Taking work gaffes in stride

Taking work gaffes in stride

A few weeks ago, my husband was tinkering around with LinkedIn, the professional networking website, when he made a decidedly unprofessional blunder.

A pop-up window asked him if he wanted to invite some contacts to his LinkedIn network and a brief glance showed the names of a few colleagues he knew well, so he clicked on "yes".

To his horror, the next screen said: "Congratulations! You have sent invites to 212 people."

It turned out that his failure to scroll down in the pop-up window meant that he hadn't seen the other 200 or so potential contacts that had been suggested by LinkedIn, based on e-mail addresses pulled from my husband's Gmail account.

These included not only people whose names he didn't recognise but also acquaintances he had only briefly met through work, former co-workers he was barely on speaking terms with, and - worst of all - some senior bosses.

Fortunately, his slip-up had no major adverse consequences. Over the next few days, lots of people accepted his invites to connect on LinkedIn - not including his bosses - and only a handful replied to ask, "Who are you?"

As career gaffes go, that was not the worst. But it illustrates how technology has made it much easier these days to do the one thing we all dread: commit an embarrassing mistake at work.

This refers not to serious loss-making, lawsuit-resulting screw-ups that are likely to ruin your career forever, but rather more minor everyday blunders that can hurt your reputation and, if repeated, possibly cost you your job.

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