Archive for April 15th, 2024

Service of When to Tell the Boss

Monday, April 15th, 2024

The trend these days is to never admit to an error, never apologize and look for someone or something else to blame if caught. I am ever thankful that my job isn’t crucial to life and limb such as folding parachutes, operating on patients, or air traffic controller. It’s hard to ignore a mistake made by people in these jobs. My errors are embarrassing but they don’t kill anyone.

A friend shared this situation. She was working at home when she heard a crash in the kitchen. Her cleaning woman was working there. My friend figured that the woman had broken one or two wine glasses that were on the kitchen counter. She didn’t want to make her feel badly so she didn’t leave her office to confront her.

The cleaning woman didn’t say a word about it. Both glasses appear to be missing. Was it strange that she didn’t own up, my friend asked?

In the days before email I’d mailed out a “Save the Date” for a client’s press introduction. The client received a copy and called to say the date was wrong. At first I thought she was teasing me. When she said she was serious, I immediately said I’d pay for the printing and postage of another mailing. She said that the mistake was her fault, that she hadn’t told me about the date change, and she acknowledged that she’d approved the copy with the wrong date. She wouldn’t hear of my paying for the correction.

I’ve made mistakes or inadvertently caused a kerfuffle and while it’s hard to do, I’ve prepared my client or boss, getting in front of the issue by admitting it. Never once have I been sorry. I figure the person would rather hear it from me than be blindsided should there be repercussions.

My laptop has a voracious appetite. I was convinced I’d seen an email from a client—it flashed by. But I couldn’t find it anywhere including in my deleted, junk or spam files. The man is terribly busy, but I fell on my sword and asked him to send it again. He laughed. I never found the original.

What should my friend do about the cleaning lady—ask if she broke the wine glasses or forget about the instance? Have you owned up to a mistake or do you cross your fingers and hope it goes away?

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