DEAR HARRIETTE: I made a big mistake on the job, and I am not sure what to do about it. I know what happened and why, and it was definitely my fault. The thing is, if I tell anybody, I am probably going to lose my job. I don’t think that an apology will be enough. My mistake cost my company money and probably damaged their reputation a bit, too. I feel horrible about it. But since nobody knows that I did it, I feel like if I just stay under the radar and make sure nothing bad ever happens again, I could get a pass. I know I will never make a stupid mistake like this again. Do you think it’s OK to stay under the radar? Or do I need to confess to my boss what I did? -- Do I Reveal?
DEAR DO I REVEAL?: There’s an old saying that the truth will always be revealed. The question in your case is whether you get in front of it, own up to your mistakes and admit what happened, or if you wait, with trepidation, for the moment that it is discovered. I vote for being upfront about the situation. Even if you lose your job, it is better to be honest. But you may be able to save your job by being proactive and letting your bosses know exactly what happened, your role in it and how sorry you are. You can ask for forgiveness and promise to help the company rebuild.
On the flip side, if you say nothing, even if you last in that job, your mistake will weigh on you. Keeping secrets is not healthy for your spirit.