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How to Recover from Mistakes at Work

mistakes at work

Making a mistake at work, big or small, can make you want to bury your head in the sand and never show your face in the office again. Immediately, your thoughts start racing and you think you'll be disciplined, or even worse, fired. One thing to bear in mind is that there are very few mistakes that are so serious they result in termination. Most of the time, the situation isn't as bad as you imagined and can be dealt with in a professional manner. If you've recently had a workplace blunder, we can help you recover from it. Today we're going to explain some of the steps you can take to recover from mistakes at work!


Do you need to respond quickly?

There are some workplace errors that are more time-sensitive than others. For example, if you're working in a science lab and you've made a potentially harmful or dangerous mistake, then you need to act fast. Take a deep breath and decide what the immediate course of action needs to be. Most job roles where potentially dangerous mistakes can be made will have an 'emergency plan of action' that workers know about - a bit like a fire escape plan. 

Who do you need to tell?

In other job roles, for example, office or customer-facing roles, the mistake might not be dangerous or life-threatening which means you have a bit more time to come up with a suitable solution. An email sent to the wrong person or a deadline missed can be dealt with in a much calmer manner. Before you lose your cool and start apologising to everyone, it's best to work out who the mistake directly affects and turn to them first. You can quickly turn a small problem into a huge problem by telling everyone what's happened.

What if you get emotional?

Feeling emotional when you've made a mistake at work is completely normal. After all, you work so hard day in day out to do a good job, so when something happens that makes you look bad, it's going to hurt. You wouldn't be the first person to break down in tears after a stressful day and an annoying mistake! If you feel emotional, you might be best removing yourself from the situation briefly to gather your thoughts. Then, come back to the problem and find a solution. Once the mistake has been rectified, try not to dwell on what happened, it will only serve to damage your confidence in your job going forwards. 

Can you prevent it from happening again?

The occasional mistake at work is expected, but if you're someone who's consistently making mistakes then this could be an indication that you're not very proficient at your job, or that you need additional support/training. The best way to make sure you don't make the same mistake over and over again is to put new precautions in place.

This could be something as small as an additional check that you do each day or asking someone to check your work before you send it off. If you think that your mistake was a product of something happening in your personal life eg. because you're overtired or overworked, it might be time to think about taking a holiday! Having a break and resetting can drastically improve your performance at work.

Here at HRS recruitment, we give a lot of great advice to candidates looking for new jobs. We also help people kickstart their dream science careers! If you're on the hunt for a new job, please take a look at our current science vacancies.

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