You won’t be promoted if you don’t do this – and you may be fired

When your boss reviews your work, typically he’ll suggest some improvements and correct some errors. It’s the errors that are really dangerous to your career. There are two kinds of errors. First, there’s the harmless kind, where you make a mistake that just about anyone in your shoes would make. You are new on the job, for example, and still learning the ropes. There are lots of other acceptable ways in which you might screw up.

IThe second type of error is the career-killing sort. If your boss finds easily preventable errors in your work, you will be lucky to keep your job and definitely won’t be promoted if you repeat them regularly. What’s an easily preventable error? That’s an error that –

  • you could have detected yourself by checking your own work or
  • you’ve been trained not to make and to watch for or
  • is due to haste, inattention and carelessness.

When you make easily preventable errors, you’re telling your boss that you need babysitting. Trust me, he doesn’t want to be your babysitter! If you really want a promotion, you will need to show your boss the opposite, that you are ready to babysit others.

catching your own mistakes

Show your boss you don’t need babysitting by checking your work carefully before delivering it:

  • Proofread by reading out loud – you will catch many more mistakes, if not all of them. Next, scan your writing backwards. Yes I mean that – start with the last word on the page and work your way from right to left, bottom to top. Both of these techniques prevent your brain from running on autopilot, which is how you miss mistakes.
  • Have a coworker or friend review your work. Sometimes you are too close to a project and know too much about it to step back and see it the way it will be perceived by others.
  • Give it a real-world test. Run through the process from beginning to end without skipping any steps or making any assumptions.

Make checking your work a habit and you’ll build trust with your boss that will eventually get you promoted.

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  • I believe this is a very common mistake made in today’s typical work place and my father can second that opinion. My father runs his own company and people consistently making the same mistakes happens far too often. I, personally and unfortunately, have been one of those people. My own father has fired me twice because I kept on making the same, preventable mistakes.

    I cannot stress this tip enough, always double check your work. It has gotten me involved in many complications at work and it will anyone else who commits the same mistakes I have. These are the type of mistakes that make you feel incredibly incompetent after because you knew the exact way to do it, you just didn’t and you’re facing the consequences because of it. It is not particularly enjoyable to be fired, especially by your own father. DOUBLE CHECK YOUR WORK AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES!

  • This reminds me of a past co-worker. I worked at a restaurant that had a salad table where all the food was kept cold. She worked the closing shift so it was her job to put the food on the salad table away at night and turn the everything off. She left the the food out on the table one night and all the food went bad. Our manager was really upset about it.

  • As a college student, my first job experience was in 7-eleven, one of the best leading retailer shops. When I was hired, I had no previous experience of working in any shop. As a result I was literally in “babysitting”. Most of the time I had to count the products and input the data in the database. Although I tried my best to be conscious about what I was doing, almost every time there were some mistakes in the database. My boss didn’t tell me anything but I could see the anger in her face. I was also feeling ashamed of myself.

    Some days later, she minimize my schedule from 5 days to 2 days in a week without even saying any reason. I realized why it happened. Also when I worked, I couldn’t input the data. Later I just quit working there when I understood it was not something for me. After reading this article, now I am realizing what was wrong with me. I should have done way more better if I proofread the data carefully after putting in the database without just quickly handling them.

    Now I know what I have to do for a better position and for that awesome look from the boss. It was really a life lesson for me.

  • This is HUGELY important! If you can do this then you become indispensable. The goal is to have your work reflect that which you hope to project and errors do not have a place in that line of thinking. Growth, proofreading, editing, thoughtfulness, efficiency and thoroughness will get you very far as these are traits that young professionals can lack in this day and age.

  • I find this lesson to be true in that you need to take initiative and be willing to work unsupervised. I would have to say that the best ideal job to really test your skills in a field would be to try to work out a satellite office. If you are able to accomplish your tasks and goals in these type of environment, with minimum supervision, you will find it much easier to get promoted and possibly already have the mindset to not need a babysitter and can be counted on to take projects that most people would normally be afraid to do.

  • I agree there are many things which can hamper your chances at getting promoted. The most important takeaway from this article may be avoiding casual and easy to correct errors. It’s true, we all make mistakes, but the mistakes that look the most unimpressive are the simple ones we fail to catch. It’s imperative that we are careful when submitting important documents, because often times the quality of the product reflects the quality of the work that was done on the product and this reflects our overall commitment to achieving the best possible outcome in the workplace.

  • I was working with my father and he bought a door that was too large. So he explain why we couldn’t cut the bottom to make it fit. I offered my solution to cut the door and make it the correct height. He left for an hour and I completed my task of cutting the door and correcting the problem he saw. But then he measured the width and we were still off. So it was back to store for a new door as we shook ours head all the way wondering how those measurements ended up being so bad. Since then I double check his measurements.

  • I, too, was very eager to please my boss. After being unemployed for 3 years, I began work with a non-profit organization. I absolutely loved the office setting and staff. The training was rigorous and fast. I was assured on every level, that I was ‘doing well.’ The competition was a draw back due to my age. I felt challenged by my younger colleagues, to perform better. In fact, it was the reverse. They were in competition with me because they felt that I was more experienced. This is why I love my non-profit organization. We are like family and we often critique each other. During the competitive stage, I often made mistakes for the sake of a speedy completion of tasks. Once the mistakes were sited, I was that much more embarrassed. Aside to say, my younger colleagues were just as careless and this prompted team conversations. Once one team member opened up about their competing concerns, we all followed suite. We began to assist and critique one another’s documents, for typos. We encouraged one another to become more confident. We are all star’s in our organization and our director is always happy to brag about us. We learned how to trust one another.

  • It’s true that there is many major mistakes that can be avoided by asking question when in doubt. When i first started working at the job I’ am at now I forgot to put dates on some products of when they were opened. Everyone at work kept using the products that hadn’t been opened. By the end of the month the product was moldy and had to be thrown away. That was money that the store lost. Ever since then I double check everything i do just to make sure that I didn’t forget to do anything.
    I agree with this article and it’s always important to have some else double check your work to make sure u did everything right.

  • I think that this is probably one of, if not the, most important tip on this list of 20. People tend to get used to a job and settle into auto-pilot mode. Then, they tend to make more mistakes. I think that if you can do something, and then go about doing it in a different way the next time that you have to, then you would be less likely to make mistakes since you won’t be doing it subconsciously. Granted, I don’t have much to go off of (I have worked at a gas station, Subway, and a nursing home), but there are some mistakes there that could be a big deal. For example, I pass medicines at the nursing home. Many people go through the medicine cart and pop out all of the pills for each person for whatever time of day it is and slip into auto-pilot mode since it is always the same thing. But here’s the catch: Some times, things change. People get new medicine or get different doses. When you do this subconsciously, you may not notice. This is why I like to go in a different order every time I pass medicine and mark them off as I go. Also, DOUBLE CHECK your work is a huge deal. It’s much less embarrassing if you catch your own mistake rather than having someone else point it out.

  • I feel this lesson is extremely important no matter if you have just recently been hired onto a company or have been with one for a few years. No employer wants their employee making mistakes, especially repeated mistakes. Never underestimate the power of a friends ear also learn from your mistakes.

  • While working retail, a great frustration of mine was the
    level of politics that existed. It seemed preposterous to me that instead of
    focusing on the job that needed to get done, my co-workers would instead wait
    for their manager to pass by and see them
    completing a task, so they knew they were a hard worker.

    In my mind, it seemed silly to ask for praise in such an obvious way. Therefore,
    I went my way carrying out the daily responsibilities, and therefore showing my
    supervisor that I don’t need a baby-sitter to ensure things get done – if I am
    asked to do something, it will be given due attention and completed in a timely
    manner without them needing to check up on me.

  • Always read your own writing… If it doesn’t make sense to you, it probably won’t to anyone else! If it does make sense to you, after reading it, then pass it on to someone else and see if it makes sense to them! I have lived by this rule most of my academic career and it has served me well, I imagine it will be useful when I enter the workforce!

  • As I began my first Job as a file clerk, I was very nervous not to make a mistake. The office was already very behind on filing therefore it was all up to me to get the office caught up. With the pile of papers I had to file, I felt the pressure. There was one girl that worked with me who was full time, which I was only part time. She did a lot of procrastinating therefore, I worked my butt off every shift I had. We ended up getting scolded for no progression. Sadly she was fired. I continued working there and haven’t had any issues. I am very helpful and have caught up with the filing!

  • I had a job previously working for my campus’s gym at UC Santa Barbara. I only worked for a quarter, but what i noticed that costed me the job was my carelessness on the job. I only made two mistakes, one was big, the other just careless. I miscounted the cash when i opened one morning. Thinking it was the manager’s job, i did not think to check twice and i missed the count the five dollars. Two days i lost my position. I learned from this lesson in real-life experience and from this article to double check my work, whether at work or in school. It is vital to take proof-reading into account, sometimes, in my case, it could cost you your job. I will take this into account at my next job. Thank you for the advice!

  • This is a great lesson to be given and can help efficiently. I work at McDonald’s and if errors were repeated, it prevented workers from getting promoted or getting a raise because the work is not efficient every time. No one wants to be corrected, after three months of working there, I got a raise for outstanding performance and drive – thru times being at our goal or better while others have waited years to get a raise because their performance was below the standards and wrong performances were being repeated. This advice can help others as well and I will take it into practice as well.

  • This is one of the best lessons I learned while working as a document manager at the University I attend. I was responsible for scanning and inputting informations from hundreds of documents a day. A lot of focus was required to do the job without error. Being human, I made plenty of errors when I first started on the job, and I came to realize that the only thing that set me apart from other people who could potentially be hired was that I was trained to not make the mistakes that other new employees would make. I came to see just how replaceable I was if I kept making mistakes that I was trained not to do.

    This realization encouraged me to check my work twice before submitting anything. Eventually I simply got in the habit of not making mistakes. Soon after I was promptly promoted, within two month of having been hired, to find the mistakes that others were making. And currently I am in the process of being promoted again to an even better position with more responsiblity because I have proven that I care enough not to make mistakes.

  • Before I decided to go into education, I worked in nonprofit. For six years I worked with one organization and learned how to operate well under their rules and culture. I succeeded and grew into an organizational leader. After some continuing education, I took a job in another nonprofit organization. I entered this job full of vigor and eager to please my boss. I worked quickly and learned all I could without much orientation to the office or procedures.

    Then I started making mistakes. Big ones.

    Simultaneously, we had a 90% staff turnover which included a new CEO/President. My quarterly review coincided with her first day in the office, and needless to say it did not go well. I had been plowing forward with projects I was too proud to ask for help on, and the mistakes kept coming. (I “knew what I was doing” because I had “experience in nonprofit.”)

    A month later I was fired. I learned to not just slow down and check my work, but also to ask for collaboration with my coworkers. Had I been more open to receiving help, I would still be with that organization. Instead, I was bent on outperforming the rest, which lead to sloppy work. Now I know!

  • As Alexander Pope best put it, “To err, is human…”. I couldn’t agree with this statement more, because we all make mistakes at one point or another in our careers. However, when we do not learn from our mistakes or continue making the same mistakes over and over again, this becomes problematic. We may get overlooked or passed over for promotions or other opportunities that come our way.

    In my professional experience, I found that double checking and proofreading, especially, are powerful tools to avoid making careless errors. During my first internship, I worked as a corporate tax intern in the mutual fund industry. I was responsible for several tasks, including the state tax extensions and the state tax estimates. Because of the learning curve, I naturally made mistakes. However, when I kept making the same mistakes over and over again, this came across as being uninterested, careless and sloppy. I quickly learned that proofreading was not an option, but an absolute necessity on the job.

    Specifically, I made sure that my work followed a consistent format, similar to prior years’. The lead sheet was on top, followed by work papers and back-up. I referenced the lead sheet and labeled all supporting documentation for easy cross-referencing. For example, the federal and state income, the apportionment factor, and the tax rate were all referenced and documentation was provided to support these amounts. Finally, on the lead sheet, I made sure that all formulas were working and pulling contents from the right cells—no one likes a math mistake! By proofreading my own work, I prevented careless mistakes, and the quality of my work greatly improved. I took pride in and showed ownership of my work. I proved that I could handle assigned tasks and be trusted with additional responsibilities as well.

  • I’ve learned this lesson well in the world of food service. It is always important to ensure that everything is operating correctly. If you don’t there can be very bad results. Things like low food temperatures can cause illnesses for guests. Things like forgetting to turn off equipment can cause fires. One of the most valuable things that I have learned at my job is to make sure that all of the electrical equipment, especially the warmers, toasters, and deep fryers are off before leaving, as the can cause electrical fires.

    Leaving things like these on is a fire-able offense because if could end up causing lots in damages. Another thing I’ve learned is to have someone else check behind you, even when you have already checked behind others. Chances are that you forgot something, didn’t see it, or just accidentally overlooked it. Having more than one pair of eyes on something can be very beneficial.

    Thus, I think the real lesson to be learned here is that teamwork is necessary, and without it you could become lost in the world of your job. Relying on other people to help you through could become your biggest asset.

  • When posting a message for my employees or an email to colleagues, it is always a good idea to have someone proof read your work. As this page say, its easy to miss simple mistakes that can make a big difference in the message. As a manager in a retail chain, I would always ask my superiors or peers to double check my messages to avoid having simple mistakes that could ruin the professionalism of that particular message. Many times the messages that were posted had simple grammatical errors that I would overhear my direct supervisor commenting with her peers about. It is quick fixes such as this that really ensures that you are know as someone that crosses their T’s and dots their I’s.

  • Learning new ways to do things is a wonderful experience. When I started to go to college I though
    that I could not write a paper. I found out that I can write papers and I can do a good job at it. This lesson was great, it helped me to learn that there is more than one way to proof read. This will be very helpful when my job will demand me to write many papers and letters. I have found in past job experiences that preventable errors always has harsh reprimands. Boss make look pass other errors but not the preventable ones.

  • As I need a job that I can have while in graduate school that will help pay the bills, I find this very helpful. Proofreading out loud is something that I have never tried.
    I realize the need to not be baby sat. I also value any advice a boss might give me in order to improve my performance. But what does one do when no advice is given and you think you are doing fine. Then at the last minute, you are given notice that today is your last day because you are not performing up to company standards? This has happened to people I know more than once.

  • The lesson for me in this is that no matter how far you come in your career you can still make a mistake. you must always keep a level head, and carefully check your work, and pay attention to every task you do no matter how small or pointless it may seam to you.

  • I currently work as a front desk staff person as a part time job while going to school. I have developed many office related skills through working this job, and one thing that I have learned about those skills is that no matter what skills you have, it is easy to make a mistake! I have learned to check and double check all work that I do in my office because I truly want to do my best, and let my managers know that I am a trustworthy, and reliable employee.

    Every semester in my office my manager and I have a meeting together to discuss how we thought the semester went overall. She gives me feedback about the tasks I completed over the course of the semester, and comments related to my work ethic. If there are any negative things that she comments on, or things that she would like me to improve on, I make sure to take note of them and I strive to change and do those things more efficiently when the next semester begins.

    I feel that it is important to try your best, and be careful of making mistakes in any job or career. This is especially true of a situation like mine where I am working this part time job in order to get me to the next stage of my life. The people I meet here, the impression I leave on them, and the connections I make as an employee could all be factors in what my next future boss or superviser will think of me, or whether or not I get hired at all in such a competitive market.

  • In my office, not only do I have to check my work, I have to double check it. Attention to detail is especially important when working with numbers and confidential information. One wrong letter in the last name can send important paperwork to the wrong person, causing our office or clients to miss deadlines. This can also result in something as serious as identity theft, for which my office could be held liable. It is for this reason that I always make sure to double check my work.

    I have seen men and women let go for very simple mistakes like this. Five extra minutes of their time could have prevented the loss of their income. As someone who is now in training for lower level management, I truly hope this is a lesson that my incoming employees learn: a lesson I do not wish to teach them the hard way. Thank you for making this very useful lesson available.

  • I believe this is a lesson useful in every walk of life, not simply the workplace. I am a college student, and I can remember countless times when proofreading and double (or even triple) checks have saved me and/or my team members. This past year I worked in a group at my university to organize an Energy Conference. Our team was organizing a panel discussion, and had to submit initial abstracts and requests for speakers. These requests were going to people at top faculty, business, and political institutions. As one of the few undergrads involved, I felt greatly outmatched by the graduate students who seemed to know so much more and have so many more connections. When the abstracts and requests came to me to look over, I approached it with nonchalance, as I believed there was nothing I could contribute to it. I was shocked to find grammar errors and various editing to be fixed, and found that regardless of my age I was still able to provide insight into the work being done. Of course, there are all those times on tests in high school when revising my work proved so helpful. The most memorable of these occurred when I took the ACT, a standardized exam for college admissions. Despite the fact that I finished the section of the exam with 15 minutes to spare, I reviewed it a few times. In the last five minutes, i debated between closing my book and looking back just one more time. Indeed, I found a math mistake that I hadn’t caught the past few times. A few weeks later I found out I had earned a perfect score on that exam. No matter how advanced an individual is, ultimately, he or she is human and errors are inevitable. A few revisions can never hurt anyone.

  • This is how I do my written homework assignments now. I sometimes catch errors or note where I left something out. This is a good tool to use at a job too. This would benefit anyone who is trying to be thorough and not make mistakes in their work.

  • I started working at an ice cream shop about a year ago. The place was just opening for the first time and we were all new employees. Just in the first week they fired two people because of little things like not having their apron clean or always giving away their shifts. I wanted to be one of the employees that would still be there a year later because I liked my boss and my coworkers.

    After we had been open for six months we had our review for the first semester. My boss, the general manager, said she was happy with my work. However, since she had been thinking of promoting me to be a shift leader, she had some ideas for improvement. She said I needed to learn how to clean the ice cream machines and how to open in the morning by myself in case I was needed to do so; I also started getting trained to do the registers and night. Finally, she said I had to step up as a leader.

    I have always been more of a follower, I love working in groups and I rarely have a problem following directions. My manager said she trusted me and she was confident I could do it. I didn’t want to let her down so I decided to step up, as she had suggested, and I took the initiative to ask to be scheduled to clean the machines and open the store the next two weeks. When my boss found out she was happy and satisfied that I had taken her suggestions and that she could count on me as a shift leader.

    We started as a group of nineteen employees, ten months later, only eleven of us are still there. The sad thing is that some of the others got fired for small errors that could have been prevented. I have learned to double check my work (especially when it comes to doing the registers and working with money). I make sure to ask questions if I’m not sure what to do in a certain situation and if I make a mistake I correct it. Sometimes I’m the only shift leader closing at night with other employees and although that makes me uneasy, it shows that my manager is confident that I don’t need babysitting. She has even talked to me about being a manager in the future, and that makes me feel great about myself because it means I have done a good job so far.

  • This lesson to me is a big wakeup call
    because in past years I was prone to making careless mistakes on a paper. Not
    only does it show responsibility, but maturity by having the patience and care
    to look over a piece of work and make sure it is up to par. And I have notice
    that as my academic standing has risen it has done so with performing simple
    checking and proofreading procedures.

  • This article is so relevant, regardless of what field you work in. As I have worked my way through the corporate ladder into a mid-level career, I have noticed that the dynamics of making mistakes don’t change, no matter what you’re doing.
    Every field has a different learning curve and level of attention to detail that must be acquired to be considered for promotional opportunities.
    I have always felt that I had a strong attention to detail in everything I do in life. My professional experience has humbled me, as I’ve learned that it is so easy to take something like this for granted and make small mistakes as referenced in this article, at any time.
    I believe it is important that you want to be respected for the type of work that you produce and you have to want that enough in order to perform well. This means paying attention to everything you do, regardless of whether you feel good at it or not.
    It’s easy to get comfortable and that tends to be when mistakes happen the most.
    I feel it is important to be challenged every day and to want the best from ourselves, just as our bosses do. I have found that if you adopt that mentality even in the small every day details, you create a reputation for yourself, which opens the door to endless opportunities.

  • my boss is a mean men and he always trying to get me scared from what i see if he see you scared to loss your job he will be in your head but me i am not a person to be played with i will put my boss in is place and quit because me am hard working person the boss be thinking he will find a sweet kind wonder girl like me no he wont. but you have to be u dont be somebody u not just be you and your boss might like you.

  • As a previous student assistant, I lost the opportunity to continue the position for the upcoming semester. At first, I wondered what I had done wrong to get let go or why my boss “did not like me”. Her words were: You just aren’t catching on quickly enough. At the time I’d felt that my duties were simple: answer the phone, take messages, and file paper work; I thought I’d done that well enough to be kept as a worker for the upcoming semester(s). Looking back, I realize that I’d repeated a lot of my mistakes and that must have been very frustrating for my boss who constantly had to repeat herself. It relates to your point above, “making easily preventable errors”. At times I was so concerned with getting a task done quickly so I wouldn’t seem slow-moving that I would hastely file papers, only to later hear about how it was filed in the wrong place. Also, instead of taking notes when given a long list of information, I would try to memorize it all, only to later regret it when I had to go back and ask my boss for help again. I definitely did some reflecting on my work ethic after my time there was not renewed. I realize that I lost out on a really good position, a position that was not demanding and it allowed me to do my homework while on the job. I had to learn the hard way that no boss wants to babysit a 21 year old. I’m ready to out do myself in my next position and prove that I have what it takes to be a great employee.

  • This sounds like such good advice and I will copy it into a word documennt and read it over and over. I already noticed some of this behavior in our teams as I try to obtain my Bachelor’s degree. I pay attention and I want not only to pass, but to exell in my work alone or in teams.

  • I’ve been known to work in haste, and have been an offender of not checking and double checking my work. Procrastination is a job killer, as a deadline approaches work becomes sloppy and turned in without a second glance take heed from this advice. Working smart is working efficiently, and never making the same mistake twice shows that one has learned from previous errors.

  • I have two executive level parents who manage a lot of people. I am constantly hearing them handle situations and correcting mistakes that their workers have made. My dad owns a business in the area and I have spent summers volunteering to help him out in the store. One time there was a day when the amount of money in the register did not add up to what the computer said it should be. I was the only one who was working the register that day so it was clearly my fault. It was a matter of there being too much money, because of course I would never steal from my father, but that would mean that I had given someone the wrong change, or put something in wrong, which could ultimately reflect poorly on his business. I was a little too carefree when working and it was not until I made this crucial mistake that I realized the importance of checking and re-checking my work. I have worked in retail and other customer-oriented businesses and now I count and recount the change that I give to the customer. Not only that, but I make sure to take my time in everything that I do in order to avoid mistakes.

  • I have the greatest manager ever. It is typically our regional manager that likes to make threats. The regional has to be a tough guy because he is in charge of multiple stores and their success. He wants us to constantly make sales plan, and to keep our KPI’s at the company level at least. If we do better, thats great. My manager knows we try our very best. He is very encouraging. He knows to not let our regional’s faxes discourage us. He knows I know how to do my job. I am great with customer’s and I do not need a babysitter. Most manager’s do their “coaching” in a negative manner which does not help the situation. My manager gives me back both positive and negative feedback. In order to keep our KPI’s higher we bounce ideas off one another and relay sucesses and failures back and forth. We try many things to succeed. We are a great team. My regional does recognize me as an importantn asset, but he has to put on the “hard face” when he’s in front of the entire region. We are his team and we must learn to work well together. When we win, we all win, when we lose, we all lose. That is how he views us. Learn to take the good with the bad. Learn to have some energy. Continue wanting to learn and do better, and you will get ahead in life.

  • This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice to receive in a work setting. The only way you will be comfortable and perform your job well, will be when you experience that your boss trusts you and that you know what you’re doing. Mistakes happen all the time, but don’t let it become a habit. It’s crucial to revise and make sure everything has been done to the best of your knowledge.

    I once worked as a lab assistant at the community college and life was great! I loved my job and did the best I could. My boss had known me for some time and trusted me along with another co-worker very well. However, the beginning of the spring semester had arrived, and my boss had moved my co-worker and I to another lab. I didn’t take it as much of a change, until I realized that I had another supervisor who was about to take guard. Just after a few days, I started dreading working in the lab. She was constantly checking up on us, when all we did was set up lab carts and wash lab equipment. Sometimes, I felt as though she would spy on us and checked every detail to make sure everything was perfect. I soon had to quit, but it felt like such a relief. As much I disliked her, I remained professional and I never had any complains from my boss.

  • As I enter a new job (that of a bank teller) I find this lesson to be rather important. This will be my first professional-setting job. I feel that minor mess-ups will be premise for harsh reprimanding or even termination. Using these tactics such as proof-reading out loud and backwards will help me avoid those mess-ups and stand out. Hopefully with the help of this technique and others I will be well on my way to a higher position. Thank you for the advise in this article.

  • This lesson is 80% competence and 20% preference. As someone else posted, they were on a learning curve because their current job saw errors where their previous job saw none. I would say beyond all the re-checking, make sure you are crystal clear on what is expected. Repeat deliverables and expectations. Asking questions when instructions seem vague or unclear will avoid errors that could cost you a job.

    I did lose a job over an error on my part that I attributed to poor instructions from my superior. I was a clerical worker in a warehouse for a mortgage company. The short of it was that we stored and maintained physical paperwork. My usual job involved pulling files or making sure the files were arranged properly. One day boss says he wants me to place files. He showed me how to place files into folder, label folders and put folders on the shelf. However, he failed to mention that files are attached with paperclips. So I ended up filing 3-5 files into each folder, with no way to backtrack to a fix the error. Goodbye job, hello staffing agency.

  • This is very true especially in the medical field. Right now I’m a nursing student and it really does amaze me how any little mix-up, mistake, or minute of inattentiveness could really hurt someone. Thankfully, our teachers have scared us to death so it is ingrained in my brain to constantly double-check myself, because ultimately, I will someday be responsible for someone’s life. The one story that stuck to me was of a newly hired nurse that didn’t read a prescription for a medication correctly and failed to ask someone since she obviously didn’t understand the abbreviation. PO stands for by mouth. The prescription was for a stomach ache, Mylanta. She gave the medication through an IV, which ended in a sentinel event and she lost her job. I know that when I start working as a nurse, I’m definitely double-checking all of my work. I don’t want to lose my job which I’ve worked so hard to get, plus be responsible for something like that. =/

  • Great advice! I just recently started working company after being at my previous company for 15 years. I believe the hardest part about turning in “error-free” work is when what you are turning in was not considered an error at your previous place of employment but it to your current boss. I am going through quite the learning curve but I am trying to be very diligent at listening to what my boss is asking for and what he finds acceptable.

  • I am total agreement with these suggestions. You shouldn’t have to be babysat when it comes to a job your an adult. After your trained yes you’ll have questions to ask as your learning but you shouldn’t have to be told over and over again what your job is.Being a self-starter is a big plus for employers as well, and sometimes you’ll get promoted because they see that you are.

  • I totally agree with this suggestion. If the boss continually sees professional, error free work coming from you he or she will have a lot more trust in you and your abilities as an employee. These are the employees they are more likely to promote after you have been there for awhile. I also believe that the better your work is, the better your attitude will be. If you are satisfied with the way you perform at work, the better you will feel about yourself.

  • I couldn’t agree more with this page.  I just started an internship for an engineering company near my home.  First couple of weeks on the job I was so nervous when given tasks that I would rush through them or miss simple things.  My boss never saw them, but my fellow worker was getting frustrated with my carelessness.  I needed to find a to calm down and do my work accurately and effectively.  After one day at work, once I got home, I thought of every task I was given in the first two weeks, and wrote checklists for each one.  This way I could maintain speed at work and then check each thing of my list until I new I was done and my boss would be pleased.  It cut down on my stupid errors and calmed me as well.  I definitely recommend checklists as a solution.

  • This page is on spot explaining the different types of mishaps and solutions to avoiding troublesome situations. Current employers have educational tools on how to explain solutions to tasks in the jobs criteria.

  • Wow this is very beneficial to me whom never had a job before. These are great tips for when i do get my first job i won’t be stuck on that one level forever.