I cocked up at work the other day. It wasn’t anything major, but it was enough to reignite that familiar feeling: stomach lurching, chest tightening, face reddening, bottom squeaking. A mix of self-loathing – ‘how could I be so stupid????’ – and indignation – ‘it wasn’t my fault!!!’ Then you start to wonder if you can get away with it, or should fess up forthwith.
In general, the best solution is to find that person who is at a similar or lower level of seniority to yourself, but way more competent and powerful (you know the one), and politely beg them to sort it out. But I work on my own, so had to bluff it out, which I did more or less.
It reminded me of other great cock ups of the past:
- The time I forgot to include Coronation Street in the TV listings.
- The time I asked if I could interview somebody who was dead.
- The time I said on the cover of a magazine that the first phone call had taken place in London when it was really in New York.
- The time I got the world 100m record wrong in the Guinness Book Of World Records.
- The time I compiled the squad lists for a Premier League preview and completely forgot about Sheffield Wednesday.
- The time I left the ‘S’ off Scunthorpe in the fixture list for a national paper (actually, I did this on purpose).
Ah, happy times and no lasting damage done.
The good news is that over the years I’ve witnessed far greater cock ups from people considerably more important than myself, so it’s clearly not a career-breaker in my chosen line of work.
Here’s to journalism, and gleefully calling other people’s cock ups to account while studiously ignoring our own.