WORKPLACE / MAY. 22, 2014
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Don’t Get Screwed: Surviving a Workplace Blunder

Humans make mistakes – let us take this basic premise along as we read through this piece. Workplace mistakes are common and they are committed by everyone. If one didn’t make any mistakes, they would never learn and improve. No matter how good an employee you are, you cannot help making a workplace blunder. What is important is that you don’t get screwed. There are many ways to salvage a situation and you should use them to your advantage.

What could go wrong at your workplace? Many things… you could send the wrong email to the CEO; you could create an erroneous spreadsheet report; you could press “Reply All” when you had to press “Reply”. No matter how grave your error is, it is almost always too early to think about the pink slip.

When you make a costly blunder and everyone comes to know about it, don’t you feel like running into the jungle? When you feel that every pair of eyes is aimed at you, don’t you feel you could vanish? It happens to all of us. Some people cannot handle the situation and they change jobs. And some are smart enough to do damage control to bring things back to normal.

Admit your mistake

If you make a mistake, it is best to tell your boss. Your boss will definitely blast you away initially, but they will also help you out. Remember that your mistake wouldn’t reflect well on your boss when they speak to their boss. So, you can expect your boss to stand by you as you try  and find a solution together. Never hide your mistakes from your boss; it never pays.

Don’t make excuses

There is no point offering excuses for your mistake. No one gains anything from it. What matters most is that you are able to fix your error. Whining in front of your boss is only going to make things worse. Tell them what you intend to do as a remedy and they would be more willing to listen to you. Don’t act like a miserable human being. Take ownership of your blunder and offer to get the error right.

Fix your error

Don’t get screwed by any and every one after you make an error. Things can go from bad to worse if you just sit back to see what happens next. Don’t let the situation go out of control. Look for ways to salvage the effects of your workplace blunder. You need to survive your mistake and there are ways you can do it. You may want to talk to your boss or your client and explain the situation. If you are honest and show appropriate remorse, people will understand.

Take the sufferings in your stride

What is the worst that can happen to you when you make a big mistake? Your employer could sack you. They cannot do anything more than that, can they? If this happens, endure the suffering, but take it in your stride. Look for another job and you shouldn’t have trouble finding one. When you appear for your interview, you are bound to be asked why you want to change. Don’t hide the facts. Be honest and this would look good on you.

Take it easy

Yes, you did something wrong, something you shouldn’t have done. But don’t kill yourself because you made the blunder. Your company will not cease to exist because you made a mistake. Go easy on yourself. Don’t forget about the incident and be casual about it. Take it as a life lesson and move on.

These five smart damage controls will hurt, but they will ensure that you don’t suffer endlessly because you made a workplace blunder. You can still survive. People in the workplace are usually a forgiving lot; yes, even the most brutal boss has some elements of humanity in them. Handle the situation properly and salvage your mistake and you will not get screwed. Don’t sit and cry; instead look for ways to get things back to normal.

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