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8 Hilarious Office Blunders

Just One of Those Days

Ever have one of have one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days when you just want to crawl under your desk and hide? You’re not the only one: OfficeTeam, a staffing service for administrative professionals, conducted a recent survey that proves even higher-ups’ faces get red at work.

It happens more often than you might think. Nearly every one of the 1,300 senior managers in the U.S. and Canada surveyed by OfficeTeam admitted to an embarrassing office mishap that, for at least  a moment, put their dignity on the line.

Keep clicking for our readers’ most mortifying office moments and feel free to share yours in the comments section below.

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The Wrong Stuff

Wendy Knight, a public relations strategist based in New York, found it easy to avoid most embarrassing moments because she works from home. But years ago when she was working at a health care trade association, she didn’t have that luxury. One particularly fateful day, Knight unknowingly tucked her “flirty, ruffly silk skirt” into her nylon pantyhose. “Only when I sat down on my chair did I realize,” Knight jokes. Too bad half the office did, too.

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Hit the Mute Button

Two years ago, Tara Conry was a research associate editor at Reader’s Digest magazine, testing out a new tech product for a story. The product in question, a smartphone app called DriveSafe.ly, reads texts aloud so drivers can keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

“I forgot to turn it off when I got to work,” Conry recalls, “and it was really quiet in the cubicles when this automated voice started speaking very loudly, reading the texts that my boyfriend and I had exchanged.” This wouldn’t have been an issue if the texts weren’t so racy: “Hey hottie, you are so sexy, can’t wait to see you later!” Conry tried to shut it off, but the robot kept reading. “I turned beet red as my colleague sitting across the cube from me tried her best to contain her laughter,” Conry continues. “Needless to say, I deleted the app from my phone immediately and now warn others about the danger of these ‘safe’ driving tools.”

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Go Team!

John Boyd had just started his job as an in-house counsel for a biotech company based in Maryland but was “still a little on edge about the company,” he recalls. “I was using an open cubicle in a busy area—basically surrounded by people,” he says, when he received an e-mail link forwarded from a Scottish friend that was dubiously titled, the “U.K.’s Soccer Mascots.” Assuming it was simply a calendar listing of games, Boyd clicked the link and then watched in horror as his entire laptop screen flashed a crude pornographic “mascot.”

“I frantically tried to hit Exit, Escape, etc.,” Boyd says, but “when I finally got it closed, I refused to look around and continued working. Whether anyone saw what happened, I don’t know, but it was embarrassing nonetheless.”

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Ring the Alarm

“I once worked as a consultant for a company and overheard the CEO saying that if he did not get his way, he would ‘burn the place to the ground’,” explains  Rich Greene, a salesman. “I shared this with the CTO who had hired me, but I was unaware that he took it seriously until I got a phone call from the Alameda, California police department on my cell phone telling me they had a report that the CEO was locked up in the building with cans of gasoline and had threatened to blow the place up!” Meanwhile, the SWAT team had started to surround the whole building.

Assuming his tenure at the company was nearing its end, Greene quickly moved to clear up the misunderstanding with his boss and apologize for what he’d said. Surprisingly, the boss remained unfettered by all the commotion: He swiftly accepted Greene’s apology then hired him to work at the company full-time.

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More Than an Eyeful

It was a sweltering California day and Tiffany Bradshaw, then a Phillip Morris sales representative in Los Angeles, had dressed for the occasion in a long light skirt and flouncy top. “I went from liquor store to drug store, working my route, when I noticed that one group of men in the liquor store really seemed to like my skirt,” Bradshaw says. “I thought, ‘I must have been looking pretty hot.’”

Bradshaw was looking hot, all right: “One the men followed me to the car and asked me if I knew that my skirt had a hole in it—big enough on the side to clearly give any bystander an eyeful. For more than half a day, people got a view of basically everything.”

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Spam Alert

Radio host Leta Taylor recalls a particularly awkward work moment that occurred when her boss quickly opened an e-mail and then turned away from the screen to begin talking to her. “While he was trying to have a serious conversation with me about some work related thing, I was staring at a huge hairy man's backside on his computer screen,” Taylor says. So much for monitoring e-mail at work.

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Signing Off

Years ago, Sheril Stanford, a lawyer, was a paralegal in a Boston law firm with a partner named Thomas O. Connor. A day before Connor and Stanford were due in court, Stanford received some documents prepared by her secretary, Helen.

“Just before I headed to Tom’s office to have him sign the documents so we could make copies and get to court, I thought, ‘better check the signature lines’,” Stanford says. It’s a good thing she did because Helen, who was nearing retirement age, had typed each signature line to read “Thomas N. Gonorrhea,” not Thomas Connor, Stanford says.

Even worse, “When I went to Helen to get her to change it, she got terribly flustered and said, ‘Oh my god! It must be a virus!’ when we all know it’s bacteria. Needless to say, no matter how many times I checked those docs, I was sure one would sneak through with the wrong name, but thankfully it didn’t happen.”

Some time later, Stanford tried misspelling Tom’s last name a bunch of different ways to see whether ‘gonorrhea’ came up in spell check. It didn’t. “I just didn’t have Helen’s talents, I guess.”

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