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Just One Mistake

I have three children and seven grandchildren. I worked full time while raising my family. I have been there.


You Made A Mistake

  • Spilled coffee on the report you have been working on all week
  • Forgot the decimal in your travel request
  • Embarrassing typo
  • Said the wrong thing in front of the Boss

There are millions more, right? We all make mistakes. Though some have more impact than others. It is sometimes our fault and sometimes someone else's fault, but the blame has to fall somewhere. Mistakes are part of being human. We all make them. And we all pay the price.

Can We Forget and Move On

Many can seemingly fail and win at the same time. They move on and up while the rest of us struggle to win back the trust because of one mistake. Mistakes can hold us back because we feel so guilty about not catching them in the first place. While everyone checks their work before giving it to their supervisor, many can still miss it. And everyone in the workplace finds out. How embarrassing. Moving on can be difficult when you are constantly reminded by co-workers that you did something stupid.

Relax and Accept, It Will Come Back To Haunt You If You Don't



Fixes are available for such situations. You can rise above mistakes and soar higher and higher. How?

  • Never deny a mistake you have made. Blaming everyone but yourself can make you look self-serving. It can also give you a bad reputation among your supervisors.
  • If a member of your team (that you supervise) makes a mistake, accept it as your fault. This will help keep your teammates loyal to you and tell your supervisors that you are a great leader.
  • Have someone from your team proofread your final work to find errors you might have missed. When we reread something over and over, it is a fact that our mind will fill in what should be there while we scan for errors. Just like when we look at things and often find faces in the patterns.
  • Work with your team, all of your team. By including your whole team, you can show the leadership skills needed to rise in your career. It can also give you the chance to correct things your team may have missed.
  • Give credit to the whole team, not just you, when there is a good response to the work.
  • Take the time to thank people for their hard work or the efforts they put in to give you needed information.
  • Do not embarrass a team member for their mistake, we all make them. A simple request to fix the problem is usually best in this situation. By not calling them out in front of others, you will help them to do the same when they are in charge.
Imagine this on your project's report that is your only copy.....

Imagine this on your project's report that is your only copy.....

Complaining or Accepting

We all know the people that give your ideas as their own. They take the credit for your hard work. They make the most mistakes and others pay the price. Here are some ideas that may help.

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  1. Supervisors may see the continuous complaints as you whining so try another tact.
  2. It can be something that you need to address with the individual before you run to the boss.
  3. Keep twists and additions to yourself until presented. This would make it difficult for your supervisor to answer questions about the details and give you a chance to shine.
  4. Speak honestly to your boss when discussing thefts, but be conscious of the fact that the big boss has been listening to the words of your supervisor as he claims your work, so word it carefully.
  5. Keep notes and drafts as proof.
  6. Know when the time has come for you to claim the credit on the project.
  7. By accepting the acts of theft quietly, you could help them rise while endangering your own career. Sometimes we all need to step up for ourselves. If the reaction is negative, keep in mind that the person still working there won't have any more brilliant ideas.
  8. Be polite and do not fill your claim with insults or accusations. Instead, give credit for what they did do. Insults cause more trouble and could cost you your job.
  9. Take the time to do the research and get the true expected results. He may take the credit, but the boss will take notice if you are the one asking questions before the report is handed to him.
Guess he can't hide it anymore.

Guess he can't hide it anymore.

Before You Blame Others

Check your own work first. Typos, wrong numbers, wrong information used, and so on, can be so simple, but so costly. And, it may be that you made the mistake and the team followed your information. Never believe that you are perfect. Perfect people cannot exist in a world of good needs bad and bad needs good. We do not live in a perfect world. By accepting the fact that you may be the cause, you prove one very valuable point; that we can all make mistakes.

Could I have made a mistake?

Could I have made a mistake?

Murphy's Law in General

Muphy's Law, in general, means that no matter how good your work is, and how hard you work at perfectionism, something will always go wrong. A misspelling, a word used incorrectly, or even a fact recorded incorrectly can make the whole thing wrong. It could also be embarrassingly funny to peers and supervisors alike. The rest of the day, week, or even month will be ruined. But that is not the worst that can happen. Often, a supervisor will assign you less and less important work because of a simple mistake that follows you seemingly forever. So expect the worst, well a mistake at least, and be happy when it doesn't happen.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Cheryl Simonds

I would love to hear from you.

Cheryl Simonds (author) from Connecticut on October 06, 2021:

Thank you Peggy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 02, 2021:

As you wrote, everyone makes mistakes. Accepting responsibility, moving on, and learning from it, makes for the best outcomes. Your work setting tips are good ones.

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