11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 20, 2017 4:36 AM by teprojects1

    What's the worst job you've ever had?


      Worst Jobs


      Following on from last week's discussion on our members' engineering origin stories, this week we'd like to hear about some of the more regrettable chapters of your careers. Whether it was a bad experience with an employer, a project that went badly off the rails or something your heart wasn't really in, use the comments section below to tell us about the worst working experiences of your career.


      • How did you find yourself in the role in the first place?
      • What made it stick out as a particularly negative or unfulfilling experience?
      • Were you able to resolve the issues, or did you simply have to walk away?
      • Were you able to take any positives from the experience?
      • What would you do differently if you found yourself in a similar situation today?


      Now, we don't want to be responsible for any lawsuits, so be mindful to avoid "naming and shaming" if discussing a specific employer. We'll be looking for the best, funniest and most interesting answers for a future feature.

        • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?

          Worst job interview : )

          I applied to some firm that made something related to video (I can't remember the detail). They were really happy I knew Z80 assembler. Which was worrying!! : )

          Anyway, they made an offer during the interview, but it was a disappointing sum of money.

          I told them I'd already told the agent I was looking for about £500-£1k more than that, and it was important to me, for reasons x,y, z.


          The interviewer got really offended! and said that everyone started at the lower salary, and in a year it might increase. He (literally, not figuratively) crossed his arms and stopped talking to me!

          I'd never seen people-skills like that.. I'd hoped for a compromise (like "let's see how you do for the first few months") or a simple "unfortunately, we really only have this much budget this year".


          Since we had reached an impasse, I eventually had to let him know I ought to leave, and shake hands and say goodbye. Later the agent called and said they would provide the requested sum.

          But there was no way I could accept it because I would have got hostile treatment from day one, and I could imagine the response if I had worked there, and a year later I really needed a pay rise..


          Anyway I then had an interview for an easy-going Canadian firm whose interviewer was wearing shorts and a T-shirt! The work was interesting, but importantly the atmosphere was friendly with everyone in the team!

            • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?



              I read your comment about the bad interview. The interviewer was dreadful and foolish. I always tell people that the potential employer may be interviewing you, the job applicant, but YOU are interviewing the potential employer. It was a lousy company. I'm glad you turned it down.


              Perhaps things are different here in the U.S. than where you are, but salary negotiations often are taken up later in the hiring process. Also, what an employer says is the salary (or range) is not necessarily the "real" salary. Everything depends on their need and your competition -- supply and demand.


              By the way, did you ask for a sign on bonus?


              I once helped a young man right out of college who was on his first job search. He didn't know how to play "the game." I taught him a few of the basic tips in salary negotiations. In the end, he was handsomely paid a 6-figure salary in his first job out of college plus a sign on bonus. Two years later, he started looking again. He came back to me for help. I told him stop fooling around and ask for much more money and to play tough and ask for a bonus. Result: he got a 40% increase in salary plus a $40,000 (US) sign on bonus. Needless to say, he was very happy for my help:)

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?

                  Hi Randall,


                  Wow, you did incredibly good for him!!

                  A sign-on bonus is new to me, but it does make sense, after all people have to relocate to work, etc. As you say, it was unusual to discuss the salary in the interview.

                  It was my first job, anyway after that I did a bit of contract work for not very long, and then found a company that was willing to instantly add 30% to my base salary, and

                  then various bonuses (even a paid-for ISDN line at the time!) , so I was very happy about that.

                  There are so many little things that make for employee productivity, but knowing that you're going to be in an uncomfortable environment like that would be the last thing to help the employer or the employees.

              • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?

                In a job interview right after college I was told by a potential employer that they were not going to pay me a salary because of all the training they were going to give me for "free" that they had to pay for.

                After I said no to that, they then tried to hire me on "commission".  Have you ever heard of electrical engineering on commission?


                My worst job was digging post holes on the sides of roads for a parks and recreation facility (poison ivy everywhere).

                  • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?

                    That's a new one for me: EE on commission. Should we give them a few points for being creative ...hmmm--nope!


                    Needless to say, sales jobs can be commission only. But these can be emons unless you bring accounts to the new employer and you get a piece of the action which normally doesn't happen because they soon get rid of you so they can make your account a "house account" (e.g. no commission is paid to anyone!)


                    I think you read it correctly -- they were trying to take advantage of new grad or it was a scam.

                  • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?

                    Worst job was a contract competition for a large systems job.

                    I was promised lots of training and tools to do the job, only to find out that none of that was going to happen and oh by the way there was nobody really in charge of the engineering and integration of anything.


                    So after trying to implement some reasonable engineering solutions and discovering all of the political infighting, I soon found a new job.


                    Needless to say, the company I was with did not win the contract.


                    Lesson learned, get promises in writing.  You cannot demand anything said during an interview.



                    • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?
                      Jan Cumps

                      I've been in the army deployed in West-Germany with nuclear service during the cold war.

                      • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?

                        I was employed by a major newspaper as a computer technician, back then they called us Engineers but that is another story, the day I started I discovered that nobody else in the company had any formal training or experience and they had been relying on the manufacturer to do the maintenance. Not quite what I had been lead to believe at the Interview. However I accepted it as a challenge and set about determining what needed to be done. everything was fine for a few weeks, realigning Magnetic tape reader writer heads so that they could actually read each others tapes, and similarly with the 15" cartridge disk drives, but of course making sure that the archived tapes and disks could still be read. Then came the time to shut the mini computer down to do a maintenance on it. I had observed that there was quite a buildup of dust around the filters. I was told that this would have to wait for a day or 2 as the computers was vital at that time. I was asked to help out in the packing room, the only electronic devices in the packing room were the counters which counted the papers as they raved off the presses, through the folders and onto the binding machines which bound them in bundles of 50. A few days went by and I asked what was happening. I was advised that this was my job as a major union had stepped in and declared that it's members were responsible for the computer equipment and I was not in their union (nor was anyone else in the department). I contacted my Union ( which was nationally the main union for computer support personnel) after a few more days I was told that since the other union had most of the employees in the organisation they had decided that they would be responsible for the computers. They offered to pay my membership in that union but that I still may not be able to work in the computer center as other employees (members of the other union) had seniority. They then turned around and told me I was expected to help train the people as they had NO training or knowledge of computers. I refused and handed in my notice immediately. hey even tried to tell me I had to stay as I had an employment agreement with them. I pointed out that the agreement was as a computer technician and they escorted me from the building>

                        • Re: What's the worst job you've ever had?

                          I think the worst Job is to do One men show, I mean to do everything by your own. I help engineering students to finalized their engineering projects, every month there are dozen of students come to me and share their ideas with me about their projects, in this case I have to build the hardware along with the software of that projects It's mean each and every thing to complete the projects I have to do by my own and this is the worst thing for me. I'm electrical engineer and doing job of mechanical, electrical, electronics and computer engineer in single job. You may be confused how computer engineering is involved? recently I have done

                          In that I have to programmed the circuit for the servo motors movements and faced many problems doing the all in one job sometime I get frustrated with it, but it's my passion also.