Saturday, July 20, 2013

How To Recover From A (Stupid) Mistake

Hey Edsters,

We've all done it. Mistakenly hanging up on someone important, copying the wrong document on the wrong paper, or missing an important dateline for our boss. Doing something wrong at work isn't a crime although it can feel the end of the world in the office. I have never been sure what the best approach to fixing an error is and this past week I was challenged with overcoming a minor mistake. 

This past week while interning I made my first noticeable mistake all because of nerves and stress. I was sitting in at an editor's desk filling in for another intern who was there for a past few hours. She stepped away for a little to help our boss with something minor and I volunteered to take her spot. My job was to simply answer the phone calls that come in for the editor and take notes of those who try to contact her. Should be easy, right? And of course it wasn't. 

Almost a minute into manning the desk the phone rings, I get nervous and quickly answered it before clearing my thoughts. It shouldn't be hard to read a short line about how the editor is out and can not take the call but I was over thinking it and didn't want to make the caller wait. All was fine during the call until my brain tripped up and I pronounced the Editor-in-Chief's name wrong when talking to another woman who works at the magazine. We have been there where we think we're going to say something and our mouths say something completely different. I moved on after my fault and the caller seemed to not notice or if anything she was not bothered by it. 

After the call ended I replaying the moment over and over in my head, as if I could somehow change what I said. I didn't think it was big deal but I quickly learned it might have been. Shorting after, the intern I was helping came back and asked me what happened when I answered the phone. She mentioned something about our boss telling her to go back to the editor's desk because someone else in the office called and ask what was going on. Feeling like a complete idiot, incapable of communicating and talking, I suddenly kept thinking about what I should do to fix the situation.

Some mistakes are fixable and other are not, like this one. My boss never mentioned the mistake to me but in my mind I still wonder how much of a big deal it was. I might have been building it up in my head, I am great at doing that, or not at all. The hardest part about the situation was that I would have loved to have said I am sorry but I wasn't sure if that was the right step to take. I did not want to draw too much attention to my stupidity because I am sure that it wasn't that much of a problem. 

We have all been there, meaning to do the right thing but completely messing it up. Is it better to let it pass or better to bring attention to an issue to correct it? 

Out for now, 
Edit Intern

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