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Admitting a Mistake May Be a Prudent Career Move 

By Sherri Sacks 

It happens to everyone at some point.  You realize you have made a huge mistake at your job. We can all relate to that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach.  You start scrambling to fix it, and you think, “Maybe I can correct it without my boss ever knowing. Should I speak up and admit my mistake?” 

While it may feel easy to tell yourself, “Nope, I don’t have to say a word,” speaking up is the right answer. By correcting the error with full awareness by your boss, you show you are a problem-solver, even if you are the one who caused the problem in the first place. So, come clean.  

First, be direct in your admission and take full responsibility. Arm yourself with analysis of any damage you may have caused and a detailed action plan to make it right. You may still be held accountable in some way, depending on the extent of the fallout from the incident, so be prepared to accept consequences. Take it like a professional and do your best to help everyone involved get things back on track. 

Most bosses realize that we are all humans and mistakes happen from time to time. Who knows…perhaps by bringing your mistake to light, the organization will identify an important process improvement or establish a new policy that benefits everyone.  To quote the Greek philosopher, Plutarch, “To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.” 

Sherri Sacks is a Career Coach and Certified Resume Writer at the JCS Ignite Career Center. 

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster.  Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition.  For information, call 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbalt.org. 

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