People Share The Stupidest Mistakes They've Seen Co-Workers Make

Employees on computers in an office setting
Unsplash | Israel Andrade

It's said that you can't pick your family. This is true, but you also can't really pick your co-workers (unless, of course, you're the hiring manager).

Yes, we're just kind of stuck with the people we work with, whether they're good or bad at their job. We all have some bad co-worker stories, and this 15,000-comment Reddit thread might be the best repository of these stories that's ever been assembled.

Classic Jerry work.

An air conditioning unit mounted to a wall
Unsplash | Carlos Lindner

"I don't know exactly the problem, but my wife and I had a house built, 3 months after our closing the company that installed the HVAC wanted to do a routine maintenance as part of the warranty. The guy came in and looked at the system setup in the attic and just 'oh this is Jerry's work' in a very apologetic voice and scheduled someone to come out and redo 90% of the work before the warranty began 🤣.

I don't know what Jerry did, but it was apparently well known in that company to likely need to be redone."


How do you lose a pizza board?

Pizza coming out of a wood oven
Unsplash | Fabrizio Pullara

"Was making pizza. Guy broke the pizza board(the thing with the handle you make the pizza on and then slide the pizza into the oven) I found the other one and he lost that. So I told him to make pizzas on one of the plastic cutting boards. He put the pizza into the oven on the board and just left it. The board melted No more pizza that day."


When you're sleepy, you're sleepy.

Woman sleeping face-down
Unsplash | Vladislav Muslakov

"Annual sales meeting.

Brand new guy is seated next to the CEO. He proceeds to put his head down and fall asleep on the table. During the meeting.

They woke him up at lunch to fire him."


What could go wrong?

A lane in a bowling alley
Unsplash | Steven Cordes

"My coworker at the bowling alley had to walk down a lane where a group of very young children (maybe 4-8 years old) were bowling to retrieve a ball that had stopped in the gutter about halfway down to the pins.

When he had picked up the ball my other coworker told him to go walk it back down to the children. However this guy had it in his mind that it would be best to bowl it back down at the group of small children instead."


This one's actually cute.

A workstation with both a desktop and laptop computer
Unsplash | Domenico Loia

"One volunteer had no computer experience. We showed her step by step how to do her job. She didn't know what a mouse was, how to click on something, etc. We got her up and running. She was pleased with herself, at having gotten the hang of using a PC.

Fast forward two hours. Come back to the office and she's in tears 'I swear I didn't do anything! There were just fish everywhere all of a sudden!!' Look at the computer. Aquarium screen saver."


It just adds some extra flavor.

Hand holding an ice cream cone in front of a yellow background
Unsplash | ian dooley

"Poured sink cleaning solution into the ice cream machine instead of the cream mixture and I had to stop them, they then said "I'm sure it'll be fine, it was only a little."

No that would poison people. I had to clean out the whole machine top to bottom and refill it. I ended up throwing away nearly a whole bucket full of contaminated ice cream mixture."


He achieved the rare trifecta.

Silhouette of a person standing in front of fire
Unsplash | Adam Wilson

"I used to work for a landscaping company and over the course of a summer I witnessed one of my co-workers accidentally set 3 different things on fire (a hedge trimmer, a truck, and himself)."


It took a while to figure out Zoom.

Participants in a Zoom call, viewed on a laptop screen
Unsplash | charlesdeluvio

"The office we worked in was shut down due to covid and the company went 100% remote. A new senior engineer was hired to work directly with our product team and also manage a team of developers. During our company wide weekly zoom meeting after he was done presenting for the company he turned his camera off but forgot to put himself on mute. 100+ people heard this man playing Fortnite and talking down about the company to someone else in the background among other things. He only lasted a month."


Remind me never to work in a machine shop.

Man using equipment in a machine shop
Unsplash | mick henson

"Worked in a machine shop. One of the lathe operators left the bar of cold rolled steel he was turning hanging out the back. When he turned the machine on, it literally deformed and turned into a a freaking helicopter blade ripped the back of the machine apart, and eventually flew off at high speed. Luckily no one got hit by it. If so, they'd be dead."


Easy mistake to make.

Warning sign on a wall
Unsplash | Troy Bridges

"I worked in a paint shop and every time a new chemical was introduced to the shop, I would ask about the hazards. They would tell me that it is a green chemical; there are no hazards. 'It's baby safe' they would say. Once when I entered the shop I saw a guy using a new spray. The side of the bucket indicated that it was dangerously poisonous and highly corrosive. I told him that he should be using a mask and gloves to use that chemical. He said 'Don't worry, it's baby safe. They even have a picture of a baby playing in it.' Sure enough it did.

After seeing the image, I yelled at the guy 'This is the baby. He is not playing, he is not swimming, HE'S DYING!'"


When you pick a hill to die on.

Wooden Pinocchio doll
Unsplash | Jametlene Reskp

"Shut down a critical file server, then lied about it...even after he was presented with the logs that showed it was his user account that initiated the shut down.

It's not so much the mistake that he made, but it was when he lied about making the mistake...that was a rookie move."


Why even use Excel if you do it this way?

A pocket calculator
Unsplash | charlesdeluvio

"Not a mistake necessarily, but I once witnessed our chief accounting officer (and our only accountant; it was a small company) type in values into two Excel cells, pull out a calculator, add the two numbers together in the calculator, and then type the answer in a third cell. She had apparently been doing this for years, with sheets consisting of thousands of rows. I explained how to use formulas and copy them but she apparently forgot because I saw her doing the same thing again months later."


Wait, weeks have seven days now?

Calendar with thumbtacks on certain days and the 30th circled
Unsplash | Towfiqu barbhuiya

"The designer, creative director and head of production all missed that there was an eight day week on a calendar. We sent 10000 copies of a useless calendar to a client. Rightly so, they refused to pay for it."


When weeding creates a poison gas attack.

Poison ivy leaves
Unsplash | James Whitney

"I worked on a golf course during the summer. Area with lots of poison ivy. Two of my coworkers were instructed to weed a river edge area. If we encounter poison ivy, we either stop what we are doing or go get full suit protection with respirators. These guys were weedwhacking in the thickest poison ivy I had ever seen. No protective suit or glasses or respirator. I roll up and notice what the hell they're doing and point out all the poison ivy everywhere- they were aerosolizing the oil. They both ended up in the hospital on steroid to prevent their death because of the oils they inhaled."


Get it together, Thomas.

Person frying fritters in hot oil
Unsplash | Karl Callwood

"Tried to cool down hot oil (in a chute, all ready to be emptied) with a nice big bucket of water…..I heard 'THOMAS NO' only to turn around and see a GEYSER of hot oil shooting towards the ceiling before it hit and splashed down around him. Nobody was hurt somehow."


Maybe just go with a sandwich per person next time.

A sandwich on a plate
Unsplash | Luis Covarrubias

"One of my coworkers took an order to feed 150 people and told them two platters of sandwiches would do. Each platter is 5 sandwiches cut into 3 bits. So at best, they'd have 30 pieces of sandwiches to feed 150 people. He doubled down and everything and had days to figure it out."


Ratchets are hard. Wait, no they're not.

Man using a ratchet to work on a scooter
Unsplash | Kumpan Electric

"Had a guy take a cover off the base of a radar unit which had like 40 bolts holding it on. Gave him a ratchet wrench to do it. Half hour later I go check on him.....only had about 10 off. Watched him a bit....he would take it off each time to move it for the next turn! showed him how a ratchet works....never assume people know stuff."


This is the kind of person who thinks all cats are girls and all dogs are boys.

Three guinea pigs
Unsplash | Jaroslaw Slodkiewicz

"At a Petco all the guinea pigs were in a big plexi-glass enclosure with a center divider. Boys on one side and girls on the other. An employee decided that all the long haired guinea pigs should be on one side and short haired on the other. It took forever to sort them out and all the females were pregnant."


Malice or incompetence?

Person filling out paperwork
Unsplash | Dimitri Karastelev

"Social worker here. We’re supposed to see clients who live with families once a year. A mom of a kid kept calling her worker but got no answer. Mom called the on call worker who discovered the assigned worker had logged the visits in and made thorough notes. The mom said she never saw her in two years. This led to her whole caseload being audited and then they found she had logged a visit with a client who’d been dead for months. While being audited, her supervisor decided to do a surprise visit to the client she was supposed to see. She never showed up and logged in the visit the next day."


That must be a record.

Employees on computers in an office setting
Unsplash | Israel Andrade

"Some new hire (like JUST hired) decided that a spare computer lab needed to be redesigned for better feng shui without realizing it was designed in a haphazard way thanks to a fluke of the building interfering with the computer network. The entire lab was rendered useless. He was gone within a hour."