Worst first days on the job

Jack Lew was sworn in as new Treasury secretary today, and with those big sequester cuts looming tomorrow, we imagine he had a rough first day on the job. So we wanted to hear your horror stories of terrible first days. Here's what you told us.

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  1. On the first day of my first job, as a copy editor for a daily newspaper, I decided to pop some popcorn for a snack. Well, no one told me the microwave ran a "little higher" than normal microwaves so I set the popcorn for 3:30 mins. 1:30 mins later, smoke is billowing out of the microwave setting off the fire alarm and causing an evacuation of the entire building. Needless to say, I this incident stuck with me throughout my time there.
  2. I sliced the tip of my finger off while trimming maps down to size. It was supposed to be a computer job...no one asked me if I had any physical coordination.
  3. It wasn't my first day... but when I was 16 I was interviewing at a health care facility. I was really nervous and my stomach had been turning all day. When I was finally called for my interview, I reached out to shake my interviewer's hand and I farted! How embarrassing! I tried to pretend my shoe had made the noise but I'm sure she knew. I got the job anyway though.
  4. Split my pants. Had to staple em in the bathroom and borrow my new boss' jacket to cover my rear.
  5. I got the flu on the first day of a new job. Had to ask to go home, and my boss looked at me incredulously, then let me go. I am one to muscle through an illness, but this particular strain hit me hard!
  6. First day of teaching job in Japan included me introducing myself to the entire staff in broken Japanese and my supervisor helping me buy toilet paper for my apartment! Both embarrassing experiences made the first day uncomfortable, but in the end, I believe it helped to create a bond. :-)
  7. I moved from India to San Diego to start a new job in 2001. I flew in previous night and relocation people had put me up in a hotel 5 miles away and i had assumed i could walk to work. It was raining. So i ended up walking 5 miles in rain trying to find my place of work with just the address (no google maps those days). Eventually got to work. On the funnier side, had to attend a meeting later that day in "first floor" which i assumed was second floor since in India we count floors as ground, first, second etc. Ended up spending 15 mins looking for an non-existent conference room. But over all it was not bad, I stayed with my employer for almost 12 years before i left them last year :)
  8. it wasn't my first day, but I was transferred to a different Starbucks location during my 3 years of working for them. We make the mocha syrup in these 5 gallon buckets and it needs to cool as its made with boiling water. I went up to put it on a baker's rack on a shelf above my head and the whole thing came down, making a huge chocolaty mess. Luckily there are drains all over the floor.
  9. Made the restaurants owner and his wife a Caesar Salad with a large "chunk" of mud still in the Romaine lettuce.
  10. I tripped and spilled a big bucket of melted cheese on the floor of the hamburger joint. When my manager asked me to mop it up, put it back in the bucket, and place it back on the salad/baked potato bar, I quit. Shortest first day ever!
  11. The company didn't announce it was going under, but ... my first full-time, permanent job out of college was at Rockwell. This was during the Carter administration, and Carter cancelled the B-1 project. My "permanent" job lasted ONE whole week. Then I got laid off with two weeks' severance -- for the highest per/hour salary (3 weeks pay for 1 week work) that I'd make for years. :-)
  12. First job ever when I was 14 and a grocery bagger, I was mopping and overturned the whole mop bucket (the big kinds with wheels that stores/businesses use) in a utility closet spilling several gallons of dirty water all over a whole closet of paper products.
  13. The employer said: minimum wage, part-time, no benefits. And my congressman said: That's acceptable.
  14. Years ago I worked briefly as a maintenance mechanic at a rendering plant outside Denver. I spent most of my first day replacing a mounting bracket over the auger pit in which the waste meat products went into the system, ground up before being processed into bone meal and tallow. The nastiest stench you can imagine permeated everything.A blizzard on the eastern plains had recently killed whole herds of steers and their carcasses were being brought in by the trainload, so we stayed pretty busy. They let me go because I wasn't demonstrating the proper enthusiasm.
  15. The 2nd day at work, I had to call in sick. I had gotten so stressed out about starting a new position (after 2 years laid off) that I got a sinus infection and was out the rest of my first week. They laughed it off but I was mortified!
  16. I crashed my bicycle (smiling at a pretty gal) on my ride to work on my first day at A nice pizza place uptown NOLA. I limped into my first shift as a pizza cook with bloody hands and face. And broken pride. But it's very possible they gave me a beer or two to cure it. Or as the manager at the time called it "his medicine" As that's been known to happen there.
  17. My father unexpectantly passed away and left the family business in pretty bad shape, so it was up to me to save it. First day on the job I had to go make sales calls for the first time in my life… and it was bad. Rejection at every corner, ran into a deer, told a customer to stick his head up a butchers ass and somehow I even managed to light a toy car on fire on a guys desk during a sales call! My buddy Richard said it was all part of the learning curve.Anyways, we eventually made enough sales to fight off a take over from Zalinski and some shady family dealings and saved the Callahan Brake Pad factory.
  18. I got hired for the MO PIRG canvassing group, and showed up for my first day on the job to learn that we would have a brief campaign meeting, and then we would be loaded up in a bus and dropped off in a neighborhood. This was before smart phones even existed, much less before I had one. I had no familiarity with the neighborhood I was in, and the only supplies I was given were handouts and a bag to carry them in. They informed us we would be picked back up in 8 hours. When I asked about breaks, they said to take them when we needed them. I asked about lunch and restrooms, and they said "be creative." There were no major roads near by, no quick stops, no McDonald's. I literally had to beg a few kind strangers to let me into their house to use the restroom and get a drink of water. It was mortifying. By the end of the day I was tired, hungry, thirsty and felt an awful lot like a prisoner, not an employee. I quit that evening.
  19. A few days into a prestigious fellowship at a midwestern university, I got frustrated by registrar bureaucracy and, while on the phone with someone in that office, swore in passing. Not AT the person, but as in, FML: this is par for the course in daily exchanges in NYC, where I usually live. The next day my director--a fairly proper man in his 70s, who wears a bow tie and suit jackets--asked to meet with me, and explained that he had received complaints from the registration about my terrible language and treatment of staff. Way to be impressive, eh?
  20. I had to use a hose to spray out stalls of waste and dead piglets. Then pick 7 bushels of okra. And I didn't get paid for it. Hooray for working for family members.
  21. While working in Japan, on my first day I fell down some stairs, sprained my ankle and fractured a toe. Had to work from home the rest of the week, and when I returned had to go in Burkenstocks.
  22. Got into a car accident on the way to moving to a new job! I didn't even make it to the first day. The car is in the shop and my start day is delayed for another 2 weeks while it's getting fixed!
  23. First day as a police officer, responded to a shooting and my training officer made me do the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR (with a mouth shield) on the shooting victim, who was clearly not gonna make it. But you do what you're told if you wanna pass the training.
  24. I joined a big retailer IT division. On the day of joining they transferred all IT jobs to a third party vendor.I was offered a lesser role. If I declined they told I can leave.....I took it up.
  25. was nearly broke, so I made a triple-deck peanut butter sandwich with my last three slices of bread and took that to work. Somebody stole it off the lunch shelf before lunch time, so I had nothing to eat, and no money for the vending machines. I was too proud (independent) to ask anyone for a bite of food or a loan.