30 People Confess The Worst Mistake They’ve Made At Work

Some of these are pure comedy gold. Wow. Read the rest for yourself on this Reddit thread here.

1. When you hear it…

I tried to throw a spool of Cat-5 cable onto a scaffold, missed, and destroyed a rack of 8 Mercedes-Benz windshields.

2. For the love.

I traveled to Brazil to do volunteer work and met a beautiful girl. I spoke almost no Portuguese, but we got by and I ended up staying at her house for a week while I had a week in transit traveling between places. Her family was SO nice to me. They made me dinner/lunch every day and I didn’t pay a cent.

It was the best week, until… The girl and I wanted to watch a movie, but I was told that my feet were too dirty to lie on her bed (I was out playing with her dog) and I had to wash them. I jumped over her to go to the bathroom, but slipped on the way. I landed on her and badly dislocated her knee. She was screaming in agony and was in a LOT of pain. I ran for her mother and called her in broken Portuguese to come help.

Her mother, father, two brothers and even the dog (who I had to hold back) were in the room, and I had to explain to them in broken Portuguese why their daughter/sister was crying in agony and how her knee is dislocated. I was told that it was the worst pain she had ever felt in her life.

Worst part about it? She was going on a fancy cruise in two weeks time and had to spend the whole thing on crutches (IE no stilettos, no dancing, nada).

For the curious… We are still together three years later and her family (and of course my girlfriend) LOVE telling the story. When my girlfriend was waiting for the doctor, my girlfriends mother said she was more worried for me. She thought I was going to pass out because I went so pale. I will take the embarrassment to my grave!

3. Worst mistake ever.

I used to work for a veterinarian and one of our tasks was to euthanize sick animals-just like any other vet’s office. The Veterinarian usually left this task up to the other technicians and myself, until one day we put the wrong dog to sleep. I still feel awful about it to this day. Both dogs were sick and both were poodles, and I was instructed to “go get the sick poodle ready for euthanasia…”

4. That’s really not cool.

One of our technicians was having a bad day. A man brought in his German Shepherd because he had just seen “Marley and Me” and wanted to get the dog caught up on all of its shots. When the tech brought the dog back, she slammed it on the countertop HARD. Like, hard enough to where the other tech and the vet were like, “WTF?!” They returned the dog to the owner after the blood draw and while waiting for the heartworm test results, I hear the man SCREAMING for help. I walk in and the dog is seizing on the ground, rolling in its vomit. We grab the dog and try to save it…but it died. It had some kind of small bleed or damage internally, and the tech DEFINITELY ruptured it. I don’t really know the details because I was absolutely traumatized and didn’t want to get involved. I was new and didn’t want to question their…uh…practice. I almost quit that day. I couldn’t believe that tech caused that dog’s death. And the owner had NO idea.

5. It was crusty.

When I began my job working in a laser clinic, I hadn’t had much experience working with these types of lasers. I was technically still training but one of the other clinicians was running behind time and asked me to treat this client for her. As I didn’t know the machines too well (all tend to differ in strength, so treatment parameters vary), the other clinician entered the parameters so I just needed to point and shoot.

Well, this client was a stripper, who was having hair removal on her Brazilian. We were chatting away, she was talking about her job and how she only works three nights a week which provides her with more than enough money for the week. So everything is going fine and she’s writhing in pain (as people getting laser treatment do, it hurts like a mo’), then afterwards she says it’s still feeling very hot and uncomfortable, so I grab an ice pack for her. (A common rule is that usually if you need to put a frozen ice pack on your va-juzh to make it feel better then something’s wrong). I suspected that the parameters were too high, so gave her all the post care advice and treatment for a burn but she wasn’t too concerned and just shrugged it off. The next day she returned with a crusty vagina and asked us to write a letter to her employer explaining the situation and getting her off work for two weeks (she was supposed to pay her employer each time she didn’t work a set shift). Considering I crusted up her lady meats she was quite laid back about the situation, although I suspect she may have had enough funds to not care about working for the next two weeks anyway.

TL;DR: Burned a strippers lady meats, luckily she was cool about it.

6. Ouch :(

Broke an expensive wine glass while working behind a bar and pushed the stem through the palm of my hand. Slipped while polishing it, didn’t do it on purpose.

Got fired a week later.

7. Spend money to spend more money!

I ordered a new lens for our microscope. It cost about 10,000USD and that was a deal. The other places had this lens for about 5k more.

Boss was quite happy I managed to save so much money.

It came….it ended up not being a phase contrast lens so we couldn’t view cells. MANY LOL were had. Especially when it was non-returnable.

8. I have these sausage fingers…

I once dropped an unopened 4L glass container of dichloromethane. It shattered and DCM went everywhere. The lab had to be evacuated because of the fumes. When we came back it had basically melted the entire lab floor. The floor stayed like that for about 6 months until it could be fixed and served as a constant reminder of my clumsiness.

I have dozens of stories like this, including one where I flooded the lab in about 3″ of water. Science is fun.

9. Happy wedding!

I worked for a catering company when I was 16. While working a pretty fancy wedding, I was tasked with pouring champagne at the bride and groom’s table.

I had never even opened a champagne bottle, so I obviously hadn’t poured any either.

I managed to spill champagne all over the bride, immediately after blasting her in the face with the cork.

10. Oh, to be young…

Back in the mid 2000s I was working at a small financial firm. One day, I accidentally clicked the “sort by column” in an Excel spreadsheet with every client’s (we probably had 500+ clients/accounts) address and information. Well, unbeknownst to young little me (I was 18, far younger than any other person in the office), that shuffled every single address, so none matched up with with the clients’ names.

That weekend several pieces of mail were sent to each address, and come Monday, well, shit… NONE of the mail was sent to the right address. Clients were pissed. Co workers were pissed. Management was pissed.
Over all? The mistake cost about $15,000 dollars. No one ever found out it was me, as I was young and not high up in the company and nearly every single person had looked over that spreadsheet at one point in time. Yeah, I felt awful about it. No, I never said anything. They spent weeks trying to figure out what had happened, and honestly I didn’t realise my mistake until after the whole mess transpired.

11. Suck on that, bitch.

First time using the phones at work, I accidently hung up on a girl who wanted to compliment how well the customer service was when she shopped there. I felt horrible.


Mentioned to the pilot that his red light on the wing was out, grounded the plane on thanksgiving night for 12+ hours. Worst part was the pilot announced to the 150+ people on the plane that it was MY FAULT that we weren’t able to leave.

I was 18 at the time, and scared shitless working the check in counter for the next 12 hours with a mob of angry passengers. All they were missing were pitchforks and torches… Thanksgiving 2007, best one ever!

Fuck that pilot.

13. I’m sorry, I’m just staring at your face while doing my job.

The drummer for Rise Against came in to the bank I worked at to exchange a few grand worth of Canadian money back to USD as they just finished playing out there on tour. I was star struck and nervous as hell. Ended up not paying attention to my screen and gave him about $300 too much. A couple months later we had to go into his account and take the extra money back out. My service manager just thought it was funny because she knew how nervous I got around him.

14. This is NOT good.

I am a chef one time a few years back this young kid on the line left his knife in an awkward position and went for a smoke break. My dumbass grabbed the knife from the blade end and nearly sliced my fingers off. I started bleeding profusely all over the cutting board and salad station.

A bus boy drove me to the nearest hospital where I had to take a drug test and receive 9 stitches.

The owners of the restaurant paid for everything and I got a month off of work paid.

It was probably one of the dumbest things I had ever done. I needed the break though.

15. Expensive mistakes. Really expensive.

I work in oilfield, and during my first week with my current company (I’ve been here six years) I was trying to take apart a piece of expensive oilwell technology in something called a “breakout” machine with allows you to apply and release torque on rotary connections in huge amounts (like, 50-60,000 ft lbs).

Anyhow, this piece of equipment, a “pressure mill” had come back from a wellsite and I attempted to take it apart in this machine. Having just been trained, and having no one around that day, and me being rah-rah to try and impress with my initiative, I cranked up the torque on the breakout machine and kept turning a connection on the equipment that wasn’t meant to be turned.

When it was clear this thing wasn’t coming apart, I walked around to the other side of the machine and looked at the piece… it had completely blown out and distended, with mashed steel splayed out all over the place. I couldn’t see this from my vantage point when operating the machine.

I walked to the general manager’s office (not even my foreman was there that day) explained it, and we went and looked at the damage. He sighed, lit up a cigarette and said, “Well, that’s worth about $15,000.” Shrugged and walked out.

The next day, my foreman was back to work and said, “Hey when I was new I did the same thing! Only the equipment was in prototype phase and worth $40,000.”

Then there was the other time me and another shop hand (allegedly) assembled some equipment incorrectly and it fell apart down an oil well our company was servicing… it ended up costing close to $750,000 in remediation and rig costs.

But that was never proven. Ahem.

16. Ask for me, I’m quite famous.

I was working as a co-op at a very large federal agency. I don’t remember why, but I was trying to locate a particular computer on the network in our local office. We had about 1100 employees. I double, triple, quadruple checked the command I was going to do, even had the help from other employees to verify it. The message was “Please call IT and ask for Puck Happy”. I fired it off the message and went back to work waiting for the call to come. This would bring a popup on the screen and you had to click OK to make it go away, so whoever got the message would not miss it.

Right away the phone in IT started ringing off the hook. Turns out, I had screwed up an option in the command line, and it fired to every computer in the domain (a domain is typically all the computers located at a site or organization). This particular agency’s domain was split into multi-tiers, primary tiers at the region level, and secondary tiers at the individual site level. So at first I thought I had sent it to every computer at our site (1100), in actuality, I sent it to every computer in the entire region. All 20,000+ of them.

The calls rang for hours and days afterwards, people asking to speak with a lowly no-name co-op student. I got into quite a bit of trouble for that one.

Also, at the same place, I gave a friend of mine a paper cut on his eyeball.

17. We have new floors.

I was doing some vacuum leak testing in a $40,000 acrylic vacuum chamber that was filled with water dyed with methylene blue. We were using a 45lb weight to hold the samples down, the weight slipped off the sample and crashed into the bottom of the tank cracking the bottom plate of the tank and spewing all of it’s 30 gallons of blue water all over the freshly painted white floor in the lab.

In my defense, my boss instructed me to use the weight even though I told him it wouldn’t work. He was understanding.. told me to spread the water all over the floor to dye the whole thing, and slap some silicone caulk onto the crack. I did both and continued to test once the caulk had dried, believe it or not the caulk held. I convinced him to let me buy a clamp to hold the samples down for the rest of the testing, haha.

TLDR: Dropped a weight cracking the bottom of a $40,000 vacuum chamber.

18. Okay, so this is not the worst one of the bunch.

I was flirting with a coworker after we had closed. She said something about not being afraid of anything, so, being the wise ass that I am, I stretched a rubber band and pointed it at her face from a foot away. I just stared at her. She smiled and said: “You don’t have the balls.” So, naturally, I let go of the rubber band, but I tried to do it in the way where it shoots backwards, just to faker her out. Well, as you could guess with the context of this thread, it ended up going the other direction, the in-her-face direction. Smacks her in the face right under her eye. It welted up almost instantly and her eye get red and teared up.

Instead of apologizing like every ounce of my body was screaming for me to do, I just said “I don’t have the what now?”

She just started laughing and then I explained I didn’t mean to hit her, and we still went out on our date. Dated for several months after.

TL;DR: Had the balls.

19. Today, I got slapped in the face by a sausage.

I’m a robotic engineer. I was working a job at a sausage packing factory. I set the payload parameters too low. To make a long story short, everyone went home that day having been cockslapped by a robot.

Edit: so payload determines the speed of the robot. It moves slower when carrying heavier objects, to prevent damage to the joints. I set the payloads too low, so the robot thought it was carrying something lighter. It moved so fast it lost suction on the sausage in its vacuum gripper, sending these fat honey garlic missiles across the room and down the assembly line. That also happened to be where the entrance was.

20. We’ve got you now!

I “broke” a million dollar machine. X-ray diffractometer with a robot disc loading system. I was allowed to make my own discs but I wasn’t supposed to touch the machine, even though I had ascertained how it worked after months of being there. It’s an insurance thing. I wasn’t officially trained, ergo no touchy.

So one day I really needed a sample processed ASAP. The machine was free, no one was using it. I couldn’t find a SINGLE person out of the 6 or so folks who were allowed to touch it. So I thought, fuck it. I’ll load the disc, do it in less than an hour and no one will be any the wiser. So I make my disc and walk over to the machine. Press the button to unlock the cabinet.



Silence. The lights all go out. Machine becomes totally unresponsive. What happened next is one of my proudest moments of crisis management. I calmly went over the bench, put on some gloves, cleaned away all my disc prep, got a cloth, wiped down every part of the machine I had touched, binned everything and walked away, locking the door behind me.

I go upstairs, sit in the lab and make a new batch of formula, even though I don’t need one. The next day someone asks me if I used the machine. I play dumb and say I was just about to find the person so they could run a sample for me. She tells me not to bother because the diffractometer is knackered. I say that’s a shame. By this point I’ve spent ~30 hours with a pulse of 110 at least.

The next day they tell me that the maintenance staff forgot to fill the cooling vats so the machine shut itself off in self defense. Overwhelming relief floods my body.

Honestly, if I had actually broken it, I would have taken that secret to my grave.

tl;dr Thought I had broken the most expensive diffractometer on campus

21. It could’ve started a war.

I used to work on a nuclear missile carrying submarine. During missile ops a missile was pulled up and out of a tube. Well we have procedures for a reason. The procedure wasn’t followed exactly like it was supposed to and the missile hit a ladder left in the tube. BIG FUCKING DEAL. Like the President gets a phone call from someone within a half hour big deal. My job is not involved with the missiles, but I was there and holy tits I have never seen so many high ranking people so pissed off/scared.

22. An expensive “whoopsie!”

Scratched the wing of an F-15 by accident. They had to change the entire wing because of it, who knows how many millions of dollars it costed.

23. It was me, but you’ll never know.

I was assisting with the offload of a C-141 engine off of our C-5. It was during Desert Storm, December 21 1990. A USAF Reserve crew was waiting for this engine – they’d been stranded for a week or more and without this engine they wouldn’t make it home for Christmas.

Unfortunately due to some strange geometry with the connection of the engine dolly to the tow vehicle, the tow bar bent in the engine cowling during the offload. All procedures were followed, we did not get in any official trouble but the engine was not repairable at that location. They estimated $30,000 in damage to the engine.

I realized the full price of the damage later that night at the NCO club. At a table near us we overheard some guys talk about that damn C-5 crew that broke their engine. A couple of them talked about missing Christmas, their kids cried on the phone when they told them, etc. They looked at us and could tell we were from a C-5. They asked if we knew who it was (there were several C-5s in that night), and of course we said we didn’t know anything about it. The look on their sad and angry faces made me feel worse than anything up to that point.


I’ve been waiting for this thread. Little background first. I work for an airport company that does mostly private aircraft. We are 24/7 365. It is a franchise system and we are headquarters. I work in IT 4+ years now as desktop support. When this happened I was still very new ~6 months. I was cleaning up one night and I couldn’t a place to plug in my vacuum. So I thought well there is a plug on the server rack. Big mistake. About 30 seconds later, it zapped all the power out of the battery back up and took down ALL the servers. I had brought down my company with nothing but a vacuum. I panicked, I ended up hooking them (about half the servers) to a generator and gave up. I got super bitched out the next day. I asked why he didn’t fire me, he said “I would have to worry that the next dipshit I hire will do it” My nickname to this day is Hoover.

25. Oops.

I was working from home on a client’s website on a Saturday. Our agency had a terrible habit of working on live sites, which I hated, but I didn’t have any say in how we had thing set up.
Can you tell where this is going?

So I needed to drop a database table and replace it with another one. Like a smart developer, I backed up the table before dropping it. Like a stupid developer, I accidentally dropped the entire database instead of just the one table.


“No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just recover from the backup on the server… Which I can only access from the network at the office.”

I immediately called my project manager and simply said, “I just fucked up big time and need you to let me into the office.” She didn’t even ask any questions, she just said, “I’ll leave right now.”

It only took me about an hour and a half from the time I dropped the database to recover the site, and thankfully the client hadn’t even noticed for the first 45 minutes.

Like a fucking adult, I immediately claimed responsibility, explained what happened and why, and apologized profusely to everyone (client, bosses, PM). Thankfully everyone was cool about it and the client didn’t lose too much data.

Perhaps amazingly, this incident didn’t change anyone’s minds about working on live sites. I worked there for nearly another year before I quit.

26. FUCK.

I was in charge of selling a very expensive piece of equipment on eBay for our company and forgot to set a reserve price.

I’m sure the gentlemen was ecstatic to win this particular auction for $9.95

27. This fucking guy.

I didn’t do it but I witnessed it, in college I worked at the airport as a cargo agent. Unloading planes putting things into storage and what not. One of the things we handled was the Alaskan Flights, what comes in on the Alaskan Flights? Fish and Crabs…this was about the time Deadliest catch was coming on the air. I thought it was cool, hey here is this crab that people are risking their lives for.

So, the Crab comes in one day and I go to take it off the truck to put it on a pallet to put it into the fridge in the warehouse. Me being the careful sort goes to take a hand-truck to carefully put in the walk in. As I’m doing this my co-worker goes….I got this and goes to get the forklift. So, I watch him, I watch him take the forklift, I watch him take the forks and miss the pallet, into the first row of boxes and then lifts the forklift up. Next thing you know there’s crab legs all over the warehouse floor. People were risking their lives to find this crab, braving the hard weather and this idiot with a forklift ruins most the shipment.

I’m not sure but I think the price of crab legs went up 20 dollars on the East coast after this.

28. She must never find out.

I worked for my father repairing jewelry and the very first piece I worked on was a small, 18K gold cross. The customer told me that the cross was given to her by her mother, who had passed away, and was very special to her.

I put the cross on my charcoal block, heated it up with the torch and BAM, it melted half away just like that!

I was too scared to tell her so I found one just like it and gave that to her instead. I feel bad to this day, thirty five years later.

29. Well, the coach sounds like a goddamn princess.

I was running audio for an NFL press conference. I forgot to turn my cell phone off in my back pocket. My mom called me, but I didn’t realize it was ringing because I was wearing headphones monitoring the coach’s audio. I hear him say, “Seriously? Does this kid even realize it’s going off? Someone needs to fire this guy.” I then notice it, my face turns red, I stop it from ringing, and the press conference continues. 30 seconds later, the notification ring goes off from my mom’s voicemail. The coach gets pissed and abruptly ends the press conference early by walking off stage. I wanted to die. The media was not happy.

That same month, I left a $20,000 camera on a tripod in the studio over night. I came in to work the next morning, it was toppled over, lens busted.

I was an intern, so all was forgiven.

30. So that’s why my pretzel tasted weird.

I work at concessions for our parks (pool, baseball games, etc,) and we have spray bottles for pretzels for when we want to put salt on them and one time one of the girls working there grabbed the bottle of 409 that we use to clean and sprayed the pretzel with it. She still used it to get salt on it and gave it to the customer. I’m never ordering from the concessions ever again. TL;DR girl sprayed 409 on a pretzel for salt and still gave it to the customer. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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