Okay, so you realize you effed something up BIG TIME at the office. Before you start hyperventilating, know that it happens to everyone at some point in their career, and it鈥檚 no reason to question your abilities or think about quitting your job. Seriously, you are not alone. It might feel like the end of the world if you screw something up at your dream job, but trust us, it鈥檚 not, and you absolutely can bounce back from it. We chatted with Valerie Streif, Senior Advisor with Mentat, a career advising firm, to find out the best way to deal with your boss, make yourself feel better and own the situation before it owns you.

Depressed young woman using computer at the office

1. 鈥楩ess up. So yeah, you have to tell your boss or manager what happened. It鈥檚 not going to feel good, but it鈥檚 important to be honest. Plus, it might be a relief to get it off your chest once all is said and done. 鈥淥wn the mistake and fix it, but not quietly,鈥 suggests Valerie. 鈥淏eing verbal and expressing that you鈥檙e very aware that you messed up can be incredibly difficult, as it compounds the humiliation and embarrassment, but it is truly the better way to deal with major screw-ups.鈥 If you feel like it鈥檚 appropriate, you can even try to make light of the situation 鈥 after apologizing and explaining how you鈥檒l fix it, of course. 鈥淢ake a joke of the mistake if you can, but don鈥檛 overdo it so that YOU become the joke,鈥 she says. 鈥淚f you can show that you鈥檙e a human, you recognize where you went wrong and you鈥檙e informing everyone concerned that you鈥檙e fixing it, you can recover much faster.鈥

2. Allow yourself to let off some steam. It鈥檚 normal to feel some anxiety about what comes next after something big like this happens at work. That鈥檚 why Valerie recommends doing something about it. 鈥淚f you need to let out all your frustration at yourself in a cathartic, verbal manner, try this: Instead of melting your friends鈥 ears off by venting and obsessing about your mistakes, go get your car washed and scream while it gets a bath, or take a kickboxing class and sweat out all the emotion and regret that you can.鈥 Yeah! Sweating it out is always a good idea if you鈥檙e feeling angsty, but a good old cry or scream sesh works too.

3. Focus on your successes. It鈥檚 easy to get in your own head about what it means when you do something wrong, but just because you messed one thing up doesn鈥檛 mean you鈥檝e failed at everything. 鈥淲rite down five things that you鈥檝e done in the last year that have benefited your company greatly,鈥 suggests Valerie. 鈥淩eminding yourself that you are important at your job, that your mistake is not a reflection of who you are as an employee, will help you to move on and keep the atmosphere positive.鈥 Plus, it might come in handy if you also need to remind your boss why you鈥檙e so awesome.

4. Plan out some future goals. One of the best ways to take your mind off the past is to focus on the future. 鈥淲rite down five things you can accomplish in the coming year that will be successes much larger than your mistake was,鈥 says Valerie. Moving forward is an amazing way to leave behind things that have already happened and are now out of your control. Setting new goals can help you feel motivated and ready for a new challenge.

5. Imagine yourself getting over it. Mind over matter, right? 鈥淒on鈥檛 dwell on it,鈥 says Valerie. Obsessing over what happened won鈥檛 make you feel any better, so 鈥渋nstead, visualize your success. Sit and sort of meditate, but instead of completely clearing your mind of all thoughts, think about how you will move forward. Imagine the steps you need to take to accomplish great things at your job.鈥 Put negative thoughts out of your mind, 鈥渂ecause dwelling on the negative will never bring positive changes or success.鈥 True that.

Have you ever made a major mistake at work? How did you recover? Tell us about it @BritandCo!