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I’m depressed because I make so many mistakes

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 20s, and this is my second year since finishing school and beginning my job. I’m always making mistakes at work.

Each time I make a mistake, I say to myself, “I won’t let it happen again,” and make a list of items to check off to prevent it from happening. But somehow I make another mistake. When I started working at the company, I said to myself: “I’ve just started working, so I won’t worry about it. I’ll just try harder.” But I made a big mistake recently and still get depressed. I feel really bad toward the company, too.

I don’t have any colleagues who started working at the same time, so I don’t know how good my performance is in comparison with someone else. Sometimes I seriously believe that I make the most mistakes in the world.

I’m embarrassed to say this, but when I was a student, I thought I was a capable worker. Now, however, I’ve lost confidence in my capabilities and can’t even find value in my own existence.

I like my workplace, so I want to do my job better. But I don’t want people around me to think, “Oh wow, she makes so many mistakes,” so I can’t ask anyone for advice. How can I get out of this situation?

F, Toyama Prefecture

Dear Ms. F:

Even though we’re all aware that there are no perfect people in this world, we often feel low, thinking, “Only I make mistakes, while everyone else doesn’t.” I completely understand how you feel.

You work sincerely at your company, don’t you? So your company needs you and accepts you even though the company knows you make mistakes.

When you make a mistake and feel bad as a result, try to thank those who covered for your mistakes. If you don’t put your gratitude into words, thank them in your mind.

Next, don’t blame yourself. Instead praise yourself for honestly admitting that you made a mistake and trying not to let it happen again.

There are more people than you might think who blame others for their own mistakes and pretend like they’ve done nothing wrong. Such people may cleverly make their own way in the world, but ultimately can’t grow further as a person. Compared to these people, you have more opportunities to grow at work and as an individual.

So don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Rather be ready to cope with making mistakes appropriately. With that mindset, I’m sure you’ll find somebody who can give you good advice at work, too.

Masahiro Yamada, professor

(from March 17, 2015, issue)

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