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Worst Mistakes I Have Made While Working

Worst Mistakes I Have Made While Working

Getting a job is one of the most amazing accomplishments you can experience in your life. It’s like “YES. Someone sees my talent, potential, and believes I can be an asset here”. I know the excitement and going home each day telling everyone all about the cool things that I did, the tasks I accomplished, and even the good jobs you got. Rarely do we go home and talk about the things we did wrong or the mistakes we made. Which isn’t healthy in my opinion. However often at times when we make mistakes we panic; please don’t do that just breathe. 

People make mistakes; it is all part of being human. We say the wrong thing, we do the wrong thing, we fumble in our jobs, and we mess up sometimes. As someone who has been working since she was 14 years old, I have made hundreds of mistakes but I also know it’s not the setback that matters but the comeback. But I also like to acknowledge my mistakes because that is how I learn and that is how I grow. So in light of this being Monday and showing how no one is perfect here are some of the biggest mistakes I have made in the workplace. As well as how I grew/learned from them. 

  1. Not Showing up on time 
    • I am not the best when it comes to time management. I have definitely become so absorbed in something and have lost track of time. Which unfortunately has caused me to be late to meetings. 
    • The best thing that has helped me is setting up timers, calendar alerts, and notifications. If I have to go somewhere I add the address and an alert so it lets me know when I have to leave to make it on time. 
  2. Not writing my meetings or appointments down
    • I actually once missed an entire meeting. A co-worker had texted me late at night acting as a third party for the setup. I never added it to my calendar and I completely missed the meeting. I had never felt so impressed and incompetent in my life. 
  3. Pushing of task till “later” or “a better time” 
    • I can assure you if you are dreading doing a task, do it first. Not doing that task is only going to make it worse and harder trust me I have been there. I try to do every painful task first so it gets out of the way. 
    • More tasks are just going to keep piling up. I have even pushed a task off for so long that I completely forgot to do it till someone reminded me. Don’t be that person. 
  4. Not wearing proper attire 
    • I have worked many jobs and proper attire is very important for it. At one of my jobs, I worked in Design and would have to go to construction sites at times. A job site popped up last minute…I was in a dress and heels. I had to find a target and get an outfit super quick. Ever since then I have always kept a “to-go bag” in my car just in case. 
  5. Not giving myself a break 
    • I would work 10 hours sometimes even longer, and not take a break besides to heat up food, refill my water/coffee, or use the restroom. I would do working lunches and it was not healthy. I never gave myself a break. Take 30 minutes to yourself go for a walk, enjoy the sunshine, go for a drive, just please take time for yourself. 
    • And yes when you log off of work emails for the day don’t log in before going to bed. You are not married to your career, you have a life. 
  6. Overworking causes a burnout
    • Take a sick day, take a personal day. The longer you feel like you’re putting yourself through the wringer the longer you are going to hurt yourself. Take a day off; being burnt out only leads to misery and a lack of desire to continue working. 
    • I have done this far too many times and this has caused me so much unhappiness in life and life is not meant to be lived unhappily. Read Work-life Balance if you need some help with this. 
  7. Letting Frustration win 
    • Not every day has been a cakewalk and when things go wrong I have gotten super frustrated causing myself to be short or snappy with co-workers and that isn’t okay. 
    • Being an adult means learning to control your emotions, and not letting them get the best of your character. 
  8. Assuming rather than asking questions
    • Assuming makes an ass out of you and me. Ask questions even if you understand 98% of the issue, ask questions so you can understand it 100%. 
    • Assuming kills everything. Please never assume; ask or just do it.  
  9. Not slowing down 
    • I occasionally work at warp speed, this often means my mind is moving much faster. This often means that even when I miss typing something and read it back I still don’t catch the error. I have sent so many emails or documents with spelling errors that could have easily been fixed if I had just taken a second to breathe, pause, and slow down. 
  10. Not communicating Properly 
    • Lack of communication kills things and work is a lot of those things. Not communicating does not always mean saying the wrong thing, it could be saying something too late, not at all, or saying one thing when you mean another. It’s also not saying all the details needed to get your point across.
    • I have done this on the phone in emails and even in person. It causes nothing but problems so please do your best to say everything to get your point, concern, comment, etc. across. 
  11. Letting people push you around 
    • This ALWAYS bothers me; as a female, a lot of people think that they just push me aside and do not respect my opinion or ideas. Don’t be a pushover, stand up for yourself. 
  12. Not speaking up 
    • Too many times I knew something was wrong but never spoke up at the time. Of course, all it does is cause issues down the road. 
    • Find your voice, be confident, and trust in who you are. You would not have been hired if they did not think you could do it. 
  13. Saying longer than I should 
    • I stayed at a company that made me so miserable, I dreaded going to work every day. I would come home in tears feeling completely drained. If you are not happy please leave. It was the greatest, most liberating feeling I have ever felt after it. 

I share these not only for you to laugh at me but also for you to know that it is okay if you’re not flawless. Don’t get me wrong, I have measured things wrong, ordered the wrong thing, shipped things to the wrong address, undercharged a client, and so many other things. But all of those are things that come with learning how to do your job. We all make mistakes, write-ups happen. Human error happens so please accept it. 

Understand that the above list is things I found the hardest to work on/fix just due to so many outside factors besides myself. I made a conscious effort to always work on them and continue learning from my mistakes.  I also encourage you to learn from your mistakes. It takes some time but understanding the problem is always step one. Just know that any mistake you have made has been made a million times before. All you can do is to try your best to not repeat it. So deep breathes, I got your back, and I am rooting for you the whole way. I promise; and if you ever feel lost just like your big sis. -KMH


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