Monday, December 22, 2008

Feeling like a failure

I've known for a long time that I have the unfortunate habit of placing my value and self-worth in what I do, and how well I do it. But that came to a head this morning. I have been working hard on a Christmas e-card project for MCH. On Friday, I spent much of the day trying to iron out the last-minute kinks so I could send it out to our staff and have the weekend to check for major upload problems.

The plan was that it would be sent out to our donors and alumni today. However, at about 9:30 I was called in by my boss. Apparently one of the changes he had suggested to the text didn't make it through to the final copy. Instead of saying that we had established "an agreement" with another residential care facility, it said we had established "a partnership." These are very different legal terms with very different implications. Sending out the card with "partnership" implies a lot of relationship that doesn't exist. So as a result we have tabled the card and will not be sending it out.

My boss assured me that Christmas wouldn't end just because we didn't have an e-card, but I still feel like my mistake has cost us a lot of money and waste. I just wanted this project to go well and not have any big snags. It is very disappointing to work so hard on something and see a mistake that you failed to catch. There is no one I can blame but myself and that makes it really hard to forgive myself.

So now I am sitting here at work and beating myself up for my stupid mistake. It just makes me feel like a failure. I know that I need to forgive myself. I just can't stop being mad at my mistake. I want to do a good job at work, but I also know I can't expect to be perfect. It would just be nice to know that other people make similar mistakes. Right now I feel like the only dummy in the joint.

Calling all perfectionists: Any suggestions?

My boss just came in and reassured me. He caught me with tears in my eyes. Darn these emotions!!!

The only problem is reassuring myself.


Dianna said...

Oh Carrie, I know how much that sucks. I had an error in a sentence in one of my papers that caused the sentence to make no sense. I thought I had corrected it for the conference draft and the final draft, only to get it back from my professor and discover I had, yet again, forgotten to fix it, which resulted in docked points for me. So I understand that: if I'd just been a better proofreader, or willing to hand someone else my 21 page paper to look over, I wouldn't have missed it and probably would have gotten an 85 instead of an 80.

One thing I have realized is what Aslan tells Lucy in Prince Caspian is absolutely true: "There's no use wondering over what would have happened." In other words, you can't change what has already happened. Wondering what could have happened had you done things differently is a useless exercise. I don't know; when I remember that, I tend to calm down about it. It's connected to that whole worry/anxiety thing you've been talking about.

I love you, Carrie, and I miss you.

Anonymous said...

Well Carrie:
You are young and will make many mistakes over the years. I made about 15 the other day and one was the Comparability Report I had to send in to the State of Iowa for our 3/4 Million dollar Title I grant. Well I caught the mistake after I had electronically sent it and it made me really mad I didn't catch it. I sat there and thought to myself, how important is that really. Will someone die because of it, will it put a black mark on my school district. No it just is one of those things that happened. By the time I had walked out at the end of the day, I turned around and looked at my office and said, " Good night office, I can't wait to show you my other screw ups tomorrow. I didn't let the empty office down, I assure you.

You are doing a great job. I am just suprised they haven't made you the President of the place already!

Merry Christmas and have a great time with your folks.

Uncle Tim

Sara said...

I have a friend who used to work at McKennan. She was in charge of a newsletter there and once misprinted a phone number. Unfortunately, the misprint routed all the calls to a phone for sex hotline!!! Does that help some? :-)

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