12 incredibly embarrassing things you've done at work

A selection of Mumsnetters' most buttock-clenching workplace embarrassments for your enjoyment

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1. Broken bones

"I was chatting to my colleague on the way to a briefing. At the top of the stairs (chat chat chat), she turns to me - as I shoot from her vision straight down the stairs. I managed to grab the handrail halfway down (but broke my wrist in the process)." 

2. Overshared

"I was a stock controller for baking goods, and once had a shortage on dried active yeast. So I picked up the phone to the customer and cheerily said, 'Hi Glenn, I've got a yeast problem.' He nearly choked."

3. Sent an email to the very last person who should have read it 

"I sent an email wishing a self-obsessed colleague would shut up - to the woman in question, instead of my nice colleague. She sat in front of me. I knew the instant I sent it, and then had to watch her open it up and read it." 

4. Been embarrassingly obtuse

"My line manager had to explain to me what 'sucked off' meant in common parlance (turns out it doesn't usually meant removing liquid via vacuum filtration in a lab)."

5. Let one rip

"I once farted loudly in front of some colleagues. I thought it would be a cheeky silent-but-deadly, but it sounded like a machine gun going off."


6. Shared your impressive vocabulary 

"While trying to record my out-of-office greeting - for the nth time, at midnight, before going off on holiday - I swore prolifically. Somehow I managed to save the x-rated version, so callers were greeted with, 'Hello this is X. I am out of the fuckfuckfuck fuckity fuck...'

7. Feminine products. We'll say no more

"I flicked a tampon at a client when removing my laptop from my briefcase. It was a long time ago, but it still gives me the fear (I now keep them in a special nondescript purse)." 

8. Grievously misspoken

"Last week I asked a (more senior) colleague if he was going to chair a meeting with myself and one other. He said no. I walked away and said, very loudly in my open plan office, 'Oh, that's a shame. I've never done a three-way before.'"

9. Fallen prey to the dangers of conference calls

"A friend was in the middle of a serious conference call with Important Foreign Clients, and unmuted himself to ask a question. He forgot to re-mute - and shortly let forth an ear-splitting, cheek-wobbling belch. One of his friends advised him to deny everything. "I can't," he replied miserably, "a text box popped up which said 'Dave Carruthers is speaking.'" 

10. VERY ACCIDENTALLY used innuendo to minors

"I told some year eleven boys that I did not wish to handle their damp balls. I'm surprised I still have a job." 

11. Unintentionally hit the nail on the head

"Not me, but my colleague said to a client, who was trying to do some arithmetic, 'Ooh, you need a few more fingers.' Client laughs and says, 'yes, I do'... whilst holding up a hand with missing fingers."

12. Nicked your boss's food 

"My first day as an office junior at Wigan Athletic FC. Keen to impress, I spent all morning working hard. The manager came out of his office at around 2pm and was surprised that I hadn't had any lunch. Truth be told, I hadn't thought to bring any money with me. He gave me a pound (this was the 80s and you could get a lot with a £1), and told me to go over the road and get a meat and potato pie - "the best in the world," he said.

So I got the pie and it was OK as pies go. He came out of his office again about 10 mins later and said, 'Right love, where's me pie?' I had eaten his lunch."

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Last updated: about 2 years ago