It’s inevitable, and most likely it is going to happen to everyone at some point during their career. You will mess up at work. Whether it be a large mistake, or a small one, it isn’t going to feel good. You’ll need to take action to help yourself and assist in fixing the mistake as soon as possible.
First of all, don’t overreact. While you may feel as if you’ve ruined everything, most messes can be fixed fairly easily. After you’ve realized that you made a mistake, don’t immediately start telling every person you encounter that you’re sorry. While you may think you’re being remorseful, it may just come off that you can’t handle yourself when you do make a mistake. Continuously, if you tell everyone your mistake you’re only stressing everyone else out as well. This isn’t necessary, especially if the mistake is easily mended. Before making any rash decisions just take a few breaths and act and think rationally, it’ll help a lot in the long run.
While overreacting to a slip-up is bad, not reacting at all is worse. If you a wait a few days and still haven’t fixed the problem yourself or told anybody about the mistake it’s going to seem as if you don’t care about your job. By waiting too long to mention the problem to someone if may also come off as if you’re too insecure in your job to confess your mistake. If you’re nervous about telling someone you made a mistake, try starting with admitting it to a coworker that you’re close with. They may be able to offer you advice to fix the problem yourself or give you enough confidence to contact the people needed to help you solve the problem.
After the mistake has been made, and you’ve told the necessary people, you’re going to have to prepare to reestablish your credibility. Depending on the size of the mistake and how you handled it, your credibility may suffer. Your boss may even feel it is necessary to have a meeting with you. However, as long as you handled both yourself and the issue well, your reputation shouldn’t be too affected. While you may want to stick your head in the sand and hide from your coworkers and boss, don’t do it. By hiding you’re only hurting your reputation more. Just remember that you’re a competent worker and sometimes mistakes are made.
Once the mistakes and consequences are behind you, let them stay behind you. Don’t dwell on your past mistakes. If you spend too much time thinking about your mistake you’re only going to shroud yourself in self-doubt, which could lead to another mistake. Don’t let your past mistake play a part in your current work.
Slipping up at work may seem like the end of the world, and you may feel like it’s the end of your career. If you treat the situation correctly and own up to your mistakes the mistake will most likely be alleviated and you will move on. So don’t take be afraid to admit to your mistakes, they happen to the best of us.
I am Courtney McGuane, I am an undergrad at Loras College studying media studies and creative writing. Most of my time is spent cooking, drinking coffee and hiking with my best friend. I really love traveling and I hope to go to every continent someday.