I messed up at work today. It was a failure to communicate.

The first thing you should know is that I’m ok with a certain level of failure. Ideally I only make the same mistake once, and then I make new mistakes. Failure is a package deal with growth.
The second thing you should know is that I’m fairly open about my failures. I find it refreshing to know that people that I look up to or closely relate to are fallible. We’re human. It’s important to remind ourselves and others of our short comings.

What happened is that my boss trusted me to get some work done on the 3 axis mill at work.

What I thought I was supposed to do is make sure that the part was firmly and tightly held in the clamps, and especially flat against the bottom surface.
For the life of me I couldn’t get it. I tried setting up the dial indicator (a gauage to look at relative height) in different positions. The first problem was that I couldn’t get repeatable results. The indicator would be high in one spot, then I would move it away anbd then back, and then it would indicate a low spot. I think the needle was getting stuck, but maybe there was another issue.

The next problem is that I couldn’t adjust the flatness it was sitting on. In most cases, I can bang the part with a rubber mallet, and it will scoot over ever so slightly. However, my right wrist is broken and I can’t hold the rubber mallet with it. I tried banging the part with the mallet in my left hand, but I just couldn’t muster the force.

After an hour and a half of fiddling with it, my boss comes to check on me. That wasn’t what he wanted at all. He wasn’t really concerned that the part was flat, because it would be machined again anyways. I was so embarassed that I had just wasted so much time.

Failure report:
I’ve decided to count this as the first time I’ve made this mistake. At previous jobs, I know that my boss is a poor communicator, so I know to write everything down. I’ve worked at this job for 5 months and never had a problem, so I didn’t think I needed to compensate. At this job, my boss is a great communicator, so it was entirely my own fault. Next time I’m going to write down the instructions, and then repeat what I wrote down.