Here’s a foot-in-mouth story from work today that could have been a disaster
(Note: I just started a new job, and while I am friends with my new manager as I’ve known him a while, I know very few others)
I work in finance, and in the office today, my manager sends a WSJ article around to a few of us about some energy tycoon who is selling his over-the-top ranch for like $60mm. As a few of us are talking about it, I am reminded of a video from like 10 years ago of another oil company CFO who had his wedding video posted on YouTube. The wedding is such a ridiculous over-the-top production and after some digging, I find the video (link at the bottom) and send it around.
In this video, the CFO, among all the other extravagant things, is wearing some suit that has a bunch of shiny sequins all over it. As a few of us are watching the video and laughing about what this dude is wearing, I make the comment “it’s like he is wearing some ridiculous figure skating costume.”
After another minute or two, we all go back to our desks and shortly after, I get an email, just to me, from my manager:
“You mentioned figure skating to the wrong person” — and then includes a Wikipedia link.
I click the link to see it pulls up a page of a figure skater guy. I quickly notice the name is the same as another guy who sits directly behind me. Funny, I think, he has a similar name as this actual figure skater.
Then, after looking closer at the picture, I realize — wait — is this — is this for real?
I quickly email my manager back - is this really him?
He looks over at my with a smile and nods.
Apparently, a guy who sits directly behind me, and importantly who has just been a part of this group conversation where I hammer dunk on figure skaters from the top rope, is a very accomplished (and now retired) figure skater.
This must be the single example in the history of the world where a dude has competed at the highest level of figure skating, and then decided he wanted to pivot into the world of finance after hanging up the skates, and he apparently sits right next to me as I am making these comments.
Luckily for me, my comments were pretty tame, and I stand by them, but in retrospect I could have easily really gone for the jugular and said something much more aggressive that unknowingly would have been a direct shot at a guy I sit 4 feet from. So it was bad, but not a full scale disaster that it could have been.
Moral of the story: figure skating outfits are egregiously awful, but double check to make sure your new coworkers aren’t recently retired international competitors before you broadcast this opinion to them to their face.