What to Do When It’s Your Fault

by sysop in On the Job 101


by Kristina Burroughs

Whether you’ve been working for a decade or just bombed your first interview, learning how to bounce back from a mistake, whether it was your fault or not, is one of the hardest lessons. However, the learned quality of resilience is needed to successfully navigate the world of work. The ability to course correct is vital to remaining in the game and becoming better for it. Everyone makes mistakes but not everyone responds the right way to failure.

Here are a few steps you can take to strengthen your resilience before you land the next job or are on the job:

  1. Fess up! Don’t make excuses. Take an honest assessment of what happened and how you will course correct next time to avoid the mistake. Go back and get your facts straight. Admit your mistake to the necessary parties. After you’ve bombed an interview, take the time to reflect on what went wrong and elicit any feedback you can to ensure you’re taking steps towards becoming a better interviewee.
  2. Be part of the solution. If you are a part of the mistake that has caused your organization and teammates more work, then step up and ask how you can help make the situation right. Do whatever it takes to maintain relationships and help provide solutions if possible. In the event of a blown interview, it can’t hurt to ask how you can improve next time. Most recruiters are not able to give you concrete feedback but it does communicate that you are teachable and willing to learn. They may be willing to give you a second chance when a better opportunity comes across their desk.
  3. Don’t dwell on the mistake. This is one of the hardest things not to do. High achievers who want to better themselves will likely beat themselves up over certain mistakes for far too long. You must pick yourself up and move on. People will remember the mistake for a while but it is possible to redeem yourself by rising above your failure. Learn from your mistake and choose to fail forward.
  4. Take a step towards course correction. Do something to move from sulking on your mistake to personally investing in yourself, so you are sure not to repeat the same mistake. Do some research, take a class, or read up on a subject. These constructive steps will supplement your knowledge in that area, whether the need is to improve your interview skills or become a better manager.

These are a few keys towards building resilience for your career journey ahead. Mistakes happen at every level of experience in every industry so it is nothing to be ashamed of. Your ability to admit it, learn from it, and move on will show a great deal of professionalism and maturity as a job seeker and/or employee.

Other Resources on the Topic: AOL Mistakes, Techwell Do Overs, & Glassdoor Recovery