I’ve been at my current job for almost two years. And it’s my first time in the field, while I have a general understanding of what the job entails, things happen and some things can fall through the cracks. My boss finds my mistakes, let’s say, every few weeks. Some audit is completed and I get corrected. Is this normal or does this mean I’m bad at my job? I go without being addressed for weeks & then I’m in the limelight every couple of days. I feel like my boss tends to point out my flaws more, I’ve seen cases where I have to address things for another coworker and looking at their notes/follow-up, I wonder how the boss has not caught this yet. While I never get away with anything, I feel like my boss tends to single me out more. I’m always on time & NEVER take off work, I am one of the younger workers too. But I see others whom are close to my age & don’t see them getting corrected as often as me. Im looking for new work but it’s been hard. Am I overreacting or does this happen at most places?

  • 3
    Does your boss point out mistakes publicly, or to you only? If it's done publicly, that's an awfully bad trait for a boss. If it's done in private, then maybe the same thing happens to others?
    – gnasher729
    Sep 18 '20 at 23:42
  • Most of the time, privately
    – DSG
    Sep 18 '20 at 23:43
  • I don’t understand the problem. Is he punishing you for the mistakes or simply pointing them out? Sep 19 '20 at 1:38
  • Pointing out, correcting or suggesting something else when I do something
    – DSG
    Sep 19 '20 at 2:00
  • 1
    Are you learning from your mistakes? In my field we have review processes and there are always mistakes. But we all slowly build and understanding and get better. Sep 19 '20 at 3:30

At work, and in life, it is very hard to shake a reputation once it has been gained. That applies both ways:

  • get a reputation as a hard worker, and you will get lots of leeway to have occasional ‘off’ days
  • get a reputation as someone who makes mistakes, and it doesn’t matter if others do the same. It becomes part of how you are seen, and every example just serves to reinforce that.

There are two ways to address it:

  1. Move to a new position, where you don’t have a reputation and can start fresh.
  2. Be extremely proactive in addressing the issue. Ask for clarification on any point you are not sure of - but do this only once for each point, make notes, and refer to them. If documentation exists, use it and check things off as you go. If it doesn’t exist, write it and get it approved. Make sure that you are not making mistakes, and are seen to be doing things to stop yourself making mistakes.

Above all, do not try to highlight the mistakes others are making. That will do you no good whatsoever.

And to answer your specific question: it is not normal to be caught making mistakes regularly. The fact that these get pulled up in audit shows that they are significant. You don’t state your field, but in some areas (eg software engineering) mistakes are part of innovation, but you are expected to be able to catch and remediate your own mistakes. In others (eg finance, healthcare), mistakes must be avoided at all costs.

  • Yeah, it’s higher education
    – DSG
    Sep 19 '20 at 12:21

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