On embarrassing yourself at work

Soooo… I’ve had my current job for approximately 5 months you know a reasonable amount of time. However because of the 4 offices and the necessity of working remotely I don’t spend a significant amount of personal time with my coworkers or department. So when I do I really still want to make a good impression as they don’t really know me personally they just know my work. So I was really excited for our team building day. A section of our department/who was available was going up to one of our camps for team building exercises on the boats and high ropes course.

The boating went fine. It was pretty easy and fun on a hot day. We only could talk a little but everyone was really nice. I did splash out of my boat but that was expected and in fact told them that it was a 100% chance of flipping over. If nothing else I deliver.

Lunch went fine and then we went to do high ropes. I was excited and truly not that worried. It was a course built for campers. I did get nervous as I got into my harness. The guides made sure it was super super tight “just in case”. The first couple activities were pretty easy, a rock wall, the broken bridge, etc. Then I got to the Caterpillar. It was 5 floating beams. One long one actually had to be held from below on both sides to keep it steady. There were upward ropes on each beam to connect it towards the top and move a long with the rope and carabiner for the section.

Now to set the scene we are 30 feet in the air and I hadn’t done physical exercise in many moons. Right when I was almost at the end reaching for the last beam. I missed the rope, I couldn’t grab it and my foot slipped. I was one foot dangling and really couldn’t seem to move forward. I fell. In front of 5 coworkers, my boss, and my boss’s boss. They all went from cheering me on to being incredibly concerned. Now I don’t know if you have ever had a panic attack 30 feet off of the ground in an incredibly tight harness around people you work with that didn’t know you at all. It is not great.

It got so bad that at one point I felt that I couldn’t move. and my one friend who was the facilitator of that leg asked if we had a puke bag up there. It was not a great look. It took very literally all the strength I had (was sore for 4 days) and about 30 minutes to finish and zip line down. Then I had to recover…  I was so anxious that I did feel like vomiting. I was so hot and tired I felt faint and then I had to go move and talk with my boss and boss’s boss and coworkers.

It was not something I knew how to say: you don’t know me but that was a moment of weakness and panic and fear and please still trust me with this job, the money, and reputation of our company a lot of which relies on me remaining calm and sensible under pressure.

They were all very nice but I feel like I am still in such a vulnerable place with them. I am the youngest person at my work and I don’t want for anyone to feel that they have to take care of and it kinda feels like now they do.

I have now recovered physically from the embarrassment and struggle. I am still working on recovering socially. Wish me luck.


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