The 7 Most Stupid Employee Mistakes Ever

Written by Alexandra Gekas

When Apple software engineer Gray Powell realized he’d lost a prototype of the super-secret, next-generation iPhone at a bar, he was probably pretty worried. But when he saw that tech site had gotten hold of the phone and written a story detailing its every feature, he most likely started searching the want ads. While it appears Apple may have mercy on Powell and spare him the unemployment line, he will always be remembered for making one of the biggest employee blunders of all time. To make Powell feel a little better, we’ve rounded up a list of epic workplace mistakes.

Employee Keeps Journal About Procrastination

Emmalee Bauer of Elkhart, Iowa, was always typing away at her work computer. The problem? She wasn’t doing her work—or anything at all, for that matter. Instead, she was writing a 300-page, single-spaced journal about not working. “This typing thing seems to be doing the trick,” she wrote. “It just looks like I am hard at work on something very important.” Unfortunately, her boss caught on and found the journal. Later, Bauer was even denied unemployment benefits by a judge who said her journal showed a refusal to work and “amusement at getting away with it.” Photo by iStockphoto.

Journalist Fakes Pulitzer Prize–Winning Story

In 1980 Janet Cooke, golden child of The Washington Post, wrote a profile of an 8-year-old heroin addict she called “Jimmy,” for which she won the coveted Pulitzer Prize. After publication, however, the government wanted to know Jimmy’s whereabouts in order to help him. Cooke claimed she couldn’t reveal her sources for fear that drug dealers would endanger her life. Days later, the whole thing fell through when it was revealed that the story was fake. Obviously, Cooke was forced to resign and return the prize. Photo courtesy of

Intern Skips Work for “Emergency,” Posts Party Pics Online

In 2007 Kevin Colvin was an intern at a North American branch of Anglo Irish Bank. One day Colvin e-mailed his manager, Paul Davis, saying he’d have to miss work due to a “family emergency.” But when suspicious coworkers checked his Facebook page, they found a picture of him at the Halloween party he’d missed work to attend. In response, Davis e-mailed him: “Thanks for letting us know—hope everything is OK in New York. (Cool wand.)” He attached the incriminating photo and copied the whole office on the message. Photo by Shutterstock.

Illinois Governor Tries to Sell Obama’s Senate Seat

Rod Blagojevich served as Illinois governor from 2003 until 2009, when he was impeached for trying to sell the Senate seat Barack Obama left vacant. “Blago,” as he’s known in Illinois, was charged with 16 felonies, including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal agents. Continuing to claim innocence, he has since written a book and appeared on the reality television show The Apprentice. His trial is set to start on June 3, 2010. Photo by Alexandra Buxbaum / Retna Ltd.

Waitress Complains About Customers on Facebook

Anyone who’s ever been a server knows the holy trinity of customer sins: sitting at the table too long, staying past closing and leaving a bad tip. Well, Ashley Johnson, a waitress at Brixx Pizza in Charlotte, North Carolina, got hit with all three in one night when a couple stayed at her table for three hours—keeping her an hour after closing—and then only tipped her $5. So what did Ashley do? She complained on Facebook, of course! “Thanks for eating at Brixx,” she reportedly wrote on her wall, in addition to calling the patrons “cheap.” A few days later, Johnson got a call from her manager giving her the ax for “violating company policies against speaking ill of customers and depicting the restaurant negatively on social networking sites.” Photo by Shutterstock.

Port Authority Guards Sleep on the Job

Ever since the events that occurred on September 11, 2001, security has been a high priority in the U.S., especially in New York City. Unfortunately, not everyone takes it so seriously. New Jersey photographer Joey Lepore snapped Port Authority guards sleeping on the job at the George Washington Bridge. And it wasn’t the first time, either. Lepore says that before he took the photos, he’d actually spoken to the guards and asked them to stay awake. It wasn’t until the third incident that he decided to record them in the act. The guards were relieved of their duties shortly thereafter. Photo by iStockphoto.

Principal Accidentally Sends Profanity-Laced E-mail to Parent

Most of us have gone through the embarrassing experience of sending the wrong e-mail to the wrong person. But it cost Eva N. Ravelo, an elementary school principal in Miami, her job. She mistakenly sent a crude e-mail to Abigail DuBearn, the parent of a student at her school. Ravelo had intended the message—which was in reference to an earlier e-mail from DuBearn—for her vice principal. DuBearn was so insulted she sent it to the PTA, whose members circulated the message among other parents. Ravelo was subsequently transferred. Photo by iStockphoto.

3 thoughts on “The 7 Most Stupid Employee Mistakes Ever

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    For what is essentially a random fluff piece seem more important, I guess. When we look at the contents of the current text, and to take into account that this is only a summary of the latest information, it becomes evident that the shit is this article. Someone just wrote, basically, “employee embarrassing mistakes” in Google, wrote a short summary of seven of them, slapped in the photos, and presented it to his publisher.

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