If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might’ve noticed that I share a lot of “war stories” or examples of less-than-stellar behavior from my career. Reading all these little anecdotes, you might wonder if or how I function. Rest assured, I do know what I’m doing, and I do manage to generate good work for my customers while paying my bills.
But I do screw up sometimes. It’s not like I’m proud of the fact, but I will admit it if I’ve erred. And really, screw-ups make for some of the most interesting, entertaining, or educational stories. I don’t know about you, but I learn more from making errors than succeeding the first time. And I think the advantage of “war stories” for my readers is that you can sympathize with a situation better…or feel better because a) you’ve never done anything so stupid or b) you can be assured that you’re not the only one to mess things up.
Some of my “war stories”–hopefully–have shown that while I can screw up occasionally, I can also recover and get better. Those lessons are worth learning, too. Plus, if you want to get a manager off track for minutes or hours at a time, ask them about their best or worst experience on the job. The drama/storytelling aspects of those “war stories” make for more interesting conversation than an average day on the job. Besides, how much more impressive will you look if you describe a really big problem and then show that you were able to fix it? Mind you, I’m not quite that egotistical, but again, sometimes hearing stories where there was horror, drama, and success are why we read or listen to stories anyway. I could lecture–and I do, you’ll note–but an office “war story” can be more effective.