I share this story every once and then when talking to people, so thought to write it here too.
About 8 years ago I had got my second consulting gig, working on a big company and on a huge project. And as huge projects normally go it was already very late and presumably very over budget. This had caused a pretty tense atmosphere around the project and things that delayed it further were not looked very fondly on. And so it happened that I made a mistake of that sort. It was kind of done by a person I was "coordinating", failing to provide a complete set of specifications we had worked on to a vendor, resulting in a release missing a lot of important stuff.
I was very stressed being a pretty new kid on the block and considering my options, whether to lay low, blame the coordinate or the vendor, quit, etc. But in the end decided that I would go for admittance. So I walked to the office of the rather intimidating program manager, knocked, went in and said that "I messed up" explaining what had went wrong. I still remember the angered face, the way the PM inhaled and did not breath out for a while. But then his face softened a bit, and he asked that what could we do about it. So we discussed about our options a bit, came up with a certain one, and then I left feeling still a bit stressed about the next consulting contract renewal occasion, but very relieved about being able to spill the problem out. And thinking that no matter what would happen, honesty had paid off.
A few days after this I was in a reoccurring program status meeting, and the matter of the delay came into the discussion. One member started asking about this in a pretty tight voice, but was cut off by the PM who said that this has been already discussed with me and is under control. So the topic was switched and I was feeling that honesty had really paid off.
Going about a year after this I was talking with a sales rep from our consulting company and she told me quite a nice thing. She had had a meeting with the program manager in an effort to sell some more people into the company and he had simply said, "What we need is more people like Anssi, so if you got some then I am buying."
Honesty pays :)
p.s. This is the first post out of 26 I will be publishing in the year 2018, after a bet made with a colleague to publish one in turns every week during the year. Off to you Mili ;)