what’s your worst career sin?

The first time I had to fire someone, I messed it up badly. I had inherited an employee who was painfully slow, made regular mistakes, and didn’t respond to feedback. And like many newer managers, I danced around the issues with him.  I made “suggestions” and expressed concerns, but I never once said directly that the problems were so serious that he would be fired if his work didn’t improve. I was vague, because it felt mean to say “hey, I might need to fire you if this doesn’t improve.” (That’s ridiculous, of course. It’s far meaner not to warn someone.) I hoped he’d just figure it out. And then, when I had inevitably had to fire him, he was shocked. And yeah, you could argue that he shouldn’t have been, but the fact remains that I didn’t tell him explicitly that it was coming, and I should have. That will forever live on in my mind as one of my cardinal career sins.

I want to know about your career sins. Did you flip out on someone at work? Were you embarrassingly arrogant when you started a new job? Did you hide a serious mistake from your boss? Did you steal toilet paper from the office for your house when you were low on cash? Oooh, is there a sin you’re still committing today?

Confess your sins here (and be sure to tell us what happened afterwards, which is often the most interesting part).

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