Whether it’s a non-responsive boss, a terrible feud with a coworker, or a mounting pile of impossible to-dos, we all have days when we feel like our nine-to-five is getting the best of us. Luckily, while it may feel like we’re going through our work drama alone, founder of the popular workplace Q&A blog Ask a Manager Alison Green has created a handy resource to give every working gal a place to vent their frustrations and get actually helpful answers to their most burning work-related questions.
“I figured I’d just do it for a few months, no one would read it, and that would be the end of it,” Green says about starting the site. “But it turned out that there’s a real hunger out there for help figuring out how to navigate workplace issues. The site’s been around for 10 years now and I get more and more letters and more and more visitors each year — currently, I get about 60 letters a day and 2.2 million visits a month!”
While Green responds to as many letters as she can by offering job seekers and employees helpful tidbits about their particular situation, she admits that there have been some letters that have been downright bizarre. Here are 10 of our favorite outrageous office stories that have been sent to Ask a Manager — read on at your own risk!
1. “An employee is putting magic curses on her coworkers.” HR representatives have to deal with a lot of unusual workplace drama, but this one in particular might be the weirdest of the bunch. After a few complaints, an HR representative for a school division was asked to interview a member of the cleaning staff because she had been putting magic curses on her coworkers. “When people make me angry, or cross me, I don’t worry because I have ways to get rid of them,” she is quoted as saying in the HR interview. “And I’ve cursed them. I have a place in my house with candles and other items and I know how to do that.” Probably best not to get on this lady’s bad side…
2. “I ghosted my ex, and she’s about to be my new boss.” In order to avoid being tangled in breakup drama, this young chap ghosted his girlfriend of three years (yes, you read that right, THREE YEARS!) and left the country to pursue a new job as a math teacher in an international school. After some success at his new gig, he was horrified to know that his ex-girlfriend was offered a position in his new school and would be his superior. This cringe-worthy story recently blew up online, and the sensation has sparked an update. After setting up a meeting between the writer, the ex, and HR to discuss the past lovers’ tricky relationship, the HR representatives found that while it was not a sackable offense, they did have to put a few measures in place to avoid possible problems in the future — including talking only when a third party is present, documenting all meetings, and limiting their interactions beyond the school. This didn’t fly with the chap and he resigned immediately.
3. “‘A coworker stole my spicy food, got sick, and is now blaming me.'” After a coworker stole this employee’s clearly labeled food out of the fridge and started eating it, the thief came running out of the kitchen having a hard time breathing, ran to the bathroom, and started to be sick. The employee was later accused of trying to poison her coworker and was thrown into a full-fledged HR investigation.
4. “A job candidate sent an invoice after her interview.” In the process of hiring a director for their new satellite office, this company decided to interview a very promising candidate that was referred to them by a client. After bringing her in for an interview and asking her several basic questions, they decided that she wasn’t the best fit and told her so via email. Two weeks later, they received an invoice in the mail and an incredibly high hourly rate for her business development consulting service.
5. “I have to share a hotel room with a coworker who screams in her sleep.” We’ve all shared a space with someone who wasn’t an ideal temporary roommate, but this horror story blows our nightmarish stories out of the water. This anonymous employee doubles up two to a room whenever she travels for work as per company policy. “The first time I shared a room with a coworker, she first talked in her sleep and then bolted upright in the middle of the night screaming, crying, and [thrashing]. She was shouting about things like blood and murder.” Frightened, the employee went to go talk to her boss about potentially switching rooms. Instead of being understanding, he accused her of trying to get a single room and, in essence, told her to buck up. Nice.
6. “My coworker keeps asking everyone for loans.” This anonymous employee is fed up with her coworker who is continuously hitting up every person in her office for loans — sometimes multiple times a day. “Saying no was easy because it seemed really inappropriate, and because of the amounts she would ask for ranged so widely, sometimes with 2+ requests in one day, such as $10 for gas (less weird, maybe, but still weird) to hundreds for a vet bill (okay, getting weirder) to thousands and change for a car repair (which shocked me so much I laughed out loud).” Unfortunately, not everyone was able to deny this employee’s requests and a few of her coworkers lent her money and are anxiously waiting for their loans to be repaid… despite the employee still asking for money every single day. Yikes!
7. “I bit my coworker.” “So I bit a coworker yesterday. Obviously, I’m mortified.” In her defense, this employee works in a very dysfunctional office and received months and months of tiny micro-aggressions from her male coworkers. This particular incident started when she was walking to her coworker’s office with her hands full of paperwork and a mug of hot coffee. The office manager stood in the doorway and would not move to let her through, despite her asking politely several times. Apparently, this was her breaking point, because instead of talking it through, she bit him.
8. “My boss books escorts with his company email.” This executive assistant has access to her boss’s email account and sometimes has to send an email to his personal contacts — including coordinating travel with his wife and checking in on his child’s extracurricular activities. But one day, when she was going through his sent folder to find an email he was referencing, she found a strange Gmail account that he used to hire escorts on company time. You know that business meeting he needs a hotel room for? Umm, yeah. It’s not that kind of business.
9. “My assistant quit because of St. Patrick’s Day pinching.” This workplace goes all out for Saint Patrick’s Day — they wear green, hang decorations, and even order non-alcoholic green drinks and host a themed catered lunch. But this employee’s assistant of Irish decent declined to participate and complained that their celebration was offensive and cultural appropriation. Despite saying adamantly that she didn’t want to participate, she was pinched throughout the day on numerous occasions for not wearing green, some even near inappropriate places. Needless to say, she quit on the spot.
10. “My manager shows up while I’m having chemotherapy to talk about work.” This brave employee, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, scheduled her chemotherapy sessions on her regular days off so that she could maintain her current job during a trying time. But despite the fact that only the manager and receptionist were supposed to have access to employee’s schedules, one day the assistant manager showed up during this employee’s cancer treatment and proceeded to ask her numerous questions about non-emergency work tasks.
Coming back to the office shocked and a little offended, she greeted the teary-eyed receptionist who told her that the assistant manager threatened to fire her if she didn’t tell him about the employee’s personal whereabouts on her days off. The employee proceeded to ask her manager to deal with the situation… and to remedy the problem, he fired the receptionist. Now the assistant manager regularly comes into the clinic to ask her work questions. Even though she has asked the clinic not to admit him, the assistant manager waits until no one is looking, says it is an emergency, or lies and tells them he is family. We’re fuming in our office chairs just thinking about all the stress this must be causing this poor employee who needs their job for the medical benefits.
Do you have any crazy office stories you’re willing to dish about? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Photo via Getty)