5 Ways to Rebound From a Failure at Work

By Chelsea Babin

One thing no one wants to discuss is workplace failure. Sometimes you’re confronted with a challenge and you make the wrong decision. Sometimes you miss a deadline or write a buggy line of code or don’t notice an error before a major project launch. Failure in the workplace can lead to a spiral of shame and negative emotions that can completely derail your career so don’t let it! Instead do these 5 things and you’ll rebound from your failure and get back on a positive path of career growth and prosperity.

1. Give Yourself An Emotional Deadline: Wallowing in the negative feelings that stem from a failure isn’t helpful for anyone. However, pushing your emotions away will result in them bubbling to the surface at a later date. Instead the best thing you can do with the negativity you feel after a failure at work is give yourself an emotional deadline. You’ll get to feel it all so that these emotions can become productive fuel down the road but you won’t risk wallowing and getting stuck in a negative place.

2. Evaluate What Went Wrong: When you’ve had the chance to step back and really see what lead to your failure, take time to analyze and evaluate it. The only way mistakes are useful is if you can use them to learn and grow. At your end of the year review you could be reminiscing with your boss about how this failure eventually lead to positive growth or you could be wincing at it because it’s nothing but a negative spot in your work history. If you evaluate what went wrong you can learn to correct the actions in the future and move on.

3. Use it to Make Fast-Friends at Work: It’s easy to bond with your coworkers if you can relate over a common struggle or—even better—overcome a struggle you have in common together. If your failure at work took place on a team, use this opportunity to bond with your teammates and brainstorm a solution together so that the same thing won’t happen again. You’ll make fast-friends and improve your performance all at the same time!

4. Find an Opportunity to Succeed: Although positives don’t always cancel out negatives, they can help boost your ego and set you on the right track again. Look around for an opportunity to contribute some positive value or help your team succeed and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can rebound from a workplace failure.

5. Improve Your Skills: If your failure occurred because you didn’t have the appropriate skill set to handle the challenge in front of you, it’s time to hit the books! Take a class, read a book, find a mentor—do whatever you can to improve your skillset so that, the next time a similar challenge comes around, you know how to handle it.

When you experience a failure at work it’s easy to want to retreat, hide under a rock, and feel sorry for yourself. However, if you do these 5 things, you can rebound from a workplace failure and let it lead you to a spot in your career where you’re better than ever. The choice is yours!