Last Friday, the end of week two in my internship with Adelsberger Marketing, was one of the first days that you could tell that fall would eventually penetrate through the dome of heat radiating from every building in Jackson. This was cause for celebration the way that these things always are: a universal mood booster, the type of thing that sends people walking through the streets with a skip in their step like a newly transformed Ebenezer Scrooge looking for the biggest goose in the window. Photos of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and pumpkin-scented candles landed in the company Slack channel as celebration of this inkling of seasonal hope.
I sat in my room at my desk, ambient lofi music playing in the background as it always does when I work, feeling content. Classes were over for the week and all that remained was the routine plugging away of moving around images and video clips to be posted on various social media as promotion for the Content Machine podcast. This work flow, and the atmosphere of working from the pleasant comfort of my dorm, made me especially happy not to be drudging in an office somewhere. Obviously, remote work has its perks.
Without warning, the easy-going simplicity of my afternoon ended. I was confused about one of the tasks outlined for posting the podcast, and searched through any resource I could find for the answer. Nothing — not in my Google doc, not in my Slack messages, nowhere. It crept upon me slowly, like a horror movie villain which the audience can see but the protagonist can only sense, that Kevin was the only one with the answer. This would not have been an issue except for one hang up: Kevin had already clocked out for the day. Interrupting my boss, the founder of the company, during his time off was not a thought I relished. Nevertheless, I faced the music and texted him my question.
He responded quickly, then called me to walk me through the problem. Within five minutes, the issue was solved, but it felt like an eternity. My gratitude for remote work took on a different form; now I was just glad I didn’t have to make this mistake while looking Kevin in the eye. Phones are a godsend when taking responsibility isn’t your cup of tea. It’s so much less personal.
I completed the task and closed my laptop. Honestly, the fix was simple and easy. Kevin didn’t sound bothered at all. Still, I apologized via text. Kevin responded: “We didn’t set you up for success.” This was not entirely true. I could have listened better, asked better questions, or taken better notes. Still, the important thing is that he was gracious and he put my mind at ease. A five minute mistake wasn’t the end of the world. The first mistake will happen. Don’t let it get to you.