The first day at any job is tough. You don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t want to ask too many stupid questions – basically, you’re completely lost.
Add in a whole lot of pressure/incompetence/etc. and it makes for a memorable and stressful day.
These AskReddit users shared their stories of intense first days at a job. Hang on tight.
“Okay so I know this is your first day at a fast food restaurant but I got to get back to the register, hope you know how to use a deep fryer. Toodles!”
F you Galven!”
2. That’s not good
” ‘Well, you’re on the crew, now. Here’s your pager but don’t worry, there probably won’t be a fire for a whi-‘
‘Well, damn.’ “
“My first ever call as a volunteer was for a four car accident after a high speed chase on a remote stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. Patients with limbs sheared off ejected fifty yards into the brush, Medivac helicopters one after another, brush fire from a truck that exploded, and units everywhere from CalFire, CHP, Sheriff’s Department, State Park Rangers, and Forest Service. I saw my first fatality declared while preparing to load them onto a helicopter.
Still haven’t (and hope I don’t have to) respond to something like that again but it did inspire me enter the medical field so I can be as much help as possible when it does happen..”
4. Thrown right in
“First rotation through the ER as an imaging student theres a code call I had no idea what was going on, my tech (teacher) looks at me and says “You had to pass CPR to get in here right?” I just look at him blankly and say um yeah? he responds “Good you then me.” Next thing I know I am in ER 1 (trauma room) with about 20 other people doing CPR on a woman as the doc does his best. Two people before me the doc calls time of death. My tech and I go back to our little x-ray room and just go on like someone didn’t just die in front of me on my first rotation.”
5. Rough day
“I was overlooking a job site where a very expensive rock saw was cutting a 20ft deep trench initially in what should have been – as surveyed – a solid limestone bed.
My new boss at the environmental consulting firm let me know there was nothing that could possibly happen, that I needed to be there for the initial cut, and that it would be the easiest day of work I had ever had. Boss leaves for a different work site.
Couple hours later the saw begins it’s first cut and it breaks through an ancient clay sewer line that was directly underneath the giant saw machine. The machine sinks about 7 ft into the ground.
Best part, the operator gets out of the saw, walks over to me, the site manager, and the other official individual and says – “it was like that when I got here” gets in his truck and we never saw him again.”
6. Probably sold out of booze
“First ever pub shift was during an England world cup game this summer, every shift after that was easy!”
7. A test
“Started a job at a machine shop at a time when I was more or less 40% of the way to being a full fledged machinist who could do everything, just to boil it down really simply without getting into trade specific qualifications and experience. My resume was accurate and reflected my marginal knowledge and experience, and noted interest in progressing into more difficult tasks that I had not yet been given the chance to take on.
My first day, the lead man gave me zero instruction, put me on a machine I’d never run, and asked me to do something I’d never done before. I quickly informed him that I had absolutely zero experience on a machine like that, and zero experience setting up and writing a program for the type of part he wanted me to create. He said, “That’s ok, just do your best to figure it out.” He then explained that he and the boss had to leave and go to some meeting with a client, and that they’d be back at 5pm. I asked if there was anyone else in the small shop that might could help me get this done, and they said that there wasn’t, the other guys had no experience with this machine or part.
So I stated once more, for the record, that they were asking me to do something that I was not qualified to do and once again, he said, “Don’t sweat it, just do your best.”
I spent the first couple hours just reading the manual for the machine and experimenting with the unfamiliar controls and coding. The next couple hours I spent trying to figure out a way to setup the strange and large part in the machine. I had never even used the old school toe clamp fixturing they had available, but figured out how to use it, and eventually got the part securely in place and ready to machine half of the features the blueprint called for.
The next couple hours were spent reading the manual more and digging into the coding, and eventually finding some “conversational” types of canned cycle programs where I could design toolpaths by inputting several parameters and spitting out code that would run.
Two hours later, I had a part that was roughly 1/3 of the way completed. I performed 2 operations on the first “side/setup” and would have needed to run one more on that side, and like 3 more on the next side/setup. I double checked that everything had been run to the print, and it looked like I at least had a partially done good part that could be finished, so I felt good about that. But I still felt like I failed because it took all day and I couldn’t even do what they asked me to do.
They came back, and the lead and boss came over and kinda raised their eyebrows when they saw me and started laughing and chatting amongst each other. Turns out, it was just a test that nearly everyone fails for one reason or another.
I failed, but they said that in the past several months, they had 8 new hires that simply gave up and left, spent all day begging coworkers to do the work for them, spent all day in the bathroom and/or on their phones, and one guy who got pissed off and crashed a machine intentionally. They were so pleased to see that I not only didn’t run away, but tried my best and actually got something done without fucking anything up, they gave me a $2 raise on the spot and later bought me a really nice toolbox.”
8. Heart racing
“I worked on a suicide hotline for a year. My shift was a weekday afternoon, so supposedly it “wasn’t too busy.”
My first shift came immediately after finishing the mandatory training period. I had four calls in a two hour period, one of which needed emergency intervention. I think my heart raced through the rest of the night.”
9. No training
“First day after my orientation night at my current job…the guy ‘training’ me shows where i am supposed to work (which machine) then walked off without showing me how to do my job.
He did this for 2 weeks before other people noticed and he got strung up by his balls (metaphorically). They gave me a new trainer and a week later i was doing well enough they ended my training early, normally its 6 weeks, i had 3 weeks, and 2 of those were spent messing stuff up because i didn’t know what to do.
they already asked me about training other people because we have half the crew we are required to have by company policy and I’m already better, after less than 2 months (started the third week of July) than many of the people who have 2-5 years at this job…its not a hard job…these people just suck…”
“First day of my EMT clinicals and I’m sitting in some parking lot really excited for my first call with a 911 out of Los Angeles. Waiting for about 3 hours and we finally get a call. It’s a unknown so we end up getting to this residential in some neighborhood and we’re the first on scene, cool no problem. I’m the first one through the door while the two other EMT’s get the stretcher and code kit following behind me. I’m standing in these peoples living room who Ive never met before and out comes this guy holding a blue 3 month old girl and I just stood there frozen.
Can’t really describe what it felt like but I can tell you it shook me to my core for a second. Training kicked in and thankfully the more experienced EMT’s took control and soon after the Paramedics showed up and ran the code. 3mo old didn’t end up making it. Whole call lasted about 15 minutes probably but felt like an eternity. Huge respect for the Paramedic who lead the call that day. Telling a mother and father that their baby isn’t going to see her first birthday has got to be the worst part of the job. Took a lot for me not to cry and all I had to do was stand there and try not to get in the way. Watching the mother pull the intubation tubes out of her lifeless daughters nose will probably stick with me for awhile, along with how pretty the little girls hair was.
It was brown and surprisingly long for someone as young as her. It seemed crazy to me how we were just supposed to continue our day after that and pretend everything was ok. I remember ordering food at a fast food joint no 30 minutes later thinking what the hell just happened. Before I knew it I was on my way to the next call. Just gotta suck it up and continue working I guess. I was 19 at the time and I like to think a lot of me grew up that day. Huge respect to all men and women in EMS who suck it up everyday and put the patient first. Overworked and underpaid but always willing.”
11. Through the ringer
“I have a couple. I worked several long term sub jobs before getting a permanent job in special ed. First story- I worked with kids with emotional disorders for a couple weeks. Day 1 a 1st grader called me a c**t, threw a full trash can at me, stole a scooter and ran off campus where he started peeing on things at the school next door.
2nd story- Working in mod/severe. A 10yo kid with cerebral palsy bit me on the hip while I was changing him. Literally as the aide was saying “By the way, sometimes he bites.” The kid and the aide then proceeded to laugh hysterically. I was pissed at the time but then I got bit once a year for 5 years straight(by different kids) and it doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.”
12. Get up there
“First day of fire department training, when I was 16, run the 100′ aerial platform to full vertical…. “OK kid, see how far you can climb.” “
13. Doesn’t like clothes
“I baby-sat all the time in high school. Your first day with a new family can be a little tricky, because kids know the baby-sitter has no real authority over them and you have to develop a good rapport immediately if you want any hope of getting the kids to bed somewhat on time. (At least in my town.) But my little sister is six years younger than me, and all my previous jobs were watching her classmates and their siblings. So I had the advantage of already knowing the kids, and hadn’t dealt with anything too difficult.
Then a couple from church hired me. They knew me from “Crib Room” (place where your infant/toddler can hang out & be supervised while you listen to the sermon) and their daughter liked me because I build amazing block towers. But I’d only interacted with the girl for an hour on Sundays, in a room filled with other children. I didn’t have the same rapport with her as I did with my sister’s classmates. And I didn’t know her older sister, “Jenny,” at all. I was going in blind.
I show up, the girls seem pretty amicable, they like that I’ll go right into imaginary games with them, aren’t freaked out that Mom & Dad won’t be home for a few hours. It looks like everything’s gonna go smoothly.
The parents start to leave. Just before he shuts the door, the dad says, “Oh, just to let you know, Jenny doesn’t like clothes.”
I whirl around.
Baby-sitting with your eyes shut is really difficult.
Eventually I was able to establish rules like, “Underwear is mandatory unless you’re using the bathroom.” But it took a while.”
14. What a way to start
“My first day of hospital clinicals in nursing school was pretty intense. It was a pretty easy start to the day; I got assigned a COPD patient in his early 80s, and he wasn’t supposed to have much going on that day besides a CT scan. After going through his chart and doing an initial assessment, I helped take him down to CT. the machine required him to lay flat on his back (which is harder on patients in late stages of COPD than sitting up), with his arms raised.
He was hooked up to oxygen the whole time so the tech assumed he’d be okay, but once we left and got back to our floor, we both simultaneously noticed the guy was gasping for air, and his lips were turning blue. We hurried him back to the room, call a code, and watch as this guy goes into respiratory arrest (he was just a tech and I was just a student, so we really hadn’t been trained for this).
Help arrives, and my patient’s actual nurse is nowhere to be found, so nobody in the room besides me knows anything about this guy. So I had to fill the doctor leading the emergency response in on all of this guy’s information and the situation, which was terrifying. And all during this, my clinical instructor kept walking by the room making weird, goofy faces at me. The guy lived, but wow what a way to start clinicals.”
15. That’s a lot of calls
“I started two jobs at the same time and the first weekend I supposed to work the morning shift by myself at this hostel I missed my alarm because I closed as a hostess at this restaurant the night before at 1 am…
so I wake up at 7:30 am with 25 missed calls from my new boss and when I called him two minutes later he told me he was outside my house and would take me to work when I was ready.
Lmao literally nuts but turned out to be a really good guy.”
Alright, now that you’ve read those stories, it’s time to ask… do you have one of your own?
If you do, leave that in the comments, yo!