Money

People Tell Us the Most Unprofessional Thing They've Ever Done at Work

The bad news is, most of us hate our jobs. The good news is, there’s no shortage of shitty things we can do while hating it.

by Jesse Donaldson
Aug 18 2017, 7:30pm

Art by Noel Ransome 

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

Here's some cheery news for any of you about to enter the workforce: Your job is probably going to suck.

To start with, your chances of landing your childhood dream job are virtually zero. A 2012 survey found only 9 percent of respondents have the career they dreamed of as a kid, and a further 30 percent are working in a related area. Beyond that, workplace satisfaction has been plummeting in recent decades. In the US, according to a recent Gallup poll, a whopping 70 percent of all employees hate their jobs, falling into either the "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" categories. Canada's not much better; for us, the number of workers who hate their jobs hovers around 50 percent.

And all of that job-related hatred comes at a cost.

According to Gallup's numbers, 19 percent of employees hate their jobs so much, they're actively sabotaging their workplace. It's known among analysts as "counterproductive work behaviors" and can involve anything from leaving early to being unproductive to deliberately lowering morale to things like stealing (an American study found that 80 percent of employees steal from work), using drugs, or fucking on company time.

The stories collected below are from a few of the people who are—or have been—part of that 19 percent. They're stories of sex at work, on-shift drinking, and supervisor abuse. The bad news is—if the data is to be believed—most of us already hate our jobs. The good news is, there's no shortage of shitty things we can do while we're hating it.

Ethan, Barista

"I was 20 or so and working as a barista. On one particular evening shift, my 16-year-old co-worker and I decided it would be a good idea to crack open the two-liter bottle of cider she had chilling in the fridge for a party later that evening. After we had finished that bottle, it became imperative that we acquire another. We tried to convince customers to run to the liquor store for us, until eventually—incredibly—someone obliged. It didn't take long to get through the next bottle and the next one, but by that point, we were essentially blackout drunk and going out for 15-minute smoke breaks together, leaving no one to man the shop. It's a wonder we didn't get fired.... though after this experience, we were fairly certain the security cameras didn't actually work. My poor bosses."

Jennifer, Charity Manager

"I used to manage a small charity. I once masturbated while volunteers were outside waiting for an orientation tour. It was in the work bathroom, standing up. I was pregnant at the time, and my hormones were going wild. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought: Get your life together."

Kevin, Radio Tech

"This one wasn't me—I don't have the balls to do this—but it's worth mentioning because of how crazy it was. Once, we had an intern working with us who thought he was being treated poorly by our supervisor. So one day, he decided to do what any rational intern would do: He poured rubbing alcohol into our supervisor's coffee when he wasn't looking. My supervisor threw up all over his desk, and the kid panicked and completely admitted it. Security then escorted him out of the building. I was impressed. It only took him a month to lose it and get thrown out. I've been there over nine years, and all I can do is make jokes under my breath and then adamantly deny ever saying anything."

Jennifer, Tourism

"One time, years back, I used to work at this tourist attraction. One night, my friends and I did mushrooms. One of them had a bad trip, so I totally snapped out of the high to take care of them and get us all home safe. The next day, I went to work and was working as a children's face painter. I had an old fashioned outfit I wore, with a hat and an umbrella. It was all very wholesome.

"And as I sat there face painting little kids first thing in the morning, I all of a sudden got high again. Like, super high. There was nothing I could do about it except try not to paint the kids up like someone on hallucinogens. When they left me alone for a minute, I totally passed out while on the job—at my station—on the very day the owner of the company happened to be working in the office directly above."

Ron, Teacher

"As a younger teacher, I was a little more prone to getting drunk during the work week. A number of years ago, I let loose on a Wednesday evening. There was no way I could drive home, so I decided to walk back to my classroom and crash there. I got myself comfy on the floor and proceeded to pass out. When I came to the next morning, the students were already seated at their desks awaiting instruction. I struggled to my feet and tried to fake my way through a poetry lesson that I am positive was lacking in both content and cohesiveness. I do believe I had to excuse myself from the room at some point—I'm sure you can guess why, as no doubt, the kids could, too. Upon returning, I told them to do something, anything, as long as it was done quietly. I nodded out of consciousness for the rest of the period, called the office after the class ended, told them I was coming down with something, and headed out to retrieve my vehicle, and any dignity and self-worth I still possessed."

Johnny, Service Industry

"I work in a bar, and sometimes things get pretty nasty.

Bars are a tough environment to work in; they're loud, the pace is ultra quick, and you're relying on the whims of customers to make up your bottom line. So the relationship can become adversarial pretty quick.

A few years back, I had a guy who was incredibly demanding all night, and he kept stiffing me on a tip round after round. After a few double Long Island Iced Teas (in a short glass with a lemon and a lime), he walked away without his credit card. As soon as he was out of sight, I threw it in the garbage. He was drunk enough that he didn't remember leaving it behind. Then I watched him walk around the bar for the next 15 minutes, asking everyone at the bar if they'd seen it—including me. I told him I had no idea.

More recently, I had to come to work with a pretty bad head cold. I was in no mood to be there, and of course, I had this guy getting on my nerves all night. He was just rude and cheap and incredibly high-maintenance. My garbage was full at the time, so I'd been collecting my used tissue in a glass, and I'd stuff them down until it was full. Well, he pissed me off one time too many, and the next time he got up to the bar, I emptied the glass, put it back into rotation, and served him out of it.

The most repulsive part of the whole thing is that I still don't feel bad."

Gary, Retail

"I used to work for a major retailer when I was in high school, in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. The management were idiots, so you could get away with just about anything. There were days when I'd just clock in, and then leave through the loading bay for six hours, get high with my friends, and then come back for the last half hour of my shift, and nobody would notice. I once gave a guy head in the staff bathroom while I was working a shift. I clocked in on a day I wasn't even working and still got paid for it.

Once, this girl I went to school with who I just fucking hated came in looking for a certain pink hair dye. I knew she'd be coming to the store because she'd mentioned it during science class. So when I got to work, I took all of it off the shelves. Every single box. I hid them in an empty storage compartment. I took all the purple and red, too. Just to be safe. Then one day, I finally just walked off the job and never came back."

Sandra, Tour Guide

"I took a bunch of people on a tour up the Swiss Alps during the summer. When we reached the top of one of the peaks, where there's snow year-round, I snuck away, took my clothes off, and ran around with only my shoes, gloves, and a hat. Then I ran to a flagpole that had the Swiss flag and did a not-very-elegant naked, cold pole dance. Cold mountain air on a naked body feels a bit like skinny dipping, but with an audience. The best part is then a bunch of the group joined in. So eventually there were 16 of us running around naked in the snow, and the tourists were all snapping photos."

Terry, Retail

"Back in the 80s, I worked at a vintage clothing shop on in Toronto. At our warehouse, we'd sort bales of clothing that would come in by truck from all sorts of unknown locations. We received a huge order of army fatigues and camouflage apparel once, and on first glance, we noticed that a number of pants were bloodstained. Some were missing parts of a pant leg, with the material shredded off at the knee and blood everywhere. It was gross. The owner says to us: 'OK. This is what we're going to do. Everything with blood goes to the dye plant. Everything missing a part goes to sewing to be made into cargo shorts. And everything else goes to laundry. Get to it!' We went along with it. We sorted—with no gloves or masks, as was the norm back then. To this day, every time I see someone wearing black cargo pants, I can't help but wonder who wore it before them, and whether they know why it's black."

Laura, Toy Store Manager

"Starting when I was 18, I used to manage a toy store, and sometimes after the bar I would take a boy back there, pull all the stuffed animals down, and fuck on them. Many times. Many boys. Nobody ever found out."

Sophie, Call Center

"I worked in a godawful call center handling complaints for a cellphone company. I was lucky to only have the job to put me through college; for many people, it was nine to five. We worked in this vast warehouse where everything was recorded: how long your bathroom breaks were or if you logged into your computer too early, everything. One day, hungover to hell after a night trying to forget the woes of the job, I was listening to a particularly unpleasant customer. Complaining, as usual. Suddenly, I had to vomit—that type of urgent, irrepressible hungover vomiting—and I had maybe one second to figure out my game plan. The toilets on the floor were 200 yards away or more. It's not a move that was included in my eight-week on-the-job training, but I think it should have been. So I just stopped the caller, put them on hold, threw up under my desk, and then finished the call. I quit the following week."