Working in IT requires balls; you have to make some really tough choices with very real consequences. It's not really a problem for programmers; very few of us work on projects that has the potential to destroy lives or break companies apart. On the other hand, in IT, you're dealing with the backbone of an organization. Make a mistake here and: You. Are. In. Trouble.
Not to worry though; try as hard as you want to not fuck up and it's just going to happen that much sooner.
I can say with absolute certainty that there's going to come a time in your career when you fuck up. Big. Like really BIG. The type of mistake that has the potential to sink the company or client you're working for/with. When it happens it's going to be bad. So bad that you'll have the fear of Dad in you. You remember that right? When Dad was coming home and you knew he knew what you did and you knew your life was over. If you didn't have a Dad; think shear panic mixed with absolute paranoia and terror. Yeah, that's the stuff.
What you did/will do isn't important. What is important is how you deal with it. You're going to have options when it comes to dealing with the issue(s) and how you act is going to determine how your colleagues and peers look at you for the next few months. Make the wrong call and you're in for some real uncomfortable silences and some really awkward sidelong glances.
If this has already happened to you; congratulations. Just know it probably won't be the last. On the other hand if it hasn't happened yet get ready; it will. You're going to make some stupid mistakes in your career; mistakes so idiotic and so demoralizing your confidence will shatter and you'll have a hard time getting back on the horse.
Like I said above, I have absolutely no idea what you do or what you can do to fuck it up so, as anecdotal examples only, I'm going to rely on my personal experience. I can honestly say, with absolute pride, that I have done the following:
- Deleted a database and couldn't restore the data
- Deleted all the rows in a table and didn't have a backup
- Deleted a user account and all the email and files associated with it.
- Changed every users password to "password" in a database
- Sent an internal cost analysis report for a client project to the client
And that's only what was off the top of my head; I'm sure I've blocked out some of the worse things. The one constant between the above list (aside from the stupidity involved) was that I owned the mistake. You have to immediately handle the situation whatever that means (it'll depend on the situation).
After that though a funny thing will happen; it's very likely your confidence will be shot. This is important because you need confidence (read: balls) to work in IT. There are too many things, that you just don't know how to do, that you're going to have to do, and that requires the confidence to know you can do these things. It's why we make the big bucks.
In my experience the only thing you can do in these situations is get back on the horse ASAP. The sooner you do something, anything, that has consequences the better. You can't wallow in the past and getting hung up isn't the answer.
BTW: After reviewing the above I have to say:
Thank fucking God I don't work in IT anymore.