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“You Had One Job” is an expression used to call attention to perceived blunders made by individuals on the job. On the web, the phrase is heavily associated with FAIL image macros.
The earliest known mention of the phrase can be heard in a scene from the 2001 remake of the heist film Ocean’s Eleven, in which the character Basher Tarr (played by Don Cheadle) scolds his team for missing a step that singlehandedly leads to the failure of an otherwise well-planned vault heist (shown below).
[in a safe heist]
Basher: All right chaps. Hang on to your knickers.
[He triggers the bomb, and the safe door cracks open.]
[Laughing, Basher dances into the vault – and the alarm goes off]
Basher: Oh leave it out! You tossers! You had one job to do!
On April 25th, 2011, Redditor nomdeweb submitted a screen capture of a credit slide for the “Dinosaur Supervisor” in the 1993 film Jurassic Park, captioning the image with “You had one job in Jurassic Park. ONE JOB.” Prior to being archived, the post received over 8,100 up votes and 400 comments.
On September 12th, 2011, Redditor nomdeweb’s screen capture was reposted by Redditor tofupanzer, acquiring more than 21,900 up votes and 600 comments before it was archived. On April 15th, 2012, FunnyJunk user pleasewelcomejc submitted a rage comic titled “You had one job brain, ONE JOB,” in which a nerve-wrecked guy delivers his pickup line wrong while flirting with a girl on the phone (shown below). Within the next 10 months, the image accumulated over 120,000 views and 7000 up votes.
On April 19th, Redditor stavius submitted a photo titled “Don’t let us down, Josh” to the /r/funny subreddit, featuring a defaced billboard reading “Only Josh can prevent wildfires” (shown below, left). That same day, Redditor mulletman22 submitted a photo of a wildfire with the caption “Shit Josh! / You had one job!” (shown below, right).Prior to being archived, stavius’ post received upwards of 29,000 up votes and mulletman22’s post received more than 32,000 up votes.
On April 30th, Redditor BarelyMexican submitted a compilation of “you had one job” image macros to the /r/funny subreddit, garnering over 3,300 up votes and 80 comments before it was archived. On October 1st, a Facebook page titled “You had one job memes” was created, which accumulated more than 48,500 likes in the next four months. On January 14th, 2013, the single-serve website hadonejob.com was launched with a slideshow of photographs documenting careless mistakes.