How To Live and Learn…and Let Go

By: Victoria Scialfa

As a senior, I spend less and less time at home and more time on my own dealing with the realities of adulthood. Working two internships, juggling networking events and even meeting up with old friends, I like to consider myself somewhat of an adult. I’ve flown out of my parents nest so to speak. However, we all know that sometimes when we go out into the working world it still feels like we’re a little kid again, trying on mom’s heels. We stumble and make mistakes. Stupid ones. One of the best lessons my father still continues to teach me is to live and learn and to ultimately let go.

This summer I worked at a fully integrated advertising, public relations, marketing and research agency in Pittsburgh called MARC USA. It was a great place to work. I was extremely valued as an intern, I had my own desk and the PR team trusted me entirely to deal directly with clients as well as other departments in the company. I was killing it and making some key connections at the same time. But one day, in my single dorm room at Duquesne University, my alarm failed to yell at me the way it had for the past consecutive five weeks and I woke up 30 minutes late. I was mortified. I hadn’t screwed up yet and THIS was going to be my first mistake? Needless to say I immediately texted my supervisor with an apology and practically sprinted to work. The important part of this mistake however is the way I handled the after effects.

Here are some tips to recovering from an office screw up:

Apologize Emphatically

The first thing out of your mouth should never be an excuse but a sincere apology and a promise to never let it happen again. Most employees are allowed to be human and have a bad day. I learned after kicking myself while I was down that my being late one day out of seven weeks did not make me any less reliable or sharp on the job.

Tell the Truth

ALWAYS tell the truth even if it hurts. My truth was embarrassing, but my supervisor (a Penn State grad) was sympathetic and responsive to my sincerity and transparency.

Let it Go

As my dad always says, you have to let it go and stop dwelling on it. The worst thing you can do is keep talking about the mistake you made. It’s like rubbing salt in a wound: the only thing it’s going to do is continue to bleed.

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