What's the worst place you've worked?

Continuing the discussion from Yet another tech worker rants about being overentitled:

Hmmm, either violent coworkers and dirty working conditions in concrete fabrication, or…violent coworkers and extremely long working hours…in concrete fabrication.

Never got hit with that…

What’s the worst place you’ve worked?


A dry wall crew known to line meth on the putty knives, have bucket races, nail darts — contracts and draws borked and norm was to procrastinate until jobs had to be done with stilts and lights at night at ten minutes past the last minute. Pay disputes like hungry dogs with road kill, with fights over tools or whatever valulable items could be held hostage.

Hmmm . . . OTOH, the coffee wasn’t always too bad.


“Meth head on stilts”… I gotta work that into my conversation.

“And then the party ran out of booze. Needless to say, I was out of there like a methhead on stilts.”


You have a gift for phrasing. I would totally read that book. I wish I could order it right now from Amazon Powell’s.

(What’s the key-combo to add strikethrough? Wysiwyg editor won’t do it.)

Thank you, @Ignatius and @LDoBe!


Hm. That’s actually hard to say. Although, doing (in an official capacity!) development, reporting, project management, and client facing documentation while also officially having an entry level title (and pay to match title), a series of bullies for bosses, and a physically health-endangering workplace is pretty high up there.

They asked me back (three times) after I got laid off. :laughing: I was professional in my response but did not go back.

@hello_friends it’s <strike>stricken content here</strike>


Thank you!! I can’t wait to start the editing madness.


For strikethrough, you need to use HTML tags. Most of the text formatting tags are allowed. For strikethrough, encapsulate your desired text within <s>strikethrough</s> tags.


I’ve done some crappy work, but in over twenty years I was very rarely, if ever, treated as badly as an American. Pretty sure I always got paid, for one…

I’ve had to crawl around inside wool-scouring machines, sweating my arse off in a bunny suit, using a blowtorch to heat up the greasy crud that collected on everything enough to scrape it off, gagging on the stench the whole time… That job totally blew chunks.

There were a lot of shitty aspects to my first gig, painting houses… I fucking hated prep work. One time I had to sand down all the timber on a fancy Victorian shop front, and lost all the protective layers on my fingertips so I couldn’t pick up a cup of coffee… That was shit. The worst thing about painting was constantly having a stuffy nose from inhaling paint dust.

I worked at a joint making yacht masts and flagpoles, where there were huge anodising baths without any vapour extraction system, and there was this odd sensation of an involuntary backwards cough as I inhaled sulphuric acid mist… That boss was a fucking prick.

But at that place I got to have a go on a forklift, which was fun… So I became a forkie for the next ten years. When it was good it was like playing video games all day; time flew when I was in the zone. But the warehousing industry got taken over by employment agencies who fucked everything - that’s how I ended up inside a damn wool-scouring machine; having to accept whatever random dribs and drabs the scumbag agencies doled out. Pricks would keep you hungry regardless of how well you worked, in order to maximise the flexibility of their workforce.

In the end I thought fuck it - there’s no point chasing decent-paying work if it’s always casual and intermittent. I might as well settle for a slightly lower rate of pay doing what I love full-time.

So I became a bike mechanic, and now I’m living the dream :smiley:


When I was in high school, I accepted a job answering phones for a blind veterans’ charity. When I got there, it turned out the job was really telemarketing, and I had to call people to ask them for money, and my pay was based on how many people gave. Do you know how hard it is to get people to give money to a group they’ve never heard of? I lasted a couple of hours.


I wish this was a worst boss thread. I can’t compete with meth head coworkers on stilts.


You are a total badass. I wish I could apprentice and work as a bike mechanic, but I’m all thumbs.

Some burn brightly and more quickly than the rest of us. Go with worst boss. That has to count too.

Now I want to go “out in the rat suit” … except for the nut punching. What’s the matter with me? In my pizza jobs we just had boring shirts.


My worst, and incidentally the best compensated, job I’ve ever had was hospital food service. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t my first job, but in a way it was because it was the first large business I worked for. Here’s the thing about food service: It’s not that bad, and if you like food it can even be fun. My problem is that I was one-half food service and one-half clerical worker/worthless peon. In other words, my problem was the people I had to work with. Don’t get me wrong, I liked most of the kitchen staff, made some really good friends, and after a while taking down food orders from grumpy sick people was something I got used to. However, like just about everyone else I dreaded working with one particular person who reported all of your smallest failings to the boss behind your back and there was a weird pecking order where people who had my job description didn’t have to do the most annoying and miserable work, and it got pushed onto the other staff members like myself.

I think we were regarded as more “temporary” but the reality is that we only got that way after looking at the schedule for the third week in a row only to discover you got all of the crappy shifts and responsibilities. I’d still be working there were it not for that kind of treatment. The one crappy responsibility in particular I’m thinking of is the fact that you (i.e. one person) were responsible for plating, preparing, and delivering all meals that needed to be sent to the OB/GYN and Pediatrics wards. Kitchen staff were helpful when they weren’t busy, but otherwise it was all your responsibility. We complained about this arrangement endlessly to no avail. My personal strategy then quickly became “I don’t give a fuck” and working at a pace I deemed reasonable. People complained a lot, and a lot of that got pushed off onto me personally, but I decided that the department was forcing me to change policy at the glacial Darwinian pace of one person almost deliberately sabotaging the system (by not giving myself a heat attack trying to accomplish the impossible). Add that onto the discovery that the office was under constant video AND audio surveillance by hidden camera unbeknownst to us, and eventually after a particularly bad day, I gave notice.

I lost excellent health insurance, great benefits, and pretty good pay for a low level position and I have precisely zero regrets. My girlfriend at the time would later note just how often I complained about work.


Worst job was working on the phones in support, but it was mostly bad out of the psychological torture of not knowing what the next call would bring, no comparison to meth heads on stilts, but it was a special shade of bad. The more interesting terrible job was working at Chuck-E-Cheese as a pizza cook, I wound up working there because my friend was too shy to go in and ask for an application, so I went with her, they hired both of us on the spot, and I was too embarrassed to not show up to a job I didn’t want. I was 16, the other pizza cooks were all on the wrestling team at my high school, most hostesses were on the swim team, and I was not a jock. Going out in the rat suit was the worst. 10-year-old boys would swarm in, going for the nut punch, trying to pull the gloves off, and yanking on the tail. At least there weren’t furries back then.


I hear you there. When I started my current job doing helldesk, I was given one week of training on the dayshift by our manager who was totally checked out. He used to work at the Genius Bar® (where only geniuses work, of course), and then I was dumped onto night shift, where I had about an hour of overlap with the previous nightshift worker.

She’s nice enough, but pretty clearly Aspergers and just couldn’t handle talking with me. I was too far behind the curve for her and she didn’t want to put up with teaching me how to do my job. So I spent many nights silently crying after each call I got, because I just couldn’t do anything.

We had no documentation. When I was hired on they had just dismantled the Helldesk’s wiki full of common fixes and shit. And there was no knowledge base either. Nothing. I couldn’t just call someone and ask for info or help. My job was to be there so nobody would have to be bothered at 9PM on a Tuesday.

Eventually, I grew some balls, and just hacked my way into the company AD structure. I stole the passwords for everything off my Coworkers laptops. I’d call the netadmins at noon as I was having my morning constitutional and ask them detailed questions about our various VLANs and stuff. And I got decent at my job.

Truly working nights alone is hell. I don’t recommend it. And I am now much happier working 10:30AM to 7PM at the same company, but now I get to actually see people and when I ask a question it’s answered.


Probably the summer job I had in a factory making makeup display counters. The casual approach to using methylene dichloride as a solvent was a bit disturbing. Just pour a load out onto a big sponge on a tray and dunk the plastic things you were glueing together in it. When it had all evaporated, go get some more. Their use of chloroform wasn’t much better.


I forgot to mention, the yacht mast and flagpole mob moved premises while I was with them, and the contents of all the anodising baths got dumped in the river. Fucking scumbags.


My first job out of college was a small ISP. I did odd jobs, whatever needed doing.

I handled billing of past due accounts, Web design, last mile wireless installations, dialup tech support. All kinds of stuff.

There were a few contenders for the worst parts of the job.

One time, for a wireless installation, I had to crawl under a grain elevator which may or may not have been housing killer spiders/raccoons/spiderracoons. I was a complete mess after that, needed several showers. On a similar gig I got attacked by wasps on a roof.

Dialup tech support tried ones patience mightily. But was basically predictable.

Web design was rubbish. I will never do that again. Clients are morons, who somehow think they know what they want (because they surf the net a lot), while having no idea what they want.

But the worst was the insurance company up the hall whose owners were bored a lot. At first, it was just the middle aged sister of the owners who would stop by to play with my long hair (awkward, but not super icky). But then, one of the owners decided I needed to sleep with his massage therapist, who had taken a shine to me. I had a long term girlfriend at the time, which he knew. I told him very plainly where I stood, but he would not let it drop. Soon, she would come by as well to play with my hair. My boss thought this was the most hilarious thing ever.

Anyways, not long after I got a real job working in enterprise software. That owner and his massage therapist bizarrely are in jail and dead, respectively. Last I heard about the sister, she had adopted a baby from Asia.


I could probably go with any helpdesk (lol helldesk) job I’ve had, the insane bosses, the favouritism/cronyism, the maniacal attention to inaccurately designed reporting and enforced ignorance of quality of customer service, the overbearing attention to any time whatsoever spent away from the phone, whether it was fixing something in person, getting some coffee or going to the toilet, the expectation that it was understood that the optional on-call duty was in fact mandatory, the cancelling of holidays booked weeks in advance, the unnecessary meetings, the co-workers who finally had psychotic breaks and decided to take it out on the company by spreading faeces and urine over every surface in the toilets and stairs going down to them, the irrational customers, the the uneducated customers, the idiotic customers, the angry-before-even-speaking-to-you customers, did I mention the insane reporting systems not based in reality that captured precisely zero information concerning the efficacy of job completion? …but really, instead of that I think I’m going to go with my two day stint as a Kitchen Porter working in a large fish and chip restaurant.

It wasn’t really the work itself that put me off, I knew what I was getting into with the cleaning and the batter-vats etc. What really put me off was seeing how a restaurant like that would process the supposedly edible fare. Vats of unwashed chipped potatoes, soaking for what seemed like days before being drained and dumped into a fryer when business finally picked up. The stench of the defrosting fish which had been frozen for several years. The crazy working hours, going home hours after everyone else and the goddamn heat in the kitchen which you could never leave for more than 5 minutes was just the disgusting, sloppy batter-on-top.

Didn’t eat fish and chips for years after that.


Mine was my second job. I worked at an industrial laundry one semester in university running the wash operations during the Saturday and Sunday shifts. I got the job for two reasons:

  1. I’d worked at a different industrial laundry in high school doing the pre-wash for acid-wash jeans, and
  2. One of the laundry owners had died of a heart attack at work about half an hour before my (very short) interview.

One of the major clients was a large residential care facility that sent us (literally) tons of adult diapers and bibs, many of which were not, uh, emptied before being bundled into plastic bags.

We’d break those plastic bags directly into the big washer (600 lb loads), and our only protective equipment was heavy rubber gloves (in spite of the fact that the odd bag would be marked “hepatitis” or similar).

This particular laundry had a lot of dangerous equipment, partly due to poor maintenance and safety practices, and partly because they had some terribly badly designed washers (e.g. control panels not well-protected against spills that could be–and occasionally were–shorted out by accidental spills of soap or bleach).

It was also not staffed with the most exceptionally clever people I ever met. I got a call at 4:30 am one Saturday from some panicked person telling me that a pipe had burst and asking me what he should do. Gee, maybe turn off the fucking water? Or maybe call the plant engineer instead of me…