People on Reddit were asked: “What’s the worst mistake you’ve made at work?” These are some of the best answers.
1. Oh come on, suspended for laughing?!
I once drove the tines of a forklift through the walk-in cooler walls at a local entertainment venue… I got suspended from using the forklift for a month, and that was it…
Another time someone ELSE backed it up into a fence post and I thought it was funny, so I was laughing… Boss comes out and suspends both of us from the forklift for two weeks.
2. When you’re not “strong like Hulk”
I worked at a nice restaurant in high school, and I was stupid. We had a large private party, and we needed champagne glasses at the bar in the front of the restaurant. They were all in the back. I had a great idea, I’d just put them all on a tray and walk them through the crowd to the front.
Champagne glasses, being tall and thin, at not very stable, and hard to balance, let alone when you are trying to put about 100 on a very large tray. But it was fun putting them all on the tray. Then I try to pick it up and immediately spill ALL of them on the floor. Fortunately I was still in the kitchen, but I destroyed so many glasses. Yeah, that’s the end of the story.
I worked at gas station that had touch screen registers. One of them barely worked. Got pissed off at the machine one night and put my fist through it. Needless to say, I got fired and they filed charges to the tune of $1,500. Woo-hoo.
4. Can I get your autograph, I mean your account number?
The drummer for Rise Against came in to the bank I worked at to exchange a few grand worth of Canadian money back to USD as they just finished playing out there on tour. I was star struck and nervous as hell. Ended up not paying attention to my screen and gave him about $300 too much. A couple months later we had to go into his account and take the extra money back out. My service manager just thought it was funny because she knew how nervous I got around him.
5. You can see where this one is going right away.
I worked for a catering company when I was 16. While working a pretty fancy wedding, I was tasked with pouring champagne at the bride and groom’s table. I had never even opened a champagne bottle, so I obviously hadn’t poured any either.
I managed to spill champagne all over the bride, immediately after blasting her in the face with the cork.
6. And this is why I will never get my driver’s license.
I used a company van for personal use and hit a deer. I should say the deer hit me because the deer was quite large and it ran into me. Air bags go off I had welts on my forearms because of the airbags. I get out to assess the damage.
Started to walk around the front of the van and not seeing any damage thinking “Huh? Boy did I get lucky.” I get around to the passenger side and my “Huh? Boy did I get lucky” changed to “Holy!” There was a almost prefect imprint of a very large deer along the whole length of the van with bits of hair stuck in assorted body panels. I grabbed my flashlight to see if I could find the deer in the woods but I couldn’t. I think I may have just inconvenienced him.
7. Aaaaaaand that’s coming out of your paycheque
I tried to throw a spool of Cat-5 cable onto a scaffold, missed, and destroyed a rack of 8 Mercedes-Benz windshields.
8. It could’ve been way worse. Trust me.
I work in oilfield, and during my first week with my current company (I’ve been here six years) I was trying to take apart a piece of expensive oilwell technology in something called a “breakout” machine with allows you to apply and release torque on rotary connections in huge amounts (like, 50-60,000 ft lbs.)
Anyhow, this piece of equipment, a “pressure mill” had come back from a wellsite and I attempted to take it apart in this machine. Having just been trained, and having no one around that day, and me being rah-rah to try and impress with my initiative, I cranked up the torque on the breakout machine and kept turning a connection on the equipment that wasn’t meant to be turned.
When it was clear this thing wasn’t coming apart, I walked around to the other side of the machine and looked at the piece… it had completely blown out and distended, with mashed steel splayed out all over the place. I couldn’t see this from my vantage point when operating the machine.
I walked to the general manager’s office (not even my foreman was there that day) explained it, and we went and looked at the damage. He sighed, lit up a cigarette and said, “Well, that’s worth about $15,000.” Shrugged and walked out.
The next day, my foreman was back to work and said, “Hey when I was new I did the same thing! Only the equipment was in prototype phase and worth $40,000.”
9. This phone call is rarer than gold
First time using the phones at work, I accidentally hung up on a girl who wanted to compliment how good the customer service was when she shopped there. I felt horrible.
10. I’m nauseated just thinking about this one.
I work at a coffee shop. One day, I came into work but I was really sick. It was to the point where the sickness was making me bad at my job and forget certain things. Fast-forward to the last hour, a lady walks in. She orders a latte with lactose-free milk. Still being somewhat new to my job and sick as hell, I grab the skimmed milk. She says ‘huh, I didn’t know you guys changed to jugs.’
‘Jugs?’ ‘Yea. You used to have the lactose-free in a carton.’
‘Dunno, maybe they changed em. I haven’t worked here long enough to know.’ ‘That is lactose free milk, right.’ ‘Yup.’ ‘Because it would be a big big problem if it weren’t.’ ‘Don’t worry, it is. Here you go! Have a great day!’
As I’m leaving, I ask my coworker ‘lactose-free and skim are the same thing, right?’ They weren’t.
11. That’s gonna set you back a bit…
Fell through the ceiling of a multi-million dollar home. The house had been under construction for over two years and was set to be 100% complete the next day.
12. I know mistakes happen but this is sort of unforgivable
I used to work for a veterinarian and one of our tasks was to euthanize sick animals-just like any other vet’s office. The veterinarian usually left this task up to the other technicians and myself, until one day we put the wrong dog ‘to sleep’. I still feel awful about it to this day. Both dogs were sick and both were poodles, and I was instructed to “go get the sick poodle ready for euthanasia…”
13. Yeah, this guy isn’t gonna be promoted anytime soon
I was working as a co-op at a very large federal agency. I don’t remember why, but I was trying to locate a particular computer on the network in our local office. We had about 1100 employees. I double, triple, quadruple checked the command I was going to do, even had the help from other employees to verify it. The message was “Please call IT and ask for [me]”. I fired it off the message and went back to work waiting for the call to come. This would bring a popup on the screen and you had to click OK to make it go away, so whoever got the message would not miss it.
Right away the phone in IT started ringing off the hook. Turns out, I had screwed up an option in the command line, and it fired to every computer in the domain (a domain is typically all the computers located at a site or organization). This particular agency’s domain was split into multi-tiers, primary tiers at the region level, and secondary tiers at the individual site level. So at first I thought I had sent it to every computer at our site (1100), in actuality, I sent it to every computer in the entire region. All 20,000+ of them.
The calls rang for hours and days afterwards, people asking to speak with a lowly no-name co-op student. I got into quite a bit of trouble for that one.
14. Safety first, kids!
I am a chef. One time a few years back this young kid on the line left his knife in an awkward position and went for a smoke break. [I] grabbed the knife from the blade end and nearly sliced my fingers off. I started bleeding profusely all over the cutting board and salad station.
A bus boy drove me to the nearest hospital where I had to take a drug test and receive 9 stitches. The owners of the restaurant paid for everything and I got a month off of work paid.
It was probably one of the dumbest things I had ever done. I needed the break though.
15. That might not come out right away…
I was doing some vacuum leak testing in a $40,000 acrylic vacuum chamber that was filled with water dyed with methylene blue. We were using a 45lb weight to hold the samples down, the weight slipped off the sample and crashed into the bottom of the tank cracking the bottom plate of the tank and spewing all of its 30 gallons of blue water all over the freshly painted white floor in the lab.
In my defense, my boss instructed me to use the weight even though I told him it wouldnt work. He was understanding.. told me to spread the water all over the floor to dye the whole thing, and slap some silicone caulk onto the crack. I did both and continued to test once the caulk had dried, believe it or not the caulk held. I convinced him to let me buy a clamp to hold the samples down for the rest of the testing, haha.
16. Always make sure to read the fine print
I ordered a new lens for our microscope. It cost about 10,000USD and that was a deal. The other places had this lens for about 5k more. Boss was quite happy I managed to save so much money.
It came….it ended up not being a phase contrast lens so we couldn’t view cells. MANY LOL were had. Especially when it was non-returnable.
17. Wasn’t me!
I used to work in the garden department. It was the day after Christmas and we had a ton of Christmas trees left, so my co-worker and I decided to markdown a lighter for “store-use,” take a tree around back, and light in on fire.
What we didn’t think about was the tree sap, which when lit, erupts in a massive plume of smoke. We ran around to the front of the store, casually walked past the cashier (who didn’t notice the atomic-bomb-mushroom-cloud rising from the back of the store), and proceeded to the break room.
When we got back to the scene of the crime, there was a fire squad and a couple of cops dowsing the tree. I didn’t get fired (can’t say the same for the tree).
18. On the plus side everyone got to go home and watch Netflix!
I used to work in a factory that used liquid aluminum to make car parts. My job was skimming the impurities off of the top of the tanks that held the aluminum. Accidentally knocked a fibreglass cover into a tank of boiling aluminum, had to shut down an entire factory with 100’s of workers because of the acrid smoke.
19. I feel like this one happens ALL the time
I work for an airport company that does mostly private aircraft. We are 24/7 365. It is a franchise system and we are headquarters. I work in IT 4+ years now as desktop support. When this happened I was still very new ~6 months.
I was cleaning up one night and I couldn’t find a place to plug in my vacuum. So I thought well there is a plug on the server rack. Big mistake. About 30 seconds later, it zapped all the power out of the battery back up and took down ALL the servers. I had brought down my company with nothing but a vacuum.
I panicked, I ended up hooking them (about half the servers) to a generator and gave up. I got super bitched out the next day. I asked why he didn’t fire me, he said “I would have to worry that the next [one] I hire will do it” My nickname to this day is Hoover.
20. My lady bits just crawled back up into my uterus reading this one…
When I began my job working in a laser clinic, I hadn’t had much experience working with these types of lasers. I was technically still training but one of the other clinicians was running behind time and asked me to treat this client for her. As I didn’t know the machines too well (all tend to differ in strength, so treatment parameters vary), the other clinician entered the parameters so I just needed to point and shoot.
Well, this client was an [exotic dancer], who was having hair removal on her Brazilian. We were chatting away, she was talking about her job and how she only works three nights a week which provides her with more than enough money for the week. So everything is going fine and she’s writhing in pain (as people getting laser treatment do, it hurts like a mo’), then afterwards she says it’s still feeling very hot and uncomfortable, so I grab an icepack for her. (A common rule is that usually if you need to put a frozen icepack on your va-juzh to make it feel better then something’s wrong). I suspected that the parameters were too high, so gave her all the post care advice and treatment for a burn but she wasn’t too concerned and just shrugged it off.
The next day she returned with a crusty vagina and asked us to write a letter to her employer explaining the situation and getting her off work for two weeks (she was supposed to pay her employer each time she didn’t work a set shift). Considering I crusted up her lady meats she was quite laid back about the situation, although I suspect she may have had enough funds to not care about working for the next two weeks anyway.
21. I really wanna see this on YouTube someday.
Was showing a customer how to run his round baler (farm equipment) and ended up having the 1000lb round bale role downhill, through a fence, and in to a man’s swimming pool.
22. When an entire day’s work is just fixing your own work. The woooorst.
I work as a System Admin on a payroll application (PeopleSoft). I had been running queries in the database most of the morning when someone requested some data be dumped from one of our test environments.
I got the script (pre-written) and ran it…..but forgot to log out of the production database and into the test database. We had to restore from the previous night’s backup and manually re-apply all the logs…took us about 10 hours to get back where we were before I screwed up.
From that day on, I always backup the tables before any mod (which is a good practice anyway) regardless of the environment.
23. “Have a happy birthday!” “You too!” “…..”
I’m a security guard at the gate house of a gated community, and I can only think of one thing recently. After I log a visitor in I always say “Have a good one” and let the person in. Well, there was a funeral at one of the homes and I kept saying “Have a good one” to all the people going in. Didn’t realize it until 4 or 5 cars in. Luckily nobody complained.
24. Um, that’s not my name
Back in the mid 2000’s I was working at a small financial firm. One day, I accidentally clicked the “sort by column” in an Excel spreadsheet with every client’s (we probably had 500 + clients/accounts) address and information. Well, unbeknownst to young little me (I was 18, far younger than any other person in the office), that shuffled every single address, so none matched up with with the clients’ names.
That weekend several pieces of mail were sent to each address, and come Monday, well,… NONE of the mail was sent to the right address. Clients were pissed. Co workers were pissed. Management was pissed.
Over all? The mistake cost about $15,000 dollars. No one ever found out it was me, as I was young and not high up in the company and nearly every single person had looked over that spreadsheet at one point in time. Yeah, I felt awful about it. No, I never said anything. They spent weeks trying to figure out what had happened, and honestly I didn’t realise my mistake until after the whole mess transpired.
25. Just a pilot?
Used to work for an airline. I mentioned to the pilot that his red light on the wing was out, grounded the plane on thanksgiving night for 12+ hours. Worst part was the pilot announced to the 150+ people on the plane that it was MY FAULT that we weren’t able to leave.
I was 18 at the time, and scared while working the check in counter for the next 12 hours with a mob of angry passengers. All they were missing were pitchforks and torches…
26. Flirts so good.
I was flirting with a coworker after we had closed. She said something about not being afraid of anything, so, being the jerk that I am, I stretched a rubber band and pointed it at her face from a foot away. I just stared at her. She smiled and said: “You don’t have the balls.” So, naturally, I let go of the rubber band, but I tried to do it in the way where it shoots backwards, just to faker her out. Well, as you could guess with the context of this thread, it ended up going the other direction, the in-her-face direction. Smacks her in the face right under her eye. It welted up almost instantly and her eye get red and teared up.
Instead of apologizing like every ounce of my body was screaming for me to do, I just said “I don’t have the what now?”
She just started laughing and then I explained I didn’t mean to hit her, and we still went out on our date.
27. Worse nurse.
Im a nurse. I gave an iron injection to a woman who happened to be in the adult entertainment industry using the incorrect technique, which resulted in a horrible giant stain on the skin of her butt.
So I work at an interior design store where they sell a lot of really unbelievably expensive furniture. My job is to input stuff into their website and so forth. My work is so mundane its crazy, and one day I decided to mess around and make some of the URLs to their pages things like www.company.com/furniture/thischairisforyourbum.
I dont know why I thought this was a good idea. I thought I had changed it back. Turns out I hadnt. To my knowledge its still there waiting to get discovered. Good thing I only work here for another month.
29. Ballistic meat attack.
I’m a robotic engineer. I was working a job at a sausage packing factory. I set the payload parameters too low. That determines the speed of the robot. It moved so fast it lost suction on the sausage in its vacuum gripper, sending these fat honey garlic missiles across the room and down the assembly line. Everyone went home that day having been sausage slapped by a robot.
30. Sub par.
I used to work on a nuclear missile sub. During an exercise, a missile had come out of its tube. Well, we have procedures for a reason. The procedure wasn’t followed exactly like it was supposed to and the missile hit a ladder left in the tube. BIG DEAL. Like the President gets a phone call about this within half an hour big deal. I have never seen so many high ranking people soooo angry and terrified.
31. Mr. Clean.
I clean movie theatres and a few of the workers were screwing around having a “war” throughout the day so we planned to drop a bucket of popcorn on one of our coworkers when he walked in to clean.. I readied myself above the stairs to drop the bucket. When my friend at the bottom gave me the signal I dropped the bucket. It was a perfect hit except it hit my manager, a perfect head shot.