12 April 2007

Work Snafus

As I promised here are some of my more memorable stuff ups at work. As I said, I don't make tiny boo-boos, I make big ones and no-one forgets them...one or two have caused me embarrassment, not because of what I did, but what I said without thinking...oh dear.

Anyway, a couple of years ago at the practice where I now work, I had been stuffing envelopes. From what I can remember, it may have been school holidays or something where a few of the doctors were off on leave. Usually we don't have time to fold letters and stuff envelopes, the junior usually does them. However this day, I had stuffed about 25 or 30 envelopes. From there I took them out to the franking machine to stamp them. But, one or two were not the standard size and I had to weigh them and from what I can remember, they cost $2.50 each. I franked those and then franked the standard envelopes with what I thought was the 50c franking.

Later on that day, the junior came to me and asked me if I had been franking envelopes. I said yes. She showed me an envelope...standard...with $2.50 on it. Ooops. I had done the whole 25 or 30 envelopes at $2.50 instead of 50c. You can imagine what I said. I shot out and into the practice manager's office, babbling to him that I was so sorry, I didn't mean to send the practice into bankruptcy and that I had totally forgotten to turn the dial back to 50c. It didn't help that when I did all this, I didn't have my glasses on (and I work for eye surgeons?). Fortunately, our practice manager is a pretty equable bloke and wasn't too worried about it. As he said, we could apply to Australia Post for a refund and although it may take forever to come through, it does eventually.

There is a slight addition to this tale, though. A couple of weeks later I was franking some more envelopes and the practice manager walked past, reminding me in a loud voice (so everyone could hear), to turn the dial back and to make sure I'm wearing my glasses. I didn't live that one down for a while.

Then, several years ago I was working in a pathology lab. One of the microbiologists from an interstate branch was doing some sort of research and asked me to send all the micro files down every quarter. That was no problem, I duly zipped the files and sent them to M. There were quite a few hundred of them...I can't remember off-hand exactly how many.

A day or two later I get a phone call from the chief pathologist of this lab. Now, R and I had always got on really well and when he was in Brisbane always used to pop into my office for a chat. Anyway, it was him on the phone. He asked me if I had sent any emails to them. I said yes, about four large ones. In a plaintive voice, R said that they were so large they had blocked the phone lines for about a day...this was before the days of broadband. I apologised and grovelled profusely (without laughing...which I felt very much like doing), and said I would see what I could do about cancelling the emails (I think it was actually too late for that).

I walked into the my manager's office and I could tell he was on the phone to R. He hung up and I opened my mouth to confess all, but instead went into shrieks of laughter. Fortunately, he saw the funny side of it, too, but I was so glad I didn't laugh when I was talking to R. We might have got on well, but somehow I don't think he would have seen the funny side of it. After that, I made sure I put all the files on floppy discs and sent them that way.

When I started at the lab in 1994, I had only been in Australia about three months and things were still quite new to me. The chief pathologist there, G, scared me to death. I thought he was the crankiest, most ignorant bugger I had come across and didn't speak to him for four months. He was loud, seemed to be always yelling at somebody and, to me, gave no quarter to anyone.

However, one day, he made some smart crack about Kiwis and without thinking about, I retaliated...and we got on beautifully from that day. Actually G was the biggest softie out, but he disguised it very well under what at first to me appeared to be a belligerent character.

One day, we had notification that the lab had won an award for something, I can't remember what it was now and G was going to have to accept this award, being chief pathologist and all.

Now I must tell you that, living in the subtropics, the dress code was pretty casual. Jeans, joggers and sweaters in winter and shorts and tee shirts in summer. On the day of the presentation, G came in all tarted up in a suit and tie. Without thinking beforehand (something I'm guilty of quite often), I blurted out that it was the first time I had seen him in clothes. Missing out the very important word good. Well, G was absolutely delighted and announced what I had said to everyone at a special luncheon we had for the occasion. It took years for me to live that one down. Whenever G came to work in a suit, some smart ass would say to me, "Look, Robyn, G's got clothes on."
Another one was when I was describing one morning being woken by a flock of cockatoos, only I said...a cock of flockatoos (sorry).

Of course, there are one or two things I came out with that I can't possibly repeat here...this is a family blog. But I still get reminded of them whenever we have a reunion.

What I would like to know, is why people have such damn good memories for a snafu? I didn't make boo-boos all the time, but that's all people remember of me...charming. Actually I think it's my mother's fault...she gets her "mords wixed" quite often.


Peter said...

Hi Robyn, you make pretty good snafu that's probably why everyone remembers them.

"Early Bird" said...

I loved reading your work "snaffu's" or bloopers, whatever you want to call them.
I'm laughing with you not at you...no really!!!

PEA said...

LOL love them all! Making snafus only means we're quite human:-) Such a shame most snafus are so embarassing, though! lol And you're right, people DO NOT let you forget them!!! xox

Lee said...

Awwww...you're a meanie, Robyn! I want to know all about those boo-boos you say you can't repeat in here! ;)

It seems you work with an amiable lot of people...it sure makes working so much more pleasant.

Gattina said...

I choose you for the "Thinking Award". It's on my blog.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Hey! Everybody goof up. When I develop some of your courage, I'll share some of mine.k

jellyhead said...

Ah, these are so funny! I especially like the 'clothes' one with G.

Don't worry Robyn, you are not alone. I am forever saying things that end up sounding rude or lascivious when I never intended them that way!

Hope you're having a laid-back, relaxing weekend :)

slap me happy said...

what a laugh you must give your office lol, we had a few good ones like that too. I worked with a really friendly receptionist of the practice ( I just thought she wanted more shifts but) alas she wanted me. I never realised she was GAY. Of course everyone else knew and thought it was histerical that she was cracking onto me lol . fun times in the medical world hey

Well done NZ in the cricket hey ; )

Remiman said...

Aha, I knew it all along. You really are human! It's the unintentional blurbs that we all like to remember...the retelling is always a way to inject a little levity into the day. Everyone gets a smile and you get the addition of a blushing cheek.

Gattina said...

Are you on blogging strike ? Or is the weather so nice ? Ah no, I forgot it's winter now in Australia ! And I enjoy the so said spring, but we have 28° since yesterday and that is more summer !

Liz said...

Oh, yes, Robyn, everyone always remembers the silly things. What i want to know is: why can't they remember that outstandingly good thing I did once?

I keep saying I'm wearing a topless dress to the wedding.