If you make a bad mistake you’ve proved two things to the people you’re working with:

  1. You aren’t sitting around doing nothing
  2. You can learn

Many years ago I read a story about a man who had cost the company he worked for several million dollars. He managed to do some other things that mitigated the loss, but there was still a loss of a couple of hundred thousand bucks.

He glumly told his boss what had happened and how he had managed to claw back a good chunk of the cash.

He was very surprised when he wasn’t fired.

Why didn’t you fire me?

Why would I? I just spent 200k training you how to manage risk!

There we have it. If you can take a breath, look at what caused the mistake, and why, and how to reduce the chance of it happening again, you’ve come out ahead.

Don’t let the fear of mistakes paralyse you. If you’re junior you won’t have been put in a place where you can do any serious damage if you’re working for people with any sense. If you’re senior, well, there’s always something new you need to learn.