I made a mistake at work. Phew. There we go, I’ve said it, I’ve admitted and I’m moving on.
When I first sat down to write this post, there was only one thing I knew to be certain, I’d messed, ballsed up, f*cked up.
No matter how I dressed it up, I messed up at work. And the whole office knew it.
And yes, I did feel super embarrassed and ashamed and wished the ground would swallow me up. In the brief aftermath, I think I even mentally calculated how long I could financially last if I just ran away.
I mean I wouldn’t run away, because I am far too stubborn and proud, but in the moments post-mistake, it feels bloody tempting doesn’t it?
Over the years though I’ve realised there are a few things that can help you get over it (even if you don’t forget it.)
- Get Some Perspective
Firstly, is an exercise from the book Fuck It – imagine you have a jet pack that flies you up higher than the trees, higher than the clouds. You can barely see the buildings anymore, let alone people. Decades seem to pass in the blink of an eye, you see forests grow and die. Cities rise and fall. From this high up, you can see how insignificant you/your mistake is in the grand scheme of things.
Basically, find some perspective. I like to ask myself, in all honesty, will I be dwelling on this mistake five years on? If not, it’s not worth ruining a good week for.
- Learn Where You Went Wrong
Secondly, as cringe inducing as it is, examine what you did. Don’t just include factors present in the office, as I strongly believe the outside environment can impact your work too. Find out where you went wrong and why you went wrong.
Work out what factors affected your performance and what can you do to manage this in the future. Sure not everything that affects you will be under your control, but knowing it might trip you up means you can give yourself time prepare or form a Plan B.
- Have A Reality Check
Finally, remember careers are in essence like Instagram. (Bear with me on this one)
I don’t think I’m alone in saying I love finding out about people’s career journeys, but whether your talking to a friend or researching a rising star of your field you’re not getting the full picture.
Chances are you’re getting their highlight reel, an edited version just like their Insta profile. Though maybe not as visually pleasing.
It may be that they want to sound impressive, or perhaps that presentation that bombed is still to painful to recall. Maybe they’ve just moved on and forgot. Either way, you cannot compare their career to your own journey, with a clear memory of your mistakes and no to little information on there’s.
At the end of the day, all we can do is own up, learn and move on.
And order an extra large gin at the weekend.
P.S If you’re interested in finding out more about my career to date, you can find out more on my Linkedin