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23 Horrifying Things That Have Actually Happened To Women At Work

"My boss told me that to keep my job I needed to start putting Vaseline on my teeth for a beauty queen smile."

We recently asked women in our BuzzFeed Community to share their work horror stories. Here are a bunch that are infuriating, and unfortunately relatable AF.

1.

abc / Via giphy.com

"I work in the scuba diving industry and I had a boss once who made me and the only other woman instructor get on the pill so that we wouldn't get our periods. His reasoning? If we bleed underwater we might attract sharks, freak out the students, and make him lose business." —luizaz3

2.

"I worked at a veterinary office in my early twenties, and I didn’t wear much makeup. My boss told me that to keep my job I needed to start putting Vaseline on my teeth for a beauty queen smile... and then hired a Mary Kay woman to teach me how to wear the makeup they wanted." —shays4e355f4dd

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3.

"I started working as a math teacher at a high school, and after the final exam I was told by the male vice principal to mark down the exam of every female student by 60% so that the bell curve would allow the male students to score better. I brought this up to my female colleague who taught English, and she told me that she was told the same thing. She also told me this is how the school had always been operating and other schools in the country were doing same. I told the vice principal that I refuse to unfairly mark down the female students... and I was fired." —ctmviewer

4.

"I learned after being promoted to management that I was making only 80% of what the male employees I was supervising were making."mandayorke

5.

giphy.com

"I have been marked down in employee evaluations for not taking on the 'bubbly' administrative assistant role, even though I'm a marketing executive. My male colleagues expect me to greet visitors, take messages, plan office parties, clean up, order flowers and gifts for clients, etc. I just give them a blank stare and go back to doing my actual job. No apologies." —hm570782

6.

"As an assistant college track coach of a women's team, the head coach (old guy) told me I couldn't be a head coach and have a family. He ended up getting fired for looking at porn on his work computer. Karma, my friend, karma." —tll13

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7.

"This summer I was responsible for training a coworker that had transferred to our branch. I'd been working there for the past two years, and he had been working for the company for almost a year — but knew almost nothing about our policies and procedures. When we interacted with customers (95% male), I would begin the conversations, explaining the details of the programs they were interested in. But they would always end up conversing with the male coworker I had to train (who would often give them misinformation) instead of me. When I mentioned this to my male boss at my review, he told me he was glad I had noticed this was an issue but that was how the world worked and I would have to work harder to overcome it." —erienned

8.

"I used to work in tech support and was the only girl in the company. I was surprised to get calls and have the customer (a male, obviously) on the other side ask, 'Oh... Well, can I have a GUY in technical support help me?' It happened more times than i want to count, and every time it did, I wanted to reach my hand through the phone and throttle that sexist customer. Like, it’s 2017. Get over it." —francesireneh

9.

"I used to be the part-time secretary for a small company of four employees, including me. The others were grown men, and would often come into my office actually yelling at me because I hadn't made coffee that morning or because they had finished the pot and wanted more. What really threw me over the edge was when they broke their toilet and instead of fixing it, they chose to use the women's bathroom while I was out of the office. I came back the next day to about an inch of smelly shit water flowing out of the toilet. I immediately confronted them about it and was brushed off with, 'Yeah, that started yesterday, but you weren't here and we have more important things to do.' I turned in my two weeks shortly after." —ellybunny

10.

Cat & Nat / Via giphy.com

"I am a stay-at-home mom with three kids — 5, 3, and 1 — and I can't even count how many times I've had to repeatedly say, 'Yes, I do work, I just don't get paid,' 'Yes, it's my choice. My husband didn't make me do this,' and 'I have taken a pause on my career, that I will continue when my youngest is in school.'

I can still be a strong feminist while continuing to take on a more traditional role at home. We are all just doing what's best for us and our families." —missmargo

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11.

"I got passed up on a promotion because I came in late once AFTER I had called and said I was going to be late. The promotion was given to someone that I trained who always came to work stoned and did less than anyone there. Fuck you, Josh." —a4b9928013

12.

"I manage two men, and my boss is a man. We had a team lunch because one of the people I manage is new, and we wanted to make him feel welcome. Somehow the conversation took a weird turn, and my boss began telling us that he thinks women are bad at things because they're too emotional. He said that this is why most famous chefs are men, because women put too much emotion into cooking so their food sucks. I didn't do anything, because to react would be to prove his point in a way. If I'm offended by his statements, he can just brush off my feelings as me being too ~emotional~. But the worst part was watching the two men I manage smile and nod and agree with him. I feel bad about not saying anything about it, but I gotta pay my rent." —zombiancae

13.

"I work as an accessory buyer for a furniture store chain. I am the only woman in upper management in the whole company. The store managers, who are below me but do not answer to me, usually give me a hard time carrying out instructions. Once, two managers decided they just no longer wanted to do their jobs when it came to my departments and stopped. It got to the point where I had to get our boss involved to get them to do the job they are paid to do. After various meetings/discussions the end result was it must be my fault. Our boss literally told me I needed to make an effort to be nicer over emails, and when I came to the stores I was spending too much time doing my job and not enough time socializing with them. Apparently I'm 'too professional.' I asked for specific examples, but of course they couldn’t come up with a single one." —alicea4bf313f76

14.

"I'm a bus driver for a very popular tourist place in Florida, and I'm a 22-year-old woman surrounded by my much older male colleagues. I get belittled by certain people as they get onto my bus saying things like 'Is there a bus with a male driver we can take instead?' and 'You're just a little girl. How are you able to drive this large bus?' Sometimes I have to get a male driver to come onto my bus and get passengers to do what I already asked them to do 40 times." —tiffanic41ef882bf

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15.

CBS / Via giphy.com

"I'm a 24-year-old structural engineer. My hydrology coworker harassed me all the time about having kids. He told me that my career as a childless structural engineer would be so unfulfilling and that I would eventually give in and have a ton of kids, or that I would probably be suicidal by 30. I wish I was making this up. I ended up quitting that job because EVERYBODY had something to say about my lack of kids." —tortoise12

16.

"As a senior manager in her mid-thirties, I returned to work after a three-month maternity leave to find a new CFO had come on board. He brought with him a team that consisted only of male accountants, half of whom were lazy, useless gambling addicts that watched horse-racing during work hours. One day, during a company luncheon, the CFO proudly mansplained to me all the reasons he never hires women:

1. The single ones are preoccupied with trying to get married.

2. The married ones are all trying to have kids.

3. The pregnant ones have to take maternity leave.

4. The mothers are preoccupied with child-rearing while trying to do their jobs.

I smiled and replied, 'I sure hope a good manager will give your daughter a chance one day.'" —privatefaces

17.

"After I was hired I discovered that my ex-boss wanted a man to do my job and was upset when it was given to me. Then when they recruited a receptionist, my colleague (a guy) applied and the boss refused to employ him because he only wanted a woman on the reception desk. He gave him a role that was 'suitable for a man.'" —carolinevicmurphy2

18.

"I work in retail. I was having a generally good day, when out of nowhere this guy angrily huffs, 'I really hope you and that other little girl's mood improves because I am just trying to be nice and make some jokes.' He later complained to corporate (kept referring to us as 'little girls' in the complaint) and we got written up for being rude to a customer." —amjbuzzfeed

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19.

"I was working as a high school teacher and had just decided to leave my job to start a PhD. One of my fellow teachers, a male, asked me why would I go get a PhD since men wouldn't want to marry me — I'd be too intimidating to men. Some of my students were making up work, and so he turns to them and asks my male students if they agreed. Both looked at him like he was a piece of shit and said no, and that they'd be happy to have a smart woman as a partner. BTW, I'm happily married." —micah-jadec

20.

giphy.com

"I have worked my entire career in food processing factories, which are majority male, and was a quality supervisor or manager at each. I have been the only woman in a meeting with 12 men. I have been mistaken for a secretary more times than I care to think about (not that there is anything wrong with being a secretary). I was expected to make coffee, then got told off when I made coffee the way I like (strong). Everyone assumes I’m going to take notes at meetings. I have been told I smell nice by at least a dozen line operators and forklift drivers. I have been threatened by a truck driver double my size for a regulatory infraction that was entirely his fault. A line operator started a rumor that I was getting married. The plant manager felt OK discussing my long-distance relationship and advising me to dump my eventual husband in meetings with other managers. When I got married, I got hassled about not changing my name. I have to work twice as hard as the other (male) supervisor, and pick up the slack when he misses things. I get mansplained by our corporate sanitation person. I have to get righteously angry about things before I get listened to.

I’m certain everyone thinks I’m a raging bitch, but I have found it’s the most effective way to get taken seriously." —bridgetb43d486c8a

21.

"I work in technology. The best way to describe what I do is a hybrid of system administrator/app developer (but also with A LOT of whatever else gets thrown at me). I got my first project a few days after I started, and it was a pretty significant undertaking and required reprogramming some hardware (I wanted to repurpose an expensive device that had become obsolete to save us buying a new one). A male colleague took it upon himself to print me a heavy volume paper manual (I’m VERY anti-paper) and spent hours on a support call with the vendor attempting to do the reprogramming himself.

When my supervisor asked this colleague why he hadn’t given me the device to work on since it was my project, my colleague replied 'There’s no way she’s going to figure this out on her own, so I figured I’d save her the step of asking me for help.' My supervisor (a male) basically said, 'I hired her because I know she can do just about anything she’s tasked with, and I think you’ll find she’s more capable than you think.' I had it completely reprogrammed in about 40 minutes without even cracking open that GD manual." —gabriellao47ba20033

22.

"The owner of the company I used to work for would only ask women to pick up his lunch and make coffee. He actually stopped a man from making a pot of coffee and asked a women to do it instead. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was paid $2 less an hour than my male coworker." —kellyanne2626

23.

FOX / Via giphy.com

"I'm the office manager for a fitness center, and we had just opened a new location. The guy running it had no idea how to work Excel so he would show up as I was busting my butt finishing my report before our weekly companywide meeting and beg for me to show him how to do the report every week. He got my phone number from the company directory and would text me at all hours of the night with questions and demands.

When the company threw a party celebrating a 'biggest loser' contest for all of its locations, the owners went on and on about how hard he was working and all of his time and effort but said nothing about me. When I had an emergency c-section five weeks early and told my boss not to tell my coworkers because my son was in the NICU, I still received messages from my coworkers congratulating me on having my baby. Shortly after I was released from the hospital while my son was still in the NICU, my boss told me I needed to video chat the temp that was filling in for me because she wasn't doing the reports correctly. I was on about six different medications, visiting my son in the NICU three times a day, wasn't allowed on my feet for more than 20 minutes, had to check my blood pressure every few hours, pumping every 2.5 hours, but yeah, let's take an hour from my relaxing day to do work for you." —stephamaboble

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