Learning From Mistakes and Failing with Grace

In quick summation I spent the past semester as an administrative assistant and marketing intern at a nurse case management company called Advanced Rehabilitation Management. My particular duties ranged from day to day growing in complexity as I gained more exposure to the inner workings of the business. I approached each day with a can-do mentality and a git’r’done attitude. I wanted to show that I could learn anything and execute it more quickly than my peers had expected. At first, I would fly through my tasks: making cover letters, attaching documents, and faxing or e-mailing the composition as swiftly as I could. I was confident that I was quick, I was almost certain that my superiors would be impressed. They were not. My speed resulted in errors and minor mishaps that ultimately showed a failure of attentiveness to detail. A missing date, or a missing number, a missing insurance carrier, a wrong fax number, a missing attachment, there were many working parts and all had to be seamlessly fit together. The clock did not have to run quickly, it just had to be precise. I learned that in this business there would not be room for mistakes. The information I was handling was sensitive owing to three parts: it was confidential information, it was medical information, and it was expensive information. Somebody somewhere would have to pay if I made a mistake, and medical and legal fees are not cheap. What I had to learn next was how to handle a mistake and how to move forward in a moment of fault and shame.

I knew that there was no sense in making excuses, the mistakes were made, and the fault was my own. I dealt with it the way I would with most other circumstances by admitting my mistake, assuming ownership of my mistake and promising to make my best effort not to repeat the mistake. It all sounds cliché and we’ve heard it all before, but allowing oneself to be accepting of failure allows one to improve. Surely there were moments when my tail hung between my legs, and yes, maybe when I started I did think future office employees would pass on legend of yours truly as a stoic and heroically productive fax machine prodigy, but in the end I found that I just wanted to do my job and to do my job well. Over time I improved and learned in the process that it takes time and attention to detail to be efficient and reliable. It takes courage to admit fault and it takes brains to see the bigger picture so that effort is placed in an appropriate manner for the task at hand. The lessons I learned at AdvancedRM will guide me as I strive to be the best I can be wherever I go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *