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Screwed up at work - just a vent

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ISPIFFD posted 2/28/2014 07:52 AM

I feel awful about a mistake I made a week ago at work that just came to light last night and is causing a lot of problems for my employer. There isn't anything I can do after the fact because the damage has been done and I can't correct the problem now, I can only do everything in my power not to have it happen again. I've already apologized and groveled, and since there isn't any work for me this morning to take my mind off the situation, I'm sitting here just feeling like crap.

That's it, the feeling and the crisis will pass. But it's one of those "You had ONE job..." situations since this is really all I do here (check runs - I pay all our clients' bills and in this case I cut more checks than there was money to cover so now the employer has to float our client the money to keep my mistake checks from bouncing).


And what's even worse is that I do have a series of 'checks and balances' in place that are supposed to keep this very situation from happening, but once I missed the initial flag (totally my oversight), none of the other things that should have popped up to alert me actually did. It was like one of those perfect storm things where all the things that might have helped just failed one after the other.

That's all, just feeling like crap...

Undefinabl3 posted 2/28/2014 07:56 AM


I have totally been's easy to say 'mistakes happen' but its entirely different when its you that makes it.

Try not to beat yourself up over it. Learn from it and do better next time.

metamorphisis posted 2/28/2014 07:57 AM

You are human and made a mistake. I realize at work they don't need to go easy on you. But I will, because really, who doesn't make mistakes? My mistakes cost only me, but I make them time and time again. This too shall pass ISPIFFD, and it won't feel so horrible down the line. Chin up.. you are competent, it was a mistake.

ajsmom posted 2/28/2014 08:07 AM

Having made a doozie myself last year, I know how this feels.

Mine was a "10,000 widgets of the wrong kind" kind of mistake for which we were *thisclose* to losing the client over.

Know what? They're back and I survived it. Not that it wasn't rocky in between, but redemption comes in all shapes and sizes.

You'll weather this perfect storm. My guess is your employer is the kind that looks at the 5,348 things you've done right over your tenure and chalks this blimp to being human.

Hang in there.


fireproof posted 2/28/2014 16:28 PM

Just for you to post this means you care about your level of work.

If asked explain your actions briefly and if you were wrong admit your mistake and corrective actions if there are any.

Then hold your held up high and don't dwell- it is a mistake.

Good luck and most important use this as an opportunity to refocus but mistakes happen. It is how you handle them that make all the difference.

GabyBaby posted 2/28/2014 16:43 PM

Is there anything you can change that will improve your current system of checks and balances?
If so, test it and let your boss know the updates you've put in place.

ISPIFFD posted 3/1/2014 09:28 AM

Thanks, everyone! And, Gaby, excellent idea! I'll ponder it all this weekend and see if I can't come up with a better set of checks and balances. Turns out a lot of other people who might have caught my mistake also missed their cues (again, not an excuse, just that perfect-storm scenario at work).

One very simple thing that would probably help a LOT is requesting that the phrasing I missed on the cover of the check run I mis-processed be highlighted. The reports go through multiple hands and have multiple things scribbled and initialed on the front page, which also isn't an excuse, but since I missed the key phrase that made all the difference, maybe making it stand out would be good.

OR, better yet, I could take that on myself and make a point of highlighting the key phrase on each report which would then force me to read that phrase more closely (and hopefully not miss it next time)...

hexed posted 3/1/2014 09:34 AM


Shit happens. We all make mistakes. You are obviously putting a lot of thought into this. It will pass. I think the idea of evaluating the situation and coming up with new preventative measures is good.

In my industry we call it a corrective action plan and we have SOPs in place to guide us through the process so that it gets thoroughly thought it. If you have such a procedure in your firm you might want to pull it out and utilize it. This can show your boss you're really stepping up.

ISPIFFD posted 3/1/2014 09:37 AM

Thanks, hexed! Funny thing - I'm the one who writes most of the SOPs in our department This particular job duty obviously needs an SOP update. Seems like a good time to do that...

hexed posted 3/1/2014 09:41 AM

Brilliant idea..."Boss, I realized in the wake of the mistake last week that this procedure needs to be updated and the team needs updated training. I will have a new draft version completed by XXXX."

If you don't actually have a corrective action plan SOP maybe you could offer to add that to the mix. I used to think it was a silly SOP until the first time I had to address an issue that benefitted from the CAP. Send me a PM and I can find a redacted one from an old client and send it to you if it would be helpful.

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