Embarrassing Workplace Mess-Ups and How to Move on Like a Champ


We’ve all been there: you’re working your part-time job, someone approaches the cash register, and instead of saying the usual: “Hey, how are you today?” or “Hi, just over here thanks!” you say something wild like “Hey, how are you here today?” Which will then, of course, replay in your head right before you go to sleep every night for the rest of the week.

Or maybe later on, in a different job, you’re in the office and accidentally hit ‘reply all’ on an email you really weren’t supposed to, or go to print two copies of a document only to find you’ve hit 22 and now there’s a queue for the printer. These things happen to the best of us, and you are not alone! Read on for some stories of woe, and a couple of quick tips on how to overcome a typical workplace blunder!





Quick tips for making best of a bad lot

Be sincere

People can tell when you’re just saying ‘sorry’ because you feel like you have to – if you’ve made a mistake, look the person in the eye and apologise with real feeling. This authenticity also helps build trust and can actually help your reputation, which are pretty good outcomes for a blunder!

Use humor

If you’ve just made a small mistake, like missing a word or saying the wrong phrase,  humor can help turn a mistake into an inside joke. Obviously, only do this if your mistake is something very minor and not a mishap that may actually disrupt or harm other people.


According to Reader’s Digest, three elements of a good apology include:

  • An expression of regret
  • An explanation of what went wrong
  • Acknowledgement of responsibility

Owning up to your mistakes and openly trying to fix whatever has gone wrong, is the best and quickest way to work through the issue and come to a positive resolution. Trying to hide it or delay the issue being found out can often make it worse, and result in more work for other people (which they are unlikely to be happy about). So, if something has gone wrong, explain what happened and try to work with your colleagues, fellow students, or team to remedy it!


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.