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What’s your biggest work mistake?

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So I saw in the news that in Japan, a broker who intended to sell 1 share of a new telecoms company J Com for 600,000 yen (approx. $4,976.49) but instead sold 600,000 shares at 1 yen (approx. $0.0082) a piece with the potential total damage to be around 60 billion yen (nearly $500M) for the brokerage firm, Mizuho Securities. Investors saw the order and realized a brokerage firm messed up and was going in the tank but since they didn’t know who put in the order, a massive selling of all brokerage firm stocks occurred and the Nikkei 225 fell 2%. Mizuho also cancelled its holiday party. (At the end of the article, there’s an interesting list of other similar type of screwups in the stock market)

I bet you never screwed up that bad. What was your worst work mistake?

{ 6 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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6 Responses to “What’s your biggest work mistake?”

  1. Neo says:

    It wasn’t me exactly but my manager. We were reviewing two different vendors and we signed contracts to do some beta testing. We ended up going with one of the vendors but didn’t read the contract very closing for the second vendor. In their contract, it stated that is the contract wasn’t terminated within a certain period in writing, it would automatically role into a full blown contract. Since we had already signed up with the first vendor and now also committed to this second vendor, both for two to three years, we were wasting easily $500,000 to $750,000.

    Now all contracts get reviewed by the lawyers before being signed!

    Neo

  2. J-Com: un error dramático en la mesa de Mizuho

    ˇQue me trague la tierra! No es lo mismo vender 1 acción por 610.000 yenes que 610.000 acciones por 1 yen. ˇNo es lo mismo! Está claro. No quisiera estar en el pellejo del operador del broker nipón Mizuho Securities que dio la orden, del jefe de mesa…

  3. Miller says:

    Jim, I think we are all intersted in YOUR biggest mistake? Luckily (I guess…), I am not in an important enough position for my mistakes to really mean much besides loosing a few days worth of work. Yay cushy desk job!!!

  4. jim says:

    I’ve never made a mistake in which a significant amount of money was involved but there was this once time I ran some script someone else had written on our network that started deleting everything from the drive. The script was intended to clean out a whole bunch of directories of object files so that you could compile code from scratch (a make clean type situation) but it was old and the person who wrote it made very dangerous assumptions. The end result was that a bunch of system files were deleted, the ones that weren’t being used at the time, before I realized it because in addition to it deleting everything, it was supressing all output, so my only indication was that it was taking longer than it should have.

    Was it really my fault? Yes in that I didn’t look at the script first but it was presented to me as being reliable and correct. It only ended up being a minor inconvenience for me and some other developers, but everyone understood the original writer was the one at fault.

  5. thc says:

    My biggest mistake was a little similar to the Japanese broker. I was entering a large option trade for a client and clicked on “sell” when I meant to click on “buy”. The trade was for 50 puts (5000 shares) on a stock that was moving very quickly. I had the trade “busted” and re-entered correctly. Fortunately the stock had moved in my favor and my error made about $5,000 for the firm in a time span of about two minutes. Had it moved against me, the error would have come out of my pocket.

  6. Chrees says:

    I don’t want to go into details even though I’m semi-anonymous. But it was around $1.4 million and had to do with letters of credit. It ended up semi-OK for my company, but talk about feeling sick for a long time… Let’s just say “trust but verify” is a good business outlook to have as well.


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