Mortification Week: the rock star, the Fabio flowchart, and other stories to cringe over

It’s Mortification Week at Ask a Manager and all week long we’ll be revisiting ways we’ve mortified ourselves at work. Here are 16 mortifying stories to kick off today.

1. The rock star

In an interview, I was attempting to express this sentiment: “I know what everyone wants is a rock star, but flashy solo work isn’t for me—what a rock star needs to perform well is a dedicated crew doing set-up, tear down, and all kinds of maintenance behind the scenes. That’s who I am—one of the people who makes it possible for a rock star to show up and bring down the house.”

What came out was this sentence: “I make other people look like rock stars by comparison.”

2. The sign-off

Back in the late 90s, when I turned 20, I landed my first job with an email account. I signed all of my internal AND external emails “Love, Roger.” After a few weeks, my boss pulled me aside and had to gently explain why it wasn’t very professional and I shouldn’t do it anymore or it might color how people view me at work. I was genuinely stung at the time, but now anytime I think of my early email habits I want to chew my own face off with embarrassment.

3. The game

I was 22, at a work happy hour, way too tipsy for a work event (or for 6 pm) and led a game of “Fu**, Marry, Kill” …using our senior leadership as the people we’d murder or sleep with … some of who were there … some of who heard me.

I got a very kind talking to by my grandboss, a man in his 60s, the next day about the need to stay professional at work events and that this game was completely inappropriate in any context. I still want to die thinking about it.

4. The Fabio flowchart

At my previous job as a team lead, I developed an ironic obsession with Fabio (the male model on all those romance novels). It went so far that I made an actual Fabio themed problem solving flow chart, which I hung on my cubicle wall. The shortest path was “Do you have a problem?”/”No, I am Fabio, there’s no problem I can’t solve”/”AWESOME FABIO, YOU ARE THE BEST!”/”IKR?” and had super useful solutions such as “Did you rip open your shirt to show the problem your waxed, oily and very manly chest?”. It also included numerous Fabio pictures.

Reader, I actually referred my team to this chart regularly when they had issues. I still have the flow chart. It can be found here.

5. The entrance

I managed an 18-person team, we had weekly team meetings. About 11 folks were in the office, the rest telecommuters. There was another team that was related, but worked for a different client than we did. That team was almost all telecommuters except ONE person. The manager of that team and I frequently collaborated and helped each other out, so I invited that lone employee to our team meeting her first week because every other person around her was in my team meeting. You know, welcome to the office, we don’t do exactly the same work but we can collaborate etc.

Let me be clear — I DO NOT REMEMBER DOING THIS. But the new employee that reports to a different manager said I started the meeting bursting into the conference room three minutes late and said “sorry I’m late, I was taking a shit.” I mean, I have no doubt this is exactly what I did, because that is the kind of professional norms I lived by in those days. Just I did not remember it as being a memorable moment. The new employee, however, immediately said to herself, “I need to get to know this woman!” So we actually became friends, and are friends to this day. And that is how she tells the story of us meeting. Which I cringe at every time she tells the story. I WAS NOT SUITED TO MANAGEMENT Y’ALL.

6. The fart

I have a gastrointestinal condition that I can control by watching what I eat, but it flares up once in a while. I had been working late alone and was at the tail end of an attack, which includes tummy pain and much bloating. Since I was working by myself, I was…ah…deflating on the regular and receiving much needed relief with every pass. Holding in just makes it much worse for me and just extends my discomfort unnecessarily and how embarrassing it would have been to be gassy on the bus ride home.

I walked to the printer to gather my papers and waiting for the print to finish, I felt immense pressure and knew this would be the last one and it would basically release me from the attack. I leaned over the printer to make it easier for me and let loose with abandon. (I might mention now that I’m also hard of hearing.) After everything was done (my prints and my farting), I breathed a sigh of relief for being pain free for the first time in hours, grabbed my papers and turned around right into a face-to-face with one of the line managers who happened to also be working late … and who I essentially farted on. The poor guy was working away in the back corner of the office where his desk was, and I had no idea he was there.

I recall letting out a squeaky “Oh!” and ran back to my desk utterly mortified and left this dude standing there, trying to process what just happened. I quickly packed up and left for home. I didn’t apologize or pardon myself, I just ran away. O_o

Thankfully, the dude said nothing to me the next day. Both of us left the company that same year.

Bonus: we ended up working together again for a brief period, and my supervisor asked me in front of him how we knew each other. Before I could stop my mouth, I told her, “This is the guy I farted on.” Dude choked on his coffee for a good hour after that and then came to my office to reminisce. We’re not quite friends but no longer traumatized, I guess. Fortunately, it appears we both find fart stories funny.

7. The voicemail

I worked at a huge, Fortune 500 company. Our campus has over 5,000 employees at one location.

When big news happened (good or bad), the C-suite would send out an all-employee voicemail with an update. They had to record it all in one take, and there were no redos.

We had great news as a business, and it was our Chief Marketing Officer’s turn. She was notoriously shy about public speaking, so she must have practiced the voicemail a thousand times.

She got through it flawlessly. She was professional, polished, and confident. But, at the very end, she said, “As a company, this is a huge step forward for us all. Thank you for all of your contributions. I love you!”

The voicemail had a brief pause, then an “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!’ shriek at the end. All 5,000 employees heard it, shared it, and played it all day. It was at once awful, but hilarious and relatable.

8. The smoothie

I was running late for work and didn’t have time to eat breakfast. I remembered I had made a smoothie for a lazy dinner a few days ago and had leftovers in the freezer. I grabbed the smoothie and headed off to work.

I remember briefly marveling that the smoothie hadn’t frozen entirely and made a mental note to check on my freezer when I got home. I then began to feel woozy and lightheaded, and a little foggy in my thoughts.

Suddenly it all hits me – I PUT BOOZE IN THIS SMOOTHIE! Since it was serving as my “dinner” a few days ago I had decided to have a little fun and glugged some Midori melon liquor and vodka into the mix. That’s why it hadn’t frozen, and apparently the confusing feelings I was experiencing were because I had gotten myself inadvertently tipsy at my desk by 9:30 am – OOPS!

Luckily I don’t have much contact with others when doing my job, so I just grabbed some water and sat mortified (and tipsily bemused, if I’m being honest) until it wore off!

9. The browser plugin

A couple years after college, I worked as a copy editor for a well-known independent newspaper, which also ran an official staff “blog” that was updated multiple times each day. One of my jobs was to proofread those blog posts when time permitted — which was usually after they had been posted.

Unrelated, I had recently installed a browser plugin called “clouds to butts” that just literally changed every instance of the word “clouds” on any web page I visited to the word “butts.” I found this hilarious, and it only showed up for me, so what harm could it be?

…yeah, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I went to edit a few typos out of one of those already-live blog posts (in something of a hurry, as was the norm around there), which happened to contain some weather-related news. And boy would it have been nice if I had taken one extra second to notice that my handy browser plugin had filled that post with “butts.” It was overflowing with butts. It was live on our website. I was blissfully ignorant. About two minutes later the managing editor SPRINTED to my desk in a panic like “WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS???” and I dissolved from sheer embarrassment and floated up into the clouds butts.

Anyway, I no longer install the dumbest possible browser plugins on work computers.

10. The weakness

When I was in college I was applying to on-campus jobs and got an interview to work at the campus gym. I was reading online advice about interviewing and had read that when they ask for your weakness you should give an honest answer and then describe what you’ve been doing to improve in that area. When they asked that question in my interview I confidently told them that I was “not great at working with other people but am working on it.” Their expressions said it all. I don’t know why I thought this was a good answer. Plus, I do work well with other people! I had some social awkwardness (obviously) in my younger years so I think that’s what I meant?? Obviously, I did not get the job.

11. The group interview

This was long ago, but as a teenager I participated in a group interview at a trendy clothing store. At the end of the interview, we were told to go out on the floor, pick out an outfit, and try to sell it to the manager interviewing us. The manager emphasized we should do this task quickly. Looking back, that was probably to limit disruption in the store. But I saw it as a speed race. I flew out the door of the back room and ran through the racks, grabbing clothes and attempting to slow down my competition. I left stacks of clothes a mess and tried to block access to racks. At one point I even muscled an actual customer out of my way. After what I was sure was a record-setting amount of time, I breathlessly presented my outfit, explaining that if the clothes were ugly (I specifically remember using the word “ugly”) I could get them different clothes before anyone else had even come back with their first ones. The manager was horrified and I was informed I would NOT be getting that job. Looking back, I have no idea what got into me and I feel terrible for making even more work for the people who had to clean up after my spree!

12. The birth control

I once texted my boss, “Can you order a refill of my birth control at Costco?” – thought I was texting my mom.

13. The bathroom

I was substitute teaching and was using a (single person) washroom. Apparently, I forgot to lock the door because as I was sitting (the toilet was directly facing the door), it opened and in walked the attractive teacher I had noticed at a staff meeting earlier in the day. His face was a mask of horror, and he fairly ran backwards out of there, but as he did, he closed the door on his key lanyard and got it stuck in the door.

As I tried to finish what I was doing as quickly as humanly possibly, I watched the keys travel up and down along the edge of the closed door before dropping to the ground – apparently he had abandoned the enterprise.

I then had to track him down to give him back his keys.

14. The disposables

To this day I have no earthly idea why I did this, but it will haunt me forever.

About 5 years ago, my company decided to go green-ish, and one initiative was to get rid of all disposable cutlery and plates. While I fully support that, two problems arose: people kept taking the new reusable silverware home with them so there was rarely any available, and the dishes/silverware that remained were of … sketchy cleanliness most of the time. The CEO, who was a rather blunt and intimidating woman, decided the new ‘no disposables’ rule was her hill to die on, and she enforced it pretty strictly.

One day I forgot dinnerware from home, so I used a disposable bowl and spoon left over from previous takeout to fix oatmeal or something in. Our CEO walks into the kitchen and asks me why I’m not following the new rules. I swear I either lost my entire mind or was possessed for about 3 minutes, because what flew out of my mouth? “She’s using disposables too,” pointing at my coworker, and when the CEO turned to look, I RAN. I chucked my coworker under the bus, and sprinted back to my desk, PAST THE GLASS WALLS separating the kitchen from the office, where the CEO and my betrayed coworker could absolutely see what I was doing.

And it’s not like running did me any good, because that coworker? She was my cubemate. So 5 minutes later she comes in and sits at her desk and was like… “WTF?” I proceeded to apologize to her for the next year or so, and I might text her another apology now.

According to my coworker, she definitely did not get in trouble for her paper plate; our CEO looked at her, looked at where I had been standing, and said, “Did she just accuse you and run???” with no follow up. Coworker and I remained friends, CEO never held my bizarre behavior against me as far as I know, and plenty of other kitchen shenanigans eclipsed that moment. Still embarrassed though.”

15. The prayer

I’m waiting for my boss, and meanwhile I’m stretching the back of my neck, and this particular stretch looks a bit like I’m in prayer. So my boss comes in and jokingly asks, “Who are you praying to?” Only I have auditory processing disorder so I heard, “Who are you waiting for?” so I answer in all seriousness, “You, obviously.” There were like 5 seconds of uncomfortable silence and eye contact, and then he left on some pretense to come back later, and only then the understanding kicked in! Fortunately we’re all socially awkward yo different degrees in my little startup, so it wasn’t a really big deal.

16. The day planner

This reminds of a time I was in a meeting with a coworker/friend and he had his day planner open and he had in bold letters: “JACK OFF EARLY”

I may have snorted something along the lines of “I didn’t know that needed to be scheduled.”

His son, Jack, got out of preschool early that day.

{ 256 comments… read them below }

  1. Ana Gram*

    #2 cracks me up because I had to explain how to appropriately use email to a trainee. He was young and I guess he’d never had a job that involved e-mail. I happened to be sitting next to him when an issue he needed to email a superior about came up and he started writing “NEED NEW XYZ MACHINE. MINE STOPPED WORKING.” Apparently that was going to be the entirety of the email. Yikes! He got it once I explained how he needed to format it but it’s not intuitive. #2, you’re not alone!

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I taught Freshman Comp when email was starting to be a Thing Everyone Used. A lot of students just used what they had been taught for letter writing. Unfortunately, many knew how to write social letters, but fewer knew about business letters. I received more than my fair share of “Love, (Student Name)” emails.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        I’m surprised they weren’t taught to write formal letters at school. I started college around the time e-mail was becoming a thing (heck, I think google began the month I started college) and we learnt to write formal letters in school. “Functional Writing” was even a section in the English Junior Cert. in my day. The Junior Cert. is taken about the age of 15 and would have a question like “write a letter applying for a part time job” or “write to a TV station complaining about your favourite programme being taken off air.” Kids here are still taught to write formal letters, though nowadays, we also have to teach how to write personal letters (and yes, I do think it’s a bit pointless today, as kids are unlikely to be writing letters of application or complaint in the traditional format).

        1. ZSD*

          We were taught the friendly letter format already in elementary school, but I wasn’t taught business letter format until high school, I think. From what I saw working with grad students 10-15 years younger than I am, I think many of them were never taught business letter format in school.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            Every high school is different. In many, you don’t learn business writing unless you take a business class. It was one of the things I taught in my comp classes. (This was university level, but many of them came from tiny schools without a ton of resources to teach “extras.”)

          2. Melissa*

            They taught us friendly and business letters all in one go in Grade 3. I remember for the business letter we each had to pick a real company and write them a letter praising their product. Most of us received coupons or something similar from the company in return.

        2. Carpe Librarium*

          I took a semester-long class called Personal Information Processing (PIP) in senior high around 1998, which was all about building typing speed and accuracy, touch-typing, formatting tools in Word and Excel (or whatever the MS equivalent was back then), how to lay out a formal letter, the difference between “Yours sincerely” and “Yours faithfully” etc.
          It was an optional class, and oh my goodness, it was probably one of the most persistently useful classes I ever took.

      2. Bee*

        Yeah, I had written a LOT of thank-you notes by the time I got to college, but very few other kinds of letters, so I basically had either “love” or “sincerely” in my repertoire, and “sincerely” feels uncomfortably formal. I absolutely just punted and signed emails to my professors with my name alone, after inevitably spending more time thinking about the greeting + signature than the content of the email.

      3. Lost in Tea Time*

        I’m a high school teacher and regularly have to remind students not to sign off emails to me with a kiss. ‘But that’s how I end all my emails!’ Yeah not to me.

      1. Something_something*

        I’m sitting next to my (teenage) daughter and she’s just asked me what’s wrong with me I’m laughing so much!

      2. All Het Up About It*

        This round in particular just felt chock-full of THE BEST.
        I feel like there will be numerous ones I think of and just crack up randomly over the next few days.

    1. PB & Banana Crackers*

      All the YES — luckily, I have a door I can close. This is my lunchtime treat!!

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I was laughing out loud from the first one, and they just keep coming! I think the two that got me the most are the first one: “I make other employees look like a rockstar by comparison” and the one where the OP points out her coworker to the CEO and takes off running — past a glass wall where they can still see her — to her nearby cubicle. I’m dying laughing from that one!

    3. Fledge Mulholland*

      I’m nursing my poor four month old to sleep and keep waking her up from my stifled laugh shaking

  2. Lynnerd*

    If you got here without going to that Fabio flowchart link, scroll back up right now and don’t come back until you’ve seen it.

    1. Engineering Mom*

      I immediately stopped reading to go to the link, and then come down to the comments. It’s amazing.

    2. Yay, I’m a Llama Again!*

      I remember visiting it in the submitting post. Loved it then, love it now!

    3. RC+Rascal*

      Fabio Flowchart–

      Let’s add that to the list:
      Guacamole Bob
      Cheap Ass Roles
      Duck Club
      Keeper of His Zipper

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Search for “my coworkers have a crush on my boss … and are taking it out on me” from March 18, 2020. It’s a doozy.

      1. Poffertjies!*

        When I quit my job, I’m going to leave this flowchart to help the person who takes my place. LOL

    4. SpaceySteph*

      I had a coworker who made several not-so-NSFW flowcharts over the years and i enjoy them all. He did have one based on Chuck Norris jokes, but no shirtlessness.

    5. pancakes*

      I feel certain you and the Fabio person in #3 will appreciate this, so: A guy I follow on twitter has a tattoo of the time Fabio got hit in the nose with a bird while riding a roller coaster. If you search for Fabio hit with bird tattoo it should come up.

      1. Not Your Greek Goose God*

        I live by that park IRL (Busch Gardens Williamsburg). The roller coaster still exists, but now they have a net over the part that goes low over the water where he was hit, to keep the birds out. There are still annual reports in local news every year about the incident: “23 years ago, Fabio was ‘goosed’ on Apollo’s Chariot.” We bring it up every time we walk past that part of the park.

        (I don’t recommend Googling this incident unless you want to see a gross photo of Fabio’s minor, but bloody injury. Almost every #$%^ site posts that same nasty picture every year.)

      2. Fabio fan*

        Fabio flowchart creator here! I am so fascinated by this. Why would you pick THIS exact Fabio moment out of all possible Fabio moments? Although nobody has ever looked better after being hit by a bird I suppose :P

        1. pancakes*

          Idk, thinking about it now I suppose lots of people have commemorated less magnificent events in ink? There is something about it that always makes me laugh!

    6. lex talionis*

      I downloaded the chart and sent it to my boss. She has been having some issues with those higher up the food chain and I thought this might help. It’s big Pharma though, she’s not sure they can be managed by skin, hair or sultry looks…

    7. Jessica*

      I checked it out and I’m dying but it’s also blurry. Someone please just tell me what the final red box says!

    8. Persephone Mulberry*

      If I had a cube (and not just a wall in an open plan office), this would absolutely go up next to my “how to be a computer expert” KXCD flowchart.

    9. Paper Librarian*

      I don’t know why this story is on a mortification list. It should be on a total wins list! Seriously, I would print that chart out and share it with my college-age student assistants, but I don’t think they’d know who Fabio is.

      1. Twenty Points for the Copier*

        I agree! I feel like it doesn’t belong because it is AWESOME, not embarrassing. But also I’m glad it’s here because otherwise I might never have known about the Fabio Flowchart.

    10. Sariel*

      Librarian here, who orders books — Fabio is getting printed out and put up in my office. I may use this as inspiration to create something with James Patterson or another author . . . or one of those faceless people on book covers?

      1. ChimpCarer*

        I wonder if it’ll work for archivists ;)

        Here’s a book cover one: historical fiction books with women on the cover facing away from the “camera’ It’s all the rage in historical fiction right now

        1. pancakes*

          I have two recommendations, both twitter accounts:

          – PulpLibrarian, who posts long threads of covers featuring, e.g., “women with great hair fleeing gothic houses”

          – PaperbackParadise, which initially mostly photoshopped Sweet Valley High covers and now has more range

      2. E. Chauvelin*

        I was thinking that this would not surprise me at all in a library. There are people I might hesitate to direct to one, but if I just saw it hanging in somebody’s cubicle/office? Would not blink.

    11. Clisby*

      I posted about that below. I wouldn’t be mortified, though – I’d forever be remembering how awesome I was to come up the Fabio flow chart!

    12. kittycontractor*

      I have now texted the Fabio flow chart to my old boss, who is an elected official and in a Very Serious Meeting. He’s trying not to cry.

    13. Fabio fan*

      It is I, the flowchart creator! Thank you all so much for your kind replies, I’m so glad Fabio is improving lives even now.

      When I left this job my coworkers actually got Fabio to sign a poster in my name as a goodbye gift! It was awesome, especially because he botched my name completely.

      1. Princesss Sparklepony*

        I’m thinking you have a sideline in selling the Fabio Flowchart. This could fund a comfortable retirement! Never be ashamed of an excellent flowchart that is also pretty darned funny.

    14. Princesss Sparklepony*

      I loved the Fabio flow chart and I’m not even a Fabio fan.
      Not sure why it would be mortifying – it’s genius.

  3. Purple Cat*

    OMG. These are all amazing. That Fabio flowchart is gold. I mean, totally inappropriate for work, but gold nonetheless.

    1. UKDancer*

      That flowchart has significantly improved my (fairly crappy) day. I need this in my life.

      1. Nea*

        I bet half the people reading AAM downloaded it and the other half are lying. It’s awesome!

    1. Sylvan*

      It’s a fantastic browser extension. It’s for weather forecasts, but it does great things to articles about cloud technology.

      1. Sylvan*

        Also, if you read content about Clouds to Butts when you have Clouds to Butts, you’ll read Butts to Butts.

      2. Properlike*

        I’m notoriously wary of “storing things in The Cloud” but would absolutely consider “storing things in The Butt.” Feels less…. ephemeral?

        Unless you are farting person?

    2. Web Crawler*

      Somebody installed it on my partner’s browser in college when she left it unattended. She took an online quiz later for chemistry and came out very confused, asking everyone she knew in chemistry about “electron butts”.

      1. quill*

        It’s better than when my cell and molec professor’s rapid way of talking convinced me that a KiloDalton was a Killer Dolphin. (I KNEW it couldn’t be but I was a lone chem person with too much stress and googling “microbiology sounds like killer dolphin” didn’t help. Until I learned that reasonable people called it grams per mol, so that the chemists wouldn’t be at sea.)

    3. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I had the Florida Man browser extension for awhile on my Chrome. It was created by the Daily Show when the 45th US president officially listed his home address in Florida, and it changed every instance of his name (and also President [Name]) to “Florida Man.” I installed it on my personal computer but since it was Chrome, it worked on every computer in which I signed into Google, so it also showed up on my work computer. NBD. And also it not only changed his name but also just changed the word “president” to Florida Man. Also NBD. Except that I worked for a political organization and it did confuse some people when my database of contacts listed certain people as running for “Florida Man” or “Former Florida Man Obama.” Luckily I didn’t send anything out externally but I did feel a bit childish when my boss noticed. Still NBD but kinda dopey.

      1. Cat Tree*

        I had one that changed “debate” to “dance-off” which made election season slightly less horrifying.

    4. saf*

      I installed “Make America Kittens Again” a few years ago. It replaces pics of the former president with pics of kittens. Every now and then, I still get a surprise kitten pic!

      1. Funny Cide*

        My favorite is Tabby Cat – every time you open a new tab, you get a cute little animated cat that sometimes likes to be petted (the ones that don’t make angry faces). There are other animals too but I’m a sucker for the original. Sometimes if you put on the right combo of accessories, you get a bonus kitten!

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        Ha, I came to share an anecdote about that same extension! It never worked for me on actual news sites, or like maybe one time ever? So I completely forgot it existed. And then I decided I wanted to get in on the trend of trumpet sleeve shirts because someone at work was wearing on and it looked so cute. So I got on ModCloth and searched for “trumpet sleeve” and like 80% of the pictures in the search results were of kittens and I was SO CONFUSED for like 20 minutes before I remembered that browser extension lol.

        I got some good screengrabs and now it comes up in my Facebook memories every year and gives me a good laugh every time.

    5. Audiophile*

      Oh man, browser extensions are dangerous.

      I installed the infamous (or famous, depending on your viewpoint) John Oliver extension on my computer. I got a lot of enjoyment out of it.

      Then I got a new computer and forgot all about the extension.

      Cut to a few years later; the new computer has broken, and I go back to my old computer with an extension I’d long since forgotten. Cut to me reading an article someone posted in an online community and questioning why the copyeditors did not notice the very obvious errors. It took another user to point out the extension was likely causing the issues. Oops.

    6. Luva*

      I made a similar mistake but it didn’t go public; I had installed that extension and forgotten about it, and was reviewing a document someone else had written, silently and smugly judging the complete doofus who had written a document with the clouds-to-butts extension turned on! Ha, what an–oh, it’s me.

    7. WhatWhat*

      Cloud-to-butt is the best and worst thing to ever happen to Chrome. I’m a software developer, so I’m frequently reading articles about “the cloud”. Cloud-to-butt also specifically changes “the cloud” to “my butt” for even more hilarity.

      And it has accidentally made its way to an actual job posting on LinkedIn at least once, and immortalized for all time by the Internet Wayback Machine. Some highlights from the job posting ….

      “Do you want to revolutionize the way people manage vast volumes of data in my butt?”

      “… you will own the design and development of significant system software components critical to our industry leading storage services architected for my butt.”

      1. Blarg*

        Ok this got me. Actual tears. For some reason my butt is so much funnier.

        I have got to sleep. Way past bedtime.

  4. Bow Ties Are Cool*

    I am sitting here in the office they force me to come into 3 days a week, wheezing as silently as possible.

    1. Panicked*

      Same! It’s too quiet in my office and I’m having to fake a cough to cover up my laughing.

  5. Meep*

    I am sure #1 is a wonderful person, but I think their original response was MORE cringey than what came out of their mouth. :S

    1. Two Chairs, One to Go*

      Why? I think it’s a good analogy. Not everyone wants to be the center of attention (or needs to be). There are a lot of types of jobs that need people behind the scenes.

      1. Properlike*

        I made a note to tell my kid about this analogy for college essays. Not everyone can be in the band.

      2. Meep*

        Because while it is a fine analogy if someone gave me this monologue during an interview? How can it not be cringey?

        1. Siege*

          It is 64 words. It’s not exactly a monologue. What would you rather she have said? “I just like support roles”?

        2. metadata minion*

          It seems totally reasonable to me. It would be kind of weird to hear in normal conversation, but in interviews I expect to hear more obviously-rehearsed stories and explanations. To me, the analogy is charming and effective.

        3. Delphine*

          They’re explaining to us, as clearly as possible, the sentiment they were trying to express during the interview. It’s not a monologue.

        4. Ellis Bell*

          I didn’t read that as an intended monologue, but as an overexplanation of their idea. It’s the entirety of a sentiment that they intended to sum up more succinctly. The mishap is that they summarised incorrectly.

    2. Vivian*

      Cringey because of the metaphor/language they used, or cringey because of the intended meaning? I think the former is a matter of personal taste (I like the analogy), but would push back against criticizing someone for being enthusiastic about a support role.

      1. Purple Cat*

        Agreed. I’ve come to learn about myself that I’m not a “big ideas” person, but I can execute the heck out of stuff. A company needs both types to be successful.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Agreed. A manager once called my mom the “pinky toe” of the company, meaning they would be off kilter without her. Everyone who was assigned to her for support when they were hired became a partner. Coincidence? Not really.

      3. Meep*

        Cringey because of the language it used. It is too long of an answer and comes off as monologuing. Then again, I fully acknowledge, I have met too many people who would say something like this and not follow through not to expect if someone gave me this talk they were only good at talking.

        1. Elenna*

          I was told that interview answers should generally be 1-2 minutes long, in which case this seems like a perfectly reasonable length to me!

        2. metadata minion*

          I’m curious what you expect to hear in interviews. Yes, there are plenty of people who can talk a good talk but not follow through, but in an interview (unless you’re in a field where practical tests are common) you’re asking them to talk about themselves. If they’re even halfway decent at interviews, they will make themselves sound great. That’s the whole point.

        3. H3llifIknow*

          I got the impression that was the IDEA they wanted to express, not that those were necessarily the exact words they intended/wanted to use to express them….

    3. So they all cheap-ass rolled over and out fell out*

      I wouldn’t call it cringey, but depending on the field / role / etc. it might not be what many employers are looking for.
      I would guess that in my field of software engineering, the vast majority of employers would want to hire self-sufficient rock stars, not rock stars that are too diva to “set things up and take things down” themselves, and not engineers who don’t produce significant output on their own but only support others.

      1. kiki*

        I get what you’re saying, but I also that even within the software development realm, there are a lot of departments that would be really excited by what the LW described. I interpreted what LW said as that they’re happy to do the kind non-flashy work that’s necessary for others to do their job well , not that they don’t have significant output. In software engineering I feel like that might include setting up testing infrastructure, doing upgrades, tech debt, cleaning up code, bug-fixes, etc. That’s not the kind of stuff that tends to get acclaim, but it’s really important to do and helps feature work get done a lot faster. It’s ideal to have people who enthusiastically do both in equal measure, but in my experience those types are rare. In my experience, having somebody on your team who is actively passionate about that sort of thing (and doesn’t see it as a chore to begrudgingly do) makes a big difference.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

          In software engineering I feel like that might include setting up testing infrastructure, doing upgrades, tech debt, cleaning up code, bug-fixes, etc. That’s not the kind of stuff that tends to get acclaim, but it’s really important to do and helps feature work get done a lot faster.

          I’d add writing and maintaining libraries and software tools to that list, and I agree. I’m rarely a rockstar–the stars have to align, and frankly I don’t like or want the spotlight–but I can usually make my peers more productive (including the rockstars) and improve everyone’s quality scores by automating busywork, working low-cachet tickets, and refactoring away opportunities to make mistakes.

    4. SpaceySteph*

      I like the analogy, but either way nothing is more cringey than saying “i make other people look like rockstars by comparison”

      1. Meep*

        I disagree. Hyping yourself up to be a hype man is cringer than putting your foot in mouth tbh.

        1. Sauron*

          I think maybe you’ve had some bad experience with people who sound like this, but I urge you to reconsider this. If support people don’t hype themselves up at least a little, nobody pays attention to them, and they’re passed over for important roles and promotions. My former department is going through a crisis right now of exactly this – they’ve ONLY given development opportunities to “rockstars” aka people who present well and the Big Boss likes, and as a result a lot of critical support people are leaving. Suddenly, the organization is realizing how important those people were. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be proud of the fact that you enjoy working to enable others to shine.

    5. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I thought it was fine, but there could be better analogies — hence my user name; I’m often that person who does the “magic” but no one attaches my name to it. Calling themself a “support person” might not really be the full picture — they could be the person who is SO good at what they do, nobody can tell they did anything at all.

    6. MCMonkeyBean*

      I don’t know about cringey, but I do agree think their original sentiment wasn’t a good one for an interview. I think there are ways to go about saying you are a team player without saying you don’t shine on your own! It’s a nice way to talk about important supporting work, but not a good way to talk yourself up in an interview

  6. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    These were all amazing, but 14 absolutely took me higher. Just the visual of OP snitching and running away past the glass walls is so good lmao

    1. EPLawyer*

      #14 was the absolute best. Just the thought of the confusion on the CEO face at looking at the empty space?

      Although Fabio flowchart sounds like it helped solve problems. Hey, you’re not Fabio so, figure it out.

        1. SarahKay*

          I not only laughed out loud, but ended up literally crying with laughter. The glass walls! the fact it was her cubemate! And then the icing on the cake: the CEO and cubemate conversation!

    2. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      14 was absolutely perfect. The situation, the run, OK fine, but the cubemate+CEO conversation was *chef’s kiss*

      1. Astrid*

        Me, too. I’ve heard of the fight-or-flight response but never actually seen it in the office. This seems like something that would only happen in a cartoon.

    3. Stephanie*

      Yes, I laughed so hard that I cried while sitting in my cubicle with unfortunately many people around me (though none were interested enough to ask me what had me cracking up-what a deplorable lack of curiosity).

    4. Shhhh*

      I can’t stop laughing at that one, which also has made me laugh harder than I normally would at the last two

    5. LittleMarshmallow*

      This was my favorite too. The mental image is just hilarious. I can just picture someone running past a window wall to get away while the others just stare in disbelief.

      This also feels like something I would do.

  7. Sylvan*

    LW9! CLOUDS TO BUTTS! I had that browser extension! It turned on me a couple of times, too, but luckily not at work.

    1. Cat Tree*

      Honestly that has been my biggest fear since starting remote work. In the before times, I only ever talked on the phone to my mom and brother, so out of habit I end phone calls with “love you”. So now when I’m on Teams meetings, especially with only one or two other people, I have to remind myself not to say it.

    2. DrRat*

      I felt that one so much, because that would 100% be something I would do, up to and including the Wilhelm scream.

  8. Rolly*

    On #7 “They had to record it all in one take, and there were no redos.”
    This is weird. If the reason was technical, i’d have recorded it on another device, then played it into the system.

    On #10, for a campus job, the applicant’s candor should be worth something. There are better ways to say it, if it’s true, but it’s not that terrible.

    1. Becky*

      On #7 “They had to record it all in one take, and there were no redos.”
      This is weird. If the reason was technical, i’d have recorded it on another device, then played it into the system.

      I wonder if it was someone in the past was picky and kept doing redoes because they were never satisfied, delaying the announcement and delaying the work of those involved in the recording, so they made a rule that you only get one shot.

      There is fundamentally no difference between recording a new announcement and doing a “redo” they’re just both a new recording and apparently they did these new announcements often so unless their system was truly archaic and labyrinthine, I can’t fathom any technical reason to forbid redoes.

    2. thursday*

      I did #10 in a real interview and they still hired me. Still working there quite a few years later…

    1. PhyllisB*

      # 8 reminds me of a time when my (then) 9 year old daughter was taking clogging. She would get leg pain quite frequently. One Wednesday night we were heading to church when she complained about leg pain. I told her to take a Tylenol. She held up the bottle (with label covered) and said, “is this it?” I said yes, she took the pill and off we went. Well, we were sitting in the sanctuary when all of a sudden she fell into my lap out cold. When we got up to leave she couldn’t walk so my husband and I had to get on either side of her and hold on to her and guide her out. When we got home we poured her in the bed clothes and all.
      The next morning I got her to show me what exactly she took. It was a Tylenol P. M.!! Lesson I learned that day to always administer meditation myself.

  9. Hepzibutt Smith*

    Number 11, you are an absolute hero. I work in a hospital and had to literally step outside to let my laughter out. I laughed until I cried. Thank you.

  10. Bitsy*

    I just realized I have a story to share.

    I have hyperhydrosis of the face, so if I get warm my face will literally drip with sweat. It’s a problem during interviews, because I look like I’m dying or something. So, for special occasions, I have some topical medication that will control it. The medication specifies to not get it in your eyes.

    So I traveled for a very important interview, and put the medication on my face the night before, thinking that I had avoided my eyes. But I must have slipped a little, because when I woke up and looked in the mirror I saw that I had ONE enormously dilated eye! CRAZY EYE!

    What was I going to do? Should I put some of the medication in the other eye? No, that would make it look like I was on drugs. Should I explain this to my interviewers? That would be weird. I decided just to try to ignore it, and hope that nobody would hold what would have seemed like a visual disability against me.

    Every now and then over the course of the day, I’d look at someone and watch them jump just a tiny bit in surprise.

    But I got the job anyway.

    1. Properlike*

      Guess they figured if you could walk around with a single blown pupil (which I believe indicates a massive stroke?) then that’s who they want on the team!

    2. Yvette*

      Why didn’t you just wear an eye patch and say you had a temporary issue with your eye? You could have popped it on just before the interview.

      1. Princesss Sparklepony*

        That would have been an excellent save. But I know I’d never think of it until a week later!

    3. nora*

      I’ve had laser surgery on my eyes five or six times (not lasik, sigh), and this particular procedure has to be done one eye at a time. Back when I was in the office I had a lot of fun spooking my coworkers with my wildly divergent eyes on surgery days. Thankfully they all wrote it off as me being me, and no one tried to get me medical attention.

    4. Seashell*

      Maybe they thought you had a David Bowie-style injury to one eye. It worked for him.

    5. catsoverpeople*

      This story reminds me of the episode of Veep when Selina has a terrible eye twitch that keeps happening during the presidential primary debates, and she tries to cover it with a big grin every time…..throwing off one opponent so much he stumbles over his answers and repeatedly talks about holes….needless to say, his campaign doesn’t last much longer.

      Glad you got the job, though. :D

  11. NerdyKris*

    F, Marry, Kill is a game I’m convinced only exists in sitcoms. It’s such a weird concept. I can understand it if you’re using famous people or fictional characters, but not people you know. “Oh, hey Bob, I’d kill you if I could, isn’t that hilarious and not a messed up thing to say to someone?” That only works in sitcoms where characters are forced to continue being friends because they can’t just hire new actors or split the characters up. In real life it’s just a way to hurt people’s feelings.

    1. Elenna*

      I played it a few times when I was younger, but (probably) only with people we didn’t actually know IRL, and (definitely) not with people who could hear us, because yeah, that would be awful.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I also played this game with friends when I was younger (middle school/high school). My friends and I would use famous people, fictional characters, and people we knew IRL (certainly not where they could hear us).

    2. Web Crawler*

      Yeah, that’s not a good game to play about people you know. That’s a game you play with fictional characters and celebrities.

    3. pancakes*

      I think you’re missing the humor element. None of the decisions about who to do what with are meant to be earnest.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        No one thinks people are actually planning to murder their friends which they do not wish to marry or fornicate with. We get that it’s supposed to be a joke; many of us don’t find it very funny.

      2. NerdyKris*

        Right, but a lot of people wouldn’t find that funny, and it’s pretty much a minefield if you’re using people that you’re positive won’t react poorly. Like if everyone picks Bob, is Bob going to wonder if everyone hates him? Or is someone going to interpret F as actual interest and lead to awkwardness?Generally, jokes about killing or wanting to F someone require you to be absolutely certain that they’ll find it funny.

        1. pancakes*

          I don’t find it particularly funny either. My point wasn’t that it’s funny. My point is that the Bobs of the world are misunderstanding. I don’t disagree with you that there are Bobs in the world. I have met and worked with Bobs, and fully agree that people should take a lot more care joking around with them than one would with non-Bobs, on account of their tendency to misunderstand things.

          1. New Jack Karyn*

            When you lead with “I think you’re missing the humor element,” people are going to think you’re talking about it being funny. We all know it’s not real.

            I think you’re missing NK’s point: if everyone who includes Bob in the game says they’d kill Bob, then that’s going to sting a little. Even if Bob knows it’s just a game. Even if Bob usually thinks it’s a fun game. It doesn’t mean Bob’s misunderstanding anything, or that there’s anything wrong with Bob.

            1. pancakes*

              I would’ve thought people would think I was saying it’s meant to be humorous, not necessarily that **I** find it humorous, but I suppose I should be more precise, knowing that things here often get twisted, or are taken very literally, or it gets revealed at some point that a couple people are relying on non-standard definitions of words, etc.

              “if everyone who includes Bob in the game says they’d kill Bob, then that’s going to sting a little” – Sure, yes, but I have been lucky enough to not work in an environment where ganging up on people that way was commonplace or considered acceptable. That also seems to me quite clearly not what I was referring to, which is the not-earnest version of the game. If everyone genuinely dislikes Bob and makes a point of conveying that to him, using a game as pretense, that is earnest dislike of Bob.

              “It doesn’t mean Bob’s misunderstanding anything” — If he’s picked up on the fact that people are using a game as a pretense to have a go at him or have a laugh at his expense, of course not. It wasn’t clear to me that NerdyKris was describing that specific scenario rather than, say, Bob’s mind wandering to questioning whether he’s disliked due to rampant anxieties, or trouble reading social cues, or any number of other reasons people misinterpret things.

              1. New Jack Karyn*

                No, that’s not what I mean. If Bob’s always getting ‘Kill’–and not because anyone’s ganging up on him or having a go at him, simply because he’s always 3rd on the list of 3–it does not require him to have rampant anxiety to feel a little weird about it.

                The game can set up a situation with a bad result even if no one is intentionally acting badly, and no one is misinterpreting, generally anxious, or has trouble reading social cues. Just stop trying to defend it.

                1. pancakes*

                  I’m not trying to defend the game, I am trying to defend the idea that not everyone is a little bit paranoid at all times. It is not correct and does not need to be normalized.

                2. pancakes*

                  I want to add, I don’t think it’s quite fair to tell someone, “that’s actually not what I meant at all but please stop talking.”

    4. quill*

      Waiting around at college events I’ve played, but at least we had the sense to limit it to celebrities. Never have I ever was more popular, probably for good reasons, because “never have I ever set off the fire alarm in our dorm” is a much less awkward statement.

      1. DrRat*

        Oh, lord, I HATE playing Never Have I Ever with people unless they already know me really, really well. I’m old and boring now but I have a *colorful* past.

        1. quill*

          I was a theater kid so we probably knew too much about each other. Also I’m so glad cards against humanity didn’t exist until I was in college.

    5. SpaceySteph*

      Pretty common in the High School sleepover circuit (usually by picking a bunch of people everyone wants to bone and deciding who to sacrifice). Should NOT be common above the age of 16 or at a work event of any kind.

    6. talos*

      In high school, I once got asked to play this with…the other people participating in the conversation.

      Like, literally, the people you were to F, M, or K were across the circle from you.

      I refused.

    7. Bluebell*

      This isn’t exactly FMK but I had a colleague who thought it was a fun discussion to ask colleagues who on staff and board they found attractive. She initiated this at a post work drinks session with VPs (she was C level) Yikes, so I excused myself to use the bathroom. I hoped it was a fluke, so didn’t go to HR (VP of HR wasn’t there, thankfully) Then 6 months later three of us ( a sr VP was there) were having wine after work, and she brought up the topic with board members. I changed the topic as quickly as I could.

        1. Bluebell*

          Yup. So very awkward, and it really made me wonder about this colleague. I do admit that I have a friend who used to throw Oscar parties, and in the preshow section, she did a FMK game with actors and actresses. That was sort of fun. She sometimes toned down the terminology to date, marry, dump if her teen daughter was there.

    1. Dr. Vibrissae*

      What does it say about my sense of humor that the two farts stories (today and yesterday) are the ones that made me actually laugh out loud? And the bathroom story and clouds to butts. I guess I just never fully left my potty humor phase.

      1. allathian*

        You’re not alone. I guess I’m glad that I have the sense of humor of a 13-year-old boy… My son and I frequently laugh at similar jokes, and fart jokes are at the top of our list…

    2. Lizzie*

      Same! Especially as someone who also has some digestive issues that often result in frequent (and extremely noxious) tooting sessions.

    3. Mimmy*

      That one made me laugh the hardest! I had my own mortification last week with some sort of digestive attack that…ahem…ended in more than just farting. While I was heating up my lunch in the cafeteria microwave. Thank goodness no one was behind me!

  12. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

    Clouds to Butts! LOL! Although… isn’t the time to proofread things generally supposed to be before they get published, not after…?

    1. Clouds to Butts OP*

      You would sure think so. Had I a flicker of life left in my body after that incident, I probably could have used it as ammunition for that exact argument! Alas, as the story says, my corporeal form noped right out, and by the time I recovered I was hoping everyone there had forgotten. (They had not.)

  13. Czar Kasim*


    If you put that in your day planner where others can read it, you deserve whatever grief comes your way

  14. WFH with Cat*

    Omg, I am laughing so hard about the Fabio Chart that I have to stop reading for a while …

  15. GoryDetails*

    Those are all good, but #13 had me howling – I can just see those keys wandering up and down the door-edge.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      I would not have tracked the guy down. I would have given these to the head office secretary and say, “I found these in the bathroom,” which has the advantage of being true. Not the whole truth, but at least true.

      1. just a random teacher*

        That’d get the guy in trouble for leaving his keys, though, which isn’t rally fair in this situation. (A lot of schools take keys pretty seriously, since you don’t want students to end up with a set of keys and re-keying is very expensive.)

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          I hear you–but schools I’ve worked at would make an exception for leaving them in the locked staff bathrooms. Students can’t access those, so the risk is really low.

  16. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

    12 – if it makes you feel better I texted, “Hey can you pick up butthead and goofus from daycare?” to my Executive Director who was 3-4 layers of management above me. Those are my dogs and I thought I was texting my roommate. Then I was confused when my ED asked if I had kids….

  17. Properlike*

    #4 – At one time I worked on the same floor as Fabio’s office. We could’ve used this flowchart.

  18. The Wizard Rincewind*

    I would pay average amounts of money for a recording of the screaming voicemail, holy shit.

  19. Oh geez*

    I made a very minor guffah on Friday afternoon – said in a meeting with top leadership to a new leader, “Stop by [my department] on the ground floor and visit some time!” We are not on the ground floor. I don’t know why that came out of my mouth, I’ve worked here for a while and know what floor we’re on. I immediately corrected myself but felt silly for misspeaking in front of leadership….

    …. this week is making me feel better about that, lol

      1. Oh geez*

        LOL oh my goodness here I go again…. in my family we jokingly trade out similar sounding words or mispronounce them on purpose as inside jokes (joke is a strong word, but I feel like every family has these right?) so “minor faux-pas” = “minor guffah”

  20. Kate, short for Bob*

    It’s the hottest day on record in the UK right now and it is TOO HOT TO BE LAUGHING THIS HARD

    I can’t even pick a favourite post. I love you all.

  21. Czhorat*

    #1 had SUCH a great answer in their head and such the opposite in practice. That has to be so painful.

  22. SJ (they/them)*

    All the interview stories are so funny but/and also such good illustrations of why interviews need to be treated more like conversations and not strict Q&A’s!!! How many of these “obviously I did not get the job” problems could be solved by interviewers going, hmmm, what did you mean by that?

    you know?? aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh

  23. The OG Sleepless*

    15 has me dying. I have a bit of trouble with auditory processing and I have occasionally answered the question I thought I heard, but I’ve never done anything that funny.

  24. The Other Evil HR Lady*

    I am so happy I read the Fabio flowchart during lunch! This is gold, I tell you. G-darn GOLD!!!

    See y’all later. I’m about to make my own Alexander Skarsgard flowchart complete with flowing bloodied locks from his latest Viking movie. “Did you show the problem that you can handle even your toughest enemies and that you’re not afraid to sever heads?” “Yes! The problem died of fright!”


    1. Resident Catholicville, USA*

      I definitely want a copy of that if you actually make it- that movie got me out of my hermitage and into a theater for the first time in two years. ;)

    2. Nameless in Customer Service*

      PLEASE post the link on the weekend when you’re done. I NEED that.

  25. It's a Beautiful Day*

    13. The bathroom – OMG – crying picturing the lanyard going up and down

    1. Salt*

      I love the visual! And the fact that the guys panicked brain was like “leave the keys! we’ll get a new car, new house, new classroom just leave the keys and ruuuun.”

  26. Akili*

    I’m actually in the office today (normally WFH) and I’m so glad I picked a hidden cubicle because I am DYING of silent laughter here. Tears. Actual tears.

  27. Restored*

    Story 14 (the disposables) was my favourite it had me laughing out loud for 60 seconds straight. Read it a second time and it still had the same effect on me.

  28. Sad Desk Salad*

    That Fabio flowchart is exceptional and I’m jealous I didn’t come up with it.

  29. Minimal Pear*

    I can just HEAR the Yakkety Sax playing in the background of the disposables story.

  30. Tirving*

    My friend in sales was working on landing a new customer and received an email from him that stated he had managed to round up 6 guys and they were all standing in a row as instructed. She thought wtf? Then reread the earlier email thread. She’d meant to write ” Once you have all your ducks in a row, let me know and we can proceed” . It somehow came out as ” Once you have all your dicks in a row…”.

      1. Nea*

        I’ve corrected “duck” back to the f-word so often on my phone that the inevitable happened when I tried to tweet about lining my ducks up in a row.

        1. Seashell*

          My husband used the voice-to-text feature, and it corrected a co-worker’s name to B*tch.

  31. Popcorn enthusiast*

    The worst mortifying thing I’ve ever done is text my old boss ‘working, love ya’ because that’s what I send my Mom usually when I work, and sometimes he was in the recent messages section on my phone. Thankfully he just responded ‘wrong person’ ( we’re both straight men so I don’t think any weird romantic undertones existed and I just deleted the message afterwards )

    1. thursday*

      I live in fear of ending a work call with “love you bye”. Hasn’t happened yet which I’m sure means I’ll do it on the worst possible meeting.

      1. Slightly Above Average Bear*

        I did this with the water company last week. “Thanks! Love you, bye!” I realized it as the call was disconnecting. I’m not sure if that will raise or lower my rates.

        1. pancakes*

          Fwiw, I think it’s never not funny when people do this. No, I haven’t done it myself (yet), haha.

  32. Katt*

    Omg, at #14 I laughed so hard I cried! The tears are still running down my cheeks! This is amazing. Kitchen shenanigans, indeed.

  33. Nea*

    The Fabio flowchart is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life. I’m thinking of making it my computer wallpaper.

  34. nora*

    I have two!

    Way back when I was a wee baby social worker I did client services for a nonprofit that did sort of financial related stuff. Part of the job, and why they hired social workers, was to screen for potential fraud and elder abuse. I was the only client services manager for 1500+ clients. I had one client whose son had a name traditionally associated with women, let’s say, Aubrey. Aubrey was a jerk and I was convinced he was mistreating his mother, but was never able to prove it. I had another client, a very kind older lady, also named Aubrey, and they had VERY similar last names (think Johns and Johnson). Male Aubrey called a lot more often than female Aubrey. The first time female Aubrey called, she introduced herself, and I said, suspiciously, “the only Aubrey I know is male.” There was a pause, and I instantly realized I screwed up. Thankfully she let it go. Male Aubrey never stopped being a total ass, though.

    A few years after that, I started trying to move on. I was invited to interview at a government agency about 40 miles away. When I got to the interview I found two crystal clear glass doors set in two more clear glass walls. I was trying to read a sign for which suite I needed, and missed the door ENTIRELY. I smashed my face into the wall in full view of the receptionist. I wasn’t bleeding (on the outside, I definitely swallowed some blood though) so I insisted I was fine and went ahead with the interview. Shockingly, I have very little memory of what happened next or how I got home. I did not get the job and was lightly woozy for hours after.

    1. EvilQueenRegina*

      That Aubrey story reminds me of the time when I worked supporting a children’s social care team. This one child’s father sounded VERY like one of the social workers, and one day I answered the phone to this father, he didn’t identify himself but just said something like “Hi, how are you doing?” and I thought it was the social worker and said “Oh, hi, Wakeen!” Father said something like “It’s not Wakeen, love, it’s Fergus” (still not a situation where a first name would immediately identify the person). I was just relieved that a) he saw the funny side and b) I hadn’t said anything worse than greeting him.

  35. Clisby*

    I wouldn’t feel any mortification over the Fabio flow chart. I think it’s awesome.

    1. Fabio fan*

      Well, nowadays I work in the (generally very conservative) insurance business, so thinking back on it usually embarrasses me, haha.

  36. LaLa762*

    No. 13 had me open-mouthed cackling in my office, and it felt SO GOOD! Thank you, LW!

  37. Kayem*

    I used to have the Cloud-to-Butt extension on my browser. But I didn’t take a close enough look at the settings, which included multiple other replacements. I finally got rid of it one day after reading some very confusing articles about the Canadian Air Horse.

  38. Raw Cookie Dough*

    The visual of the person running through the retail store, thinking it was a race and trying to BLOCK the competition…I can’t stop laughing at this! Everyone must have thought you were insane. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this.
    The other two that got me uncontrollably laughing – running out of the break room after throwing your cubie mate under the bus, and picturing the teacher’s keys moving up and down in the door frame. Tears are popping out of my eyes because I’m trying to laugh without anyone hearing me!
    Huge love to all of you for sharing these great stories!

    1. Fabio fan*

      Haha, you’re welcome! I open it up and laugh every few years, so I’m glad other people got to enjoy it too.

  39. Daisy-dog*

    The group interview is hilarious! I am torn on how this would have been perceived by my fellow managers in the stores where I worked. For 2 of those stores, depending on the day, the hiring manager probably would have found it extremely funny and might have considered hiring them because they liked having people who approach things with a fun attitude.

  40. Tedious Cat*

    I am having a really awful day, but at least now I have “sorry I’m late, I was taking a shit” to give me life.

    1. Be kind, rewind*

      That was my favorite! Mostly because that’s the reason I’m late to meetings 90% of the time, and I’ve wanted so bad to be able to say it.

  41. Mimmy*

    I am behind on Mortification Week and just started reading with today’s thread. Oh these are glorious!!! My favorite is #6 (the fart). Today is my day off and I didn’t have an interview to prepare for (this Thursday), I’d be spending my entire afternoon catching up!

  42. Amy*

    Honest to god the fart story made me run to the bathroom to pee! I can’t stop cackling!!!

  43. RWM*

    Sitting alone in my office laughing out loud at the group interview and the disposables — why is full-on running in completely inappropriate work contexts SO FUNNY?

  44. DrRat*

    I really wish I had read the disposables story back when I was teaching Psych 101. Fabulous example of “fight or flight” when presented with a threat!

  45. Clouds to Butts OP*

    As the illustrious idiot who put butts all over a newspaper website by accident, I am delighted that my terrible judgment could provide some entertainment for others. Obviously at the time I was truly, deeply MORTIFIED, but with many years’ distance it’s honestly one of the funnier things that has ever happened to me.

    1. pancakes*

      Thanks for all the butts! I wish I’d seen them in situ, but the story itself is hilarious.

  46. Summer*

    Thank you to the person who sent in “the disposables” story! I was crying from laughing so hard!

  47. Darwi*

    These are the best. I litterally choked to the voicemail and I an trying to recover (by failling as I’m laughing and crying) with the rest.
    Thank you all for these stories.

  48. Just Me*

    #16 just reminded me of a story from my mother. It was the early 70’s and she was a very young beautiful woman working in an art supply store. This was the era of intense artistic sculpture, so they also sold nontraditional art supplies like scrap metal and rebar, which had to be sawed off of a larger piece and which they keep behind the store (it’s California). One day, a guy comes in and says he wants to buy some rebar. My mom cheerfully goes, “Yes! Why don’t you come out back so I can whack you off a piece!”

  49. Former_Employee*

    That last one should be a lesson to everyone. Do not read other people’s personal notes (or listen in on other people’s conversations). In other words, do not be a snoop.

  50. Nay*

    Guys, my work firewall blocked the Fabio Flow Chart for inappropriate content. I am very disappointed.

  51. Iroqdemic*

    AAAH #5 was mine! I just hung out with that friend last weekend and she told that story AGAIN!! lol.

  52. Somewhat-embarrassed Anonymous Person*

    Oh gracious. Some of these stories make me feel a bit better about mine, but for people’s amusement, I’ll post one of my bigger embarrassments.

    So, some years ago, I was buying a ticket to … one of _those_ sorts of parties, to not go into too much detail. I bought the ticket on EventBrite, and I was excited about attending and didn’t pay too much attention to the card it was using for autopayment.

    Thus, it was only a few days later when I got the automated “please file your expense report” email that I remembered that the immediately-previous tickets I had bought on EventBrite were for a work conference, and realized that it had helpfully saved my corporate credit-card details and applied them to my party ticket as well. Oops.

    Thankfully, we are a large company and there is a standard process for “I accidentally bought this on my corporate credit card and need to reimburse the company.” Nonetheless, I still had to file the expense report and have my manager sign off on it — and so I had to go to him and say, “Um, I accidentally bought some personal event tickets with my corporate card and could you please approve my expense report but not look closely at the entry that says what they are tickets for?”

    And then, the week before the party, it got cancelled and the ticket payment got refunded back to my corporate card and I had to go through the expense-report-reconciliation process all over again for the refund.

    (Thankfully nothing more ever came of it, but a year or so later at an entirely different company, the manager of the woman who hosted the parties discovered that she was doing this in her personal life and was very prudish at her about it in a private meeting, and then several weeks later fired her for reasons that were obviously a trumped-up technicality. It was quite a mess.)

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