Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Live & Learn

We all make mistakes; it's inevitable. Making a mistake at work can be a terrifying experience since it involves both your pride and your livelihood. Sometimes an error is minor, like the time I miscalculated the number of dining tables needed at a corporate event. I had actually overestimated the number needed, but one of the VPs was afraid that our sponsor would think that people were supposed to have been at that table and didn't show up. The error was fixed simply by asking hotel staff remove the extra table, which was accomplished in a minute or two.

Other mistakes are cringeworthy, even years later. One of my first jobs after graduating from college required lots of proposal-type documents to be mailed out daily. We typically sent these packages via FedEx. It was when I sent the United States Postal Service one such document via FedEx that was a real problem. As you can imagine, it was poorly received. The salesperson who wrote up the proposal was angry at me, and felt that he did not need to point out that the proposal should go out through the U.S. mail. I agreed, and this is how I fixed it: I asked my husband, a past president of the Dallas Philatelic Society (a fancy way to say "Stamp Club") to write an apology on my behalf. I enclosed it with my own letter of apology and the client was impressed with my employer. We landed the USPS account.

What's a mistake that you've made, and how did you fix it? The best story gets a write-up in my next entry.

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