You’re Gonna Screw Up. It’s Okay.

You do everything possible to avoid it, take every precaution and all the right steps. But one day it will happen.

You dread it. You do everything possible to avoid it, take every precaution and all the right steps. But one day it will happen.

You screw up. Or something you’re responsible for (in your professional life) gets screwed up.

If you have been an employee of any kind for, say, five years or more, there is a very good chance that some disaster has happened at least once.

What do I mean by “disaster?” In the world of communications — where I lived for around 15 years — it could look like…

  • You traveled several hours to a one-time event that you were assigned to cover, only to realize at the last second that you don’t have a memory card for your camera.
  • Same thing, but instead of the card, you forgot to charge your camera battery.
  • You accidentally delete an entire, two-hour digital voice recorder interview — before you got it transcribed.
  • You took a flash photo of a valuable, prize-winning show chicken, which promptly killed the chicken of a heart attack.
  • You misspelled somebody’s name throughout an entire published story.
  • You designed a sales flyer with the decimal point in the wrong place on a price.
  • You inadvertently ran a magazine cover featuring a controversial subject, and now, your company is getting hate calls.
  • You wrote an annual meeting speech for a board member, and he ad-libbed a dirty (really filthy) joke at the end of it. In front of an aghast lunch audience of 300.  Many assume you wrote it for him.
  • Your CEO is nearing the most pivotal moment in his keynote annual meeting speech when lightning strikes the venue. All the power goes out. Many assume the lightning is your fault.

There’s a reason why these seem so detailed. Yep. Most of them happened to me. A couple happened to people I know and who will remain nameless, lest they come get me in my sleep.

The bottom line is, if you work somewhere long enough, something bad will happen, even to the very best, most professional employees in the world. It’s just the law of averages.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize: It doesn’t matter.

These things are meaningless in the broad scheme of things. Oh, sure, there may be some short-term drama, but folks, we live on a relatively tiny planet in a vast galaxy of zillions of other planets and even solar systems that have been spinning around in space for a very, very long time. Our lifespans hardly even register as a blip on the timeline of this world, let alone that of the universe. If you don’t believe me, go listen to the song “Dust in the Wind.” (See? Kansas knows.)

Do the best you can with the time you’ve got. Do something you love. Surround yourself with people you enjoy and give it your best shot. Don’t sweat the mistakes! That’s not what people remember in the long run. They remember all the good stuff you’ve done and how you treated them with respect, humbleness, and love.

But for God’s sake, don’t use a flash when taking a portrait of a chicken!


Originally Published on Doofus Dad


You’re Gonna Screw Up. It’s Okay.