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Your Foolproof Guide to Moving on After You Messed Up at Work

By | Suzanne Gelb, PhD, JD. | www.themuse.com

Maybe you forgot to attach a document to your email before hitting send. Oops!

Maybe your workplace snafu was a little bigger than that—a costly mistake that damaged your employer’s earnings, credibility, or public image.

Or maybe you made a mistake that simply made you seem like a complete idiot, like double-booking VIP clients, so they both showed up to your office’s reception area to meet with you at the exact same time. (Yes—that happened to me!)

Feeling embarrassed? Ashamed? Worried that your professional credibility is hanging by a thread? Take a deep breath. You’re going to get through this—and maybe even solidify your reputation as a quick-thinking problem solver in the process.

Here’s your seven-step recovery plan.

Step 1: Allow Yourself to Feel Awful About it (But Not for Too Long)

In response to a stressful scenario, like making a mistake at work, it’s natural to feel frustrated, embarrassed, or even distressed for, say, 10-15 seconds. But ideally, after 15 seconds, the feeling should pass. A tiny shadow of negativity may linger, but in general, you get over the snafu.

However, sometimes—for all kinds of reasons—emotions get “stuck,” and instead of dissipating after a few seconds, they keeping building and building, like steam swirling inside a kettle.

When that happens, it’s important to release that pent-up steam in a healthy manner and as soon as possible—by, for instance, going for a quick jog around the block, taking a kickboxing class, journaling in your diary, or talking it out with a therapist, coach, or friend who can give you a sense of perspective. Which brings me to:

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www.themuse.com
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