You Screwed Up At Work - Now What?

We’ve all screwed up at work at one point or another. It can be embarrassing and frustrating, but it happens. For one member of the TODAY Show cast, those feelings are all too fresh. (Psst! Can’t get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) During the Golden Globes last week, Jenna Bush Hager made an unfortunate mistake when she was interviewing singer Pharrell, who was nominated for best original score for the movie “Hidden Figures.” During the interview, Hager accidentally confused two new movies, calling “Hidden Figures” “Hidden Fences.” “Hidden Figures,” is the story of three black women in the 1960s who worked at NASA and played a pivotal role in astronaut John Glenn’s orbit into space. “Fences,” another film, is based on August Wilson’s play. While this was a minor mistake, Hager was instantly criticized for it. Shortly after the event, she apologized for her misstep saying that she was “deeply sorry” for the accident. Fortunately, the cast of the movie was quite forgiving, telling her that “everyone makes mistakes.” And, considering that similar mix ups happened to other members of the TODAY cast that day, her team was also very understanding of the situation. Mistakes at work happen, but it’s how you handle those mistakes that keeps you moving forward. If you screwed up at work, here’s what you should do to make it right:


1. Apologize.

One of the first things Hager did was apologize for her mistake. While it was clearly an accident, she realized that she still owed the cast an apology for the mix up. There is no point in trying to deny it or fight it, and if you don’t acknowledge it, then you look like a complete jerk. Always apologize for your mistakes at work.

2. Don’t blame others.

After Hager misspoke at the Golden Globes, she quickly acknowledged her error and owned up to the fact that it was her mistake. If you screwed up at work, you need to own up to your mistake. Blaming others for your missteps not only shows weakness, but it also causes resentment from those being blamed. Even if it wasn’t solely your fault, avoid pointing fingers at others.

3. Be proactive.

While things happen, it’s important to understand how you can prevent them from happening in the future. If you feel like something might give you trouble again, figure out what you need to do in order to avoid it. Whether that’s learning a new skill, getting additional guidance, or something else, it’s important to be proactive so you don’t find yourself dealing with it again.

4. Ease your boss’s concerns.

After you make an error at work, something that could be running through your boss’s mind is, “What if this mistake happens again?” So, you need to ease his or her concern by explaining what you would do differently in the event a similar situation arises, and ensure him or her that you won’t make the same mistake again. Addressing this concern early on will help you learn from your mistake and move past it.

5. Reevaluate your skills.

If you feel like you’re constantly finding yourself screwing up at work, it might be time to reevaluate your career choice. Your skills might not be suited for the particular role you’re in, which could be the cause of all of your missteps at work. If you feel like you’re going through a “rut” at work, watch this free webinar to find out how more than 5,000 professionals overcame their career challenges. The truth is, we’re not perfect. We’re all humans doing the best we can, and sometimes errors happen. However, if you’re proactive about cleaning up your mistakes, you can move forward feeling good and knowing that it won’t happen again.

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Watch our free tutorial “8 Ways You’re Being SHUT OUT Of The Hiring Process” with career expert J.T. O’Donnell to find out what’s holding you back from getting hired… and how to fix it! WATCH NOW This post was originally written by Ariella Coombs.

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