Living Through the Oopsies

by Sarah Deringer, Head Editor, INALJ Mississippi

Living Through the Oopsies

sarahderingerLibrarians live a Hannah Montana life. By day, they’re librarian professionals and information superstars; by night, they’re just normal, laid-back, and relaxed readers in bed. Even in their most shining moments, every librarian is human. Disney’s Hannah Montana sang in “Nobody’s Perfect,” “Everyone makes mistakes; everybody has those days.” Even librarians have their tough moments. You might read your calendar wrong and realize you are now an hour and a half late for work. Or the resume that you sent to your dream job has a spelling mistake on the second page. No matter what the mistake is that you made, here are a few tips to making your way through the oopsies.

  • Say sorry, and own your mistake. While apologizing doesn’t erase the mistake, it does let your employer know that you care that you messed up. It also shows them that you know when you make a mistake and aren’t completely oblivious to it. You have the knowledge to catch an error, and it most likely means you have the know-how to fix the problem too. Employers may not be happy about your mess-up, but the way you handle the mistake can impress them.
  • Reflect on what you could have done better. By thinking about what went wrong, you are more likely to find a solution to doing it right the next time. For example, if you read your calendar wrong, think about ways you can fix that problem before it happens again. Were you really busy this week? Did you read it at a time of day when you were tired or distracted? Develop a plan to do things differently and prevent more problems.
  • Strive to do better. This seems like a no-brainer, but if you don’t work your plan for improvement, you won’t improve. Set an alarm on your phone in addition to reading the calendar. Re-read your resume before applying for the job.
  • Breathe, and forgive yourself. Cut yourself a little slack. After all, you’re only human! Don’t dwell too closely on the past. You still have a bright future ahead of you. All you have to do is try again.


Most likely your employer will forgive your mistake, especially if you have been doing a great job otherwise. Your potential employer will probably forgive a small mistake on your resume, especially if you have the qualifications for the job. Don’t overthink things; it’ll all work out just fine. If your employer or potential employer doesn’t accept a mistake, that particular work environment and culture may not be for you. In fact, it’s really not for anyone because all the employees and the employer are human. If they’re expecting absolute perfection, they don’t have their priorities right. (In that case, it’s them, not you.) It’s true that we as professionals should strive for the very best we can do but expectations for perfection are overwhelming and unhealthy. Remember to breathe, take a break, and maybe listen to “Nobody’s Perfect” to live through the oopsies.

Wikipedia contributors. “Hannah Montana (soundtrack).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 May. 2013. Web. 8 Jun. 2013.