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Mistakes Lead to Surprising Lessons

Ever mess up on the job? Or fall asleep?! We all make the mistakes. The important thing is to pick up and start fresh, to move on.

A positive outcome from falling asleep at work.

All this humid weather in New York is making me a little sleepy. The other day I was texting my dad during my lunch break, and I told him I’d had to get a coffee to boost my energy. “Summer is a tough season–it makes you sleepier even though it’s brighter out!” I wrote.

He replied, warning me not to take a nap at work. “Remember?” he said.

Read More: The Positive Power of Humor

I had to laugh. You see, back in the day, my first college summer internship was at the company where my dad worked. We’d carpool to work together, then go our separate ways to different buildings. One day, my supervisor took me to visit one of the company’s other worksites. He had a meeting, so I was ushered to a random desk and given a tall stack of papers to read through. Just busy work. I can’t remember the content, but it was very, very boring.

So boring that I felt my eyes getting heavier and heavier. “Just put your head down on the desk for a little bit,” I told myself. It’s not like I’d actually fall asleep. No, I just needed to rest my eyes for a few seconds so that I could return to my reading, refreshed.

I put my head on the desk, closed my eyes and, yup, fell fast asleep. I’m not sure how long I was out. But I woke up just as my supervisor was approaching my desk on his way back from his meeting. His expression was stern.

“Let’s go,” he said.

On the way back to our building, I tried to explain myself. “It’s a study technique,” I said.

“You do not fall asleep at work,” he told me.

I was mortified. I’d never recover from this onethe internship was ruined; my boss would never look at me the same way. And what would my dad say? I’m sure he didn’t want to be known as the father of the girl who sleeps at work as a study technique!

On the way home from work, I recounted the story to my dad in the car. I’ll never forget his reaction–he couldn’t stop laughing. He wasn’t mad at all. It was such an embarrassing moment. And yet he made it seem like it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world.

Looking back on it now, I’m kind of astounded at my dad’s response. And his love for me, so much like God’s. I expected him to be angry, disappointed. Instead, he just wanted to put me at ease so I could start fresh at work the next day.

That’s exactly what I did. It turned out to be a great internship. By the end of the summer, I even got a glowing review from my boss. And I walked away from the experience with a closer connection to my dad and one very important lesson learned:

Whatever you do, do not fall asleep at work!

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