions at the same time. One of them got frozen within a week; I wasn’t allowed to look at applications, but I wasn’t allowed to take the job posting off the job boards. One of the jobs was hired…after another 18 months. The third job was the one that would make the most difference day-to-day. I moved quick to find a strong candidate. After arguing a bit with my VP, I finally put forth someone who was new to the professional world but had a bit of other work experience. The catch? He was in the reserves, and they didn’t want someone who would need to be away at training. So they hired him as a temp with a vague promise to make him full time maybe somewhere in the future.

      That was a trap. I knew this company well- I had started with the company when I had temped with them for a 2-week stint doing data entry and they had extended my work repeatedly, effectively giving me job responsibilities from full-time staff that had left. After 8 months temping with no end in sight, I told them I’d need to leave and find full-time employment. Suddenly they had the funds to hire me. I told the guy to enjoy the pay check but not stop the job search. Thankfully he listened and left after about 5 months (he did great work the whole time he was there)

  30. zolk*

    I worked at a card store in Canada for three days. It wasn’t my first job, but I was a teen and so was everyone else (all two people) on staff. The owner hired me and then vanished. I was trained by the other two, who had barely a week of training themselves. The store had been open for years, so that should’ve been a red flag.

    On the fourth day the owner came in and apparently all she did was watch us on cameras from her home. She yelled at me about everything I had done wrong (in my first three days being trained! By other newbies!).

    We all quit.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      I once walked out, along with the rest of the staff, from a tee shirt store when the new manager hired by the East Coast headquarters of the business kept forgetting things, ordering stuff we didn’t sell, and yelled at me when I told her that her son’s school was on the phone. The final straw was finding her bottle of booze (in a vanilla bottle) hidden in her office trash.

  31. Public Servant*

    Ooh boy.

    It was a temp job anyway. I was working at a partially hydrogenated soybean oil flake factory. It was the highest pay I ever got – $7/hr! I was in college, and during summer break I was trying to save up money for a semester abroad. The job began on a Wednesday.

    Things were weird early. People looked at me and my girlfriend funny-we were the youngest people there. Despite the grossness of the product, no gloves (but beard nets were necessary?) My job was very physical, putting boxes together to catch the flakes as they came down a tube. There were prominent cameras recording everything. On the way to the tiny break room, I saw where bubbling oil was coming out of the machinery and out into the floor. When we left (stinky, greasy, and sore), a manager had to unlock the door so we could leave.

    Despite still being sore the next day, we came back. Everyone was in shock that we HAD come back. The night proceeded same as before, but just before leaving, the boss told me not to come back on Friday, but they’d need me again next week.

    I remember thinking—I reek, I’m in awful pain, and I’m not even going to get 40 hrs a week? Screw this. Called the temp company and said “nope.”

    1. Public Servant*

      Just saw the new comment from AAM:

      The temp agency was unhappy with me, and I never got another assignment from them. Considering how everyone acted when I came back on day 2, I doubt anyone at the factory was surprised.

      I still flip that place off sometimes when I pass it.

      1. Public Servant*

        I know. I told the temp agency I thought the place was unsafe, but …

        Their excuse for it was that employees were letting their drug dealers in before they started locking it.

      2. Observer*

        Had they not heard of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire?!

        It doesn’t sound like they would care. In any case, locking people in because illegal long enough ago that it was illegal when @Public Servant worked there.

  32. Harper*

    I grew up in a very rural area. When I was 15, too young for a “real” job, some representatives from a local farming company came to our high school to recruit kids to “detassel” corn. This meant walking between rows of field corn taller than we were in the hot sun, reaching up, and pulling the tassel out of the top of the corn for the purpose of promoting cross-pollenation. We walked acres and acres of fields. It was hot, dirty, exhausting, and the edges of the leaves on the corn cut any exposed bare skin to shreds. We were bused in and couldn’t leave until the end of the day. I really, really wanted the money, so I stuck it out 4 days, but I think I cried every single day. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I didn’t go back. This was around 1993 and I don’t even know if it would be legal today. LOL

    1. Be Gneiss*

      My randomly-assigned roommate my freshman year detassled corn in the summers! I’ve had several occasions to explain to people that this is a real thing, and I don’t think anyone has ever believed me! When I asked her if she liked it she said something like “I can wear my walkman (this was late ’90s) and I don’t have to be nice to anyone.”

      1. Certaintroublemaker*

        C suite boss in my group grew up on a farm in Nebraska—he spent many a summer detasseling corn!

        1. Detassler*

          I feel like it’s a rite of passage for farm kids in Iowa and Nebraska. Like Harper, I grew up in a very rural area and there weren’t any other options for jobs besides that or babysitting until you were a little older and/or had a car.

        2. She of Many Hats*

          In northern farm states, Rock Picking rivals corn detasseling as worst first rural kids’ jobs. The fields can be strewn with glacial rock that keeps coming to the surfaces and need to be removed before plowing. You’ll often see piles of rocks in the corner of crop fields that have been “picked”.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        I know about corn detasseling thanks to the MST broadcast of The Starfighters! The main character’s love interest worked as one.

    2. Detassler*

      Can confirm this is not an exaggeration! I detasseled for one summer. While I’m not a princess by any means, my parents were skeptical that I would not quit after the first day. I’m not a morning person (I think we had leave at like 5am?); it’s hard, dirty work; and the older high school kids definitely hazed the younger (13-14 yo) kids by threatening to tip over the port-a-potties while you were in them. I would have dreams (nightmares?) about pulling tassels and my forearms were covered with cuts from the corns leaves. There was a girl one grade ahead of me who I thought was kind of prissy and I was like, “If she can do it, I can do it.” Plus we got a bonus if we had perfect attendance. I finished that summer, and then promptly got my lifeguarding certification and was a life guard for the next 8-9 years.

    3. E*

      My grandma grew up in a medium town surrounded by farms and detassled corn one summer. Farm reps would come recruit the “city kids” that didn’t know any better to do the same thing, and this would have been back in the late 1940s.

    4. Zombeyonce*

      I worked with a group of friends to “rogue rye” for a week one summer in high school. We were supposed to walk through wheat fields and pull up any rye growing there. The only explanation we were given was that “rye is taller than wheat” so I never actually could tell if I was pulling the right stuff or not. I got paid to basically walk around for 8 hours with my friends, pull random plants out of the ground if they looked tall, and get sunburned. Somehow not the worst job I’ve ever had.

      1. Detassler*

        It was likely soy beans. I had to do that, too. I remember being probably 10 or younger. Since it was for our family farm we were not paid; it was just a requirement of being a farm kid.

        1. Detassler*

          Meant to add that you have to walk beans to pull any rogue weeds (or volunteer corn) because the combine head used to harvest beans is different from the one for corn; and weeds will plug up the bean head easier. So you want the bean rows to be as clean as possible.

      2. Dragonfly7*

        My mom and her sisters walked beans, too, at a young age. She once told me that her eldest sister thought that since Mom could only walk half as many rows at a time (vs her, who is roughly 10 years older), that Mom should only be paid half as much.

      1. Anon4This*

        Ugh, tobacco is the worst. My spouse grew up on a farm, and he holds a lot of resentment toward tomatoes, strawberries, and, most of all, tobacco. He has had tobacco poisoning twice, even with gloves and protective gear. It was a small family farm where the kids were the primary source of labor, so my husband has planted, harvested, graded, and hung tobacco leaves for drying most of his childhood. He is not a fan and chose an office-based career for a reason.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          Pulling off certain small leaves by hand so the plant doesn’t get too bushy. You’re basically selecting which leaves you want to let grow out.

    5. Steve for Work Purposes*

      Oh god, that gives me flashbacks. My dad had to do that as a teenager and whenever we as teenagers complained about our summer jobs and/or had a hard time finding a summer job, Dad would threaten to sign us up for detasseling. And when he did it, it wasn’t walking, it was done from the back of a tractor moving along the rows so the corn would really cut up your hands as you did it! None of us ever wound up having to do that but I knew plenty of folks that did and it really wrecks your hands. So idk re the legality per se but it was common enough in the mid-00s when I was a teenager. Working waitstaff/fast food/catering/etc was still hellish at times but ‘I’ll sign you up to detassel corn’ was an effective incentive for us to find ourselves summer jobs!

    6. Global Cat Herder*

      Can confirm detasseling is still done. In my state you have to be 14 unless it’s a family farm (no age limits if it’s your own family’s farm), but they’re trying to get the age lowered to 12.

    7. Expelliarmus*

      I live in western Illinois and when I was in HS 10ish years ago, we were offered detasseling opportunities as well.

    8. Autofill Contact*

      Lucky!! I desperately wanted to detassle (you could make SO. MUCH. MONEY. – at least, to my teenaged brain), but my mom wouldn’t let me. She had a bad experience doing it when she was a teenager in the 70s (fell onto the tractor engine, got severely burned, but had to wait on the bus until the workday was over to get medical attention).

      I think most of the detasseling crews around here now are non-US workers on H-2A work visas.

  33. DeskApple*

    Second week at a private school that (because I was in another country) I didn’t know had been privately marketed to parents as a “solution” to their kid’s “behavior problems”. It was a reform school, and I only figured this out when three ten year old boys started playing porn out loud on a hidden iPhone and then threw said iPhone out the window. “My dad will buy me a new one tomorrow anyway”.

    17 of the 31 kids in my class had special needs but the parents paid the school so they wouldn’t have to “have that on their kids’ records” (therefore no accomodations). Had two severely noise sensitive kids in a complete meltdown and was told to “grab them the ear protectors from the wood shop so they don’t have to listen”.

    When I asked for an accomodations list I was told the school didn’t need those but teachers were provided a monthly massage in the teacher’s lounge. When I left and cited the lack of resources despite the private tuition and government subsidy the principal told the other teachers “Oh she had a mental breakdown and wasn’t meant for teaching.” I’d really enjoyed my career till then. Immediately switched industries.

    1. Annie*

      Wow. If you managed to find out, was the reason for not having special needs on the kids’ records more due to vanity, parents’ own ideas about how such special needs should be handled, or realistic fears of their kids being relegated to classes below their actual ability level, bullying due to being different, etc?

    2. MigraineMonth*

      As part of “community service” at my high school, we were supposed to teach kids at the local middle school about environmental projects. I completely, 100% failed to connect with my assigned student. I think she said fifteen words to me that entire semester, and I couldn’t understand most of them because I hadn’t learned the local accent.

      At the end, I confessed to her teacher that I had failed my student. The teacher said flippantly, “Oh, we think that student is partially deaf and has a learning disability.”

  34. PleaseNo*

    I think i did. This was at the start of the dot-com boom. My summer job was to talk to local companies to get them to join our company network of businesses offering discounts to members. Like an early groupon.

    I hated pitching to companies and just talking to strangers. I did it for two days then told my lead I didn’t want to do it any more.

    He didn’t seem bothered by my quitting. I’m guessing it was pretty common. They paid me the pittance I was owed.

    no regrets!

  35. Harried HR*

    In my early 20’s and I was hired by a temp agency to be a Receptionist… EXCEPT it was a phone sex line 0-0 !! They placed me in the role because apparently an English accent is considered sexy. I sat in on 1 call and grabbed my keys and walked out

    1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      Wait, what? I’m simultaneously annoyed at the lack of opportunity they gave you to provide informed consent, and also very curious about what such a role entails. Was your job to switch callers to their desired type of phone sex operator or something else?

      1. Harried HR*

        My phone was to perform the phone sex…which why after hearing 1 call I NOPED out of the door !!!

  36. Oh, the college years*

    I quit a college job at Kmart after one shift. I’d made it clear when I interviewed and throughout the process that I could not work certain days/times because of my classes. (This was during the summer so my course schedule was minimal.) They said that was fine, thanks for letting them know, and they could work around it. Then my first schedule was posted and half of the shifts were in the middle of a class. So I noped out. (Didn’t need the money that badly anyway.)

    1. Oh, the college years*

      And I’ll add I was so avoidant and conflict averse that I just no-showed to that shift and never came in to pick up my paycheck for that first shift I did work. I’m not sure how that was received because I just full on ghosted out of shame.

    2. Goldfeesh*

      My very first job was with the shoe department at Kmart- it was run by a different company. “Oh, sure, we’ll schedule you under 20 hours.” Schedule: 39.5 hours, the most they could give a part-timer. I remember having to push back against it- I was so conflict-avoidant then. I think I worked there for maybe a year? I don’t remember. I do remember that while all the appropriate taxes were taken out of our pay, we weren’t paid with checks or direct deposit. We’d get an envelope of cash with exact change every two weeks.

    3. WS*

      Same thing happened to my brother and three of his friends at the Kmart nearest their university! They were promised they could work around school schedules because they mostly needed people for evenings/weekends, then got their schedules which were all daytime and in conflict with classes. My brother called to try to change his schedule and they told him that if he didn’t show up he’d be fired, so he quit before even working a shift, and so did his friends, which was four of the five people at their training. Later they found out Kmart had done the same to the other new employee, so she’d also quit!

      1. Michelle Smith*

        There is so much of this experience in this thread and I’m just baffled as to why they think this bait and switch scheduling strategy is a good way to hire. Like…what?! Isn’t it way more work to keep hiring new people than to hire people who actually meet your staffing requirements?

        1. Annia*

          I wonder if it’s a similar rational to scammers? Scammers leave basic errors in scam messages to filter for people who aren’t paying enough attention since those are easier to scam. Testing brand new employees like this might be filtering for the ones desparate, naive, or conflict-avoidant enough to put up with terrible treatment.

  37. Haven't eaten at a Rally's Since*

    I needed a summer job when I was living with a relative in New Orleans. The first place to hire me was a Rally’s (burger joint). My first day, the manager proudly proclaimed that he’d removed all of the chairs from the staff area to prevent slacking, I was introduced to the rat that had eaten through the burger bun bags (they only removed the ones he’d visibly eaten, not the ones he’d been standing on), and when I couldn’t make burgers fast enough, I was put on the deep fryer with no training. Thank goodness most of the food was pre-cooked because I’m very sure that I served questionable chicken that day.
    After 8 hours, I went home, found a voicemail from another job, removed my uniform, and went back to the restaurant to return everything. I didn’t even get a paycheck for the 8 hours worked, but counted myself lucky that I didn’t have to do another shift there.

    1. Menace to Sobriety*

      …introduced…like were they keeping it around as a pet or a mascot or something? Like, “Haven’t, we’d like you to meet Willard, our spokesrat”?

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Surely he must have been training for his future culinary career, Ratatouille-style?

      2. Arabella Flynn*

        Honestly, judging from my experience with pet rats, the easiest way to keep a rat from eating your fresh stock is to give him a comfy house and feed him the leftovers instead. Rodents are lazy boogers whenever they get the chance. They know a good deal with they see one.

  38. rebeccadelite*

    I quit day 3 as office manager of a small real estate company. There was nothing inherently bad about the job or the people. I just realized very quickly that making calls, scheduling appointments and stapling papers was not the job for me. The only thing that bothered me was having to let someone know when I’d need to use the bathroom (in which I would sit and cry at any chance out of boredom and regret). I lied and told my boss that my parent was ill and I needed to move home, out of state. They were very understanding – though looking back I wonder if they doubted me. I had previously been contracting at a mid-size pharma company and called them the next day. I was back to work there in another department within two weeks. I have been happily in the industry for nearly 20 years now with zero regrets. I was insecure in my youth and felt I didn’t fit in with such highly educated folks, making important decisions. I now make important decisions in a very niche area of the pharma/biotech industry and though I’m not proud of how I handled it, happy I left so quickly!

  39. NauticalByNature*

    I was in my last year of college and was looking for a pretty laid-back job while I finished up a big research project as part of my school work. Second day working at a small coffee shop in rural Massachusetts and the “manager” asks me to meet her in her office and she asked me why I hadn’t worn a lower-cut shirt. With no shame, front of God and man, she told me directly that “showing skin” was expected as a “team player” so we all got better tips. Same manager called me “unprofessional” the next day when I told her I was never coming back after she called me to demand I come in with no notice because for some reason the other new person no-showed.

  40. Agnes G*

    I quit a phone sex job in the first week! I had done the work before and was comfortable with it, but this company assigned me to a 1-900 number line rather than one where the customer paid by credit card. Because credit cards were considered legal age verification but technically an underage person could call a 900 number, we were told we couldn’t use any profanity or explicit language on 900 calls. I found the restriction impossible to deal with – completely counterintuitive plus callers were angry over the fact I could not actually talk about sex on a phone sex line – so I didn’t go back after the first day.

    1. Melissa*

      This is hysterical!! It was a phone-sex line but they said you couldn’t use any explicit language??

    2. bamcheeks*

      I feel like these are two completely non-transferable skillsets– like, there is an Art to doing non-explicit phone sex and explicit phone sex and you can be one or the other but no single person in the world can do both.

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      There’s a lot of self-sabotaging companies and managers in this thread, but this one takes the cake!

    4. ConstantlyComic*

      What did they expect you to do if you couldn’t talk about sex, talk about the weather?

      1. Panicked*

        As an armchair meteorologist, I am having *far* too much fun in my head with a 1-900 weather line.

      2. Agnes G*

        These comments are delightful and I’m disappointed I never got to deliver a weather report! For the truly curious, there’s a difference between highly suggestive and explicit – think raunchy humor on network TV versus adult movies, or bikinis versus nudity. It was a particularly difficult form of improv, like playing the board game Taboo for 8 hours.

      1. Goldfeesh*

        Now I’m picturing a Dick Van Dyke level of “English accent” on a 1-900 line, “Ooh, put it there, guv!”

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      Wait, what???

      I don’t think your employers understood the nature of the service they provided! Although I do love the idea of a prim and proper phone sex line –“And then, Reginald, we engaged in coital intimacy, to our mutual enjoyment. Then we both lit cigarettes and discussed your golf game, which I listened to with rapt attention.”

      1. bellz*

        “And then, Reginald, we engaged in coital intimacy, to our mutual enjoyment. Then we both lit cigarettes and discussed your golf game, which I listened to with rapt attention.”

        Thank you for the very much-needed belly laugh! You win the internet today! :)

  41. Nuke*

    I’d been unemployed and basically took the first offer I got. It was for a call center that, I was told, assisted with mental health-related insurance claims. On day one of training, they told us that it was going to be an extremely emotionally taxing and difficult job, and sometimes we’d be dealing with crisis calls. We were not qualified for that, nor was it mentioned beforehand, and were being paid $10 an hour. I got VERY lucky and another place called back with an offer 4 days into the other job, offering me more pay, with no phone calls required. I accepted immediately and quit the other place by email that day. They responded that it was “unfortunate” that I couldn’t “make it” to the end of my “agreed” 2 week training. I didn’t reply. Bye!

    I’m still at that “other place” today, 6+ years later :)

    1. Nuke*

      Oh and I should mention that our timesheets had to be filled out on printed out sheets of paper, by hand, and handed to our trainer at the end of the week. It might be petty, but that was not an insignificant reason for me wanting to get out of there ASAP.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        The only time I had to fill out a timesheet on a printed-out sheet of paper was for like a month where 1-we had to keep track of our project hours for collaborator $$ reasons, but 2-the online system had to be revamped and tested to make sure it was working for us, and something got messed up and they had to fix it. So it was only a stopgap! Crazy they had you filling it out like that!

          1. Michelle Smith*

            Even in 2005, I put the paper timesheet into the machine and it would stamp the time. I don’t think I ever had to fill one out by hand.

        1. High Efficiency Dreams*

          Department of Natural Resources in Michigan still fills out paper timesheets. They make the seasonal workers in the state park system do this anyway. I know because I worked at one of their parks last summer in 2023. They also make you write down your assigned duties of the day on the sheet. Most of which were already posted on a dry erase board and/or assigned by a park ranger anyway. It was mindboggling. Last job before that I was clocking in and processing payroll for the company on an app for several years. Before that I punched in on a wall machine all the others and I’m not young.

          They also paint their parking lot lines manually. I used to work for a company that did this work with actual machines. So incredibly fast. Less than 30 seconds to paint one line and get to the starting point on the next. Took about 2-4 minutes manually depending on the person doing the work. Sometimes, depending on the type of marking, the DNR would tie up 2 people on 1 marking to complete it. Massive parking lot, too. They wasted so much paint doing it by hand vs. evenly applied by a machine. Lasts longer as well.

          They also bought traffic marking and other paint by the gallon and in spray cans at Home Depot or shipped through and online supplier vs. in the more economical 5-gallon buckets on a commercial account with negotiated pricing (say, at Sherwin-Williams, like my last job did). I don’t think they ever tracked usage & man hours to assess production and plan/negotiate future purchases. This has been the SOP for decades upon decades. Rangers always seemed surprised when they needed to purchase more paint for *insert project here*.

          The rangers had the mindset of “this is the way we’ve always done it”. They’d also relay/complain about how they had to stay within their operating budget. Fair enough, but at the end I was like, WOW, so THIS is what it’s like to work for the state government and generate government waste. Eye opener.

          They posted an employee suggestion flyer at the end of the season and I submitted those 2 points as ways they can improve. Whether they do or not, I had to let someone know how DUMB it was to operate in these ways. Professionally, of course.

  42. MLM No More*

    I quit a job in my third week without anything else lined up (only time I have ever done that). I had moved to a new city and just need any job so while I had some doubts after the interview I figured what’s there to loose?

    It was advertised as an entry level marketing job. It was direct sales, and an MLM. The job was setting up a tent in a parking lot of grocery stores etc. and harassing people to try to demo and sell this multi purpose car wax and microfiber clothes. It was 10 hour days and I worked in horrible weather (snow, wind, tables blowing away). In the morning before getting to location, they made you wear business professional clothing (for like an hour while we did sales training) and then you had to change into something more practical for the actual job. We also had to go in a circle and do a weird culty “go team go!” chant every morning.

    I did not give notice, I thought about it over a weekend and quit after my Monday shift. They tried to get me to stay. I did not and like 3 days later got a job at a liquor store which was not ideal but much better. Now I’m settled in the same city and work in the field I actually studied for (legit marketing/advertising) and am very very grateful.

  43. Katherine*

    The year is 2013, I’m fresh out of college and have no experience in anything except babysitting. A friend of a friend gets me hired at a hellhole of a steakhouse on the Upper West Side. They paid $12 per hour in lieu of tips, but the guests didn’t know that, and they were still collecting tips from guests, which is fully illegal. Entrees could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If you checked on your guests food you got cursed out without getting an answer.
    I immediately got a some sort of massive illness and was hacking up a lung constantly throughout the dining room. Kept trying to call out but they wouldn’t let me (I shoulda been more assertive.)

    I held on until payday because they paid in cash and were known to withhold pay from people. One girl was owed like $2k because they kept shorting her. They tried not to pay me on payday, claiming they didn’t have enough cash, but I insisted that I needed to pay rent. I quit with no notice the next day, they still contacted me two days later asking if I’d come in for a shift.

    After my short stint at the steakhouse I began an illustrious 5 year career as a cater waiter and was much happier.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      They paid $12 per hour in lieu of tips, but the guests didn’t know that, and they were still collecting tips from guests, which is fully illegal.

      How’s that illegal?

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I think the restaurant itself was keeping the tips (not distributing the tips to the waitstaff). Looks like that’s illegal is my state (in the US) based off of a quick google but I don’t know enough to say if it’s illegal in every state.

      2. WhoAmIWhyAmIHere*

        Because there’s a law against it.

        I mean, sorry for the snark, but how is that a question?

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Because I didn’t read it as the restaurant was keeping the tips, as Hlao-roo has clarified above without being snotty, and was not sure why a higher hourly wage plus tips would be illegal. Cheers!

        2. OMG It's 2024*

          If the person asking the question took it as “how is it illegal for guests to tip their servers” it’s not a dumb question at all. It wasn’t really made clear that the RESTAURANT OWNERS were keeping the tips and not tipping out the servers. It took me a minute like “why would that be a problem? So they’re making more money. Win Win” before I realized it too….So, the snark really wasn’t necessary, TBH.

  44. Horned Toad*

    In college, I worked for the student media office as a radio assistant for one week. The job was so different than advertised: the mandatory Friday 8AM meetings, training other students on Adobe products (??), and way more hours than expected. None of this was written in the job description. The teacher who was supposed to advise us was hated the field and never helped. Gossiping took up most of the endless workday. Worst of all, the pay was a paltry stipend and just not worth it. I applied for another job on campus and put in my resignation. The student in charge pulled me into her “office” for an exit interview with her friend (????) as a “witness”. She proceeded to berate me for 10 minutes, saying she “couldn’t give me a reference” or say I did good work. I happily told her this would never be on my resume.

  45. CC*

    I was recruited to work on a specific assignment for a company. I met with my supervisor on the first day, and he seemed very gruff. I tend to read as gruff and intimidating myself, so I wasn’t particularly bothered, although I did note it.

    I wasn’t given my keys to the office on my first day, so the second day when I was outside the office, I called him up and asked if he could buzz me in. When I got into the office, he immediately chewed me out for calling him, cursing and yelling that he wasn’t “YOUR DOORMAN” (he did use more than two words for that, and as an exercise to the reader you can guess what those extra words were). I immediately apologized and felt awful, but then as I went through the day I realized that I didn’t do anything wrong, that this guy was unreasonable, unprofessional, prone to temper tantrums, and I didn’t want to work in that environment.

    I called up my old company, who immediately took me back without any loss of benefits or seniority, and I resigned the next day. His boss tried very hard to get me to stay, but I was pretty confident I made the right choice.

    Weirdly, the guy who cursed me out took my resignation extremely well. He sat down with me, sincerely wished me well, and said that he understood the environment wasn’t a fit for everyone.

  46. Watry*

    I took a job working for CutCo (I know, I know, but I was 19, it was 2009 so I couldn’t even get hired at McDonald’s, and my dad had been pressuring me hard to find and take any job). Fortunately Dad and I both smelled weirdness so I ended up quitting when I showed up on my first day. They were unsurprised.

    1. notempagencies*

      Haha I had a brief stint selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. I lasted about a week. I sold one to my mom and grandma. Thats it.

    2. SamanthaParkington*

      I blindly went to a “group interview” after dialing a number on a flyer advertising “jobs for students.” It turned out to be Cutco. I sat through the pitch and walked out, but I still remember those scissors that cut a penny.

      1. Judge Judy and Executioner*

        I did this too while I was in high school. I left at the first break of the group interview.

    3. Elsewise*

      I also quit a CutCo clone! I think it was called Vector Marketing or something like that? I quit because they needed me to spend like $120 on knives to sell, which I didn’t have, so I asked my mom to loan me the money to get started. Fortunately, my mom was a lot smarter than sixteen year old me, smelled a scam right away, and made me quit. I left a voicemail but never heard back, but I suspect they weren’t surprised.

        1. Lumos*

          Vector Marketing isn’t controlled by the same people who do the production at all. Cutco split/sold-off their marketing arm. I’m actually from the city that has the factory and Vetor marketing hates anyone from there because we can just walk in and buy it with zero issues. lol

    4. Andie Begins*

      I applied with CutCo when they were Vector Marketing and I was fresh out of college! Red Flag 1 was getting a call to schedule an interview just an hour or two after I applied. Then I Googled the company to prepare for the interviewand saw how shady they were, called them back and canceled.

    5. Jonathan MacKay*

      Don’t point out the potential legal issue with ‘defacing currency’ – it just makes them try to butter you up even more!

  47. Mockingjay*

    Not my story but my Mom’s – second day quit.

    Some years ago, she took a job at a podiatrist’s office as a receptionist. First day was normal; learning the schedule and booking system, greeting patients, filing, etc. Unbeknownst to Mom, the office was short staffed without enough RNs/LPNs/health aides. Day 2, the doctor asks her to come to a patient room and had her “assist.” (Corn removal or ingrown toenail, something like that. She handed him gauze and recorded patient notes.) Mom went home and never went back. She didn’t even call to quit.

  48. Savoury Creampuff*

    I left a retail job after one day and didn’t even go back to pick up my paycheck.

    It was a souvenir shop more or less identical to eight others on the same drag in a European city. There was no bathroom available – we were expected to find one in a nearby restaurant. There was no fridge to store food, and we only got 30 minutes for a lunch break, so no time to get to anything affordable.

    And the work itself was to engage with customers – but not too much! Be friendly but move them to purchasing and leaving. Otherwise, we had to look busy by refolding shirts over and over again. The cherry on top was that it was a family-owned shop, and members of said family would gossip in a corner looking meaningfully at the staff.

    I found it so soul sucking I couldn’t go back. I waited tables instead – harder work, almost no tips (Europe), but I felt like I was accomplishing something, and lucked out with great coworkers.

  49. not my circus*

    when i was about 24 i was hired for a job within the same university system as i was already working. it was a significant pay bump and an increase in responsibility (going from acting assistant manager of a fabrication space with a lower title and pay but all of the responsibility, to manager of a different fabrication space), but in the interview process the space i was to take over had seemed organized and manageable…three days in i realized that i would have almost no support or oversight from ANYONE, which would mean that any mistakes or accidents would fall on my 24yo shoulders..and i could foresee a LOT of accidents and mistakes considering the space was lacking in a lot of safety precautions, had some pretty crazy methods of doing normally run of the mill fabrication techniques, and that i was only allowed to work 29 hours a week though the space would be open far more than that. the job description and interview had also neglected to mention that a significant part of the job would be driving a van to pick up materials. i didn’t have a driver’s license and they never even asked!

    on the third day i emailed my old boss and asked him if i could come back to his department (his response, almost verbatim: “oh thank god please yes come back”) and quickly requested a meeting with my supervisor (who was the director of the entire college?? see what i mean about no oversight?) and drafted a formal resignation letter. i was perhaps a little less tactful than i could have been when i said “it seems like you hired me not because you thought i could fulfill all the requirements and duties of the job, but because the semester is starting soon and you need a warm body to fill this role” or something to that effect: the director, who was at least twice my age and again, the director of an entire college, blew up at me. well, hit dogs will holler. i returned to my old job (where i successfully negotiated a raise and a title bump) and it took the other department nearly a year to fill that position during which time, from what i heard, they had several serious near-miss accidents, a small fire, and many subsequent tense visits from Risk Management. and the director of that college never looked me in the eye again.

  50. starwarsellie*

    Back in 2000, I was “looking for a change” and found a job for a phone company. I didn’t really understand what they were doing. Something about being an alternate provider for landline service. Got called for an interview for a much better sounding position in accounting, took time off for an “appointment”, got an offer and quit the phone company. I’ve been at the “other” place for 23 years and still love it.

  51. Janey*

    Telemarketing gig in college.
    We were given a script.
    On my very first call, I got an elderly lady, and I couldn’t bear the idea of trying to make her switch long distance service providers, so I apologized for bothering her and hung up.
    I looked at the supervisor and said “sorry, I can’t do this”. She laughed and said “nope”.
    So, I got my things together and left.

  52. picklejuice*

    I quit in the first week once in my life. I was temping as a rental agent for a local property management company, and was so overbooked that I would have had to break some laws of physics, not to mention a lot of traffic and parking laws, to attend all the appointments they assigned me. I refused to speed or park illegally, as I was using my own car and would have been personally financially responsible for any tickets or accidents!
    I quit by walking up to the admin and the owner in the office and letting them know, at the end of my fourth shift, that my tenure was ending immediately. I gave the reason that it was far too stressful for a (non-career related) summer job. **My immediate supervisor, the person responsible for all the pressure that made the internship so awful, called me that evening to argue that I was wrong about the stress level of the job, and that I should return to work.**

  53. Blonde Spiders*

    When I was a senior in HS, I worked for a fast food joint that designed to be a competitor for Arby’s. This was ’89 or so, so $3.85/hour. I spent my 4 hour shift refilling the salad bar; marking levels on the laminated diagram, filling up containers in the walk-in, putting them in the salad bar. And when I finished that round, do it again. Over and over for 4 hours.

    I didn’t call, I just never went back. They cared more about getting their uniform back and told me they’d withhold my paycheck until I returned it. (I now know this is illegal.) I decided I didn’t need the $10 that badly.

    1. OMG It's 2024*

      I mean, compared to the stories here, that sounds … I dunno, tedious, mindless, whatever, but certainly not abusive or heinous. Someone has to refill the salad bar! I’m curious what you THOUGHT you’d be doing?

      1. Goldfeesh*

        I know. It sounds like one of the jobs I did in college dining services. It was sort of enjoyable.

        1. Steve for Work Purposes*

          Yeah I had a job almost exactly like that at student dining in college. It was a chill job, the pay was good, and I got free food out of it. As far as part time jobs in college went it was one of the better ones. Other than making the giant things of ranch dressing which was kinda gross. But I much preferred working the salad bar to the make to order omelette bar. Salad bar duty and pancake duty were the chill spots to be assigned!

    2. Chitose*

      “They cared more about getting their uniform back” — this unlocked a memory from one of my own high school jobs! This was a concessions gig at a movie theater. When it came time for my first shift, the owner gave me the uniform, which was just a black t-shirt with the theater name on it. I was under the impression that this was, you know, MY uniform, so I wore it home after my shift… only to get several calls from the manager and his wife (!) yelling that if I didn’t bring the shirt back IMMEDIATELY, they would call the police and report me for theft.

      Apparently the t-shirts were, err, communal. You were meant to put one on for the duration of your shift, then take it off and bring it back to the manager’s office so the next person could wear it for the following shift. Needless to say, they were not washing the shirts between shifts, or even from day to day. I brought the shirt back and told them I wouldn’t be working there. The owner and his wife then proceeded to leave a bunch of shouty voicemails about how they wouldn’t give me my paycheck because I tried to “steal” the uniform shirt. It was… bizarre.

  54. Lilo*

    I walked out of a restaurant job about an hour into my first shift. Manager screamed at another server, the walk in was a mess, I realized the place was hell, and just walked out. I was 19, they probably owed me like $10 but I didn’t pursue it. I never heard from them again. I don’t think I was the first person to walk out.

  55. Clawfoot*

    I quit a telemarketing job in two shifts.

    I mean, “telemarketing” should tell you all you need to know. But this one was particularly egregious. This was for a company that sold meat in bulk, plus freezers to keep the meat in. We would cold-call people out of the telephone book (this should date me), asking if they’d received the “free sample meat package” we were distributing in their neighbourhood. (There were no free samples of meat being randomly distributed.) And when they said no they hadn’t, we asked if they’d like one? If they answered yes, we put them through a SERIOUSLY LENGTHY questionnaire asking about employment and income and 90% of the time, we had to tell them, at the end of this lengthy and invasive questionnaire, that they COULD NOT AFFORD OUR SERVICES, and thus were not eligible for the free meat package.

    It was THE WORST. I was a teenager trying to earn enough money to take a trip for March Break. It was soul-destroying.

    1. Stopped Using My Name*

      Did we work for the same place?

      I worked somewhere similar in the mid 1990s. They fired me because I could not get people to accept “appointments” to accept the meat (and listen to another sales pitch to increase their purchases). I worked in an open space with desks and phones. We did not use the phone book, but received a list at the start of every shift. A shift was 4 hours. The boss called me into the office after about a month of this. He said I wasn’t getting appointments so this was it. I felt bad because I had never been fired before. The company was sued for racial discrimination shortly after and I’m sure they are out of business.

  56. Coffee Please*

    Fifteen years ago, I was hired as a housekeeper at a fancy bed and breakfast in a very expensive, coastal city. I had years of innkeeping and housekeeping experience and I had just moved cross-country so I needed a job. It was only $10/hr but it was 15 years ago and I was crashing on a friend’s couch. I quit my first day after it was revealed that I’d be ironing and starching sheets for hours a day in a hot, tiny room.

  57. Hailrobonia*

    In college I was working at a deli/bakery/cafe as a sandwich maker/coffee dude/general stuff. I picked up a second gig at another deli at a sandwich shop to make some extra $ but there were a bunch of red flags (so red that even I, new to the workforce, noticed them). The manager was a jerk and made a big deal about docking out pay for XYZ, even tiny infractions.

    So after my first shift I said “I don’t think this will work out for me. How do I get my paycheck for today?” – he just paid me cash and I left.

  58. Kai*

    When I was 14, early ‘80’s, I worked at Taco Bell.
    One requirement was a “fry shift”. 4 hours of deep frying tacos, nachos, etc, for the next day.
    It was dangerous. My first job, age 14, standing over boiling oil trying to juggle wire baskets of nachos. The tacos had to be hand pressed into the forms, then fried. Gloves off pressing corn disks into forms that had just been removed from boiling oil.
    I burned myself countless times before I walked out.
    They were mad! But I don’t regret just walking out, they had no business having young teenagers doing such dangerous work.

    1. OMG It's 2024*

      Wait. Taco Bell doesn’t use premade taco shells???? This is a startling revelation to me! I figured they bought truckloads of like … Ortega shells or whatever!

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          When I worked there 10 or so years ago, they used pre made taco shells. The chalupa shells were freshly made though.

  59. Yaya*

    I worked in a American West-themed restaurant in the UK (I thought it would be fun since I’m from the American West) – I let them know at interview that I was only legally allowed to work 20 hours per week due to the visa restrictions I was under. They assured me it would be fine. I’ve worked in restaurants a lot before, so I really should have anticipated that this wasn’t going to work. Sometimes you just can’t leave when your scheduled shift ends, if you have a table still there or sidework hasn’t finished, etc. I had two shifts and realised that a third shift was going to put me over my allowed hours per week. When I brought it up to the manager, they just did not care. There is no repercussion for the employer if they give you too many hours, but it could affect my future visa applications so I ultimately just handed in my uniform and said goodbye.

  60. No creative name yet*

    About 20 years ago, took my first job after college as a canvasser fundraising for a political campaign. I was young and naive and didn’t realize that with my personality and skill set (shy, analytical, etc.) was the worst possible fit for that line of work. The interactions themselves weren’t as bad as I feared actually; most people I approached were respectful even though they quickly shooed me away. What I couldn’t take was the attitude of the trainers—they were constantly in my ear about not making my numbers, needing to be more aggressive, etc., and I felt a lot of pressure from the get-go. For example, I really didn’t want to push people who were clearly not interested, but you were supposed to make a certain amount of overtures before giving up, and a lot of the suggested language felt manipulative to me.

    I quit at the end of the first week; I don’t recall how exactly, but I don’t think it was uncommon in that line of work. I quickly got a policy research job for an advocacy organization that was a much better fit.

    I did learn a lot in that short time though about what I do and don’t want in a job that has helped me since!

    1. OldHat*

      I graduated from college in 2009 and almost every booth offering paid positions at job fairs were a canvasser-type position. There were even some volunteer canvasser positions!

      I think I was offered a chance to make it to round two of two interviews, which meant a test run of canvassing for hours. I was naive and thought I could try hard enough to minimize my weaknesses rather than leaning into my strengths. I noped out of both jobs before the test shift. So maybe I wasn’t fully naive.

      The first one involved a meh commute and who you were farmed out to canvass for changed every week. And it was for part time. There was a lot of questions on how pushy you can be for things you don’t believe in. I think I ghosted that one.

      The second one was for one cause with a shorter commute. But it was at night and the test shift was to be in near freezing temps. And the fact that you would canvass one cause in a small town every night didn’t help. I hate the cold and that was what tipped me to decline. Somehow declining to move on was unheard of, especially at the group interview? Gl

  61. Emmy*

    I worked there for almost two weeks before I left. It was my first role working in a quasi-HR capacity for a small, family-owned business. The Owner told me he had a PhD because of his years of experience in the industry (not an actual degree from an accredited school). He then tried to take wages from an employee’s paycheck after it was discovered she had taken several customers’ credit card info to order various lunch deliveries. The place was full of OSHA violations. But the thing that sent me packing was finding out that he had all his non-exempt employees sign an agreement to waive their OT rights to keep their jobs while the company was experiencing financial issues. Those that didn’t sign the waiver were terminated. Unfortunately, a large portion of his staff were non-native English speakers, so they didn’t understand what they were agreeing to.

    For your readers, yes, there was an eventual lawsuit for this that he lost to the tune of $300K in backpay and fees. A disgruntled terminated employee had called the DOL. The owner was *shocked* because he said they were all family and couldn’t believe someone would “betray” him like that.

  62. Spicy Tuna*

    I didn’t even take this job. I left in the middle of the interview. First, I am a massive introvert. Working silently by myself with no interaction with other humans is my dream job. I answered an ad for a “financial analyst” – perfect, right? It turned out to be some guy recruiting for his MLM that sold financial services. That kind of job (lots of cold calling, recruiting people, pep talking) is so fundamentally different than a) the job description; and b) my personality type that I literally got up and left while he was still trying to sell me on joining his “downstream”

    1. It doesn't matter*

      The interview I left was a legit job, but it was government customer service. Which I knew going in, but once they described it in person, I knew I couldn’t do it and left.

  63. Dante's Disco Inferno*

    Senior year in high school. Second day at a well-known ice cream-but not really ice cream-store, the assistant manager grabbed my breasts and honked them. I reflexively punched him in the nose and then walked out. No regrets; I hope I actually broke it.

    1. anywhere but here*

      Kudos to you. If only all gropers received the same swift and much deserved consequences.

  64. Poison I.V. drip*

    Got a job cleaning carpets. It was one of those shady companies that would print coupons that were basically meaningless. The owner was a religious nutbag. I had to use my own vehicle, which I didn’t care for. Because I was the new guy, they sent me to the undesirable jobs. The first job of the day, the customer was pissed that the coupons were a scam. The second job, the customer was ok and furnished my trainer and me with beer. The third job was a crime scene, with dried blood in the carpet. I finished up but told the trainer not to expect me back the next morning.

  65. spiriferida*

    I had a job that I actually ‘quit’ before my first day!

    This was in college, when I was a bit naive and struggling to search for a summer job. I was studying a few states away but going to live with my parents for the summer so I’d had trouble searching, and ultimately landed on a job posting I’d seen on campus that also had opportunities in my home state. The website was impressively vague about what it was, which was my first red flag.

    I got an interview anyway, and decided to go – I had to get my dad to drive me, and he promptly got a flat tire on the way there. I called to let them know, and on the call discovered that it was a group interview. Second red flag! But we’d left the house so I’d committed.

    I got there late, they actually still interviewed me, which honestly should have been a red flag too. At which point I discovered it was actually a sales position and a quasi-MLM deal – not buying the stock yourself, but still a ‘sell to your friends and family’ thing. They promptly offered me a job on the spot, for training the next week. I accepted, because hey, I needed the job, right?

    That lasted until around midnight, when my college student brain finally finished processing the red flags that they’d offer me the job with no questions after being late, and also finally finished telling me that no, actually, a sales job was a terrible idea. I sent them an email at midnight making up an excuse about actually having to go back to my school’s state halfway across the country, and I don’t think I ever heard back. I would almost certainly have quit before I ever had to try and sell a single item.

    Instead I became an emergency substitute camp counselor, had a first day so bad I broke down crying which involved accidentally putting a 5-year-old on the wrong bus, and yet somehow ended up working at that place for four summers in a row (the first day was thankfully not representative).

  66. stitchinthyme*

    I quit one after 2 weeks. My manager happened to go on vacation the week I started and there was no one to get me on their systems or assign me any work. When they still didn’t the second week, I decided to just bail and find someplace that would actually give me something to do.

    A few years later, I had a similar situation, but this time they didn’t even give me a computer for a month. (I’m a software developer so computers are kind of important to my job!) I lasted 4 months there and would just bring in something to read every day.

    Not sure if it counts, but I did do a no-show at a job once as a teenager. I had been working at a CVS, my first retail job, and they gave me a disciplinary warning for chatting too much with customers (no, I wasn’t doing anything like oversharing, just being friendly). I thought that was pretty bogus, so I decided to apply to the local supermarket instead. However, cooler heads at the CVS talked me into ignoring the idiot manager and staying, so I just never showed at the supermarket. That manager was transferred out soon after, so the rest of my time at CVS went smoothly and I never had any other problems there.

    1. king of the pond*

      I’m surprised the job that didn’t give you a PC for a month didn’t tell you to code on paper or something absolutely ridiculous like that.

    2. software developer*

      Also a software developer, and I’ve heard similar stories from multiple developers at my current company of having to wait like a month before their laptop arrived. When I started, I did get a laptop on day one but it took almost a month for the approvals to get processed to install Java on my computer (this was for a Java developer role). Despite that, I’ve found my company to be a pretty good employer in other respects— they just have a wildly overcomplicated and slow process for requesting technical equipment/software.

    3. Your Mate in Oz*

      My employer did that to someone. I was hired for a new project for the company, and in the first month or so I threw together a “dump database tables to web pages” horror in PHP just to make it easier to show management that the server I wrote was actually doing something.

      A week later I’ve just sat down on Monday morning and a woman I’ve never seen before walks over and says “are you Dave? I’m {name} and I’m the new WordPress developer”. I had to go and ask my boss WTF, where she’s going to sit, which computer and all the rest. While she stood next to me.

      We got her set up and I left her to install whatever software she needed/set up her computer while I went back to the boss’s office to ask what was going on. WordPress is not PHP, PHP is not the right tool for our website, and so on.

      Half an hour later she wasn’t at her desk and I never saw her again. I assume she saw all the red flags and noped out of there.

      My job improved a great deal from that unpromising start, but I came very close to following that new hire out the door. But the boss still suffers a bit from “the last idea he heard is the best idea” syndrome and is prone to going off half-cocked.

  67. Zombeyonce*

    I started a job when I was 18 after reading a very vague description and going through a cursory phone interview. It sounded like retail but I had never heard of the place, and I needed the money too much to be particular.

    When I got to the tiny, windowless room, they sat me down next to a nameless person who never acknowledged my presence. I was logged into a computer and given a phone, then told to start calling the numbers on it and read the script provided. After a childhood full of “always do as adults tell you,” I was very confused but too eager to please to ask for clarification and risk looking stupid; I just did as asked. I spent the next few hours becoming increasingly upset as people I was trying to sell some mysterious product hung up on me, cursed at me, and did everything but what the script said they were supposed to do.

    I left for lunch and never returned. To this day, I don’t know what exactly it was I was supposed to be selling or why I got zero training to be a telemarketer, or if what I was doing was even legal and not a scam to get identify information. I felt guilty for all of a day but now just feel sad about the thousands of other kids they probably convinced to work there after I disappeared.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      Oh, and I never saw a reaction or heard from them again (I’m guessing that exact scenario happened daily there) and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get paid for 3 of the most miserable hours of my life. No regrets.

  68. wwyd*

    Not me, but… The guys who worked in the warehouse were stereotypical rednecks. They thought it would be funny to haze a new hire on his first day. I worked in the office area, not the warehouse, so I don’t have the full details; but I do know there were Deliverance quotes and sound effects involved. New guy clocked out at lunch and never came back. [The manager thought it was hilarious.]

  69. Roy G. Biv*

    In college in the 80’s, for minimum wage, I served food in a glorified cafeteria with an Olde English theme. I had to wear a uniform that looked somewhat bar wench-ish, which zipped up the back and was made of polyester. It was hot and itchy. We also had to wear hair nets, which were then covered by frilled polyester mob caps that kind of matched the uniform. Those were also hot and itchy. I dished up mashed potatoes for the patrons for three or four shifts before I could not take it any longer.

  70. Spicy Tuna*

    I left a waitressing job after one or two days. I had never waitressed before and I got very little training. I was trying to make an espresso for a customer and IDK what happened but I ended up with burning hot grounds all over me. I just left. Years later, I was at the mall and I saw the restaurant owner. I couldn’t believe it but he actually remembered me and started to complain that I left in the middle of a shift!

  71. Johanna Cabal*

    Almost two decades ago I was desperately searching for a job after graduating college. I found a “marketing job” that turned out to be a MLM. So, a bunch of us found this ad on a now-defunct job board looking for “marketing managers.” A bunch of us showed up at this non-descript suite in a suburban office park and got a presentation about the company’s “growing opportunities.” We were all then interviewed separately by “team leads.” Then, we all sat around to see if we made the cut.

    I was accepted and told I’d be in training for the next two days. Unpaid, of course. So, myself and another naïve person got to tag along and try to convince store owners at various shop centers to switch to a new phone service. On my second day, the person training me totally bullied a poor nail salon owner who spoke little English into changing her store’s phone plan. At the end of the day I felt physically sick after witnessing that exchange.

    That morning, I walked in and gave my resignation to the person running the office. In hindsight, I should’ve just called. The person seemed a trifle disappointed but not surprised (I’m sure lots of folks quit on her in less than a week, in fact, one of my friends did the same thing except she called and cussed them out for wasting her time lol).

    I did learn to be careful of anything that smelled of something similar. I later worked with someone who had worked for them as a “marketing manager.” That person, because it turned out to be a commission-based role, ended up having some tax issues due to it.

  72. DixieChick*

    Got a part time hosting gig at a local italian restaurant (I had just gotten a new car and wanted extra cash for the payments). First day they had me work take out. No big deal, answer phones, put orders in, etc. Not rocket science. When they hired me, they said they would make me a server within a month, as I had been a server before. Fine, I’ll tough it out for a month. The Friday after my first shift, I get a panicked call at around 5pm asking where I am, and that takeout is packed. I had no idea what they were talking about, they never told me to work this night, I was due to work the lunch shift the next day. Whatever, miscommunication. The next day comes and there are already two people working takeout. I would be sitting doing absolutely nothing, there was no need for three takeout people during lunch on a Saturday. The final straw was when the servers on lunch had me roll their silverware. I got up and left out the kitchen door. Restaurant went out of business about a year ago LOL

    1. Name Required*

      So, you were doing nothing because they overstaffed, and you quit because they asked you to … roll silverware? As a server in a past life, I’ve rolled thousands of silverware packets during downtime. I’m honestly confused by this one.

      1. bishbah*

        I’m guessing it’s because they were hired as a host with the promise of becoming a server, but didn’t work in either capacity during their (rather short) time there. Perhaps the disorganization they saw in staffing hinted that a promotion to server was unlikely to actually happen. If that was important to them, better to make a quick exit.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        It sounds like they quit because it was wildly dysfunctional. And this person was not hired to be a server either.

  73. RTG123*

    My first day at a new school district most of the school board was arrested for taking kick-backs. I should have left right then, but I was young and rent was due.

    At the end of that school year, I had been waiting for months for payment for an extra class I took on. I met with someone in HR, he said they were “working on it.” I said something along the lines of “how are we running a school like this?” and he got up, walked around the desk, bent to get inches from my face and yelled at me. I quit right then. He seemed unsurprised.

    I did eventually get the money I was owed.

  74. axolotlquestions*

    Turned up for a temp job, and it turned out my job was to pick up the jars that had just been filled with boiling hot chutney off the conveyor belt, quickly dump them in a basin of cold water before they could burn my hands, make sure the lids were on tight, and then place them back on the conveyor belt. At the end of my 8 hour shift I was asked if I wished to do a shift the following day, I made my excuses and left, never to return.

      1. axolotlquestions*

        Well, it didn’t happen while I was there. Given the working conditions I doubt they’d care if it happened occasionally, despite the risk of injury.

    1. I Have RBF*

      Sounds like a really bad cannery. You should have had tongs – harder to grab, but less risk of contamination from burned workers.

  75. NerdyKris*

    I once applied for a job servicing the new lottery machines that were being rolled out across the state. It was billed as an IT technician job. My first day, they pretty much had the three of us in the warehouse, sorting screws. I had two teenagers teach me how to use dollies to move machines, which we also had to sort. Basically, with my IT degree and experience, I had ended up in a basic warehouse position.

    I didn’t actually quit until the next morning when they called looking for me. I just said “I’m not able to do this job” and hung up. A year later I got a letter from the state asking if I’d been paid all my wages for the job. Apparently they started bouncing paychecks a few months after.

    A few months after the warehouse job, I grabbed a seasonal job at Target. At which point I remembered I can’t climb ladders, so I had to sheepishly stock only the shelves I could reach and immediately leave at the end of my shift. It was very embarassing.

    Thankfully, I got my current job of the last six years a few months later.

  76. Sanibel Island*

    lol, I didn’t even make it to my first day.

    The manager called me on a Friday, and offered me the job. I told them to email me the offer letter so I can look it over and make a final decision. In what was already a bunch of red flags up to this point, the manager told me they wouldn’t email me the offer letter until I verbally agreed over the phone to take the job.


    So I verbally accepted, and told the manager to send me the letter by end of day, they say absolutely, see you on Monday at 9:30am.

    Friday night rolls around, no letter. Saturday night, no letter. SUNDAY NIGHT, the night before I’m supposed to start, I still have no offer letter. I call both phone numbers the manager left me, one mailbox was full, so I left a message on the other. I then emailed the manager asking for my offer letter.

    I receive my offer letter Monday morning, exactly 5 minutes before my start time. The offer letter had the wrong start day and time; let’s say I verbally agreed to start Monday, January 22nd at 9:30am, and the offer letter said Tuesday, January 22nd at 9am.

    I emailed back, thanking them for their time, but the miscommunication and inattention to detail was very concerning as a new employee. I wished them the best but would not be moving forward with the job.

    Their reply: “We appreciate your response and wish you the best on your employment search in this trying economy. We believe everything happens for a reason.”

    I got a job with more way pay, health benefits and PTO about 2 months later.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Good for you for not working without an offer letter (and then not working because the offer letter came with a heap of red flags). I laughed at their “We appreciate your response and wish you the best on your employment search in this trying economy. We believe everything happens for a reason.” reply.

  77. fiverx313*

    i quit the day before the first day once. the boss interviewed me in her home. she wanted me to work from her home. multiple references to ‘like a family’ and ‘betrayal’ referring to previous employees leaving. then before i even started she was messaging me asking me to design flyers for her church (the job had nothing to do with design — or church) and not taking no for an answer. i texted her sorry it’s not going to work.

    1. fiverx313*

      oh, how it was received! she replied back ‘are you serious’ and i said ‘yes, sorry for the inconvenience’.

  78. Rr*

    haha yes! I worked at McDonald’s for one day. it was my second year out of high school and I was desperate for a summer job, everyone who worked there were people who were mean to me in high school. they only let me do drinks because burgers were allegedly too complicated for the first day. it was super boring and lonely and I was going to quit anyway but thankfully as soon as I got home from my shift another restaurant I’d applied to called me and offered me an interview, so I popped over to McDonald’s the next day and dropped off my uniform. then they tried not to pay me because it was too much of a hassle to enter me into the HR system for one day, so it took a month of harassing them before they finally gave me a cheque for my 6 hours of work. it wasn’t a paycheque, just a general cheque the McDonalds manager made up when my dad finally went and talked to him personally.

  79. mrs whosit*

    I quit an in-home day care I worked for, on the 3rd day, I think. The owner was present when parents dropped off and picked up their kids but otherwise was in her bedroom all day (which the parents did not know). She told me I didn’t need to use soap to wash bottles, and she put one toddler in his crib (alone in a different room, but visible on a monitor) because he was fussing and annoying her. She was just terrible. Despite the fact that she spent most of my interview telling me she was related to all kinds of cops (relevant because she’d filed charges against a previous employee for abuse or neglect?), she took my quitting fine. I offered 2 weeks’ notice, but she’d already hired another assistant and said she didn’t need me that long. I might have finished out the week? This was mid-recession, and I was desperate for work, but when I was sobbing all morning on day 3, before my shift, I knew I couldn’t continue.

    1. Name Required*

      I really hope you reported her to the state’s licensing agency for in home daycare. Those kids (and their parents) deserved better!

  80. RohSeeOh*

    I got hired as a psych office front desk where both a therapist and a handful of psychiatrists worked. I was trained for two or three days and on the fourth or fifth day I was put up front by myself. A person walked in but I couldn’t find her in the system so I asked my manager for help. He told me to have her take a seat and he would look for her paperwork. 10-15 very quick minutes later, I notice she’s still waiting and it’s past her start time with the therapist. Concerned, I went to the manager who told me to ask if the therapist has the docs. Sigh. Walked over and he was furious because this whole time he thought this client was a no show and didn’t know she’d been waiting.

    He angrily walks with me back up front and asks the manager if he knew about this, and my manager has the AUDACITY to say, “I had no clue about this.” I was so awe struck and shocked that I walked out and started crying. He threw me under the bus and get this! He asked me, sorry, no, told me I should not to tell my coworkers why I quit! I still did and they confronted him, he then confronted me about that but said he would love to still be a reference because I was sweet and wanted me to find a job. Eye roll. He checked on me weeks later but I never responded.

  81. Sarahs*

    The summer after my first year of college (way back in the day) I went to the neighborhood grocery store and applied for a job as a checker. They hired me but it turned out I would have to “work my way up” and so they trained me in the deli. It. Was. So. Gross. I have a few vivid memories of my first shift, like having to package up the leftover (uncooked) jo-jo potatoes, and getting yelled at for putting my hands in my pockets.

    During my lunch break I ran into one of the box boys who I knew slightly from high school and he looked at me and said, “WTF are you doing here?”

    I did not go back to that job on the second day and no I didn’t get paid for that one day of work.

    That little grocery store is still there, it’s now an international market with a great deli where they bake pita fresh to order. But I will never ever eat a jo-jo potato, from there or anywhere.

  82. Xero Deficit*

    1st one where I didn’t find out how much I was being paid until 4th day (I was 15 at the time).
    2nd when I was left to run an entire pub on my trial shift. Didn’t return for 2nd shift
    3rd after an evening of being shouted at by drunk patrons of a nightclub. Didn’t return for 2nd shift.

  83. Life_Cameo*

    I was hired to work at an early learning center (aka daycare) and quit on the second day. It was an absolute nightmare. It was so unorganized and chaotic and there was literally no way to control any of the children’s behavior other than threatening to call their parent or guardian. And if the kid didn’t care…well then. Another kid got hurt on the playground pretty early in the day due to how aggressive they were allowed to be and in return were basically told to be gentler while the injured kid was off crying. I had plans with friends after work and wasn’t allowed to leave on time. I was held for an additional 25 minutes while waiting for an adult to relieve me. This is how it was for all breaks, very unpredictable. It was so stressful and draining that I literally cried that night because I didn’t want to go back.

    I should have known coming back was a mistake when multiple people told me they were surprised to see me the next day. After another chaotic morning, I put in my notice at lunch and was asked to stay and help for the rest of the week (3 days). Initially I felt bad for just quitting on the spot, so I said yes. The rest of that day was still awful, but I actually got to leave on time. The next day, they basically reassigned me from classroom to classroom all day to be a warm body for ratio and relieve other adults, and after being forced to stay a half hour late again after making sure everyone else got their breaks on time … my give a damn busted. After I got home, I sent them an email explaining that I would not be returning.

    I would like to note that I’m also not a newbie working with kids. I worked as a camp counselor for many years before this and even spent a year post graduation working in a special needs classroom as a paraeducator. I was literally spit on, screamed at, slapped, scratched and more in that job, but I would take it back in a heartbeat over working at that glorified daycare because we were allowed to work with the students in a way that allowed them to correct their behaviors in a positive manner while building rapport and also holding on to our authority as the adult in the situation. I also got to leave on time EVERYDAY!

    The daycare basically let the kids be in charge, and they knew it.

  84. In the middle*

    I had moved for grad school to a city across my state. The large national book store chain I had toiled at for 7 years had a store I could transfer to. Huzzah! I could still earn some money! I moved two weeks before the semseter started and jumped in for the first couple weeks full time.

    I had given my new managers a list of my availability, working around my 5 grad classes. When the next schedule went up, I was scheduled for 40 hours. I went to the manager and explained, “hey, you forgot my availability! Here’s a copy of it. Thanks!” the response? “You’ll just have to work these hours. We need you to work full time.” I went into my car, cried and called my mom. Went back into the store and told them, no I wouldn’t have to work those hours because I quit. I didn’t move across the state to work at the crappy, boring version of my hometown bookstore.

  85. ragazza*

    Only when I was a teenager in high school. I got a job as a junior counselor at a summer camp. But instead of being assigned a group or a task, I was supposed to somehow…find stuff to do on my own? After a few days of wandering around, awkwardly asking people if they had anything for me to do, and being stuck handing out towels and the like, I quit and got a job answering phones at a pizza place.

  86. i like hound dogs*

    Yep, twice.

    First one: Got hired at a tiny start-up (digital agency) where I was supposed to write content. On my first day, the CEO showed me how to download approximately fifteen apps, including one to my personal phone to take phone calls (like, they didn’t … provide phones, or computers). All eight of us were stuffed into two tiny offices in a rented workshare; it was an elbow-to-elbow kind of situation. And there were no meetings; you just received assignments through the apps and completed them and turned them in through the apps. Except there were lots of apps and I was very confused by the whole thing; I am not a techy person and there was no IT. I came in for my second day and it was more of the same — wondering what the heck I was supposed to do and how to do it. I had no manager (I guess we all technically reported to the CEO?) As the kid of a military father, I couldn’t handle the lack of direction and quit over email after my second day. To his credit, the CEO responded and said he understood. It was just a bad fit. Now I work for a giant company with procedures for everything and I love it!

  87. Sabina*

    I quit an office manager job after two days. Turned out they really needed a financial manager/controller from the duties I was expected to perform (which weren’t disclosed in the job posting or interview). What sealed my decision to quit was going through one day’s incoming mail and seeing 60% of it was from creditors trying to collect overdue payments from the company. That, and the Sheriff’s deputy who stopped by to serve the owner a subpoena. I left the keys and a resignation note at the end of the 2nd day. I never heard from the company again and never got paid.

  88. juliebulie*

    How I quit: Technically, it was the second day, and I quit over the phone because I was in too much pain to get out of bed.

    Why it was so bad: It was a temp job at a bindery. This guy Manny who didn’t speak English (and I didn’t speak his language) had a machine that would drill holes in a very thick textbook. (I don’t understand why you drill a book that already has a binding, and no one could tell me.) I would turn towards him, and he would hand this heavy book to me, it was something like Business Law, heavy enough to break a toe if you dropped it. And I would turn the other way and put it on a pallet.

    It was extremely tedious, especially since we couldn’t converse. There were no formal breaks; occasionally Manny would light a cigarette and we’d get a four minute break, not long enough for me to do anything but pee. (We did have a 1/2 hour lunch.) I don’t remember the specifics, but I do remember that it was totally legal and I felt really bad for Manny and his coworkers.

    My hands were filthy from book-dust and when I blew my nose, it was full of dust.

    It wasn’t fun, but it was bearable, and one of my childhood friends was working there too. Not that we could spend any time together besides lunch! Alas, when I woke up the next morning I was so sore I could barely move. I hurt all over.

    How your hasty exit was received: Without surprise. There was a reason they were using so many temps. The people were nice enough, but the lack of formal breaks was a problem for a lot of people. And also the pain. Oh the pain, the pain.

    And any other interesting details: I took a peek inside one of the books and was glad I didn’t need to know anything about business law. It’s a lot! And it’s dry as hell!

  89. Erick*

    A placement agency put me in the phone room of a company that sold generators. We had one day of on-boarding, but before our training could start, a hurricane hit in Florida (I was in Central US). We were thrown on the phones with no training. I was speaking with frantic fire chiefs trying to get generators started, and I didn’t even know how to run the company’s generators! They knew more than I did, and they all knew it. I had no supervisory help because they were working the phones too.

    On top of that, we didn’t get breaks or lunches. They catered Taco Bell. We had productivity goals and had to eat our awesomely healthy tacos at our desks.

    Ten hour day on the phone, no breaks, you can’t believe the headache I had. I worked there one day and didn’t go back. I spoke with my placement agency with my complaints. When they were less than sympathetic – “it’ll be better tomorrow” – I said to take my name off their roster. I have left this job off every ensuing application; I never even knew the name of my direct supervisor! I don’t think we ever even met.

  90. RCS*

    Just graduated college and went to a temp agency to get my first ‘real job’. Background check/Drug Test/Microsoft Office Suite testing – all for a $12.50/hour job.

    Arrived on first day, they sat me down, gave me a headset and a list of people to start calling to collect medical debt. The job title was ‘accounting clerk’ when I accepted the position with the temp agency, but ended up being collections, on the phone all day every day.

    Thankfully, I had kept my waitressing job and put the headphones down and walked out. I don’t think I would do medical collections for $500/hour let alone $12.50.

  91. Sara P*

    As a teenager I was looking on a *government* website for a summer job. I found an interesting one in ‘sustainability’ with a nonprofit. I applied, got a callback and was asked to “volunteer” for a day to see if it was a fit. Since it was a nonprofit this felt not as sketchy as it might otherwise, and I agreed.

    Arrived at the given address and it was… someone’s house. There were about 8 other young women there. All but 1 were there for their trial “volunteer” day. The woman I spoke to in the interview was there and started casually assigning people to different tasks such as ‘working in the sustainable garden’ (her garden), ‘taking inventory in the bookshop’ (cleaning her basement), and ‘organizing the equipment’ (cleaning her garage). We all knew this was sus but we were young and caught very off guard and wanted paid work.

    On a break, the one girl admitted it was her third day so we started grilling her about what was going on. She saw nothing weird about the fact that the day before a task she had been assigned was to wash this woman’s car or get groceries. At that story, one girl burst out laughing and walked out on the spot. When we stopped for lunch I’d already decided this was not a thing, but stayed out of morbid curiosity. Several more people didn’t come back.

    Throughout the rest of the day the woman was only partially there but at one point she complained about her back hurting, decided to take a bath and shouted instructions from the bathroom. I fucked around with her ancient computer that supposedly held the data base for her sustainability book website (??).

    At the end of the day she gathered all of the remaining people and one by one took us into the living room for an evaluation. When she got to me she told me that because I went to a prestigious school she knew I was smart but could tell I was ‘holding back emotionally’. I nodded my way through conversation, she asked me to come back the next day and I left.

    When I got home I left her a voicemail saying thanks but no thanks. I then received SEVERAL phone calls from her, and eventually an abusive voicemail.

    The job listing remained on the government website for the rest of the summer.

  92. It's all elementary*

    Not me but my 18 year old daughter, with my blessing. She interviewed at a Taco Bell. Manager wanted her to start that day. DD can’t until Saturday. Ok, fine. DD shows up and the only two workers in the place during lunch rush had no idea she was coming. Manager wasn’t there and they had no idea when she’d be there. Workers called the manager and she said she’d be right there. DD waited for over an hour for her, texting me the whole time. I told her to go ahead and leave but she wanted to be responsible and follow through. After about an hour a former worker came in and told her “Girl, just leave. I quit here because of management”.

  93. Wine not Whine*

    I once quit on the first day.

    I’d recently moved and was working through a staffing agency. My current temp assignment had just ended, and they mentioned that they were in need of a receptionist at the agency office.

    What they _didn’t_ tell me was that I was expected to spend every minute that I wasn’t dealing with incoming calls or people, calling client companies (and leads) to see if they had any openings they wanted to fill. Essentially awkward cold-calling by someone unfamiliar with the clients. And by “expected,” I mean that if a manager walked through the front and I wasn’t actively typing, talking to a live person, or on the phone, I got a hairy eyeball from them or was asked why I wasn’t calling.

    1000% a job I would NEVER have accepted if that had been mentioned.

    At lunch, I went to my manager and said, “look, I’ll finish the day if you need me to, but this is _not_ going to work.” They told me not to bother, just go home. –They did pay me for the half day.

    Fortunately it didn’t seem to affect my standing in their eyes. I had two further long-term assignments through the agency, both resulting in hire offers. (I turned down the first one, but accepted the second and remained with that company for over 18 years.)

  94. Editor Emeritus*


    The first time was my very first summer job, when I was 16. It was a bit of a rite of passage in my city to work at the state-famous amusement park located there. It was gonna be cool, I thought.

    Too young to operate rides or games, my job was at one of the snack bars, where they seemed to have no problems violating child labor laws. I operated deep-fry vats to make fries from reconstituted potatoes, operated pizza ovens, and worked till 1am. I went home with a curly perm full of sweat and grease, and blisters from my wooden Dr Scholl sandals (hey, it was the 70s). I lasted two nights, and my mother — who grew up poor and worked some tough jobs from a young age — encouraged me to quit. I called the next day and said I wouldn’t be returning. I don’t remember the reaction, but doubt anyone was bothered; there were plenty of kids who wanted to work at the park.

    The second was a summer job during college at a factory where they made coffee-flavored syrup and other sweet stuff. The place did not have a good reputation for working conditions, but i needed a job. There I caught plastic packages full of freeze-pop syrup as they came off the machine. The plastic got really hot, and they didn’t give us gloves, or any other safety equipment for that matter. There was no air conditioning, and not much of a morning break. I don’t know about other breaks, because I left at lunchtime. The supervisor did not seem seem surprised, and she thanked me for letting her know I wouldn’t be coming back. (For the record, I ended up working at another factory after that and for two other summers. Night and day difference. )

  95. Kristi*

    When I was young, dumb and broke, I responded to an ad for people to work as telemarketers. We were supposedly selling books of coupons to raise money for a wheelchair sports association. I was stuck in a room of people on telephones and given a script to read that was high-pressure, badly written, and the scammiest-sounding thing I’d ever seen. On about my fourth call, I managed to get someone to actually listen for longer than 30 seconds, and he asked me “is this some sort of a time-share fraud?” While it wasn’t a timeshare, I was having doubts on the fraud part, so I responded, “um, yes, probably?” and hung up. I then quietly slunk out.

  96. Bookworm*

    I wish I had. The signs were there at the beginning of the interview process, when I was accidentally added to an internal meeting (which was right before my actual interview, so I tried to enter thinking I would be a few minutes early). I put it down to human error but during the negotiation process the owner tried to ask about my then-boss to get me to give notice sooner (like, owner knows boss so I should take a hint here because the owner is impatient).

    In retrospect, this should have been a sign of the poor management and how the owner is honestly not a nice person. I was eventually fired because owner refused to set core hours and expected us to answer the phone at any time for any reason (emergency or not).

    What was nice is how two of my co-workers reached out separately. I’m unsure what they were told but they thanked me, wished me well and said we should keep in touch, feel free to use as a reference, etc. so I suspect I am not entirely at fault.

  97. FoolMeTwice*

    I have had two jobs in which every instinct I possess screamed “RUN” to me on or before my first day. In both cases I should have listend.

    Job #1 I had a feeling during the interview that my manager was nuts, but I couldn’t articulate why so I brushed it off as nerves. At some point during my first week-maybe my first day?-I got a call from her professional coach, who after 10 minutes of talking to, I learned was part of her probabtion after she ASSAULTED A CLIENT for touching a public computer that was sort of near her office. (Note that it was not her computer. ) It seems she was a high performer so they didn’t want to fire her, despite the assault and a general history of aggressive behavior. So they cut a deal in which she agrees to undergo this coaching, and somehow she added the stipulation that she would also get to manage people? That wasn’t even contingent on her completing the program. Coworkers all said they would quit if put under her so they found a sucker -me-to hire as her managee. I didn’t even have a job other than “get yelled at all day by her” because nobody wanted to work with her and she wouldn’t let me take on any of her projects. So all day long I just sat in a chair and waited for her to yell at me over nothing. Once she waited for me at the coffee station in the morning to lecture me on how I was drinking coffee wrong. I lasted 10 months, but 7 of those months were spent job hunting.

    Years later I still hadn’ t learned my lesson. If only I knew about Ask A Manager then, because I would never have gone anywhere near the place. It was a family business (red flag #1) with a total of three full-time employees, two of whom were family (Yikes flag #2). There were also four part-time people. The job description was completely misleading as to both the job and the industry, which they announced in the first interview, explaining that nobody would respond to their ad otherwise. (What the hell is wrong with me flag #3). The son of this father-son team was clearly baked out of his mind. (Seriously, I need therapy flag #4) So obviously I took the job. Day 2 I am cc’d on an email sent to the entire (granded there were 8 of us) company eviscerating their customer support person for…politely answering a customer question? He called her dumb. Several times. He called the customer dumb. Multiple times. He accused her of wasting valuable company time answering dumb quetsions from dumb customers and maybe if she wasn’t so dumb she would know that. I knew right then and there I had made a mistake (Finaly I figure one out!) but decided to stay on for six months while I finished a professional training program. I lasted four months. They said they would give me a terrible reference and I would never get another job again. I laughed and explained I would never, ever list this place on a resume anyway. If anyone asks about the gap, well, I was completing a training program and wanted to focus on that. No one has ever asked about a six month gap in my resume. I finished my program and quickly found a job in my chosen field.

  98. CareerChanger*

    I had a full-time job answering phones at an office, which I liked just fine. In order to make a little extra cash, I got a job at Pizza Hut. On my first day after orientation…they wanted me to answer phones. I asked could I please do something else, anything at all, but they said no, everyone starts on phones. I said something like, “okay, then I have to go” and I walked out and never came back. They just sort of shrugged. You’d think this sort of thing would be dramatic or have consequences, but it didn’t. They never asked me what happened, never sent me a paycheck or W-2, and I was so relieved not to hear from them that I let the 3 hours’ pay go.

  99. anon for this*

    Should have. Hypercritical boss no one could appease.

    I had just graduated college and moved to NewCity for a job I thought would be acceptable. The organization had a good reputation and I’d enjoyed visiting NewCity years before. My start date was still a week away, the admin team had told me to come in on that day to start training, and I was moving into my apartment. That’s when my boss emailed me to demand that I spend some time “getting to know the office” before I actually began.

    The next day, it took me almost an hour on transit to get there and I wandered around. I found my boss’s office and he was gossiping, loudly, to three other entry level people. About me. I had not met any of them yet. He was urging them to agree with him that it was a mistake for me to have listened to the reception staff when they had told me to just come in on my first day for training.

    I walked in and coldly asked whether I was being talked about, and the boss said a bunch of confusing things, possibly in an attempt at denial. I wasn’t very impressed, but I put up with it. I kept thinking things were going to improve after that rocky start. They didn’t. At one point I made a very gentle suggestion and he said, “I don’t take suggestions from people on your level. I never had any good suggestions at entry level and nobody else ever does either.”

    Five months in, I realized that I was too demoralized to want to keep going to work. It finally registered that I had spent an entire month doing the bare minimum in the office and then going home to play Skyrim until the middle of the night. My boss and I had some kind of bizarre truce by that point, but none of it was worth it. The pay was middling, my apartment was depressing, and I found that I didn’t love NewCity after all. The one good part was Skyrim.

    I emailed a letter of resignation. My boss actually took it well…and then started saying nicer things about me than he’d ever said. I paid a little extra to break my lease, sold a lot of stuff, moved back to my hometown, and did data entry for a big office for a while until I figured out how to restart the career I wanted.

  100. Pillow Fort Forever*

    Went to a company where I knew two of the execs (I’d worked for them before and had a much better experience ) – as the head of hr. They promptly sat me at the reception desk, assigned(!) me a ton of admin duties and then got mad when I struggled to update a technical marketing presentation in the (untold) way they wanted it. I spoke up and was first told that I couldn’t quit, then told I was terrible at marketing (of course) and that they were disappointed that I couldn’t handle my job but that they’d keep me anyway. I waited til they left, put a resignation note on the ceos desk and never looked back. I received an expletive laden voicemail from the ceo afterwards but was mostly just grateful I’d gotten out as soon as possible.

    1. Pillow Fort Forever*

      Oh almost forgot one other!! College town on California coast. I was staying for the summer session and decided to work pt while doing so. A friend worked at a fancy hotel and recommended being a maid there. I love hotels and thought it sounded fun (to the laughter of my parents who threatened to tell them how messy my room could get. Anyway – fancy hotel has theme rooms – everything from a caveman room to fancy triple suites in all pink and such. Caveman room featured a leather bedspread – that weighed about a hundred pounds. The rock shower required special cleaning tools and took forever. The kicker to me was that people seemed to use the rooms for wild sex – beds with used condoms in them, sex toys laying around, lube containers, room service food used in bed, and more that I won’t detail here. It was horrifying and I never went back.
      I switched to an another hotel that was mostly families – and while we sometimes had to clean pizza out of microwaves or vacuum cereal, it was a fun job that was surprisingly enjoyable.

  101. thatoneoverthere*

    In my teens, and early 20s I had a handful of jobs that were horrendous. Some I stuck out for long some not so much.

    In college I got a job at an outdoor concert venue. I thought it would be a great addition to summer work. I would only work a few nights a week and get see/hear concerts for free. I was going to work concessions and thought for sure it would be a piece of cake. Only it wasn’t. For some reason they decided to not give any stands cash registers. Everyone had to do the math in their head to calculate orders and give people change. After about an hour of handing people pops, I got bored and volunteered to be the cash lady (before credit cards were mainstream at these places). I struggled to tally orders in my head and count the change. The lines started building and I was panicking. But my dumbarse wouldn’t change positions with someone. Finally the stand closed and I realized I was under charging everyone all night. Instead of charging $4 a pop, I charged $3. Terrified I would get in an insane amount of trouble, I ran to my car and never went back!

  102. Anniemal*

    When I was 18, I got suckered into doing one of those fundraising jobs (you know, the kind where you go door to door asking for money for a cause–our cause was climate change). The ad for this job was incredibly deceptive; it described the jobs duties as things like “participating in letter writing campaigns” and other office-y sounding work.

    I (and a friend) got hired after a phone interview. We showed up in our most professional looking outfits for “training”, which turned out to be four hours of “learning the script” which was “guaranteed” to get donations and four hours of us clomping around in heels while shadowing our trainer as they went door-to-door asking for money. The thought of quitting crossed our minds but we were on our first summer living away from our parents after our freshmen year of college and we both needed money.

    On day two, we showed up in jeans and sneakers for the rest of our “trial week.” The trainer told us they would be transporting us to a new territory and would just…drop us off. Alone. In a strange place with no public transit and no car (we were not allowed to bring our own cars). Future lawyer that I was, I had at least read the handbook and asked to work on the opposite side of the street from someone for safety, which company policy allowed us to request. The trainer was annoyed but agreed we could work the same streets. We then got into a car with our trainer and two other employees, to be dropped off in a completely unknown area with a paper map (pre-smartphone era). My friend asked on the drive what we were supposed to do if it thunderstormed. Our trainer suggested we ask one of the people were soliciting for shelter or wait it out on someone’s porch. We should have quit on the spot. We did not. Day 2 was spent with us awkwardly reading our fundraising script while people slammed doors in our face and told us global warming wasn’t real (this was the early 2000s). Somehow we collected enough in donations to not be fired on the spot.

    Day three was spent half fundraising, half cowering under a bridge while it rained heavily.

    At the end of day three our trainer told us that working in a team was reducing our efficiency and “suggested” we work separately the next day. We “suggested” that being left alone with no transportation in an unknown area was a great was to get murdered (probably an overstatement, but again, teenagers). Everyone agreed that this wasn’t working out. I’m not sure if I was call it quitting or a mutual parting of ways, but I certainly do not regret leaving that job.

    We both spent the rest of the summer working in food service and at Old Navy where at least no one expected us to knock on strangers doors looking for shelter when it thundered.

    1. redbecca*

      I got suckered by this too! The interview was about my interest in the charity and my ability to do office jobs like filing and bulk mailing and letter-writing, but on my first day about ten new hires were loaded into a van to go for ‘training’, which was actually tromping around (in office clothes) in groups of three following a trainer as they knocked on doors asking for donations. In the afternoon I was given the script and a target for donations made that I wouldn’t get paid if I didn’t meet, and sent off to do it by myself- I was fully done as soon as I realised door-knocing was involved, but I didn’t know where I was and this was before cell phones so I couldn’t call someone to get me, so I just sat under a nice tree until it was time to meet up. After they drove me back to the office I got in my car and left, and never contacted them again. Honestly, wouldn’t be surprised if getting one day of free work from every applicant is how they made it work, they didn’t even call to see if I was coming back.

  103. Dr. Rebecca*

    I worked one shift at a truckstop cafe with VERY horrible hygienic practices. I got minimal training, and walked after I found myself elbow-deep in ice-cold pickle juice (bare hand/no gloves or spoon, of course) and even at 18 and desperate for cash, I noped out of that. I didn’t come back, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even get paid, which was fine. I’m not sure if anyone noticed I was gone, because I’m also not sure anyone noticed I was there in the first place.

  104. Julie*

    One summer during college break, I took a temporary job in “marketing” because I thought it would be good experience for my area of study. During the first week of training, I learned that we were going to be cold calling people for different companies and organizations asking for money/donations. When I found out one of the organizations was the NRA and I’d be cold calling current, past and potential donors, I immediately decided that the job was not for me! I simply didn’t show up the next day, and my check was mailed to me.

    1. Julie*

      Also, this happened back in 2002 and I’m so glad I stuck with my values over worried about being a poor college student. I found a new job fast!

  105. greydog*

    One summer before my senior year of high school, I somehow finagled a receptionist / assistant position at my friend’s mom’s office. I think Joyce was a realtor? Insurance? I honestly can’t remember, which is probably part of the reason I was So. Bad. At the job.

    All I can recall is one sweaty day, sitting in the front window, typing and retyping (on an old electric typewriter) some piece of business correspondence for her, messing up each time and having to start from scratch. Reader: I had never taken a typing (or business correspondence) class and had no idea what I was doing.

    About 3pm, after 6 hours of work and nary a letter to show for it, she looked at me with disappointment and gentle kindness. “Do you want to come back in tomorrow, dear?”

    “Uh, no, I don’t think so,” I replied meekly.

    That was the end of Joyce as my boss but the beginning of her as my friend. I was pals with her son but I adored her — she lent me all the juicy John Grisham books and we stayed in touch for years. We never spoke of my ill-fated day as her assistant ever again.

  106. Ivana Tinkle*

    Years ago when I had just left university, I started a job at an agency that supplied substitute teachers to schools. On my first day it was apparent that all the schools in the area hated the guy who ran the agency, and therefore felt it was fine to be as rude as they liked to me. On the second day, he asked me to review the files of all the teachers signed up to the agency. All of them were from overseas but there was nothing in the files to document their legal right to work in the UK, and no records of their teaching qualifications at all (both massively illegal in the UK). When I asked him about this he said it wasn’t my concern. I knew this is something I could be potentially be prosecuted for if it was ever checked, so early the next morning before he arrived at work, I posted my office keys through the letterbox & left him a voicemail to say I wasn’t coming back. Never heard from him again. I emailed the recruitment agency who had got me the role there, they seemed very unfussed that the place raised more red flags than a communist party parade & told me that they wouldn’t consider me for any more roles for being unprofessional by leaving without notice after 2 days.

  107. Lilac*

    When I was in college, I was hired at a local summer camp. It was a last-minute hire to fill an unexpected vacancy, so I only had a few days’ notice before I started. I quit for a few reasons:

    1) After I’d already agreed to the hours and pay, they told me that I’d have to work four hours of overtime each week—two hours in the morning one day, and then another two hours in the afternoon on a different day. That might have been okay, but they also said I wouldn’t get paid extra for the overtime. (They justified this by saying I was paid a flat rate for the week, not hourly. The pay was already at the very low end of what I’d accept for 40 hours of work, much less 44.) Oh, and the overtime in the morning was on my first day, and they didn’t tell me about it until the day before.

    2) They didn’t run a background check on me even though I would be working with kids. I get that they were pressed for time, but I question the judgement of any organization that would do that. (Of course I would have passed a background check if they’d done one, but *they* didn’t know that!)

    3) They told me the day before I was supposed to start that I was only allowed to wear khaki pants to work—no jeans, no slacks in a color other than khaki. I didn’t own any khaki pants so I asked if I could wear something different (but still work-appropriate) for the first few days until I had a chance to go shopping. They said no, so I had to go out shopping that night—and spend a lot more than I usually would on a pair of pants, since I didn’t have time to look for a good deal.

    4) I had a medical appointment scheduled for the week I was supposed to start, so I told them I’d have to leave about an hour early one day. They reluctantly said I could, but they made it clear that this was an extra special privilege they were only offering me because they really needed to fill the vacancy. They also said it was the only (paid or unpaid) time off I’d get for the whole summer.

    I’m very curious as to why they had a last-minute vacancy to fill. I’m willing to bet that someone else also saw too many red flags and quit right away. (For what it’s worth, I went on to work for a different summer camp that was an excellent employer in nearly every way. Entry-level jobs designed for teens and young adults can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be this way!)

  108. i like hound dogs*

    Second one: I got my “dream job,” except it wasn’t. I’d worked for a literary magazine as a graduate assistant, and when the managing editor moved on a couple of years after I finished my PhD, I applied for and got the job. IT WAS TERRIBLE. In an effort to not step on my toes, my previous boss didn’t really onboard me; she just sort of … left. There were tons of old files that had never been digitized, plus an NEA grant that had gone to a contractor who never did any of the promised work on the website, which was old as hell, and lots of department politics I had been unwittingly inserted into. I had three graduate assistants to manage, and they all acted like the job was beneath them, since they were obviously going to become famous novelists. But I had no actual authority over them, really – I couldn’t fire them – and it became clear that the old managing editor had done 90% of the work herself, and it was a LOT of work. I had a baby at home at the time and a husband who traveled for work, and the sleeplessness plus chaotic nature of the job (which was supposed to be part time, HA HA, and paid as such) sent me into a spiral. I went into the department head’s office after about ten days and blubbered that I was quitting. He and multiple other people in the department tried to get me to stay, and I almost did (it had been my dream job for years, after all) which made things messier and worse. The whole thing was really embarrassing, but at least now I know I never want to manage anyone. I went back to my previous job as a copy editor at an ad agency and I’ve never worked in academia again.

  109. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

    I was hired as a filing/admin/general help for a small law firm. My interview was a panel interview with every other employee of the firm. It felt weird to have so many people there for a low level position. Then, after the interview, they asked me to wait outside the conference room while they conferred; after about 5 minutes they came out and said I was hired and could I start working right now? I was a little surprised by the whole process and lied and said I had a repair person coming that afternoon, but I could start the next day.

    As promised, I came in on the next day (a Friday) and while I can’t put my finger on anything particular, the owner creeped me out. Like he was a malevolent alien wearing a human skin. I worked the day, dreaded going back all weekend, and finally decided to nope out of there and quit on Monday. Like a dummy, I went in person. I told the owner I had a better offer for more money, he said that was unprofessional, I really had no answer, especially since it was a lie (with the wisdom of hindsight, all the lying I did was a sign of how uncomfortable that place made me) and I left. I was pretty hard on myself for wimping out, but all these years later… no regrets.

  110. VivKeill*

    While unemployed, I got a call from a former co-worker asking me if I’d like to pick up some shifts as a cashier at a Halloween store. She was a manager there now and they needed bodies for the days leading up to the holiday. I went in the first day which was October 30, was given a 15 minute training on how to ring people up and then told to grab a costume to wear and start working. I worked for 12 hours with one 15 minute lunch break and when I cashed out my till at the end of the night was told that I would need to report Halloween morning for another 12 hour shift and then November 1 I would be showing up at 4am to start breaking down the store to vacate the retail space – we could leave when we were done. I told my friend that working 40+ hours in 3 days was not something I planned on doing and thanks for the opportunity. She was understanding because she had only needed my cashiering, but her manager had wanted all hands on deck for the rest of the time. I filled out my tax forms and got my check a few days later. Never heard from any of them ever again.

  111. LB33*

    In high school I got a weekend job at Dunkin’ Donuts, making the donuts. Problem was you had to get there at 4am, and doing that on Sat and Sunday mornings as a teenager wasn’t a great idea for me at that time.

    So I quit after the first weekend – I just called and said sorry I’m not going to be able to continue, the hours aren’t good. The manager didn’t care, he just said ok and that was it.

  112. Ingemma*

    When I was 19 and in undergrad a friend and I had found this AWFUL job working in a crepe shop for the summer. We got paid 7$ an hour and tips at the end of every day in cash. At the time, tipped minimum wage was about 10$ and you were supposed to get paid the difference if your tips didn’t cover to get you up to real min wage. Often the tips were close to zero. Also, less problematically, me and my friend were given opposite shifts, which limited the time we could hang out. (This felt like a great injustice at the time.)

    After about a week, my friend called in to quit (while I was working.) This was slightly awkward for me who got grilled about it. I decided to stick it out until I could get a real job that actually paid me a non-illegal wage. I was out for a beer with her and her boyfriend that evening, and when I decided it was time to turn in for the night so I could be up for my early start, she convinced me to quit. For some reason, my main concern with quitting was literally telling the shop owner that I didn’t want to work there anymore. We came to an agreement that if I bought the next pitcher of beer, she would pretend to be me and would call the next morning to explain I would no longer be coming into work.

    I had just starting seeing her boyfriends roommate, and had ended up spending the night there after our night of drinking. I vaguely heard her call in and pretend to be me from the other room and then she burst into the bedroom I was in to announce the great service she had just done me. The guy I was seeing was pretty confused about the whole thing.

    I avoided the street corner the crepe shop was on for years, but the next week got a still-bad but actually minimum wage coffee shop job.

  113. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

    Summer before my junior year in college. Cutco. I didn’t realize it was MLM. Heck, it was the early ’80s. I didn’t even know what an MLM was. But I wasn’t a sales-type person. And some of the stuff they had us do on the first day was shady.

    Walked the next day.

    1. JustNoMLM*

      I had a close call with almost getting sucked into Mary Kay cosmetics in 2003. They chased me aggressively after an accidental meeting at a trade show. Only my surprised truthful statement that I don’t wear makeup at all and know absolutely nothing about it stopped them. Yikes!

  114. wanderingwatson*

    For one day in my college years, I worked for a promotional company that scouted for child actors. The goal was to invite any and every child to an event that weekend to do a meet and greet with an agent and a Disney channel star. Note: We only approached kids with parents nearby – this was very clear. If they showed up, I would earn $20 commission. They sent us out in pairs wandering through Targets, Walmarts, etc, pretending to be shoppers.

    Yeah, IKEA employees didn’t buy it for one second. All they saw was someone approaching children and kicked us out like we were scum of the earth. As the goody-two-shoes rule-follower I am, I was mortified and quit immediately. My partner for the day and manager both texted me apologizing and asking me to keep going, but there was no way I could handle getting kicked out of stores every day as my full-time job.

  115. Amber Rose*

    Hired on as a cashier at Walmart.
    I was so miserable after a week that I called in sick.
    And then I just stopped calling in and didn’t bother to go in either.
    They eventually noticed… about two months later while working at a new job, I got a call from them asking why I wasn’t showing up for my shift. They’d just kept scheduling me without realizing I wasn’t there.

    So how I quit was technically no call-no show, but also I had the chance to tell them I quit over the phone, two months after. When I revealed that I was already working at a different job and had assumed I was fired ages ago, she still tried to convince me to show up. I politely declined and that was the end of that.

    As for why it was so miserable, I can’t emphasize how much of a non-person I was. I didn’t matter. I wasn’t trained. Nobody knew who I was or what to do with me when I showed up. The customers were all miserable, unkind jerks. I felt so invisible and unwanted and exhausted I basically lost the will to get up, and they managed to do that to me in only a week. I have NO idea how people survive there.

  116. Keymaster the absent*

    * This was back in my 20s. I’d been offered a job at a small technology startup in my (then) local area working in IT. Entry level pay, but great opportunities to learn etc. First day I’m shown my desk.

    The reception desk. Was then told that it was my job to be a receptionist, make coffee for the management and visitors, keep the place clean and cold call sales prospects. Oh I could learn some of the IT stuff ‘as long as the boys in the department have free time’.

    * They handed me my contract (this is standard in the UK) to sign and I quit by basically saying “I am NOT signing that!”. They’d interviewed for an IT tech and that was even on the contract with a ‘additional duties required’ appended. But they wanted a receptionist! So my refusal to sign was basically me saying ‘I quit’

    * They didn’t react well to it, my youth was blamed (this was very early 2000s) and so on. When I went out to my car and drove off I think they realised I wasn’t coming back.

    * Should come as no surprise that I was the only woman in the office. Was my first experience with being pigeonholed because of my gender.

  117. Sophie*

    When I was 19 I got a server job at an upscale steak house to help with collage expenses. The job required a week of intensive, unpaid training – tasting all menu items including wines, learning how to recommend wine pairings, how to properly serve, etc. My first table the first night on the floor was a group of six. They stayed the entire evening and ran me around tirelessly. I remained professional and polite thinking, “Well, at least I’ll get a great tip.” They left me $2.00 and a stick of gum. I went to my manager, gave him the $2.00 and stick of gum, said “I quit” and left. He followed me out to the parking lot yelling you have to stay to clean after your shift. The next day I went back to the bar I’d previously been working at and made $400 that night.

  118. Liz*

    When I first moved to NYC I applied for a restaurant job I found on Craigslist – nothing fancy, just counter service sandwiches and live music at night. My first shift went fine, easy enough, nice coworkers, decent free sandwich.

    Then the next day I get an email from the owner informing me that because that first shift was a “training shift,” I would not be paid for it. I ghosted them and never looked back (these days I would have tried to report them, but at the time I just wanted to move on.) At least I got a steak sandwich out of the deal.

  119. Jaques*

    Over 10 years ago I quit a job after 2 weeks (but had only done 3-4 shifts during that period). The job was at a rock climbing gym where I had to check people in, give orientations to the facility, and perform some safety checks on the equipment. I had gotten bad vibes from some of the staff – negativity, weird comments, etc., but had been ignoring it. Then, right before I was supposed to go to a shift, all the employees received an email from the manager that was very intense. There were a lot of expletives involved, and I specifically remember one section saying “If you want to question these instructions, I dare you to speak to me about it to my face. I F***CKING DARE YOU.” (Not censored in real life). I sent the higher up person that I’d interviewed with an email saying I would not be coming in for my shift or continuing to work with the company, and that I thought the email was very inappropriate. They responded saying they understood and they’d be following up on the matter. I never heard anything else. About a month ago, I decided that nobody would recognize me after a decade, and I decided to go to the gym. They thankfully did not recognize me, but I did see that the manager was still working there.

  120. FanciestCat*

    In college I was working a part time job I’d come to hate and I desperately wanted a different one, but I went to school in a tourist town filled with 20 somethings so service and retail jobs were very competitive. I applied to dozens of places without a callback. Finally, I applied for this pizza place that had an attached ice cream shop. They wanted me to do a “trial shift” for the first day, paid in tips only. Even back then I knew that was illegal but I was pretty desperate. They put me in the ice cream shop with two other people. One had worked there a week. The other was doing a trial like me, so first day. There was no training, and since this was in the touristy part of town everything was horribly over-priced. A woman came in and ordered at $12 milkshake at one point and none of us knew how to work the machine so we winged it. About an hour in, I realized that there could indeed be jobs more soul crushing than my current one, so I walked over to the pizza side, found the manager and quit. He tried to guilt me into staying but he had zero leverage since he wasn’t even paying me. They gave me about $4 from the tip jar (people still tipped even with the horrible service, bless them), and I walked home. In the end though, since I was never able to find another job I kept looking and eventually got a job as a student researcher in a related field to what my degree was in (I’d taken two classes on it.) That job ended up being the foundation for my entire career.

  121. Chicken Little*

    I got a part time job at a country club in Waco, TX. It became very apparent that employees of color were rarely if ever promoted, even after working there for 10+ years. The whole place had very strong “Get Out” movie vibes. Halfway through my first day, I told my training manager that I would be quitting and handed back my uniform.

  122. notempagencies*

    Right as I was about to graduate college, I really wanted to go into HR, recruitment or marketing. I was excited when I got a call to interview at temp agency. I wasn’t super familiar with them and was just excited to get to interview for my first “Big girl job”. I really got along with the lady who interviewed me. I would be helping place people in jobs and perhaps getting some clients. I was hired, shortly after.

    The first day, the nice lady is no where to be seen. I show up to an incredibly run down office, and I am shown to desk with a barely working computer. No one other than me is there to show me how to do the job. Eventually a different cranky lady saunters in. She gives me about 10 mins of training and sets me loose. The next day I get yelled at for doing everything wrong, it was my 2nd day lady! The third day no one is in the office, except for the receptionist. The 4th day I get pulled into a private meeting and demanded to wear a suit everyday. Even though everyone else is wearing khakis, a sweater and polos (by this point others had started working in the office). The 5th day another new guy starts work. 6th day cranky boss screams at us for being terrible at our jobs. By day 7, I was done and checked out (this was a Wednesday I believe). I send an email to cranky boss asking to leave 10 min early a week from today for a doctor’s appointment. She immediately pulls me in a room and fires me for asking to leave early. I basically told her (in less harsh words) to fuck off and stomped away.

  123. Cyndi*

    I was a street canvasser for the ACLU and I lasted two days. I absolutely hated pressuring people for money–still do, still won’t do it–and brought in a whole lot less than they were paying me, but worse it was July and on day 2 I got sick from standing on the sidewalk in the sun for hours. My boss liked me and offered to give me a few more days to “get the hang of it” but I already knew it was a lost cause.

  124. Owlette*

    I was hired to be an admin assistant for a very small office (4 employees total, including myself). I was supposed to be supporting the owner. On my first day, she showed me her process for opening the mail, but told me not to take over opening the mail yet. Okay. The second day, I didn’t touch the mail when it was delivered, and she lectured me for not taking initiative and not opening the mail. Okay? The third day, the mail was delivered, and I opened it an organized it. When I handed her the opened mail, she started screaming at me (yes, screaming) that she didn’t trust me yet, that I was stealing important paperwork, and how dare I touch the mail. When I said she told me to take more initiative, she said, “You won’t last here long,” and asked me to WRITE LINES like I was Bart Simpson. I ended up going to lunch early and calling her from the parking lot saying I quit. She yelled at me some more over the phone, so I hung up on her. She emailed me a few days later accusing me of stealing books from the office, so I emailed back that I didn’t and just blocked her. It’s been a few years, so I figure I’m all clear.

  125. oops*

    Not my first day, but my first week. I’d been out of work a few months so I jumped at a secretarial job with a web development company (back in the mid 90’s). Their sole business was designing websites for companies. The owner had a scuzzy used car salesman/politician vibe but I was young and didn’t trust my instincts. The second day there, he was arguing with one of the developers in the middle of the open office space. He was insisting they continue to use pirated software to design the web pages they were selling. The developer insisted it was immoral and illegal. At the end of the week I said I didn’t think it was going to work out. He tried to pressure me a little to stay (nothing exciting, I just held firm). I drove by the office a couple of weeks later and it was deserted…no people, no furniture, no nothing.

  126. employee*

    During the recession, when things were really bad and I REALLY needed a job, I got hired to canvas for Greenpeace. It was AWFUL. I had to stand in front of a grocery store and try to get peoples attention to get them to sign up for memberships. People were super rude to me, overtly hostile at times, and the other canvassers weren’t much better because we were all competing for sign ups (most of them were desperate like me rather than really committed to the cause). I quit after one day. It wasn’t spectacular, I just emailed my boss and said I wouldn’t be coming in. He was fine with that – I’m guessing it happened a lot.

  127. RIP Pillowfort*

    Not me but my sister.

    This was during COVID and she had to quit her nursing home job. Not to get too long into the specifics but the management was abhorrent, the staff was really mean, and she just could not take the toll it was putting on her. It was something she could cope with pre-COVID but it magnified the problems x1000 during the pandemic. She had planned her exit enough money saved up that she could be picky about how she wanted to ease back into the workforce.

    She thought she would try doing facility cleaning work. She still wanted to work in healthcare. She just wanted something right then where she wouldn’t have to do as much personnel interaction with while she sorted out what she wanted to do. She interviewed locally at different places and got hired with the understanding she was going to work at the place she had interviewed at. She had specifically told them she left the facility she was working at before due to the working conditions and staff.

    She goes to work on her first day and they tell her you’re going to be working at the “sister facility.” It was her old workplace. She turned around and walked out the door. They didn’t call back and she certainly was never going to talk to them either.

  128. Ghostess*

    Decades ago, in my early twenties, I was back in my hometown for a year after imploding my life. I was trying to get myself sorted and back to the town I lived in before, but in the meantime I needed something to tide me over so I got a job at a bakery. I had worked in a bakery before, so this would be pretty much the same role. No biggie.

    When I got there, the owner noticed I was wearing closed-toe shoes but no socks (again, I was young and a big ol’ mess, so it was my own dang fault). She proceeded to take her socks OFF HER OWN FEET and watch me put them on. Wonderful. Now I am wearing the still-warm socks of a woman I just met.

    My hair at the time was pretty short, but apparently not short enough because she thought my bangs were too long and needed to be pinned back. Did I have a bobby pin? I did not. No problem! She had a side hobby making her own custom barrettes and gave me one to pin back my bangs. Which would have been okay, I guess, except it was a BIG PLASTIC FRIED EGG. I had to work the whole shift with the plastic egg on my head and someone else’s socks on my feet.

    I woke up in the middle of the night after my first shift and went HELL NO and left a voicemail saying it wasn’t going to work out. It may very well have been a delightful job for someone else, but not for me at that point in time. I never went to that bakery again, never bothered with my paycheque, and left town shortly thereafter.

    Bonus trivia: on my first day, the owner showed me where she stored the cash at the end of the night and it was IN THE OVEN. Years later the whole block burned down and I really hope she had moved the oven cash by that point.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      There were times in my life when I’d totally have worn a giant fried egg barrette, but someone else’s socks? Barf city. I can’t even put my own worn socks back on if I have to take them off for some reason during the day – I have to put a fresh pair on.

      The oven money is just… I can’t even. What planet was she from that she thought keeping a bunch of paper in an environment typically full of paper-torching flames was a good idea? One forgetful moment and your profits are ashes.

  129. Lynn*

    The first one I quit after a couple of days was when I was in high school. I obtained the job as a receptionist & switchboard operator thru my typing teacher. The company probably went that route so they could pay minimum wage. I would take the bus to a sketchy neighborhood after school and walk a block to the company. The second night, I mistakenly cut off a call to the boss and he came out of his office screaming. Then, a manager tried to soothe it over by leering at my over my desk, looking me up & down in my school uniform. I told my mother and quit the next day.

    I quit another job after going thru two days of training and one day of working at a department store over the holidays. Took the job after my department was eliminated after 20+ years at another company and I was worried about money, despite getting severance. I was working the register and then trying to coerce people to get charge cards. Hated it and figured by not working, it may be the last chance to have off over the holidays before I found a position in my field. When I told HR I was quitting, they raised their eyebrows like I only took the job to get the employee discount, which I never even tried to use.

  130. User Dave*

    I worked at a call center for 1 and a half days before walking out.

    The first day was training, which basically consisted on coaching us on how to get around people saying ‘no’ (the call center mainly worked for public television asking for donations). Later in the day we got a pep talk about how we were expected to show up to work no matter what; the supervisor used the fact that he came in hungover basically every day as an example of what we how we could power through to make it in.

    On the second day, I spent a couple hours getting yelled at by people mad I called them at dinner, told my supervisor I wasn’t feeling good and had to go home and never came back. I had never experienced so much vitriol in such a short amount of time before and just couldn’t take any more.

    They did send me a check for the hours worked but I never cashed it because I felt guilty about quitting like that.

  131. Jamtoday*

    Not sure if this counts because it wasn’t a legit business but I walked out of a training for a new job that turned out to be a scam. It was my last year of college and I was desperate for a job. I responded to an ad that was for tutoring school aged children and received an email back saying to show up at X location with a laundry list of documentation. There was no phone screening and the email was intense. Lots of bold and underlines, and threats of not being hired unless you follow the instructions exactly. I show up on the day of the training and it was in a suuuuper sketchy deserted office park. The office suite itself had no furniture except for the empty “reception desk” which consisted of a folding table, folding chair, and a telephone. There were dozens of people standing in the lobby (because no chairs/furniture), waiting to be onboarded. Thankfully, I had a variety of jobs before this to know that this wasn’t right. The red flags were popping up and waving. We soon get ushered into a conference room which was also empty except for more folding chairs and a projector. 30 minutes into the “training” alarm bells were screaming at me. I decided to leave during a break (still so proud of my conflict avoidant people pleasing young self for following my gut) and asked for my paperwork back since it had all my personal information on it. They refused to give it back to me. We went around and around for sometime, and finally settled on them shredding the paperwork in front of me. Then, surprise to no one, they couldn’t find a shredder in the barren rented office space. At that point other trainees were starting to notice and ask questions so the trainer literally threw my paperwork at me and said to leave and he’ll mark me as a no show. Like that was some kind of punishment? I fled and years later I googled the name of the company and read dozens of posts from former tutors saying they were never paid and it was in fact, a scam.

  132. Kris*

    As a teenager I left a waitressing job on the first day. It was a diner-style place where you had to yell out the order in coded shorthand. I had waitressed before but without the yelling (you just wrote the order). I was a really timid kid and I couldn’t yell the order … I just wasn’t really capable of yelling. My attempts were met with derisive feedback from the cook and owner (the only people on the shift) and about two hours in I just quietly took off my apron and sneaked out.

  133. A*

    I was hired for an entry level position as a data analyst. They told me first I would have a temp contract for 3 months with lower pay and no benefits, if I passed the trial period I would be hired full time with benefits, etc. On my first day I learned this was a lie, all 30 workers were on temp contracts that were cancelled and renewed at the whim of the owner. That was red flag number one.

    Red flag number two, the owner was a screamer. She would tell abuse at people for mistakes, real or perceived. She would yell at me from the other end of the corridor, when she wanted me to go into her office and “fix her computer”. The first time she did that, I was nervous because I thought she expected me to perform IT functions as well, but she just wanted me to help her with excel. She Sat me down at her desk and had me turn some words bold or align some cells to the left or whatever. Of course it was framed as me “fixing the mistakes I had made” (again it was my first day and I had never seen that file before).

    On the second day, I declined to gossip with someone because I wanted to finish some data entry task. She pulled me into an empty conference room and told me “Nobody likes you. I’m just telling you this as a favor.” I later learned she was the owner’s favorite and had been upset by my slight.

    On the third day, the owner decided she wanted to go on a last minute holiday and tasked the receptionist with finding a cat sitter. The receptionist wasn’t able to find one on such short notice. She was fired. I asked when I would be doing some actual data analysis and I was told “we chose you from many applicants and if you don’t like it here you can go”.

    On the fourth day, the owner was on holiday. Nobody gave me anything to do all morning so I just watched videos on YouTube. In the afternoon I went to someone who I figured was fairly senior (I had no idea of the reporting chain) and said “Do you still have the other applicants on file? You will need to call them, I quit.” This lady was actually nice, she wasn’t surprised at all. We agreed I would finish the week (it was Thursday). No idea why I said that, it just felt bad to walk out, even though I had no work to do there.

    On my fifth and final day I saw my actual replacement. They got him to start within the day. I wanted to warn him off but wasn’t allowed to talk to him. I emailed my resignation to the owner, who never responded.

    The company tried not to pay me, but I threatened to file a complaint and got my money. It was a very low sum but it was a matter of principle at that point. I’ve never seen a company so dysfunctional in the 15 years since.

  134. used to be a tester*

    I should have known something was up when the person who hired me expressed surprise I had brought my Social Insurance Number. Apparently they had never done hiring paperwork for someone working ‘above the table’ before…
    I was a university student who needed a summer job. I saw that the industrial laundry near my place was hiring, so I brought my resume in and they hired me on the spot. Yay!
    I don’t know if all commercial laundries are like this one, but it was hot, loud, there were open containers of assorted (unlabeled) chemicals everywhere, and the safety features of the machines were bypassed in a variety of creative ways. My ‘training’ was watching someone for a few minutes until they felt I should have the hang of it, then was I plunked in front of what I suspect was a high speed laundry mangle to put sheets and blankets in to get pressed flat and dried.
    When I went to try and get a drink of water I was told ‘no breaks, no lunch’. When I tried to leave at the end of my 8 hour shift I discovered ALL THE DOORS WERE LOCKED. Nobody got to leave until everything that came in at the start of the shift was done. I’d love to say I raised a stink, but I was young and this was before cell phones, so I couldn’t call anyone. So I just ran like they were about to feed me into the mangle once the doors were opened.
    The next morning I woke up to some sort of horrific allergic reaction to one or more of the unlabeled chemicals I’d been splashing around in the previous day. My forearms were swollen and covered in hives; I couldn’t use my hands enough to even call and say I was never coming back. But then again, they didn’t call to see where I was either, so it couldn’t have been that big of a shock to them. My then-boyfriend went by at the end of the week to grab my cheque; the lady in the office apparently made a remark about this being why they normally only hired (insert slurs for undocumented workers). ‘Locals’ like me are all (insert a series of other slurs).

    1. My Cat is a Righteous Dude*

      OMG, just last weekend, I was re-reading Stephen King’s “Night Shift” book of short stories, and there’s a story called “The Mangler” about a commercial laundry machine that becomes malevolently sentient.

  135. Victoria*

    I walked off a job at a dude ranch when I was a teenager.

    I was hired as a trail leader. There were a dozen or more of us, and the idea was that we would all do all parts of the job: caring for the horses, selecting horses for tourists based on their size and skill level, leading trail rides, etc. The “training” was a scam: when a new person started, they spent several shifts doing just the back-end horse care…. unpaid. We were teenagers and didn’t know any better. The idea was that you’d eventually get cycled into leading rides and start getting paid. I didn’t stick around long enough to see how long that would take.

    After less than a week, I walked out in the middle of a shift. I literally never heard from them; they didn’t notice or didn’t care that I’d left. I guess they just kept bringing in new batches of free labor.

  136. Rosyglasses*

    When I was a young single mom and teaching at a private religious school (that paid so little I was still on food stamps) I tried to take a seasonal job at Target. I think I lasted about a week, and only because they kept scheduling me during the school day, calling me thinking I was no showing, and not understanding that I had another job until 3:30 or 4pm, even though I had been very clear about that during the interview. I ended up quitting and then still having that shift’s lead call me as a no-show/late arrival for a few weeks afterwards because they kept putting me on the schedule even though I had quit… The whole thing was interesting both from a retail standpoint (I’d worked retail before but for small stores like Gymboree) and from the one and only time I worked for a pretty large conglomerate and seeing the disconnect at so many levels.

  137. Merry and Bright*

    I got a job at one of the major movie theater chains, with the intention of it only being a summer job. It was incredibly monotonous and physically draining as I was standing still or walking around and bending over to clean. I got a much better job offer to work at a summer camp and quit within 4 days of starting. Management didn’t react, as they had a high turnover rate.

    All three of my younger siblings worked at this location for at least one summer after I had worked there, but they all moved onto better things, like retail. One of my teenage (at the time) siblings was seriously injured (requiring corrective surgery bad) there due to spilled water, and they tried to fire her, refuse workman’s comp or disability accommodations (sitting), but they quickly got in line when my parents threatened to lawyer up.

  138. KToo*

    I quit on my first day. Firstly, I had applied and interviewed to be, let’s say, an assistant teapot developer. First red flag – when I got there for the interview the Teapot Developer wasn’t expecting me but thought she had mixed up the day and time, so she started interviewing me. As I was in the middle of my interview another person joined and said no, he was the one who had called me in to interview for a new receptionist position (which was also something I had done so it was on my resume). I was desperate for a job so I didn’t ask the right questions – and he likely didn’t know all the answers I would have needed anyways – and I really liked the industry so when offered I accepted the receptionist position.

    First day comes, I had to send my kid to school sick and was feeling a bit off myself, and (second red flag) “reception” ended up being the security desk in the entrance of the building – a small concrete entryway just inside the main door where wind blew in and it was freezing cold. They were literally replacing having a security guard with a so-called receptionist. The desk was one of those tall-front ones where if I sat I couldn’t see over it, and my seating area was so tiny I only had space for a chair that I couldn’t even back up because it would hit the wall behind me. There were no offices or other people near me and most people used the back doors to come in or leave. The woman who was supposed to train me basically showed me a computer (no network or email so I never learned what it was for), said this is how you turn it on and off (which I already knew). She pointed at a phone and said ‘answer that and transfer to the extension shown’ on a paper list that was so old half the writing was worn off. Nothing else except paper and pens was on the desk. I was warned, “The owner is old and rarely here but he has his son come in in his place, but son doesn’t have an official job title here, he just uses his dad’s office.” I didn’t even know where the bathroom was or who to call to cover for me if I needed it, but she said she’d be back at 1pm for my lunch break. Then I was left with no training, nothing to do, and no idea why I was hired.

    I muddle through as best I can for a bit and eventually noon comes around and boss’s son makes an appearance to tell me that if a certain call comes he’s in another person’s office so transfer the call there. I wrote all the information down to be sure, confirmed the extension, but the call never comes.

    Just before 1pm son comes back down and starts screaming at me, like top of his voice ranting that I’m an idiot, it was an important call and I’ve just cost them a contract, etc…. I told him the call never came in and he yelled that I was “a stupid b*tch”. By this time other people had heard and were coming around to gawk, and I had had enough. I said, “I don’t need this job this badly”, went and got my coat and bag and told them I quit, saying ‘I don’t deserve to be treated this way’.

    I never did get an apology or any acknowledgement of what had happened. Eventually got a check in the mail for my single day worked. And it turns out I was coming down with the flu that first day so spent a few miserable days afterwards recovering. Ever since I’ve never bought a single item of their brand.

  139. Morris Alanisette*

    A long, long time ago, I accepted an offer at a nonprofit for a marketing role. I’d been unemployed for a while and was getting desperate, but this sounded like a really good job where I’d be able to use my marketing skills to do some good.

    My first day there, a Monday, they sat me at the reception desk and told me that my role is basically an admin for the ED (not at all what the job description said). The ED was an old-school socialite in her 60’s or so. My job was to look at her emails, print every one out and put it in her inbox, wait for her to write her response on the printout, then type it out as a response to the sender.

    They also gave me a key to the office and told me that one of my responsibilities was to stay until everyone left and lock the office. So I ended up just sitting in the office until 7pm because one manager stayed late.

    On Tuesday, after the ED mispronounced my name over and over. After I corrected her for the 100th time she laughed and said “Maybe I’ll just call you ‘hey you.'” Later that day she screamed at a volunteer for something.

    On Wednesday, I got a Facebook DM from the woman who’d had the role before me (still not sure how she found me or knew who I was). She said that she wished she could’ve warned me before taking the job but she recommended that I find something new ASAP because working for ED was a nightmare. I went home and cried for hours that night.

    On Thursday morning, I got an email offer from a job that I’d interviewed for about 6 weeks prior. I negotiated a few things via email and accepted the job by that afternoon.

    Friday morning, I sent the office key and a resignation letter to the nonprofit via messenger. I wanted to go scorched earth in my letter but decided to be polite but firm instead. I told them that I was resigning because my actual role didn’t have anything to do with marketing and recommended that they make sure their job descriptions are accurate in the future. To be petty, when I typed out my signature, I also typed out the correct phonetic pronunciation of my name. And I told them where to send my check.

    About an hour after the messenger left, my phone started blowing up with calls from the office. I didn’t feel like I owed them any explanation or anything else, so I just ended up blocking the numbers. And that was that.

  140. Liz Lemon*

    I, a fundamentally introverted person, convinced myself I could be an on the street fundraiser, approaching strangers all day and trying to convince them to give to a nonprofit. Most of the day is spent with people avoiding your eye contact. It was unfathomably terrible for me. I think even more outgoing people would find it pretty draining. After waking up every day feeling sick about it, I went in early and told my boss in person. He took it fine- they had huge turnover, and I’m sure he could tell I was a disaster at it!

    For months after, I felt a need to acknowledge and speak to every on the street fundraiser I passed, out of some sort of sympathy

  141. AnHRPersonActuallyOnYourSide*

    I quit my job as a cashier at a grocery store on the third day. I’d had two days of training and it was my first day on the floor with real customers. The produce chart with all the codes was overwhelming. I think I rang everything up as lettuce. At the end of my shift, my drawer was short. I was probably a size small back then (early 2000s) and the only smocks they had were large. I was swimming in it. I honestly don’t even remember if I gave notice. I just know I didn’t go back.

  142. ChipDust*

    I took a job as a weekend charge nurse (Saturday and Sunday nights only). I had 2 weeks of orientation. This was at a mental health facility. On the last day of orientation, I was handed a list of *additional* duties which included ALL staffing responsibilities for nursing staff for the coming week, primary responsibility for any child placement emergencies in the county, recording a complete summary of all care since Friday for the social workers. Ability to transport unconcious police drop offs, must be able to lift 75#.

    I calked in “not ever coming back” the next day. The staffing responsibility alone was a deal breaker working night shift.

    1. ChipDust*

      Result: no one ever got back to me….I got paid for the 2 weeks and got a credit towards my pension of 1 month.

  143. Cookies for Breakfast*

    This was my partner many years ago. Left a hospitality job with awful shifts to go to a “marketing” role that promised steady hours and didn’t require previous experience; it turned out to be one of those street selling jobs from DevilCorp organisations. Around two weeks in, he realised he was still working weird hours and not making any money, and stopped turning up. I think they also had cringeworthy motivational talks in the morning and at the end of the day, though he wouldn’t say much about those.

    The main consequence of his leaving was that it took him months to find another entry-level job. As for the DevilCorp, they didn’t bat an eyelid. Neither of us realised what this really was, until I fell into an internet rabbit hole about scams and pyramid schemes in recent years – and even then, it took me embarrassingly long to realise why it all sounded so familiar.

  144. Joyce to the World*

    Summer job during college bussing tables at a buffet type restaurant. So gross. The kitchen floor was so greasy that despite the traction mats they put down, I had to wear hiking boots. I still slipped and fell with a bucket of soapy water. That was the cleanest I saw that floor during my brief time there. Girl ran into me with a hot pan of grease from BBQ chicken and it went down my front. I quit after my first week, but they begged me to work for at least another 4 weeks because they were so short staffed. I would have nightmares about half eaten pieces of fried chicken. The entire chain of restaurants went out of business a short time later and I will never eat bread pudding ever again.

  145. ElizabethJane*

    When I was in high school I got a job working at a pet store. On my first day, about 25 minutes in to training on how to clean the cages for the various animals, they walked up to the tarantula tanks.

    I am deathly afraid of spiders, might even rise to the level of a true phobia. I looked at the kid training me, said “Nope” in a super panicked voice, walked out, and drove away.

    They never contacted me and I never contacted them.

  146. Carrotstick21*

    I got a job working at the reception desk of a university’s therapy center. The office was set up with a zillion partition panels creating a sort of maze-like labyrinth throughout the office with many dead end nooks. The purpose was ostensibly privacy – so that when professors showed up for therapy, which was considered very shameful and embarrassing, they could be hidden away in a nook of the maze and not get spotted until their appointment. I spent time greeting people and stashing them away in the nooks. On day 3, the therapist asked me to put a set of materials in hanging folders, and pointed me to an obviously very old and worn stack of boxes containing the hanging folders. It seemed weird, but whatever – I spent a couple of hours taking papers, and putting them in folders. Since some folders weren’t in great shape, I also taped them, or bent the hooks back into place. I stacked them in a corner of the closet, let the therapist know I was done via phone back in her office, and went to lunch.

    I came back from lunch to find the therapist on her hands and knees in the closet, throwing things everywhere. I asked her if I could help her with something, and she muttered angrily and kept throwing. I sat back down at the reception desk, and after a few minutes, the therapist stood up, brushed herself off, and announced, “Well. I guess you DID do it!”

    “The folders?” I asked. I put them right in front; I thought they’d be easy to pot.”
    The therapist then explained that she had thought that there was no way I could have completed the task so quickly, and so I must have stashed the extra folders that I did not want to deal with in the back of the closet. After rummaging through the closet and finding no contraband folders squirreled away, she was essentially congratulating me for not lying and doing what I said I would do.

    I was SO offended. I could not believe that I was being accused of something like that, and even more offended at being condescendingly congratulated for not being a lying jerk. I finished out the afternoon, went home, called the recruiter who had placed me in the role, and told her I was never, ever going back there. (I was in my early 20’s and didn’t know how to quit.) I had really needed the job and that money (I want to say $15 an hour in the late 1990’s? At the time I thought it was a decent wage), but I could not handle the insult or face that therapist again. I can’t tell you how the quitting was received because I did indeed never speak to her again or go back to the office. Hopefully all the therapists made it safely out of their nooks.

    1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      I kind of love this story for the weird game of musical nooks and the cloud of suspicion. Therapist who hides people suspects receptionist of hiding things.

  147. nerak*

    It might not count because I was in high school when this happened, but I took a job at a preschool/daycare place where I thought I was going to be an “aide” for a few hours in the afternoon 2-3 days a week. I’d worked with kids plenty and thought it would be a fun, easy way to pick up some extra money.

    It turned out I was the ONLY “teacher/supervisor” for a group of maybe seven 3-4 year olds, and they wanted me there as soon as I could get there after my high school ended, until 6pm or whenever the parents would come get the kids, every single day. I think I told them on Wednesday that I couldn’t do it–it was too many hours, and they begged me to stay the rest of the week, which I begrudgingly did, but then refused to come back after that. I felt bad for the kids, but I was a kid myself!

    I realize now that what they were doing is completely illegal, hiring a 17-year old with not even a HS diploma to “teach” a class of pre-schoolers, the ratio of teacher to kids was not within the rules, and I can’t even believe that parents were okay with this situation.

  148. Sharkie*

    Not me but I should have. Some readers might remember my story about the boss that was a sore loser and flipped a Corn Hole board in a fit of anger. It was another employee of his. It happened before my time, but Corn Hole manager told my sales class this story on our first day with pride/ I got more details from a drunk HR rep and other person who witnessed this.

    Corn Hole manager was very blunt. He loved telling us that he didn’t associate with losers and he know within the first month if he is going to fire you or not. Doesn’t matter if you hit your goals and were a rockstar- if he thought you didn’t have the “it” factor you were not going to get promoted no matter what other managers thought. Now he won’t fire you right away (he wasn’t allowed to do that) but he made it clear that every time you displeased him your fire date was moving closer. He would also flip out if you took the easy way out by quitting and would walk you out after you told him you were moving out. “Only cowards quit” was his favorite phrase.

    Apparently after a half a day of training with this guy on his first day, one guy apparently was so sick of Corn Hole manager that he just never came back to work. He completely disappeared. Corn Hole didn’t notice for several hours which is impressive since you were locked in a conference room with him and the rest of the class for training. The class noticed but didn’t say anything. When Corn Hole did notice he flipped out. He called ghost employee many times – Threating him, screaming, the whole nine. A conference room chair was punted across the room. The cellphone was thrown. He then turned his anger toward the class once he realized he was blacked and yelled ” Why did you keep this from me!!!!! You don’t keep secrets from me ever! None of you are going to thrive here !!” .

    Not one person from that sales class lasted more than 7 months. Most were fired for not meeting expectations (he changed the expectations as soon as someone was about to hit it). A few took the cowards way out and quit. Honestly I am amazed that he thought that this was a story (even heavy edited) to tell us on our day!

  149. AlexandrinaVictoria*

    I was very young and in desperate need of funds so I applied for and got a job as a “picker” in a warehouse. I really liked the store I would be picking for, and thought it would be fun. I arrived my first day to find the warehouse was not air conditioned, it was 95 degrees F outside and even hotter inside. We had to ask for permission to leave the floor to use the restroom. One of the forklift drivers kept driving beside me and making smutty remarks. I told my supervisor and was instructed to “just ignore him.” I finished the day, dying of heat and sore feet, called in sick the next day, and never went back. They never contacted me to see why.

  150. tsumommy*

    When I graduated with my bachelor’s in technical writing in 19-aught-eleventy-twelve (any SpongeBob fans out there?), I applied for any and all jobs, in a panic to make some money. I was hired by a real-estate development firm to, basically, cold-call business locations and ask how many square feet their businesses were, for $4 an hour (minimum wage at the time was $3.80). After two days of calling people who had absolutely no idea why I was bothering them, I realized I had made a mistake taking the job. On the third day, one of my coworkers said, “I can’t find my pencil. tsumommy, time for strip search!” On the fourth day, I asked my mom to drive me to work early, and she waited in her car while I picked up my plant I had brought in, then we burned rubber out of there. I called my supervisor when I got home, said I quit, and all he said was, “OK”. I think I got a check in the mail for my three days of work? Lesson learned: don’t take a job just because they offer it to you.

  151. Nea*

    I tried to quit the first hour I started a new job and the contracting manager had to follow me into the parking lot and talk me out of it. I’d been so desperate to get away from a division I didn’t fit well into that I took a 10% paycut to go to this new job… only to be told that I had been specifically hired for my experience with the old division and would be working closely with them. Oh, and the other parts of the job they tempted me with in the job interview, such as training in new areas, weren’t part of the task order and wouldn’t be happening.

    This department had a notorious revolving door for a reason management could never grasp. This is the contract and company I gave 2 days notice to when I walked out, to a general shrug.

    Someone else lasted all of 2 hours: she came in, announced that she’d only taken this offer because she was desperate and she’d already accepted a different one, and walked right back out.

  152. ZugTheMegasaurus*

    Oh I’ve got a doozy of a story (I really hope nobody from that job reads AAM because I can’t imagine anyone but me has done this).

    So I had graduated law school and absolutely could not find a job, and ended up taking a door-to-door cold sales job selling office supplies. This is a terrible fit for me, but I was motivated and thought I could make it work at least until I saved up a bit. Then like 2 days into the job, I broke up with my partner of 10 years because he was having a mental health break and getting violent; he got arrested and I felt absolutely horrible. This is when I was supposed to go on a multiple-day selling trip to a town several hours away.

    I carpooled with someone going up, so had no transportation of my own. Well once I was by myself, in an unfamiliar place, doing an activity that made everyone I talked to want to get away from me, it was really rough. And the piece de resistance? They not only expected us to share rooms, but share BEDS. 4 people per 2-bed room. With people I *just* met. They acted like I was absolutely absurd for sleeping in 2 armchairs pushed together (which obviously didn’t give me a great night’s sleep, which just made everything even worse).

    I could not handle it and did not feel like I had a reasonable out. I definitely wasn’t comfortable sharing anything about my chaotic personal life. So I did what any rational person would do, and pretended I was having symptoms of a previously-treated brain tumor recurring. (To be clear, this tumor never existed.) I spent an entire day curled up in the passenger’s seat of somebody’s car with my eyes closed (which was honestly what I wanted to do anyway, just not for the stated reason).

    When we got back to the hotel, I called my parents and asked them to buy me a Greyhound ticket home, which they did. I did that call out of earshot in a random bathroom on another floor in the hotel, then went back up to the floor we were on and had a fake conversation down the hallway where I was asking for the ticket because I needed to go see my doctor immediately. Everybody was pretty concerned.

    I completely ghosted everyone the moment I left, and probably left at least a few people assuming something horrible had indeed happened. I guess I feel a tiny bit bad, but holy hell, a person can only handle so much at once. (And if anyone’s concerned, my partner did get the healthcare he needed and is doing much much better today.)

      1. Zweisatz*

        Yeah. Any time you get prevented from leaving, either because you’re shipped off to the middle of nowhere with no transportation of your own or the doors are locked during the shift, any way you get away is fair game.

  153. I Know How the Sausage Gets Made*

    I was a full-time college student looking to make money wherever I could. A lot of my classmates worked part-time for the local sausage factory and said the job was easy. They just had to stand around in a cooler pulling bad labels off of packages of brats while they chatted.

    I applied and was hired right away. They did scheduling through a bid system, so I put all of my availability, thinking I’d get half or maybe a third of what I asked for. NOPE. I got all of it. So my first week after orientation, I would’ve been in class/studying/working my on-campus office job from 8am to 5:30pm and then working at this factory from 8pm to 1am every weeknight.

    I went to the first shift and figured I’d talk to the supervisor about cutting back on some days, but I’d try one shift first to see how I liked the job. I had worked various part-time jobs before but never in a factory.

    WELL. My most memorable task during my five hour shift was rotating brats coming down the assembly line to make sure they were lying nicely in the package (picture five bratwurst ‘spooning’). Doesn’t sound too bad right? Except, we were in the smoked factory. So all of the meat had been smoked and smelled TERRIBLE. I remember standing over that assembly line thinking to myself “I am going to barf all over this line and they’re going to have to shut the whole plant down to clean up the biohazard.”

    At the end of my shift, we had to clean up before the third shift crew would come in to sanitize. We had to sweep the floor but collect any chunk of sausage larger than an inch to be tossed into a cart that would be sold to pet food companies. As I was bent over picking up pieces of sausage, I looked over to my shift supervisor, who locked eyes with me and mouthed the words, “I fucking hate it here.”

    I called them the next day, thanked them for the opportunity, and said it was not the job for me. They asked if I wanted to try working in another non-smoked plant, and I said absolutely not. I couldn’t eat bratwurst for two years after that five hour experience, and I really focused on my studies so I would never have to work in a factory ever again.

    1. Nea*

      Oh, I feel you! As a teenager I worked in a factory stuffing bags of local brand knockoff Cheetos into boxes. The bags kept breaking on the conveyer belts so we were wading through them and covered in cheese powder.

      I can’t eat Cheetos or anything like them to this day.

  154. Big Pig*

    Got a Christmas temp job at a now out of business clothes shop after I dropped out of uni. First day they told me that it was too much effort to train me on anything so for the entire Christmas period I would be standing in the direct draft line from the door stripping plastic wrapping off clothes deliveries. After a morning of freezing and being bored to tears I went our for my lunch break, phoned my mum and just didn’t go back. After Christmas I got office temping jobs and avoided retail for a while.

  155. JubJubtheIguana*

    Technically yes, but I’m a full time freelancer (author/playwright and former actor) so these were short term gigs, rather than permanent positions.

    My best story is that I was cast in and hired as writer on a play that was “adapted” from a foreign film, but the script literally read like someone had just c&p the screenplay into Babelfish. A lot of it made no sense and obviously had been machine translated. There was no ending, because the film was kind of abstract, which doesn’t really work in theatre.

    On the first day the director/theatre owner started ranting about how kids fake molestation allegations if they’re upset with their parents, including giving an impression – in a faux Italian accent for some reason – of a small child that, and this as near verbatim as I can get, went something like: “Papa spanka my botty bot and I fink he like it!!!”

    Second day he had a screaming fit. Screamed back. Quit and was fired simultaneously. Got outside. Noticed an ice cream truck. (It was August.) Bought and passively aggressively ate ice cream right outside the one window in the 1000F rehearsal room.

  156. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I got a job for a phone survey company, and my first day was a Sunday. It MIGHT even have been Super Bowl Sunday, I don’t remember for sure. But I got there, did my 20 minutes of training, and got plopped down at a computer with a dialer. About an hour later, I had been cussed at by literally everyone I talked to, and I just was not having it anymore. I took my little flip phone out of my pocket, made an alarmed face, grabbed my coat and purse, and told the supervisor I’d just gotten a text that my house was on fire and I had to leave. He said “Shit, yes, go, good luck!” and I left and just never went back.

    Two weeks later they sent me a “we’re terminating you for job abandonment” letter and a paycheck for the hour and change, and in fact they also sent me a proper W2 the following January.

  157. hastyretreat*

    I made it about a week at a factory job when I was about 20.

    I was (mildly) injured my first day. My co-worker who was supposed to be training me yelled at me for being stupid. My manager shrugged.

    My first day everyone announced their pay. Mine was the lowest by multiple dollars an hour, and everyone informed me that the temp agency I’d gone through was the worst, and took the biggest cut. (It was the temp agency located in the factory).

    I’ve since learned that some factories rotate people, so folks aren’t doing the same thing every hour of every day. This one didn’t, at least not in the 4 or 5 shifts I worked. I assembled the on switches for table saws for 10 hours in a row every night for a week. A couple of shifts in, my arm hurt, my thumbnail was broken and bruised, and there was no other way to assemble this little piece; you just had to press as hard as you could.

    My station was away from everyone else, so I was alone for 10 hours. The on switches I assembled went down a slide to the rest of the workers. **This was the worst part!**

    It was also the overnight shift, which I was wholly not accustomed to.

    At the end of the week they announced we all had to work overtime the next night.

    I called up the temp company who had placed me and told them I quit. I told my manager at the beginning of the overtime shift that tonight was my last shift. They both took the news as though they heard it once a week, which I assume they did.

  158. Stella70*

    I was hired at a diner/truck stop/truck wash establishment, on a busy highway. To add to the ambience, this one had a Dutch theme, complete with a rickety, full-size windmill in the parking lot. The menu even featured Dutch food prominently, if you consider bacon/eggs and cheeseburgers to have originated in the Netherlands.
    My role was day waitress (the title of “server” was still decades away), and given the turnover the restaurant experienced (and expected), not much effort was put into training. Or providing a uniform. Or even a name tag. The only indication I worked there was the little note pad I carried and the absence of any hope reflected on my face.
    I was assigned to the breakfast counter. I wasn’t told prior, but if an employee could make it through one day at that assignment, training and other job “perks” (nicer pens, for one) would kick in on day two.
    There was an actual blizzard that day; I barely made it to work. I was thinking this was to my benefit – the restaurant would be slow. Sorry, no. We were actually quite busy, mostly filled with assorted old farmers who had nothing else to do in February. My entire counter was full of them. I grew up around farmers; I greatly respect them. Not these farmers, however. They felt it was their duty to put me through the wringer, because if I couldn’t hack waiting on them, I shouldn’t be there.
    They started out obnoxious. No problem.
    Then came the rudeness, which I handled well.
    That was followed by open hostility. I hung in there, but was starting to feel unease.
    Our next stop was CruelVille and they were lifelong residents, evidently. They described me to each other, critiquing everything about me – my hair, face, body. It was a bit brutal.
    (And considering none of these men had worn anything but coveralls for the last 30 years, and each could fashion a toupée from their nose hairs, I was becoming indignant.)
    My personal breaking point, which I regret, was listening to them describe what they would do to me, if we were alone, and nude, and I was off the clock. If that happened today, I would slice and dice their psyches until they dissolved into a puddle of tears. But I was 19 then, terribly sheltered and naive, and my only recourse was to keep my back to them and endlessly reshuffle the Sweet-and-Low packets.
    A co-worker finally took pity on me. It was nearly noon at this point – the farmers had been there the entire morning – and we needed to prep the salad bar. Connie – definitely not her name – said she needed to use the restroom first, and asked me to wait outside the door. This was a thoughtful request because between the sounds and smells she made, it was obvious she hadn’t been to a restroom in a good long while. She apologized through the door, said she was having her period and it was “a mess”. At one point, I even heard her light up a cigarette. Finally, she was done. I heard the toilet flush, the stall door swing open, and then….she walked out of the bathroom.
    Without washing her hands.
    She cheerfully said our next task was to tear lettuce for the salads. I asked for gloves and she burst out laughing, saying, “This isn’t a hospital, idiot!”. I watched her rip apart lettuce heads with her undeniably unclean hands and decided that between the friendly farmers and my free biohazard lunch salad (another perk commencing on day two), this was not the path my career would take.
    I told Connie I needed to retrieve something in my car and I would be right back.
    My quick, cowardly getaway was thwarted by the blizzard that had raged all morning. Instead of hopping in my car and peeling out of the parking lot like an extra in the Fast and Furious movies, I had to spend 20 minutes clearing the snow off first (taking care not to notice the restaurant staff – including Typhoid Connie – watching me from the windows).
    Every once in a while, I drive past the restaurant (long since closed down) and all the responses I should have given the farmers simultaneously rise up in my brain and I am mad all over again.

    1. Hlao-roo*


      Everything about this is horrible except your writing, which is excellent! “The only indication I worked there was the little note pad I carried and the absence of any hope reflected on my face” and “peeling out of the parking lot like an extra in the Fast and Furious movies” had me laughing.

      1. Gumby*

        I was fond of “could fashion a toupée from their nose hairs” and low-key wonder if saying that out loud to them would have garnered their respect. (Some people are like that. Sigh.)

  159. Swiss Army Them*

    In early 2020, I tried to get a 100% remote customer service job for a big internet company. I quit at the end of my first week because the remote training setup was awful, the instructors straight up did not show up for half of the classes, and the proprietary software they made us use crashed CONSTANTLY. There were somewhere between 150-200 people in my class, too, so the comment section was constant chaos. I think in the entire week of training – which lasted from 8 am till 6pm, by the way – I maybe got two hours of ACTUAL instruction. Everything else was just me scrolling through my phone while the app crashed, or watching fights start in the chat room, or trying to get a hold of literally ANYBODY through the software system. The second week, I spent two days TRYING TO QUIT by messaging my “bosses” through the portal they made us use, but nobody responded. Eventually, I had to quit in the chatroom at the very beginning of the first class that actually started on time.

  160. The Home and Garden Store scam*

    When I was in college, I got this job at a little home and garden store. It had fun little Knick knacks, was decorated beautifully and was around the corner from my house. Once I was trained, I got to work alone. There were not a ton of customers, but enough to feel kind of busy. Honestly it was a great job at first. I loved all the Knick Knacks at the store and in between customers would love exploring the nooks and crannies of the place.

    A week into the job, a lady called in said she had been overcharged by nearly $500.00 for purchase the previous day. I thought it was weird, but I looked up and say that the charge was ran around 11pm at night. I thought there must have been some sort of computer error or system issue. I refunded her and that was that. Then happened again and again. Every time the charge was run at 11pm or 12am at night. Always for hundreds over what the original price was. I brought it up to the owner and he shrugged it off.

    One night I was headed home from being out with friends and saw the owner’s car in front of the store and the lights on. From the street I could see he was in the store. The next day I worked and low and behold there was another couple of overcharges for customers AT THE SAME TIME THE OWNER WAS AT THE STORE. I put 2 and 2 together and realized he was purposefully doing this and hoping no one would notice. That day I put in my notice. The owner dropped off a paycheck and said he understood. My guess he was nice so I didn’t report him.

    That night one of my coworkers called and asked why I quit. I told her and she said she noticed the same thing and she quit the next day. The place didn’t last long and was shut down shortly after. Not sure what happened to the guy.

    1. Nicosloanica*

      Man, that’s crazy! Honestly, someone should have made an anonymous police report. It’s crazy he wasn’t charged with fraud.

  161. JLH*

    My first job post-grad was absolutely the wrong fit and I attempted to quit on my third day, got talked into staying, and then ended up being fired after four months. Basically, I had just graduated a month earlier and took a job I probably never should have been offered. I’d been very upfront about my skills in the job interview but both sides were desperate. I needed a job and they needed the help. Very quickly by day three I realized it was a skills mismatch and went to my manager, who was new to managing and also overwhelmed by the work, and told her I wanted to quit because of not having the right skills to do the job. She freaked out and promised me that we could make it work and that they’d try to only give me things they thought I was capable of. I should’ve trusted my gut, but being new to the workforce I did not.

    Cut to four months later, I had been talked down to and scolded by my manager several times for not doing a good job. I was also constantly down on myself because I knew I wasn’t doing a good job even though I was trying my best. Her company mentor ended up being the VP of HR and I got called into a random 3pm meeting with them on a Friday. They ended up telling me they were letting me go but wanted to phrase it as a “mutually parting of ways”. And they had the nerve to tell me that “they were sure I must have some skills, but whatever they were they weren’t good enough for this job”.

    As a new grad with a lot of anxiety it felt like such a slap to the face since I had tried to tell them that from the beginning and they basically begged me to stay. From that moment on, I’ve almost always exclusively followed my gut in a job when something doesn’t feel right.

    1. Zweisatz*

      It’s always a tough lesson to learn when to follow your gut, but at least you got it for later.

      They completely brought this situation on themselves.

  162. Adverb*

    I quit a job after 3 days.
    This was 1995. I was hired as a Network Administrator on a contract-to-hire arrangement through a staffing company for a Fortune 500 company. I was certified in the technology used by the company that hired me and had experience. I was hired at a not outrageous rate, but I wasn’t cheap.

    Day 1- Shown to the cubicle where I could leave my belongings, but not sit. I was asked to help out on a high-priority laptop deployment and spent the day installing software into laptops. I was not allowed to eat in the cubicle, nor was I informed where the lunchroom was.

    Day 2- See day 1, only I was no longer allowed to leave my stuff in the cubicle. I had to take it with me to the (very crowded- think 25 laptops and wires and diskettes) room where I was working on the laptops, but there weren’t even chairs in the room, just tables.

    Day 3- I spent the morning installing software onto laptops. Still no place for lunch. I spent the afternoon walking from computer to computer installing printer drivers. (Something that should have been done over the network by a network admin) TO do this I needed a password. I was not allowed to have the password, so someone followed me around and typed it. I asked about a desk, and actual network credentials and was told I could not have them.

    Day 3 evening- I called the recruiter at the staffing company and asked about the lack of desk, real work I should be doing instead of help-desk make-work. I was told by the recruiter that she knew this was what I would be doing, but she didn’t think I’d take the job if shje told be that . The client had use-it-or-lose-it budget money and didn’t want the budget cut for the following year so spent it this way. I quit right then.

    Bonus: Years later I was talking with a colleague who told me a story his recruiter friend had told him about a guy she got a super-easy job for and he quit after 3 days. It was me!

  163. Ilyasaurus*

    I’ve done it twice (Denver is an accursed city). The first time, I was supposedly hired to be a receptionist at an accounting firm. On my second day I was told I was responsible for filing taxes, as in compiling the info, choosing and filling out the correct forms, filing with the IRS, etc. I do not have any CPA experience. On my third day, the owner spent over four HOURS with me trapped in his office explaining why removing confederate statues is the REAL racism. Four. Hours. On day four, I left for my lunch break and never returned. He tried to fight me on paying me for the ~30 hours I had worked until I asked if he would prefer I report him for having non-licensed employees handling his accounts.

    The second time, I was supposed to reception at an HOA law firm. I hated the thought (eff HOAs), but it was the same year as the accounting firm and I was desperate. I found out on day two that it was a money laundering front and just left. No one reacted or reached out, so I guess it was pretty common. Helpful advice- keep every record of communication you have with your HOA, and keep a running tally of your fines and exactly what they were for. They may come in handy.

  164. Nicosloanica*

    One time I should have, and did not. On my first day, none of the people who had interviewed me were still there except my boss. They had all left in the one month between that interview and my start day. It was immediately obvious that there was one superheroic unicorn employee who was doing everything – guess who it turned out I was hired to replace (not how this job was pitched in the interview at all). There were a lot of archaic systems this person had invented and it was clear I was going to be expected to maintain them, although most things could have been handled in more efficient ways – but the org was resistant to chance. Also the actual boss-boss was crazy, like shooting nerf guns at employees crazy. Overall, it was immediately clear that all the systems made the role much more administrative than I had expected – there was no time to do the program work because everything was being done in spreadsheets that needed constant updating. Should have walked out the door the same day. It took me a miserable year to find something else. Not a single person I worked with was still there by the time I left, except Nerf Boss, who is indeed still the boss.

  165. Seahorse*

    In March 2020, my partner got laid off. We’d just moved to a new state and were not eligible for unemployment, so he looked for something temporary until his own job reopened.

    He went to a grocery store doing open interviews, and they just handed him the new hire paperwork. Didn’t even ask his name. He clarified that they were hiring for night stocking positions that wouldn’t involve working with the public as he’s high risk for respiratory illnesses. They said yes.

    He started that night. His “trainer” dramatically informed him that no past job experience could adequately prepare him, and he’d just have to figure things out or give up in disgrace. The trainer then went on a smoke break and never returned.

    The store opened in the morning when my partner was still on the clock, and a manager said he should be trained on the register. My partner pointed out the whole point of the stocking job was to limit exposure to a large number of people. The manager went on a rant about medical hoaxes, people not wanting to work, etc, etc, the highlights reel of Fox & Friends.

    My partner clocked out, came home, and never went back. No one ever called or followed up.

  166. Shelly*

    Twice! Both retail jobs. I worked many retail and customer service jobs between the ages of 16-26, but these two job were so horrific I only lasted a couple of days.
    1. I was given a shop floor position in a clothing store where my only task was to approach customers (in my tiny allocated section) and ask them if they needed help. As a socially awkward introvert, this was my idea of hell.
    2. I worked in the evenings in a department store stacking shelves in the purse section. There were not enough purses to fill the shift. I had nothing to do. This was before smartphones. I could not handle the tedium.
    Both times I called out sick for a couple of shifts then called the store and claimed to have a health problem that necessitated me moving back home to be cared for by my parents. Neither seemed surprised; I expect they were used to high staff turnover.

    1. Dinwar*

      #2 reminds me of my time as a cashier. I was hired for third shift, but ended up working whenever they put me on the schedule. They’d always give me at least 8 hours off, but my work times were totally random. And 3rd shift was extremely boring. It was before smartphones, there was only so much cleaning at the register I could do, I’d memorized the 4-digit codes for the various fruits and vegies we had (I forget them now, but knew them at the time), and the hours just drug on and on and on and on. I’d volunteer to clean up the parking lot just to have something to do.

      Left that job for a job collecting fish for research. Still working weird shifts, but that was because the work was based on daylight and tides. Physically not the most pleasant thing, but it was actually in my field, and demonstrated I could handle field work, which got me my current job!

  167. Silicon Valley Girl*

    Several in college, come to think of it! There was the political canvassing job where they dropped us off in a super conservative part of town to shill for an environmental cause & I got doors slammed in my face over & over again, making me cry (I was barely 18). Also we were doing it all day, in late summer, walking around this neighborhood with no water. I did one day & quit by phone the next morning. They didn’t seem surprised.

    There was a cashier job at a very cool record store. I was excited because this was THE place to be, esp. at night. Party vibe! After my shift, I took the cash upstairs to the boss & found out why there was such a party atmosphere — the guy was snorting coke & invited me to join him. I declined, left, & never looked back. Nobody cared, I after a week or so I came back to shop & nobody seemed to recognize me.

    There was also an office job after college where I bailed one week in. No big story only I thought it was going to be a step up from my first post-college job but it was even worse, so I begged to be taken back at the original job (and was, thankfully).

  168. RNL*

    Should have, but didn’t.

    Got into law school, needed a job for my last six months before I moved cities. Got a job as a personal assistant to a psychiatrist. He took me to laughter yoga on my first day (google it if you don’t know). It took me a few months of living in his banana-pants emotionally manipulative no-boundaried world of trying to start a Dr. Phil-esque mental health media empire and do three years of back-charting (SHOCKING) before I quit and felt the freeest I have ever felt.

  169. EggyParm*

    In the aftermath of the great recession, I had a Speech-Comm degree and no job prospects. I answered a Craigslist ad for a nonprofit role collecting signatures to support recycling legislation. The job was described as having me stand outside of REI or local bookshops behind a table and educating the population about new recycling bills they could support. It sounded awesome and pretty fun.

    On my first day I showed up and a group of the most ragtag folks you’ve ever seen piled into a 12-passenger van. I learned these were my coworkers and we’d all be taken to our stops and then picked up.

    We drove far up into the suburbs and one by one were released into a neighborhood. When my turn came I expressed to my new boss that I didn’t understand why I was being dropped off into a neighborhood and wasn’t comfortable with this at all. He explained that the job required me to go door-to-door and collect signatures (and cash donations!) and my goal for the day was $300. Twenty-two year old me was shocked but too young to realize the absurdity of this and just hopped off the van and into the unknown neighborhood. I walked around in the Texas heat for hours — too scared to actually ask for money — before a nice lady offered me some water — from her water hose. I finally found a park and just sat there until 5:30pm when I walked to the appointed stop sign for pick up.

    My new “boss” shared he was disappointed I collected no cash or signatures but he’d let me try again tomorrow. Sweaty, anxious, and wanting to get home I simply said, “I just don’t think I have the skills for this job.”

  170. H*

    In college I took a temp job as a receptionist at a plumbing company run by a husband and wife. The second day the husband went on an extended antisemitic tear and when he left the office I called the temp agency and told them I quit and explicitly why. I finished out the week but I don’t think the agency told the plumbing company the reason I quit because they seemed genuinely surprised and concerned that I was leaving.

  171. Ellie Chumsfanleigh*

    I was a server at Chili’s for about 4 hours when I was 19.

    I went in a few hours before the restaurant opened for training, and I shadowed someone until the lunch rush when the place got so crowded that I needed to take tables of my own.

    I took my first solo order at a table, walked it back to the kitchen to give to the cooks, and the two guys doing the cooking told me I needed to show them my t*ts if I expected my orders to come out right.

    I turned to the woman who had trained me and gave her a “WTH??” look. She just laughed and shrugged, as if to say, “That’s how it is, nothing you can do about it.”

    I turned around, walked out, and drove home. Still had my Chili’s waist-apron on. Never went back, never even got a call from the manager asking what happened to me.

  172. Miss V*

    Serving job. My second shift.

    The served imI was shadowing asked me if I could help him run a big order to a table. He took the first tray, I was waiting for one more dish that was being finished to take the second. So I got to the table right as he finished delivering his tray of food and heard one of the customers asked for a refill on their drink. He had the cup in his hand.

    He looked at me as I dropped off the food and said thank you. I meant to say , “It was my pleasure.”

    What I said was, “I pleasure myself.”

    He stared at me. The diners at the table who heard stared.

    In an attempt to diffuse the awkwardness I was going to offer to go get the refill the diner requested. Still flustered, I loudly announced, “I’ll go do that right now.”

    And then turned and walked away WITHOUT TAKING THE CUP.

    I walked into the back, grabbed my purse, dropped my apron at the hostess stand and walked right out the door.

    No one tried to stop me and no one ever tried to contact me either.

  173. Doctor Fun*

    Many many years ago, a staffing agency sent me out on a temp gig doing accounting work for a business just south of the downtown core of the city where I lived. The neighborhood was a mixed-use area, some light industrial stuff and some business stuff and the occasional pocket of residential streets — it was also an area where a lot of buses ran through, so while I’d borrowed a relative’s car to get there on my first day I was planning to take public transit afterward. I’d had previous jobs in this area so I wasn’t worried about the location, but when I got to the job on my first day their building was on a street with several run-down houses, overgrown empty lots full of trash and weeds, and the building next store had been partially burned down. The only place to park my borrowed car was on a side street, in a spot with a whole lot of broken safety glass on the ground (super comforting!). I parked, went in the building, and proceeded to have the weirdest work experience of my life.

    The woman I was to be working directly under did not have a desk ready for me and did not plan to have a desk ready for me — she expected me to sit in the visitor chair in her office and perch a laptop on the corner of her desk. I sat in her office with her while she showed me a spreadsheet I’d be working from, then she said “excuse me a minute” and spent the next two hours taking loud personal calls while I sat quietly with a polite smile on my face and looked around the room, which was so full of old binders of reports from a decade prior and stacks of paper and office equipment that was outdated before I was conceived that I started to wonder if I was being secretly recorded for a “Business Hoarders” TV pilot. At one point, while this lady spoke rudely to the receptionist at her dog’s vet office, I felt a draft and looked around for the source and saw several holes high up on the wall behind me large enough that I could see the sky outside. When the lady got off the phone she told me the holes were from an old HVAC unit mounted outside that had fallen off, and warned me that during the coldest months of winter I’d need to wear a coat inside. She also warned me that the neighborhood was “a little sketchy” due to the “crack house” down the block, and that it would be best to park my car several blocks away and not walk around after dark or ever try to take the bus because it wasn’t safe to wait. It was early December, the sun was setting before my workday was scheduled to end, and after that first day I wouldn’t have regular access to a car, so… not sure how she expected me to manage all that.

    Then she gave me a quick tour of the building and introduced me to the 4 or 5 other employees, all of whom sat amid more hoarder piles of business garbage with grim, haunted looks on their faces. Our workspaces were all upstairs in this two-story building, but the only semi-functional toilet was downstairs in an unheated area and I was warned not to “do a number 2” and shown where the plunger was in case I forgot and obeyed my body’s physical needs to expel waste. There was no real kitchen area, just an alcove where they kept a raggedy old coffee pot and a microwave I know was manufactured in the 1970’s because it was the exact same model my grandparents threw out in the early 90’s when it started to throw sparks. No refrigerator to store lunches, and I was told that everyone either ate at their desks or out in their cars if they wanted privacy.

    Then we went back to her office and I expected that she might start showing me some basics of the job before we broke for lunch. Instead, she closed her office door and started talking to me about the series of personality tests she liked to have all her employees take called the Oxford Capacity Analysis. As she started talking I assumed this was something like the Meyers-Briggs or other MBTI-flavored testing that some businesses like to do, but when she said she’d need my personal email address so I could take the test online at home and so that someone from “the center” could contact me with my results my red flag gland started to tingle. I gave her my email and then went off to lunch in a nearby McDonald’s and called a friend to have them look up this Oxford Capacity Analysis stuff (this was just before smartphones became a thing). I heard my friend typing and clicking, and then there was a long pause before she said, “It’s a Scientology thing. How bad do you need this job?”

    Reader, I did not need the job that badly. I was already contemplating bailing on the gig at the end of the day but trying to recruit me into an actual cult was the last straw. I never went back after lunch, and when I called the staffing agency to explain to them exactly why I’d bailed on an assignment halfway through the first day they were not nearly surprised enough for my taste. I never went back to that agency again, either.

  174. Joyce to the World*

    Here is another one. After 2 years off and on of Unemployment, I finally had to move out of my apartment and move into the travel trailer in my parent’s driveway. I signed up at a temp agency and got placed at a military facility working for a contractor. Had to have my car searched coming in and going out. Wear a gas mask strapped to my leg after undergoing some stress test wearing this non working gas mask. Had to undergo rattlesnake bite training, be escorted to and from the bathroom which was in a separate building. I was planning on moving cross country to be with my long distance boyfriend. I told the other temp. He told the lady overseeing us for the Contractor. Instead of talking to me and asking me about it, she reached out the Temp agency and got me replaced. So, I didn’t really quit, but it messed up my unemployment. I moved and unemployment agency in the state tried to set up a hearing when I couldn’t be available even though I asked. (I had started a new job in the new state by then) As far as I know, 22 years later I am still sanctioned in that state should I ever need to apply for unemployment there again.

  175. Olygirl*

    I noped out of a restaurant management job for an independent family-style restaurant in the early 2000’s when I found out on my first night that the serving staff cleaned the public restrooms. We had a person who came in for three hours after closing to clean each night but apparently they couldn’t be trusted to clean the restrooms correctly. This was just a hint of the clean-freak owner’s weird obsession with the restrooms. He inspected the toilets with a mirror on a stick each morning and did a white-glove wipe down to check for dirt and dust. He poured so much straight bleach into the toilets each morning that the restrooms had to be aired out before opening. Ugh. He had the serving staff clean because the cleaning crew (who cleaned the kitchen top to bottom and vacuumed/swept the front end) didn’t do a “good enough” job with the restrooms. I guess they did a “good enough” job with the kitchen but I didn’t want to think about that. I lasted three shifts (as a courtesy only), explained my reasons to him, and had to file a complaint with the state to get paid for my work. I left the keys in the safe and never had another interaction with him.

    1. Morgan Proctor*

      I’ve worked in a bunch of restaurants, and in every one, the waitstaff cleaned the public bathrooms. Never heard of a cleaning service doing this.

  176. Doctor Fun*

    Many many years ago, a staffing agency sent me out on a temp gig doing accounting work for a business just south of the downtown core of the city where I lived. The neighborhood was a mixed-use area, some light industrial stuff and some business stuff and the occasional pocket of residential streets — it was also an area where a lot of buses ran through, so while I’d borrowed a relative’s car to get there on my first day I was planning to take public transit afterward. I’d had previous jobs in this area so I wasn’t worried about the location, but when I got to the job on my first day their building was on a street with several run-down houses, overgrown empty lots full of trash and weeds, and the building next store had been partially burned down. The only place to park my borrowed car was on a side street, in a spot with a whole lot of broken safety glass on the ground (super comforting!). I parked, went in the building, and proceeded to have the weirdest work experience of my life.

    The woman I was to be working directly under did not have a desk ready for me and did not plan to have a desk ready for me — she expected me to sit in the visitor chair in her office and perch a laptop on the corner of her desk. I sat in her office with her while she showed me a spreadsheet I’d be working from, then she said “excuse me a minute” and spent the next two hours taking loud personal calls while I sat quietly with a polite smile on my face and looked around the room, which was so full of old binders of reports from a decade prior and stacks of paper and office equipment that was outdated before I was conceived that I started to wonder if I was being secretly recorded for a “Business Hoarders” TV pilot. At one point, while this lady spoke rudely to the receptionist at her dog’s vet office, I felt a draft and looked around for the source and saw several holes high up on the wall behind me large enough that I could see the sky outside. When the lady got off the phone she told me the holes were from an old HVAC unit mounted outside that had fallen off, and warned me that during the coldest months of winter I’d need to wear a coat inside. She also warned me that the neighborhood was “a little sketchy” due to the “crack house” down the block, and that it would be best to park my car several blocks away and not walk around after dark or ever try to take the bus because it wasn’t safe to wait. It was early December, the sun was setting before my workday was scheduled to end, and after that first day I wouldn’t have regular access to a car, so… not sure how she expected me to manage all that.

    Then she gave me a quick tour of the building and introduced me to the 4 or 5 other employees, all of whom sat amid more hoarder piles of business garbage with grim, haunted looks on their faces. Our workspaces were all upstairs in this two-story building, but the only semi-functional toilet was downstairs in an unheated area and I was warned not to “do a number 2” and shown where the plunger was in case I forgot and obeyed my body’s physical needs to expel waste. There was no real kitchen area, just an alcove where they kept a raggedy old coffee pot and a microwave I know was manufactured in the 1970’s because it was the exact same model my grandparents threw out in the early 90’s when it started to throw sparks. No refrigerator to store lunches, and I was told that everyone either ate at their desks or out in their cars if they wanted privacy.

    Then we went back to her office and I expected that she might start showing me some basics of the job before we broke for lunch. Instead, she closed her office door and started talking to me about the series of personality tests she liked to have all her employees take called the Oxford Capacity Analysis. As she started talking I assumed this was something like the Meyers-Briggs or other MBTI-flavored testing that some businesses like to do, but when she said she’d need my personal email address so I could take the test online at home and so that someone from “the center” could contact me with my results my red flag gland started to tingle. I gave her my email and then went off to lunch in a nearby McDonald’s and called a friend to have them look up this Oxford Capacity Analysis stuff (this was just before smartphones became a thing). I heard my friend typing and clicking, and then there was a long pause before she said, “It’s a Scientology thing. How badly do you need this job?”

    Reader, I did not need the job that badly. I was already contemplating bailing on the gig at the end of the day but trying to recruit me into an actual cult was the last straw. I never went back after lunch, and when I called the staffing agency to explain to them exactly why I’d bailed on an assignment halfway through the first day they were not nearly surprised enough for my taste. I never went back to that agency again, either.

  177. MelMc*

    I stuck it out for four months, but I knew within minutes on the first day that I was leaving a job as an admin to a bank president. Upon arrival the first day the president told me that my name was too long (three syllables) and my new name was (shortest possible abbreviation of my name). You see he was a very very very important man and his time was too valuable to spend pronouncing all those extra syllables. (He was a very very very unimportant man who had to prop up his ego by abusing his employees). He was incapable of basic addition and subtraction so he made a lot of errors on loan paperwork. When he was caught in a mistake he would grab whichever employee was nearest, drag them to the middle of the customer lobby, and verbally abuse them in front of the customers to try to create the impression that he was surrounded by idiots and the reason the bank was barely managing to stay afloat was his personal hard work. And just to add physical misery to the mental misery he kept the temperature in the bank at 60 degrees because he didn’t want to sweat in his three piece suits in his all glass east-facing office. After I left I watched the ad for that job show up every two months for the next few years.

  178. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

    My first job when I was 16. I worked one day of the ‘Next’ (clothes shop UK) Summer Sale. In those days, the Next Summer Sale was A Big Deal. People queued from 4am to get into the shop when it opened at 9am. It was utter chaos from the second the doors opened. I just realised that it was so bad I’ve actually blocked out most of the details. I do remember feeling more stressed that I knew it was possible to feel. People are awful! I not only left on day one and didn’t go back, but I also refused to walk past ANY branch of that shop for the next decade. I think I basically ghosted them; but I also feel like they employed loads of us at a similar age and inexperience with the knowledge that most wouldn’t be back on day 2 – by which time there was virtually nothing of the old stock left.

  179. Shanderson*

    Call center, Canada, circa Stephen Harper campaign. We were doing outbound calls asking folks who they are voting for, and for money if it was PC. I was called ignorant for enjoying Saturday morning CBC radio; yelled at for a call during dinner; and had a supremely awkward moment where a parent yelled at me because the registered voter the call routed to was an adult, but with developmental disabilities. I walked in one day, stopped in the foyer, turned around and left, walking to by BF’s house, whereupon I burst into noisy tears and said I couldn’t go back.

    I have worked with folks in Hospice, as a clerk in a law office, a night audit in a hotel for literal years, but call center? Broke me.

  180. KTinDC*

    I quit a restaurant job at the beginning of my first shift once. I had gone in for an (unpaid, I think?) orientation the day before, left, and had decided within about an hour after leaving that I had a bad feeling about the whole thing. I remember thinking during the orientation “I…don’t think I want this job anymore.”

    I think there were a bunch of red flags, but the one I remember is that they gave us a specific brand, type and color of jeans we had to buy as our uniform, and we had to have them before starting training the next day. I’m short, and I can rarely buy things that fit me off the shelf. I decided that I didn’t need to spend my evening running all over the place looking for a specific pair of pants, and I had a bad feeling about it anyway.

    I did go in for the start of the shift because they’d given us our aprons at orientation. I returned it, told the manager I didn’t want the job anymore, and he just kind of shrugged. I think that’s a lot more common in the restaurant industry than elsewhere.

  181. Timtams to go*

    I am not necessarily proud of this one, but…it was a best-case scenario.

    A few summers ago I was in the running for a job in my field, but the hiring process was horrifically slow. I had recently left a different job because the company imploded and the owner/president had an emotional breakdown in the office that made everyone feel genuinely unsafe. I had savings, but they were dwindling.

    So, to pad my income I accepted an online customer service job for a high-end retail company. Training paid minimum wage and was fully remote. However, they had massive onboarding classes — 100+ people — and “live” training via Zoom, no option to watch videos asynchronously or be disconnected from the group call. On day one, I logged into the call. There were 150 people, maybe half were muted. The organizers COULD NOT figure out how to force-mute people and were continuing on with the training anyway. Lots of interruptions. Lots of people accidentally pinning their own video for the whole group. And on top of all this, the sheer scale of the training meant that the instructors’ presentations kept lagging, cutting out, etc. Which was fine by me: the first four hours of the all-day training were dedicated to the operation of Gmail and Google drive. No. That is not a simplification. The first half-hour of the training was simply about how to compose an email in Gmail. The instructors toggled back and forth between a PowerPoint and a live demo, and every time, they’d be met with a chorus of “my screen is gone! Gmail disappeared!”

    As it happened, on the morning of this first day at this job, I received an email from the recruiter at Job In My Field. She wanted to know if I was available that day for a call with the person who lead the department. So…taking advantage of the very limited connectivity….I switched the training for Placeholder Job to Zoom on my phone and stuck it on mute. Then, on my laptop, I preceded to interview for the Job in My Field with the department lead, and an hour later, have a separate call with HR to go over my job offer and start date!!!

    At the afternoon break for Placeholder Job, I emailed my trainer/supervisor, let them know my circumstances had changed, and that I would not be staying aboard after all. I never even bothered to submit my time sheet for those six hours of minimum wage training. But the supervisor was very nice and she still sends me a kind, personalized email when they’re doing seasonal recruiting — she was genuinely happy that I got a job in my field but also said I’m welcome back if I ever want a part-time cx job with her firm.

    But I am scared to know what the rest of that WEEK-LONG training is like.

  182. Doctor Fun!*

    Many many years ago, a staffing agency sent me out on a temp gig doing accounting work for a business just south of the downtown core of the city where I lived. The neighborhood was a mixed-use area, some light industrial stuff and some business stuff and the occasional pocket of residential streets — it was also an area where a lot of buses ran through, so while I’d borrowed a relative’s car to get there on my first day I was planning to take public transit afterward. I’d had previous jobs in this area so I wasn’t worried about the location, but when I got to the job on my first day their building was on a street with several run-down houses, overgrown empty lots full of trash and weeds, and the building next store had been partially burned down. The only place to park my borrowed car was on a side street, in a spot with a whole lot of broken safety glass on the ground (super comforting!). I parked, went in the building, and proceeded to have the weirdest work experience of my life.

    The woman I was to be working directly under did not have a desk ready for me and did not plan to have a desk ready for me — she expected me to sit in the visitor chair in her office and perch a laptop on the corner of her desk. I sat in her office with her while she showed me a spreadsheet I’d be working from, then she said “excuse me a minute” and spent the next two hours taking loud personal calls while I sat quietly with a polite smile on my face and looked around the room, which was so full of old binders of reports from a decade prior and stacks of paper and office equipment that was outdated before I was conceived that I started to wonder if I was being secretly recorded for a “Business Hoarders” TV pilot. At one point, while this lady spoke rudely to the receptionist at her dog’s vet office, I felt a draft and looked around for the source and saw several holes high up on the wall behind me large enough that I could see the sky outside. When the lady got off the phone she told me the holes were from an old HVAC unit mounted outside that had fallen off, and warned me that during the coldest months of winter I’d need to wear a coat inside. She also warned me that the neighborhood was “a little sketchy” due to the “crack house” down the block, and that it would be best to park my car several blocks away and not walk around after dark or ever try to take the bus because it wasn’t safe to wait. It was early December, the sun was setting before my workday was scheduled to end, and after that first day I wouldn’t have regular access to a car, so… not sure how she expected me to manage all that.

    Then she gave me a quick tour of the building and introduced me to the 4 or 5 other employees, all of whom sat amid more hoarder piles of business garbage with grim, haunted looks on their faces. Our workspaces were all upstairs in this two-story building, but the only semi-functional toilet was downstairs in an unheated area and I was warned not to “do a number 2” and shown where the plunger was in case I forgot and obeyed my body’s physical needs to expel waste. There was no real kitchen area, just an alcove where they kept a raggedy old coffee pot and a microwave I know was manufactured in the 1970’s because it was the exact same model my grandparents threw out in the early 90’s when it started to throw sparks. No refrigerator to store lunches, and I was told that everyone either ate at their desks or out in their cars if they wanted privacy.

    Then we went back to her office and I expected that she might start showing me some basics of the job before we broke for lunch. Instead, she closed her office door and started talking to me about the series of personality tests she liked to have all her employees take called the Oxford Capacity Analysis. As she started talking I assumed this was something like the Meyers-Briggs or other MBTI-flavored testing that some businesses like to do, but when she said she’d need my personal email address so I could take the test online at home and so that someone from “the center” could contact me with my results my red flag gland started to tingle. I gave her my email and then went off to lunch in a nearby McDonald’s and called a friend to have them look up this Oxford Capacity Analysis stuff (this was just before smartphones became a thing). I heard my friend typing and clicking, and then there was a long pause before she said, “It’s a Scientology thing. How bad do you need this job?”

    Reader, I did not need the job that badly. I was already contemplating bailing on the gig at the end of the day but trying to recruit me into an actual cult was the last straw. I never went back after lunch, and when I called the staffing agency to explain to them exactly why I’d bailed on an assignment halfway through the first day they were not nearly surprised enough for my taste. I never went back to that agency again, either.

  183. whichwaydoirun*

    It was 3 months but it’s a little juicy so I’m going to tell it. I got a job with a Trustee’s office. When people file bankruptcy, this office was the go between. You sent them a check every month, they paid your creditors accordingly, kept the books, and reported all that information to the court. There were two large open office areas connected by a door. I sat in the back of one and processed incoming checks. One day I heard a crash in the other room and got up to find two of the female accountants fighting. One actually threw her chair at the other one, missed her, and hit a 3rd woman who had to have someone drive her to the hospital for stitches. The manager took them aside, told them to both go home, have a beer, and cool off. That’s it. That was the end of it. Also, the manager and her supervisor (who was appointed trustee by the office by the US Attorney General) were known to be sleeping together. I noped out of there but a friend really needed a job so I recommended her. (She knew the backstory but was newly pregnant and desperately needed health insurance). About 6 months later, the manager announced, in an office-wide meeting, that due to a high risk pregnancy my friend was going to be on bedrest for several weeks and have an early delivery induced. My friend was shocked because this was news to her. The manager had mixed her up with another pregnant employee–my friend is white, the other employee was black. (Oh, and the aforementioned fight was apparently over smoke breaks.)

  184. Maverick*

    When I was looking for my first office job I ended up accepting the first offer I got. It was an office role in niche industry I didn’t have any interest in, but, hey, it was something! I thought I could adapt and make it work, despite it having a very different work culture than I wanted.

    I knew after the first day it wasn’t the job for me. The company had some outdated views due to the eccentric company owner- Women had to wear hose and skirts (pants not allowed) even though we never met clients. We were a tech industry. All offices had taxidermy animals like an old hunting lodge, alongside paper flower bouquets coated in two decades of dust. Personalized workspaces weren’t a thing. The owner also didn’t believe in voicemail or remote meetings, and scarcely used email. They were an international company.

    On top of it all, the company didn’t know what they needed when it came to my job, and even I knew they needed someone with a decade or more experience in a director role.

    The final nail in the coffin was learning my ‘rare travel’ job actually entailed driving hours out of state for meetings that could have been done remotely. My gut was telling me to run for the high hills and never look back. After a week, I gave my 2 weeks notice. My boss was disappointed, but understood. I told them it wasn’t a good fit for me and that even little things (such as women NOT WEARING PANTS) made me want to go elsewhere. I was apologetic, cordial, and professional, and thankfully my boss was gracious in return. I moved on to other things!

  185. Former Retail Lifer*

    In a time of desperation for a job, I worked for a non-profit that solicited door-to-door for donations. For two whole days. Each day, we’d meet at the office and then a group of us would pack into a car and get dropped off in some residential neighborhood. We were in groups of two and had assigned streets. There was no way back, no way to take a break, nowhere to go if it rained. We were stuck there until it was time to meet back up at the car. The first day, I was paired up with a supervisor, who got a few donations and also found a school that was still open at 4PM, where we snuck in to use the bathroom. On day two, I was paired up with another new person. We knocked on door after door before someone agreed to donate. When we finally did, it had been HOURS of wandering the neighborhood and we both had to pee SO BAD. After he agreed to donate, we asked him if we could use his bathroom and luckily he said yes. I really don’t know what I would have done if he said no. I’m a woman, so peeing outside is way more difficult and far less subtle. Knocking on doors wasn’t pleasant, but the fact that I had no bathroom access for hours was what did it. I never went back and I never picked up my paycheck for those two days.