What Are Your Most Memorable Work Stories?

I just figured out that I’ve been in the professional work force for nineteen years now.  I’ve worked at a variety of different jobs and have encountered many different people along the way.  Many have been long forgotten, but there are a few that left their impression.  I’d love to hear some stories of memorable co-workers or occasions that you’ll not forget.

Here are a few of mine, with my favorite at the end.

Bad Luck Does Strike Twice

I spent a few months down in Panama City Beach working at a hospital.  One of the guys that worked for me at the time was a little goofy, and after awhile, I commented, and someone pointed out “Oh, he’s been hit by lightning.”

Then they added, “Twice.”

I figured they had to be kidding, but they weren’t.  One time he was standing near a body of water and lightning worked its way through and jumped up to touch him briefly.  Another time, I believe he was in a building that got hit and some jumped to him.  Neither were serious enough to do permanent harm (his shoes were knocked off during at least one hit, if memory serves), but he did seem a bit ‘looser’ after that.

Since that area is prone to afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months, you best believe that I steered clear of him after around 3pm most days!

The Thief

There was a guy at my current job that seemed pretty good at what he did, but nobody really liked him much.  He just seemed a little….slick.  And, while he delivered results, he hinted all the time that he wanted more, that he felt he should be in a higher position and making more money.

Apparently those things didn’t happen fast enough so he took it upon himself to take the lead, at least on the money portion of it.  At our company, when desktop computers have reached the end of life, we work with another company that either scraps, recycles, or resells them.  After some numbers didn’t add up on the returns, they found that the shortfalls were tied to some of his projects, and were able to catch him skimming some of the computers.  He figured that they wouldn’t notice.

They did and that was the end of his job.

The Pregnant Accountant

We did some consulting work for a holding firm, and one of their accountants announced she was pregnant.  She was a woman of, well, considerable size, and as such, she didn’t ‘show’.  She went on at different points about morning sickness, ultrasounds, doctors mb-2015-06-chartappointments, getting things ready, all the usual things that expectant moms have.

Except that, as it turns out, she was never pregnant.

Nobody ever really heard the story about how she was discovered, but she never came back.  I believe the company tried to get her to get mental help, but nobody really knows much about how that went.

That’s kind of a sad one, but still one that stuck with me.

When You Shouldn’t Go To A Farewell Party

I was at one job for around a year when I was given a transfer to a different department.  Same company, same type of work, but different building and under different management.  I liked the opportunity.  The old department operated 24×7.  So, I had to work different shifts.  The new job gave me a chance to work normal business hours.

We were a pretty close knit team at the old job.  The manager suggested drinks after work on my last day to celebrate.  A bunch of us got together and had a drink or two.  It was a nice send off.  My manager unexpectedly offered to pay the bill, which was a very nice gesture.

She was a pretty meticulous manager and this went beyond work.  She’d been matching the drinks to people.  There was one drink she couldn’t account for.  When she asked the waitress about it, trouble was looming.  It turns out that the drink was someone who had come in before their shift.  Yep, they’d had a drink and then headed to work.

We had a strict policy.  Unfortunately, they let him go the following week.  I felt horrible, as it was my going away party.

The story did have somewhat of a happy ending.   I ended up working with his wife at a job later down the line, and she confirmed that he got another job, picked up right where he left off, and enjoyed success.  Luckily that happened during the late 90’s tech boom where IT jobs were easy pickings!

Insert Foot Directly…Well, You Know

This is my absolute favorite work related story and one that I don’t think will ever personally be topped.  Book ending Y2K, I worked for a very small company where there only about 15 people total, 5 of us on the server and desktop team.  Mike, one of the other guys, and I happened to be in the office at the same time as the owner, and we were in his office just shooting the breeze.

We were a small group so we knew each others families and such from holiday parties and such.  So, Mike was walking around the office, and he picked up a picture and said to the boss, “Hey, who’s this guy with your wife?”

The boss looked and said, “That’s me, about ten years and fifty pounds ago.”

Mike’s face went the deepest red I’ve ever seen a face go.   I just started laughing and didn’t sop for at least ten minutes.  The boss was a good natured guy and laughed it off.  Still, that story (thanks to me) became one that Mike didn’t live down until he left.  And yes, he did quit.  He wasn’t fired! 🙂

In fairness, the weight and years had changed the boss quite a bit.  What made it priceless was how he blurted it out.  And, the look on his face afterward.  They could have put the entire sequence on The Office.  They wouldn’t have had to change a thing.  It would have fit right in!

Readers, please share some stories along the way that you remember?

17 thoughts on “What Are Your Most Memorable Work Stories?”

  1. Great stories. Our company did away with voice mail for a period of time because there were to many complaints of never getting anyone on the phone. So in order to have someone there to answer they need to react quickly and hired temps to answer phones. There was something a little strange about our temp. We noticed she was often eating lots of snacks from the vending machine each day. I mean a lot, like 4 and 5 things per sitting. I returned to the office from a another office and she didn’t hear me come in. As I walked in I see here going through other staff’s desk stealing loose change and money for her vending machine binges. Needless to say we went back to using voice mail.

  2. Hahaha Had some good laughs reading this, especially the last one. Most of my work stories are dumb things that people did in interviews. One guy wouldn’t sit down after we came in and greeted each other. I had to actually request that he sit down. That was so weird. I guess he was trying to be super polite. Who knows. People are strange I tell ya.

  3. Ohhh dear. These are going to be VERY hard to top. Hmmm….

    Okay, so I’m working on a magazine. It’s the largest city magazine in our parts, owned by an old guy who had started it, years before, as a kind of Chamber of Commerce journal and had developed it, by hook AND by crook, into a successful and very profitable slick publication.

    The head of the ad sales department, who was a pretty heavy hitter despite a kind of…uhm, sleazy exterior, got crosswise with the owner/publisher. After some kind of argument — I don’t even remember what it was, but you can bet it was a pip — the publisher flew into a rage and fired the ad manager on the spot.

    Ad Manager Dude says “Fine! Good-bye!”

    Among his several perqs is use of an expensive car owned by the magazine. He takes this bloated behemoth and parks it smack-dab in the middle of the small parking lot behind the building. Tosses the keys on the floor, locks the doors, slams the driver’s-side door shut and stalks away.

    Well. The tank blocks EVERYBODY from backing out of their spaces or driving out of the lot.

    Editorial thought it was hilarious (little love was lost on the publisher in those parts). That was because none of us left the building much before 6 or 7 at night: plenty of time to have the vehicle towed.

    But Advertising was not amused. The ad people had the kind of job that requires you to go out and speak with human beings. To network. To schmooze. To SELL. They were frantic. They were beside themselves.

    Circulation wasn’t happy either. And of course the Publisher was furious.

    It was the best case of what goes around comes around I ever saw.

  4. I have quite a few of these.

    Once, a boss thought he could joke around with his staff just like .. well, they were on the same level, I guess? Whatever the reasoning, he was scolding a young staffer about wearing somewhat sagging pants and decided it would be funny TO PANTS THE KID. In front of everyone in the office.

    The first time I asked for a raise: http://agaishanlife.com/2014/10/terrible-workplaces-a-blast-from-the-past/

    On a business trip, my boss had given our hosts a list of demands: how the conference rooms would be set up, what hotels to book, which restaurants we were to dine at. Apparently he neglected to include every last detail that was so critical in his muddled wackydoo head because when we arrived at one hotel, the booking wasn’t precisely to his liking and he threw an actual tantrum right there, calling the host all sorts of names until the staff fixed everything. Poor host was standing there, bewildered, wondering what on earth hit him.

  5. I worked in the editorial department of a company that stocked inventory for various religious bookstores. We did ad work, inserts and promotions, and quarterly issues of an in-house magazine that reviewed books, videos and music.
    It was quite an interesting job, made hellish at times by our boss. She felt that she was the only talent in the department, and would often take credit for other people’s work. Combine this with arrogance and a mean spirit toward her staff, as well as a tendency to try to pit us against each other, and life could be difficult. I needed the job, however, to help Husband through school — and I generally kept my mouth shut, as a result.
    One time the quarterly issue of the magazine was pending — and due to other deadlines, plus some other things to be done (which I cannot remember now), we still weren’t done at day’s end. Our boss, after thoroughly chewing us out individually and collectively, washed her hands of us and stomped out.
    The rest of us talked it over and decided to stay and keep working. I left around midnight; others stayed all night. When the Big Boss arrived the next morning, the issue was ready to go. He was full of praise for our hard work — and gave the staff who stayed the day off. When our boss eventually came in, she couldn’t take credit!
    Boy, was she mad.
    I left a few months later, when we moved to Colorado. A month or so after that, the boss fired nearly everyone on the advertising staff. She left soon after that, to take another job. I have always wondered if, after that debacle, Big Boss finally had enough and told her to take a hike.

    I’ve also wondered what ever happened to her…but have never known. (Or been able to find out.) She was a real piece of work.

  6. Nice stories, Moneybeagle. At my current job, there is a girl who is so weird or nerd I suppose. She likes being alone and I feel like she doesn’t want to talk to anyone. Despite this, she deliver results in copy editing, which doesn’t require communication or relating with others. You know the look when she’s observing someone that I can’t take it anymore. Haha..

  7. Good stories. One money-related one that comes to mind for me is the coworker who took great pride in saving money. As in, talking about it a lot (with a good sense of humor, I might add), bringing low-cost food from home, using coupons on the few times going out with the group, and taking leftover food from lunch meetings.

    She wanted retire before the age of 40, and seemed fired up about that goal. As a personal finance enthusiast, I of course thought she was right on track making good moves!

    Now, there is nothing too crazy about all of the above. HOWEVER, she later told us how she goes shoe shopping regularly, to the tune of buying a new pair of shoes every week. That’s right. Every. Single. Week.

    That’s 52 pairs of shoes annually.

    She said that it’s important to do so because it matters to men. As most males might say that she’s wrong – we really don’t pay much attention to women’s shoes. Maybe this was an excuse of hers?

    Alas, the seemingly smart, frugal person was uncovered as being a bit of a misguided shopaholic.

    • Based on your comment, I’m assuming that she was single, so I have to question that if men really did value that, why was she still single after owning so many pairs of shoes? Yikes! Lol

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