We’re several weeks into safer at home orders in most parts of the country.
And frankly, all these cozy “how to work from home” posts just aren’t matching my mood.
Oh, hmmm, just set up a working-from-home desk, you say? Continue to work from 9-5, is that it? Put on a real outfit and makeup despite how insane you feel for pretending to “go into the office,” yes?
*Cue bright-eyed cackling and incessant hand-washing.*
“I’m fine! Look, I brought my briefcase down to the kitchen table! Corona-who? Everything is normal!”
Yeah, this article is NOT one of those articles. Instead, it’s a compiling of the most face-palm-worthy mistakes my fellow freelancers and I have made over the years working from home.
Will this be uplifting? I actually think so.
Any mistake you’ve made or are soon to make—especially one involving a virtual video meeting—has been made before, with disastrous but retrospectively hilarious consequences.
Kolleen Shallcross and the almost snuff film
It was 1999 and my son was 4. I was talking to a client on the phone and son wanted to get on the treadmill. I kept signaling him to wait until I’m done with the call. He jumped on (and the key was in since I got off to take the call) and turned it all the way up. He went flying off and it the wall, bounced off and hit his head on the treadmill all in a split second. I screamed into the phone like I was being murdered and hung up to tend to my son.
Client was so sweet and supportive after, but I’m sure he wasn’t sure if I was just killed or not.” -Web designer at https://www.shallcrosswebdesign.com/.
Jenn Osborn and her needy AF cat
One of my mistakes was not feeding my cat before a lunchtime conference call so the MEOWS were constant, loud and heard by everyone.” -Web designer and art director at https://pink-creative.com/
Asia Rau and her good boi of a kid
My older son was about 4 but already knew the drill when I was on the phone – be quiet, watch the movie, eat the snacks left out, tap my leg or arm if he needed something. While I was on a conference call one day, he tripped over the ottoman and I audibly gasped (we had concrete floors) and the client immediately asked if I/everything was ok. At that same moment, my son popped up, giving me a double-fisted thumbs up with a huge smile and whispered ‘I stayed quiet!’ And I said to the client, ‘My assistant tripped but he’s ok.’”
Also from Asia: “I was once on a group video call and one of the ladies yelled, “WHY IS A NAKED MAN IN YOUR BACKYARD?!” My camera happened to be facing said backyard and my BF was doing yard work shirtless, but they could only see him from the waist up.” -Social media marketer and digital strategist at https://www.thestrategicampersand.com/
Astrid Storey and the big scare
I try to get to my calls early (like 2-3 minutes) and sometimes will turn on the hangout and go to a different window to do work. My client jumped into the call unexpectedly and SCARED ME so badly I jumped on the chair.”-Marketer and designer at https://www.storeycreative.com/
Kari Hudnell and the peekaboo baby
I’m a big baby wearer, so I often wrap my toddler if he’s fussy or clingy while I’m trying to work. One day he would not let me put him down but I had a video chat with a new client, so I wrapped him on my back. I thought he was low enough not to be seen, but sure enough when everyone looked to me to introduce myself, up pops a little head over my shoulder. The client was very lovely about it and asked me to introduce my baby too.” -Public relations and communications specialist at https://karihudnell.com/
Sam Dobson and the secret barf
I was on a video call with a client when my baby was just a few months old. The client didn’t mind the baby, so that wasn’t a problem. I had fed the baby shortly before jumping on the call to keep him quiet and low and behold, he throws up all over my shirt mid-call. My baby was not one to spit up, so I can only assume he was letting me just how he felt about someone else getting all the attention for 15 minutes. I finished the call like a champ, hoping the client wouldn’t notice the stark white puke on my black T-shirt. Still nailed the call, puke and all.” -Writer and content creator at http://samanthadobson.com/
Sophie Camp and the siege
A wedding at the church by my apartment block took place during a client call and it was summer so I had all my windows open. Bells going, cheering, loads of firecrackers went off!! I couldn’t mute my end of the call and the confused client asked if I was under siege I had to run around shutting windows but no room was quiet so I ended up doing the call in the bathroom, the only internal room in my apartment!!” -Digital creative strategist at https://sophie-camp.com/
Sydney Smith and the potty training
So many FML mistakes recently with a new puppy it’s a good thing all of my clients love dogs but the worst has been being on a call and watching him pee on the floor in front of me and having to act completely normal.” -Web designer at https://olivewingdesigns.com/
Sarah Merchant and the “gift”
I was once on a conference call meeting with multiple people and happened to look over and saw that my cat had left me a dead rat under my desk. I screamed and the meeting stopped to ask if I was okay. I explained what I just found and left the meeting to deal with the rat. No way I could ignore it for the meeting. They were understanding and the wrap-up email was detailed enough that I’m pretty sure the meeting was unnecessary to begin with.” -Digital marketer at https://workadayservices.com/
Dawn Tarter and the underwear
I live in a tiny, tiny space. I had washed some underwear the night before and hung a pair of undies on a door knob and another on the top corner of the door. Jumped on a video conference the next morning and it wasn’t till it was over I noticed they were still hanging and in the shot.”
Tiffany Gomez and the on-camera potty
I was on a call and since the marketing section of the call wasn’t quite there yet I decided to walk to the fridge to refill my water and forgot to put myself on mute so the entire call went quiet when they heard the water stream…they thought I was going to the bathroom during the call .” -Marketer at https://www.alignedsocial.com/
Caitlin McNeill and the carpet puke
Thankfully he was off-camera but my dog got sick and was barfing on the rug. I’m making faces and trying to say something – probably ‘why never on the tile?!’ and my boss couldn’t figure out what was going on.” -Graphic designer at @mybaloneyhasafirstname
Melissa Jones and the bras
Definitely have had bras on a drying rack behind me on a video conference call with a male-driven company. Whoops.” -Brand and web designer at https://3816creative.com/
Sal Tran and the NSFW photos
When it was my turn to share my screen, I accidentally shared my whole screen and had my iMessage’s open and other photos that shouldn’t have been shown…” -Filmmaker at https://sunkissedproductions.com/
Content courtesy of Krista Walsh, creative copywriting for purpose-driven companies and passionate people
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, KRISTA WALSH
Krista Walsh writes website copy, blog posts, and product descriptions for small eCommerce companies and service-based solopreneurs. Her writing and messaging strategies help her clients speak to their customers’ values and emotions, for meaningful sales.
In her free time, she writes about purpose-driven business and freelance life at kristawalshcopywriter.com. On the off chance she’s not writing, she’s volunteering to walk the big ole’ dogs over at the Dog Café LA or watching (pretty bad honestly) TV dramas on Netflix.