Mistakes at work


Messing up at work can feel like the end of the world. Honestly. Depending on the job, you spend between 8-12 hours with these people 5 days a week. It can take a long time to live down mistakes you have made, especially large ones. The key is learning from your mistake, owning up to it, and making sure that it doesn’t happen again by putting in place measures that will help you later on. Today, I made a mistake at work. Well technically before I even got to work. I THOUGHT I had scheduled myself for tomorrow, but I wrote in the incorrect date and was called by staffing to see why I wasn’t at work! GASP! This is my first work on my own without a preceptor, and I’m already messing up. The wave of embarrassment washed over me like you would not believe. I profusely apologized and told her how I couldn’t believe I had made such a mistake. The women on the other end of the phone told me it was OK and that they would just move me to tomorrow’s schedule. When we hung up, I felt like the biggest idiot this side of the Mississippi. How could I have made such a mistake? I’m too grown for such mistakes. I’m supposed to be a professional. I bet my other colleagues would never make such a mistake. I began to beat myself up. Truth is, as I write this, I am still royally upset with myself. After some consoling from my BF and brief tears (I’m a very emotional person), I realized a few things (thanks to the BF).

  1. Everyone makes mistakes.

You’re only human. No one is perfect. You’re not the first person to mess up on scheduling and you won’t be the last. Tip for myself: Check and recheck the dates you work weekly from now on. Maybe have a nightly reminder on your phone as a safe guard. I like to use paper planners, but my phone can be a useful tool as well.

  1. It’s how you react to the mistake that will make or break the experience.

So you messed up? Will you hide your tail in shame or will you own up to it? Will you allow this is help you come up with a better system to keep you from making the same mistake twice? If you allow it to make you better, this mistake has served great purpose in your life. If you feel you need to address it with your boss, do so. Let them know what steps you will put in place to keep this from happening again. Show them that you are proactive in being a better employee and you are striving to be better.  Tip for myself: From now on, you’ll be more conscientious of looking at your schedule and checking weekly online and making sure you have input all days correctly.

  1. Don’t take everything so seriously.

And don’t take what other people say seriously either. If people cannot let you live down your mistake or allow you to grow past it, they aren’t the kind of people you need around. You continue to be respectful and courteous, but you don’t allow the negative statements or sly comments to deter you from rising above the mistake you made. Tip to myself: If anyone says anything about this to you tomorrow, especially in a group, shut it down immediately. Reply in a short, but respectful way without giving into the conversation. It’s is your experience to share, not to be water cooler talk.

  1. Baggage gets heavy.

Don’t beat yourself up. What’s done is done. Let it go. Enjoy your day. Remain positive and continue to perform at your best. Don’t let those negative thoughts of self-doubt and shame envelop you. Most likely, other people will forget about it and move on. You should too. And if they haven’t, that’s none of your business. Tip to myself: Once it’s done, you can’t change it. So stop carrying it with you. You’re important, but not that important girlfriend. At least it was off the unit and not a mistake that hurt a patient. Let it go!

So that’s it. Live and learn. I have now learned my lesson with self-scheduling and will now be putting my schedule in my phone to give me nightly reminders. I will learn from this mistake and make sure I do better next time…and I’ll try to carry less baggage 😉


Have you ever made a mistake at work? How did you deal with it? Comment below with your story. You may help someone figure out how to fix their problem.


xoxo, Panda