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Yesterday at work, I was finishing my morning espresso when my phone rang and in reaching for it, accidentally spilled some of the drink on the computer keyboard. I immediately unplugged the equipment and used paper towels to absorb as much of the liquid as possible, especially between the keys. So far, no damage has manifested itself, but I know damage to computers due to spilled liquids may not be immediate.

I am well liked at my company and have a good relationship with my peers and manager alike. My performance according to my most recent evaluation is excellent. My manager is very personable.

I feel terrible for my actions. I accept responsibility for any damage that might appear. My sloppiness in this case might have caused loss to the company and in hindsight, trying to do both actions was definitely not a good idea. I tried to salvage the situation to the best of my ability, but am uncertain about how my boss will respond / repercussions that may follow.

Should I inform my manager of this incident and if so, how can I do so most constructively?

  • How big is your company? Do you have an IT department? Also when you say keyboard, do you mean a laptop or actually a keyboard? – Bowen Jun 25 '15 at 23:28
  • @Bowen We do have an dedicated IT support team. It was a desktop computer with its physical keyboard. – Anthony Jun 25 '15 at 23:35
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    If a manager gets worked up over a drink spilled over a keyboard, I would think that is the least of your worries working there! – Jane S Jun 26 '15 at 0:12
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    Also, for perspective, a typical PC keyboard costs $10-20: amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Electronics-Computer-Keyboards/zgbs/… – jpatokal Jun 26 '15 at 0:27
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    As a former IT person, I can assure you there will be no problem. As Bowen says, things like this happen all the time, and with drinks way worse than an espresso (fizzy drinks and even beer!). IT departments know and buy keyboards and mouses in large quantities in advance. Hey, you may even end having a conversation about types of coffee with the IT people. =D – Trickylastname Jun 26 '15 at 2:26
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Go to your IT department and explain what happened. This is a normal occurrence for them. People spill drinks on their keyboards all the time. Since the computer itself was not harmed, they may just give you a new one, or you/your manager might have to request a new one.

I don't think you need to feel terrible. It was an accident. Every workplace deals with this type of loss. It's almost impossible for it not to happen when people spend so much time around their computers. If your manager does need to be involved just tell them what happened. Since your manager is personable I doubt they would get upset or think less of you.

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