Job interviews can turn you into a bundle of nerves even when everything goes according to plan. So when something unexpected happens, it can add a whole new level of stress to the experience.
That’s a lesson that a student in Scotland learned the hard way when she showed up for a job interview a whole month early last year.
On Jan. 18, 2019, now-23-year-old Laura MacLean got up bright and early to ensure she’d be totally ready for a Skype interview with Microsoft at 11 a.m. When she still hadn’t heard from them at 11:15 a.m., she decided to email the recruitment team to make sure nothing was amiss.
The resulting email chain has since gone down in the annals of viral internet history. Turns out, MacLean was not only a month early for the interview, which was actually scheduled for Feb. 18, but also needed to be convinced that it was the wrong day. Although being that ahead of schedule did earn her praise for her punctuality from some fellow Twitter users.
“I think I was just so excited about the whole thing that I didn’t read the email properly and prepared for Jan. 18,” MacLean tells TIME. “It’s just so embarrassing when I think about it.”
MacLean says that she thought it would be better to laugh about the mix-up rather than cry about it, so she decided to share the email exchange on Twitter. But she adds that she never expected it to garner the amount of attention it did — her tweet has been liked over 181,000 times and retweeted 33,000 to date.
“It’s crazy because I genuinely didn’t think it would blow up at all,” she says. “I only tweeted it because I thought, ‘Well, I haven’t got the job so I may as well just laugh about it and let people laugh with me.'”
But MacLean says the mistake ultimately didn’t hurt her chances of landing the coveted marketing internship despite the worries she had over it throughout the process. She explains that after doing the Feb. 18 interview, she was invited to come to a Microsoft assessment center for the next and final step in the recruitment process.
“I couldn’t believe that I’d gotten to the assessment center stage,” she says. “I just thought, ‘I really hope that HR or anyone else doesn’t know about it and won’t talk about it in the interview.'”
But MacLean says that hope went out the window after an employee from Microsoft’s U.K. office in Reading, where she was scheduled to have her final interview, reached out to her on Twitter to tell her how funny she thought the whole thing was.
“I knew the Reading office had heard about it, so I was feeling a bit on edge,” she explains. “But it was fine, and I actually got hired into the team of the girl that had reached out to me.”
Since then, MacLean says that her time with Microsoft, where she works alongside the marketing department as a partner marketing adviser, has been nothing but enjoyable. “It sounds a bit cheesy but it’s honestly been such an incredible year,” she says, adding that she has been given opportunities and responsibilities that she never expected to have as an intern.
“I don’t know if it’s the same in every office, but in the U.K. office everyone is just so lovely,” she says. “You’re not treated like an intern, you’re treated like a full-time employee.”
Ultimately, MacLean says the whole experience has affirmed her belief that if a job opportunity doesn’t work out, it simply isn’t the right fit.
“The way I looked at it was that if Microsoft didn’t like me and didn’t like who I was in the interviews then it just wasn’t the right company for me,” she explains.
As for what advice she would give to anyone who experiences a similar professional mishap, MacLean recommends staying the course. “Just be yourself,” she says. “Mistakes are going to happen, you learn from them.”
After her internship ends in July, MacLean will return to Scotland for her final year at Robert Gordon University before graduating in 2021. Beyond that, she says that she’s still figuring out what comes next.
“I think about that stage in life and I think anyone can relate — I’m not sure [yet],” she says.