There’s A Group Dedicated To Sharing “You Had One Job” Fails, And Here Are 50 Of The Funniest Ones (New Pics)
If it was up to us, we’d only talk about our successes. After all, who likes telling the entire world how badly they failed?! But failure is inevitable, and if you never go wrong, you never learn. Or so they say…
So this time, we are diving deep into the world of cases where people who had only one, a single heckin’ job on their to-do list, managed to fail miserably. And thanks to the 508k followers-strong subreddit “One Job,” there’s a lot to uncover.
Think of changing light bulbs, putting masking tape on electrical plugs, serving donuts at Dunkin’ Donuts, or arranging a parking lot into spots—some of these jobs sound like no-brainers, others seem to require more effort. Blame it on weather, circumstances, luck turning its back, a black cat crossing your path, or whatever, but one thing is clear—the results were not worthy of promotion.
While we laugh at these funny instances of poorly executed performance, whether it’s recklessly laid pavement or blurring the face of an offender only to leave his crystal-clear reflection in the window, the truth is nobody wants to talk about failure. Especially the mistakes we make at work, the ones that require us to step up, take accountability, and face consequences.
So in order to find out more about navigating the complex and often very difficult world of professional failures, we spoke with a renowned expert in the field, Hans Schumann, who is an executive career and life coach to London's Square Mile. Hans is also the author of the career coaching book "Falling in Love With Your Job – How to create more excitement and fulfillment in your career."
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Hans started by saying that he sees a lot of people who are obsessed with avoiding failure. “This can create a massive amount of stress and anxiety. My take on this is that failure at work, in business or in life generally is unavoidable. The sooner we let go of the insane expectation that it is possible to sail through life without any failure or rejections, the better for our emotional wellbeing,” he explained and added that “if we accept that failure is part of life, we can embrace it as a learning experience.”
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Meanwhile, Hans argues that if someone has indeed so far been able to avoid failures at work, then he would question whether they have been playing life too safe. “For example, if you win each and every sales pitch, it may well be that your prices are too low. If you can do your job with your eyes closed, maybe it’s time for a new challenge? When we play truly bold in life, our path will be full of both failures and successes.”
If you do end up failing at whatever task you’re given, the key is to find a productive way to go about it. For Hans, it’s about applying curiosity to get the most out of the learning experience. “Don’t judge yourself for failing. Beating yourselves up does not serve any purpose. Quite to the contrary, it may affect your ability to turn the perceived failure into a positive outcome.”
What’s more, when facing failure, it’s crucial to recognize the fact that you intended well and look at the situation from different perspectives. “It’s quite likely that you did what you thought was required at the time. If things do not play out well for you in the end, acknowledge your good intentions. Then look at the issue with the eyes of a curious engineer, without emotional attachment: What exactly in your approach did not work? Which parts could be improved, which other avenues tried? In each failure there is valuable information that can help us grow,” Hans explained.
According to Hans, failures are not only unavoidable, they are also essential for our personal and professional growth. “It is only through error and trial that we gather information and can learn,” he added.
Moreover, Hans reminds us that sometimes, the only way to find out whether something works is to try it out. “For example, you can only really establish whether you enjoy a particular career if you are in it. When you then find out that it’s not a good fit for you after all, you have two main options: Do you resign to a life in misery by staying in the job? Or do you cut your losses and change career? I would regard staying in the job as the real 'failure' and changing your career as mastering life challenges with resourcefulness,” the executive coach concluded.
Bored Panda also spoke with Christine Mitterbauer, a licensed and ICF-approved coach and serial entrepreneur. She said that when you mess up at work, instead of feeling ashamed or silly, remind yourself that the fact that you failed means you tried something new.
“If you only every do the easy or expected thing, you’ll probably fail less, but you’ll also be seen as a mediocre employee and colleague, and will be less likely to stand out when it comes to promotions and salary increases,” she explained.
The way you go about approaching failure is key in making it productive. “Tell yourself that the failure happened because you pushed yourself, and it’s only by pushing yourself that you grow and stand out. Never pushing yourself means stagnating in your job and career, and would leave you bored, unfulfilled and ultimately unhappy,” she said.
Christine shared that there are some useful activities you may want to practice. Like, journaling—by writing down your thoughts and reflections on good and bad experiences at work, they become less personal and you’re able to see them more objectively. Putting words on your feelings down on paper means they get out of your head, where they often have a tendency to go around in circles (overthinking and overanalyzing). An added benefit is that you can look back at your learnings and reflections and see how you grow over time.”
Another very beneficial activity is engaging in meditation and mindfulness exercises. “By learning how to see your thoughts for what they are (just thoughts, not ‘the truth’), you combat overthinking about your failures at work. Devoting 10-15 min of your time to meditation each day means you get better and better at moving on when you fail and hit obstacles, rather than dwelling and ruminating on them.”
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Christine also said that you may want to discuss your failures with a friend or your partner. “Share your failures with people you trust, this gets them off your chest, and your can share experiences and hear other people’s views and advice on them.” She added that often, our fails are worst in our own eyes, and discussing them with others can bring a lighthearted touch to them and make them have less power over us.
Most importantly, Christine assured that absolutely, there’s good coming out of our fails. “If we never fail, it means we never grow and learn, and that’s a no go if you want to get ahead and be successful in your career,” she said and added that “many senior leaders encourage failing, as failing often means trying things that no one has ever done before; key in business nowadays.”
In fact, “people who have lived a full life and are close to death will also tell you the only things they regret are the things they DIDN’T do, not the things they did do,” Christine concluded.