My first BIG job (a.k.a. I felt responsible) was changing irrigation pipes for my dad on our sheep farm. As a sophomore in high school, I was ready to prove to my dad that I could be as good as my brothers. The first day, I had to transfer about 22 pipes from one field to another. My father gave me farmer instructions—never full of details—the night before, “take the line from Parnell’s and put it on the center riser of the grain.” So I did. I packed every sprinkler line individually to the center of the field. I thought it strange, but I wanted to follow my dad’s instructions. For those not familiar with irrigation pipes, the customary way to set up the line is to start from one far end of the field to the other. Needless to say, my dad was not very happy with me that evening and I had the opportunity to pack them again to the far side of the field.
Still, the first day was only the beginning of my adventures. On the second day, I decided to drive on a muddy, recently irrigated trail to check an end plug. To make sure I didn’t get stuck, I gunned the gas to get to the end of the field. Sadly, my plans did not extend past the end of the field. After checking the end plug, I went to turn the truck around and sunk into the mud. “Oh crud,” were my exact thought at the time. I tried to get out, but my attempts were useless. I buried the truck to the door, then called my dad. He had to pull out the John Deere Tractor and chains to get me out.
Two bad days, I could not afford one more. I wanted this job. The third day things went smoothly. I changed my lines and met my friend Rachel at her line. She reported to me that she couldn’t get her sprinklers to turn on. In my farm-girl pride, I thought “I’ll show her tough.” I turned the valve handled hard and suddenly water equal to Niagara Falls hit my face. Rachel forgot to clip the valve on the riser and as a result it was blown off by the water pressure. I was soaked. She was soaked. Dad was going to kill me.
I knew I had to face dad one more time. So soaked and covered in mud, Rachel and I got on the four-wheeler and drove to my dad’s office. I thought the secretary would wet herself when I asked for my dad. We were a sight, but dad was prepared. After I told him what happened, he pulled out his jeans, sprinkler boots and a wrench. When we arrived at the farm, dad waded in, and turned the riser off. With water dripping off his face, he looked at me and said, “Tamra are you sure you want this job?”
Since that day I had no problems on the farm with sprinkler pipes.
Today, it is a different story. I was trying to formulate a mass email to send to more than 200 companies. Jami, the office secretary, and I decided to send a test message; however, we hit the wrong button and sent an incomplete email to all of our company contacts—OOPS! Still, I am happy I have made my first mistake. I like feeling human.
What about you? What kind of oops moments have you had in the work place?