We all slip up, but sometimes people dig themselves into unnecessarily massive holes resulting in them being stripped of their cycling titles, branded liars and giving odd and long overdue apologies to Oprah Winfrey. When you royally eff things up during an internship, work experience or your first job, take our advice and learn from Lance’s mistakes:
DON’T LIE ABOUT IT
A good employee who really screws up, but is honest and eager to come up with solutions, is no worse than any other human being. Mistakes can often be forgiven, unless your boss is a nightmare. Lying breeds yet more lies to cover tracks and, before you know it, the truth is out and you’re suddenly the sort of person who practises deceit to save their own arse. You’ll lose all credibility for appearing to try and cover it up- Lance’s apology may have been eloquent (ish), but it would have been a lot more genuine after the first instance of doping. Or the second. By his own admission, he’s “not the most believable guy in the world right now”.
CHOOSE CAREFULLY WHO YOU TELL
Immediately blurting to everyone that you just emailed a picture of dogs on skateboards to your company’s most important client is not a good idea. Count to ten. Your first may be to confide in someone, but you need to double check you can’t solve it yourself first. Take a breather. Have a stiff drink (of water). Go for a walk. Then, if you really can’t come up with a solution, choose someone you trust to ask for advice. Probably leave Oprah out of it unless you’re a major celebrity.
OWN UP AS SOON AS YOU CAN
If it can’t be solved, go straight to your boss and admit you’ve make a mistake; issues left alone get worse as more time passes. Not only will the mess have to be cleared up, but it’ll be a hell of a lot messier if left to fester. For example: don’t end up desperately filing a lawsuit trying to bar the USADA from investigating you, thereby making even the most casual onlooker convinced of your blatant guilt. Oh, Lance.
APOLOGISE AND ACCEPT THE BLAME
You don’t have to spout the word “flawed” every three seconds a la Armstrong, but humbly knowing (or acting like you know) you were in the wrong earns you instant respect. Blaming everything from tiredness to an annoying eye twitch to the fact that you overcame cancer (Armstrong attributes his battle with the disease to increasing his desire to “fight” and therefore, erm, take performance-enhancing drugs) only opens you up to more criticism. You were tired? Why? Brian’s tired and he didn’t just drop the CEO’s iPad out a three storey window.
FINALLY, DON’T DO DRUGS AT WORK
Unless your job is testing pharmaceuticals. In which case, we all applaud you.