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Staff Recommender: Meet The Guy Who Literally Wrote The Book On Awkward Situations

The most interesting things on and off the Internet this week, curated by Fast Company staff.

Staff Recommender: Meet The Guy Who Literally Wrote The Book On Awkward Situations
Joe’s first book came out on October 6th. It’s called You Blew It: An Awkward Guide To The Many Ways In Which You’ve Already Ruined Your Life
Joe BerkowitzPhoto: Celine Grouard for Fast Company

Name: Joe Berkowitz
Role at Fast Company: Staff editor
Twitter: @joeberkowitz
Titillating Fact: Joe’s first book came out on October 6th. It’s called You Blew It: An Awkward Guide To The Many Ways In Which You’ve Already Ruined Your Life, and it documents all the cringeworthy possibilities lurking in all of our personal and professional lives. He and coauthor Josh Gondelman are celebrating the release with The Worst Book Launch Ever, an event that was funded on Kickstarter within an hour, and will involve inappropriate music, disagreeable food, and forced social interaction. For this week’s Recommender, however, Joe is going to disclose the most awkward, day-ruining moments he’s ever had on the job at Fast Company.

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1. I accidentally told R. Kelly that I’d only watched “Trapped In The Closet” for the first time the previous day. It had been out for seven years, and the interview was about “Trapped In The Closet.” You could fit a couple new chapters in the series within the silence that followed.

2. I went on a marketing-related adventure with Heineken that involved helicopters and the high seas. At one point, I had to make conversation on a boat with a bunch of improv actors who were pretending to be rich European vacationers. Eventually, I got so uncomfortable that I demanded they break character.

3. In 2014, I was invited to cover a new campaign against sexual assault on campus that President Obama was kicking off at a White House press conference. I asked my contact what I should wear to the event and she said I’d be fine with “a long-sleeve button up shirt” and “maybe some nice jeans.” So that’s what I wore. As it turns out, that is not what I should have worn. Everybody else looked amazing. It was pretty much wall-to-wall fancy wedding gear in there. Luckily, there was one guy whose hairstyle was a shaved head with just one lonely, serpentine, ginger dreadlock of Counting Crows-level girth, so even though I was the most underdressed, I may not have looked the most ridiculous. Eye of the beholder, I guess.

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