Overcoming Embarrassment at Work

So maybe your signature Larry King suspenders gave out and your pants fell down during an important meeting, or you "accidentally" punched your boss’ wife in the face during one of your trademark drunken flailing fits at the office Christmas party. But a recent survey from OfficeTeam says you’re not alone in committing an embarrassing act at work.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than

1,300 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada. 

“Nearly everyone has had an embarrassing situation at work,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Although these moments can be awkward, it’s best not to dwell on them, or you risk drawing more negative attention to yourself.” 

Wardrobe malfunctions were a top cause of discomfort for survey respondents.  Following are some examples:

  • “I was late getting to the office and realized I wore my bathroom slippers to work.”
  • “I conducted a training session with my zipper down.”
  • “My skirt got stuck in my pantyhose.”
  • “I came to work with two different shoes on.”
  • “My trousers tore in front of my team members.”
  • “My shirt was on backward.”

Fortunately, OfficeTeam offers a few tips to help you deal with your predicament:

  • Remain calm. It’s easy to lose your nerves after a slipup, but try to keep your composure. Take a deep breath and collect yourself.  
  • Own up. Acknowledging a blunder before someone else does can alleviate any awkward tension that may arise. If appropriate, address the situation in a humorous way to make everyone feel more at ease. 
  • Make amends. If your accident affected another person, immediately apologize and take steps to ensure a similar mistake does not happen again.
  • Move on. Rather than dwell on a misstep, focus on getting back on track. The faster you recover, the less memorable the incident will be.