Mon 19 Sep, 2011 06:42 am
Try to imagine what the conversation was like:
a guy goes into his boss's office and says "I've lost 2.3 billion dollars (US)."
Tell what your biggest goof was and how you told your employer about it.
(You can also say that you once heard
about a guy, or knew someone
, or some other horseshit story: we will still know it was you.)
Tell about the time(s) when one of your employees came in to talk about "a little problem what has come up."
Joe( Hey, boss, funny story about the Anderson account.)Nation
Doesn't totally fit because I found out about it and then called the employee into my office to talk about it.
But the little problem was the employee actively trying to get my clients to join her cult.
Was it Satanic? Wiccan? Weight Watchers?
Don't let my imagination run wild here.
Joe(Member of the First Church of the Gooey Death)Nation
It was Christianesque but an actual cult.
This 'un, if I remember right.
(I lived in L.A. at the time, near the world headquarters.)
They were pretty freaky and controlly and culty.
Whoever wrote that description at you link was a little freaky, too.
Its a good idea to spread the word.
I read your link.
OK, nobody's admitting anything here, so I'll be the first to share my biggest goof. This one was truly award-winning, if I do say so myself.
It was the late '70s, and I had my first real job after college. My boss wanted to nominate another officemate named Wayne for a very prestigious award. He wrote a very flowery and dramatic nomination letter and asked me to type and mail it. The boss was leaving town for a week and it needed to be mailed during the week he was gone. His only instruction to me was, "I don't care who sees this except Wayne."
Unfortunately, what I heard was, "I don't want anyone to see this except Wayne."
(I know, you're shaking your heads right now. You think you know what's coming. But hang on, it gets better.)
Well. I was extremely impressed with this letter. It was beyond flattering. The praise was effusive, building to a climax in the last paragraph that the awards committee could not possibly fail to reward. It was so dramatic, in fact, that I thought it deserved musical accompaniment.
So, before I showed the letter to Wayne...(no one else, of course!)...I recorded the theme song from "Rocky" and planned to time playing it so it would reach its famous crescendo when he read the fabulous last paragraph.
All went off exactly as planned. I took the letter and the recording into Wayne's office one afternoon when we were the only ones left in the office. Wayne was caught completely off guard. He stammered, he blushed, he fell backwards into his chair. I laughed 'til tears were rolling down my cheeks. Wayne laughed, too. My boss had really outdone himself.
When the boss returned, Wayne could not wait to tell him about it. After a few minutes (no doubt he needed to compose himself), he called me into his office and asked me what in the world I was thinking. I laughed (oh! the shame!) and said I had done exactly what he asked, although admittedly with added style and flair. I thought he would have appreciated that.
Um. I was wrong.
I don't believe I have ever been more embarrassed in an office setting in my life. More than 30 years later, I am still good friends with this boss, and I am still hoping he has forgotten about this. I would never bring it up. I am still too embarrassed.
P.S. Wayne won the award.
That's awesome... Thanks for the laugh.
OK, here's mine.
I was a kid, just outta high school. Catholic high school. I was working in a hotel, one of the finer establishments in town. Up until this moment I had been "just" a waitress. That night was my first banquet after my big promotion to Banquet Captain. I thought I had covered all the details, we had done a test dinner and the clients were happy with the chosen menu. Roast beef, green beans and roasted potatoes.
The ballroom soon filled with 400 people.
The first course of bread and salad had gone over well, the timing was good. We are now well underway serving the main course, 3/4 of the people are served. When someone shouts out something in a language I was unfamiliar with. All of a sudden plates are being tossed from every direction, smashing at my feet and across the dance floor. My staff are ducking the flying missiles. Now the chant is being yelled in unison, "Pig in the Beans!!! Pig in the Beans!!!
I was terrified. I had no idea what was going on.
Turns out, the chef de partie was a lazy fella. He'd run out of almonds and had replaced them with bacon. My guest were muslim. Not cool. I should have checked the plates, but to be honest, I had no idea, at the time, that muslims didn't eat pork. Oops.
Actually, this was a giant boo-boo I helped prevent. It was in the 1970s, and I had my first corporate job working for a major frozen food company in the public relations department. My office was off the hall where all the vice presidents offices were, and by some anomoly of acoustics, when I went to hang up my coat, I could distinctly hear two of the vice presidents talking. It seems that 80,000 pounds of perfectly good meat product was going to be discarded because the package description varied slightly from the actual product, and the USDA had told the company it couldn't be sold. The VPs were talking about digging a big pit with a bulldozer and burying it.
My sense of outrage at such stupid waste propelled me down the hall to my boss' office, where, in my youthful indignation, I threatened to call 60 Minutes if something wasn't done to prevent this. My boss calmed me down, and we hatched a plan to turn this dreadful mistake into a PR coup. We contacted local and national foodbanks, and my boss went to his boss who went....well, you know how those things work. The upshot was that the food went to people who needed it. As a result, from that day to this, the company regularly donates to food banks. A mistake averted.
"Pig in the Beans!!!" Flying plates! Ducking waiters! Hilarious!!!!!!!!!
(I'm sure you didn't think so at the time, but this really shoulda been filmed!)
Pig in the Beans is a classic!
Same company, same position. We were having a company-wide celebration of a company anniversary. The small PR department planned an event in each town where a company plant was located. The celebration included a big family event for all the employees, with food, drink and music. But the set=piece for each event was a tour of the plant by all the honchos in the town, from the mayor on down. They were picked up at the town hall and taken by bus to the plant for the tour, then back to city hall for a major slide extravaganza my boss and I had created depicting the company's history. Most of these plant events had either been conducted by my boss, or me and my boss together. But one event was to be done by me alone. My moment in the sun. One chore of the day was counting how many people got on the bus at city hall, and counting them again at the plant as they got on the bus again for the return trip. This I did. The bus was about a quarter mile down the road when people started yelling at the bus driver to stop. Horrified, I looked out the back window of the bus to see the mayor of the town running and waving, her suit dusty, one shoe missing, trying vainly to catch the bus.
I was made fun of by the entire population of the town, and I richly deserved it. The mayor was an amazingly good sport.
I helped to clean up the mess from one of the biggest screw ups i've ever seen when i was in the army. I was stationed at a surgical hospital, and the NCO in charge of my section was one hateful s.o.b. He was an evangelical christian, and sneered at everybody, especially the locals. He complained that you couldn't get a decent christmas tree in that country!
One weekend, he was on duty for the "off hours," and i had the weekend off. I wasn't going anywhere, but my time was my own. Late Saturday night (almost Sunday morning), the CQ came and woke me up, and we went over to the OR. (In an army hospital, that means the outpatient room--what most people would call the emergency room.) The First Sergeant was there, and he was really pissed. Not at me, though. It appears that Smith (as i'll call him) had a religious retreat he wanted to attend that weekend, and as he was getting ready to leave (completely illegal, as he was on the duty roster), two guys were brought in, one of them near death. So he makes up a "Loyal Report," which is sent to the Department of the Army so that if the guy dies, his family can be notified promptly, and they don't read about in the newspapers first. Then the joker leaves the hospital to go to his religious retreat.
But here's what happened. Patient A is brought in for a cardiac incident which was not life-threatening, but was a sure-fire ticket back to the United States. He's in no danger, and he'll be seeing his family soon. Patient B is brought in near death from aspiration pneumonia--which means foreign matter in the airway and/or the lungs. In this case, this goofy old lifer went and got paralytic drunk, fell into a ditch, and threw up--with his head lower than his feet. Basically, he nearly drowned on his own vomit.
So Mr. Nearer my God to Thee, in a hellfire hurry to go to his religious retreat, runs into the O.R., picks up the two records, unwittingly confuses the two, and sends out a Loyal Report on the guy with the cardiac incident. That means Department of the Army will, within an hour or two (depends on how fast they get the message form to the Long Lines battalion--the communications boys) get a report that this guy is near death. But just to up the drama, he fills out one for the other guy, too, but because he can't do his job worth ****, he codes it wrong, and sends out a Crown Report--which is for someone KIA, killed in action.
Both actions were wrong, even if he had not mixed up the recods. Loyal Reports are only for IRHA--injured as a result of hostile action. There was absolutely no reason to send out any report for that guy, Patient A. The other guy, the old drunk who nearly drowned, should not have had a Crown Report because he wasn't dead. He shouldn't have had a Loyal Report, either, unless you consider drinking yourself into a stupor qualifies as hostile action.
Well, i went into the ward, and physically checked these guys--matched their dog tags to their medical records. Then i had to send out two message forms to cancel the Crown and the Loyal Reports, and get them to the Long Lines message center as fast as a jeep could fly. Then i had to correct the medical records, and hunt up the doctor who had been on duty to get his signature (the list of unhappy campers was just growing and growing), and i had to produce a report to the Surgeon in Command (Hospitals are commanded by surgeons, even if there are higher ranking officers there) so he could explain the SNAFU to Department of the Army.
At about dawn, the First Sergeant invited me into his office for a smoke and a cup of coffee. Mr. The Lord is My Shepherd, who had come back from his retreat, gone to bed, and the been awoken when one of his holy roller buddies got wind of what had happened, comes rushing in in a lather. The First Sergeant tells him to cool his jets . . . "Corporal _________, who knows his job really well, has straightened things out. How would like you like to work in medical stores for the next couple of weeks, while you do some reading in your off duty hours, and bone up on medical reporting procedure?" That guy looked like he had just filled his pants. I was sleepy, but i was really enjoying myself.
It was in the early 70's, and I was on a reserve exercise on the minesweeper I had been on as conscript.
We were in France , taking part in one of the largest NATO exercises of those days.
On board was the commander of all participating German ships as well as our squadron commander.
As in the old days, I'd got the dog watch as 'officer of the anchor watch'.
When I talked with the engineer on duty, I smelt something peculiar ... it actually turned out to be a (smell) fire in the main engine room.
When I tried to extinguish fire with the next fire extinguisher, the engineer got angry, muttered something about his socks ... which were actually the source of the fire: he had tried to dry them on the hot motors.
Okay, the fire was extinguished within a few seconds.
I could have just noted this in the log but ... well, a real admiral on board and the commander ... so I decided to make the report to our captain at once.
The officers were boozing drinking discussing naval affairs over a beer in the officer's mess.
I knocked at the, "Petty officer reserve Hinteler. Admiral, would you grant persission to talk to the commander or the captain?"
They really didn't listen to me, because they were so deeply lost in their booze expert talk.
Our second mate then had mercy with me and asked me what was about. Since I felt a bit ... well, neglected, I just that that we had a fire on board.
When he rushed out, yelling "alarm, alarm, fire on board' ... I kindly asked, if I could continue: "we had had a fire on board. It's out. But I want to report that one fire extinguisher needs to be re-filled."
The next morning, I received a mention for bravery got a new job besides my navigational routine: radio operator for the admiral (which meant that day that I was "commanding" 286 ships).
This story was mentioned a couple of times between 2006 and 2010 at various occasions - that above mentioned second mate then was the German Chief of Naval Staff and liked to garnish some of his speeches with this anecdote ...
Ooh, that's a great one, mags! I bet you never live it down!
(Are you still avoiding that former mayor in public?)
Such great stories. I haven't remembered an equivalent - a mere tale of catching a new hire in a clinical lab in a lie re tests, which is a no no, resulting in her being gone. I'd tell it, but don't remember the precise details.
I remember a couple of funny/horrible lab stories, but nuttin' at this level.
Ok, ok, I'll tell the one on Sharon, may she rest in peace. I knew her from my excursion into being the hematology tech in a Beverly Hills lab. That didn't pan out since it was very routine, that wasn't my interest, quit to go back to university labs, got pulled out of the application line for main hospital lab by my old boss who then told me about a friend of mine, from when he was a resident, just out of the service (now a couple of years later) who was setting up his own research lab in my old department, needed a tech to organize it, thus another whole bunch of years of happy lab work. But, the point, is that I met Sharon at the Beverly Hills lab, and we hit it off. Well, so did everyone in the place. For example, Sharon, the chem tech, would sing harmony with Nat, the driver, on Motown songs.. they were both good but she had a Bronx accent, what a pair. Nat brought me flowers on my birthday, and so on.
So, Sharon and I kept in touch, and in time she told me she was going to quit too, for similar reasons. So, my boss interviewed her, liked her and her smarts, and we were in the same room again, she doing more lab chem research tests, and again, all getting along. As it happened, we were funded
pretty much entirely by the National Institute of Health, and they were coming around to see that all was going properly, drop in kind of visit, though we knew they were coming over some period of hours. So, there was Sharon, standing on a lab bench in her stocking feet, pouring to a sephadex column (fractionates proteins) from a large (5 liter? I forget) beaker into a tall column which had, say, a 1.5 inch diameter and I think a funnel for the pour. The NIH people walked in the room, Sharon gasped, and dropped the beaker while pouring from on high, with a major clatter and breakage/spill on the floor. Well, boss was Mr. Cool, things were smoothed over, Sharon made it through the day, and many better ones. Of course, we got the grant renewed.
(Possibly this was based on the research papers...)
Loved her then, and in memory. We kept in touch after she left that lab too, to work with her husband.
I love all these stories.
Here's one about a co-worker. (No. Really)
There's a hardware store in Tulsa that had everything.
Except transmission fluid.
Didn't have that.
Owner heard someone ask for transmission fluid.
And we didn't have any.
He told order person to order some.
Order person was very busy that day.
Very busy learning new computer ordering system.
Didn't order any.
Days later owner heard someone else ask for transmission fluid.
Still didn't have any.
<sharp look flew across hardware store, struck order person in face>
Order person rushed to computer, found SKU for transmission fluid.
Quickly quickly entered order for 24 Transmission Fluid(s)
"How many are you ordering?" Owner called out.
"Make it three."
Order person typed in 36 and pressed ADD to Order.
When the THIRTY SIX CASES containing 24 bottles each arrived, I was standing on the dock.
Order person was too.
Owner happened to come by.
Saw he was the new owner of 864 bottles of transmission fluid.
Owner (the coolest guy in the world) said
"Well, I guess we won't run out for awhile."
Joe (and we had a SALE) Nation
You're right, J. He is a very cool guy. I can just picture that!
I'm always a stickler for deadlines. Don't like to be late. I am once in a while, but that's because there simply wasn't enough time to get things done in the allotted time. I let the person I'm working for know ahead of time.
Today (!) I noticed that a project I'm working on isn't due next Tuesday. It was due today! Shock. Panic. And an unpleasant e-mail to the person I'm working for. Now instead of a semi-leisurely pace, I have to rush.
Not looking forward to the return e-mail.
This does not exactly fit the topic,
but I 'll throw it in anyway,
because its kinda fun, to wit:
years ago in my law firm,
we had a power failure;
semi-darkness, just window light
and our electric typewriters did not work
for about an hour n a half.
I was discussing the situation
with my partner, Elliot, when he intoned:
"Let there be LIGHT!"
Not even one second went by
(less than the time it takes to sneeze)
before the lights came back on
and the typewriters worked again.