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by Abigail Van Buren

Dinner Disaster Makes Party Planner Want to Disappear

DEAR ABBY: I am a confident, well-established administrative professional who has worked with an executive team most of my career.

I organized a very large company party and, because my regular caterer didn't specialize in the kind of barbecue that was needed, I took a chance on an unknown one. I had never used this caterer, but went on the recommendation of three colleagues I trust.

In the end, it was the most humiliating disaster I've ever experienced. Not only was there not enough food, but it was presented in a sloppy, unprofessional manner. No beverages arrived, so we had to do without them for the event.

I have never had anything like this happen before, and the responsibility was mine. It was embarrassing for me and the people I work with. I couldn't even show my face. I stayed in the background trying to fix things as best I could.

I can't seem to get past this. I feel like a failure. I am seriously thinking of applying for a job at another company so I can put it all behind me. I had red flags along the way, but ignored them because I trusted the individuals who recommended the caterer. What are your thoughts? -- WISH I'D GONE WITH MY GUT

DEAR WISH: You're a perfectionist, and I respect that. But before you punish yourself by throwing away a perfectly good career with your current company over one regrettable screwup, please consider that nobody bats 1000. Yes, what happened was regrettable, but it's in the past. It's possible that the recommended caterer was also having a bad day. If you need absolution, discuss this with your employer. You have learned your lesson. Now let it go.