BIG Career Blunder – Is it game over?

career development entrepreneurship personal branding professional women and work Jan 17, 2022
Teal background with the AVRO Creative logo over it. The text: You Made a Career Mistake is it Game Over? is in the corner above Kristen Dyck's headshot

If we’re going to have a long career or a big career, we're going to make mistakes. It’s a fact of life. But what about a career blowup? In the book, The CEO Next Door authors Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell talk about career blowups and I wanted to have a deeper discussion about it.

What are career blow ups?

Career blowups can happen on a variety of different scales. Here’s how I describe them: when you do, or don’t do something, that has a big consequence and is seen “publicly.” Publicly could be your colleagues and leadership finding out about it, external clients, or at its worst when the public-at-large and media find out.

What do you do if you have one

What you do immediately after the blowup sets the tone for what will follow in your career. It’s not so much about the blowup that predicts whether or not your career will carry on – it’s how you manage it.

The first thing you want to do is do everything that you can to correct your error. As much as you want to hide, you can’t correct it that way.

Ring the alarm bells, bring your team together, tell the appropriate people and work as quickly as you can to resolve it. Sometimes this takes removing some of the emotion from it, so you can continue to act.

The next, and equally important step, is to take responsibility for the mistake. It can be tempting to brush it off or point fingers when there were others involved in some capacity. This further breaks trust.

Acknowledge what you did wrong and take responsibility. Follow it with a sincere apology. Explain that you recognize the impact of your mistake, why you take it seriously and what you’ll do to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. 

This could include things like taking a course to boost your skill level or you could create a new process to ensure there's checks and balances in place.So in doing that. 

By taking these steps you're setting the tone for the future and you’re doing everything that you can to uphold your personal brand and the trust that you have worked so hard to build throughout your career. 


Why you shouldn’t fear it

Career blowups are a reality, and I have some shocking information that will hopefully make you feel better about them too!

In The CEO Next Door, they share their research about career blunders. Guess what?! 45% of CEOs say they’ve had a career blow up. 

That is significant. 

It’s really telling us that you can have a career blow and go on to do more in your career! That's important because in that moment we don't feel like it will be, you want to hide.

As women we feel judged for what we do, like we’re more harshly criticized. Instead of taking a risk that could have a big upside, we let the fear of a mistake hold us back and play it safe. Remember the number 45! 

You might make a mistake. Or maybe you’ll be celebrating a massive success. Calculate the risks and make a strategic decision. If it’s the wrong one you can carry on.


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