I totally messed up at work the other day.
So the other day, I got an e-mail asking me why I hadn’t hit a certain deadline.
Here’s what happened while I was reading that:
My heart sank, I got all sweaty, my heart started pounding, and I felt like a total loser because I just forgot.
That’s right, just totally forgot about it.
Epic failure status.
But you know what? It taught me something. It obviously taught me that I need to freaking look at my assignment schedule, but it also taught me how to handle work mess ups like a total boss.
Here’s how you do that:
- APOLOGIZE. MAKE SURE IT’S CLEAR THAT YOU’RE SORRY.
First of all, you have to be sorry. Like, really really sorry. You have to feel bad about it, and you have to make sure that your boss or your client or your customer knows that. So what did I do? I e-mailed my client and I started off my e-mail with how sorry I was.
- DON’T OFFER EXCUSES. JUST BE HONEST AND OWN UP TO YOUR FAILURE.
I could have then continued to tell my client that I had a family emergency. I could have told her that my cat almost got hit by a car or that my nonexistent child was in the emergency room. I could have said that my computer erased all my files and that I’d been at the Apple store all morning. There are a million things I could have told him, some that he may actually have believed, but you know what I told him? I told him that I was so sorry, it was inexcusable and I don’t know how it happened, but I totally just forgot about it. Because that was the truth. I sucked. I failed. It was my fault. But you know what? That’s okay sometimes, and it’s definitely a lot better than playing the blame game. No one likes that game, and when you play it, you end up looking like an idiot.
- DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO FIX IT.
So once you’ve acknowledged that you messed up, do whatever you can to fix it. Ask the person you’re trying to reconcile with, “What can I do to fix this?” At the very least, it shows that you care enough to try to make things better, and most of the time, there IS stuff you can do to fix it.
- ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR MISTAKES.
You screwed up. It happens. We’re human! And while sometimes there IS something you can do to fix it, other times you can’t.
- LEARN FROM IT AND DON’T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.
When you mess up at work, the important part is that you learn something, like I did, and you do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
And that my friends is how you handle mistakes like a BOSS.
Has this ever happened to you? Any other good advice on epic failures? Let me know!
Love & Sparkle,