How to Impress Your Boss by Screwing Up

April 17, 2007

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes the way you handle your mistake can actually turn it into an opportunity.

My Mistake
Due to bad listening on my part, I’ve spent the majority of the last two days at work, fun fun. My boss made a commitment to our Vice President of Technology and asked me to make sure it was carried out. I misunderstood the timeline so when my bosses boss came looking for status on Monday morning it was panic time.

My Solution
Everyone from my boss on up to the Vice President were expecting a deliverable that could save or cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. The bad news is that it wouldn’t be done on time and it was fault. Rather than dodge responsibility for the issue, which seemed tempting at first, I acknowledged my error and set to correcting it. Now after two days of long hours and hard work it appears the project will be a success. Although I was the cause for the delay, my handling of the situation proved my ability and dedication to my boss and his managers.

Making Mistakes
As we all know, everyone makes mistakes. If you can learn from those mistakes then you’ll be better off. A great illustration of this is the young businessman who blew a $100,000 dollar deal with a client. As they left the meeting the dejected businessman asked his boss, “Sir, are you going to fire me for losing that client?”. His boss gave him a funny look and said “Are you crazy? I just spent $100K training you, why would I fire you now? You’ll nail the next one, if not, then you’re fired.” We all make mistakes, how we handle and learn from them determines how others will reward or punish us for them.

Promotion Payday
In an ironic twist my boss called me today with some exciting news. I saw his number on my phone and thought it was more bad news about the project. However, when I answered it was a different type of news altogether. The promotion I’d been waiting on had come through!

Hopefully this shows the promotion advice I’ve given has some merit. Unfortunately promotions typically require a good deal of hard work to come by. Turning your mistakes into opportunities can help speed up the process of getting promoted. Just don’t make too many mistakes


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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