Because we are human, we all make mistakes. Most of the time, I assume these are not intentional. However, recent news has really exposed some events where the mistakes were not only intentional but unethical.
Let’s examine the different levels of mistakes out there and why you should own up to them asap!
1. The “Whoopsie” Mistakes.
Ever had one of those days where it feels like you can’t do anything right? Yup. Been there. Done that. I can think back on a day where it seemed like a domino of mistakes (whoopsies!) that I did. These actions made me want to bury my head in the sand and go home.
For instance, I made an over-payment to a vendor in the amount of $1,000. Must have been fat fingered that day! Thank goodness it wasn’t for an additional 1 or 2 digits, or I probably would have lost my job. I didn’t even notice my own error until the vendor calls up, “Did I just get a bonus for being your favorite person to deal with?” Doh. I could have caught my own error as I am supposed to check the our systems if the payment cleared. But, I didn’t. I try not to make excuses but I think I was rushing that day to get my boss’s final signature on the payment before the weekend came. As well as I flat out forgot to check if the payment cleared the following Monday.
However, I owned up to it. I emailed the folks who had access to reverse the error with a cc: to my boss & the vendor. Easily, I could have requested the correction to be processed without anyone knowing in my office. But, that would have been unethical in my books. Oddly, my boss never even brought it up to me. We shall see if it’s in my performance review at year end. I’ll try and find a creative way to bring it up first!
2. The “I didn’t know better” Mistakes.
Also in that same day, I almost authorized funding for an activity that wasn’t on the approved project list. My boss did catch that one! My excuse for that one was I saw it as an eligible activity, but didn’t realize it had to be on special approved list. Chalking it up to still learning in my job, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware of the process. Should I know this list exists somewhere?” Of course, I still felt like a total dummy.
There were a few other palm to forehead moments that day. You know, like cutting up apple slices when your kid suddenly decides he wants to eat it whole. Sigh and smile. Advice: on days like this, just go to bed early and hope the next day is not a repeat.
3. The Intentional and Unethical Mistakes:
Thank goodness, I don’t have any personal examples in this area. To my knowledge anyway. Maybe if you ask some of my former employees. 🙂 But, one of the most recent intentional and unethical mistakes would be Uber. In the msn article, Uber was hacked in October 2016. The now former CEO learned of it a month later. Then as a solution, decides to pay the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and stay quiet about the breach.
I know, C’mon on man!
They stated no SSNs, credit card info or trip details were breached. Only names, email addresses and phone numbers. Oh, as well as 600,000 U.S. drivers’ license numbers. There’s my red flag! Your driver’s license is a form of ID. You need it to not only buy booze and cigarettes, but also drive (duh) and board airplanes. Hello terrorist threat level off the charts.
Do we believe they really only have our names, email addresses and phone numbers? Choice is yours. I choose to not believe everything on the internet (unless it’s Defined Sight and our trusted blogger network, right?!). I had two Uber accounts. One for personal use and the other with my work credit card and information in there.
But honestly, hacks happen all the time. I’ve lost track over the years of how many times my info was hacked. Email. Equifax. Credit card companies. We just process that as the new operating norm now.
Getting back to the main point, the area we are focusing on is the type of the mistake. For Uber to choose to pay off hackers and not disclose the data breech. Definitely intentional and unethical in my books. Uber is out of the Jack Byrnes family circle of trust. Good luck with the PR mess, cleaning up your reputation and building back up business standards.
Making mistakes is all apart of being human. If you can recognize the mistake, own up to it early. Admit you should have caught it or could have done better. The best way handle a mistake is by proposing a solution before giving that upper hand to someone else. “I caught an error of mine, here’s how I’m going to fix it and prevent it from happening again.” It ties in well with the art of workplace interaction and a good trade to teach others.
Would you like to own up to any mistakes today? At least to make me feel better about my own whoopsies?! 🙂