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Readers Respond: Tell Us About Mistakes You Made at Work

Responses: 106


From the article: Mistakes at Work
Everyone makes mistakes. Haven't you heard that a million times? Generally, making a mistake isn't as big a deal as what you do afterward. Do you tell your boss or do you try to hide your error? We all learn from our errors, hopefully, and sharing them here can help others learn as well. Tell us about mistakes you've made at work and, most importantly, what happened next. What did you do? What did your boss do? Did you keep it a secret? Did your boss find out anyway? Share Your Story

I don't know what to say

I have been employed at a restaurant for almost 3 years now. This is the longest time I stay at a job, but honestly, I love my coworkers, the environment is always good. I am fairly a good server, always good on multitasking and I do great at my job. But you got to know that working in a restaurant, there's always mistakes, such as punching in the wrong item, ran the wrong food to table and so on So what happened to me was that the food was made wrong, and it was being remade mutliple times. The mistake was fairly made by all of us, cook misread the modifications, customer adding new modifications at last minute and my miscommunications too, so with all that, I was to fullly take responsibility and I learn from my mistakes and always do better next time. But now it seems like they are not scheduling me to work and only giving me at least 1 shift per week. If they are comparing my few mistakes I did poorly GREATER than all those hundreds times I did good, then I don't know what to say.
—Guest asdfghjkl

I feel like an absolute idiot

I started my job last month as a customer service representative and started taking live calls (customers will not call because they're happy, duh!) I have a degree in engineering, worked for a top electronics brand but customer service was a very convenient job because i work from home :) and what did i NOT do wrong on my first day. I added a phone plan to a customer who was not eligible. If he wants it fixed he has to pay more because his old monthly plan was expired and we can not retrieve it. I looked at someone's account who is subscribed with a competing phone company AND THE LOGO WAS RIGHT THERE!! It was right in front of me. I called a woman "mom". I dropped a call on a customer. I feel like a complete freak. My history was full of success and career achievements. I am a certified electronic engineer, went to international conferences and my presence was mandatory because "I know how to sell". I think I will master this job but I know I will be driving my coaches insane until I do.
—Guest Dina

feel stupid!

I continue to make mistakes at work..I think it's time to move on. My co-workers and managers think I am absolutely stupid. I was once a model employee..but after being sick and now burdened with the responsibility of caring for a family member I often come to work tired, which contributes to my errors.. So embarrassed and ashamed of my low work performance.
—Guest cake

Wrong way

I work at a great grocery business and I love my job and it is taken very seriously. Today after work I accidentally drove the wrong way down a one way street in the parking lot. Even though it was at night I wanted to get off the street as soon as possible so I started speeding some, and of course there was my boss frowning at me as I blasted rap, and sped down the street going the wrong way! So embarrassed.
—Guest Jack


I'm an electrical engineer and I design amplifiers for industrial applications. I have just released my 3rd part about 1 year ago and disaster struck! A very important customer found a bug in the part and it will cost the company a lot of money to fix. I did the right thing and took responsibility right away but I am afraid I will have a hard time restoring my reputation. They say that difficult circumstances are the breeding ground for greatness, but the problem is my self confidence is shattered and at the moment I'm having trouble getting past that. I may get fired, and if that happens I can't say that I wouldn't have deserved it. That is cold comfort when you have a family to support though.
—Guest Bill

Syntax Error!

I work as a graphic designer at a Digital media company. My boss tells me to edit her website using the word press visual editor to eliminate a few photos on the site. If you don't understand what I mean, using the visual editor for a site is like using Facebook as you can simply upload photos with the click of a button or easily write in a comment. Simple right. Mind you I don't know much about coding. Well I look up some coding on Google to fix the problems she wants done and and decide its a good idea to go into the coding to make the edits. I test some things out on my own site's coding before I do it with now problems. I go ahead and do this thing I shouldn't be doing and now the site has a Syntax Error-whatever that means- and the whole site is corrupted. What's even worse is that there's a local university looking for a graphic design agency and they were supposed to look at our website but can't now. Her web designer is working on the site as I write this.
—Guest kirk903

one on top of the other

I guess I was overconfident. I had a request for a programming change and I put it into production without testing it enough. Worse, I didn't run it by the project manager first, who would have had a chance to make sure I had tested enough. It caused a huge number of billing errors that we are still trying to get corrected. Don't think I will be fired, but it will take a while for this to blow over.
—Guest Al

Time-out Error

Last night, the power went out and my manager phoned me to see if I wanted to work an 11-4 shift in another store and I took it. I accidentally went home an hour early and now I'm afraid of getting fired! I'm not even 100% certain that I'm even wrong on this one because what I wrote down last night from the phone is sort of illegible due to there being no power. I just hope I don't get fired over this.
—Guest Preston

One wrong button was a huge mistake

I work in retail and just got promoted as a manager. It was my first night closing, and since I had so much practice with other managers, I thought everything would be just fine. I was just about to close down the registers when this message popped up. I recalled my manager telling me it was something that came up now and then, nothing to worry about UNLESS you choose the wrong response. Lucky me, I chose the wrong one, and if I continued shutting down everything could be wiped out. I called her and she said to call the help desk. Guess what? They were closed. I started to panic and texted a friend who worked at a different branch and she told me exactly what to do. Everything got fixed, and I'm forever grateful for her help. Even though I made that mistake, I learned something, and I will NEVER hit the wrong button again. Lol
—Guest Jen

Forget to Update BF Sheet.

I was a fresh hire in the organization, my CEO asked me to send forward rates of euro from different banks. I used a previous BF sheet, update values and sent it to him. Later, I realized I forget to change date and bank's name. My senior advised me not to tell CEO and make alternative arrangement but I decided to tell him. I wrote a note that I realized my mistakes and will be careful next time. My CEO read it and replied that I must be careful and tell the necessary actions to take. It was my second week there and CEO was liking my work and wants me to make decisions when he is abroad. I don't know if he will allow me to make decisions in his place after this.
—Guest Special


I work at the register. It's my first job and every time I work, the register ends up short. I have been at my job 4 mo and was confronted today. I feel so stupid, I'm crying. I don't steal but I feel like a failure. All my coworkers don't mess up. Same amount of experience. I feel completely horrible and am thinking about resigning. I hate to be the idiot that lets my boss down. I love my job but I may have just ruined any chances of promotion. Let alone I might get fired.
—Guest Horrible worker

I feel so dumb!

So my first day of work went well. At the end of my shift we were closing the store and my boss asked me to double count the money (as my co-worker was standing right there). I felt pressured as they watched me count the money and I counted wrong.. Twice.. and told him the wrong number like 3 times. I do know how to count money but I was nervous! I hope my boss doesn't think I'm an idiot!
—Guest Andrea

Accident with vehicle

In my job, I drive a lot. I work in landscaping and was at work early, alone, one morning. I was trying to fill the 400 g tank on the back of my work truck with herbicide. I put the truck in park and went to get out of the truck, but I slipped. I'm not sure if my hand knocked the truck into reverse or if it slipped out on its own (a co-worker has had the same truck end up in reverse when it was in park before). I was caught between an open door and metal pole with the truck moving backwards. Needless to say, the door caught the pole and was bent horribly before I could get myself righted and back in the truck to stop it. My boss was cool about it, but the company owner had a fit. He says I'm not allowed to work until the truck comes back from repair, which is two weeks. He's also tried to make people pay for damages out of pocket before, which is illegal in my state. He says he doesn't want to claim insurance because his premiums will go up...nice guy.
—Guest Lucky to be alive


I made a typo in a bit of copy and one of our big clients who hates me reported it to my boss. Annoyed with myself and him for being a whiny jerk.
—Guest Mezzle

I took someone's lunch by accident.

It was 10pm I had just finished a two till ten shift at the factory I work at. Like everyone once my shift finished I wanted to go home ASAP. So I went to go get my lunch box that was in the workers' fringe next to the canteen. I picked up my lunch box and left. Once I got home I was feeling a bit hungry and wanted a snack which I had left in my lunch box. The only problem was it was not my lunch box. It was another worker's. Because it was completely full I could only think he or she was about to start his or her eight hour shift. I felt so awfull I wanted to cry since I was thinking that it could have been a young sixteen or seventeen year old's lunch and would have hated it if that was me without my lunch.
—Guest Andrew

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