Working life can be stressful as we all know and occasionally you may have to witness a co-worker completely lose their rag in the office.
Other times it might be you that demolishes your computer with the hammer you have stored in your bottom drawer specially for such occasions.
It can happen at any time and for any reason, but the warning signs are usually there if a colleague is about to hurl their monitor screen across the office.
The fixed stare, the heavy breathing, the sweaty forehead – all are warning signals that a major workplace tantrum is about to erupt.
We have complied a list of some of the greatest ever workplace meltdowns so that if you ever end up being the person that goes nuclear during work hours, you can show it to the boss and try to convince them that there are people out there with a much worse temper than you:
1. The (No longer Free) Mason
“I saw two stone masons get into a fist fight when I worked in construction. I was laying electrical underground pipe and they were laying block wall. One threw a hammer at the other one. It hit him in the head and cracked his eye socket. Cops came and took our statements and the guy got arrested for assault.”
2. Real news……fake emotions
“I worked in a building with a cafeteria in it. We noticed that one of the cashiers had stopped showing up to work and found out that she had passed away. My co-worker asked who we were talking about and upon finding out, stood up from her desk, flung herself to the ground and proceeded to roll back and forth crying as loud as she could. We all freaked out. We had customers on the phone that we had to put on hold until we could get her to her feet and someone could escort her somewhere else so she could calm down. She took the next few days off, including the day of the funeral. Assuming she had gone to the funeral, we asked her how it was and she answered, “Huh? I didn’t go, I barely knew her…”
3. Automotive dismissal
“This crazy lady they hired as a cashier didn’t take getting fired too well. After they fired her, she told the owner to fuck off and proceeded to ram his truck with her car as she left. It’s funny because it barely dented the owner’s bumper, but her car got really fucked up. I don’t even think he pressed charges.”
4. At the end of the working weed
“I worked in a video store when there was such a thing. My co-worker showed up very, very high. He was also about 6’3″ and 140 pounds, so he stood out in a crowd to begin with. Anyway, he came in for a 4 hour shift, stood in the middle of our bank of checkout registers and just ate crisps. Like, 6 bags of crisps back to back, and he ate them SLOW, and savoured the shit out of each bite. The whole time he had zero facial expression, think of the dull stare of a chewing dairy cow.
After about 3 hours he calmly turns to me and says “I can’t do this anymore,” then gently sets down his bag of crisps, and walks out the door. We never saw him in the store again.”
5. Underage, underdressed and under arrest
“At my old store, we had a high schooler who was employed as a cashier because her dad worked as the deli assistant manager. Everything was fine, she was a little bratty and wouldn’t listen to me or any of the other service leads, but she did her job alright.
Her dad got caught selling ecstasy and weed in the parking lot and was arrested and she was promptly put under investigation too. Eventually they found out that she had been stealing from her register and she was arrested during one of my shifts.
I watched as they told her why she was being arrested, that charges were being pressed, and that she was officially fired.
This sixteen year old tries to resist arrest, falls to the ground and begins to beat on the floor while tearing at her uniform. They manage to get her hands behind her back after she’d gotten her shirt off.
Once she’s in cuffs she begins to shout that she’s going to sue everyone because they’re looking at her body and she’s underage and don’t they know who she is and she knows people who will fuck us all up.
They put her in the back of the cop car and she thrashed around trying to escape, banging on the divider and trying to get her hands on the cops. Not sure what happened to her after they drove away.”
6. No expenses spared
“I worked with a sales rep who was about to get fired for faking his expense reports. He knew it was going to happen because corporate called the restaurant where he was pulling his scam from and they did some research and found it all out and got the law involved.
He took his company car (a Saab 9000CD) and left it in the worst part of town with the keys in it, hoping it would get stolen. Pure spite on his part. Unfortunately, he didn’t plan for how he was going to get out of this part of town so he got mugged and the crap kicked out of him. An ambulance came and took him to the ER. I should add here that he was about 25 or so and a complete jackass.
The interesting part: He tried to go on sick leave due to his “injuries” and stayed away from the office, because he knew he was going to get fired. I had to visit him at his home and explain that he was going to be fired and that he could keep the law out of this if he paid the money back. It was $2500. He said he was on pain pills due to his injuries and couldn’t understand what I was saying. He stayed at home for 2 weeks, recovering from his “injuries”.
Here’s the meltdown: after the doctor releases him, he comes back to work. The day he comes back, the legal team and the police are waiting for him. He gets formally fired and the police arrest him. I should add that the whole thing was being recorded by the legal team on video. After they put the cuffs on him, he immediately drops to the ground screaming that he is “injured” and “in severe pain” and “doesn’t deserve to be treated like this.” The police grab him and throw him in the back of the police car while he is screaming like a baby the whole time. What he didn’t know is that there was a video camera in the police car. Once the police put him in the back of the car and then went back inside leaving him alone in the car, he stopped crying and started laughing.
The whole thing dragged on for years. My firm refused to back down and we prosecuted him for everything we could.”
7. Too kind to leave
“I was working at a fast food restaurant. A girl had to work for 24h straight because everyone who was supposed to take her shift ditched work without calling in. She started her shift with me, and when I walked in THE NEXT DAY she was still there working.
She was curled up in a ball crying in the storeroom. I told her if she wouldn’t leave I’d call the police (this was just to scare her into leaving) and she was so tired she didn’t question me, she just left…
The poor girl looked like a zombie. I’ll always remember it. She was just too kind to leave.”
8. Suits you sir, but only you….
“We worked in a business casual office, most of us just wore button up shirts, decent pants and dress shoes every day. However, Suit Guy showed up as a new hire and wore the same exact tan suit every day for the three months he was there, which is what earned him the nickname.
He also drank a large coffee, a Monster energy drink and a can of Mountain Dew in that order between when he walked in at eight and when he had lunch at noon. Apparently he was going through a divorce that was getting pretty contentious and the combination of caffeine and rage sent him over the edge one morning when he began screaming at his phone while at his desk and then broke his cell phone in half. This was 2012, so it was a full screened smartphone that he somehow bent until it broke. I don’t know how he did it, my friends and I tried to replicate it using one of my old phones a couple days later and we could cause some bending, but no break.
He came in the next day with a new phone and acted like he hadn’t made a scene the day before.”
9. ‘ware the quiet ones
“There was a guy I used to work with. He was the most boring, straight laced guy you could ever meet. He was very into entomology and environmental presentation. He used to do things like count the crayfish in a patch of creek at the weekend. He spoke very quietly, and I often couldn’t hear him even when I sat right next to him.
We worked in a call centre, and he was renowned as one of the best agents you could get calling through. He was so patient and gentle with even the dumbest sheep of customers. It was hard on him though – he was the kind of guy who flushes really obviously when he got pissed off. You could sit next to him watching him quietly seethe as he gently said “Yes ma’am, now if you could just click the text under the sign in button that says “forgotten you details?”….”
Then one afternoon he just couldn’t hack it any more. I have no idea what it was that got to him. This woman must have said something though cause he just screamed “FUCK OFF” down the phone line and threw his headset across his desk.
Then he picked up his office chair and kind of rammed it into the wall, and marched out the room.
10 minutes later he came back, quietly apologized to the manager, and carried on as if nothing had happened.”
10. When you’re forced to stop banking…
“2008 what a wonderful year. Working for a large, well known company, who happened to have a high risk mortgage bank in their portfolio. Needless to say, they made the decision to lay-off over 700 employees.
So, they schedule it for a Tuesday, notify all the managers that would have to lay someone off. (I don’t know why big corporations like laying people off on a Tuesday, it seems to be a trend).
Tuesday rolls up and they begin laying off around 9:00 AM. By 9:30 AM they stopped the layoffs. It seems that on three separate floors they simultaneously laid off people that had spent over 30 years each at the company; they all flipped.
I watched one person storm out of the little meeting room they were in, with their manager trying to grab them on the way out. He proceeded to just randomly grab anything he could and throw it, no targets, just grab and chuck. Monitors, laptops, phones, and chairs; yes, just like in those videos you see on You Tube. Eventually, one of his friends tackled him, and he was escorted out via the stairs from the 14th floor.
Next day, I walk into the building and there are a half dozen police officers behind the security gate, just hanging out. When I got to the fourteenth floor, there was another outside the elevators. It transpired that they had them on each floor where layoffs were going to occur.
To make matters worse, they had to call some of the layoffs back, as some people quit on the spot when they saw the heavy police presence, and freaked out.”