I made a mistake last week. For the period of about 1 hour, there were some people who could not access some information. It wasn’t the worst mistake in my career, but it may have been the dumbest. I made the mistake and then I left the house, and I found out about it about half an hour later at the grocery store. There is now a checkout clerk, and a bagger who have heard me swear, and seen me panic. As I rushed home to fix the problem, I imagined myself getting fired. I imagined crying, and then coming to understand the situation, then slowly feeling a sense of liberation and happiness. I realized I was wasting my life, and if I could make this kind of mistake, then all this work has been for nothing. It’s all over, I need to return the piano*, and become poor, but fulfilled in some other career.
I got home, put the ice cream away and fixed the problem. Then I cried and cried. Boo hoo hoo. I made a mistake.
Monday I talked to my boss and suggested that he fire me. He said no, and that people make mistakes.
He also said that I have some sort of crazy guilt thing, and that when I say I am a recovering Catholic, I should maybe focus more on the recovery. Long story short, this is my confession. I made a mistake, people. I am sure I don’t need to point out that I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I see the humor in all of this, or else this blog post would be a lot funnier. I mean, it’s not like the time I thought I was going to get fired because I accidentally told my boss he was “the worst” because I got my IM chat windows confused.
Remember when you used to watch E.R. and someone accidentally killed a patient and then they had to sit through an inquisition where they relived the terrible nightmare, second by second, and explained all their actions? I had to do that. I was glad that I had the worst allergies in 10 years, or possibly a terrible cold because if I started crying, I could cover it up with a sneeze. After I wrote up the postmortem, I had a talk with another co-worker about how to explain what happened because all that came to mind was, “I am so dumb, and I totally screwed up.” The correct thing to say is, “The cause of this problem was human error.” I compromised with, “I made a typo.” The customer said, “Mistakes happen, I get it.”
So, I survived. And not only did I survive, but the mistake that I made did not lead directly, or indirectly to anyone’s death. So maybe this career has some things going for it after all.
* We bought a piano.