How one mistake duplicated a database… Part 2

Upon reaching the office on the next day I get messages saying that the database has been duplicated. There are thousands of records which have been duplicated. Work seems to be slowed down or even halted for this company and it was because of me. *internally freaking out*.

  • DON’T Try not to panic too much (easier said than done). Whatever method works for you – just calm the nerves so you can start working on your solution. This was hard for me, especially given the fact that I felt like everyone’s eyes were piercing my soul but I just stopped everything and took a minute to calm myself.

Quickly, I tried to figure out what it was that I had messed up. I soon realised there was one piece of information different between the original records and the newly uploaded ones. Unfortunately, this was probably the most important information about the data.

  • DO I told you I’d make more dot points if I had to: Check your work.

Basically, I matched the records incorrectly. This caused me to instead create rather than update thousands of records. After identifying this all I had to do was delete the information with a new type. Unfortunately, even though I was ‘calm’ I was still in a panicked rush to try and rectify the mistakes I had made. Hastily rushing, I had eventually fixed the mistake but I had triggered some processes that sent out a few thousand emails to some individuals (sorry).

  • DON’T Rush to complete your assignment. Take a few extra minutes to make sure it is done correctly. Check your work. In this case, I was so caught up in trying to fix the problem I had caused that I had forgotten about other processes that could be affected by my actions.

Eventually, after what was probably one of the most stressful days I’d experienced (so far) I had finally fixed the problem. Some co-workers checked the company’s data and confirmed it to be correct.

  • DO If you’re unsure about something you are working on or have completed, get a colleague to check it over for you. It’s better to make sure it is correct the first time than to get it wrong and have to go to them anyway.

A massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders and the world was suddenly a better place. I looked back at the work I had completed and I realised that my panic was quite an overreaction. Not to say that it wasn’t justified but I was thinking of all sorts of bad things (including the possibility of losing my job). This probably isn’t as bad for those who don’t easily get nervous but for those who do: It’s all going to be alright.

  • DON’T Think that everything you do has to be all done by yourself. If you need support, with anything (even not work related), don’t be hesitant to ask someone for some help. It’s not you against the world.

Although this was one of the scariest things I had encountered (and I’ve seen some large spiders) it was definitely positive overall. I learned a huge amount about data migration, more than doing multiple easy tasks (hopefully I won’t have to make a second blog titled: ‘Dos and Don’ts #2– How I made the same mistake’).

I also learned a lot about myself. I hadn’t really been put under that sort of stress and it was interesting to see how I dealt with it. When I started this job I always thought to myself ‘I won’t be that employee that makes a mistake’ (so naive). But looking forward I now know that I will make more mistakes (unintentionally, of course) and that the world will NOT end when it happens. What’s important is trying to fix the mistake and if you’re stuck, get someone to help you.

We’re all in this together, working collectively for a common goal.


  • Check your work
  • Take on a challenge
  • Ask for help if you’re stuck
  • Get someone to check your work if you’re unsure
  • Check your work


  • Assume everything has been completed correctly until checked
  • Panic – Try and remain calm
  • Rush to finish your work 



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