Outrageous Tales of Bizarre Workplace Behavior

Think this is a serious city where nothing unprofessional happens in offices? Read on.

By: Washingtonian Staff

Illustration by Chris Philpot

Hygiene High Jinks

"I watched a person at a previous job dye her hair at her desk."

"I witnessed a girl shaving her legs under her desk with a cup of soapy water and a razor."

"Someone I worked with used to trim his nose hair at the desk I shared with him."

"I know of a gal who 'regroups' before she heads out after work--throws curlers in her hair and reapplies her makeup in her cubicle."

"A coworker put foot powder on her bare feet in her cubicle."

"One person cut his nails during his job interview."

"An employee stored her anti-itch medication in the company refrigerator and then applied it in the lunch room."

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See Also:

Outlandish Excuses for Missing Work

Crazy Ways Washingtonians Have Quit Jobs

Illustration by Chris Philpot

Letting It Hang Out

"An interviewee pulled a cell phone out of her bra to answer a call during an interview."

"The receptionist was a stripper and sunbathed in her bikini on the front lawn of the building during her lunch break."

"A woman who used to work at our office would warm up her bra by putting it in the office microwave."

"At a local travel agency, a female employee fed up with how inadequate the air conditioning was in dealing with the summer heat removed her shirt and worked at her desk in her bra. She was the office manager, so she could get away with it."

"A married executive had his secretary--with whom he was having an affair--sit in his lap while she answered his line."

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Bathroom Behavior

"A coworker would bring a blowup doll with him into the bathroom."

"Someone brought their hand weights and left them in the bathroom, so while they were using the bathroom they would be lifting weights at the same time."

"We had an employee who was convinced there were security cameras in the restrooms, so she would shut all the lights off whenever she went to the ladies' room."

"An employee would read the paper and eat her breakfast every morning in one of the bathroom stalls."

"There was this one person who, after the cleaning crew stocked the restrooms that evening, would go to the men's and ladies' rooms and steal all of the towels and tissue--and then complain the next morning of the cleaning company doing a poor job. That was before we showed her the camera footage of her walking to her car with a trash bag full of tissue and towels."

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What's That Smell?

"I worked with a lady who used an electric wok at her desk and would cook what I call office 'rude food' such as broccoli and fish."

"For a short time, we had an employee who would dry her wet panties on her computer monitor. Apparently, she preferred to bring dirty clothing to work, wash it in the restroom, and dry it in her cube."

"An employee would burn incense at her desk to improve the aura."

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Do Not Disturb

"One woman would schedule a conference room a couple times a week for her afternoon nap. You could see her walking down the hall with her pillow in hand."

"A friend spills paper clips on the floor and lies down for a nap with her feet at the door. If a colleague were to walk in, the door would hit her feet, and she would wake up, saying, 'Oh, sorry, I just spilled these paper clips and was trying to pick them up.' "

"The receptionist put a big sign up that said on break and snoozed right at the front desk."

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What's For Lunch?

"A woman ate hard-shell crabs at her desk, hammer and all."

"At my previous job, one employee would put on latex gloves to eat potato chips out of a bag so he wouldn't get oil on his hands."

"An individual would constantly eat other people's lunches in front of them and then deny it."

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Feeling At Home

"We had an employee who asked if he could ride his horse to work and park it in the garage."

"At my previous employer, an employee bought an RV, parked it behind the building, and slept there. He would shower at the office and keep his groceries in the lunch room. I occasionally arrived to work before 7 am, and I would find him sitting in the lobby wearing only his robe and reading the newspaper."

"Someone replaced the flooring in his office with sod, watered it, and used patio furniture to decorate."

"A programmer who had been working two days and nights straight got mistaken for a homeless person, and security tried to escort him out of the building."

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Ho Ho Ho

"Some years back, a company I worked for laid off 15 people during the Christmas party."

"A former coworker was found naked in the elevator lobby, asleep, the morning after an office party."

"Someone attempted to take the CEO's car home after a holiday party."

"A former colleague got so drunk at the office holiday party that she told a coworker she hated his tie and then grabbed a pair of scissors and cut it in half."

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That's Efficient

"I knew of an employee making a reminder list of the things she planned to steal from the office so she wouldn't forget when it was time to go home."

"At another company, an employee would set up a coffee cup and his open briefcase and leave Post-it notes on his PC each morning, leading people to believe he was constantly in meetings. Turns out he had taken a job across the street with a competitor and was drawing two incomes."

"The director of Internet services at a large communications company regularly had his secretary print his e-mail every day so he could handwrite his response, which the secretary would then have to type into an e-mail."

"A married executive had his secretary--with whom he was having an affair--sit in his lap while she answered his line."

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Keeping Fit

"A friend of mine would lock his office door and exercise in the nude."

"I used to work with someone who would spontaneously break out into push-ups, even while he was in a conversation."

"Someone installed a treadmill in their pod and secured their laptop to it so they could exercise while they worked."

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Just Kidding

"I had a former boss who would require our team to sing the ABCs before every team meeting to 'break the ice.' "

"A former colleague would take off her sandals during meetings and use her toes to untie the shoelaces of the person sitting next to her."

"We had an employee who asked if he could ride his horse to work and park it in the garage."

"We were conducting a Web conference. Someone from a technology firm we were partnering with was presenting not only to 10 or 12 mid-to-senior-level managers at our firm but also to his CEO and CMO. Shortly after starting, we noticed that his Google search bar still displayed his most recent search: 'best strip clubs Philadelphia.' "

This article appears in the November 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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