DURING MY LUNCH BREAK, I received one of those phone calls from the office that you never want to receive—the kind that can be career ending. I had been working in the mortgage banking industry for two years after graduating from college, and had just concluded a very important transaction. Or so I thought. Since I was under the impression that everything had been finalized, I had already passed along the good news to my client and the other parties involved.
What I learned from that phone call, however, was that the final monies that I had told everyone had been transferred had actually been stopped at the last minute due to a bank error, which had not been caught until it was too late. When I returned from lunch, I was going to have to break the bad news to everyone, and the whole deal would almost certainly unravel.
All I could think about was that my client (who also happened to be an important business associate) was going to lose tens of thousands of dollars in deposit money, along with his ability to buy the home he wanted. The people selling the house, who needed the sale money to move, were also going to lose the new home they had agreed to buy. Even though the mistake was not my fault, my business reputation was not likely to recover from this kind of disaster.
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