First may I say, pardon the language, but “mistake” seemed too small, and “disaster” was just dramatic. No, indeed “Fuck-Up” is truly the only way to describe the day at work I’m going to tell you about.
First, have I mentioned that I love my job and the people I work with? I work with the most amazingly professional, kind-hearted, and understanding people. I will truly be sorry when this season ends and everyone starts going their separate ways. In some ways, though, (as I know I’ve said before) that makes it so much worse when I do mess up, because it means I’m disappointing people and causing headaches/frustration at a job that I actually care about. Does that sound terrible? I mean, I’m not a careless person even if I hate the job I’m doing, but it’s just worse when I don’t hate it.
On to my actual story/point.
This week I had the worse day at work I’ve ever had since starting this job, and it was entirely, wholly, completely my fault. It wasn’t a HUGE fuck-up, but a fuck-up none-the-less.
Sidenote: Have you ever had those days where you make one mistake, and then it somehow snowballs into something increasingly terrible until you start to wonder if maybe you’re really Truman and suddenly you’re paranoid that everything around you is somehow a camera that’s recording your every movement? Only me? Okay.
You’re probably really curious to know what this fuck-up was, now that I’ve built it up into this terribly dramatic thing. You ready? Here it is: It somehow escaped my notice that we were down to less than a full box of white, 3-hole punch, copy paper. Anticlimactic? Maybe for you, but I’ll have you know I print scripts for a living. And I’m not the only one. There’s about fifteen people in our office that could need to print scripts at any moment, meaning the need for 3-hole punch copy paper and lots of it is very, very real.
As the resident person who prints scripts for a living in the office, part of my job is to let the resident office supply orderer (don’t you love our occupational titles?) know when we are low on printer paper. So imagine my regret when I came to work one day this week and discovered that not only were we extremely low on 3-hole punch paper, but that we were almost out on a script printing night. Not just any script-printing night. Shooting script night. The night I have to print twice as many scripts as any other night. Queue Hans Zimmer: *The Fuck-Up begins.*
Since I was the one who somehow missed how incredibly low on paper we were, naturally, I was the one who made the run to Staples to buy some more paper to hold us over until our paper order was due in the next day. I went for two boxes of reams, but Staples was entirely out of boxes of reams. Thank God they still had individual packages of reams, but did you know that a single ream of paper is something like three times the price it would be still in the box? Ridiculous. So I wound up walking away from Staples with about half of the amount of paper I came for, for about twice the price. *The Fuck-Up Continues.*
Things for most of the rest of the day went okay, but I could tell that my Fuck-Up was an added frustration and distraction on top of an already-stressful day. Still, I thought things were starting to calm down and that I might have a peaceful evening of trying to forget about my stupidity, until we got word at the very end of the day that the production schedule was changing, including the episode that we would be shooting for the next week, which meant that a new batch of Table Draft scripts would need to be printed.
On the one day that we were scraping for script paper. FML
At this point I was so fed up with the day that life had thrown me I couldn’t even process sentences that people were saying to me correctly. I must have offered about a dozen times to come in early the next morning to print scripts, to a continuous and unanimous “no” from my bosses because I wouldn’t have a long enough turnover. However, when they kept telling me it was because I was expecting a late night waiting for the current shooting script to be finalized, I–for some reason I can’t even explain other than that at that point my brain had just given up for the day–thought they meant that I would be having a long day the next day (a non-printing day and typically my early night). Just the fail on top the Fuck-Up cake, I suppose.
But why am I telling you all of this? Is it because I want your pity? Your sympathy? Is it because I like being a potty-mouth on the internet where everything is forever? Heaven’s sake, no. I’m telling you all of this because there is something that I think every twenty-something needs to hear about Fuck-Ups that I just learned from this very-first fuck-up at my very-first real, I-care-about-this job. What I think you need to hear is this:
Fucking-Up is nothing if you put your big kid pants on, patch-up the problem as best you can, and move on. Feeling sorry for yourself, disrupting work flow, and/or not learning from your mistakes and making changes to ensure they don’t happen again are the real fuck-ups.
When I came into work and found out the situation, I accepted responsibility right away. I didn’t try to argue, I didn’t blame someone else, I didn’t make an excuse as to why it happened. I made note of the issue and the immediate solution (running to Staples for more paper) and recognized that the best thing I could do was to make sure that I didn’t cause anymore disruption to the workflow, and to make sure that things continued as smoothly as possible despite my fuck-up. I did my best to make myself as available and helpful as possible to ease any frustration my fuck-up caused. I made sure the morning PAs knew how to print the Table Draft scripts properly, I printed the shooting draft scripts, prepped the paper as best I could for the morning print, and went home. The next day, I left any mopey, sorry-for-myself feelings at home, and came in to work with a bright attitude. I made sure I had a solution to prevent making the same fuck-up twice, and I did my best to be on-top of things and as helpful as possible.
And you know what? It was a good day.
Fuck-ups happen. Deal with it, learn from it, and move on.
Here’s to hoping that it never, ever happens again, though.