My coworker who is my mentor and we have a very formal relationship just gave me his birthday card to sign and left. I signed it whilst wishing a happy birthday to the wrong person. I then, instead of giving it back to my mentor, passed it to the next employee.

How can I fix my mistake? Is that okay if I tell him via message (like hipchat that we use at work)? I don't wanna go to his cubicle and talk about that because others may hear.

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    what? how did you sign a completely different person's name, did you forget your own? OR what? how did you wish a completely different person from your mentor a happy birthday? – bharal Apr 10 '18 at 21:26
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    i honestly don't know what the mistake was here. can you clarify the issue? – bharal Apr 10 '18 at 21:43
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    Who pays that much attention to a bunch of names in the card? Why not forget about it for a while. If it does crop up just make a joke about it – Ed Heal Apr 10 '18 at 21:45
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    So, is this what happened? You were given the card to sign and you thought it was for person A, and you wrote something like "happy birthday person A". The card was for person B. You also then passed the card on to person C. You think you did two things wrong: signed it for the wrong person, and passed it on. Is that the situation? – thursdaysgeek Apr 10 '18 at 21:49
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    I think from North America, this is the kind of story that will be told multiple time at lunch and party because it is funny. The birthday card was filled with half "Happy Birthday A" and another half of "Happy Birthday B". "Thank you Verver, I hope your are better to manage files at work! HaHaHa!" So I would not worry about it, I would expect to hear my mistake multiple time and I would not be mad at anybody who told again the story. – Sebastien DErrico Apr 11 '18 at 12:02

In some cases, any action is better than waiting and finding the best solution. You're asking internet strangers for advice, all the while the card is perhaps being passed around and signed incorrectly.

Fortunately, a mis-signed birthday card is not the worst mistake you will make in your career, so it gives you good practice in what to do when you screw up.

Tell your mentor/boss immediately! It kind of doesn't matter how, use messenger, email, phone, or in person - you get to choose. But don't wait, when waiting might make the problem worse.

In this case, you can offer to go get a replacement card, once you've tracked down and retrieved the original. Or perhaps your mentor will think it's a great joke (I would). Maybe your mentor will have a different idea. If you have a possible solution, take that with you when you communicate your error. But communication right away is what you should do.

  • I sent him a message, he saw that but didn't answer. Now I am really embarrassed – Ms improving Apr 10 '18 at 23:47
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    @Verver - you'll get over being embarrassed. Really. Life happens, and we all mess up. Don't make this bigger than it is. – thursdaysgeek Apr 11 '18 at 0:08
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    @Verver -at least you didn't write congratulations on a "Sorry for your loss" card, now that would be awkward! – Tim Apr 12 '18 at 8:43

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