Wanted - your new job horror stories

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Mar 2017
4:31pm, 20 Mar 2017
3913 posts
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The Scribbler
I hope you don't mind me doing this. I've been writing some articles for HR software businesses recently and one thing they're keen to look into is when recruitment/hiring goes wrong. So I'm looking for examples of when you, or someone you know has turned up for work and things have been less than ideal.

It's not so much the funny stories like 'I managed to lock myself in the bathroom/ my dog followed me to work/ I broke the coffee machine' on the first day, as when the company gets it wrong. So, for example, did you turn up to find there was no one expecting you, no desk, chair or computer or did they get your bank details wrong and not pay you?

I'll keep names of people and companies anonymous in the final piece, but if you have any disaster stories that you're willing to share, please can you drop me an Fmail, or reply on this thread. Thanks.
Mar 2017
4:38pm, 20 Mar 2017
21273 posts
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Hi, working in Brussels on the first day of his new IT contract, my chum Ben worked all morning next to a permanent employee Frederic. Lunch time came and Frederic and the whole office disappeared so my chum Ben just sat around in the office by himself starving. Much later on they all came back and the head of IT asked Ben "why weren't you at your welcome lunch over the road just now? Didn't Frederic tell you?" Ben didn't want to stitch up his only 'friend' in the office on day 1 so just muttered "oh I was trying to get used to my new contract".
NB. Frederic actually lost the plot a couple of weeks later and turned up randomlybin Antwerp in the middle of the night and then off work for a year
Mar 2017
9:25pm, 20 Mar 2017
77 posts
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This is all from 25 years ago so possibly a bit old but here goes anyway.

I was working in Moscow and applied for a job with a major media organisation near London, as a writer/translator/editor of Russian stuff. It was still the Soviet Union so travel wasn't so easy but I managed to fly over to take a test. I was told I had passed, and invited for an interview. I decided to risk resigning my current job and gamble on passing the board, and got back to the UK several weeks later.

On the day of my board I turned up, on a hot summer's day, perspiring in my sole and ill-fitting suit, only to be asked who was I and what did I want. I showed the letter of invitation to the HR lady, whose signature it bore. She apologised and said a new letter would go out soon. I went back home, a day's travel by train away.

On the new day of my board I turned up again as before, only to again be told they weren't expecting me. This time I growled at the HR lady, whom I subsequently learned was regarded by all as useless. She said she would sort something out and went away flustered. After an hour or so of hanging around, I attended a hastily-convened board of senior managers. After which, to my relief, I was offered the job.

I turned up for my first day in this new job as a Russia specialist, only to find the place in turmoil and everyone running around like headless chickens. It was 19 August 1991 and there was a coup in Moscow and tanks on the streets. One of the first things I saw on the TV was the building where until a month previously I had been working, with armoured cars and troops parked outside. The last thing they wanted was a wet behind the ears newby so they packed me off to a course in touch-typing just to get me out the way, even though I could already touch type at speed.

Happy to say, though, that after this somewhat uncertain start I stayed there until now and have just retired.
Mar 2017
9:30pm, 20 Mar 2017
7419 posts
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I was on the opposite side of it a few years back when, at an office in central Scotland, I got a call from reception to say that there was a visitor. I wasn't expecting anyone but I went down and discovered a smartly dressed man who was there to start a twelve month contract as a project manager. He'd been recruited interviewed and appointed by a manager in Newcastle who hadn't thought to mention it to anyone in the office where he was to be based. Nor had they arranged for any kit for him, such as a laptop, desk, phone, etc or any kind of induction, just sent him a letter telling him to report to that office (without even a contact name).

To cap it all, the projects that he'd been told he was to run didn't even exist. They'd been discussed as possible investments but hadn't been approved or funded.
Mar 2017
9:53pm, 20 Mar 2017
4697 posts
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We routinely don't manage to co-ordinate IT kit/accounts/phone numbers and new joiner start dates.

My first job in the public sector, in 2007, involved an all-day induction session where we were taught how to use Word and Excel. Simple basic stuff like how to open, save and name documents. We were also taught how to use a web browser. I left at the end of the day and very nearly didn't go back the next day.
Mar 2017
10:10pm, 20 Mar 2017
2625 posts
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I used to be a junior doctor in the NHS (before I became, erm, a slightly less junior doctor in the NHS). Junior doctors change job every 4 months, or 6 months, or every year, and the reaction every time can best be summed up as 'who the fuck are you, and what the fuck are you doing here?' HR HATED us. They used to say things like 'well, there are an awful lot of you, so we can't guarantee you'll all be paid this month.' I was once rota'd to do a night shift (8.30pm-8.30am) on one site, and simultaneously do a day shift (8am-5pm) at a different site. The response when I pointed this out was basically 'well that's your problem'.

After a few years of this, I was genuinely amazed to discover from one of my non-medic friends that sometimes when you start a new job, people are a) expecting you and b) pleased to see you. I'm not bitter about it though. Not. At. All.

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