CLIMBING THE CAREER LADDER Dealing with mistakes




Everything was running smoothly at work. The managers all think you’ve got ways to go in your career. Until one day, you stumbled and made ‘the mistake’. Not enough to get you fired on the spot but serious enough to get a reprimand – verbal or otherwise. It could be something as crucial as entering a wrong amount in a spreadsheet making the bottom line in a report wrong; or something as simple as misplacing a much-needed letter. And that’s it. You suddenly get the cold shoulder treatment. You’re in career limbo. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put your career back together again.


But hold it! Contrary to what you may be feeling right now, the world did not end. All you have to do is deal with your mistake.


First, after apologizing for it, shut up. Re-hashing it and blabbing about the what-ifs and should-haves will only keep you down. Finger-pointing is also not good at this point. It happened and you can’t go back in time to prevent it. Think instead of ways to earn good points again. Face it; you might have to re-start three rungs back in the career ladder again.


Next is to try and gain back lost ground. Volunteer for work – even the simplest task like filing, phone calls, etc – would lighten up somebody’s workload. Pretty soon, you’ll get trusted with the more serious matters again. Coming in early and less absences will also count a lot. Offer to help out a co-worker not only with their own work, but even outside of work-related errands. See if there are trainings or seminars being offered that you can attend to add to your skill and eventually use for the company.  


Lastly, treat the mistake as a stepping stone and not a stumbling block. Remember it as a learning experience and use it to your advantage. If the mistake started because of a lost letter, do better filing from now on. If it was due to a wrongly encoded number, triple check figures before giving it out. Better yet, find someone who can give you additional information or data to counter-check your amounts. Keep on practicing these measures and you’ll find that it will become second nature to you.


Keep your chin up. Success, they say, comes to those who stand up after they fall. You just have to add a little more to that adage – after getting up, start walking again.  Eventually, you’ll get there.