I've mentioned before that I used to work on Federal proposals in another life. My job was primarily coordination of team members, making sure that the engineers got me their technical portions of the proposal and sales got me the list of staff, then I would pull all these pieces together and make sure our proposal answered everything it was being asked to address. I was also in charge of making sure we maintained page count, font size, formatting, styles, in both the Technical and Business Volumes. I also got to make all the copies and assemble all the binders.
Scintillating, isn't it?
These were MAJOR undertakings and anyone involved had to clear their calendar for at least a month, while the pressure mounted each week until during the final few days NOTHING else is accomplished except last minute revisions and other proposal-related tasks.
One such proposal was hellish. It would have been a multi-million dollar contract stretching out over five or ten years. HUGE. We managed to get it pulled together and I dropped it off at FedEx just minutes before heading to our annual staff meeting we were holding off site...at a country club actually.
For the first time ever we were given drink tickets. I don't drink much, and CERTAINLY never at work functions. But being Friday afternoon and having just completed the proposal from hell, I decided I deserved a drink. I ordered a cosmopolitan. It was a little strong and I downed it faster than I probably should have. I ordered a 2nd one (and my last...only had 2 tickets). I felt that delicious warmth spread through my limbs and the tension of the last month melted away.
And then my boss (the company owner) asked me to tell everyone what I'd been doing for the last six months.
I didn't know I was going to have to talk, and I really don't do well on-the-spot.
I replied, "Paperwork"
It summed up the last 6 months rather brilliantly, actually. But she wanted more.
I laughed nervously
I said something along the lines of, "this is why I never drink"
Everyone laughed, and not in a reassuring way.
Our sales manager who was sitting next to me gallantly tried to save me, bless her heart.
I repeated the things she suggested to me. It was colossally awkward, and something I never lived down in the years that followed.
Boss apologized later, saying she thought she had warned everyone they were going to have the spotlight for 15 mins.
She never told me. That's not the kind of thing I would forget.