Ever fall asleep on your keyboard? Of course you have. Who doesn’t know the fuzzy horror of waking up with an indentation on your cheek and NNNNNNNNNN across that all-important document?
When it comes to one bank staffer in Germany, those NNNNNNNNNNs would’ve been far preferable to the numerical digits she wound up snoozing into existence when she accidentally transferred $295 million from a customer’s account.
The figure — actually 222,222,222.222 euros — tell the tale. The clerk dozed off while she was moving funds for a customer, a pensioner on a fixed income, in the amount of 62.40 euros ($82.80). Unfortunately, her finger was still pressed on the number 2 key, and she didn’t even notice the issue at the time, which is why her boss fired her last year. The only reason the story comes to light now is that a German labor court just ruled that the dismissal was unfair.
The 48-year-old staffer, who had been employed at the bank since 1986, could have — perhaps should have — caught the error, but she oversees hundreds of transactions per day. At most, she only has about three seconds to inspect each one. The court empathized with her, admonished the employer for not merely giving her a warning and ordered that she be reinstated.
As for the whopping amount of money, the bank has a system in place to catch mistakes, so the multi-million dollar transaction didn’t go through. If it had, the lawsuit around this incident would probably be very different.
Let this be a lesson: If you’re in finance, investments or any other field where accuracy is paramount, make sure you get some sleep before hitting those keyboards.