Bosses Share Their Most Satisfying Firing Stories of Bad Employees
How many hours a week do you spend in the workplace? Many of us spend more time at work than anywhere else. Often it’s either a hit or a miss, if you’re lucky sometimes you even end up somewhere in between.
Can you imagine being the boss of an employee who is responsible for putting such a damper on the work environment? We can’t begin to fathom the task and we aren’t sure we want to. Here are some of the craziest stories these bosses had to face with their employees and the satisfying moment of letting them go.
I have a friend who works at a jewelry store with an accountant who they had to report to the feds—for the craziest reason. It turns out the accountant had faked most of her references to get the job. She then used the business bank account to buy hundreds of dollars worth of intimate toys on Amazon.
The accountant also used the company account to buy multiple plane tickets and reserve tons of hotel rooms in Europe for an upcoming vacation. They fired her pretty fast, but she disappeared. The authorities found her and pretty quickly threw her in the slammer. Oops.
Timing Is Everything
I had an employee who was an addict. He also thought he was smooth enough to swipe merchandise and sell it behind the store. I sat through six tapes worth of security footage, and in one of them, you can very clearly see him snorting something off of one of the boxes in the storeroom and then slumping over for fifteen minutes.
After those discoveries, it was all just a matter of time. In a scene that could have been right out of a movie, I told him that he was fired right as the authorities were putting the cuffs on him. The best part was I got a pay raise and an award for finding the source of the in-house theft.
Got Your Back
I hired what I thought was a diamond-in-the-rough employee—a 40-year-old youth pastor who had some experience cleaning. Mind you, I was 23 years old and it was my first time in a management position, so I had been forewarned that it may be a little rough trying to manage someone much older than me.
Anyway, things started out fairly well as I walked him through his tasks. He seemed like an OK guy, but when I would show him little tips and things we were supposed to do, his reactions were verging on disrespectful. Eventually, toward the end of the morning, I simply asked him if he had done a part of the bathroom that we were supposed to do.
He replied, “You know I wasn’t born yesterday, man”. I was sort of taken aback by it, and when I went to check if he had done it, he obviously hadn’t. I let this slide though and near the end of the morning, he sat looking at his phone because he was “finished” instead of helping me with my work.
I absolutely hate when people lack decency and teamwork skills. I had been nothing but kind to him, and all I received was disrespect. The final task was to take the trash out to the dump, so I led him to the dump and said, “So how are you liking this job?” He said, “I don’t mind the job, it’s just you, man…your mannerisms”.
I was fed up at the end of a long night and I laughed in his face and then looked him right in the eyes and asked what I was doing wrong. He just kept ranting about how disrespectful I was and how I didn’t say “please” and “thank you”. I started to laugh at every little thing he noted, which really ticked him off.
The next day, I told my boss what happened and my boss told the guy that it wasn’t going to work out. The guy then proceeded to send a long email about how my boss had smelled like drinks upon their first meeting and how I was a terrible manager. My boss is a former heavy drinker, so this hit him pretty hard.
It was the first time I had heard my boss swear profusely to me as he vented about this guy. Needless to say, I never saw the youth pastor again, and my boss and I bonded to the point where he gave me a significant raise and a part-time “counseling position” (aka he now vents to me often but I enjoy it).
No Child Left Behind?
I was a supervisor at a summer camp and one time we had a field trip to a theme park. I gave the staff a pep talk explaining the various methods to not lose a child (ex, buddy system, numbering the kids, having them hold a rope, etc). The counselor in charge of the six-year-olds did none of those things.
At the end of the day, I was astounded by her negligence. She came back 20 minutes late and one kid short. Fortunately, another counselor from another group found the child. I pulled her aside and said, “You had one job. If I had my choice of leaving my son with you or a random bum, I’d leave him with the bum, because for 10 bucks he’d watch my kid”.
She cried, and I took over her group until we found a suitable replacement.
Fill ’Er Up!
I heard this story from one of my favorite bosses. Our lead character is a particularly nasty little piece of work. He’s creepy to women and extremely gifted at alienating everyone.
He got a job as a driver on a fairly decently budgeted movie and my friend didn’t want to employ him but this guy had weaseled his way in with some of the top people. Partway into production, he got told by my friend to fill up one of the production cars with diesel and drive it back to the office.
He pulled into a service station and went to fill it up. The car had lost its diesel tank cover and a cheap plastic one that just said “fuel” was in its place. So, the bozo jammed a pump into the tank, not noticing it didn’t fit properly, and proceeded to fill it up.
He then drove the car back to the office which was an hour-plus drive. For those who don’t know, regular fuel in diesel cars is a VERY bad idea. The damage to the engine was five figures worth and the source of the error was traced back to bozo. If he had come clean, he would’ve been fine. If had apologized, he would’ve been forgiven.
When he got called into the office, he came in like a big swinging jerk, swearing at everyone within earshot and trying to pin the blame on my friend. He was so obnoxious about it that he was fired on the spot.
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
During the summer, I managed the mowing crew at a large park. I had a few stoner kids but I really didn’t care as long as they cut the grass. I had this one kid who was assigned to cut the grass along the road outside of the park.
He drove the mower out at 8:00 am and by noon he was still gone. I started to worry when he wasn’t back by 4:00 p.m. I drove out in the pickup and saw that the grass had been cut all the way along the road to the on-ramp for the highway. I followed the grass-cutting trail—30 km (17 miles) later there was the kid on the side of the highway.
He had just kept cutting until his tractor ran out of diesel. I found him sitting there still clutching the wheel with a big smile listening to Pink Floyd. Guess he was on some really good stuff, but I still had to fire him.
Let This Sink In
I told a very poorly performing employee to take a paid day off and think about whether this job was a good fit for him. I called him after the day off and he said, “This is definitely the right place for me”. I told him to take another day and think about it some more.
He finally saw the writing on the wall and realized that I was offering him the chance to quit before he got fired.
A Way With Words
I was the night manager at a Subway, and with that title came very little added responsibility. However, I did have the ability to fire people at my discretion if I had just cause. Well, this one girl was downright disgusting.
She came into work smelling like straight poop and looking like a hobo that had been beaten with a severed deer head on the regular. One shift she managed to upset a customer to the point of tears.
That incident was so wrong but it was also a gift in the form of my perfect opportunity. I said, “We cannot keep you anymore, please leave and I’ll send you your pay at the end of the week”. She was surprisingly calm about the whole thing.
I never micro-managed my employees and I always gave them a lot of discretion in how they did their jobs. However, when I got a new contract-to-hire guy who was gone from his desk way too much, I decided to investigate.
I used my admin credentials to log onto his computer and check out what he was working on. I looked into his emails and bingo! There was a message where he told a girl that he parks his car in the basement away from everyone and he goes there to nap.
The next day, I went down and found him sleeping in his car. I tapped on the glass and asked for his keycard for the door. The look on his face was like a little boy. He knew he was totally busted.
I work at a residential facility for at-risk youth. One time, I caught the supervisor sleeping with an adolescent. I told the supervisor to go home and wait for the authorities.
However, the facility tried to cover it up so I called law enforcement Child Protective Services, and two other government agencies on both the employee and owners of the facility—quadruple firing.
Up In The Air: The Prequel
A job I had back in 2003 once gave me the task of flying out to a city I’d never set foot in, firing the entire crew, and hiring and training a whole new crew. I had never met these people before in my life. I wasn’t even told why these people needed to go.
All I knew was that I was making $20/hour (which was a lot then) to do this. I felt horrible. I felt like the lowest human imaginable. One of the women cried. She said she would lose her apartment if she lost this job. I never want to do that ever again.
It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t my fault that these people were let go, it felt like it was my fault. And I don’t want to feel like that. Some people can deal—I can’t. Unlike George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, though, I wasn’t trained to do this.
Hiring people? Absolutely, I was good at that. Training a crew? No problem. The firing aspect was completely new to me. I didn’t even know I was going to be doing that until the flight was booked. I felt like I had been duped into it.
Also, I was only 20 at the time, so I couldn’t rent a car. Imagine you’re at work, doing your thing, and you see this kid hop out of a cab, introduce himself to the crew, and then sheepishly tell everyone that their work won’t be needed anymore. What a nightmare.
Lowest Of The Low
I employed a nurse and nurse assistant who both threatened and hit elderly patients. I was very happy to walk both of these people out of our facility.
I wasn’t happy that I got to fire someone, but I was happy that they were caught on tape and were no longer in a position to harm others.
Swim For Your Life
I was the head lifeguard while working at a summer camp and one of my employees was new. Normally, we all knew each other because we had been working there for years. I was shocked to discover this new guy must have faked his certification. It was actually so embarrassing to watch.
He couldn’t swim a quarter of a mile, couldn’t surface dive below three meters (10 feet), and had no clue how to do anything. We did training and he nearly drowned me when I was a practice victim because he had me in a headlock with my face underwater. I had to start punching him because he wouldn’t let go.
Eventually, one day, a kid started actually drowning and this new guy was standing around. One of our lifeguards-in-training started screaming and jumped in to save the kid. Naturally, the trainee got pulled down by the drowning victim and my new employee was STILL just standing there, chilling.
Being a trainee, that person was only supposed to reach or throw, but because of an unrelated, annoying incident, they were the only lifeguard on the dock. My buddy and I heard the commotion, sprinted there, and jumped in wearing all of our clothes. We grabbed both of them and dragged them out. The new guy’s reaction floored me.
He said, “Oh sorry, I took a bunch of stuff earlier, so I’m really high”. I fired him right there in front of his entire class. I told him to get his stuff and sit on the side of the road. I then called my boss and the authorities who took him away.
Getting Paid To What…?
I few years ago, I was a security guard supervisor for the NASCAR campgrounds. After trying to get ahold of one of my new guards on the radio for about 20 minutes, I assumed he had fallen asleep. He was supposed to be sitting in his car at a somewhat remote guard post.
Naturally, I thought it would be funny (and teach him a lesson at the same time) to sneak up on him and scare a reaction out of him. Unfortunately, as I approached him in his car, I froze. He was looking at his phone and doing something so obscene.
The look on his face was both horrified and embarrassed. I said, “Go back to the compound, turn in your radio, and drive home, with BOTH hands on the wheel”. I had never wanted to fire anyone, but this time it felt right.
A Friend In Need...
I had a cashier who worked for me for about a year. He never did his job. If he went out into the store, he’d tell other employees that he was finished all his work and that I’d sent him to help them. He would then follow them around idly chatting and preventing them from working.
He would ask his friends to come in and shop so he could “help” them for what would sometimes be over an hour. On several occasions, I caught him actively hiding. I couldn’t prove any of this, and my boss was constantly furious with my shift (and subsequently me) for requiring hours of overtime every night trying to catch up with the work the kid didn’t do.
One night, feeling angry and more than a little spiteful, I refused to let the kid leave until he’d finished his work. He whined and cried that his ride was outside waiting and that he wouldn’t be finished for hours. I told him tough luck, he should have finished his job earlier, then, and went into the office to do manager things. Then I heard voices.
I came out to discover that he’d let his ride into the locked and closed store and this person was doing the kid’s job for him! I told him that under no circumstances was it okay to let people into the store after I’d locked the doors. I ushered his friend out and locked the doors again. But that wasn’t the end of it.
The second I was back in the office, the kid unlocked the doors and let his friend back in. That was when I realized with glee that I absolutely had the front doors on camera. I finally had rock-solid evidence to get the kid out of my store once and for all. I forwarded everything to corporate.
The very next day, he was fired—and my overtime issue was resolved. Good riddance.
Caught In The Act
I used to do mechanical maintenance at a brewery in New Zealand while I was studying. Out of the blue, a chain on one of the conveyors kept coming off, and it was very difficult to put it back on.
When this happened, it usually meant that the packaging line needed to be shut down, and all the staff were sent home early with pay. We were at a loss as to what was causing the chain to keep coming off so we decided to set up a camera. That’s when we learned the disturbing truth.
It turns out, an employee was jamming a metal pole between the chain and drive sprocket because he didn’t feel like working a full day. Too bad for him, he didn’t know about the camera and we got everything on tape.
I fired a guy by telling him he was obviously too skilled to work under me and should be running his own kitchen.
He found a new job and ended up thanking me.
To A Tee
I got my boss fired. I worked at a restaurant and we would order uniforms and retail shirts that we sold to customers every month. I put away the items in order, and then the next day I saw that the retail shirts were all gone.
When I asked my boss about it, he got weird and then said he gave them away to the crew. I didn’t question it, because he was my boss. The next day, he sat me down and wrote me up for checking my email on a work computer. The company policy was to not go to a website you wouldn’t show your mother.
I started to realize that he was just trying to find excuses to fire me. So I asked some of the crew members if they had been given t-shirts. No one had. That’s when I got suspicious. I looked at the security video from the day before and saw the boss was leaving with a big garbage bag full of something.
I called our district manager and then, on a hunch, I checked eBay and sure enough, someone was selling our company’s retail shirts. I checked the invoice, and the amount perfectly matched what was on eBay. I called the DM back and he told me to come in for the opening shift as well because he needed me to work a double.
I showed up and my boss was puzzled as to why I was there, as he was opening that day. I told him that the DM had asked me to and his face fell into an “oh no” look. The DM confronted him with the information, my boss admitted to it and the DM fired him.
Taking Care Of Business
I once hired this guy who was so absolutely sure that he always was the smartest guy in the room when, in actuality, he was quite stupid. However, I needed employees in the yogurt shop I owned, so I kept him on making sure to only give him shifts when I was in the building.
One time, a group of his friends came in after one of his shifts and I knew trouble was coming. They all had loyalty punch cards, which I’m sure he supplied and punched out, so I had to give them whatever they wanted for free—strike one.
Another time, I had to leave the building when he was working and I came back to nothing having been rung up for an entire hour, yet the register had been opened over a dozen times, which was clearly theft (and strike two).
I sat him down, and since he thought he was such a smart guy with the brightest of futures, I said, “Well, I think it’s time I make you vice president”. You should have seen his eyes light up.
“Yep,” I continued, “you’re VP of garbage collection. Now go change all of the bags and pick up all the trash in the parking lot”. As he sat there motionless, I said, “Oh, and I’m only going to need you for an hour a week at the most”. The look of confusion on his face was priceless.
I found out that my assistant manager was a serious addict who was taking money from the registers and regularly using substances in the bathrooms. But that wasn’t the worst part. One morning, she had a hit-and-run accident at 4:00 am and came to work right after.
At noon, officers showed up, cuffed her, and took her to the station. As they were taking her away, she told the other employee to lie to me and tell me she was sick in the bathroom when I called. Luckily, that employee called me instead. I came in and sent that employee home while HR and I figured out what to do.
Not surprisingly, the addict keyed my car on the way out. When she came back for her next shift, it gave me great satisfaction to say, “You’re fired”.
Relax, It’s FedEx
I used to be a manager at a FedEx office and had recently been switched to work in a new location. It was 24 hours so it had to be staffed around the clock. I spent the first week or two trying to get in tune with the flow of things and noticed that all the night duties weren’t getting done.
I decided to dig a little deeper—and came to a shocking realization. I found out that every day, our main graveyard shift guy would spend his first two hours getting some of his work out of the way, then he would sit down at one of the computers and go online.
About an hour before the person who was opening got there, he would start doing some organizing and small tasks to make it look like he had done more than he really had. Anyway, the next day I watched him sit still for five of the eight hours on his shift on the security camera.
I then went further back and saw that he did that for most of the previous week. I then went in and checked the browser history: Reddit. I fired him the next day. He didn’t protest. He knew he was a terrible employee.
Belt And Suspenders
When I had to fire someone, all she did was cry. Even though she had been given three verbal warnings and three written warnings, she still tried to blame everyone around her. She then accused me of inappropriate behavior and harassment.
Luckily for me, the security supervisor had been outside the open conference room door the whole time. I was also glad that the room I fired her in was under camera surveillance.
It sucks, but that is why that workplace required a female member of management to be available while a male was firing a female employee, and vice-versa. The allegations still had to be investigated, but it did not take very long. I encourage all businesses to have a similar policy.
This one time, I witnessed an employee throwing his girlfriend into the wall in the breakroom and was like “WHAT THE—? You can’t do that, man!” He told me that it was none of my business. Unfortunately for him, I was both of their supervisors and it was, in fact, my business.
So, after about five minutes of threats, I locked myself and his girlfriend in an office and called law enforcement. I then came out and tried to reason with him until I saw the authorities pull in the drive. Right around the same time, he took his shirt off, threw it at me, and said, “Meet me outside if you’re a real man!” and stormed out.
He didn’t see the law coming around the corner and was instantly detained as soon as he walked outside. While he was getting cuffed, I leaned out the door and said, “Hey, I don’t know if you knew, but you’re fired. We’ll mail your check”. He was crying like a little kid in the back of the car while they talked to his girlfriend.
It was absolutely beautiful. Little did I know he also had warrants. So… bonus, I guess? Oh, and for anyone wondering, the last I heard was they are still dating.
That Got Dark
I once fired a co-supervisor for punching a 16-year-old female employee in the eye because she threw an ice cube down his shirt. It felt good to send that jerk packing—or it DID until he went to the regional office and complained. I can’t believe what they did.
The higher-ups fired the hard-working girl he punched because she caused it by “horsing around”. To make matters worse, her mother had a serious drinking problem and this girl was the family’s only breadwinner.
When I was a manager, I had a girl working for me who was a total ditz. Luckily, the job wasn’t that hard, so at first her lack of intelligence wasn’t a big deal. One day, however, her friends came in and asked her to go somewhere.
She then asked me if she could leave early. I said no because she was closing that day. She proceeded to cry and lock herself in the bathroom. She even called her mom and told her how much of a jerk I was. I just knocked on the bathroom door and told her she could go—forever.
A Real Head Scratcher…
I hired a young person who was VERY pleased with himself, to put it mildly. He had gone to the best schools and was well looked after by his mom and dad. I chose him from a large field of strong economics graduates. Red flag number one: During his first week on the job, he made a point of boasting to his ex-employer about his new job.
After six months, he was a nightmare of self-absorption. The quality of his work was very poor and he would groan audibly when asked to do any menial task. He also got into the habit of surreptitiously denigrating the people who were paying his bills (aka me) and was silly enough to print and circulate these emails internally, which my assistant often found.
I particularly enjoyed his email that described how much of a jerk I was, how much I was being paid, and how I drove around loving myself in my Porsche (when I actually drove a 1978 Toyota Corolla!).
On the anniversary of his much-anticipated review, which was also the eve of his fancy overseas trip, I kept him back late and called him into my office. I then calmly handed him the stack of his emails my assistant had collected and said, “You left these on the printer. Enjoy your holiday, and don’t bother coming back”.
Meet The New Boss…
This happened during my first week on the job. I was a manager and one of the employees thought I was an intern so he started complaining about management (aka me) and bragging about how he sleeps on the job and so on.
During a particular work day when he was playing World of Warcraft on his laptop in the break room, I asked him if he ever gets in trouble. He told me that the game is a diversion and he’s actually watching dirty movies.
He alt-tabbed to show me he wasn’t kidding and then told me to keep cool and don’t tell the new jerk department manager. I then told him that I was the new department manager and that he was fired. I went straight to HR.
This was an easy one for me. All I said was “Welcome back!
You’re fired” after my employee had failed to show up four days in a row without giving any notice.
News To Me
I have a weird one. She was a writer and every writer had to write seven articles a day. If you were diligent, you could knock one out in half an hour, it wasn’t really strenuous or anything. Anyway, some of the editors started to notice “similarities” in her work.
We found a few cases where her submissions were actually old files that she had dug out of the file share and changed the byline on. She was reprimanded about this three or four times over the course of six weeks. Each time she said she really didn’t know how it happened.
She was so convincing that we were suspecting a technical glitch or something. It was not like she changed a few sentences around, the articles were exact duplicates. A manager finally decided to dig around—and she couldn’t find a single original article submitted by this employee over the past six months.
This employee had been coming in to work for six months and doing god knows what. No one knows. When confronted about this during her firing, she cried and said she still doesn’t know how it happened. People liked her, too. Her firing really wasn’t satisfying, even though we caught her lying about months of work, because it was so disconcerting.
Her behavior was like she had a brain tumor or something. Tons of people from the office had been charmed by her. We were all friends and she lost most of her social group because no one could understand why she did what she did.
That Was Too Easy
One of my employees was selling illicit substances during her shifts at my internet cafe. I had my night guy come in with me. He went behind the counter and I asked her to come talk to me outside. She said, “Who is going to watch the till?” I told her the night guy was.
We then went outside and I asked her if I could buy an ounce off her. She said, “Just a sec, I’ll get you some”. I said, “Hey, don’t bother”. She looked at me, confused, “What?” I just smiled because she’d just dug her own grave.
I said, “You’re fired”.
Not-So-Healthy Work Environment
About a year ago, the health club company I worked for bought out another health club chain, and I was tasked with going to the new club and turning it around. Because the old club was bought out, I was expected to correct all of the problems.
Our club opened up at 4:00 am and within a couple of days of taking over, one of the members took a cell phone picture of my front desk check-in person sitting there on her phone. My boss emailed me the picture with the instructions to “Fix this”.
This was my first big management gig, so I had to prove to him that I had the balls to fire someone. I pulled her aside and asked her about it. She said that she was frantically trying to find someone to drive her kid to school because her car broke down. She actually traveled several miles that day to get to work by 4:00 am.
I felt horrible because I was given the “It’s either you or her” speech by my boss. I put it off for the rest of her shift, kind of hoping the whole situation would pass. It didn’t. She cried and told me her rent was due and this was her only job. She begged me to give her another shot.
Keep in mind I didn’t even know her name before I was expected to fire her. I ended up firing her, but I hooked her up with a job at my buddy’s restaurant where she was paid almost twice as much.
You Deserve A Break Today
During high school, I worked at a department store. Over the years, I eventually worked myself up to the role of weekend/night manager. I had the ability to fire people, but it had to be for a “REALLY good reason”.
I had an employee, who was the same age as I, who was often spotted in her car getting it on with her boyfriend. Her breaks were supposed to be 15 minutes, but she often took much longer.
The final straw came when she had the nerve to get her boyfriend to call in sick for her while they were very obviously boinking. I told him, “Getting laid is not a valid sick excuse, and if she doesn’t find someone to swap or come in then she’s fired”.
I used to be a manager at Journeys (the mall shoe store), and I always liked to lay it on thick when I was letting teenagers and early twenty-somethings go. I’d start off by telling them that because I’ve been fired before, I know what they’re going to do.
“You’re going to tell your friends and family that it was a misunderstanding or that I’m a jerk or anything that absolves you of guilt here,” I’d say. “You will point the finger, but I want to make it very clear to you, as it was made to me, that it was 100% you who got yourself fired”.
Happily Ever After
I supervised a woman who was beyond retirement age by a number of years. When I became her supervisor, I knew that it was time for her to be let go. It wasn’t because she was old, but because she just didn’t care enough to try anymore.
She slept at her desk regularly, was frequently late, left early, etc. When she was working, she made frequent mistakes and was little or no help in fixing the mistakes she had made. One of the big reasons we kept her on was that she was supposed to have extensive knowledge of a process we were updating. We were so wrong.
As we were working on updating the process, we learned the hard way that she didn’t understand, nor did she care enough to learn anything about how the process actually worked. She knew enough to use the process, but that was it. She was not a nice woman, and she was a worse employee.
I honestly think that when I made the decision to let her go it was the best for her and for us. That’s what made it so satisfying. I felt like I was doing her a favor by making a choice she couldn’t. Mentally, she felt like she was still a great employee, but she couldn’t recognize that she had given up years ago.
Now that she’s retired, our team is in a better place and she’s much happier. It was a good decision to let her go.
I worked as a supervisor for a sign-spinning company for a long time. I had permission to hire people, and although firing wasn’t in my power, my word was enough to make the person above me do it. So, in effect, I could fire people.
I fired people for reasons ranging from dirty uniforms (and I should specify that I am not strict on dress code so you had to be pretty bad), attendance, and attitude. My favorite firing was a man we will call Mr Price.
Mr Price attended one of my hiring events in Orlando, and I was desperate to assign people out in the Clermont/Groveland area. We hire people at $10 an hour but, at the time, I had the authority to give someone a temporary raise to $12 if they had to travel to a location 30 miles or more away.
Anyway, since I was desperate, I said anyone who would take the spot could have the raise for the weekend. He took it, and I found out the location was a block away from where he lived. I had already given my word, which I do not break, so I let it slide.
He called out his first day. The next day, he came to work (we have a hard time replacing people, so continued employment after several no-calls is quite common). All is fine and dandy. The next weekend, he called out after I said that he couldn’t have the $12 an hour.
The next few weeks carried on with spotty attendance from Mr Price. I finally found someone else to work the area and assigned that person. Mr Price contacted me looking for work and I told him he could have the same spot (I intentionally double-booked).
I got a call at 1:30 am from Mr Price saying his phone is about to die so he won’t be able to make it to work. I proceeded to let loose and tell him to never contact me for work again.
My dad told me about this girl who showed up an hour or so late to work three days out of five during her first week. On the third day, he asked her why it took her so long to get there. She said, “Oh, this morning there was a lot of traffic coming from my hometown”.
Little did she know she lives in the same town as us. My Dad said, “That’s funny because I live there too and I had no problem getting to work”. Before the end of the day, she had been sent on her merry way, carrying her personal items in a box.
Excuse This Interruption
My buddy Chris is an executive chef at a semi-fancy restaurant. One evening, I was walking by and saw him taking a break out back, so I walked over to chat with him. We were having an interesting conversation about movies and bicycles when one of his waitresses came out back.
“Chris! This is not fair! I wanted to take my break but Audrey said she had already switched with Wendy and so I thought it shouldn’t matter and so I went to take a break and Frank said I had to stay on the floor and it’s all so stupid!” But that wasn’t all.
She took a breath and continued, “And when I got here this morning, I know I was supposed to be rolling silverware, but I had to check in the back because Rodney said something about needing help when he’s not on the line because he’s probably in the walk-in, but Rodney wasn’t there so I went back to the front”.
“I swear it looked like the rolling had already but done but it wasn’t so Frank yelled at me and THAT’S why he won’t let me take my break! It’s so wrong!” This girl carried on, breathlessly ranting, whining, and complaining for five solid minutes as Chris and I stood there, silently. Eventually, she shut her giant mouth.
Chris said, “Angie, you’re fired. Turn in your apron. Your final check will be in the mail”. We watched the girl turn green, blue, and then purple. “But I…I just—” Chris interrupted her. “I said get off the property and don’t come back. You’re done here”.
I wanted to pick up our conversation where it left off, but Chris, who was an eternally calm, cool, and collected dude, felt it necessary to explain. “I put up with that noise for THREE weeks. Every single day. I have my limits”. And that was that. We went back to chatting about movies and bicycles.
Bye For Now
I was supervising a call center in the early 2000s and we were still manually dialing numbers from paper call sheets. I had a new guy who, after a few days, still had zero success in getting anyone to do a survey. So I decided to listen in. After getting an answering machine on his first call, the second one was answered by a human:“Hello?”
As a reply, my employee muttered, “I know where you live, you gutless jerk!” Holy jeez. Of all the hundreds of calls this kid made, I caught that one on the second try. I called him into my office and said, “Dude, you can’t work here anymore”.
When he asked why, I replied, “Because you said, ‘I know where you live, you gutless jerk’”. The look in his eyes said it all.
I worked at a pizza place in a college town, we had a driver—let’s call him “Derrick”. The manager was also named “Derrick”. Derrick the Driver sold illicit substances on the side. It was nothing big time and he didn’t make it obvious, but most of the other kitchen staff knew.
Another driver calls in on his day off and asked to speak with Derrick. Derrick the Manager came over, picked up, and said, “Thank you for calling Pizza Place, How may I help you?”
“Yoooo, Derrick! Where da buds at?” Wrong Derrick. Click. So, Derrick the Driver worked the rest of his shift. Then Derrick the Manager brought him into the manager’s office and fired him. Derrick the Driver was a nice guy and well-liked by most of the staff, and the story got out quickly.
The dummy who called in and asked the stupid question was also fired, but not as many people cared about him. The whole event became a Pizza Place legend for the next couple of years.
The Best Movie Ever
As the manager of a movie theater, I make sure I have security cameras pointed at key areas of the business. I had one employee who would roll his eyes and straight-up argue with me about anything I asked him to do. I needed to have just cause to fire him.
One day, I asked him to do something and then headed back to my office.
My assistant manager was watching the camera and told me that when I turned my back, the employee made a rude gesture with his hand. I cued up the camera system and brought this guy into my office.
I proceeded to play him the clip and then I fired him. It was amazing. I felt so happy to be rid of that little jerk.
That Escalated Quickly
I used to manage a T-shirt shop. I had an employee who was re-hired after having left years and years beforehand. When this employee was hired back, she did not receive seniority since her prior work with us had been more than five years ago. She didn’t like this.
One night while I was working alone, we were absolutely slammed and I didn’t get around to putting tags on the last 10 or so t-shirts in my pile for inventory. Clock-out time rolled around and I left a memo on the counter for the new/old employee asking her to finish tagging the last few shirts—as a sales associate, this is her job.
The next day, she sent me a four-part epic of a text message. Within the text, she straight up threatened me with bodily harm if I ever dare leave her work again. She then went on to colorfully explain that it’s not her job to do mine if I feel lazy and that I’m a sleazeball for taking her position.
She even went so far as to explain to me how the extra 10 minutes it took her to tag the shirts totally messed up her flow, boohoo. Now, this on its own would have been grounds for a write-up.
However, since this wasn’t her first outburst or incident involving threats, I got to follow up her text with a phone call that went as such: “Hey S, just sent that text over to [our bosses’ name], you won’t need to worry about being in that sort of a situation ever again! You’re fired”. It felt good.
Very Dirty Work
I own a chain of dry cleaners. Three years ago, a month before I sold the business, I went undercover and started training with the staff as a newly hired part-time employee. We didn’t want anyone in the company to know that the business was being sold until everything went through. I couldn’t believe what I uncovered.
On my first day of a ride along with one of the delivery drivers, he showed me how he filled up the van with the company credit card while also putting $20 worth of fuel into his personal car.
When I was training with one of the store managers, she showed me how to make some extra cash. She came into work with pockets full of coupons and applied one to every other cash order after the customer left. This gave her an average of an extra $10 per hour.
On my last few days, I was in the production plant training with the production manager. I was mostly learning about the equipment and its maintenance. I found out that he wasn’t doing half of the regular maintenance that needed to be performed.
He was simply marking down that the service had been performed and then throwing out brand-new filters, which were $290 each. On the final closing day, I went around with the new owner and his wife and met the staff…I came to every employee and properly introduced myself.
When I came to these three clowns, I came up to each one and said, “You’re fired”. To say they were shocked is an understatement.
What Happens In Vegas…
Our company’s new secretary/promo model came to a Las Vegas event with us and ended up disappearing with some guy for the rest of the trip. She didn’t even fly back home with us. When she eventually showed up for work, I was given the green light to fire her.
I believe she ended up moving to Vegas for the guy and then became a woman of the evening.
Slow And Steady…
My most satisfying “You’re fired” moment was with an employee who had been part of our family business for about four years. For three of those years, he had been surreptitiously pilfering money from us.
We finally switched over to a new accounting system and he kept doing it. The old system could only be used as soft evidence, but the new system was rock solid. Once we added up his total theft, it was just below Grade A Grand Theft for our state.
So, we sat on it for a day or two trying to decide what to do. By the time we finally acted, he had moved himself up to Grade A Grand Theft. We were able to get all of our money back, but I guess he still has a record to this day.
The setting for my story is a low-budget horror movie. I spent pre-production volunteering in the art department in the hope of getting my first job. Others came and went, but I hung in there. On day one of filming, another guy joined the department.
He had no trouble getting in because his dad was dating the producer. I didn’t particularly like him but I worked with him. He was very loud and opinionated and forever saying how he thought things should be done. I knew about his connection to the producer, so I just kept my mouth shut about him.
Two weeks into filming, one of the department heads came to me and asked what I thought of him. Before answering, I briefly wondered what he had been saying about me, but I just told the department head that we get along fine. A few days later, the same department head came back to me.
Apparently, the guy has been mouthing off about the visual effects in the movie and what he thinks my team should have done instead. I again said that we are fine, but the department head looked at me skeptically and said, “Because I think he treats you like a huge idiot”. He then walked off.
Apparently, this jerk had alienated the first assistant director, the third assistant director, and the stand-by props guy. He was also loathed by the visual effects guy and the two art department heads. When Monday rolled around and there was no sign of him on set, I asked around.
Apparently, he’d been transferred to the film’s “viral marketing” department.
Spill The Beans
Not a typical employer-employee situation, but I used to care for some young children who had special dietary needs (no gluten, no dairy, limited sugar). It wasn’t a case of helicopter parents—these kids had legitimate allergies and it was very important that we followed their special diet.
Once the older child had started school, and bearing in mind that I would soon be moving out of the area, the parents decided to transition the kids into an in-home daycare that seemed great. The mother agreed that during the transition period, I would be at this in-home daycare with the kids.
I started out staying the entire time they were there. Then I would leave a little early. Then I would come late and leave early, etc. Due to their special dietary needs, the kids were sent with a variety of snacks and treats to be given to them during the week as well as daily lunch and beverage.
One day, I walked in to find the daycare provider feeding the younger child (who was non-verbal and did not have full comprehension of his dietary needs) bites of her own sandwich and giving him milk. His sister, who was older and able to identify that this was bad, was telling the daycare woman that he couldn’t have those things.
She was totally ignoring the girl. I asked her to clarify what she was feeding him, and she admitted that she was giving him gluten and dairy products but insisted that a little wouldn’t hurt him. When I informed the parents, they thought it was a misunderstanding at first, but once they realized the truth, we went and picked the kids up.
We had actually been worried about the boy because he had recently started to behave strangely but didn’t realize that it was because of a change in his diet. We had assumed that this woman would take his medical needs seriously.
It was really satisfying to be able to say, “You’re not a professional with children if you can’t take their needs seriously. You’re fired”.
As a young manager at a large corporation, I was once tasked with firing the branch manager, assistant manager, and two other employees at one of the branch offices. Basically, there was a love triangle going on among these three, and upper management (from another state) wanted them all fired.
I was called on a Sunday night and told to greet them all on Monday morning with security. I also had to perform their exit interviews, which is absolutely impossible once you’ve just fired someone.
The entertaining part was when one of the employees desperately blurted out, “I only slept with [Branch Manager] because I thought it would help the company!” I asked her to explain why and she went through a whole weird rationalization.
After she explained herself, she said, “So, do you understand?” I said, “Yes, I understand”. She smiled at me and said, “So, I’m not fired?” I said, “Of course, you are still fired!”
Food For Thought
It’s never been satisfying to let somebody go. People rely on regular pay and when I fire a person, I’m taking away their ability to provide for themselves and their family. I understand that it needs to be done, and I am the one that chooses to do it because of their performance, but nobody should find that feeling satisfying.
What’s even worse is when I have to clean up another person’s mess. For example, when somebody needs to be let go because they’re underperforming or won’t fire people who have been given ample warnings and chances to get better and they expect to pick up their slack.
I’ve had to walk into a room and fire people I’ve barely worked with because their boss didn’t have the sense or the balls to do it.
At the limo company I used to work for, there was this one employee who was always breaking minor rules (ex: wearing jeans when we were supposed to wear slacks, showing up five minutes late every day, etc). These were not fireable offenses but they were annoying.
She was also constantly complaining about how hard it was to be in college (she was taking one online class), have a job, and have a kid. She also never shut up about her baby daddy drama. Basically, all of her problems were self-inflicted but she complained about them constantly.
So one day I was at work and had already been there almost eight hours when about six people called in for the night for various reasons (I ended up working about a 21-hour shift that day). This particular girl (we’ll call her Jennifer) called in sick, saying her daughter has lice, she picked her up early from school, and she can’t leave the house until both she and the kid get checked.
This should have been our first red flag since it was Saturday but we were so swamped that day that this fact was overlooked. This girl knew all the limos and buses would be downtown that evening. So, at about 9:00 that night, we were so busy that the owner of the company had to drive a group in one of our party buses.
He was downtown on Fifth Ave and who does he see walking across the street right in front of the bus in a short gold dress? Needless to say, he was upset. He dropped off his group and went back to the hotel he saw her go into. Long story short, it took him a while but he found her.
She saw him coming from pretty far away since he’s a big guy, and she cowered down at her table, trying to hide her head. He calmly walked up to her and whispered in her ear, “Hey, Jennifer… You’re fired”. He then grinned at her and sauntered away. That 20-hour shift was worth it for me after hearing that story.
Um, Fries With That?
I had an employee who we suspected was less than perfect. This fact was confirmed, however, when I watched her preparing a customer’s meal…My jaw literally DROPPED.
She accidentally spilled a blob of ketchup onto the floor. She looked at it for a second, paused, and then scooped it up with her hands. After that, well, you know the drill.