Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cath's Nine Stages of Fucking Up at Work

This is a faithful and accurate account of my internal monologue during the last 24 hours or so. It contains lots of foul language. All of it is justified.

1) Pride (as in, before a fall)

Tra la la, my boss has gone away and left me in charge of Very Important Submission. I am soooo important.

I don't have all the files yet, but I can upload what I do have and make sure it looks OK.

That's weird. Why is Massive Sciencey Organisation's website saying "Thank you for your submission?" I hadn't finished, why would it think I'd submitted?

2) Shock

FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK

Ohmygod what have I done? And how does the back of my neck get so hot, so quickly, when I realise I've fucked something up?

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

3) Denial

Quick, hurry, quick quick, click on the other open tab in my browser. Ooooooh, look, Google Reader! Maybe if I read a blog post or two, the scary message in the other tab will go away.

"Sign Win!" - heh heh, that's pretty damn funny.

OK, let's check to see if that worked.

4) Shock

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK

And ohmygod, it's sent a submission receipt message to my boss. I'm gonna have to email him and tell him what I did.

I seriously think I might vomit.

Noooooooooooooooooooooo and one more FUCK

5) Bargaining

OK. I'm going to email the help desk (after regular office hours, so no calling) and explain. Hopefully they can reset the application. I'll also email my boss. If I accept full responsibility*, apologise, and grovel, then he can't fire me.

Right?

And if I go home and make a lovely dinner for my husband and his friend, then I'll forget all about it and have a good night's sleep.

Right?

Right.

6) Shock

Tra la la, it's a bright and sunny morning, everything will be OK, especially if I have some caffeine to offset the lack of sleep. Better check my email first though, to see if the help desk people have replied.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD THEY CAN'T RESET IT.

7) Chocolate

Quick, escape to the friendly local coffee shop; I need some anti-stress therapy in the traditional Trauma Cookie format. Oh, but look, a bar of organic, fair trade, chili & spice chocolate from Cocoa Camino, right next to the till. Mmmmmmmmmmm, ethilicious.

8) Bargaining

OK, we have an email from Massive Sciencey Organisation, saying that our submission is incomplete.

Thank you, I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.

If I return the email, grovel, apologise, and stress that the mistake was not the fault of any of the scientists named on the project, all will be well.

Right?

9) Acceptance

They say we can start our submission again from scratch. No long-term harm done - I hope.

BTW I still don't have all the required files, so I am no longer the one who is holding up the submission. No, I am a completely innocent party, my friends.

Maybe there's still some denial going on.

Maybe more chocolate might help.

Hey, maybe this would make a good blog post.

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*the online submission system may have contributed. Possibly. Don't quote me on that, though.

32 comments:

  1. Oh god, Cath. Can I say this post was both nightmarish and freaking funny at the same time?

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  2. Yeah - I'm with the bean-mom on this one. I laughed my arse off but was horrified all at the same time. Sorry :) Glad it work out though.

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  3. Eeeeek! My blood pressure just spiked. Glad it worked out.

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  4. Yes, I can also feel my stress level spiking too - especially as I can just see that sort of thing happening to me. I can also taste the chocolate - I would definitely be there too.

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  5. You certainly didn't exaggerate when you said you had a bad day!

    I've had similar experience to that. Except it involved an email to a customer, and an entire document that was meant for company eyes only. I was reading the document, paraphrasing what was necessary, and I guess I didn't realize I ATTACHED IT. Until I checked my sent mail, and WOOPS. So yeah, it was the quickest phone call EVER to the customer with lots of pleading that they delete it immediately and forget it ever happened.

    I now know there was nothing proprietary in the document, but HOLY was I freaked that someone would find out and I'd be "disappeared" like they do in Columbia...

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  6. I've totally done that with a fellowship application....major OOOPS. But I actually got it, so that means no hope lost for you :).

    Good luck! I'm with the others, I laughed and clenched my gut with vicarious stress simultaneously. I *hate* the "immediate hot back of neck" feeling....

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  7. Can I just have a hearty chuckle here?

    KTHXBAI

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  8. Christ on a cracker! I'll add a FUCK!!!!!!!!!! for you!

    What is a Trauma Cookie? I'd like to order a fucktillion, please. I'll split it with you. Who do I call? uh, nevermind - I'll wait for afterhours to email the order. I don't need any more trauma dealing with customer service morons.

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  9. I do not get it, though: don't these people want to receive as many good submissions as possible ?
    You would think that they would make it easy on applicants, not only by designing an easy, forgiving, almost Massimo-proof interface (I inadvertently submit half-done proposals all the time, and there has never been any serious consequence), but also by making sure that a proposal can easily be retrieved and a submission voided ?

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  10. it true that the most horrible experiences make for the best blog posts ... That is usually something that cheers me up when things like these happen.

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  11. Maybe more chocolate might help.

    It never fails.

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  12. Oh God, I live in fear of accidentally submitting an unfinished application. When I worked in TV, I was responsible for emailing scripts and what not out, and I would literally quadruple check that I had the right script. I was very, very OCD about it.

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  13. ouch, such episodes in life are never fun when it happens, but sometimes they can be so in retrospect

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  14. OMG Cath, that must have been really bad hours. I am sorry. Things happen though...

    and, Iwill admit I laughed whilereading. I guess there is one of those "it is funny when you think it is going to work out in the end".

    no more "jsut pressing the button" me thinks?!

    and I had a bit of "did the fax (who on earth FAXES applications with photos?) go through since I did not get a confirmation letter" yeaterday. Then I realised they had changed the date AND the method. (please email pdfs until 3 weeks from now.." I guess i am happy about that?!)

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  15. cath this is HANDS DOWN my all time fav post. hands downnnn!
    i say... bring on the f-bombs!
    you are hilarious.
    but really- that sucks- absolutely something that i would do too.
    you just made my day.

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  16. Anyone who laughed is fucking evil.

    only kidding - I'm still at the freak out stage myself, but can appreciate the humour, even if I myself am not actually laughing - yet.

    Bean-Mom, nightmarish sounds right, if my usual pattern holds true I will probably have a dream or two about this in the next month!

    PiT, thanks, I think it will work out fine... no direct communication with my boss yet... I won't see him in person until Monday, which hopefully is a good thing.

    AA, have some chocolate ;)

    Dr J, you too! I am always scared of something like this happening, but this time I thought I was doing something really really innocuous, i.e. approving one document, not the entire submission...

    IS, told ya! Your email story sounds really stressful too - I'm glad you got a good customer and it all worked out well! (I bet they snuck a look though).

    Phizzle, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's done something like this! I was actually hoping that our contact at Massive Sciencey Organisation would say something like "don't worry, it happens all the time", but she didn't...

    I'm also glad it's not just me who gets the hot back of the neck thing - none of the friends I saw last night have ever had that happen to them!

    RPG, you can not has chuckle. I can has sympathy?

    Anon, a former colleague of mine came up with the Trauma Cookie thing. We'd all had our flu shots (a nurse came to the building) and she announced that she needed a Trauma Cookie to help her arm recover. So we all went to the local coffee shop, which does the best choc chunk cookies EVAH.

    Massimo, I LOLed at "easy, forgiving, almost Massimo-proof interface". Let's just say that it was not Cath-proof, not very intuitive at all. And while the help desk works regular office hours, the e-submissions get processed automatically, so by the time they saw my help request, the submission was past the reset stage... which is a bit silly if you ask me.

    Glad to hear about the lack of serious consequences! I think it's worse when it's someone else's submission though - me being stupid could potentially make the PI of the project look bad in the eyes of Massive Sciencey Organisation. If the researchers had fucked it up themselves, they only would have had themselves to blame...

    Nina, there is definitely a correlation there. Catastrophes also spawn many many comments!

    Juniper, I actually held off on the supplemental chocolate, and I even limited myself to 2 beers at poker last night, which I thought was remarkably restrained given the circumstances.

    Ruchi, I usually am too - but like I said above, the button I clicked did not look like a scary button at all! And there was no "are you sure you want to submit?" message...

    HGG, I hope so! I'll know after I've seen my boss...

    Chall, attaching things to an email would be a much more humane way to operate... that way I would have full control (I never enter the recipient's address on an important email until I'm 100% sure that everything is attached, to avoid accidents. However I routinely forget to attach things to less important, internal emails).

    Crystal, happy to help... I guess...?

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  17. I could feel my stomach clenching and getting nervous for you! That's horrible. I felt the same way when I thought that I had spent the mortgage money.

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  18. Cath - maybe this can distract you :).

    TAG!

    http://phizzledizzle.blogspot.com/2009/02/bridge-over-troubled-water.html

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  19. I have this kind of nightmare ... all the time... it hasn't actually happened to me yet though.

    Thank goodness it got fixed!

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  20. very nightmarish, but totally funny - but only because it worked out. Way on the win!

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  21. "Anyone who laughed is fucking evil."

    *snort*

    OK, I've stopped chuckling. You can has sympathy.


    'Awwwwww"

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  22. Amanda, that sounds horrible too... I take it you hadn't spent it?!

    Phizzle, thanks for the tag!

    DrDrA, yes, big relief all round...

    SM, thanks!

    RPG, thank you to you too. Now bring me a trauma cookie, damnit!

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  23. Oh my god, I totally would have cried at least at some point in there. Must look into local variety of trauma cookie....

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  24. I didn't cry actually, but there's still time for that!

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  25. Ooooh! Blood-curling! I am with Albatross - there would have been tears! I hope you get some good trauma cookies!

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  26. I find I'm still needing at least one trauma cookie a day!

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  27. If ever we're on the same continent, Cath.

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  28. I didn't laugh - I Promise - until you said, "Anyone who laughed is fucking evil."

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  29. Oh god I totally know that feeling. I HATE it when the heat starts to rise on the back of my neck. I just determined that I screwed something up big time myself...and I am at a conference sharing a room with my boss. Wonder if I should tell her now or wait until after I get off the plane on Saturday?

    I totally feel for you. I am SURE it will all be OK!

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  30. RPG, same hemisphere would be a good start.

    Silver Fox, that's OK then. But laughing at that point is still a teeny tiny bit evil.

    Mermaid, oh no! Is it possible to get her drunk before you tell her?

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  31. Really Cath, some day it will be funny, I promise. I may take a few months though, or a few years. But one day you will laugh about this. I'm doing so right now (sorry)

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  32. My boss is laughing... new post coming up!

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