You might think that your actual job is the most important part, but what’s equally vital is working with the right people. The colleagues who surround you and help make up the atmosphere in your workplace can either lift you up with their support or make you curse the day you ever set foot through the door. The friendly folks of Reddit have been sharing their facepalm-worthy stories about the very worst coworkers they’ve ever encountered after user Fruntledumjam started up a thread about colleagues from hell on r/AskReddit. The thread went viral with 35.3k upvotes, 132 awards, and a whopping 8.4k comments.
Check out some of the best stories below and be sure to let us know about the very worst people you’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of working with below, dear Pandas. Remember to grab yourself some popcorn for this and don’t forget to upvote the stories that made you cringe the most.
In order to learn more about how important colleagues are to our everyday welfare and how to deal with problematic coworkers, Bored Panda reached out to Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu, a workplace psychology expert who is the head of emotional fitness at Coa. “Benefits and pay are, of course, important aspects of a job but research continues to support they are not the top reasons why people leave a job,” she explained in an interview via email. Be sure to read on for her full insights, as well as for our interview with the author of the thread, Fruntledumjam.
I quit smoking due to a coworker that would follow me to every smoke break to talk about their problems when I needed some god damn me-time.
Its been 3 years, and I still haven't bothered to pick the habit back up.
Jerk coworker threw away a Secret Santa gift because 'she didn't like plush toys' in front of the person who gave it to her.
First day of work she lit her desk on fire.
Second day of work she ate her lunch and broke out n hives.
Third day of work she arrives at work and sat in her passenger seat until one of us went out to check on her. She claims she hurt her back trying to pick up her purse and had one of her co-workers drove her home
Would not let us use the same microwave as her as she claimed she was allergic to garlic.
The list went on and on... until she was fired. Oh Marian I wonder where you are now as you were so entertaining.
Dr. Sandhu, the head of emotional fitness at Coa, told Bored Panda that our work environment plays a “significant role in our job satisfaction.” Naturally, our coworkers have a hand in shaping that environment. “They help us feel connected to an organization and can help us enjoy the work that we're doing. It's difficult to emotionally separate how we feel about our ‘colleagues’ from how we feel about our ‘job.’”
The clinical psychologist gave an example how an employee who feels a sense of purpose and belonging in a job where collaboration opportunities are available will have an even stronger feeling of belonging in an environment where their relationships with colleagues are nurtured.
Had an assistant who plotted to get me fired and take my job. Some of my workers let me know because he tried to get them onboard with him. Eventually, due to politics I was demoted but asked to be put on the shift relieving him (we would work 12 hour shifts on weekends). After being relieved by phone a couple of times (against the rules) I intentionally came in 4 hours early and he was no where on site. I still got a call from him when he should have relieved me like he was still on site. I let the guards know and they videotaped him and I got him fired.
Tony. He never did his job but loves to tell you how to do yours.
I had just left an abusive bf and told everyone at work that if he shows up say im not there. One male manager decided to tell him exactly where I am and told me I have daddy issues.
Dr. Sandhu, highlighted the fact that we all tend to be more critical when we’re under stress. What’s more, we can view others’ behavior as more critical than it actually is.
“If you are experiencing a colleague as persistently rude, this is an opportunity to share feedback with them. Prepare to have a feedback conversation with them where you share concrete observations you've made and most importantly, talk about the impact on you. For example, ‘I noticed that you interrupted me twice during that meeting. The impact on me is that I don't get to share my ideas and feel like I'm contributing to the team,’” the expert shared what we can do to change the situation for the better.
“If you do not feel safe sharing feedback directly to this person, look to your manager for support on how this rude behavior impacts you,” Dr. Sandhu said.
I fully acknowledge there are far worse things, but she microwaved salmon.
She was a lady in her 50s. We worked at a drs office. Nothing was EVER her fault, she could not take even the nicest constructive criticism, and constantly complained about EVERYTHING. One of my nicest co workers ever (who was around the same age so not an ageism thing) often was the recipient of her blame and because she never took responsibility, it was regularly the same issues she never learned to correct. They bickered a lot after a couple years of this. One day the nice coworker went to the car to grab her anxiety med, and the obnoxious one went to the office manager and then HR saying she thought the nice one went to get a weapon to hurt her. Like what?! She didn't even own a weapon? And the nice one GOT FIRED. I was absolutely SHOCKED. Any lingering respect I had for her was gone. I've had a lot of jobs and met some sh*tty people but she was the most stressful nightmare who could boohoo her way into getting pity parties on cue.
I worked shifts. Can't go home unless I pass over my reports to the next person face to face. One particular b*tch loves coming in late. Not 5 or 10 minutes late, I'm talking 25 to 30 minutes late. Best part, she loves b*tching about how everyone is always on her ass for coming in late.
She literally lives 5 minutes walk away from work, so no one knows why she's always late.
Meanwhile, the author of the thread, redditor Fruntledumjam, went into detail about what (or rather who!) inspired them to create the viral thread on r/AskReddit in the first place. They've got a coworker from hell to deal with themselves, and they wanted to see what similar situations other internet users have dealt with.
"I have somebody at my work who finds anything and everything to complain about. We have a cleaner, and the place I work at is in a warehouse, so it’s not exactly the cleanest. But the cleaner keeps leaving notes inside the break room, asking people to please at least wash their dishes and clean up spills," they said.
"So the complainer continues to complain (as you do) about absolutely nothing. She also brings a generally bad attitude to new people, and will give you the silent treatment if you’re new. On top of that, she yells at the administrator about (you guessed it) things that don’t really matter in the long run. And considering that the admin is also my girlfriend, I don’t like her too much," the redditor shared their personal story.
I work with a woman who is threatened by other women, especially if they are younger and have more education than her.
She consistently tries to discourage women from furthering their education, and constantly tries to get women she is threatened by fired. She is a goddam nightmare.
I briefly had a co-worker at my current job at a local grocery store. We'll just call him "Fred".
Fred is one of those people who's always talking on his phone in the break room and that's my personal pet peeve at work. More often than not, he's usually arguing with his girlfriend and he doesn't seem to care that anyone's listening. He'd do other annoying, gross things like chewing with his mouth wide open and wiping his boogers all over the place, but then there was one day when he tried to flush a hot pocket down the toilet.
Needless to say that it didn't play out so well and that temporarily put an end to our closest employee restroom right by the break room. He surprisingly didn't get fired over that, but he did get fired when one of his old high school teachers came in shopping and he threw a whole sack of potatoes at her. She was an elderly woman who got seriously injured and both the ambulance and the cops had to get involved.
I never did hear about what happened to his old teacher, but Fred on the other hand is currently in jail for not only assaulting his teacher, but he apparently also attacked his lawyer for reasons unkown.
He told the General Manager that he might be a bit late for a shift due to his second job. When the GM reluctantly said OK, he apparently took this as thinking he had free reign to come and go as he pleased. He'd show up anywhere from 7:30-8:30 for his 7:00 shift. Then when the doors closed he'd insist he had to "head out" and he had an early morning the following morning, leaving everyone else to do the closing work. He also had other issues like being rude to customers and other employees.
People mostly kept quiet until one day a higher-level manager had to sub on night shift. When he went to leave early and the rest of us with the work, the manager flipped, "If you lay a f**king FINGER on that money before this work is COMPLETELY DONE, don't bother coming back." The guy insisted he "had permission" and left anyway. When our GM returned and he tried to come back, our manager said, "You warned me you were going to be late ONE TIME, and I never once gave you permission to otherwise start late or leave early. Clean out your locker NOW."
In Fruntledumjam's opinion, it's always best to trust your own judgment before labeling someone a coworker from hell based on rumors alone. "If I had my way, I would choose to ignore them and not make myself a target. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to listen to if other people are talking of one certain person, observing the behavior of the certain person, and then making your own judgment. There’s always going to be gossip at any job you work at, and sometimes it’s true what people say, but sometimes it’s the one who started the rumor that’s the one to look out for."
The redditor shared with us that they also had another unruly colleague at work who never showed up because he'd always have hangovers from the night before. Other than that, "he really was a lovely guy."
We had a sysadmin who would come to work and run his real estate business from his desk while he was supposed to be working. The whole time coughing and sneezing and sniffling constantly. We called him "Itchy". He would also call friends and family and have hours long conversations with them while we all had to listen.
He picked up the nickname "Thanksgiving dinner guy" for using the break room (full kitchen) to cook entire meals that wouldn't be out of place at a family gathering. One of the offices in another wing had a sheet by the door for people to log when they saw him and what he was cooking that day.
He didn't like any of us (the feeling was mutual) and left books like "Jerks at work." on his desk.
When he finally got fired, they found out he never did any of his sysadmin work. No backups, no password changes, no log monitoring.
Going through a court thing with my ex coworker atm actually.
She's a nurse that apparently had her license taken away prior to her hire at my work. Our HR didn't bother checking I guess. The first care meeting we had with her, she started accusing the black staff for stealing. She had been there a week and didn't know what she was talking about (the team ran the best out of the whole company). She was determined to make everyone feel uncomfortable. She'd stand near the bathroom pretending to wait to go inside, while listening to people chat in the kitchen/staff room (the bathroom was a one person bathroom and was obvious when no one was inside it). She'd chase staff down the hallways screaming at them for stealing, then when they showed her they had nothing in their hands, she'd say "OH I WASN'T YELLING AT YOU I WAS YELLING AT MYSELF"...
She'd tell the black social worker she shouldn't wear straight wigs because "black people don't have straight hair". She'd also tell the staff they weren't working hard enough to get a raise when they asked for one in a meeting with one of the bosses (prick). He was racist too so he promoted her.
Finally after months of this bullsh*t, she finally f*cked up bad enough (a client had to go to hospital due to her negligence) and the family demanded to have a meeting about her attitude. She refused to acknowledge that she f*cked up, tried to blame me for "not reminding her that lunch was at 12pm" and told HR if she was going to get in trouble, she'd quit.
My social worker friend who was fired for complaining about this nurses racism is currently in a court battle with the company and how they received tons of complaints about her racists sh*t, and did nothing. F*ck that company.
We worked in a store that sold specific and fairly expensive products, and there were 4 of us working there, including the owner. The woman in question was basically his second-in-command.
She seemed totally cool at the time, but then I got fired. And then a month later, our other coworker got fired. So it was just the two of them, and, when the owner was busy, it was often just her.
It wasn't long before he realized that she was stealing hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of products when he wasn't around, and that she'd manipulated him into firing his two other employees so she could have the store to herself.
He has new employees now and they're awesome. I plan on visiting a lot more once I'm vaccinated.
There is one upside to having coworkers from hell, however. They might actually force you to make positive life changes that end up benefiting you, just so you can get away from them. For instance, redditor Lil_BootySnack explained how they quit smoking just so they could get some peace and quiet from their stalkerish colleague. It’s a win, overall. Health: 1; coworker from hell: 0.
Completely honestly, I’ve been blessed. In all the different places I’ve ever worked at, I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘nightmare’ coworker who made my life a living hell. That’s not to say that there’s never been any arguments or disagreements, but everyone’s been quite professional, friendly, and (as cheesy as it sounds) pretty much wholesome.
However, far from everyone’s as lucky as I’ve been. So it’s useful to learn how to deal with difficulties in the workplace without resorting to lawsuits and/or quitting in the most dramatic way possible.
This woman who was one of those people who always had to one up you. Like if you cut your thumb off, she was just recently sawed in half. She was constantly complaining and miserable and it was so draining.
An MMA fighter with serious PTSD (although it sounds like he was crazy and mean before he went to war). I have brown-ish skin, and he would threaten to kill me multiple times a day at work. Once he put me in a a sleeper hold just to put me down for fun, and two other guys had to get him off. Guy was laughing maniacally the whole time. Sometimes he would hit me around the waistline when no one was looking, so no one could see the bruises. Threatened to kill me and my family members if I ever reported it. Our supervisor was an ex Army Ranger, whom I deeply respected...but he defended this guy through it all and I never understood that. Finally the guy got fired after two years and ended up in jail for a while, but those were two terrible years.
My old boss could be really good, but here are some of the things leading up to her getting fired:
• she would berate people into taking her random vitamins
• she would insist that we all attend her hot yoga class. She would get people to do it by putting them “on the clock”
• she would pinch your arm if she didn’t like what you were saying to a customer
• I had to share a room with her at a conference. She slept naked. She got so drunk she went to hang out with a random couple in their room, came back & puked all over our room
• she would climb ladders in front of customers while wearing tiny dresses
• and on and on and on
I worked at a fancy bathbomb store in the UK. No, she was not my type (my type is men).
She would pit me & the other floor managers against each other. We would have to go to her apartment when we were on the clock to make the schedule. She didn’t own a microwave because of .... the microwaves, I think?
She really hated our only male floor manager. Probably because he’d applied for her job before she got it. He was no threat, so I didn’t get why.
Right before she got fired we had a team meeting in a park. Employees brought their dogs, smoked, and were down right mean to her. She brought it all on herself but it was awkward to watch.
She had a few redeeming qualities, but her awful ones are much more memorable.
Psychologist and author Sherrie Bourg Carter writes on Psychology Today that jerks at work are fairly predictable. “Divas will be divas. Complainers will complain. Suck ups will ... well, you get the picture. Although you may not always be able to predict the exact details of each and every drama they'll create, you can probably predict the ‘theme.’ Use this to your advantage by anticipating the next conflict and being prepared with a response.”
So instead of reacting instinctively, think about how you’ll respond the next time there’s a major drama or somebody tries to ruin your day by being annoying, bullying you, or not giving you a moment’s peace.
I was a coworker from hell. I was real strung out and high all of the time, and a bad influence on my other coworkers. Much regret
This woman named Laurie use to be an operator at my work, I've since replaced her. I worked as her assistant for 2 years. She always made the job 10 times harder than it was and would very rarely pay attention to the trim system on the winder, causing many many many paper blow ups (huge pain in the ass to clean up). Every shift I knew I'd be working my ass off for a solid 12 hours. Looking back, I get why she was the way she was. She was literally the only woman employed on the production floor and was constantly trying to prove herself. She eventually just got so fed up that she stopped caring. Near the end of her time there, we actually got quite close on a personal level. Some of the stories she told me about what some of the guys would do to her actually made me so sad for her. So what started as my coworker from hell, is now actually one of my good friends! Funny how things work.
Had a guy that I worked with in my meat department at the store I work at, he would lose his mind over any little thing and get super angry and make everyone very uncomfortable. I was training a new guy and he was on one of his tantrums so I had to get my managers to help me out. One time he got so mad that he threw an actual meat cleaver in the wall and the dent is still there to this day. He got fired a few months ago and it’s been the happiest that the department has been in a long time.
Psychologist Sherrie also points out that problem-causing coworkers love causing chaos, so you have to refrain from engaging in it, even if you might be tempted to put them in their place. If you keep your interactions brief, polite, and to-the-point, you won’t reinforce their bad behavior.
What’s more, you also have to remember not to take things personally. I know, I know, it’s always easier said than done. However, problematic coworkers might have a lot of unresolved personal issues which cause them to lash out or act in problematic ways. That’s no excuse for rude or unruly behavior, however, it’s important to remember that we’re all human. Flawed. Imperfect. And... always looking forward to the weekend.
KC. KC forgot to show up for her interview, but was somehow still hired. KC seemed to have all the signs of adhd, and admitted she probably did, but her dad was a doctor and said it wasn't a real thing so she never got treatment. KC told long, rambling stories about things no one cared about, and would try to read personal items in your purse. KC worked the late rotation after the supervisors left, and would just read fan fiction leaving everyone else to work the joint queue while doing nothing herself. KC bounced on a rubber exercise ball that squeaked. Everyone got theirs taken away because KC fell off hers and they were deemed a safety hazard. KC would kick her shoes off and rub her fingers between her bare toes at her desk. After everyone left, KC would raid their candy jars and snack drawers with her toe hands. The only nice thing the evil supervisor ever did was fire KC.
She almost got me fired because she wanted to find the weakest looking guy to be her little errand boy. When I told her politely to go screw herself, she told HR that I had been taking work out of her queue in the system.
It wasn't a very good lie though, because why would I want to do more work than I have to? I even said this to HR in the disciplinary meeting.
I used to work in a call centre and although we had our share of terrible hires one girl stood out.
She would regularly ignore her phone because she "didn't feel like taking calls" and would spend all her time on Facebook etc. One day she told the staff she was going in for a major operation and would be off for 2 weeks. Although she wasn't the most popular staff member at this point everyone still got her a card and put money in to buy her some gifts for when she was off work.
About 3 days into her absence and during what would have been her surgery time, another girl spotted her shopping for makeup with friends, and then took photos of her. When the girl came back in she was met with death stares from 100 colleagues, and when asked how her operation was she hammed it up and said she was still in pain.
The manager immediately screamed at her to get in his office and was so loud that the rest of us could hear every word. HR got involved and she was gone in 24 hours, which was followed by her attempt to sue for unfair dismissal. Thankfully she didn't get far.
A few years back at my old job we hired a web developer who on her first day on the job yelled at our CTO cause her mouse didn't work. she proceeded to be not just unpleasant but actively hostile to everyone she interacted with. I came in one morning at like 7am cause i needed to test some stuff and saw her at her desk eating a box of 711 wings and chugging a 2litre diet coke. she then threw the box of bones into a bin and missed, spilling it everywhere and she yelled really loudly "F**KING GOD DAMN IT UUUGGGHH" while me and 3 others were in the office. we all gave her the benefit of the doubt of extreme anti social programmer personality or maybe had personal problems to deal with and everyone tried to be nice.
the last straw was when she berrated at the most beloved guy in the office, one of the IT personnel that everyone liked, and she gave him a sort of school master style talking down to infront of the whole office cause her internet was slow.
she was fired within like 2 weeks of hiring.
also she smelled like old eggs and mildew.
A vet's office I worked for hired a girl to work as a tech whose only relevant experience was working in a non-medical boarding facility. She thought she was hot stuff. She expected to waltz right in with zero medical experience and get promoted to management above techs that had been working there for years, by sucking up to the bosses. Problem was, not only did she not have the experience, she also lacked the work ethic and desire to actually do any of the tech stuff. She just wanted to be able to cuddle puppies, sit at a computer, and boss peons around.
So, instead of learning how to do the job better, or actually putting in any effort, she decides the best way to get promoted is to make everyone else look bad and feel miserable. When things didn't go her way, she would make vague meritless complaints that her coworkers were being mean to her. Every week, someone was brought into the office about it. The thing is, the other 20-odd employees pointed out that, maybe, just maybe, if she was the one having problems with everybody, it could have been HER.
In the end, we lost about half the staff because of this chick. Ended up having to hire folks with no veterinary experience to replace people that had been there 7+ years. So, it wasn't just the staff that suffered. Quality of care took a noticeable hit. I stuck around for another year, but finally between her and the by then obvious management problems, I had enough.
After I left, she got bold enough to send threatening text messages to a couple of coworkers (we all had each others numbers to coordinate weekend duties). They reported her to the cops, and they arrested her while she was at work. If not for that, she'd probably still be there kissing the right asses while running off staff.
Had a co-worker who always gossiped about others and would say horrible things about everyone in the office. It created a super toxic culture and caused many people to leave, not because they didn’t like the work, they just hated the culture.
Had a colleague who genuinely enjoyed seeing people not do well and enjoyed when people felt uncomfortable. She’s very manipulative, and is actually quite good at it. She would ask you questions and sympathize with whatever you’ve got going on, only to turn around and tell everyone what you just confessed to her.
After about 2-3 months with the company, if she hasn’t already somehow screwed you over, you’ve heard enough about her to know that if you don’t want the rest of the room to find out, then you don’t tell her.
Yeah, I’m talking about you Carolina.
His name was Lenny, and he was a mess. His first day, he drove a van over the side of a loading dock, punctured the oil pan, and then didn't tell anyone until one of the long haul guys asked why the dock was blocked.
I was riding shotgun with him once, and he was driving. He was also nodding out. While driving. And trying to eat soup at the same time.
He once had me drive to the post office to pick up a package for him. It was a brick of hash. Sent to his full name. At the post office. He opened the package in the truck to show me all the hash he had.
He claimed that he was the bosses cousin.. well.. he was. He was The Boss's cousin. And an assistant tour manager. He died of a drug overdose while on tour.
Okay, this may not be my most hellish coworker, but I have a weird one for you guys.
My first ever job was at a coffee shop chain. The location I was at was connected to a gas station/convenient store. We kinda had an 'L' shaped corner of the store. As such, we didn't have a ton of space, including room for the larger ovens needed to cook bagels. So instead, we would have our bagels delivered to us from another (larger) location down the road.
For awhile the baker was this really weird, quiet girl who seemed to lack social self awareness. She always seemed a little unclean and just lingered a little too long around people without really saying anything. Honestly she just put out "not quite right" vibes.
Anyway, one day I head in at 6 and there are no bagels. I ask my manager if the store down the road was running behind or if they had a call out. (Both were fairly common.) My manager points to the rack of newspapers the convenience store had by the entrance and tells me to read the headline.
Apparently the weird girl was in FBI custody. Basically there was a couple who had kidnapped a minor (I won't get into why, as it may be a TW for some). Weird girl was renting a room from the couple, knew what was happening and never told anyone! Somehow they were all found out and arrested and the young girl was reunited with her family.
Reading the story, the whole thing felt very twilight zone.
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