Our admin team at VALA goes around so fast with multitasking and other non-efficient working methods that we tend to make a lot of small mistakes. But that’s part of our culture, we hassle, we screw up, and then we learn. An oldies goldies phrase for this would be a fail fast culture.
Anyways, we wanted to share some of our publishable mistakes so you could feel better about yourself and maybe learn that mistakes are not a bad thing, actually quite the opposite.
I’m happy to let you know that I have multiple short stories for you, enjoy!
- Physically getting to work can be difficult for some people. I was running to catch the tram in my rushed schedule when my phone dropped from my pocket. I had to turn back to pick it up, and meanwhile the tram was gone. Luckily enough, a car behind the tram slowed down, opened the window and an elderly woman yelled ”hop on! We’ll drive you to the next stop!” – and like a Gladstone Gander I made it on time to my meeting. Except that I didn’t. For no reason I said no to my savior, and waited for the next tram.
- Our marketing guy Toni asked me to pick up some marketing material from the printing company. My only job was to check that everything was right and the flyers would look as planned. Back at our office, I proudly opened the box and showed the flyers to my colleagues. They asked why all the pictures were so blurry and unrecognizable. I didn’t check the pictures when picking up the material, even if it was one of the most crucial thing in that task. Those flyers will remain in the box. Forever.
- My colleague asked me to take in a delivery of a new table for the office. I wasn’t at the office when the table arrived, so another colleague called me and asked where should they put it. I was certain it was meant to be on the 4th floor, so I self-confidently advised them to place it there. It was meant to be on the 3rd floor. It’s still on the 4th floor.
- We have many people at VALA with the same first name. It is no news that I manage to order stuff or licenses for the wrong person. I also make the worst coffee with Moccamaster. Now I know that one Moccamaster spoon corresponds to two regular coffee spoons.
- I marked a meeting for a wrong day. There was no one at the office receiving the guest. When I managed to agree on a new meeting, I made that horrible Moccamaster coffee again for the guest. I also couldn’t find a suitable, long HDMI cable, so the guest had to sit right next to the TV with a mini cable of 30 cm.
Because I tend to keep my job here at VALA, I will disclose a rather innocent fuck-up.
I’ve realized it’s important that every time I arrange a meeting, its critical I write down the exact times and locations immediately after arranging them. Otherwise they slip out of my mind the moment any other sensory stimulus enters my brain.
On one unusually long week, no amount of writing things down helped. For some reason, my mind tricked me into thinking it was still Wednesday, when it was in fact already Thursday. I had arranged a lunch meeting for Thursday and because I was literally living in the wrong day, I was completely ambivalent to the fact that someone was waiting for me on the other side of town. Once I realized my fuck-up, it was already too late and the person I was supposed to be meeting ended up having lunch by themselves. As an act of forgiveness, I promised to buy them lunch the next week at the same restaurant.
The next week, after an awkward 3-minute start of me apologizing for my previous week’s mistake, we finally had lunch and were able to get everything done on the agenda. When we finished eating and were starting to get ready to leave, I realized in a state of horror that I had forgotten my wallet home. I closed my eyes slowly and cursed my stupidity and clumsiness into the seven gates of hell, while simultaneously trying to figure out how to salvage the situation. After concluding that running off through the back door was not a viable option, I skipped over to the counter while my lunch partner was still gathering his stuff.
I didn’t want my lunch partner to realize what a klutz I was, and while he was still putting on his jacket, I was trying to pawn off my watch to the waitress in order to pay for the lunches. Since she didn’t fancy my worthless watch, I begged her if I could leave my phone with her as a deposit and come back later to pay for both lunches. There was probably something off-putting about my desperation and the vivid humiliation written all over my face, that made me look untrustworthy and that she ignored my pleads. I swallowed my pride and told my lunch companion about my new fuck-up and he ended up paying for both our lunches. I offered to reimburse the money, but he told me to forget about it.
I remember the first time I closed a deal at VALA. Except that I didn’t.
The current project of one of our best experts was ending, so I offered him to another customer. They really needed his expertise, and we quickly agreed on a new project. It was late at night and the customer was in a real hurry. Then in the following morning I found out that our current customer was very, very upset because they would have wanted to continue with our expert. Pants dropped in the ankles, both customers ready to let the whip loose, I had to make a decision. Out of respect I (with the help from my colleagues) decided to let the expert stay at the current project.
In the end one customer was left happy and the other very unhappy. I guess it was one of the most uncomfortable phone calls of my life to let the customer know that we can’t hold on to our end of the deal. And I didn’t even talk, Teemu had to come for help as he was a “more merited” of us and thus his endless apologies were needed.
This unfortunate event was entirely due to miscommunication. With more efficient communication between my colleagues and both customers, nothing bad would have happened. I and our whole sales team learned from this and nothing similar has happened since. But still the never ending silence of the phone call haunts me :).
To sum up:
There you go. We hope this made you laugh a little. Or at least now you might feel better about your own mistakes.
Minor mistakes are funny, people laugh at you and you probably end up doing the same mistake sometime later. Bigger mistakes are the ones that may not make you laugh at the moment, but will make you learn. The real major fuck-ups are the ones that you will never do again. All of these are necessary, cherish your mistakes.
More to come later…
* Images from https://gratisography.com/