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I am the junior most employee working in a consulting company. Recently my senior asked me to purchase some equipment for him while he was away on travel. The equipment is very expensive and I do not have a company credit card, so my senior instructed me to ask a colleague to use theirs. However, no one provided me with one.

I explained the situation to my senior, and his reaction was, "You should be able to resolve all issues on your own." He then escalated the issue with higher level employees telling them that I was not doing my job properly. It was only then that another employee provided me with their credit card. This was when the senior most management also got involved and the entire office thought, I was not working "properly".

How should I have resolved this situation and what should I do now to repair my image?

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    Voting to close because this sounds like a big misunderstanding that you need to clear up in a face to face with management. – NotMe Jan 5 '16 at 16:34
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    OP: we sort of get what happened but you're still very vague on the particulars. It sounds to me like you should just clear up how to handle this scenario with your manager should it come up again in the future. There's no actual question to answer in your post.. – Lilienthal Jan 5 '16 at 17:03
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    @spunkpike I made some significant edits to your question. Please make sure that everything is accurate, and if not, edit the question to fix it. I still do not know what your actual question is though. What specific outcome are you looking for? – David K Jan 5 '16 at 17:43
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    My recommendation would be for you to ask your manager (or whoever is complaining) what you should have done differently. Perhaps they will be able to tell you. At the very least you could show that you sincerely want to do better, so asking for help sounds like the best way to do that. – Francine DeGrood Taylor Jan 6 '16 at 23:23
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    It's hard to know without more details.. I work in consulting so this situation does not surprise me. Are you sure you were clear to your colleagues on why you required their credit card and that this came from your manager ? It's possible that they did not understand fully. Also, maybe you work with jerks. Equally possible. – ApplePie Jan 7 '16 at 17:46
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Let me try to summarize:

  1. You were asked to do something that was impossible for you to do.
  2. You told your boss that.
  3. Boss suggests asking someone else to help
  4. No one else would help.
  5. Boss gets upset at you because the job didn't get done.

I'm not really sure what there is to do here. The only legitimate complaint your boss has is that you could have skipped step 2. You could have gone directly to someone else and ask for help. I don't think that would have changed the outcome, but at least it shows that you tried to resolve the issue on your own.

The rest of this mess is on your boss. He could have purchased the equipment himself. He could have given someone else the authority to purchase it on your behalf. He could have assigned this task to anyone except the lowest ranking person in the office. And he could have not complained about you to everyone.

If this ever happens again, ask your boss to give you the authority you need to get the job done. When you realize you do not have the means to buy the equipment, you should ask your boss to email someone else who does. Without that explicit grant of authority from your boss, I don't see how anyone else would help you. Your boss should say to that third person, spunkpike will handle everything, we just need you to provide your credit card. This is something your boss should have thought of on his own, but he didn't. So you have to.

Congratulations, you are the scapegoat! I wouldn't try to repair your image. There's nothing really to repair. You can expect that most everyone above you already knows you got scapegoated. Going forward, just be good at what you do and no one will remember this whole affair. The positive outcome from all of this is that no one will ever ask you to purchase stuff again!

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