How to save face at work after missing an important meeting?? — The Bump
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How to save face at work after missing an important meeting??

Hi Ladies-
I haven't been on the board in a while, but I need some advice. To make a long story short- I missed am important meeting today. I work in higher ed and I belong to a leadership group that meets once a month (with all of our higher ups) on a different campus. In the past, we have received calendar invites, but I did not get one this month. Well, the meeting was this morning. I showed up to work as usual and my boss came and in to my office at 9 and let me know that he had received a call from the CEO and the meeting was taking place with out me. Yes- I did not receive a calendar invite, BUT I do have a print out with all of the dates listed, so I need to take some ownership. Basically, I feel terrible and embarrassed. It's not like I'll lose my job or anything, but what is the appropriate was to apologize for something like this? TIA

Re: How to save face at work after missing an important meeting??

  • Depending on the leadership, with a sincere excuse (yours is being human, lost focus a bit) and/or playfully (did the group finally get something done, or did it go soooo much better without me?) - either way missed you all. I just got excused from Jury Duty for hardship: I mentioned that I wanted to do it, I like to do a lot, but I was concerned because I am working reduced full-time, caring for my young children two afternoons a week, involved in a work program, at a high-demand job and planning an unlikely pregnancy (at my age). I'm a little embarrassed the Law excused me - isn't this kind of what many mothers do? Maybe they got the underlying story (continued sleep deprivation, lots of upcoming medical appts, and I didn't even mention that my friend told me at lunch today that her daughter is next on the organ transplant list and I promptly locked my keys in the car - which I never do, but I guess sometimes it is all so much). Or they just thought I was crazy. At least you know you are sane, right?

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  • Just sincerely apologize and as long as you don't make a habit of it, I'm sure all will be forgiven. Mistakes happen and you are human. Maybe bring treats or something to the next meeting. You may be quite obviously sucking up, but it's a sincere gesture of apology.
  • I would just explain to your immediate supervisor what happened, apologize, make sure it doesn't happen again, and move on.  I think with situations like this over apologizing or over compensating can sometimes make it worse. Your boss(es) probably don't want to hear too many excuses, they just don't want it to happen again.


  • I work in higher education too. If I were you I would just email whoever runs/organizes the meeting and apologize for your absence. You can cc your direct supervisor on the email as well. I would take ownership by saying---I sincerely apologize for missing this mornings meeting due to a mix-up in my own calendar. Please let me know if there is anything I missed or anything you need me to have prepared for our next meeting on X. Then I would put the rest of the meeting dates in your calendar today so that you don't miss any others. 

    I would not stress out about it much more---it is over and done and as long as you don't make it a regular thing I am sure if will be fine. If you are still feeling guilty about it and if your lack of attendance effected the productivity of the meeting, you could always bring donuts or bagels to the next meeting if you want to for everyone. 
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    I agree - short and sweet.  Don't over explain, over apologize.  Be sincere and yes, put those dates on your calendar today to make sure it doesn't happen again. :)
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    To add, I would say something to the effect of:  "I want to apologize for missing today's meeting.  It was a scheduling error on my end and I am taking steps to make sure I don't do it again.  I am very sorry and I will be there next month."
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