Your worst job mess up

Well, I use to work for a Pappasito’s Mexican Cantina in Houston.

I dropped a cocktail-tray of water glasses on a little girl. I actually caught the glasses and all the girl got was a shower. She thought it was fun and the parents were generous, so it was ok.

I felt better when I heard that the guy who was training me had dropped two of those fajita sizzle-trays on an old lady and sent her to the hospital!

–==the sax man==–

A screw up I witnessed but didn’t do. Backups were taking two tapes, but the operator didn’t want to mess with two tapes and asked programming to find some stuff that doesn’t change and not back that up.

Programmer goofed and almost nothing was getting backed up. This was discovered after a disk crash, of couse. They were able to ‘recover’ since someone had, months before, taken a good backup home. All the transactions has to be re-entered by hand.

The backups ran real fast, though.

Well, mine isn’t exactly in line with the OP but close, I think.

While working in the Network Operation Center(NOC) for the worlds largest internet service provider the user graphs dropped vertically by 25%. In other words, we lost over 300,000 users in under a minute during peak hours. Someone yelled “Holy ‘bleep’ check the user graphs”. We did and chaos insued. I paged and called everyone I had to, including 3 VP’s of the company. One of the people I called, let’s call him M, had direct access to the call centers. I asked M to tell me what the call centers were hearing from the customers. Anyway, everyone was on at least 3 conference calls and totally freaking out. I was speaking to a VP and trying to figure the revinue impact of this little event, 4 million was my guess depending on how long it lasted, when M called me again. I told the VP that I had new information and put him on hold. M spoke up and said “I know what the issue is.”. I asked him what was up and he said…

Wait for it

Wait for it

“The last episode of Seinfeld started at 8.”

When I head that I just about died. I yelled to the NOC supervisor that I thought, due to M, I knew what was happening. The NOC Supe asked and I told him what M said. There was a collective D’OH.
Sure as shit, right at 9 the user graphs went back up to normal.

I never liked Seinfeld before that. Now I have a real reason to hate that show.


Wow…mine’s not very impressive compared to most of the ones above, and that makes me feel somewhat better. :slight_smile:

When I first moved to the Bay Area fresh out of college, I got a job working in the classifieds department of one of the local papers. Mostly I took ads and made sure they got into the paper right, but one time we were running a promotion that allowed service/tradespeople to advertise in a special color supplement which was cheaper than they’d have to pay for color normally (but still more expensive than regular black and white). We got lots of ads, and it was my job to check the final layout and make sure everything was okay. I was very careful to check each ad, make sure everything that was supposed to be there was there, and so on. I found a few minor problems and turned it in with “OK with indicated changes” and went home happy.

Well, the next day the spread ran, and it looked great–

–except it was in black and white! I’d forgotten to indicate that it should be color!

<sigh> I didn’t actually know you had to indicate that it was in color, and my boss had neglected to tell me, but I still felt guilty about that. We had to refund part of everybody’s money to make up for it.

Since then I’ve been pretty lucky–and I’m very glad it wasn’t me who left out the table of contents on the 450-page technical manual and didn’t notice it until we’d gotten back the 400+ printed copies (which happened at a subsequent company but had nothing to do with me, thankfully).

My embarassing mistake happened just yesterday, I killed a guy, well…sort of.
Here’s what happened.
My editor was putting a picture of a newly-dedicated stained glass window on the front page, and he asked me to write a caption since I had gone to the dedication mass and written a story about the widow. OK, fine no problem, I’ve done this a million times, it’ll only take five seconds. Well, instead of writing the caption to say the window was dedicated to her husband, Robert, I made a mistake and wrote that the window was dedicated in memory of her husband Peter. Peter is her son, and he is very much alive!! So not only did I kill the guy, but I also had him married to his mother. Luckily, I managed to get things straight in the story. The widow came into the office this morning to point out my mistake, but I wasn’t in yet. I called her and left a long apology on her answering machine, and of course, I will run a correction. She hasn’t called back yet. I’ve made mistakes before, of course, but this is the first time I’ve killed somebody.

I’ve been doing Telecom maintenance pretty much my whole life. A couple of jobs back, one of my responsibilities was to prepare and conduct network changes. So I was wiring everything up and programming everything, I accidently disconnected 6 T1’s that belonged to 1 customer (It wasn’t totally my fault, the paperwork was screwed up) but I should of checked for live traffic before disconnecting things. Oh well, lesson learned

Boy did you make me dig up some memories.

I was working as a counselor at Scout Camp. It was my 4th year out there and I my first year as an Area Commissioner. This meant that I was in charge of 7 different camping areas as well as teaching various merit badges to the campers. We had a week before campers actually were there so that we could set up each of the camping areas.

Each camping area had a sign indicating it’s name. I was working on putting up the sign in one area and had my trusty post-hole digger. As I was digging, I noticed that there was this root that was being especially tough to get through. “No problem.”, I thought. “I’ll just give it one really good WACK, and that will take care of it.” It took care of it all right. That root was really a water main that fed water to the cabins on that side of the camp… and I had just punctured it. Water was flying upwards in a beautiful stream out of this hold I had just dug. It took about a week to get it fixed and I got razzed pretty good about it for a long time. Hey, how was I supposed to know where the water pipes were in a “Nature” camp? Anyways, by the end of camp (5 weeks later) everyone forgot about that incident until…

We were setting up some games in our area for the campers to play. It was the traditional type of scout games you would expect. It was requested that I set up a horseshoe pit. I had sent my assistant to find a good spot and set him to the task of pounding the steel rods. He was having trouble getting one of them in, so I grabbed the sledgehammer he was using and drove it into the ground myself, noting that it was rather stubborn, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Well…
Later that day, a guy from the phone company was walking through my area tracing a line. Apparently the camp phone (the only one in camp) wasn’t working because I had driven a steel rod through the phone line. It also got fixed, but I never lived that one down. After that, for the rest of that week, I was dubbed the offical camp “dowser”.

Place of Employment: Local Indipendent League Baseball Team
My Job: Promotions
Story: Time for the base race. I lead 5-6 kids out on the field so they can run the bases while they switch sides. Winner gets some lame prize. So here we are, ground out to short inning over. I open the gate, lead the kids out on the field in front of the sparse crowd of about 2,500. I get about 30 feet from the gate…shit…only two outs. Had to round up the rug rats (who by this time had run every which way) and heard them all back for the next out.

My job was selling use video games in a swap meet on weekends …

I didnt know that I wasnt supposed to be totally honest when someone asked if i liked a game and such …

Someone picked up some games and my comments ranged from "its ok to “totally sucked”

Needless to say my boss wasnt impressed

Of course other screwups were dropping nintendo systems having people steal things right under my nose ect

My boss didnt like me at first and I wasnt supposed to last more than a couple of weeks … i stayed for 5 years She becane one of my best friends

One of my dad’s favorite stories about me:

I worked for a chain of pet stores. They sent me out on a delivery run from the warehouse, and someone else packed the van. There was a loose spare tire, and the guy packing the van stood it up against the side of the van and packed stuff around it. As I made deliveries, there were fewer things holding up the spare. At my last stop the van was emptied, and one of the store guys hands me a cardboard box with a bird to return. I put the box in the back of the van and pull out. I hear this big “whump” as the spare rolls to the back of the van and flattens the center of the box. It turned out the bird was going to die anyway, or I would have been charged $200.00.


I’ve got a handful of doozies, but this one is probably the most interesting:

I used to work at a Navy contractor that made sonar devices (sonobuoys, if you recognize the term, as well as other sea-going sonar test articles). We were R&D, and typically our projects would last a year or two, produce only a handful of buoys, and include a number of interim tests, usually at sea.

On this particular project, I was the only mechanical engineer, so I was in charge of all the non-electronic things: surface float, pressure vessels, cabling, connectors, and the battery pack. The battery pack was a pretty big item, and the battery pack consisted of about 400 F cells (four F cells make up a lantern battery) stacked up and wired together. Not a bad design actually: cheap, modular, and reliable.

Anyway, we had a big sea test scheduled, and, like usual, everyone was working late the night before the hardware had to ship. I had all the mechanical stuff buttoned up, and the electronic guys were just finishing programming their boards. Last thing to do: “Hey, let’s unplug the electronics from the bench power and make sure it runs OK off the battery pack.” So we trundle in the battery pack and screw in the connector to the boards…

And thirty seconds later the electronics boards erupt in flames. Since there was no off switch, we all pulled a Three Stooges act, running in circles and waving our hands, until someone was bright enough to yank the correct wires. Well, the electronics are toast, and we can’t make the sea test, so we have to postpone at the last minute, and we’re behind schedule, and we’ve got a lot of repair work and troubleshooting to do.

So we troubleshoot. Turns out the battery pack was supplying negative voltage instead of positive, which fried certain critical components. And the reason for that was that the “industrial” F cells I used looked just like a regular battery: a cylinder with a button on the end, except that, unlike a “normal” battery, the button end was negative, not positive. I had just assumed the button was positive, and never, ever bothered to check. Easy enough to alter the wiring now, after umpty-thousand dollars of one-of-a-kind electronics vaporised.

I once made a $6000 typo. That can occasionally happen in the graphics and print industry. I made a typo with a three digit number that designates color. Got the wrong shade of blue (really, really wrong shade)

Worse, another designer I know did a calendar that was missing a week in the month of April. Somehow NO ONE noticed during the multiple proofing processes, not even the client who saw several proofs as they went along. 50 000 calendars were printed. Ouch!

  1. My first “real” (summer) job. Scene: toy store (hey, I was 18). First week of work, and my boss hands me a boxcutter, joking “Don’t cut yourself, now”. I pull the box over, slide the blade out of its sheath and press my thumb down…neatly inserting the corner of the blade into the ball of my thumb.

Of course, I got a bandaid from the first aid kit, but the blood kept literally filling it up and spilling out the top…went through four bandaids before it slowed down. Ever tried to work a cash register while making a fist to keep from bleeding all over the place? It was a while before they put me on box-opening duty again.

  1. Waiting tables in a posh private club. About 10 business-y people come in & I’m taking drink orders. This one really annoying, plastic-looking blonde requests hot water with lemon in a faux Marilyn voice. The club demands that we serve tea (and hot water with lemon) by pouring the hot water into the cup in front of the customer out of these little silver-colored teapots. Drawback: if one pours too slowly, the water dribbles down the spout and ends up on the tablecloth. However, if one pours too fast, the stupid lid flips open and the water comes out the top.

So I’m pouring water for this lady, and it dribbles down the teaspout and from there, down the menu she’s holding into her lap. She gives me this annoyed look (as one might if someone is pouring water in your lap), but there’s nothing I can do—there’s no way to surmount the curse of the teapot. To make it worse, one of my coworkers saw what was happening and was cracking up. I’m basically standing there, shoulders shaking as I try not to burst out laughing, while I pour hot water into Barbie-woman’s lap. Not my best “waiterly” moment.