Endeavour Fuck-up Stories: Wait, who did I just app that to?
Fuck up: Almost wrecking an entire international collaboration by stressed multitasking
Lesson: If you try to do everything at once, you can expect things to go wrong at some point. Oh, and NEVER put anything ugly about customers in writing (even if you think they will never see it anyway).
This is what happened: One of our employees 'Jillian' had only been employed for six months when she was assigned to a project for an international client. She says: "The project was fairly hectic and under considerable time pressure. I was therefore occasionally working on my day off. One afternoon, I went to the playground with my son. While he happily ran around, I was still busy with all kinds of work on my laptop and phone. While typing and calling, I was trying to give my child attention and in the meantime some friends were also messaging me. So it was quite messy and stressful. At some point, I responded to a message from a friend asking how I was doing. I replied that I was really stressed and that this client was so difficult. Only I used slightly stronger language. Ok honestly, I said something really ugly about that client. And then I pressed 'send'. 10 seconds later I realised what I had done. I grabbed my phone and there was the message...in the app group with the client! I remember all the hairs on my arms stood on end and I felt very hot and cold at the same time. I desperately wanted to throw my phone in the sandbox and emigrate."
After the initial panic, she immediately deleted the message and contacted her supervisor. Very understandably, the latter was not exactly happy. "I was so terribly embarrassed. Of course, I apologised at length and we immediately made a plan on how we would make this right with the customer.... I apologised extensively there too and kept myself lol for the rest of the project. It was a horrible experience, but incredibly instructive. Since this incident, I no longer allow myself to be pressurised. I'd rather do something right than fast. Oh and besides, you will never again hear me say anything negative about a client in such a way."