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12 Horrible Mistakes People Have Made At Work

We've all been there.

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1. "I pitched a gameshow idea called Jeopardy to a room full of executive producers."

"Only one of the most famous American gameshows of all time. :/ :/ :/" – Dolly Alderton, writer, journalist, and Sunday Times Style dating columnist

2. "I got so hammered on my first work trip abroad that I woke up in a hotel room as my flight was leaving."

"I got to the airport, so hungover I couldn't lift my head and ended up having to transfer onto the last flight out to Bristol. I then slumped on the floor and was sick in my mouth, at which point my editor, the advertising director, and the MD of the company walked in. Turns out they were on a later flight." – Anonymous, senior editor at a national daily newspaper

3. "I got a job at a multinational pharmaceutical company, but it was interminably dull work, and, thanks to my 'refusing to let uni go' late-night lifestyle, it was often a real struggle to stay awake."

"One afternoon, I was disposing of a quantity of chloroform down a sink. The way you do this safely is to run plenty of cold water down with it, but following a particularly late night, I absent-mindedly flicked on the hot tap instead, and went back to what I was doing. Hot water is enough to make chloroform evaporate rapidly and before long the room was heavy with vapour, which I breathed in before falling peacefully unconscious, only to be found by a concerned colleague a few hours later, the hot tap still gushing away.

"This event helped me realise that I hated labs, and I now head up a department in the ad industry, where exposure to potent anaesthetics is a lot less likely, though not unheard of." – Rob Hyde, head of department at an ad agency

4. "I crashed the not-yet-released, brand-new car the company had on loan from our car client."

"I thought I would be sacked on the spot. A great day. I couldn't believe it when the response of the car brand head was, 'Well, that's what we have insurance for, as long as she didn't hit anybody.'" – Anonymous, digital strategist at a PR agency

5. "Myself and a group of fellow interns got sent on a two-day trip to our Paris office."

"We had a great time, largely due to the fact that we had been given a load of spending money to have a big night out on the town. Fun times were had (to the tune of around £500). It was only when we got back and re-read the original email that we discovered that this money was for emergencies, and very, very much not intended as booze money.

"A frantic, terrified, oh-god-we're-going-to-get-fired email chain ensued, trying to plot how we could plausibly cover up the fact that we'd pissed away a load of the company's money. It was only about 20 emails into this chain, when we got the confidence to quietly start whispering to each other IRL, that one of the interns – let's call her Alice Thompson – said she hadn't got any of these emails, and what on earth were we talking about?

"An endless few seconds of slow, dawning horror. We look at the emails. We look at the addresses they were sent to. We see that we haven't been talking about this to Alice Thompson. We've been talking about it to Alice Thomas. Who works in the finance department.

"Alice Thomas, who I have never met and never communicated with outside of that dreadful half-hour, never told on us. We were not fired. We were never asked what happened to the money. Several people from that group now have very senior and fancy media jobs." – Tom Phillips, editorial director, BuzzFeed UK

6. "I deleted all of Elton John's payment information from the bank's system."

"I just went home and never mentioned or admitted it. I suspect some poor corporate type ended up having to phone him and apologise." – Hilary Wardle, BuzzFeed Scotland editor

7. "When I was about 24 I kept a blog about my volunteering adventures overseas, and I continued to update it once I had a temp job in a nonprofit office."

"It was kind of place I wanted to work, but the job itself involved hours and hours of data entry. I was miserable, so I blogged about it in a tone of youthful despair: 'Now I have a job at [insert organisation's name] it's really not all it's cracked up to be and it sucks,' etc.

"I did not know that Google Alerts were a thing until the fateful day when they picked up the post and automatically sent it to the communications manager and a handful of top management (president, division directors, etc.).

"The communications manager emailed me, saying something like, 'We can see what you're writing and I thought you'd want to know that other people can read the personal things.'

"I died at my little cubicle desk, set the blog to private, and wrote an email to the comms manager like, 'Thanks for telling me. My bad. I'm deleting it.'

"But I didn't get fired! He wrote me back the loveliest email about how he once lost a really important document that someone had signed and it was never found, so NBD. In the end I stayed with the organisation for five years and by the time I left I was in a pretty senior role." – Anonymous

8. "At the start of my career in journalism, working the overnight online shift at a national newspaper literally just involved uploading the next day's paper on to the website."

"The England football team had a very bad result and we had to put a picture of the manager of the team up on the site to accompany the story. I, for reasons that surpass understanding, thought it would be funny to put 'look what this idiot has done now. What a clown' as the alt text. ON THE MAIN PICTURE ON THE HOME PAGE.

"Luckily a colleague rather than my boss spotted it and gave me an enormous bollocking. I shamefacedly admitted my bizarre and inexplicable decision to said boss; I was later told that I came about six millimetres from being fired on the spot." – Tom Chivers, BuzzFeed senior writer

9. "I was given the responsibility for managing a HUGE photo shoot for a major client."

"This was back in the day when you'd use transparencies, 10x10cm pieces of see-through plastic with previews of the images that cost around £25 each. Back from the shoot, which cost around £60,000, I drove to the client's office with the transparencies in a manila folder to show them the results.

"On arriving, I looked around the car – no folder. Then, all of a sudden, with a sickening wrench of the stomach, I realised I must have put the (loose leaf) folder on the roof of my car… just before I drove off.

"I called the one person I knew in the office to ask her to go outside and check the car park, and listened as she gasped and then started swearing. It was chucking it down, as usual in Manchester, and my transparencies were spread all over the road, being driven into the sopping wet tarmac by cars. I hung up thinking my career was over.

"I called the photographer, almost in tears, and begged him to tell me that they weren't the master copies, which would have meant the whole shoot had literally gone down the drain and I owed someone £60,000.

"'Of course not,' he yelled. 'Why? What's up?'

"And breathe." – Anonymous, chair of a PR agency

10. "A few months into my first real job out of uni, working in sales at a large media publisher, I attended our first company-wide meeting."

"It involved a lot of acronyms and long, complicated-sounding marketing and sales buzzwords, few of which made sense to 22-year-old me.

"At the end of the presentation, they asked, 'So, does have anyone have any questions?' and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed me decided that it'd be a great idea to raise my hand and tell the head of one of the most important and profitable departments in the business: 'So, uhh, I still don't really get what you do.' They were not impressed.

"Fortunately, my boss at the time found it absolutely hilarious and I managed to stick around the company for another six years, switching to editorial and making it to senior staff writer." – Mark Walton, senior staff writer, GameSpot UK

11. "I was performing in my theatre company's most ambitious show to date at Edinburgh Fringe Festival."

"Five or six shows into the run, I was exhausted and the few reviews we'd had weren't great, so the night was a make-or-break type of situation for us.

"The show, a story of a band, relied heavily on music being played live by the performers, and a quarter of the way into the show, under-slept and nervous as fuck, I discovered that I'd forgotten to take my instrument with me on stage. Realising that there was no way of getting to it, I felt utter terror, and had to come up with the quickest improvised response to prevent throwing my fellow performers into a similar state of panic.

"I sang the parts I should have played on the instrument; many people apparently didn't notice there was something missing but I felt the worst sense of guilt towards the rest of my company, and spent the following evening and day in tears.

"The following night, we did our best performance ever, the whole room on their feet at the end, and five years later, the company is going strong and it doesn't seem to have impacted too badly on my career as an artist!" – Eugénie Pastor, theatre-maker and university lecturer in performance

12. "As a TV researcher I once organised a lunch with a moderately famous retired rock star I can't name."

"I forgot to tell the producer, and also forgot to turn up myself because I had a massive hangover. It was at his home and he'd put on a spread for us. I still feel like shit thinking about it." – Alan White, BuzzFeed breaking news reporter

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