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Women at Work: How do you cope with embarrassing moments?

December 30, 2018

For the first time ever, I found myself doing my Christmas shopping on the day of Christmas Eve.

I was pleasantly surprised at the calm demeanor and positive attitude of the women I encountered, as they dealt with throngs of procrastinators such as myself.

On one of my stops, I decided to treat myself to a coffee drink. Generally, the coffee drinks I indulge in have piles of whipped cream on top, and my treat that day was no different. As the kind woman behind the counter went to fill my rounded lid with whipped cream, there was a misfire and she ended up with whipped cream all over the place. She looked up, absolutely mortified, turned around and started over. I tried desperately not to laugh, but keep in mind I am still on pain medication for my double mastectomy, and I did not have the opportunity to tell her that was the reason I was laughing.

Embarrassing episodes happen at work all the time, and the best thing one can do is laugh it off, take a deep breath and begin again. I would like to share an embarrassing story that happened to me several years ago.

For whatever reason I had left my desk briefly, and upon my return found a message to return a call. All the message said was “call Ronald” with a phone number. My first thoughts were, “I do not have a client or an associate named Ronald, so maybe this is a prospective client.” I quickly dialed the phone, and after the women finished her greeting I asked for Ronald. She hesitated and said there was no Ronald that worked there. I insisted that Ronald had just called me, and I was returning his call. After a long awkward silence, and a huff on the other end of the line, it went dead. I was confused until I looked up and saw a co-worker with tears running down his face. In my excitement over meeting a new client, I did not paying attention to her greeting, “Good afternoon, this is McDonald’s.” I had just called McDonald’s and asked for Ronald.

As I come up with a couple more embarrassing work stories, I am wondering if I am the only one who has these types of stories to share; but I highly doubt it.

I once answered a phone call from a person I thought was my boss’s husband who had the same first name as the caller. When he asked if my boss was available, I said, “Oh, she’s in for a potty break.” Unfortunately, it was not her husband but someone higher up in the chain. It is difficult to recover from that awkward silence.

My last story comes from my very first job as a babysitter. I was outside, hanging out in the horse pasture and cleaning the barn. My attire was a large, puffy red jacket, an ill-fitting stocking cap, and the most awesome rainbow moonboots ever made. I saw a car pull up and assumed it was the family whose children I would be watching that evening. I raced out of the pasture, tossed aside the shovel and jumped in the back seat. The couple in the front turned and looked at me incredulously as I asked, “Are you the Bundys” in a very winded manner. I was ready to sink into a manure pile as they answered, “No,” and explained they were there to pick up a print my parents had framed.

Hope these brought a smile to your face!

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