How to Recover From a Misteak on the Job

By Frances Chang, Vice President – communications 21

In a perfect world, we would all be — well — perfect, but it’s not a perfect world and we are not prefect. We sometimes make mistakes. If you’re like me, these errors can plague your thoughts at night as you beat yourself up over it – over and over again. The following are some steps on how to pick yourself up and recover after you have stumbled and fallen.

Woman officer worker with her head in her hands

The very first thing you should do after you have (or someone else has) discovered your mistake is to apologize and take accountability for your actions. This won’t rectify your mistake but will demonstrate your integrity and a willingness to learn and grow from the experience. Depending on the enormity, context and timing of the mistake, an apology may not be enough to save the client or your job, but you don’t have to let the setback define your career or you as a person.

The next step is to evaluate the cause of the mistake. Did haste lead to ineffective proofreading or prompt flawed decision-making? Was disorganization a factor? Did the research fall short? Was attitude a contributing factor to a misunderstanding or conflict? Identifying the source of the mistake allows you to take action to course correct and ensure that future missteps are avoided.

Slow down to proofread content before submitting it and remember spellcheck and Grammarly are your friends. (In my case, updating my glasses prescription helped cut down on my typos.) Focus exercises, organizing your workspace or reflecting on your own conduct can also help improve your workflow and prevent gaffes before it’s too late. (We all suffer from too much screentime and it is sometimes hard to catch errors scrolling on your computer — sometimes printing a copy can help.)

Finally, demonstrating that you have learned from your mistakes is key to rebuilding your professional relationships and instilling trust that the same mistake will not happen again going forward. If a blunder does lead to termination – you can still recover. Mistakes lead to experiences and experiences build character. Employers value character and desire employees who can grow with the company. You don’t have to dwell on the details but be honest with what you have learned from each experience, the steps you’ve taken to correct it, then express how you can incorporate your insights along with the value you can bring to the new position.

Don’t dwell in the past but use it to propel you forward. Every failure is a chance to become better.


You may also like

communications 21