The weirdest work stories of 2010

Pin It

Oh, workers, you never cease to impress us. Day after day you walk, ride or drive to your job and work hard. Then you come home and repeat it all over again. That alone is exhausting. But each year a few workers rise above the rest when they go above and beyond. They do something noteworthy.

Now, we’re not saying these workers always do something that benefits humanity. Last year, one worker wrecked a borrowed Ferrari and another sent her co-workers to the hospital due to her pungent perfume. But sometimes a hero emerges, as we saw with the Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger  in last year’s plane crash in the Hudson.

And this year was no exception. We saw some weird work stories that had some heroism, some face-to-the-palm ridiculousness, and some cleverness.

Here’s our round-up of 2010’s weird and notable work stories:

15 cents, some imagination, and a job offer

Copywriter Alec Brownstein had two important realizations: (1) He wanted to find a new job for an exciting creative director and (2) his favorite creative directors didn’t have any sponsored links come up when he searched their names on Google. So he decided to purchase a Google AdWord (or sponsored link) for the names of each creative director—and it cost him only 15 cents per name. When the directors searched their names, an activity Brownstein knew most people did, they saw sponsored links addressed personally to them that said, “Hire me!” with a link to Brownstein’s personal website. He received calls from all but one of the directors and landed a job with one of them. Well done, Brownstein. [Source: Mashable.]

Will you be checking a bag?

When a Southwestern Airlines employee in Little Rock, Ark., was tending to some cargo en route to Forth Worth, Texas, a peculiar discovery was made. The bag was filled with human remains—approximately 40 human heads, actually. Apparently a medical research company was awaiting the shipment, but the proper paperwork got mixed up at some point. The employee contacted police, who then investigated whether the delivery was part of an underground market. Eventually they discovered that the cargo was intended for medical purposes. [Source: NBCDFW.com]

What’s worse than an audit? A heart attack.

Many, if not most, people complain about filing taxes and the paperwork involved. Perhaps these people would change their minds if they heard the story of Earl Phillips, a resident of Adair County, Ky. When he was talking to Natalie Brown, an employee of the Kentucky Department of Revenue, Phillips began to sound labored. Brown noticed that something was wrong and asked him if he needed some medical assistance. Although she was in a completely different part of the state, Brown used his tax forms to find his address and notified his local 911 department. They went to Phillips’ home to find that he’d had a heart attack. Luckily, with treatment, he recovered. [Source: Tonic]

iSorry

Every year, technology leader Apple unveils a new line of gadgets: iPods, iPhones, iPads, iTunes, and so on. The company loves to make a dramatic entrance, so the  news that does trickle out in advance is usually benign. However, things got a bit messy with the latest iteration of the iPhone—the iPhone 4. The saga is long and is worth a read, but here’s the gist: An Apple engineer had an iPhone 4 prototype (disguised as an older version of the iPhone) with him at a bar. He had one beer too many and left the phone behind. Someone else found it, technology blog Gizmodo purchased it from him, and then the media had a field day and Apple wasn’t particularly happy. The engineer obviously didn’t mean to cause any sort of brouhaha, but his mistake became headline news. [Source: Gizmodo]

Money where you least expect it

You know what? There’s no way to tell the story any better than journalist Joe Peacock did: “[Steve] Wilson, a worker with the St. Louis firm DoodyCalls Pet Waste Removal, was cleaning up after a dog when he spotted what appeared to be a bit of half-digested U.S. currency ‘sticking out.’”

It was $58 in cash, which he returned to the pet’s owner. [Source: AOL News]

Don’t ice me, bro!

Sometimes the workplace is full of people who just want to have fun. And some of these people love a good fad. Think of the people who thought it was funny to answer the phone, “Wassssupp?” back in 1999 when the Budweiser commercials first aired. This year was the year of being “iced.” Icing someone is essentially forcing them to chug a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a malt beverage. In other words, a pointless college game went mainstream, only this time it went all the way to the office, and you had people posting Facebook pictures and YouTube videos of co-workers getting iced.

Yes, your accountant; your daughter, the first in the family to graduate with honors; your local salon owner–they were all iced while on the clock. Maybe even you were iced, seeing as it was a full-blown phenomenon. [Source: CNN]

And this, my friends, is your 2010 workplace year in review. We laughed, we cried, we iced. Another eclectic year on the clock has passed, but I’m sure 2011 will be just as creative.

Did we miss any noteworthy workplace stories this year? Or did you have an interesting workplace story that didn’t make the news? Let us know.

57 Comments
  1. Thought you might like to know,
    corrected typos are in brackets [ ]:

    15 cents, some imagination, and a job offer

    Copywriter Alec Brownstein had to [two] important realizations: 1. He wanted to find a new job for an exciting creative director and 2. His favorite creative directors didn’t have any sponsored links come up when he searched their names on Google. So he decided to purchase a Google AdWord (or sponsored link) for the names of each creative director—and it only cost him 15 cents per name. When the directors searched their own names, an activity Brownstein knew most people did, the [they] saw a sponsored link that was addressed personally to them and said, “Hire me!” with a link to Brownstein’s personal website. He received calls from all but one of the directors and landed a job with one of them. Well done, Brownstein. [Source: Mashable.]

    Will you be checking a bag?

    When a Southwestern Airlines employee in Little Rock, Ark., was tending to some cargo en court to Forth [Fort] Worth, Texas, a . . .

      • @Lily K. Arkansas is AR. Alaska is AK. Know that you are correct before you post. Ark. is commonly used as most people think that AR is Arizona, which by the way is AZ.

          • Ark was the original abbr for Arkansas before the postal service went to two letter abbr as well I am from Arkansas and when I am talking to people on the phone giving addresses I always tell them it is Arkansas because as stated above many people confuse it with Arizona

      • No nappy nap time! This is entertainment in it’s highest form! It’s good to know that internet bashing, even amongst some of the most intelligent folks, is alive and well. I’m going to go grab some popcorn and watch the rest of the show.

  2. Paul… I don’t know if they corrected the mistakes that you pointed out but they are no longer there except for the Forth worth.

  3. huh? i enjoyed the articles but it was the ‘comments’ from our esteemed readers that baffled me. they were the oddest (especially the guy who proofed the ‘mistakes’ that weren’t there). ok so maybe there isn’t a FORTH WORTH but then maybe there is. who knows?

    anyway, i’m sure there are even odder stories still untold. as art linkletter would say, ‘people are funny’. they’re odd, too!

  4. Paul, Ive taken the liberty of correcting the erronious spelling of your name, please refer to the corrected items in brackets…

    Paul Hubert [Too nerdy to have ever seen a woman naked and couldnt find a friend if I held Facebook for ransom... eagerly poised to point out others' mistakes since its the only trait I posess that lends validity to my existence]

  5. I guess I missed the whole “Iced” phenomenon. Must have been under a rock I guess. Do you think the “its just a game” excuse would fly with HR if they caught me drinking on the clock? I’m betting no…

  6. While I don’t know Paul, I agree with his premise that this is a nation of functional illiterates! The vast majority can’t speak or write a complete sentence without at least one mistake being made. Having been a Personnel/HR manager for a number of firms and seeing thousands of mistakes on employment applications, I assure you that I make the above statement based on years of experience. I cannot remember ever sending an application to the department looking to hire someone if the application had obvious mistakes, information scratched out, or was obviously incomplete. The internet and cell phones that have led the way in fostering such poor communication’s skills, but it is the public school English teachers who no longer teach this essential skill who are most to blame. You would be surprised at what learning to use your language correctly can do for you!

    • @ Jerden: Once again, a point is made. Please know what you’re talking about before you step upon your soapbox to preach. Overuse of the apostrophe is one of the most common punctuation errors in existence. (please see exerpt of your post below – error is in brackets)

      The internet and cell phones that have led the way in fostering such poor [communication’s] skills, but it is the public school English teachers who no longer teach this essential skill who are most to blame. You would be surprised at what learning to use your language correctly can do for you!

    • @jerden & Paul Huber –
      If the majority of people are using the English language incorrectly, they don’t even see the mistakes you are pointing out. They do, however, clearly see you as pompous.

    • @Jerden: I am glad to hear that your “years of experience” have taught you that high school English teachers are to blame for all illiteracy in the United States. I think perhaps you should put your far superior “communication’s skills” to work and help me overcome the extreme poverty which sometimes makes it hard for my students to make it to class or do their homework. Maybe if those students would waste less time trying to find jobs to help feed their younger siblings, they would have more time to worry about their commas and periods. Oh, and speaking of commas and periods, you may want to double check the proper use of them before you bash English teachers again.

    • jerden but it is the public school English teachers who no longer teach this essential skill who are most to blame.>>>And once again another falls victim to the blame game. What you have just made, as any English teacher would tell you, is an illogical fallacy know as “sweeping statements”…Before making such statements, one would have had to interview ALL English teachers. I am betting you did not as I was not contacted. TRY being an English teacher…I have taught my students NOT to make such errors, but the errors are repeated…do I point the finger of blame to texting, short attention spans, home-life problems impeding the educational process, or lack of work ethic? Much to the chagrin of my students, I teach essential skills—and more–on a daily basis. I have witnessed 4 former students become English teachers and I have received letters from others with regard to the impact I had on their life.
      At any rate, excuse the errors I have made. I am really thinking about eating breakfast….

      • Mamma Bug !

        So you were not interviewed for your opinion. The saying in the east is “to see if the pot of rice is cooked, you squeeze only one grain”

        I have to agree that wether it is a sweeping statement etc., etc., we cannot “rationalize or justify our students backwardness” in science and math as well as our “mother tongue” English.

        Remember, our boys and girls will in the near future be competing with boys and girls from China, India, Japan as well as Thailand and Indonesia. No amount of rationalizing today will get our kids a job tomorrow.

  7. Jaded,

    As an FYI to grammar, know that we all need an editor. The context in which you spelled internet was incorrect. You should have capitalized it.

    In the general sense, an internet (with a lowercase “i”, a shortened form of the original inter-network) is a computer network that connects several networks. As a proper noun, the Internet is the publicly available internationally interconnected system of computers (plus the information and services they provide to their users) that uses the TCP/IP suite of packet switching communications protocols. Thus, the largest internet is called simply “the” Internet. The art of connecting networks in this way is called internetworking.

  8. Okay posters – It’s nappy nap time. Come on – put your key boards up and grab your pillows. I’m going to turn the lights of in three, two, one… Shhhhhhhh….. Kaioni – We only speak english in this thread — shhhhhh!

  9. @Jerden: Check your use of commas and apostrophes before you tell everybody its the english teachers to blame! You should know better especially because of your “years experience of being a Personnel/HR manager”. It definitely gets annoying when people decide they know best and that they are going to share what they know “best” with the world and then they make the mistakes! What great “communication’s skills” you have! Just to correct you on that, it would be “communication skills”. I learnt that from my english teacher! Who by the way is not to blame for anybody’s illiteracy. I have better literacy skills then you and I am still a student. I hope that shows you how well you have done at your job of proving it is the English teachers faults for illiteracy. So please.. do us all a favor, if you think you know everything but really you do not then please do not tell everybody we are all functional illiterates, and next time, think before you blame english teachers for YOUR “communication’s skills” and everybody’s illiteracy.

  10. OK seriously? One person makes one comment correcting the mistakes that don’t exist anymore but then EVERYBODY comments and it becomes one huge debate of who knows more then the other and everybody is correcting anybody who makes the SLIGHTEST mistake! So before everybody comments on how lame and nerdy they think Paul is, just read everybody else’s comments and notice that they are doing exactly the same thing. Everybody that corrects somebody makes mistakes of there own, then somebody else corrects them and it just keeps going on. If you think that Paul is a nerd, read your comment. Because your taking what he did and making it into something so huge and so pathetic that even children would laugh at this! Kids seem more mature then this and I am sure most of you here are adults? I would hope children but I am guessing adults. But if you are adults.. start acting like them and stop making fun of other people and trying to make yourselves look like the better person when really everybody that corrects somebody just makes themselves seem more and more of an immature person. So get a life. Go study maybe? And then come back and comment.

  11. Reading these comments has been the highlight of my day. I am a student of an English teacher who would probably cringe if she saw all of the bad grammar and spelling that was put onto websites like this one. Unfortunately, she appears to be nearly seventy years old and has almost no knowledge about anything related to computers.

    What I, being a seventeen year old who is on computers most of each day, can say is that no one has the time to make sure that everything they have typed is correct. The only reason that what I’m writing is mostly error free is because I am on Holiday break from school at the moment. I say mostly error free because I know that no matter how many times I re-read this there will still be typing mistakes.

    If you have such a big problem with typing errors my suggestion to you would be to stay off every single website because you will find, without fail, at least one spelling or grammar mistake on each and every website known to exist. Also, it would be wise for you to remember that they are just mistakes.

    To those who criticize those people who do make corrections to the work of others, remember that karma is a bitch. It will someday come back to bite you in the ass, so be prepared. If you would be less critical of others and more focused on your own work maybe you could advance yourself by your own abilities instead of bringing others down to make yourself look better.

    Of course, this is all just a thought from a seventeen year old girl. Deal with it however you like.

  12. The Donkey in the Well

    A parable with a twist….
    - – -
    One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well that the farmer had accidentally left uncovered. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

    Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway, so it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

    He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

    A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

    As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

    Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up!

    Shake it off and take a step up.

    Now, most people think that’s the end, but it isn’t…

    The donkey later came back and bit the hell out of the farmer who had tried to bury him.

    The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

    So the real moral from today’s lesson?

    When you do something wrong and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

  13. Pingback: Search Colleges Universities : The best comments of 2010

  14. Pingback: The best comments of 2010 « Job Search Engineering

  15. Pingback: Freshers Yaar! » Blog Archive » The best comments of 2010

  16. Pingback: 8 of the weirdest work stories from 2011 : The Work Buzz

  17. Pingback: 8 of the weirdest work stories from 2011 | City Jobs Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>