After WarnerMedia blamed an unnamed intern for an errant test email message sent to HBO Max subscribers this week, the internet responded with a flood of good vibes for the gaffester.
On Thursday, June 17, HBO Max “mistakenly sent out an empty test email to a portion of our HBO Max mailing list,” according to the service’s customer help account on Twitter. “We apologize for the inconvenience, and as the jokes pile in, yes, it was the intern. No, really. And we’re helping them through it.” The email in question had the subject line “Integration Test Email #1” and said in the body, “This template is used by integration tests only.” (That was the entire message.)
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The HBO Max email fail — in addition to yielding a bounty of memes and mirth itself — spawned a wave of “Dear Intern” missives on social media.
Among those weighing in with words of support for the anonymous intern thrown under the bus: Monica Lewinsky, one of the world’s most famous ex-interns. “dear intern: it gets better,” Lewinsky tweeted, followed by a heart emoji, adding. “ps. don’t wear a beret for awhile, k?”
it gets better.
ps. don’t wear a beret for awhile, k?
— Monica Lewinsky (she/her) (@MonicaLewinsky) June 18, 2021
One user on Twitter claimed that he caused a global outage when he worked at Spotify. He gave the intern kudos for highlighting a problem in HBO Max’s email marketing system.
“Dear intern, I once globally took down Spotify,” wrote “Daenney,” whose bio identifies him as “ex-Spotify.” “It almost happened twice. My team was awesome about it and I’m still here. You managed to find something broken in the way integration tests are done. It’s a good thing and will help improve things. Good luck <3.”
Also commiserating was an Amazon Web Services principal engineer, who tweeted, “Dear intern, It’s ok. I dropped a prod database when I was a senior engineer. These things happen more often than you might think. Building good systems is about having resilience against human mistakes. Because we, humans, always make mistakes.”
Others were moved to share their own mortifying and/or hilarious stories of workplace screwups.
Dear Intern, when I was 25 I made a PDF assigning each employee to the Muppet they reminded me of the most. I meant to send it to my work friend, but I accidentally sent it to the entire company. My supervisor (Beaker) wanted to fire me, but the owners (Bert & Ernie) intervened. https://t.co/zMKvQ6nxjj
— aerin. (@AerinChevyFord) June 18, 2021
It's an email. At least you didn't erase the entire Community Access TV station's chyron graphics archive on accident.
A Broadcast Engineer who once erased all the chyron graphics at a Community Access TV Station by accident when he was an intern.
— Mark "Noodles" Kewman (@mkewman) June 18, 2021
Dear Intern, I was using my desktop calendar to make a monthly note of when I started my menstrual period, but after several months I realized I was making that note on a calendar I shared with all of my colleagues company wide. I was 37 years old.
— Caissie (@Caissie) June 18, 2021
And one commenter applauded the intern’s marketing success — pointing out that HBO Max got a bump of free publicity from the email goof, without any real PR downside.
— Aubry Andrews (@AubryAndrews) June 18, 2021
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