Starting the Conversation: Where Does the Buck Stop

By: Marianne Reid Anderson

In addition to my work here at Northern Connection, I also have my own sideline business where I recently had a rather unpleasant experience. A person who shall remain nameless inadvertently sent me a different file than the one she “meant” to send me. When I opened the file, technically everything was correct and so I assumed it was her final draft and distributed it accordingly.Buck Stops imge

Then, oops, as it turned out, she had sent the wrong file from the one she had “meant” to send. To my mind, I thought, “Mistakes happen.” Since we can’t change the past, I assumed we would work together to see what we can do to correct it going forward.

But alas, rather than take any responsibility for sending the incorrect file, she started the blame game in which, apparently, I was to be a psychic, mind-reader and intuitively know that it wasn’t the file she “meant” to send. Pardon me?

Not only that, but during her blame game, she was belligerent, rude, unprofessional and even used profanity. Naturally, she and her boss ended up parting ways.

But it got me thinking. None of that had to happen. If she just accepted that she sent the wrong file, we could have worked together to correct the situation. Instead, it was more important to her to have someone else to blame. My question is, why? Mistakes happen. Granted the written word is powerful, but in this instance, no one’s lives were at risk; no information being disseminated was incorrect. Why the drama?

Obviously, I’ve been speculating on possible answers since it happened but what do you think? Where does the buck stop? Let’s continue the conversation on my blog at, email me at or send me a “Letter to the Editor” at P.O Box 722 Wexford, PA 15090-0722 attn: Marianne Reid Anderson.