Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

Oh dear, what a boo boo!

I was having a bad day, several things had gone wrong, I’d had a spat with my partner and was in no mood for more aggro.

Then came the email. Sent to me from a large training company I was doing a lot of work for, the email queried why I’d sent only four of the evaluation sheets from a course I’d run the previous week which had had twelve people attending. All twelve documents had been dispatched, together in one envelope.

This wasn’t the first time I’d had such issues with this organisation – like many companies of such size, the left arm wasn’t always aware of what their right arm was up to. On this occasion, such flapping of the arms came at just the wrong time for me, and I reacted.

I decided to forward the email to my partner in order to demonstrate the kind of incompetence I had to deal with. I no longer have a copy of what I wrote, but this was the gist:

“ Ingrid – This is the sort of rubbish I have to put up with after over twenty years of running courses! These numskulls simply don’t know their arses from their elbows! Idiots!”

I pressed send.

Within minutes, a further email came from the company, politely acknowledging receipt of my missive.

I’d sent my rant as a reply, rather than forwarding it to Ingrid.

I’ve had no work from that company since. Considering they provided me with almost 50% of my freelance income at the time, it was quite a painful hit. In fact, the following few months were some of the driest in over two decades of trading.

Yet, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve advised people on courses not to fire out hastily written emails and to take care over what you write, to wait and even sleep on it before hitting that send button. I fell straight into that very trap!

Now, a few years later, I finally feel brave enough to admit such a humdinger of a  mistake. I use it as an example on courses on how we can all make stupid, costly errors when acting in haste and reacting emotionally to situations.

The whole episode does, however have a couple of silver linings:

  1. About a year later I went to see a new client, a top UK university, and won a substantial contract to train over 300 IT staff in customer care and communication skills. This provided me with thirteen months of good, solid work. I discovered a while into that contract that one of the firms I was up against when pitching was the very company that I’d made the boo boo with.
  2. My tax bill for the year of the cock up was derisory, given the quite significant drop in income I’d created. Lets just say that Facebook paid considerably more tax in the UK this year than I did then!

Ultimately, I’m reassured by the following quote, one of my favourites:

“We teach best what we most need to learn”  Richard Bach – Illusions

One Response to “Oh dear, what a boo boo!”

  1. What a lot we learn when we are honest enough to be reflective, or if you prefer refleXive! Stories like this Chris are hugely heartwarming to me Thankyou.

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