How to Admit your Mistake at Work without Losing your Job?

1,306 Views Updated: 04 Oct 2017
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How to Admit your Mistake at Work without Losing your Job?

Mistakes are some actions or judgments that we make or do which are misguided or wrong. We make mistakes every day. You wake up and burn the breakfast; you spill the coffee on the white tablecloth accidentally, you run to the subway to catch the train where you push people out of your way, and somebody falls. Either of these mistakes is not intentional, but they are mistakes as you have done something wrong for which someone else will have to pay. Some mistakes are not huge, but some mistakes are such that you cannot make up for them. 

Mistakes come in all shapes and sizes. You can cook another breakfast, you can wash the cloth or buy a new one, but you cannot undo the hurt you cause to the person who you pushed in the subway. The person could fall and get a wound, or he could have died. You could not have paid anything to the person’s close ones for the death. If the damage caused is tangent then you probably can pay for it but if the damage is abstract or if it involves emotions then it becomes hard to cover for them.

These were some mistakes that you make in daily life which do not cause much impair but what about the mistake that you commit at your workplace? Some mistakes at your workplace can mean more and lead to more disasters. So, what do you do now? You have done something your boss strictly asked you not to do, and you cannot breathe now. You feel that your mistake can even throw you out of your job and thoughts like what the colleagues will say and what the boss will think about you, surround your mind. How will I get another job? What do I do in this situation? - Is that what you are thinking?

When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it. – Paul Bear Bryant

We know that we cannot change our mistakes, but we can accept them gracefully and learn from them. It is actually never about the mistake you did but it is always about what you do after you have done something wrong. You should always accept your mistake, and maybe then you can get an apology without losing your job. So let us tell you how to apologize professionally without getting fired.

#1. Weigh The Damage

The mistake you made could have been responsible for a lot of damage to the company. You sent the wrong email to the client and the now the client is arguing with your boss or you are losing the clientele. You should start weighing the damage you have caused from your mistakes so that you understand the whole scenario. You can understand how huge a mistake you have made and if it can cost you your job. Once you have a hold on the situation, you can think about what you should do next. If you do not know about its intensity, then you cannot reach the conclusion.  


#2. Breathe

After weighing the whole situation, you should take a moment to breathe. Take some time to relax your mind. The evaluation of the situation can stress your mind and stress can make you overthink. Over-thinking will make you more anxious and negative. You will start thinking negatively and this way, you will exaggerate the situation in your mind. All of this will create chaos, and you will not be able to think in the right direction. With all the stress and tension in your mind, you will not be able to find answers/ solutions for the mistake you did. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Breathe in and breathe out!


#3. Accept your Mistake

When your mind is cool, and you have taken some time off from stressing about it, then you should accept your mistake. Talk to your boss and show that you accept it and you feel responsible for the mistake. Accepting your mistakes is difficult, but you should do it so that you feel better about yourself. Once you accept your mistake in front of the boss, half of the stress will vanish then and there at the moment. When we accept something in life be it a mistake or anything else, then the stress that it has caused is released. You obviously feel horrible because of your mistake, and you know that you did it unintentionally so when you confess the mistake all the dread is released.


#4. Be Clear

Accepting your mistake is a good idea but accepting it in a clear voice is the better idea. Do not beat around the bush while you are talking to your boss. Be clear and make no room for ambiguity. Do not lie about the mistakes as even the slightest lie can spoil everything. If you love your job, then you should speak clearly and confidently. Tell your boss that you regret doing it and that it was unintentional. You love your company, and you want to serve it with loyalty. Apologize for your mistake and do not make any other mistake while apologizing for the other.


#5. Take Responsibility

After you have accepted your mistake, you should take its responsibility. Take up the matter in your hands and try to find a solution for it. Be a responsible employee and apologize in a way that promises your concern and decision for the correction of the mistake. Your apology should be such that it shows your regret and your will to make things right again. Talk to your boss about handling the situation and ask him to trust you so that he can give the lead back to you.


#6. Trust Yourself

You have asked your boss to trust you but will he trust you after you have made a mistake that can cost him a lot of money or can put a lot at stake? Yes, he will. Your boss will trust you if you trust yourself. Be confident about your skills and personality. Trust yourself and know it that you can make things right once again. The stress of the situation can make you forget that you are a responsible person for whom everything is possible. You are working at a certain position in a reputed company because of your talent and hard work. One mistake cannot take away all this from you. Remember that you are capable of making things better than they were before.


#7. Time For Action

Gather all your courage and start working on the mistake. Devise a plan to make the correction and start acting on it. You have already weighed the damaged so you know how you can stop more damage from happening. You know the whole situation more than the boss or the other employee does so it is a factor in your favor. You should talk to your seniors before taking a decision and acting on it because if you make a wrong decision in nervousness, then you will surely be fired from work. But do not worry if you have followed all of the steps above. You will have a calm mind to work with and a light heart after your confession. You need to act wisely and timely to correct your mistake without any further harm.


#8. Be Prepared 

Now that you have acted out to make things right it is time to prepare yourself for the consequences. You do not know if your decisions will give a good outcome or they will create more problems for you. You do not know for sure if your boss will even allow you to work on the case or not. Maybe your mistake offended the boss, and they can decide to make you quit the job. You need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. Losing a job can be very stressful and can create a zillion of problems in your life. It is not necessary that you will get another job instantly after knowing that you were made to quit the job. So, be prepared for anything that comes your way.


#9. Don’t Lose Hope

We would suggest you not to lose hope. Keep faith in yourself and the people you are working for. Ask for a second chance, and they will allow you to make amends or compensate for it in any way they feel is right. Do not lose faith. Things will be fine, and you can gradually cope with the loss. Time heals everything. Inform your boss about how you feel about the whole situation, and they will understand after all humans make mistakes. Everyone does it, you did too. They would have made a mistake someday in their life too.

If there is anything that you did not like about this article or if you want to share your experiences with us then comment in the dialogue box below.

( Images Courtesy: 1. Small Business Trends, 2. Networking Times, 3. Grad Diary, 4.Career Addict, 5. Diane Gottsman, 6. InterAction Training, Forbes, 7.Star12 Community, Everydayhealth.com )

(Featured Image Courtesy: Talenta Blog)
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Opinion
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If you think your mistake can cost you your job then you should do only one thing – accept it. Go to your boss and admit that you made a mistake. If you do not accept the mistake on your own then your boss will eventually make you admit it after he comes to the knowledge that you did it. See, the point is not that you can lose your job or your boss will reprimand but it is for the security of your job and the company. Your mistake can make the reputation of the company fall in a second that took years to build. A single error like a grammatical mistake in an email can be responsible for the reputation of the company. And even you would not want to work in a company that has lost its reputation. So you should keep it in mind that employees are responsible for the image of a brand. If the company faces any loss, the company will incur it by cutting some from your salary. Either way it is your loss. Keep your mind clear and calm. Do not make a chaos in your mind by thinking about what can happen. Leave that to your boss. Live in the present and stop over-thinking. When you over-think you assume negative things that can happen which only scares you. The assumptions give you nothing in return so it is better to wait. Take some time to ponder about the whole situation and the ways you can tackle it. My friend once sent a prank message to one client and the client registered a complaint against the company. The boss got furious and he called everyone to ask who did it. My friend did not admit her mistake so the boss made her type the resignation letter. She lost her job because of stupid joke. I learned from her mistake and that is why I suggest everyone to accept their mistakes at work or anywhere in life. Acceptance is one quality that makes life easier. If you have made a mistake then you can simplify any complication by just accepting that you did it. Talk things out with your colleagues, seniors, boss or your partner. A mistake made by you or by someone else should be forgiven because nobody is perfect. Nobody can reach perfection and in the process of reaching perfection one makes mistakes. Through those mistakes the person learns lessons that he must not repeat the mistake which hinder the progress. Mistakes are a sign that you are trying. Therefore making mistakes is not a big deal but not correcting them and learning from them is wrong. We should learn from everything. Every mistake is an experience that teaches you to move on. Life is short so do not make anyone unhappy and do not stay unhappy yourself. Learn to admit that you were wrong and that you have the strength to amend them.

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