Crazy scientist made dangerous mistake in scientific chemical experimentKnowing I’m always in search of content for my next article, a friend sent me this story: “People who have stuffed up at work more than you.” The article details a range of on-the-job blunders, and after reading, I realized there are a few lessons we all can learn from these terrible mistakes:

Mistake Number 1: Failure to Watch Language at Work


This is a classic example of what not to do when speaking on an intercom. A Reject Shop worker in NSW was delivering the closing store message when she swore over the PA system.

“I was in the middle of a closing call in the office and [a colleague] got on the PA and started heavy breathing over my call, so I stopped and said F**k off … the shop was still open. Whoops. My bad.”

Lesson learned: Always use “professional language” in professional settings.

While I think it’s important to monitor your speech wherever you go, this is especially true for the workplace or any professional setting. You never know who is listening to you and/or paying attention to what you say and how you say it. It could be that a manager or co-worker is intentionally listening to your conversations or that someone in upper management accidentally overhears you say something. Either way, you don’t want to give anyone the opportunity to hold your speech against you in such scenarios. Your speech should always reflect your work environment and/or professional setting, i.e. professional language.

Mistake Number 2: Allowing Biases to Interfere with Work


A Western Australian radio announcer made a racist remark about the “boat people” after he found out they were getting paid more than our pensioners. Problem is he didn’t realise a town in the station’s reach was where some asylum seekers were homed. Awkward!

One happened to hear what he said and confronted the station, writing an official letter of complaint. The outcome? “Because it was my first stuff up I got a slap on the wrist, but I do not talk about the boat people at all anymore,” he told us. Wise choice.

Lesson learned: Don’t Bring your Biases to Work

Everyone has biases; this is nothing new. Yet, where and how we decide to express those biases is often what leads to trouble. If the radio announcer is a racist against ‘boat people,” that’s his prerogative. Yet, he needs to leave that outside of work. The office (or radio booth) is no place for employees to put their biases, prejudices, etc. on full display.

Also, if your opinions and feelings are unrelated to your job or the company, hold them for outside of work (in a personal expression, of course). The radio announcer was upset that the “boat people” were getting paid more than pensioners. Okay. Even this, if it was a form of injustice or wrongdoing, does not warrant the announcer to express his bias and/or prejudice toward that group of people. If an employee feels something is unfair at work, he or she should approach his/her boss or HR department about the matter, not go off spouting racial slurs and insults at the person’s will.

Mistake Number 3: Using Work Resources for Pleasure


The Macquarie Banker ogling Miranda Kerr photographs not realising the world was watching him on TV became a social media sensation overnight, but his sleazy habits caused an internal HR nightmare (There’s a video in the story).

Lesson learned: Just be Smart

I mean, really? Employees are smart enough to know by now that 1) your company can monitor everything you do on company devices and 2) mostly everything online is traceable. If you’re looking at porn or half-naked women, you will get caught. Just be smart. You’re at work to work. Leave the “for pleasure” internet surfing to the privacy of your own home.

Mistake Number 4: Unpreparedness



Helen Kapalos has had her fair share of on screen gaffe’s this year, like calling former Sunrise host Melissa Doyle “Melanie”, but this one takes the cake. Watch how the Today Tonight host struggles to keep her composure as producers leave her high and dry on air.

Lesson learned: Always be ready

This poor news anchor just couldn’t get it together. She’s fumbling over her words; flipping through papers trying to find the right information; and constantly apologizing for not being prepared and in order. Can you imagine your boss or a speaker doing this during a meeting/presentation? Or what if you did this while attempting to sell a new product or initiative to a potential client?

Always being organized and prepared is crucial to 1) a productive and efficient workforce/company and 2) success in general. Also, when watching the video you will notice no one stepped in to assist the anchor. Another lesson we can take away here is that you need to make sure you’re prepared and not depend on others. At the end of the day, you’re an employee who has a specific role to fill in your company. Even if you’re a part of the team, as long as you have your assignments/duties completed you’ve done your part.

Power your recruiting success.
Tap into, the largest network of recruiters.

in Career Advice]