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To ask if you ever make mistakes at work and worry about them for ages?

52 replies

Cafeaulait27 · 16/05/2021 12:07

Hi all, kind of just venting really and hoping other people here can help provide reassurance/say they sometimes feel the same...

I made a mistake a while ago at work (by not noticing an error and also by not telling colleagues to make sure this thing was correct). I’ve only just noticed it and realised the repercussions could cost the company money.

I have a very heavy workload at the moment and I know I sometimes have a tendency to rush when I’m stressed, and this thing just slipped through the net and now I’m worried it could end up being a bigger problem which will be complicated to solve and will be ‘all my fault’ because I missed it/forgot.

I noticed this error at the end of the day on Friday so nothing can be done until tomorrow, but I feel like such a failure. I know I just need to tell the people that need to know and take steps to resolve it, but I just worry about people thinking I was careless to miss this and worry about you people being annoyed with me.

I hate making mistakes, I worry a lot and tend to obsess about any and every mistake I’ve made at work for ages (I still sometimes think about mistakes I made years ago).

I do often think I’m in the wrong job as my attention to detail is sometimes lacking, although I do have a lot of strengths - good at prioritising, coming up with good ideas.

There’s no options for me to change job at the moment as I’m pregnant but I’m just dreading sorting this issue out and just had to share this in the hope that others will say they do this sometimes too!

Thanks everyone.

OP posts:

MishMashMummy · 16/05/2021 12:13

Yes, I do! But it honestly was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

I’m a lawyer. Didn’t notice that a case I was dealing with came under some brand new rules, and missed a deadline. Cost my client £10,000 which my firm had to pay out.

I was SO worried and upset, and convinced I was going to get fired. I reported myself internally immediately. And it was absolutely fine. My firm took a view of ‘these things happen’, and my boss called me up to reassure me that everyone makes mistakes, and what matters is how you deal with them. He said I had dealt with it exactly as I should by reporting it and seeking help to resolve it immediately, and that I deserved to be commended for that.

Unless you work for ogres they will understand that mistakes happen, because everyone is only human. As long as you tell someone first thing on Monday and ask for advice on how to proceed, it will most likely be absolutely fine Flowers


looptheloopinahulahoop · 16/05/2021 12:13

I think I could have written this post OP - not great at attention to detail, but good at prioritisation and coming up with ideas. Yes I often worry about mistakes I have either made or think I have made.

All I can say is that you sort it out tomorrow and I hope it is ok. You said it "could" cost the company money so hopefully it won't.



Cafeaulait27 · 16/05/2021 12:20

Thank you both - it’s so good to hear it’s not just me who feels this way!

I’m quite close to my colleagues but I feel like it’s often me making mistakes (my husband thinks it’s just because I don’t always find out about their mistakes as they’re not exactly going to brag about it) and they never say ‘oh yeah, I feel like that when I make a mistake too’ so I often feel like it’s just me!

Fingers crossed it’ll sort itself out. I just keep thinking either way - probably by the end of the week it’ll feel like a distant memory. Tomorrow will be the worst day and then it’ll get better, I hope!

OP posts:

cookinahurry · 16/05/2021 15:24

You are not your thoughts!
Talk to your superior at work and you'll be glad you did I'm sure.
We all make mistakes.


Cafeaulait27 · 16/05/2021 18:22

@cookinahurry thank you, I’ve got that Sunday evening dread now but trying to distract myself!

OP posts:

LannieDuck · 16/05/2021 19:08

Yes, I obsess about things I could/should have done differently. I mentioned it on here once and someone pointed out that it can be a symptom of OCD - that fits with other behaviour of mine that I've noticed.


DrManhattan · 16/05/2021 19:09

£30K worth of printing that was all wrong.didnt get sacked
Beat that! Don't be too tough on yourself x


thebear1 · 16/05/2021 19:14

Try not to be too hard on yourself op. Most people work for 40 plus years, no one can go that long without making a mistake, be it not noticing something or an error of judgement. Hopefully your company will be fine about it.


GetHappy · 16/05/2021 19:20

Don’t beat yourself Up be kind to yourself.

Mistakes happen, just let whoever need to know so it can be rectified etc

The beauty of mistakes is we learn from them, and I can guarantee you’ll never make this mistake again

Plus, I always ask - has anyone died ... if the answer is no that everything will be ok!

Thinking of you - try and get a good nights sleep ready to face this tomorrow


PandemicPalava · 16/05/2021 19:24

I once went a blank cheque off to a vehicle supplier for 10k! Luckily it got there and wasn't cashed by the postie! I once also cost the company 80k by letting an insurance policy run out. The client has an accident 15 minutes later. My workload was insane and although I was mortified, I was honest and I stayed with the company.


user1471543094 · 16/05/2021 19:29

Could've written this.
My boss puts so much faith in me, I am really good at the theory aspect of my job. I get it, but I also really lack attention to detail. I also seriously lack the time to give attention to detail and this gives me a bit of leeway to my mistakes, but it's a constant worry that I'll do something major someday.
Sometimes when I'm off on leave I'm terrified to go back in case a huge mistake of mine has been unearthed when I've been off.
I also wake up in middle of night fretting. Mostly I create a mistake in my head that I've to check as soon as I go in.


gobackanddoitproperly · 16/05/2021 19:33

I am old. 52. Old enough to know that people (mostly men) make these mistakes all the time and brazen it out and get away with it. If I had my time again I'd say, 'hey, I've just noticed z y z, I think we need to do a, b, c to mitigate repercussions, what do you think? People will respect you for it. Or should do.


Hardbackwriter · 16/05/2021 19:37

Absolutely - but when I get really obsessive about it (checking and rechecking work I know is correct) I know it means an episode of anxiety is coming on - I'm good at spotting and averting them now, but had some periods where I was seriously ill in my 20s. At one point I was genuinely suicidal over mistakes that I thought I'd made in a book manuscript (I was an academic then, I'm not now) and I remember (now) DH saying to me with sympathy but also horror 'but you can't actually mean you want to kill yourself over some footnotes?'. Which is almost funny, most of a decade later, but my god it wasn't at the time. I think (hope) this is much more extreme than what you're talking about but it is worth thinking about if it's a bigger issue if the anxiety is becoming really disproportional.


Becky274 · 16/05/2021 19:43

I could have written this; I obsess over every little mistake I make at work and let things stress me out far more than they should. I fucked up royally about 2 years ago and sent some confidential information to the wrong address; bad enough but I did it again 2 weeks later. I owned up both times and altho I was very embarrassed it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be; they managed to intercept the second lot of documents in the post. I’m normally very thorough but due to workload and stress in my home life I wasn’t fully concentrating. It was bad yes; but absolutely not worth the stress I gave myself thinking about how awful it would be and the possible outcomes.


Anonymouslyposting · 16/05/2021 19:43

Yep, as others have said we all make mistakes.

I feel like I’ll remember every mistake I have ever made forever. It’s a horrible feeling when you realise that you’ve done something wrong but I always find it gets better as soon as you fess up. Unless someone has died pretty much everything can be fixed even if it costs money and/or is really embarrassing.

It’s the fear of how my boss/client will react that is really bad for me so I want to tell them ASAP to get it over with so we can start working on the solution/mitigation.

The only time I’ve seen genuine mistakes ruin someone’s career is when they try to cover it up. Even one of my colleagues who accidentally sued the wrong person kept her job and was well thought of! The people I know who made up work to hide their mistakes? They don’t have careers for long...


badg3r · 16/05/2021 19:56

I have this! Now I know that I just need to tell people, fix it as best I/we can, and in a week or two that heavy feeling in my stomach will have gone.


Cafeaulait27 · 16/05/2021 19:57

Thank you everyone, it really is helpful to hear it from other people.

@LannieDuck yes - I think I have a touch of OCD too. I get intrusive thoughts and obsess about things over and over.

@user1471543094 I do this too! Worry while I’m off and also think of stuff in the middle of the night which I need to check when I get in to feel better.

@Becky274 since I’ve been working from home (since beginning of covid) I’ve made more mistakes than I ever have in this job (3 including this one). I think it’s a combo of my pregnancy, general covid stress, cabin fever and getting distracted by being at home that’s contributed to it.

@Hardbackwriter can totally relate to that. Tonight I was crying worrying about tomorrow and just saying I want to quit my job, I don’t know how to carry on etc etc. It would be ridiculous to quit my job over this but my brain takes me to funny places!

Thank you xx

OP posts:

Cafeaulait27 · 16/05/2021 19:58

@Anonymouslyposting you’re so right - trying to cover it up is never a good option. I think at least the company will know that I’m honest, owning up is always the best way to sort it out and relieve the guilt.

OP posts:

AlfonsoTheTerrible · 16/05/2021 19:59

OP, please don't beat yourself up. We all make mistakes.


Becky274 · 16/05/2021 20:07

I’m working from home too; I also find this hasn’t really helped as when I do make a mistake i sit pondering it for ages with no one to discuss it with or gauage reactions in person! I remember being absolutely distraught the night before I had to go in and ‘fess up’ but it really wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it to be. I also spent my annual leave constantly fretting over way emails I’m going to come back to and what I will have done wrong. Thing is we’re all human, we all make mistakes and it is what it is. I found out after my mistakes that nearly every other person in the team had done it at some point; they just didn’t worry as much about it!!


Onesnowynight · 16/05/2021 20:07


Could've written this.
My boss puts so much faith in me, I am really good at the theory aspect of my job. I get it, but I also really lack attention to detail. I also seriously lack the time to give attention to detail and this gives me a bit of leeway to my mistakes, but it's a constant worry that I'll do something major someday.
Sometimes when I'm off on leave I'm terrified to go back in case a huge mistake of mine has been unearthed when I've been off.
I also wake up in middle of night fretting. Mostly I create a mistake in my head that I've to check as soon as I go in.

I do exactly the same!

Onesnowynight · 16/05/2021 20:09

@Cafeaulait27 Try not to worry, just be honest and they will appreciate that more. Others probably make mistakes you just don’t hear about them!


BrilliantBetty · 16/05/2021 20:11

Yes, me too.

I am very careful to the extent I waste time.

And I still get a pang of sickness and get the sweats when I think about the first major mistake I made in my first proper job. 10+ years ago.


ImInStealthMode · 16/05/2021 20:12


Thanks For you.

Yes I've made mistakes, and costly ones. It's because we're human. I worry at the time, I've had that absolute overwhelming feeling of wanting to throw up when it's noticed.

What I do now is remind myself of the awful ones, and how insignificant they seem now months or years down the line.

Go in tomorrow, hold your hands up, get it sorted, learn the lesson to avoid it happening again and move on x


SmallestInTheClass · 16/05/2021 20:15

Yes, I could have written this too. It's reassuring to know I'm not alone. I look confident and reliable on the outside but I'm a nervous wreck on the inside when I'm going through one of these phases. Loss of my reputation as a capable person is usually my biggest fear. Hang in there and it will pass OP.

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