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Stories From People Who Got Fired Shortly After Getting Hired

By: Calla Conway | Published: Dec 10, 2021

Just like great students who are bad at tests, there are great job interviewees who are bad at doing the job. Successfully passing the initial interview shows that you have the right mix of people skills and qualifications, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be a great fit. The true compatibility test comes during the first few days on the job.

Some pass the test with flying colors and go on to have a long-lasting career. Others fail miserably by showing up late, sleeping on the job, causing expensive mistakes, or yelling at the boss. Needless to say, their career doesn’t last long. Here are 40 cases of a person not making it past their first day.

1. Cut the Cables

The point of being an intern is to get your hands dirty doing the unglamorous grunt work that no one else wants to do. Through a bit of supervised mentorship, interns get an understanding of how everything works.

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Through a lack of supervision, interns get an understanding of how everything fails to work! For example, the unsupervised intern above was told to cut apart the zip-tied cables. Instead of cutting the zip ties, he cut the cables – costing the company $2,000 bucks!

2. Cheese Is Not Meant to Be Thrown

Working in a kitchen can be a dangerous gig – you’ve got overworked and stressed employees near sharp knives, stovetop fires, and vats of sizzling oil. It’s amazing that more accidents don’t happen! We attribute this to the fact that everyone understands how things should be done. 

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Well, everyone but this wild newbie. On his first day as a kitchen porter, he tossed a giant bag of cheese into the deep fryer – causing the head chef to get scalding burns. Our only question is: why? 

3. Fake It Until You Make It

IT workers, as a whole, get paid pretty well – which is why so many hopeful employees want to get into the industry. Since it’s a skill-based job, employers typically want to see a university degree and some relevant experience. 

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It’s an upfront cost and time commitment that many people decide to make – and some decide to fake! Unfortunately, in the world of tech, that fakery unravels pretty fast the second a boss or coworker asks you a technical question and expects a reply. 

4. When You Accidentally Hire a Ghost

Although not everyone loves their job immediately (or ever), most people, most of the time, are pretty dependable. However, as any boss can attest, there is also a considerable amount of flakiness.

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This can be seen in the *cough* *cough* “I’m sick” call, “forgetting” you work this Saturday morning, or going out for a cigarette break…and never coming back. The last one is what happened to this unfortunate employer. We just hope that it didn’t mess up the shift too much. 

5. Going the Whole Nine Yards

Golf course maintenance requires a lot of upkeep. The course itself needs to be clean and orderly, and the surrounding buildings and golf carts should be the same.

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An important part of that cleaning process is power washing the golf carts and building exteriors. It seems this golf cart wasn’t quite ready before this unlucky (and, to be honest, inattentive) golfer decided to take it for a spin. As you can read from above, it didn’t work out too well.

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6. The Employee Who Didn’t Want to Be an Employee

Most people, at some point in their life, have worked in the restaurant industry – greeting guests, washing dishes, waiting tables, etc. It’s a staple job in a well-worked life, but not one that’s particularly fun for most people.

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That being said, most people put up with the grind through a dark sense of humor or by muttering curses under their breath. Others, like the girl above, are more outspoken in their hatred – and that leads to them getting booted out of the restaurant world. 

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7. Checking Out More Than Groceries

This high school kid was checking out more than groceries and knickknacks at his new job. He was checking out the female cashiers as well. Understandably, that creeped them out a lot. 

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His cashier days didn’t last a full day –- and neither did his flirting tactics. The employer justly took him off the job before his creepy attitude led to an unsafe workplace. People just want to work when they go to work, not worry about warding off the advances of an over-eager high schooler. 

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8. When You Forget to Read Name Tags

Although, in general, it’s important to stand up for yourself, it’s also important to learn how to read a room – especially when you’re a new employee. It seems the newbie below forgot the second part.

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When he chose to stand up for himself and argue with the person who asked him to take out the trash, he forgot to read that person’s name tag. Unfortunately, that person’s name tag read “General Manager.” Whoops! Not someone you want to argue with on your first day… or ever. 

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9. The $3.3 Million Mistake

Your first few days on the job are spent getting your bearings straight – learning who everyone is, where everything is, and what is expected of you. Of course, you’re going to break some rules as you learn the ropes. 

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However, three broken rules on your first morning is a bit too much. When you consider that your “first morning” involves getting a space shuttle ready for launch, that level of clumsiness is unacceptable. Unsurprisingly, it led to a costly mistake – and, most likely, a job. 

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10. Songs Are a Company Expense, Right?

The words “company credit cards” sound like the words “free money” to some people. They just can’t resist charging everything to them and justifying it as a work expense. Granted, most people have the decency to wait until a business trip before making purchases. 

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The guy above isn’t “most people.” Instead of a business trip, he waited a granted total of 50 minutes before piling on the “work expenses” – namely his favorite songs from iTunes. This “work expense” eventually cost him his job.

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11. The Waiter Who Scrubs Floors

Many people have stories of bad bosses, but this one takes it to the next level. After being hired as a waiter at a restaurant, this person found themselves scrubbing floors. Although it sounded weird, the new employee went ahead without any questions. 

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After a few hours of work, the hungry employee asked about a lunch break. That led to a permanent break, aka getting fired. Although that’s horrible, it’s better to find that out on day one than on day thirty when you haven’t had any pay or breaks for a month. 

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12. Criticizing a Bratty Fifth Grader

Positive regard is an important rule to keep in mind when you’re a parent or teacher. Kids are still developing their sense of identity, so harsh criticism can be difficult for them to integrate. Most teachers know this bit of childhood psychology, but not every teacher does.

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Not the teacher described in the above story. That fifth-grade teacher was probably harboring some misplaced anger toward privileged little rich kids. Sure they won the birthplace lottery, but that doesn’t mean they deserve snide remarks. Unsurprisingly, the administration decided to fire her.

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13. Don’t Work Where You Shop

The “do what you love” mantra is popular for those who want to find the perfect job. For the girl below, she loved to shop at this one particular store, so the store decided to hire her. Perfect!

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Well, not so much. As you can see from the above quote, being a great shopper doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be a great employee. They’re two entirely different things. The staff immediately saw that and decided to fire her before anything else happened.

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14. A Rough Intro to the Restaurant World

Restaurants put the busy in business. Chefs, waiters, busboys, and cleaning staff all work together to serve quality food in as short a time as possible. In this smoothly flowing fast-paced environment, everyone needs to know how everything works – especially newbies, who can slow things down.

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That being said, age should be taken into consideration. It’s a bit unrealistic to assume a 14-year-old busboy will master every task and role on his first day. Have these employers ever heard of a learning curve?

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15. Taking off the (Lobster) Gloves

Lobsters are hard-shelled little creatures who comb the depths of the ocean and, apparently, don’t like the company of other lobsters. That lesson was learned the hard way by an unfortunate new employee who decided to do an experiment.

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As you can see from above, the results of that experiment were horrendous – a lobster massacre. An expensive mistake that took lobster salad, sandwich, and bisque off the menu for the day – or week. Unsurprisingly, the new guy didn’t last too long. 

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16. Not the Right Personality

The interview process that leads to a new job can be nerve-wracking for both sides involved. The employer is trying to suss out a new hire’s personality, and the employee is trying to give off the right impression. 

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Some industries, like retail, have turned to automated personality tests that try to figure out if a new employee is the right fit. Unfortunately for the person above, that test found that they weren’t. Although it might be “scientific”, it still feels a bit harsh. 

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17. A Criminal Application

HR folks deal with a variety of new characters when they’re sifting through job applications. The majority of applicants are regular people hoping to secure a new job. However, there is a small minority of, well, just plain criminals. 

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As you can see from above, this new employee had no interest in working for the company. His interests were in looking respectable, deflecting attention, and then stealing from other employees before heading out the door. Talk about being unqualified for the job. 

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18. Copywriters and Copy-Wrongers

If you’re writing for the internet (or anywhere really) you are expected to produce original work. That means no plagiarism because that’s the exact opposite of “original.” If you’re going to borrow from other sources, at least paraphrase it in your own words and add some extra touches. 

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The copywriter profiled above did none of that. Instead, he chose to plagiarize from the very person who hired him! Woah, talk about questionable ethics mixed with bad luck and plain stupidity. That writer didn’t last long.

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19. Be Careful Where You Spend Your Sick Days

Sick days are meant for, you know, being sick. That being said, plenty of people like to take the occasional “personal day” so they decide to call in sick. When you do that, however, it’s important to follow the cardinal rule: be careful where you go!

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The new employee above clearly forgot that commandment as he brazenly popped into the local theater to watch the latest flick. Unfortunately, the boss was sitting in the next seat. You can imagine how well that went. 

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20. When Nepotism Fails

Although we don’t like to admit it, who you know is often more important than what you know. In some companies, if you’re a family member of the head honcho, then it’s more or less guaranteed that you’ll get a job.

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That doesn’t always mean you’ll keep the job, though. Before her first day of work, the co-manager’s sister found out the limits of nepotism. She assumed that her lame excuse for being late would be fine. It wasn’t – she ended up getting fired instead.

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21. Asking Taboo Questions

Everyone has their taboo questions. For the employer below, those questions related to salary – specifically, what the salary was and would the training be paid. The employer got so angry at those accusatory questions that he fired the new trainee.

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Overkill? We tend to think so. Perhaps the employee got cheated at other jobs and he didn’t want to repeat the mistake. Either way, the anger was resolved. Even though the trainee was fired, he continued to come back because the pizza was awesome.

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22. The Flakey Friend

Who wouldn’t like to work with their best friend? You can carpool together, share lunch, and crack little jokes to lighten up the day. It sounds perfect – until you find out that your friend is a bit flakey. Awkward.

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Although the flakey friend got fired right away, we hold out hope for the more responsible one. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to hang out on days off. Sometimes friends and jobs should be kept separate, and friends should just be friends. 

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23. When Your Forklifting Days Are Over

If you can drive a car, you can drive a forklift, right? Wrong. It turns out that forklifting takes a bit of training and practice to safely master. The guy below disregarded all of that and assumed he could pick it up immediately.

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Unfortunately, his arrogance led him to crash into a support beam – which is the last kind of beam you want to damage, considering it, you know, supports the building. Needless to say, his forklifting days were short-lived. 

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24. Dangers of Hiring Young Staff

Sometimes you just have to take a chance and hope that a new hire has the right personality for the job. Most of the time it works out pretty well. For the unlucky employer below, it worked out horribly.

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The new cook turned out to be very impressionable. When a co-worker dared him to stick his hand in the fryer, he did it. Yikes! We applaud the employee for bravery but suggest he find other ways to show it. The employer, understandably, decided he was too much of a liability.

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25. Fired for Using Your Head

Workplace injuries are no laughing matter. The serious ones lead to amputations or death, the less serious ones can lead to hefty fines. One way to judge if an employee is likely to have an injury is to see how clumsy they are on the job.

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The new employee above didn’t pass the clumsy test. Whatever the reason for it, the fact that they kept smashing their head on the “rack thingy” was enough to make the employer nervous about liability.

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26. Not the Right Fit

Working at a coffee shop is great for those who love fast-paced environments and a steady flow of new customers. Taking orders and making drinks is like a challenging game for upbeat extroverts.

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For employees like the girl above, however, it wasn’t a game – it was a nightmare. Although she had the right culinary experience, all that fast energy and customer demand was a bit too much for her personality. We suggest trying out the overnight bakery shift where you only have to deal with a few people. 

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27. How Not to Be a Bartender

The bar can be a pretty demanding workplace. Alongside making a flurry of drinks for a crowd of thirsty (and sometimes inebriated) customers, you have to keep an upbeat personality and a sense of decor. The new employee below did none of that.

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Instead, he took plenty of cigarette breaks while scrolling through his phone. Customers were ignored until his friends came in – and then they were given free drinks. A great example of how not to be a bartender.

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28. Eating in Front of the Customer

Working as a waiter while hungry is not ideal. You’re burning precious calories in a fast-paced environment that requires you to bring plates of delicious food to other people. Every time you bring a new plate, your belly growls a bit more.

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Most waiters sneak a few bites from leftovers when they’re in the kitchen and no one is around. The waiter in the picture above chose to do the opposite – not be sneaky at all and to eat the food in front of the customer and manager.

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29. A Stinky Interview

As if job interviews weren’t stressful enough, this unlucky employee had to go through one with a foul-smelling addition. The HR lady who came to interview her farted. That fart wafted through the tiny, airless room with nowhere to go. 

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Focusing on “employee retention rates” and other job specifics was a little difficult for both of them. This entire situation stinks – it’s embarrassing for the HR lady and uncomfortable for the job interviewee. We suggest an open-air office next time. 

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30. Phone a Family Member

Salary negotiation is a difficult art to master. It requires the ability to politely talk about a touchy subject without being too pushy and without being a pushover. Some people train before the interview, other people call in help during the interview.

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The guy above called in help – from his mom. Although we think that’s a bit cute, we also understand the red flags that went up in the employer’s mind. Unsurprisingly, the negotiations didn’t go well, and the interviewee didn’t get the job.

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31. Causing Truffle at Work

Truffles are difficult to find and expensive to eat. In the old days, pigs were used to find them, but nowadays, dogs are usually trained to sniff out the seasonal fungus. Once found, they have a short shelf-life – which drives up the price.

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So, when you spend $90 on truffles, you expect them to be, you know, truffles. For the unfortunate customer above, that wasn’t the case. Shortly after walking away, the customer realized the truffles were display-case plastic truffles. The new employee who sold them was fired on the spot.

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32. When You Sleep on the Job

Thieves are usually known for snatching clothes and gadgets – things they personally like or things they can sell. So, it’s a bit odd that so many chose to steal calendars at a bookstore.

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Most likely it was an opportunistic crime. The new employee who was meant to sell the calendars fell asleep on the job. People walked up, took a calendar, looked at the sleeping woman, and walked away with the calendars. Enough people did this that, when the manager came over later, half the stock was gone! The sleeping employee was fired.

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33. An Expensive (and Sticky) Flood

When working with cold food products, it’s important to follow some basic tips. Tip one is to check that everything meant to be cold stays cold. Tip two is to double-check it. The unfortunate – and clueless – employee below forgot these two tips and it led to a flood of biblical proportions. 

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At night, he forgot to double-check the cooler. In the morning, that act of forgetting led to an expensive sea of melted fruit and ice cream covering the floor. Around that time, he was fired. 

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34. Working on the Night Shift

The night shift can be rough for new employees who are transitioning into it. It requires adjusting your sleep schedule a few nights before work to prepare yourself for the graveyard shift. If you don’t, well, you get the following. 

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Sleeping on the job. Great if you’re a test subject in a sleep study. Not so great if you’re a paid employee anywhere else. That’s not what the employer was looking for in a new hire, so the guy was fired shortly after his first shift. 

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35. From New Hire to New Fire

A lot of people get overeager during the job interview and end up making a lot of promises. Most of the time that’s fine because job training can fill you in on what you don’t know. However, when discussing availability, it’s best to be honest. 

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The new employee above didn’t get the memo. Before getting hired, she said nights and weekends were perfect to work; after being hired, she said daytime weekdays were perfect. Unsurprisingly, this new hire soon became a new fire. 

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36. A Casual Definition of Business Casual

The term “business casual” has at least two definitions. The first definition applies to those who actually know what “business casual” means – clean slacks and a button-up shirt for guys. The second definition applies to those who have no idea what it actually means.

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For them, as you can see from the quote above, it means jeans and flip-flops. Needless to say, this definition of “business casual” wasn’t shared by the company, and the flip-flopped employee didn’t stay too long.

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37. Yelling at the Owner

Each new job comes with a new hierarchy that employees should spend time understanding. It’s important to know who you’re supposed to talk with when you have a question regarding scheduling, salary, or the work habits of other employees.

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The girl above, however, skipped the office hierarchy and went straight to the top by letting the franchise owner know her feelings about a co-worker’s work habits. When that didn’t work out, she started yelling at the owner himself! Although we admire the chutzpah, we don’t imagine she kept the job too long.

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38. No Littering

The ocean is a gorgeous open space meant for boats and sea creatures. If you’re working on a boat, it’s important to respect the sea. One way of doing that is by keeping it clean – keeping your garbage on board and throwing it away at a proper landfill.

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The new seaman above broke that rule by throwing a plastic bottle into the ocean. With characteristic calm, the captain took him inside and bought him a ticket home. That’s one “don’t litter” lesson the seaman will never forget.

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39. A Recipe For Disaster

A high school student got a position at a paint store and began making some paint samples according to the recipe. When the paint was mixed however, both the employee and employer were confused as to why the color created didn’t match the sample. He was immediately fired.

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In an unfortunate twist for the employee, the mistake ended up not being his fault as the formula specifications weren’t properly updated. The kid did exactly what he was supposed to do and got fired for someone else’s mistake. We feel for him and hope he had better luck at his next job!

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40. What Do Traffic Jams and Bosses Have in Common?

Traffic jams seem designed to sabotage employees who want to be punctual. Leaving home with plenty of time is never easy because traffic conditions change from moment to moment. The best a new employee can hope for is an understanding boss.

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In our view, the employee above did the right thing by calling up work to inform the boss that he’d be late. However, like the traffic conditions, the boss’s mood changed from moment to moment. What was ok on the phone became unacceptable in the office. 

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