The CC Weekly Weigh In: Awkward Work Moments

This past Halloween my friends and I decided to put on our costumes early and head over to a bar to watch some college football. Fast forward to 3pm: I’m drunk, dressed up as Rainbow Bright and smoking cigarettes on the street while my male friend jokingly shoved his hand up my skirt. Nothing too out of the ordinary…until a business associate – someone I had just had a very important meeting with on Friday and was planning on a follow-up on Monday – happened to walk by. And recognize me.

Yeah, Monday was a little uncomfortable.

It’s not uncommon for awkward situations to come up at work. There are so many rules, regulations and requirements, that it’s no surprise when something goes awry and things get very uncomfortable very fast. This week I reached out to CollegeCandy writers, friends and fans to find out their most awkward or embarrassing work story. And what I heard is enough to make you want to quit working all together.

Rachael – University of Miami: My first two years of college, I spent my summers as a “beauty consultant” at CVS (I sold makeup). Because the Beauty girls all dressed in black, not everyone realized we worked there, but for some reason the people who did figured we knew everything about the store and its products. One man spent a good five minutes telling me about his rectal bleeding problem before he paused long enough to let me explain that I only worked in cosmetics. I’m honestly not sure who was more embarrassed as I directed him to Pharmacy.

Nina – Michigan State University: At one of my internships, I swear one of the interns sitting near me had “bodily functions” going on ALL THE TIME. And when my boss walked past, he’d wrinkle his nose and look at me strangely. I couldn’t tell him it was HER… sooo awkward!

Jessica Wakeman – I once burst into tears in front of an old boss while I was giving two weeks notice! It wasn’t like I loved the job or anything. In fact, I hated it! I was just really emotional and stressed me out because I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be financially able to support myself at the new job I had found. So I was sitting in this tiny conference room with a male boss who was a lot older than me and I just started bawling. He got really awkward and handed me some napkins he had in his pocket. He suggested I take some time to think things over and make sure I really wanted to quit. I think he thought I was crying because I didn’t really want to leave!

Lauren – University of Michigan: I normally don’t like to go to the bathroom at work (there’s only one toilet and it’s across the hall from my boss’s office), but I had a terrible stomach issue and just had to go. My boss caught me on my way in and talked to me so I tried to make things quick since he clearly knew I was in there. Well, I ended up having to plunge the toilet and was in there a lot longer than I expected. I thought I could sneak out (maybe he wasn’t paying attention), only when I left the bathroom (sweaty from all that plunging) he was waiting for me in the hallway to tell me I had a call. The look on his face when the smell wafted out of the bathroom is something that will haunt my dreams for eternity.

Julia – I took off of work to go to the TopShop opening in NYC — seriously, how could you miss that? Of course I called in sick, and had the fortunate/unfortunate experience of being interviewed on camera by a WWD reporter. [And] of course I Tweeted about it, pubbed the video on my site, and emailed it to people, accidentally adding in someone from work to the email list. Oops!!

Alex- University of South Carolina:  Once I caught my boss stealing bottles of vodka from the club I worked at.  Two weeks later, he was fired for being drunk on the job.  Too bad, I feel like we really could have bonded…

Kaitlyn (via Facebook): I worked at a professional regional theatre where I lived as an acting intern and performed in shows alongside seasoned professionals. During a performance of “Carousel” I was a can-can dancer in the dream ballet sequence. And it was supposed to be this dead-pan serious bit of the scene. In this number we were supposed to dance on chairs and the chair the girl behind me was standing on broke mid-way through. Of course, we all broke into giggles and tried to stifle them. Shortly after I hear the laughter increase but can’t figure out why…until I see the puddle. The girl had held her laughter in so hard that she had peed…on stage…in front of a 500 person full-house audience. Our director wasn’t amused.

Emmy – Loyola University Chicago: Today, this guy who works in the warehouse of the office that I am interning in (and has to be at least fifteen years older than me) just asked me out on a date IN FRONT OF MY BOSS. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it. Just not okay.

Sara C – Fordham: Earlier this week, my boss came into the ladies’ room, took the stall next to mine, and tried to start up a conversation about the weekend. There is nothing quite as awkward as making small talk with a superior while dropping the kids off at the pool.

Charlsie – Hollins University: Being asked by blogger Julia Allison, when I was her intern, to return things she received for free (she had bags and bags of stuff for me to return) in exchange for cash or gift cards was awkward. For example, Betsey Johnson sent her some underwear. I felt so awkward because these companies sent her stuff to feature on her blog or to write about — not to return the products, so she could profit in return. This began the realization that I was working for a scam artist — and the whole internship went downhill pretty fast.

Elizabeth – University of Missouri: My first month of working at a coffee shop when I was 16, I spilled an ENTIRE 16 oz 200 degrees cup of coffee on a customer’s beige khakis.

Jackelyn – San Francisco State University: Oh god. On my first day of work at a radio station, I worked a Street Team event. En route to the location, my boss realized she “forgot” something at her apartment, so we swung by “really quick – 2 minutes, tops!” Yeah, the other girl and I waited in the car for AT LEAST 1 hour. When she came back, her hair was different, her clothes changed, and her boyfriend kissing her good bye. Let’s just say we waited in the car while someone decided it would be a good time to have makeup sex. Oh, I’m not assuming this – SHE TOLD US.

Christie – NC State: My boss walked in on me asleep on the job. Not the most awkward thing in the world, but I was pretty embarrassed.

Alex – Lakehead University: Definitely when I was hit on by a local author at a bar and then had to run his meet-and-greet the next day at work. He creeps me out anyways and winks whenever I fill up his water, but now those winks take on a whole new meaning.

Kari – Florida State: I thought I heard my boss call me into his office, which I thought was strange because he was in a meeting. I walked in, and we stared at each other for a solid 45 seconds before he asked what I was doing there. Turns out, I was just hearing things. All the “grown ups” in the meeting laughed as I walked out. AWK.

Michelle – Virginia Tech (via Facebook): Have you ever gone to the bathroom and tucked your skirt in the back of your pantyhose and proceeded to walk back out onto the work floor..showing your ass? Well I have.

What’s your most embarrassing work story?

Candy Dish: Happy as a Clam? Try Happy As a Goose…
Candy Dish: Happy as a Clam? Try Happy As a Goose…
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