I sat, nibbling on my left thumbnail, arms crossed, staring at the unsent email response, which was in its third or fourth iteration. I was responding to a question from my boss, asking if a particular task had been completed within a project. It had not. Since I had taken great care to ensure I had the multiple elements of this project on point, my initial reaction was that he never asked me to do it. But after searching my emails, I learned that indeed he had -- the week before in a flurry of other project-related messages.
Apparently I missed it. Well, not necessarily. I had read the email. In fact I had printed it out and pinned it to my bulletin board. But the way the task was outlined, there's a whole line of rationale that had me thinking he was talking about something else. Classic misunderstanding. Go figure.
And there I was, typing and retyping, trying to figure out how to apologize and admit to my boss that I was unclear on the instructions and therefore the task was not done.
Fortunately, I caught myself.