As adults, most of us like to think we don't make mistakes, that we're immune to those mental errors that plagued us during our teenage years when our hormones overrode our logical thought processes. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Everyone makes mistakes. Yes, even you.
Most of the time our mistakes are minor and go unnoticed without repercussion. Other times they're serious and lead to dangerous situations. And then there are those jobsite blunders that are just downright amusing — depending on which side of the story you're on. You know what I'm talking about: those gaffes that put you in your place and remind you that you're far from perfect. Those goofs that the guys in the shop latch onto and never let you forget about.
Everyone has a story to tell, even you. And as we kick off the new year we'd like to bring a little humor to the pages of EC&M. After suffering through one of the most difficult economic/business periods many of us can recall, we figured you could use a good laugh each month. So check your pride at the door and come clean with a work-related story that will bring a smile to your coworkers' faces. Your fellow readers want to laugh at you.
To prove to you that I'm a good sport, I'll even get us started by sharing an embarrassing do-it-yourself story about myself. It may not be work-related, but cut me a little slack — it was the best I could do.
Years ago, while still living in Florida, my wife decided that she could no longer bear to drink the water from the kitchen faucet. The chemically treated water was not to her liking. So we headed to a home improvement chain and purchased an under-the-sink water filter. A few hours later, the filter was installed and operational. I must admit I was quite proud of myself. This electrical engineer had completed a plumbing project.
One afternoon a few weeks later my wife called me at work. She was hysterical and could barely speak. She said upon her return from the grocery store she pulled into the driveway and noticed water pouring out from underneath the closed garage door. At first she thought the water heater in our garage had sprung a leak. But when she saw water flowing from beneath the front door she knew it was much worse. As she entered the house and stepped in 2 inches of water, she heard what sounded like a geyser coming from the kitchen. Sure enough, one of those plastic compression fittings on the newly installed filter had failed and blown free, quickly flooding about two-thirds of our home.
Luckily, the damage wasn't as severe as you might imagine. This single-family home was built on a poured-in-place concrete slab so the water had no place to go but out the door. After weeks of cleanup, the processing of an insurance claim, and a visit from a professional plumber, we were back in business. Needless to say, this was my first and last plumbing project.
Now it's your turn. Can you top that story? I bet you can come close. Send us your story of embarrassing on-the-job mistakes for use in our new column called Short Circuits (page 66) and we'll make it worth your while to the tune of $25.