An Embarrassing Moment at Work

monkey-embarrassing-momentAbout ten years ago, I was working onsite at a catalog company a few miles from my home. I was at my desk in a little room that was outfitted with a handful of computers for freelancer writers to use. I was the only one in the room, sitting with my back to the door. Since I was caught up with my assignment, I was checking out the sound effects options on the Mac I was using.

After methodically clicking on and listening to many of the choices, I came to one labeled “When Harry Met Sally.” I had seen the movie but had no idea what the sound effect was going to be. Innocently, I clicked on it.

Meg Ryan putting on a show in "When Harry Met Sally"

BIG mistake. It was Meg Ryan’s “screams of ecstasy” scene in the deli. Can you say “inappropriate”? At the time, I didn’t know how to stop it (I later leaned I could have hit Command-Period). I whipped my head around to see if anyone was in earshot, but nobody was.

Relieved, I waited for it to end, thinking it would last just a few more seconds like all the other sound effects. But, no, it went on and on and on . . . for what seemed like five minutes. Oh, and did I mention it was very, very loud?

I was so flummoxed it didn’t occur to me that I could have just turned the volume all the way down. Meg just kept on going and going and going . . . and I was starting to get more and more uncomfortable wondering if someone was going to pass by and wonder what the heck was going on.

Sure enough, someone did pass by: Mary, the manager of the creative department, who I didn’t know very well. I caught her out of the corner of my eye, but I kept on staring straight ahead at the screen and praying that Meg would finally run out of steam. I could hear Mary stop in front of the door. I was starting to sweat. Big time. Please, Meg, for the love of God, enough already! I’m sure Mary was only standing there a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity.

Finally (!), Meg quieted down and my flop sweat began to subside. Cautiously, I looked behind me. Nobody was there. Mary had moved on. I never brought up the incident and neither did she. But even today, the mere thought of that incident still makes me squirm a bit.

If you’ve got an embarrassing moment, I’d love to hear it!

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22 Responses to “An Embarrassing Moment at Work”

  1. aleelavine Says:

    I was a new employee at a small company of about 30 where the office area is completely open. There are cubicles, but they are not high enough to mask any sounds. The company’s accountant had just used the copier and it appeared that he had filled it with paper, I saw him open the drawer and insert paper. Well, then I had to use the copier. I really didn’t have much previous experience with copiers either. So I go to copy and the copier starts making the loudest jackhammer noise ever!!! You could not have missed that noise in the next couple of rooms. Mortified, I looked to my manager but she was just laughing at me. Wow. That was quite embarrassing for me….

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Ha! Thanks, aleelavine! At moments like that, we feel like everyone in the world is watching. I suspect that copy machines have played a major role in many embarrassing moments!

  3. Daniel Armendariz Says:

    i run a kitchen in a jail i was on the food serving line one day showing a group of inmates how to use a meat slicer when i felt somthing fall out of one of my pant legs just then i heard a inmate say are those yours while pointing i looked down to see what it was he was pointing to and apperently a pair of my girlfriends panties black with pink lace were stuck up in my pants from static in the laundry and decided to come out at just the right time hahaha pretty funny to me

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Hilarious! Thanks, Daniel!

  5. Pat Says:

    My first job out of college was as an assistant to a sales manager in a large real estate office. My desk was in an anteroom to the manager’s office. One day a business associate came to see him, so I rose to greet the visitor and tell my boss someone was there to see him. I closed my desk drawer to stand, and the belt of my wrap-around skirt caught in it. As I stood, the bow of my skirt came undone and my skirt fell to the floor.

    Two of the agents had been waiting for me to help them with something, so they witnessed it too. When I see them they still remind me of that day, even though more than 25 years have passed.

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Hope you were wearing appropriate undies! Funny, funny moment! Thanks, Pat!

  7. Erin Says:

    I forgot about that story, Dad. That is SO funny!

  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Glad I could tickle your funny bone, Cubber McGee!

  9. Marlene M. Linke Says:

    My boss worked in Connecticut and flew in for a face to face with his staff in our office. I had to drive him back to the airport which made me uncomfortable to begin with. When we first got in the car, it was very warm and I let the electric windows down to clear the air. Not paying attention, I hit the button to put the window back up. Then I hear “Oh, oh, that really hurts!” I totally shut the window on my boss’s hand!

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Ouch! For both of you! Thanks, Marlene!

  11. Teresa Says:

    Oh my God I couldnt inagine being seen exposed at work like that!!

  12. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Hence, the embarrassment!

  13. Teresa Says:

    I was caught undressing by my daughters new boyfriend I was mortified as I stood there startk naked in front of a teen!

  14. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Yep, too shocked to react for a couple of seconds, which seems like an eternity!

  15. Cyndi Says:

    That’s hilarious! It is one of my favorite movies and a great scene though. :)

    Mine….short, but not so sweet….my water broke at work. Ugh. I will probably never go into any great detail online about that.

  16. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You got me there, Cyndi! I can’t match that!

  17. Jackie Rose Says:

    Last summer I traveled to a marketing conference with my boss in New Orleans. After the conference was over one day, we decided to walk around the French Quarter and find a place to eat dinner. I was 22, my boss was about 55, and we were both dressed nicely as we had come straight from the conference hall.

    First, a guy on the street tried to high-five my boss for “scoring such a fine young chick”. Then when we were walking through the French Quarter, a very drunk topless woman came careening towards us. My boss turned quickly to get out of the woman’s way, and bumped into me rather awkwardly. I lost my footing and flailed my arms for a minute until I regained my balance. After that, neither of us could look at each other, but it wasn’t over yet. When we finally arrived at the restaurant, the hostess assumed we were on a date and said to my boss, “Sir, would you and your guest like to sit by the window, or somewhere a little more private?”

    On our next business trip, about a month later, we had a good laugh about that night. Since then we have not gone out without changing into less date-looking clothes :-)

  18. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Good evening, and welcome to another episode of “That’s Awkward!” Thanks for sharing that story, Jackie!

  19. Lisa Says:

    This just happend.. I was just told that I had a Toilet paper hang out from the back of my Jeans from a co-work.. It about 3:30 and I been walking round the office that has about 75 peers in it for at least 3 hours.. how embarrasss!!!!!

  20. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Look at it this way, Lisa. Now you have a fun story to tell at parties!

  21. Jim Says:

    It was my first day at a consulting firm and I spent a few hours of orientation at our home office before heading over to start working at the client site. One of my managers was giving me a tour When he finished the tour at the main entry, he told the receptionist he needed to go somewhere. I didn’t hear where She said, “Why don’t you take Jim with you? He may want to know where that is.” So I followed him, thinking maybe there was another suite of offices in the building that I didn’t see yet. We headed down the hallway and stopped at the men’s room. When we got there he said, “There’s something in here I want to show you.” So I followed him in and he openned the stall door in the men’s room. There was an access door in there. He said he wondered where it led and hoped that nobody decided to come out of it when he was in there. At this point, I don’t know if he was showing me the men’s room, the access door, or if maybe there was still another suite of offfices to see. As he closed the door of the stall, I heard him dropping his pants to do his business. I asked, “Was there anything else you wanted to show me? His response was “Uh, no.” So I left the men’s room. He had to leave for a meeting right away so I didn’t get a chance to explain why I asked that. He left the company shortly after that, so I told the story to some co-workers just in case they heard his version and got the wrong idea about me.

  22. Phil Bolsta Says:

    One of my favorite stories, Jim! I imagine your co-workers enjoyed it as well!

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