1. No waffles, please: If you make a mistake, acknowledge it. Don’t waffle. The quicker you accept it, the quicker you’ll be able to move forward with tips #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7.
2. Remember your good stuff: A silly mistake – especially when it happens during a week where very little is going right – can leave you questioning your career. “Maybe I need to find another line of work,” you might say. Remember: Any career is like an RRSP. There will be some highs and some lows. You don’t measure an RRSP’s success based on one day. Same goes for your career. That’s why they call it a career.
3. Show that you care: If you can tell your editor, “You don’t have to beat me up over it, because I’ve already done that,” then that’s a good start. It shows you care about quality. If you have to wait to get the ‘quality’ speech from someone else, that’s when you should worry about being in the profession.
4. The Remedy: For every mistake, there needs to be a remedy. It’s much better if you come up with, and self-impose the remedy, than having it imposed on you by a boss. For example, if you’re weak on math, perhaps your remedy is to buy a calculator and keep it next to your computer.
5. Talk, talk, talk: Talk about how your mistake happened. Talk about what you could have done to prevent it. Talk about what you’ll do the next time to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
6. You’re not alone: Pick up a copy of another daily. Check out their published corrections. This can often be a feelgood exercise. Hopefully, after you read their corrections, you can at least say, “Gee, I’m glad I didn’t screw up that bad!”
7. Get back to reality: Re-commit yourself to accuracy. And remember what you came up with for tip #4. A sticky note on your computer can help you stick to it and avoid the same mistake in the future.