My biggest gaffe: Mixing up my Davids over email

Phil Caplin, director at Good Broadcast, a standalone division at Good Relations, learned via an email mix-up that the best bosses are kind.

Phil Caplin
Phil Caplin

When I first arrived in London, wide-eyed and ready to try to make my way in broadcast PR, I got myself into a ridiculous situation on email that always makes me laugh.

Two weeks into my first job at a specialist broadcast agency, I emailed my housemate ‘David’, who was an account manager at a big London PR agency, one of our biggest clients. We had been emailing each other all day, ironing out the details for a series of radio interviews, when I realised I had muddled the email addresses on the thread. I had sent the entire thread to the agency’s chairman, who shared my housemate’s first name.

While most of the conversation with said housemate had been about work, we were also discussing setting me up on a date with his cousin, the future Mrs Caplin.

There was a real ‘head in hands’ moment when I realised I had copied in the wrong David. I was worried I had seriously messed things up with one of our biggest clients. This chairman had been so charming that I hadn’t realised I had copied in the wrong David. 

He ended up inviting me to their agency staff party where I met some great people and got my first taste for mixing business and pleasure. I have never looked back. I count former clients among my very good friends. But perhaps the most important lesson from this was that you should always be kind and respectful to others – no matter how young and inexperienced.

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