What was your worst workplace screw up?

metropolis_4

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What’s the worst screw up you’ve had on the job?

Back when I was a new software engineer I was working for a food kit delivery company (like Hello Fresh). I was working on systems they used for warehouse inventory management, and purchasing.

I was making an update to one of the services used for purchasing and I made a mistake in the code that caused data to be cached and become stale. This meant the numbers shown for inventory on hand and on order were old and not updating, so the purchasing team kept seeing we didn’t have enough produce on order and kept ordering more and more.

I cost the company $17,000 in over-ordered produce before it was caught and fixed.

They had a surplus of 3,000 pounds of Cilantro taking up space in the warehouse. And produce doesn’t last long, so the chefs had to completely change all the menu plans to try to find a way to use as much Cilantro as possible before it went bad.

So I had the business mad at me because I cost them a ton of money, the purchasing team mad at me because I screwed up their numbers, the warehouse manager mad at me because he had several pallets of Cilantro rotting in his warehouse, the chefs mad at me because they had to change all their menu plans, my manager mad at me because his team was responsible for the mess, and my teammate mad at me because she was on-call when it was discovered and had to work all weekend fixing my mistake.

That was a fun week :bag :rofl
 
Ouch! Why did they keep you??? :idk

:rofl


I've worked for myself most of my adult life. Can't recall a day I didn't cost
myself some time or money in one way or another. Even taking a day off
you think, "I could have gone and done X, Y, or Z and made X amount of $."

:brick


Maybe I should start looking at it like taking a day off is not going to result
in a screw up that becomes a net loss. :crazy
 
Not my screw-up, but too good not to share. About twenty five years ago, the media company I was working for launched a magazine that was called something like 'Software@Work', and the domain name was like SoftwareAtWork.com. This was the late 90s, so the average person was not yet clear on what was a URL and what was an email address. The premier issue had a misprint in the URL - it was listed as http://software@wok.com, which isn't either an email or a functional URL, and also somehow misspelled 'work'. We'd shipped this magazine to 60k customers, and it was an embarrassing error, but we thought, "Oh well, not the worst thing in the world - it's not a valid URL, so it just won't work". Then the phone calls started. As it turns out, Internet Explorer (then the dominant web browser) disregarded anything before the "@" symbol, leaving the address as 'wok.com', which at the time was a hard core pornographic website. Oops.
 
Editing sound late night in the studio with two other engineers. Was a wedding tape and had to be in the loop with the camera for some reason.

Hit record, let the audio tape playback into Camera/VCR and just kick back. Cracks crude jokes while the thing printed.

Couple days later after the wedding client comes back to explain that our studio commentary was all over the video tape that was played at the reception. (microphone on the camera, captured all our dialogue in the studio… 😯 )

Bad News Wow GIF by South Park



One of the few times I didn’t get fired.
 
Editing sound late night in the studio with two other engineers. Was a wedding tape and had to be in the loop with the camera for some reason.

Hit record, let the audio tape playback into Camera/VCR and just kick back. Cracks crude jokes while the thing printed.

Couple days later after the wedding client comes back to explain that our studio commentary was all over the video tape that was played at the reception. (microphone on the camera, captured all our dialogue in the studio… 😯 )

Bad News Wow GIF by South Park



One of the few times I didn’t get fired.

Too funny, my father and uncle have an extremely similar story from the early 90’s; my uncle used to do a lot of weddings doing a solo acoustic thing, one couple asked if he knew anyone to video tape it. Between him and my dad, they had the equipment to do it and went a step above saying they could give the officiant a mic so they could have great audio of the ceremony itself. Wedding day comes, they bring a couple buddies to help them out and mooch free food, wedding goes off great, all the equipment worked fine.

They start working on the tape a couple days later and check the audio they recorded of the ceremony, first thing you hear is the two idiot friends testing the mic, then you hear the bride’s march song start and the two idiots, before handing the mic to the officiant, say pretty much every disparaging thing you can imagine about the bride into the f*cking mic. So dad and uncle are thinking “Oh, we gotta make sure we record over that so there’s no way it makes it to the video”, but do nothing at all until weeks later when the couple is screaming at them to give them the video. Dad just matches up the officiant’s voice with the video and drops it off to the couple. Never checked it before finishing.

An hour later the husband is on the phone with my dad threatening to come kick all their asses. My dad totally forgot about the idiot comments so he was clueless and asking what was wrong, “THE SECOND YOU SEE MY WIFE ON THE SCREEN ALL YOU HEAR ARE SOME IDIOTS MAKING PIG NOISES” and my dad is like a big kid, so instead of trying to resolve the issue he just starts laughing hysterically, pissing the guy off even more. I know they gave the guy his money back but man….I know if I heard that after my wedding, I would have flipped my sh*t, too!
 
Too funny, my father and uncle have an extremely similar story from the early 90’s; my uncle used to do a lot of weddings doing a solo acoustic thing, one couple asked if he knew anyone to video tape it. Between him and my dad, they had the equipment to do it and went a step above saying they could give the officiant a mic so they could have great audio of the ceremony itself. Wedding day comes, they bring a couple buddies to help them out and mooch free food, wedding goes off great, all the equipment worked fine.

They start working on the tape a couple days later and check the audio they recorded of the ceremony, first thing you hear is the two idiot friends testing the mic, then you hear the bride’s march song start and the two idiots, before handing the mic to the officiant, say pretty much every disparaging thing you can imagine about the bride into the f*cking mic. So dad and uncle are thinking “Oh, we gotta make sure we record over that so there’s no way it makes it to the video”, but do nothing at all until weeks later when the couple is screaming at them to give them the video. Dad just matches up the officiant’s voice with the video and drops it off to the couple. Never checked it before finishing.

An hour later the husband is on the phone with my dad threatening to come kick all their asses. My dad totally forgot about the idiot comments so he was clueless and asking what was wrong, “THE SECOND YOU SEE MY WIFE ON THE SCREEN ALL YOU HEAR ARE SOME IDIOTS MAKING PIG NOISES” and my dad is like a big kid, so instead of trying to resolve the issue he just starts laughing hysterically, pissing the guy off even more. I know they gave the guy his money back but man….I know if I heard that after my wedding, I would have flipped my sh*t, too!
Pretty much the same same but maybe cruder …

:sofa



:beer
 
My biggest one is a story I’ve told before from a different angle-

I used to have a pretty serious anger issue, more so a manipulation issue where I’d use anger to manipulate situations. I was a line cook at a Chili’s and my then-girlfriend was a server. I was getting my ass kicked during a lunch rush and she handed me the same plate of quesadillas 3 different times because the customer kept ordering the wrong thing or didn’t know what they wanted. The third time it hit the window I grabbed the plate and threw it at the wall behind me, about 15’ back. Ceramic went everywhere, food was being prepped back there and ALL of it had to be thrown out, about $5K worth of food, you just can’t risk someone biting into a shard of broken glass. Worse yet, I could have seriously hurt our dishwasher/prep guy who was the sweetest 78 year old Haitian man who was about a foot away from where the plate hit the wall.

My manager screamed at me to go in her office, sat me down and asked “What the f*ck are you doing?”, any excuse I had about quesadillas or being busy wasn’t what she wanted to hear. “Andrew, for 3 years I’ve watched you manipulate people with anger or you‘re sweet talking one of the girls who has a boyfriend to get your way, why do you do this?” I was really dumbfounded because while I knew I was doing some of it, I hadn’t recognized that I was using anger as a manipulation tool. “I’m supposed to fire you in this situation but I’m suspending you, when you come back with 3 self-help books to start understanding your behavior, I’ll put you back on the schedule”

I was so stunned by that interaction and that someone could “see” me that I didn’t even argue, I went straight to the bookstore and got 3 books. One of those books, The Science Of Mind, has become my bible. It changed my life in so many ways I can’t count them and I’ve given out 17 or 18 copies since, to anyone who I think can use it. I’m still friends with that manager now, 16 years later. Hahahah, she doesn’t even remember that incident, she just remembers all the sh*t I used to do that I won’t detail here. :rofl
 
Traditional European Fine Dining … Tableside cooking … all the trappings … Haut Brion and Lafitte Rothschild … a big part of early life. Became family for a bit.


IMG_2453.jpeg

1985?​

1980s Prom night… smokin’ busy night. That means a dollar a table 😢 - when normally you’re making $25-50. Sometimes more.

It’s all kids who have no money. (Funny enough, waited on my future wife one night on her date.)

Was in a hurry sloshing around some cherries jubilee… Hit the flambé, shook the pan, and the next thing you know some cherries flambé land right on the back of a prom date’s dress… En Fuego. 🔥

Tappy tap tap that shit right out before anyone sees it or the combustion continues to conflagrate.

But now there’s a big purple cherries smudge on the dress. That I had to pay for (the dry cleaning), but no one ever found out about the flames.
 
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I burnt 36 pieces of chicken working at KFC.

colonel sanders dance GIF by KFC Australia

To clarify, this was not a series of errors, ie. separately burning 36 pieces at different times, but one big error where I burned them all at once.

Their fryers cooked 36 pieces in a load and relied on the teenage employee to start the timer every time it was loaded up.

I didn’t start the timer and then at some point remembered, maybe 30 minutes later, oh sh*t, there’s a whole bunch of chicken cooking/burning… :rofl
 
I wish my biggest screw up was $17,000. That, I could've handled. Mine was being in a hurry, stepping down onto the top of a 4' stepladder that was closed, and leaning on a stair landing. The ladder slipped out from under me, and my right foot went straight down onto a concrete slab, causing a compound fracture of my lower leg. 3 surgeries, got hooked on pain meds, started developing depression so I lost the best job I'd ever had, and 16 years later the hardware they used to bolt my bones back together is failing (broken screws), so I have an app't with a specialist in a couple weeks. Easily my biggest mistake, and turned a very good career trajectory into practically a U-turn.

I generally work with a sense of urgency, having been self-employed most of my career, but there's a big difference between that, and being in a hurry.

The really messed up part is that the stairs had been built, but they weren't correct due to the stone floor the stairs came down to ending up being thicker than the stone mason told me it would be, so the stairs had been removed, and the stone flooring had been installed far enough that the feet of the ladder were (past tense) tucked behind the stone, with no possible way the ladder could've slipped.

But shortly prior to this incident, I didn't like how steep an angle the ladder was, so I moved it so the feet were now on top of the stone, and so they had nothing to prevent them from sliding, not to mention this made the ladder more prone to doing so, since it was now at a shallower angle.

And, I was managing this job, choosing to work with my tools if/when I wanted, and I had decided I would rebuild the stairs myself, some evening after everyone left, sort of my own "zen" time, but I kept putting it off, and broke my leg before getting around to it.

Any one of those 3 things handled differently, and my life wouldn't have been so radically altered!
 
^^^ the universe is unfolding exactly as it should… you learnt some powerful, key lessons in there… glad you made it through - many don’t 👍❤️🙏

I broke my back… But that’s classified ;-)
 
Heh, I've run a couple of SQL update queries without Where clauses ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ luckily able to fix it quickly with nobody else knowing :clint

Of course none of this means anything to you if you don't know some database stuff :cuss
This is why I won't work in SSMS without SQL Prompt. It gives you a pop-up that says, "YOU'RE ABOUT TO EXECUTE AN UPDATE/DELETE QUERY WITHOUT A WHERE CLAUSE. ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS, BUDDY?" Saves my butt every time.
 
Im an underwriter so I say yes to a lot of loans that go south. But I'm still employed so I guess I haven't made too big of a blunder yet.


I remember cooking on the line in college. The boss was ocd about bagging everything. I went to drop a chicken breast into the flyer and it went in with the bag on a accident bc we were slammed and my gloves were slippery. Didn't serve it but the oil was probably a little fucked.
 
No big costly screw ups that I'm aware of, but I do have a sorta funny story.

I worked about 12 yrs for a very well known apparel company, as a production artist in product development. My good buddy there was an artist/software trainer and he usually sent out department emails to heads of Design, all product managers, sourcing, etc... probably only 80 people, 90% women. One day he sent this long email to the teams talking about this and that... directions on how to do so and so and where to find it... a well thought out and helpful email (probably.. i didn't actually read the whole damn thing lol). The last sentence went something along the lines of "please let me know if I can assist you further".
So me being the jokester responded back to him just highlighting his last sentence. I wrote "That's what she said" and hit send. Little did I know I hit Reply All... until moments later :facepalm. One of the other artists across the building went "whataaatttttt is this??" Man I was so embarrassed and didn't know what to do. My job life flashed before me in those moments lol. So I responded back to everyone "hey all, so sorry about that. it's just been one of those days."
My boss at the time was cool and a relatively laid back guy. So he played a little joke on me and called up a friend in HR. Shortly thereafter she emailed me saying we needed to discuss an issue that has come up. I was thinking "oh crap, here we go..." So I met with her and she started going into her concerns etc, but she couldn't keep a straight face the whole time and started laughing. I was relieved but also thinking "that SOB got me!!"
Anyways, that story came up often at work years later. Luckily I was liked by the VPs and most of my colleagues so most of them had a good laugh about it. If that same thing had happened 5 yrs later it probably would have been a different outcome haha.
 
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