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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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What’s the most embarrassing mistake you have made at work?


Yesterday concrete accidentally leaked into the control room of the Victoria Line, leaving tens of thousands of rush-hour commuters trying to find another route home.

Nigel Holness, Operations Director for London Underground, said that contractors had been working in an area next to the Victorial line signal control room. He said: "These works involved the use of water and cement which leaked into the room, damaging equipment." 

Since then the layer of cement has been removed and the line is now fully functioning. But questions will be asked, I'm sure, as to how contractors managed to make the mistake.

The Guardian covered the story and asked people what mistakes they'd made at work. Here are some of the responses:

  • On my first day as senior designer working in the internal studio of a large UK institution, I told the assembled staff that I thought our first priority should be to completely reassess their branding as their current logo was "a mess". It transpired that the brand had only just been rolled out by that team and my boss. Oops. -chrisward1978
  • Whilst demonstrating the new, intelligent UPS systems that protected our mission-critical servers in the event of a power failure. I decided to demonstrate this by removing the power cable from the BACK of an important server and not the UPS box that provided backup. Un-effing-believable. Major outage for about 2 hours whilst the system was recovered. -DoktorRovindi
  • One time I accidentally poured 5 litrs of hydrochloric acid into a bottle of sodium hydroxide and proceeded to flood my university with chlorine gas…ooops! -carysc
  • I also accidentally made a cup of coffee for one of our most important customers using cold water. The weird thing was, he liked it. -Datsuncog
  • I once had a job escorting children to and from their music lessons and somehow along the way I lost a 7 year old child. They were NOT happy. (the kid was fine!) -becca123

And my personal favourite:

  • Only noticing the 'L' was missing from a huge sign we produced for a client's PUBLIC CONSULTATION after the sign had been up for a week. -DaughterofJonah

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence