In your first job, you’re goint to have a big screw-up. Or at least you’re going to think so. It doesn’t matter if you’re really good or really carefull, it is going to happen. For me, it was a big failing project.
The project started as all the failing projects start: running. Speed was the key, we had a big deadline and there was no space to fail (you can always fail, the world is going to keep working). I worked hard, as hard as I could. I did all I could at that time. Now I see things different, but at that moment, I did everything I believed it could help us finish the project on time.
And then came the day. The final day to deliver the complete project. The afternoon before I knew we were not going to be able to complete it. I had an awful night. I didn’t talk to anyone, I just thouhgt and thought. I couldn’t sleep. I was ready to quit, I wanted to stay at home. I just didn’t wanted to go to the office.
But I had to. And I did. I went. I tried to come up with solutions for the project. I could not find anything. Everything I thought was impossible. I was really sad and a angry. I wanted the project to be successfull. But sometimes things don’t work as you want.
So I just showed up. I went to office and faced my problems. I had no particular strategy, just say what had happened. I had some alternative plans, but none for the same day. I started imagining all the things that could happen. I thought I was getting fired, downsized, the company I worked was getting sued or something like that.
Then, the moment arrived. I said it, the project wasn’t ready. It was impossible to have it ready for the same day. What was funny, the project manager (he was some scary guy from another company) just said Ok. I said: Ok what? He just told me: Finish what you have to finish and then tell me.
I was relieved. I was happy. Then I felt a little stupid. I had a really bad night, a lot of negative thoughts for nothing. It ended really well, it could have been worse. I had no control it.