Whether you’ve gotten a pink slip or arrived late to an important meeting, career expert Lois P. Frankel explains how to deal when you screw up at work. Plus: Watch this video for tips on how to wow any boss.
IF YOU GET LAID OFF: Avoid the temptation to throw your computer out of the window. In this economy you need to start immediately. Even if you only have one day left at your job, use the time to network with your co-workers and find out about opportunities that aren’t posted on mega-job boards. If possible, get a reference letter from your boss and grill HR about your severance package, unemployment benefits, and 401(k).
IF YOUR BOSS SEES YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE AND COMMENTS ON AN EMBARRASSING PHOTO: Untag the photo immediately and do damage control. Approach your boss and say, “I just want to let you know I took down that Facebook photo you commented on. It made me see how unprofessional it was. Thank you for pointing that out.” Read this Facebook primer before logging on again.
IF YOU’RE LATE FOR A JOB INTERVIEW: It’s standard interview etiquette to show up 15 minutes early, so when you arrive late be prepared to kiss ass. Say, “I apologize for taking up your time, this is not an excuse, but…” Then quickly explain why you weren’t on time and collect yourself so you can ace the i-view.
IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY SENT AN E-MAIL TO THE WRONG PERSON: Step away from the computer. The best way to recover from an e-mail faux pas is by having an actual conversation. In person or over the phone, say, “I just mistakenly sent you an e-mail and you’re not going to like what it says.” Try to turn the talk into a problem-solving session by discussing what frustrated you about the situation. Then move on. It can’t be as bad these confessions of heinous e-mails that were sent to the wrong inbox.
IF YOU GOT BUSTED GOSSIPING: Awkward! Try to make a joke to lighten the mood, then apologize. The one thing you want to avoid is blowing off your bad behavior. You never know when the relationship may come in handy.