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Friday fun: Biggest screw-up at work edition

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44 comments

Maybe my mistake wasn't that bad, but it was really funny, here at work we used to change our names on HipChat according to a theme, for example one theme was LoTR, or Star Wars or presidents of our country, so a small group changed their names to the name of a former president, it never really happend anything more than confusing our coworkers that didn't change their names, but this time I had to create a ticket with Atlassian support for a special situation and I totally forgot that my name was change, so I raised the ticket with the name of our former president and it was hilarious, well I see it that way now but at the begining I was really scared of screwing up that I didn't know what to do, but since that happend no one at work have change their name again xD

ok lol 

at the warehouse i work at i always took the librerty to open the massive shutters in the morning but one of them(the biggest one) had this weird kink in it where you'd have to stop halfway and pull on the right side to straighten it... one morning i forgot to do that and the whole thing DERAILED!! so i just walked away, later some worker tried to fix it but the whole thing came crashing down! the cost of repairs and replacing it $30k

and no one ever found out it was me... 

Wow, very honest worker here

Jonny Adams Community Leader Jun 12, 2018

I drove for a parcel delivery company in a former life. One of my regular stops had a large hedge that I knew I could back up to in my large box truck. One day I discovered a large concrete pillar was hidden in that hedge. My boss was not happy to see that the rear step/bumper was bent, but fortunately the company whose post I rammed into wasn't upset.

Well, my biggest mistakes comes from that big pile of poo that GIT is. Destroyed source files, uncommitted/ messed up auto-merges and so on.


Nowaday everyone relies on that pile of poo (trying to use gentle words here, I had MUCH MUCH worse in mind).


Once I committed everything on a project but a file was misteriously missing (who know what happened) and I had to rework the whole source from a decompiled executable taken from the production environment.

 

Now I use git only when someone forces me to because it's the last fad. I have so much happier times with Team Foundation Server from MS, no mess ups, everything was easier and I never screwed up big.

I always feel this emotion of guilt while writing the following mistake I've made 2 years ago : 

Object : Git Nightmare

Story : In our project, there are two Git branches : one master and the another one for current release (I name it R1). During the production test, some bugs were found and those should be fixed only in release branch. During this phase, some team members were working on master branch for the new features of the next release R2 (next release coming after R1).  But, the person who was working on fixing bugs on current release R1 for the production need to switch to release branch R1.

At this moment, I need to fix one bug in R1, so I need to switch to R1 and pull from R1 to update it but my mistake was that I switch to R1 and I pull changes from the MASTER branch (I'm wondering why I was doing that). However, the MASTER branch contains features that are not needed in production yet. So, the R1 branch was polluted with new Classes and some functions were already removed from master branch. The issue was that, we send to the admin of the production only the .class version of the bug fixed Java file to be deployed in production. Later, many exceptions were thrown in production console and the application crashed because some functions didn't exist anymore in the .class file due to the new features pulled from Master branch.

The manager received furious mail from client about the issue and he was wondering how come there were changes from the master.

I told him that it was my mistake, he was furious about that.

I hardly learn from this mistake until now. Always double check from where the pull should be performed.

Thanks for reading !!! 

Scott Theus Community Leader Jul 02, 2018

TL/DR: I had a bad job with a worse supervisor, made a mess, called the fire department, but still kept the job.

 

My biggest mistake at work isn't a Jira error, or a coding error, or even something I did in an office environment...

You see, when I was young and dumb and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life I spent about 3 years working as shipping guy and some-time mixer in a chemical plant that made paints and epoxies for bridge decks.  I was making a whopping $9 an hour, plus 10-20 hours of mandatory overtime, but I needed the job and the overtime pay was nice,  so whatever. I just kept my mouth shut. I spent my days hauling around corrosive and flammable materials, loading everything from pint cans to 55 gallon drums onto trucks, pouring off 400 gallon vats of paint into 1 gallon cans,  and generally working myself to exhaustion 6 days a week while my supervisor watched from the control room, went outside to smoke, and generally "supervised."

Now, on this particular July Saturday morning after working in days of 90 degree heat in full chemical and flame resistant coveralls I was loading a truck of product to go to a bridge construction site in California, with one additional skid of solvents to be dropped off at another plant along the way. This skid was, of course, the last to go on the truck because I had to pour it off from the tanks first. I loaded up all the paint for the bridge, then went back to the mixing room to get the solvents while my boss went out for a smoke.

As you may have guessed, I am hot, tired, and not functioning at my best by this time.

So. I go back to the tanks, set up 1 drums by the toluene, one drum by the MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) and 2 drums by the xylene, hook up the anti-static line, and poor them off. everything goes without a hitch. I jump on a forklift, grab a skid, and set it down by the drums. Now...If you've never had to put drums on a skid I can tell you it takes a bit of coordination. You have to pull the drum towards you until it starts to tip, then, balancing on the bottom rim of the drum, you roll it over to the skid and place the lifted end on the edge of the wood. Once there, you grab the drum parallel to the skid and pull/twist until it rolls up on the skid. Position it in a corner, and go get the next. Each skid holds 4 55 gallon drums, and each drum weighs about 380 pounds. The skids we used were well able to hold this weight when they are in good shape, and if you're careful you can get 5-6 uses out of each. Can you see where this is going?

When I put the last drum on the skid there was a sharp CRACK! noise. That's also normal; the cross boards on skids crack all the time, so I just soldiered on. I wrapped the skid in plastic, you know, to hold the drums together to they keep each other from falling off, and grab the forklift.

I pick up the skid.

I drive out of the mixing room and towards the loading dock.

I turn the corner to get to the truck.

I drive up the loading ramp.

That's when I learned that the corner support board under the MEK (not the cross board!) had cracked about 2/3rds the way down from the edge, weakening it just enough to keep the skid together but not support the full weight of the drum. Since I had picked up the skid slightly off-center and the drums were wrapped together the 380 pounds of the MEK was complimented by the 308 pounds of toluene in front of it which, when leaning back as I went up the ramp finished off the board holding them up. With the added angle of the ramp and the pull of the drums towards me as I went up it when the board broke the MEK went tumbling, the toluene in front of it came after, the weight shifted to the other side of the skid, and the two xylene drums fell off.

All four drums split along the top ring (which, by the way, is also very unusual) and 220 gallons of liquid that is slightly more flammable than gasoline went spilling everywhere. All over the dock, all over the truck, down the side of the building into the driveway, just everywhere.

Needless to say, I had a rather large mess to clean up, and lots and lots of paperwork to fill out. I of course had to call the fire department, that was protocol, and I used just about every spill pad and boom in the plant to contain the mess. Thankfully, it was a Saturday so there was less activity in the pant and less chance of a spark. Also thankfully, I was only reprimanded for the spill. I had followed procedure to the letter except for one thing...As tired and hot as I was I should not have been working at all, and handling hazardous materials with a forklift should have been out of the question. But, like I said earlier, I was young, dumb, and I needed the job so I didn't complain to my supervisor.  

The supervisor was fired.

I got this one.  Once, I made it impossible to edit Wikipedia for a few minutes.

I was on staff on the community team there, and was in charge of a fundraiser. We had a theory that the busy interface was distracting people from donating, so I did some css majik to remove the extraneous elements from the donation page.

Only it turns out my css isn't really good.  And I removed the elements from all pages.  One of the elements i removed was the "edit" button, and another was the "history" button, making it difficult to revert out what I did.

A VERY red developer walked up to me and said "What.  Did.  You.  Do."   Luckily, another staff member remembered that if you put ?action=history on the end of the url string you could get the history page (true fact!) and revert me.  Which we did.

And I promised never to play with css again.

Proof:  https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=MediaWiki:Common.css&diff=prev&oldid=401693243

-philippe

Thomas Schlegel Community Leader Jul 23, 2018

Hi @Philippe Beaudette - nice to hear from you - I hope you're doing well!

Thank you my friend, and you as well.  Yes, doing well, and working for a gaming industry company in SF - and still a proud customer of (and advocate for!) Atlassian.

@Philippe Beaudette well, well, look what the cat dragged in.....

(I can still harass you even though we don't work together, right?) 

@Monique van den Berg, I expect nothing less.  In fact, I expected far MORE harassment since you no longer get to sit next to me :D

@Philippe Beaudette so true, I no longer have to sit next to you. I mean get to. Get to.

😉

carolyn french Community Leader Jul 23, 2018

That is an epic story, and fun to see you here @Philippe Beaudette. Good luck with your new company! looks like you can't get away from us...   😁

It wasn't with an Atlassian program, but my third day as a tester at a new company, I managed to accidentally delete 1,000+ manual test cases.

To make it all so much worse, the server and test case application was never backed up.

Suffice to say my first month there, I never had to wonder what I should be doing.

@Haley Rymel ouch. This one hurts from here! 

I tried to post a Friday Fun but it got marked as spam.

@Cameron Harpercan you share the link to your post? I will try to remove the SPAM tag

Wow... being a PM is epic compared to the life of a developer.
All I seem to do is note other people's screw-ups in weekly reports or hear about them in Stand Ups. :oO

That said, my career is not blemish free:

At an old company a long long time ago I was really pissed off as well as extremely unwise/immature.
One night working late (yet again) an e-mail popped into my inbox from the CEO (around 11pm - he was stateside that day).
It was one of those classic "trying to keep positive vibes going whilst in reality no one is happy and in truth the business is suffering" e-mails.
At the end of the e-mail he wrote "If you have any questions or comments, or maybe suggestions for me and my senior team, please do not hesitate to contact us". 
Back then I did not understand that this was code for "take it up with you own manager first".
In addition my Corporate Politically Correct firewall was down due to my anger and tiredness so I sent him the WORLD'S LONGEST E-MAIL telling him exactly what I thought about.... EVERYTHING.
[The below GIF is not far from the truth of how I looked typing it....]

If you guys are interested in hearing the full consequences of this screw-up... I'd gladly tell you!

Warning - it's a looooooooooong story!!!! :oD

AngyrTYPE.gif

BiancaE Atlassian Team Feb 27, 2019

...it is always intriguing when someone leaves just a little bit of detail!

Hi All, 

I would like to share experience as well by seeing all your conversations make me to do this without hesitate. Hahaha.

When i was new to the Atlassian tools,I had a situation to work on behalf of my Sr. Support member. We've schedule the sprint that is going to complete in two days of March 2018. But my Sr. Support member took emergency leave , that made to work on behalf of him to complete the Sprint. I've done the CSV import in our Cloud version . which leads to create the additional priority .It got created a new priority level other than the standard priority levels. Sprint completed Successfully. But the smoke came out after that Sprint & everyone started using the New priority level. That makes me scary and I went my manager I've surrendered to him & explained every thing. He shouted for a minute and after that he got appreciated me to my Honesty.That situation make me scary & worst day in my life I've ever faced in my career.

 I hope everyone  got face this situation, but feeling the heat from our mistake is

un-explainable. 

Thanks for your patiency;)

Cheers!!

Srinivasa

Mine is rather embarrassing, but it was 20 or more years ago. I'm a different person now (and always super polite in traffic).

I had had a serious head injury (fractured my skull and squished the part of my brain that controls depth perception and facial recognition), but i was a divorced mom and the only breadwinner in my family--with no vacation, sick leave, or disability insurance (welcome to America).

Early every morning for more than 3 months, I went to the hospital for physical therapy before work. Imagine having a whopping headache for that long. It made me cranky. Weirdly, although I had trouble with faces, memory, and verbal communication, I still managed to show up at work every day and wrote a programmer's manual--using PAC-Base to write the manual for a mainframe system. The manual existed on the mainframe itself. That was no easy task. I kept a record of what I did each day in a notebook.

Ninety days into this nightmare, I was fed up. As I was driving to work, I had a bit of an angry meltdown in my car--rage at the headaches, the confusion, the frustration, the pain and the stress of an injury that required daily therapy for me to be able to work. 

About a mile before my exit, I signaled my intent to move into the right lane on the highway--and the car in that lane sped up and blocked me. I sped up. He sped up. I slowed down and he slowed down. I jammed on the accelerator and pulled into the right lane--and the guy behind me flashed his headlights. I was incensed.

I flipped him the bird. He flashed me again. I flipped him off again. He flashed and I flipped a few more times until my rage went nuts--and I turned around in my seat so I could look him in the eye so he could see what an utter jerk I thought he was. My face was contorted in anger and I was shouting every bad word I could think of.

Then it dawned on me--that was my boss!

That was the worst drive to the office I have ever had, as I imagined being (rightly) fired as soon as I entered the building.

I'm going to blame the next part on my brain injury....

I immediately put my long hair into a pony tail and tried to think of ways I could convince my boss he didn't see what he thought he saw.

"Uh, I have an identical twin--and she is a maniac on the roads."

"I was saying our company is number 1."

"I was just waving."

When I arrived I work I told my co-workers what had happened and said I expected to be fired. It never happened.

From that moment on in that job, I starting speaking in a slightly higher, extra sweet voice, so my boss couldn't imagine me doing such a thing. I started wearing glasses and wore my hair pulled back from that day forward. And i adopted a weird wave where my fingers were all akimbo, whether I was waving or pointing. 

And let me just say that people on the highway can yell at me, honk at me, cut me off, block me, give me the finger--no matter what, I smile and say out loud "have a nice day!"

Like Fadoua likes this
Scott Theus Community Leader Mar 01, 2019

Sorry to hear about your injury! Your boss probably recognized you and was embarrassed himself for being a road-hogging jerk :)

Road rage can be scary...It's a bit long to type out here but if you are at Summit (and we remember) I'll tell you about one that happened to me where a guy pulled a gun and followed me into the mall over a parking spot. 

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Fadoua Community Leader Mar 01, 2019

@Scott Theus  That is scary, OMG!!!!!! The world is going mad.

Like Karen O'Keefe likes this

Wow so nice to know others know and understand this. When I mess up it's always "Go big or go home" 

It was a public holiday weekend - we had friends over for a BBQ

One of the production web servers I was looking after was running low on disc space

I figured I'd clean up some of the webserver logs

Script was something along the lines of:

cd /var/www/site1/logs

rm -rf ./*
cd ../
cd site2/logs\
rm -rf ./*
cd ../
cd site3/logs
rm -rf ../*
cd ../
cd site4/logs
rm -rf ../*
cd ../
cd site5/logs
rm -rf ../*

Problem was, site2 had a typo in it, so the cd in didn't work

So the next cd ../ was run in cd /var/www

Which then ran rm -rf ./*

Which then would have tried to go in to /var/site5/logs which didn't exist

So the next cd would have run in ../ and ended up in /

Which would have run rm -rf ./*

 

Fortunately I was monitoring it while it was running, and noticed the second command was taking longer to run than I expected, so a quick ctrl+c and I'd only lost half of /var/www/  - not great, but better than losing /

Implement DR process!

 

CCM

Like # people like this

Screwed up many times with my first react native development company. Oh gosh! Still feeling the heat. Thanks for sharing. 

eskimo Community Leader Jun 13, 2019

I had a long-term screw-up of handling the project to the person that's not that good in FE (for a facebook game development) while i was a pm in digital agency. Cause overtime, burnout, and long business trip to the client's location to sort things out.

My current biggest fail is ongoing, as a scrum master: to make one team commit and finish sprint with fixed number of commited tasks, as the project is complex and unpredictable.

I wore an unlisted box (as well as) with small tube samples. On Monday, I got a crazy call from the manager. He asked me to start cleaning the unlisted box a day in advance in the fridge! It happened that since then a heart sample was dead. In research, (sounds can be unhappy), if they are not close to them, they rarely take human samples from young people. At that age, the heart is not wrong, so the number of trials that can be done / data can be generated amazing.

Working on a LIMS System migration from SQL to SAP........thought I was working in the UAT environment and forgot the where part of the Delete statement........

After adding scope to bring UAT data into Prod to recover most of the missed records and clean out the test and dummy records on the way through we managed to only lose 2 months......

Hey Everyone, hope Y'all are doing well. And Yes, I am from Texas.

My Biggest Screw Up Story: I used to work for a very large aircraft manufacturer...I won't name names, but it rhymes with GOEING. Hehe.

We had just went Live with both SAP and JIRA. During Go-Live for SAP I was responsible for including and excluding Shipping Partners (Customers) from our Dallas Plant. This was a daunting tasks with several hundred individual customers. 

Long story short, I did not pay close enough attention and instead of Excluding a Shipping Customer from the Plant, I actually excluded THE ENTIRE PLANT FROM ALL CUSTOMERS!!

I shut down the entire shipping process for the entire Dallas facility!!! My boss was not thrilled. 
I immediately owned my mistake, and work the next 14hrs correcting the issue!! Terrible day. 

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