Office and Admin Professional Development

8 Amateur Mistakes You Must Avoid at Work

Written by Peter Jones

Sometimes getting jobs, changing jobs, and dreaming about dream jobs takes up so much of our career energy that we forget to focus on the job we’re in now. Take care not to make careless mistakes or get too complacent. Make sure you’re not guilty of any of the following blunders…and then go back to daydreaming.

1. Playing politics

It never pays to be cutthroat, backstab, or even to go in the other direction and be sickeningly nice to everyone. People can read a phony from miles away. Don’t be one.

Rather than constantly posturing, stick to your own personality, smoothed over a bit to maintain your professionalism, of course. Be genuine.

2. Over-tasking

Multi-tasking is one thing—and a very valuable skill, but it can be overdone. When you have too much on your plate, some projects will get lost in the shuffle. Keep your head, choose your priorities, and stay focused on one thing at a time whenever possible. That means not answering emails or texts during meetings, and actually listening when your colleagues speak.

3. Whining

Nobody likes all aspects of their job. But everyone appreciates a positive attitude. Keep quiet about what makes you most disgruntled, even if you really wish you could blast it on Twitter for sheer catharsis. Focus on what you can change, and stay quiet about the rest. If things are really all that bad, start looking for another job.

4. Promising too much

We all want to be the hero and say “yes” whenever called upon. But it’s important to make sure you can deliver on the promises you make. Don’t overextend yourself and end up disappointing people. Help whenever you can, and push yourself to greater heights, but stay honest and don’t let expectations get away from you.

5. Strutting

Know your place. If you’ve just started in a company, don’t walk around like the C.E.O. You have to earn your coworkers’ (and boss’s) respect over time. That way, when you run the place, everyone will still like you, as well as fear you.

6. Being antisocial

Don’t just mainline a salad at your desk, or grab lunch with only your team every day as if nothing else—not even the rest of the company—exists. Don’t forget to make friends that aren’t necessarily working with you on a day-to-day basis. It will help you maintain a work-life balance, even at the office. And it helps you make more connections and develop a more diverse profile at your company and in your field.

7. Not answering opportunity’s knock

Even if you like your job, you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to new opportunities. You never know when a better position or more exciting opportunity will come your way. It pays to be prepared.

8. Letting small failures keep you down

We all make mistakes. What we should all do is learn from them. It keeps us from making even more mistakes, keeps us humble, and keeps us improving ourselves in hopes of greater and greater success.

About the author

Peter Jones