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Why You Should Own Up To Your Mistakes – ASAP

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.

uhhh…uhhh…this sucks Beavis.

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?! 🙂

Or share another story how a mistake didn’t work out so well for someone?


  1. Timely read here. I’m going through this situation with an employee. He refuses to accept accountability for his errors and it’s going to be a painful several weeks for him as a result. SOOOO much easier to own up to your mistakes as opposed to throwing others under the bus!

    Dammit, Beavis! 🙂

    • Mrs Defined Sight

      December 2, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Ah Cube Man, ‘this sucks more than anything has ever sucked before!’ Yes, there’s always at least one employee that seems to take that role. Sorry you have the pleasure of dealing with him. Maybe some day he will eventually grow up. And if he doesn’t, at least you have the countdown date on to look forward to!

  2. Yes!!! I preach this a lot. Own up, take care of it, and learn from the experience so you don’t (hopefully) make the same mistake again. On two separate occasions this year I’ve forgotten to enter a new contractor into our timekeeping system at work. I’m notified by someone else via email to enter them but in these 2 situations I apparently looked at the email but didn’t act on it. Luckily both times the contractors were tracking their own hours in Excel so they were able to go in and update the system once the error was realized. I didn’t have a good excuse either time. It’s in bold on my checklist now. 🙂

    • Mrs Defined Sight

      December 3, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      I love checklists too Amy! and flow charts! We sound like we are in the same boat with our whoopsies. One of the areas I like to blame is email as well – sometimes it just gets too far down in the inbox, and off the radar. I’ll own up I didn’t manage my inbox as good as I should! I have a large marker board in my cube and started writing on that now in red of extra important things I do not want to forget and I thinks this helps me out. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

  3. Mrs. DS,
    I have made and continue to make so many mistakes that I could write a book. So, I will focus on something else here. As a former accounting and finance professional turned accounting teacher, it looks like you may work in or run an accounting department or accounts payable function. I’m sure you know it’s important to have sound internal accounting controls to prevent unauthorized payments and over payments. The important thing is to recognize those control deficiencies (mistakes) and implement sound internal accounting controls to prevent them from happening again. You probably know all this, but I just couldn’t resist a “teaching moment” in my field. Tom
    Tom @ Dividends Diversify recently posted…Should You Invest in the Stock Market Now?My Profile

    • Mrs Defined Sight

      December 3, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks Tom! We are on the same page! Internal controls definitely failed that day. A person signed off on requested amount. I funds certified and wrote a different amount. A program manager approved my amount. Then the accounting tech signed when they processed the amount. And the vendor was the one that called on the mistake. Doh! I did have a conversation with this program manager the other day and she mentioned she sometimes only looks to see if I’ve signed then she’ll sign. Noooo I immediately told her! That’s breaking the internal controls! Can’t ever get too comfortable and always trust people will do it right! Lessons learned 🙂

  4. Making mistakes is part of being a human. However, some mistakes can be very costly or even scary. Owning up the mistake and learning from it is the best course of action, in my opinion.

    I’ve always been a double triple check kind’a guy, so I’ve mostly stayed clear of too serious of mistakes. But still I’ve had my share of smaller mistakes at work, mostly engineering type mistakes that were reversible or fixable. However, too many of those and one can easily get fired.

    Uber thing was pretty awful to say the least, can’t believe it they even tried to hide it.

    • Mrs Defined Sight

      December 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks Mr. ATM! I agree. The lesson I learned mostly from my whoopsie day is if I don’t have enough time in the day to double/triple check mine and everyone’s work, I just wait until the next day. Better to see it at 8am and be a little late than having to fix an error! I now have the old quote up in my office to remind me, “lack of planning on your part, does not create an emergency on my part.” I have my set performance measures of when I process certain things, 1 day, 2 days, 7 business days, 3 weeks, etc., and by golly – I’m going to remind people of them too!

  5. Great article. Everyone makes mistakes, its going to happen. I don’t care who you are or what your track record is. It is just a matter of time until something happens. What’s funny is that the thing that usually saves you in a situation or lessens the impact is if you are humble, admit your mistake, and learn from it. Bosses, managers, customers, clients will all understand if you own up to your mistake, apologize, and work with them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I usually see the situation turn south when someone tries to cover it up or just flat out lies about the situation, pretending they are too good to make a mistake or it was everyone elses fault. It sounds like you have learned and your ability to work with people allowed the situation to remain calm and the damage minimal. Thanks for the great read and letting me ramble a little.

    Dividend Diplomats recently posted…Bert’s November 2017 Dividend Income ReportMy Profile

    • Mrs Defined Sight

      December 3, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks Bert! Your rambles are enjoyable and ALWAYS welcome here! You are right – bosses are more forgiving and will likely keep the person on even if they make more mistakes than if there’s another person who messes up once in a while and denies making a mistake. Thanks again for stopping by and have a great week!

  6. Everyone makes mistakes, the key is to not make the same one twice. Anyway, I learn quicker from making a mistake and having to own up to it than I do from not making one. 😀
    MrDoublingDollars recently posted…Someone Else Is Happy With Less Than What You HaveMy Profile

    • Mrs Defined Sight

      December 3, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Mr. Doubling Dollars, You have just provided thee most perfect line if (when!) I have another whoopsie, “I learn quicker from making a mistake and having to own up to it than I do from not making one.” ~ and insert appropriate full top and bottom teeth showing smile.

      Excellent points man! Thanks and have a great week!

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