If you can?t laugh at yourself, you might as well?go?live in a hole.? Making mistakes is part of life ? just the way it is.? Some mistakes are private, whereas others are excruciatingly public (like falling into a fountain or down steps while texting).? If you don?t make mistakes, how else can you expect to?learn, move forward, and?improve?

I?m sure I?ve made my fair share?of mistakes?over the past 9 years at Terraine!? Think Ugly Betty.? Remember how she walks into the office on her first day in full poncho-unibrowness, and slams into a glass window?

Yep, I was that girl.

On Day 1 of my new job at Terraine, I walked into the office and set off the alarm system. On my first day in the field with boss-man, I sampled the wrong well at a gas station (much lecturing ensued, and I?m pretty sure I nearly cried).? On my first solo sampling event, it rained sideways, every piece of equipment capable of breaking broke, and I ended up extending my Motel 6 room reservation next door to the toothless dude with the Foreman Grill for days beyond my sleep-on-cigarette-burned-sheets threshold.? Granted, that last example wasn?t my fault, but it taught me to be over prepared and organized for the unimaginable while doing field work (and to never stay at a Motel 6 again).

But one mistake that I?ll never live down (and may, at times, still have nightmares about) has to do with a piece of equipment used for groundwater sample collection.

According to the EPA Region 4, it is not acceptable to collect samples for organic compound analyses through the flexible tubing used in a peristaltic pump head.? Instead, a transfer assembly cap must be used.? Another name for this piece of equipment or method is ?purge-and-trap?.?? Say that 5 times fast.? Go on.? Do it!? Doesn?t it sound slightly like??Persian Trap??

But if you, while sampling, heard ?Persian Trap?, wouldn?t you say to yourself, ?Self, what the heck does groundwater sampling have to do with traps Persians set up for the Greeks?? ?Oh, but not me.? Somewhere out there, in?four?or?five?groundwater monitoring reports, in the description of fieldwork tasks sections, the following is written: ?Groundwater samples were collected using a Persian Trap lid to ensure that samples did not come into contact with tubing in the pump head.?

Nice.? Granted, this was years ago, but if anyone pulled out those reports?today, I?m pretty sure I?d do the army crawl right out of the room or hide under the nearest desk.

What mistake have you made in your professional career that you will for certain never make again?? Leave a comment.? We promise not to laugh where you can hear us.


Written by: Karen Baer

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