A friend of mine runs a small business with just two employees, one of whom is hard-working and loyal, but prone to complete carelessness. For instance, she has lost her office keys several times—forcing my friend to have the locks changed, at great expense—and once left the office for the night without turning the lights off. The boss has given her warnings, but she is at her wit’s end. As an adult, shouldn’t someone have gotten their act together by now?
Everyone is prone to the odd moment of forgetfulness or lapse in judgment—we’re only human, after all. Losing your keys, leaving your phone at home, having to run back to the office to pick up a file you’ve forgotten—everyone’s probably done this at one point or another. But to keep making these mistakes, and to take no personal responsibility, smacks of carelessness and immaturity. Do I really want to employ someone who can’t be trusted with something as minor as hanging on to a pair of keys?
If you find yourself consistently making careless mistakes, whether it’s letting documents go out with typos, or losing important office items, own up to it immediately. Your boss will be frustrated, but it’s better than passing the buck. Then, take a moment to consider why you’re having these distracted moments. Are you simply absent-minded, or under great stress and pushing yourself too much? Take extra care going forward to avoid making mistakes, even creating a checklist if you need to. Put your keys on a long lanyard that can be clipped to your purse or worn around your neck if necessary.
If everyone else can stick to the rules, you should be able to as well! It’s all part of being a responsible adult and employee.