Most people are able to get through life without having to work a truly terrible job. They might work an unpleasant gig or two while they're younger, but nothing that fills them with complete misery day in and day out. However, others are not so fortunate and at some point in their lives find themselves in a position that they loathe with their entire being.
Whether it's a call center job that involves swindling gullible families out of thousands and thousands of dollars, or a venture on a dairy farm where everyone's a halfwit animal abuser, it's difficult to imagine having to do any of this work for even a day. If anything, these jobs should just serve as an impetus for people to stay in school so they can avoid getting stuck in such an awful position. Here are some of Reddit workers' nastiest, most dreadful stories about the worst jobs they've ever had. Content edited for clarity.
"I'm a woman who did administrative work for an almost exclusively male construction site for a few months when I lived in London. The amount of harassment and straight up assault I had to deal with was absolutely appalling.
One time I was sent a photograph where my face had been photoshopped onto a picture of a woman getting it on with a dog. On another occasion, a small group of men tried to watch me changing clothes in the women's bathroom. One of them actually came in when I was completely naked.
When I finally complained, I was fired the next day. Since it was a temp job, they were legally allowed to cancel my contract at any time with only an hour's notice. I was only 22 and very naive at the time, so I thought it was mostly my own fault for not being able to take a joke properly. It was only later on that I realized how horrendously I'd been treated by my coworkers.
I'll never forget sitting there in the room with three men from human resources while I outlined my concerns. One of them actually said, 'Some women actually find that sort of thing complimentary.' At that point, I realized things were not going to go well."
"When I was younger, my dad got me my first job in a meat processing factory. The first day I was there I had to push around freshly killed and skinned 800-pound cows hanging from the ceiling on hooks while their blood dripped all over my helmet and coat.
I had to hold their limbs while someone else cut them off with a saw. In the slaughtering room, I had to drag away containers filled with their organs after the machine saw cut them open and poured their guts out.
I also saw what disgusting abomination of 'meat' that otherwise would have been thrown in the trash was scooped up and put in a huge container to be sent to McDonald's. My dad told me afterward that he wanted me to experience the worst jobs early on so I would be grateful for 'boring' jobs I got later in life. It worked. Praise be the holy 9-5 cubicle office job."
"I once had a gig a call center that seriously made me question my soul. We were supposedly helping people to get out of debt, but what we really did was call people insane with worry and on the verge of suicide over bills (many of which were medical debts) and offer them a packet of information on government programs/consolidation services.
This information was already out there for free, but we were told to charge these poor people $80 dollars or more for it! I stopped trying to sell it after the first person answered in tears. I simply listened and did my best to make them feel less despairing. I was fired a week later for not making quota. Eff that place."
"I once did a political gig for some Wall Street guy who decided he wanted to be a US Senator. The first red flag was that he had two 'co-campaign managers' and they were both still in college. US Senate campaigns usually require very experienced staff, not kids who literally became volunteers a few weeks prior.
I wish bad management was the worst problem, but it wasn't. The candidate got the gay communications director to quit because he wouldn't stop making homophobic jokes to him. He then got sued for hostile work environment. He would hit on all the female staff, all the time, so he eventually got hit with a harassment lawsuit. After the college kids quit, he hired some jerk from out of state to be his campaign manager. Surprise, surprise, the new campaign manager got hit with a harassment lawsuit, too.
The whole time the candidate's behavior got more and more erratic. He would call me in the middle of the night screaming about how 'the Jews' were coming after him. He would bring his girlfriend into his office and they would loudly get it on. He provided apartments for some staffers and then tried to break into them in the middle of the night.
He did not get the nomination, if you can believe it. When news about the lawsuits came out, he lost his job and moved to Texas. He still has a Facebook page where he rails against the 'insiders' who stole the election from him. You meet a lot of scumbags in politics, but that guy took the cake."
"When I was a freshman in college, I got a job at a dairy. We worked in shifts so it was easy to fit my class schedule around it and I was able to pull full-time hours while carrying a full course load. It was supposed to pay slightly more than the grocery store I had worked at through high school and did not require customer service, which I hate, so I was in.
The first red flag I came across happened while during my interview when the manager of the farm said, 'The guys are going to get paid more than you, and I don't want to hear anything about it.' I came to learn that 'the guys' were wasted, horrible workers who constantly harassed me and made about $1/hr more than I did, which isn't much, but still.
The next warning sign was the sheer amount of workers with all kinds of permanent injuries resulting directly from that place. If you ever want to see the level of horrible things that can happen to members of humanity, go work in a place like that for a while. People who get stuck in that often look twice their age because it beats them down so much. I asked one guy who was complaining about how bad his back had been for years how many years he had until retirement, only to be told he was 30.
Then there was the total abuse and mistreatment of animals. If there is a horrible thing to do to a cow, these people did it ten times before breakfast. I'm not uninformed about the reality of animals (I grew up on a farm and raised numerous cows of my own) and I'm telling you, these people beat the crap out of those poor cows, who all died prematurely because they were living in filth, treated horribly, and just used up.
One time I got mono and missed a week of work so everyone spread a massive rumor that I was pregnant by the disgusting manager of the place and had gotten an abortion, and that's why I was out. Lastly, I got salmonella a few weeks after I got mono, missed a couple days of work, and, once again, people spread the same rumor. I lasted one year in that place before I joined the military, which was immensely more pleasant."
"I worked at a small locally owned pet store that sold puppies. It was just me and one other girl who could come in during the morning to clean the kennels. She wasn't given gloves or goggles and half the time we didn't even have bleach or soap to properly clean anything. Unsurprisingly, she quit when she found out she had picked up worms and that's why she'd dropped 30 pounds.
Suddenly, I was working all alone. Until, of course, the owner decided to start dropping her three kids off to 'help me out.' The oldest one was 13 and would try to tell me what to do like he was my boss. I was basically babysitting her three children while trying to run the entire store.
In three months, I hadn't yet been given a paycheck (young and dumb, clearly) so I called the owner up and told her it was my last day. I said I'd work through the day instead of just walking out so the puppies were taken care of, but at the end of the day she needed to hand me a check or I'd call the labor board. Then she had the audacity to ask why I was leaving. You've gotta be kidding me!"
"I once worked at a call center for all of three days. That was literally the longest that I could last and I was up with guilt-ridden nightmares for both of the nights in between. The thing is, I wasn't working a sales gig (at least not in the traditional sense), I was a 'talent scout' for an incredibly shady organization that sought to trick parents into purchasing 'acting and modeling lessons' for their kids.
There was more to the pitch and the process, of course, but that was the general gist of things. I'd call people up, enthusiastically recite a script, and then book them into 'one of our last remaining slots.' The kids and their parents would arrive on Saturday or Sunday, go through a fake audition (complete with fake casting agents), and then be instructed to call a given number on Monday morning.
That number, of course, would connect people right back to the call center. They'd be told that the 'casting agent' had loved their child's audition, but they (the kid) needed to get some additional training. The parents would then be suckered into paying thousands of dollars for six weekends' worth of completely worthless classes with the caveat that their offspring would be summarily expelled if they missed even one session. Unless, that is, they paid even more money to have their kids stay in the bogus class."
"I once worked night shifts at a turkey factory in Elland, West Yorks. The commute consisted of a long bike ride over a massive hill followed by 8 hours of chopping turkey parts.
I'd take a piece from the tray, cut it 3 times, chop the wing joint bone, stump out any gristle, cut any blood spots out, and put them aside. Then the remaining meat would go into a tub. Once the tub was full, the nasty stuff I cut off went into a mincer and got blended down to a pink paste.
Then the tub of meat went into a pressure cooker type apparatus that looked like a giant washing machine, along with saline and the nasty pink paste. High pressure forced the saline into the meat which was tumbled with the pink paste, turned out into molds, and cooked.
The resultant blocks were sold as 'turkey rolls' or 'turkey roasts' under various brands. The whole operation happened in a room that was chilled below zero degrees Celsius, and you avoided freezing by keeping up a frenetic pace while turkey fat accumulated on your sleeves. You shift 2-3 tons a night, and then you have to make it home to try and sleep through a summer day. I kept that going for 3 days before turning it in. For £3.50/hour, they were having a laugh."
"When I was 16, I got a warehouse job through an agency that provided temps for various factories. They would call you the day prior and pick workers up from the city center in a minibus and then drive you to whichever factory you were working in that day.
I arrived my first day and was told that the factory we were going to was just outside Manchester (where we were) but it turned out it was in Wales. After 2 hours on a minibus, we finally arrived and got to work.
It was supposed to be a 10-hour shift, but at hour 9 of working, we were told that had to work an extra 3 hours, so a 13 hours shift (and a 17 hour day factoring in travel). People weren't happy but we couldn't do crap about it because we had no way to get home.
Then one of the line managers screamed in my face and threw microwave curry all over me for chewing gum. I got sent to go get cleaned up, after being told that the time it took me to change would be deducted from my wage, and just, 'I'm so down.'
I left and went for a wander around Wrexham and just showed back up in time for the minibus home. My manager asked where I'd been and I said I'd been there the whole time and didn't know what he meant. I finally got home at almost midnight and immediately blocked their number. No freaking way I was doing that again. I never got paid for the shift, either. They laughed in my face and told me to eff off when I showed up to the office to complain. If it happened now, I'd kick off but I was only a kid and didn't know how/who to complain to."
"I once worked for Servpro doing disaster recovery and when business was slow, the owner would take jobs that had nothing to do with fire or water damage. They were generally jobs no one else wanted.
The worst was 'cleaning' up the house of a cat hoarder. The cat pee could be smelled from the road so the town issued an order to the homeowner to clean up and get rid of the majority of the estimated 30+ cats that lived in the residence.
We had to wear hazmat suits and ventilators in the middle of summer and the walls had to be cut out 4ft from the floor because the drywall was soaked in cat urine. The floors had to be shoveled and then replaced, and a lot of furniture and possessions were disposed of. Upon first entry, I thought there was carpeting, but quickly realized it was cat poop topped with cat hair, probably a foot deep.
While at the residence, several cats were still in the house despite the court order they be removed, as well as some in the playhouse in the yard and meowing in the garage. Cats were also circling the block, waiting to return when we left.
The woman who owned the 'home' also had several small boxes all over the house that contained the cremated remains of former feline friends. The whole house had cat urine, fur, and feces everywhere, including the kitchen and bathroom. The only space on the floor that was clean was right in front of her bedroom closet so she could open it.
The weird part was that she wasn't some lonely old cat lady, but a woman in her late 30s-early 40s who, to my astonishment, was a registered nurse. I finished that job, but when there were rumors we were going back to do more work, I sought other employment."
"I worked at a shoe store in a mall when I was just out of high school. I was literally on my first day of training as the 3rd keyholder when this happened. I wasn't a manager, just someone who could close on nights the managers didn't want to work. I didn't even know how to clock in yet. Shortly after I arrived, the district manager walked in and plunked his keys on the counter. I knew him because he'd interviewed me the week before. He looked at the store manager, said, 'I quit,' and walked out without another word.
The store manager immediately got on the phone and called the assistant manager in. The assistant manager was maybe 19, and the store manager was probably all of 25. He showed up and she told him what happened, handed him her keys, and said, 'Good luck.' After she left, he called the other three employees in. I was literally standing there saying over and over, 'Um...what is happening?' I should have just walked out at that point but I stuck around because I was dumb.
The other three showed up, they powwowed at the checkout counter, and within 20 minutes, all the keys were on the counter and I was left in the store, alone, with no clue how to do anything other than run the register. I had been an employee for all of 1.5 hours at that point, so I called the closest store from the contact list by the phone, told them what was happening, and they called corporate for me. No one called back. When I left that night, a security guard had to show me how to close the gate.
I showed up the next day (again, I was a dumb teenager) and no one was there. I played one-sided phone tag with corporate for three more days before I finally gave in. I called the sister store again and told the store manager there that I was done at the end of the night so if no one was there by the time the mall closed, I would close the gate and pitch all the keys through the screen and they could figure it out themselves. Someone from corporate showed up 10 minutes before the mall closed saying that he was the new district manager. Finally.
I handed him everything and told him I would be in the following week for my check but I was definitely done with the place. He told me that he would be reviewing the security camera footage and doing a full inventory, so any thefts that happened while I was the acting store manager (what?!) would be taken from my check. Fat chance. I told him that I had dozens of witnesses, including security guards, and the mall management staff knew the entire situation.
I said that if I didn't get paid precisely to the tune of 40 regular hours and 20 hours of overtime, I would sue for wage fraud, emotional abuse, and anything else I could think of. It was an empty threat, of course, but I was royally ticked. Mall management happened to come by just then to check in on me and they backed me up.
They threatened to sue the chain for breach of contract with the mall (something in the contract about adequate staffing and whatnot) and said they would support any legal action I took as well if the chain didn't pay me appropriately. I got my full check the following Friday along with a $50 bonus for the 'help' I provided the chain. The store was permanently shuttered three months later."
"During university, rather than subsist on my meager grant, I worked in a florist place whose customers were predominantly relatives of deceased individuals looking for a floral tribute to convey their abject desolation. It was situated on the periphery of a crematorium; unfortunately, it was rather gloomy in appearance with its dismal lighting and penetrating cold to keep the flowers fresh.
Grief permeated every corner of that shop. A malaise of vicarious grief just engulfed me every time I entered to begin my shift, like wading through knee-high water, always maintaining a somber demeanor to be courteous, always offering the same platitudes in doleful tones, always apprehensive of the lone griever on the precipice of tears since I was an ignorant 18-year-old who couldn't empathize.
It was just too emotionally draining to sustain compassion for 7 to 9 hours, three times a week. I'm surprised the flowers didn't wilt under the density of grief, it was almost tangible!
Then came the poignant messages people asked help in creating. I couldn't come up words with the intensity of their feelings, it was beyond my capacity and I've never had an aptitude for eloquent writing anyway. Grief incapacitates rationality; it always distorts people's expectations so they'd lose their patience and be so exasperated with my incompetence. I'd always be left profusely apologizing, followed by an hour of self-deprecation because I couldn't help them.
I had two apathetic coworkers and the owner of the shop spoke plaintively as if she'd just experience a great loss. I worked there during the completion of my degree and I don't think any worker ever shared a joke or laughed together; smiling was reserved for the occasional customer who purchased flowers without indicating who they were for. That was certainly a merciful reprieve."
"Last summer, I had a 2-month gig at a factory. I knew from the very start it was going to suck since that's what all the people I knew always told me when I asked about this particular factory. However, since I knew I only needed the gig during the summer while I could exploit the fact that I could still live in university dorms and pay very little for rent, I decided it was worth it.
They paid a solid salary, considering it's a job that doesn't require any education or experience in that field, but my God, if it wasn't just an awful place to work. It was hard manual labor and you had to work 12-hour shifts with minimal breaks. You'd start at 6 am and go until 6 pm, and sometimes you had to work 6 pm to 6 am, depending on your shift.
Essentially I was just the most basic worker there can be. I had to move big coils off the conveyor belt and place them on the appropriate shelves, and then move those shelves once they were full and transport them away further up the line. That's it, that's all I did for 12 hours straight. I was a literal human robot.
In addition to the work being crap, I also had crap coworkers. As would be expected from a place like that, the people who worked there long term were not the smartest, to put it lightly. I mean, a 12-year-old could work that job from an intelligence standpoint, so that alone says what kind of people stay put there.
That meant that even though I would spend 12 hours together with 4 other dudes in my shift, I knew practically nothing about them since I had no desire to talk to them. Most of their conversations were about drinking and other menial crap of that nature, and as far as I learned I was the only one there who had a higher education of any kind.
That job was terrible and I never want to work it again. Stay in school kids, you don't want a life like that, believe me. At the end of every shift, you could just see the sadness and depression on the face of every worker there, knowing that they would need to come back to that work the next day."