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I have been working at my company for a number of years and have recently been accepted to begin training for another role where my principal duty will be to negotiate contracts with third parties. Part of my responsibilities are to host meetings with these vendors (currently through webex) to discuss current issues/future plans. I began the first few meetings with my prospective supervisor leading the discussion, and am now free to lead them without supervision.

My very first meeting I hosted began on the wrong foot, with the members being annoyed with the notification settings of the meeting. Unfortunately, although I was hosting this meeting, I was not the creator of it, and thus had no ability to change settings; the meeting progressed regardless. The final incident occurred shortly after I had heard some background noise in my house. It was about to be my moment to speak, and I did not want to ruin the meeting in anyway, so I got up with my laptop and moved to another room. Inexplicably, the meeting had closed during this and nobody was able to reenter. This caused a lot of issues for everyone as another meeting was unable to be recreated on short notice such that everyone was able to rejoin seamlessly. Some were unable to rejoin the new one for some reason. This caused further issues because meetings needed to be pushed back to accommodate this technical issue for others and suffice it so say: people were unhappy.

The fault was assumed to be mine, and I cannot deny this. As an alternate host I am technically able to end the session for everyone, but the confounding issue is that there were two other people that have this ability. I also have doubts that it was me because there is a confirmation dialog to prevent accidents like that. This still does not exonerate me because it is technically possible that some stroke of bad luck caused me to accidentally hit both the "end session" button and the confirmation right after.

Despite nobody having gone to the effort to retrieve any logs of the incident, I am now going to be in a meeting in a few days regarding my competency for this position. I am unsure if I should simply accept the blame and be more mindful of my work environment in the future to prevent any mistakes from occurring, or explain the full situation, that I am unsure if it even was my doing, and that it would be unfair for them to base their judgement of fitness based off of this. However, I fear that this will just be interpreted as passing off blame to someone else.

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    Are you expected to be the technology expert as part of this role? Many companies and conferencing providers are struggling through the current environment. I would hope your boss does not punish you because one conference call went down – cdkMoose Sep 16 '20 at 19:43
  • @cdkMoose I have enough of a tech background that I am expected to have some insight into how long things can take to develop, but not in that I am to maintain the meetings as an end. So I guess to your point I am at least perceived as the person who owns the technical side of issues. – user121380 Sep 16 '20 at 20:41
  • Tech support for failed video conferences is probably not in your job description and especially since it was someone else's call, this shouldn't be that big a deal.There are plenty of reasons for a call to drop that are not your responsibility and even if you accidentally killed it when you moved, you were trying to do the right thing. – cdkMoose Sep 16 '20 at 21:48
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This is tricky to answer without knowing how your boss handles similar situations, and your previous job performance.

I'll make two assumptions:

  1. Your boss is fair and understanding.
  2. This is the first negative situation that could be attributed to you.

Under these conditions, I would accept the blame in a very specific way. First, I would outline what the situation was exactly. Someone else was the main presenter. There were many people with control over the presentation. There was background noise outside of your control, so you had to relocate which may have inadvertently ended the meeting. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as the host so don't give up that control.

Next, I would speak to why it won't happen again. You will be the one to create the meeting and have full control if you are hosting. There will be one backup in case of technical difficulties. As for unanticipated background noise, there are services like Krisp which could help.

Taking responsibility but also speaking to solutions is the best path forward if your supervisor doesn't expect perfection. And in general, people shouldn't expect perfection. This also demonstrates that you've given detailed thought to the issue.

You say that nobody retrieved logs. Are you able to? Or are you able to get those permissions? Additionally, you're being spoken to "regarding my competency for this position". To me, that implies this is not the first negative event that has taken place in your supervisor's eyes. If this is all the case and the upcoming meeting isn't going well, potentially asking to be put on a performance improvement plan (PIP) could avert worse.

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