Is It Normal to Make Mistakes at Work? Then What?

Last week, my sister made a mortifying mistake at work. She’s been continuously beating herself up on that. Disturbed, she asked me what I thought about the mistake. Was it really that crazy? And is it normal to make mistakes at work? 

Let’s the answer this question with the age-old saying, to err is human. Yes, it is normal to make a mistake at work. In fact, feeling ashamed after making an error shows that you care about your job. Your employer knows that too. You just need to make your amends properly. To know how to make amends after accidentally making a mistake, read further. 

You can’t judge a book by its cover. In the same way, you can’t know everything by just eyeing the introduction. In the next part, I have discussed how to get rid of the guilt and anxiety after making a mistake. You will also find some cool and handy tips on how to be the star of the office even after making a mistake. 

Is It Normal to Make Mistakes at Work?

Of course, it is normal. This is how human brains work. In fact, we learn the most when we mess things up. It’s also possible that after seeing your dedication to correct yourself, your boss becomes more impressed with you than before. 

But the burning question is- how to amend your mistake at work? Before answering that, we will discuss why we feel humiliated after making a gaffe and how to forgive yourself. 

Why Do We Make Mistakes?

It’s Fuzzy Input Rather Than a Glitchy Brain

It turns out there is nothing wrong with your brain while making mistakes. It’s instead the wrong information going inside it. When the input is flawed, the output has to be faulty. 

We Are Made like That, That’s Just It!

Humans learn by trial and error. It’s just how we are designed. We can do nothing about it. I know we want to modify every verb of our lives with the adverb “successfully,” but that’s just not going to happen. We are going to have episodes of successes and failures in life. That’s just how it is!

It’s Your Mistake, Not Crime for a Regular Office Job

Accidents vs. Mistakes

Remember the time you bumped into someone and split all your coffee or juice on them? What did you do? Said earnestly, sorry? Or perhaps help them clean the mess?  You may think it was only an accident. A mistake is a different thing! You think a mistake is somehow dependent on your carelessness and lack of attention. 

I ask you how? If you are making a mistake, you are doing it without any purpose. Mistakes are not carried out with vindictive intention. It’s not a crime. Sometimes, a mistake is even synonymous with accidents. 

Don’t Tag Yourself “Careless” or “Stupid.”

But yes, I must agree to some degree. Some mistakes happen because you didn’t pay much attention. But why are you terming yourself “careless” or “stupid” for that one lapse in your guard? That’s not fair. Your innate nature is not careless. It’s just that at that particular moment, you were not at the peak of your mindfulness. 

Besides, beating yourself up for one mistake is another mistake. That way, you will be at the worst of your mental strength and make more mess. 

Let’s Fight the Negativity with Positivity

Important Notice: I am talking about jobs with no occupational hazards here. 

You are a pilot, doctor, or work in fire services, the army, or a service that consists of occupational hazards; then, the situation is more complicated for you than others’. In that case, the healing process is long and arduous. But if you want to get rid of the gnawing pain inside you, it would be possible. 

Be Sad a Bit- It’s Good for You

Yes, that’s true. If you are suffering from guilt, anxiety, and extremely negative emotions for a mistake in your no-occupational-hazard workplace, let yourself feel a bit sad. After all, being sad or anxious preludes self-realization, which is, by all means, and purposes- a better you. 

How Bad Can It Be?

Really like how bad can it be? If it is a regular office job, I mean. Let’s put things into perspective, alright? Let’s imagine the worst-case scenario. What will happen? Ask yourself. Will you lose your job? Well, if that’s your fear, immediately start looking for another job. If you have the experience and skill, you will surely nail another job. 

Learn from the Mistake

This is the most necessary one. Learn. Ask yourself, “What do I learn from this experience?” Get a pen and write about the mistake. Now, list the lessons you have learned from it. When you make the next game plan, include all of it. Be kind to yourself. It’s going to be okay in the end. 

Important: Making Amends for Your Mistakes

This is the action-filled part. And you got to execute it well. Your image and position in the company depend on it. So, a solid preparation is necessary to crack it. 

But remember whatever you do, you have got to do it with sincerity; there should be no lapse in that. You got to say it like you mean it! 

Most Crucial: Don’t Ever Lie about It

Lying is a big no-no. It’s hard to lie about your mistake anyway, especially in this era. Most offices have surveillance cameras all over it. And remember, in office, mostly everyone is your competitor. If your boss finds out the truth from someone else, you will be in trouble. You can lose your job. And it’s unlikely that you get any good letter of recommendation.

Don’t Downplay It

It’s another big no-no. Don’t try to downplay it. It will serve you no good. It will just complicate matters at hand and make you look like an arrogant miscreant who doesn’t know simple decency. 

Take Full Responsibility

If you have done it, then take full responsibility. Don’t shove it on your colleague’s shoulder. Or don’t plot to frame others. These are character traits of wicked individuals who don’t value their job and get fired repeatedly.

Communication Is the Key

Yes, communication and explanation are important to make amends for your mistakes. Show how sorry you are. Don’t try to be funny or humorous while explaining. It will be just downplaying the severe and tense situation. 

Apologize… but Don’t Overdo It

Apologizing is good. It will clear off the burden of guilt from your chest. But overdoing it can make it look fake. Like you just want forgiveness without making any real promise to be better. So, apologize sincerely once. 

Cut off Lame Excuses, but Provide Logical Reasons

Lame excuses waste everyone’s time. Yours too. How? Because it gets you no real positive result. Trust me. Your boss is so experienced at detecting lies that he is already mentally searching for the resignation letter to fire you as you speak. So, cut off the lies for your good. 

But provide logical reasons. Like if you were really ill, show the medical documents. Explain your mistake in an understandable manner.


I hope you have got the answer to your question- Is it normal to make mistakes at work? If you are a good employee who has never done anything unlawful and always stays responsible and hard-working, you are an asset to the company. They will think twice before getting rid of you. Don’t let one mistake cloud your better judgment. Tell the truth and get over it.  

Thanks for stopping by! Good luck!

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