The Most Embarrassing Mistakes I Have Made in My Professional Life

Do you know that feeling when your heart starts beating faster and the color of your cheeks is turning red? I know this feeling very well. I had a few situations in my professional career that were a little bit stressful at the time, but it definitely boosts my mood when I think of them today!

1. Hungry for a happy ending

That year I had worked in a beautiful SPA in one of the countries of Eastern Europe. It was a nice and calm Saturday morning. Our receptionist wasn’t feeling well, so I had to replace her and meet our clients. I glanced over the registration list and asked our male masseur to prepare for the first client.

The first client was a nice English speaking man in his fifties. We often had clients from abroad. Usually they were businessmen who came to our country for a few days. He had a booking an hour of relaxing massage.

The man asked me timidly if the massage will be sensual. I don’t know if I was naive or if the problem was a lack of my English skills, but I answered Yes, thinking about relaxing massage. You know — normal, relaxing massage for tired people! You can call it sensual if you want to! He was happy with my answer and I accompanied him to our massage room. I told our male masseur that the client was in the room and that he can start his work.

After a couple of minutes I heard our client’s emotional voice and in a moment he was by my desk desperately complaining that he had not agreed to get a massage from a male! It took me a few moments to understand what’s wrong! What to fuss about? I was so naive not to understand that he wants a massage with a happy ending!

I had to convince him that our SPA does not provide such services and you can believe me he was not happy about it! Oh well… 🙂

2. I disconnected the Internet for the whole organization

Last year one organization invited me to give a lecture for a few groups of young people who want to go abroad for their internships. We planned that after my lecture all these students will take a mandatory English test online.

Project Director warned me that they did not have a WiFi in the office and asked me to deal with this issue. WiFi was a must-have thing for students to take their tests. So I decided to bring my own WiFi router and make WiFi available for students.

My last lecture was on Sunday. After it I went to a room where my WiFi router was and disconnected all wires from my router. I quickly realized that I had disconnected some other box and my WiFi router was still connected. So I reconnected all the wires back to that box and disconnected my WiFi router.

After about a minute the Project Director came and asked me if I had disconnected the Internet. I knew that she was not using WiFi. Only students had access to WiFi, so I realized that I mistakenly disconnected LAN Internet.

This meant that I disconnected the Internet for the whole organization.

I quickly looked at all the wires and the box that I mistakenly disconnected before and realized that I mixed wires or switches… It took me half an hour to understand that I had no clue how to connect the Internet for them… Project Director was completely shocked, she desperately needed an Internet connection and I couldn’t help her. I had to tell her that she will have to call some IT team who could fix it.

It took her some time to find a person who could come and fix everything (in one minute).

I was happy that it happened on Sunday when most of the staff do not work…

3. Stupid recruiter decides to test new job interview techniques

That stupid recruiter was me… I was very young and one of my first jobs was a recruiter’s job in an IT company. I was inexperienced but wanted to learn some new tactics about leading job interviews.

I read a book for recruiters and found a very interesting chapter about stress. The book described techniques on how a recruiter can intentionally create tension during the interview to test a person’s reaction to stress. “I must try it”, I thought!

That poor girl came for an interview for a developer’s position… Our company director and one of the project managers joined me to speak to her. Usually we were very friendly during such interviews but not that day! It was the day when I was desperate to try my new tactic and test her stress level!

My questions were uncomfortable, sometimes even impolite, I was picking holes in all her answers. My colleagues were horrified, and I could feel that not only that girl but also my colleagues felt uncomfortable. I don’t know what happened to me that day, but after the interview this girl never replied to my calls… I also had a meeting with my director to talk about my behavior during the interview. I have never used this technique again!

4. My boss got hell for my actions

I worked in a governmental agency. My direct boss was the director of my agency. Above us was only the Ministry of Justice. It means that our “big boss” was the Secretary of Justice. His surname was Svedas which is pronounced very similar to “Swedes”.

At that time we also cooperated with a similar agency in Sweden and people in the Ministry knew about our cooperation. They were actually involved too.

Looking at my agency’s meeting calendar I knew that my boss will have a meeting with our Secretary of Justice next week (remember? His surname is Svedas). I didn’t care about this meeting because I was not invited to it. That day I was on the phone with one nice lady from the Ministry of Justice and I mentioned to her that Svedas is coming to our agency next week. Unfortunately, she misunderstood me and decided that delegation from Sweden is coming next week. She didn’t tell me anything though, so I did not know that she had misunderstood me.

After 15 minutes the doors of my room opened wide and it was my desperate boss: “What a hell! Why did you call to the Ministry of Justice and tell them that Swedes are coming???!”, “Em… I didn’t tell them anything, Swedes are not coming…”. “Of course, they are not coming, so why did you tell them that they were coming?!”. “But I didn’t tell them! I said that Svedas were coming!”.

My boss calmed down then. She started laughing… She said that she got a very unpleasant call from the Ministry of Justice and had to listen to their unhappy complaints, that we hadn’t informed them about the delegation from Sweden…

So I had to phone every important person in the Ministry of Justice and explain to them that Swedes are not coming…

Hopefully, you enjoyed my stories and I am not the only one who creates stupid situations in my jobs!

This post was previously published on Change Becomes You and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Photo credit: Unsplash

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