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Scary stories to tell in the dark: our job horrors


Goldilocks and the three pencils
“My first job in PR was my work placement in my 3rd year at uni. It was 1992, the height 90s ‘baggy indie’ and I’d spent my 2 years at uni growing a perfect indie bob hairstyle (hard to believe now). I was offered the job with one condition – that I had all my hair cut off because it “wasn’t appropriate for the workplace.” I succumbed. My boss at the time was a formidable lady whom you did not cross, and she knew how to keep you in your place. On one such occasion, she walked from her private office into the PR department with three pencils and requested that I sharpen them for her. Times have changed a bit!”

Butter fingers
“When I was 16, I worked at a local coffee shop – it was my first ever job, but I had no experience making tea, coffee, or food! I had to do various roles including waitressing, washing up, making sandwiches, and using the coffee machine.
One day it was very busy and there was a mountain of pots to be washed and mugs were running out fast.  Using my initiative, I decided to handwash all the mugs and dishes. However, shortly afterwards, customers began to complain that they had something that looked like oil in their coffee. All my colleagues were trying to figure out where this oil like substance had come from as when a fresh mug was used it was still happening. My supervisor then asked me if I had taken the butter off the plates before I put them in the sink. My face dropped. At the time, I didn’t realise that putting butter in the sink with the rest of the pots would be a problem. I thought the washing up liquid would power through this. I was definitely not cut out for life at a coffee shop.”

The fall of Babylon… well, Aston Villa
“I worked for an events company when I was at uni. We ended up working in one of the bar/burger areas at Aston Villa on the last game of the season. The stadium was being redeveloped in the closed season, but the fans literally tore the ground down around us – including taking toilet seats!!!”

Please sir, can I have some more
“I worked at a call centre in early 2020, just before the pandemic hit, and my line manager was a real piece of work! From micro-managing every single thing we did (pulling us up in front of the entire team any time a mistake was made) to daily screaming matches when people would argue back to her constant criticism. The absolute worst bit of it though, we had to PUT UP OUR HANDS and ask to go to the toilet!”

The phantom poo
“I worked in hospitality for a number of years, and I thought I had seen it all. Drunk students and being sick go hand in hand so it was expected that at some point we would have to deal with this. In one place, we even had a code word for it… ‘protein’… pretty gross right?
Sundays were often uneventful days. Well, they were supposed to be. This one particular Sunday, a colleague had found a suspicious looking chocolate surprise on the stairs. Not a small one either. A quiet Sunday afternoon? There’s no way! Long story short, we checked CCTV, and our suspicions were confirmed… I was just glad I wasn’t the one who had to clean it up!”

Tick tock tick tock
“During my time at university, I needed a part-time job to support myself financially. I took on a job at a call centre, which I naively didn’t realise was cold calling until I started! Safe to say I didn’t last long after a day of being shouted at down the phone and constantly being hung up on. The icing on the cake was the timer we had to use every time we left our desk, meaning any small errands or tasks I needed to do would be taken off my lunch break! Experiences like these make me entirely grateful for the flexible working that Skout provides.”

Don’t forget, we are hiring. If you’re looking to start your career or next chapter in PR and Marketing, we’d love to hear from you. (Otherwise, we will haunt your dreams until you do!)

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