Friday, August 28, 2009

How to Make a Fool of Yourself in Five Seconds or Less

Remember that famous line from the character Steve Erkel in the TV show Family Matters --

“Did I Do That?”

Have you ever accidentally left your cell phone on after you thought you had hung up? Or accidentally dialed when you sat down with your phone in your pants pocket? (A solid case for flip phones, if you ask me.)

Or, have you ever accidentally sent an e-mail? You know, the kind you write when you’re fuming about something (or someone) -- that you never really intend to send but it makes you feel better -- and you leave it sitting in your draft folder. Yeah, sure, blame it on your assistant.

Time for confessions.

It was the middle of a nerve-wracking meeting, and I was really frustrated (okay… pissed) with a co-worker. I put my phone on mute so I could rant to the others in my office. They would take my side of course, because they worked for me. But sometime during that call my mute button stopped working. Everyone on the call heard my rant.

Ooops… Did I do that?

I got the phone replaced the next day. The person I was ranting about made believe it didn’t happen. If she’s reading this now, I want her to know that what I said wasn’t nice, and I sincerely apologize… sort of…

I used to thrive on instant messaging, especially on long conference calls. I’ve known people who were able to keep up to 25 instant message sessions going at once. My personal limit is around 12. But there’s that annoying problem that a new window pops up just as you start typing a message. You think you’re sending it to Sam, but in the fury of keeping up with all those conversations you hit send before you notice that a new window has popped up and off it goes to Sue.

I was on the receiving end of one of these accidental IM’s. It read, “She’s really smart, but sometimes she’s too opinionated.” You guessed it… I was the one talking.

What, me? Have an opinion? I made believe it didn’t happen.

My favorite ‘Did I do that’ moment happened in a face-to-face meeting. The presenter had his laptop hooked to the projector. In the middle of the presentation he received an instant message that read, “I miss my family but I really need to see.” It was from a married senior executive. Now that’s what I call embarrassing!

He quickly closed the window and made believe it didn’t happen. I’m sure he thinks he caught it before we saw it… we made believe it didn’t happen either.

So -- admit it. You’ve done it too. What’s your favorite ‘Did I do that’ moment?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was told I would not be compensated for my overtime (hourly employee), and in a text message rant to my fiance Crystal, I sent the message to my boss, Christine.

Anonymous said...

Also, this line I actually laughed out loud...

"If she’s reading this now, I want her to know that what I said wasn’t nice, and I sincerely apologize… sort of…"

Anonymous said...

I walked away from my computer just as I had joined an online meeting. I was talking to someone on the other side of the room about something silly my boss did on the previous online meeting and how I thought it was odd that they chose one of my coworkers to give a high level presentation that I had developed and never asked if I would like to present it. There were more than a dozen people on that call, including my boss, who heard the entire conversation. They all pretend that it didn't happen. Me too.

Anonymous said...

My boss came into my office to ask something and he was looking over my shoulder at my computer screen at something we were working on.
I received a "sexy" email from my boyfriend that, thanks to Outlook, popped up on my screen on the bottom right-hand corner. The window was big enough to read the first line or two of the email and it was pretty explicit.....we both pretended I closed the window in time.

Anonymous said...

Mine happened this week. I intended to forward an email to a teammate - instead I replied to the person I was complaining was not "bothering" to return phone calls.

Firefly said...

The 'accidental e-mail' seems to be a really big technology goof! VERY easy to do...

mtk said...

i once accidentally sent the message "eat sh-t and die" not to my friend on a mainframe but to EVERYONE logged into it, including my boss, my boss's boss, and my boss's boss's boss. the latter two were dialed up from home (this was in the early 80's) and took time out of their busy evenings to call me at work :-). if harry reads this, tell him it was howard esking and bruce gilchrist who phoned me.

Anonymous said...

I was planning to go to go out to a local dance bar to try and meet women. Took a nap, got up and got dressed in nice causual clothes, like I would wear to work. But, to my embarrasment, I also put my work badge on. I realized it in while I was stalking the dance floor looking for someone to ask....I never ever went back.

Anonymous said...

This is a classic. One of many. First week at work at a fortune 100 technolgy company. Was on a conference call with Senior IT executives. These guys just kept talking and talking. I thought my phone was on mute.
I got so tired of the conversation, I yawned and out loud I said, 'these guys talk a lot but say nothing'. I was not on mute !

Anonymous said...

Another classic. I wrote an email to a manager that was moving on (if you know what I mean). Her folks were to report to me. This was not to be announced until much later. I wanted to make sure I was spelling the correct names of her folks in the email and so I looked them up in the email directory and put them in the cc of the email, so that in the body of the email I would ensure I had the right spelling.

I sent the email to the manager and forget to take off the names I had put in the cc.

Not a very happy manager indeed !

Anonymous said...

One of many I am afraid.

A large british bank had a Spanish Inquisition as a weekly IT Change Board. This was my first change and I was prepared after taking notes from the sobbing PMs that failed the previous week. My name was called and I entered into a 30 second rapid fire presentation of my change quoting approval after approval. I was asked one simple question and it was approved.... Phew, I hit mute and threw my headset on the table then quirked to my colleague. "That was close I thought I never would have got that through, I had the bluff my way through the last bit". I now noticed another colleague who was waving arms in the air obviousily pointing out I wasnt on mute and all 30 members of the change board could hear this. I quickly hit end call and waited. About 5 minutes later a change manager popped his head round the door and lauged... Its not the worst we have heard he said, one guy was caught saying "do you hear what these f-------g b------ds are wanting me to do now...." LOL

Anonymous said...

Same Bank, different audio con, morning prayers which I used to dial into when I was in the car. I gave my 2 minute update and then hit mute on the phone. Another colleague started here report whilst I was behind a brake happy driver on the freeway. After a dozen brake lights I let ripp..... " For F--ks sake, take you F---King foot of the F---King brake". My earphone fell silent................
I was not on mute. I apologised and made a quick get away

Anonymous said...

Last of three (email one this time).
I was managing a datacenter install where I needed DC management to approve overtime for a weekend fit out. I justified, pleaded and offered all sorts of pleasantries but the DC manager was not having it.
So I escalated it to senior management and the next day the DC manager wrote an email suggesting we all meet and get round a table to discuss and agree when it can be done (which is what I had been trying to do for days).
I replied to my boss saying "so this is the same man that wouldnt agree to this until it was escalated" (but replied to all in error).
My boss said that the DC manager was not happy. LOL

Firefly said...

There's a lot of great classics out there! It's amazing how many of us rant when we (think we) are on mute.