Getting that first ‘real job’, one you actually care about, is exciting. You’re finally on the right path. But there’s also more pressure; you want to get it right. We’ve asked our friends for their most embarrassing first-job mistakes.
‘I once accidentally handed in minutes where I had listed my work friend as Tits McGee (a nickname that was a personal joke between the two of us) – I had intended to edit it but forgot.’
‘After a few months working in an office, my boss came and asked me for the name of the colleague working next to me. I had no idea. He wasn’t impressed.’
‘I was working as a guide in a museum. I went out late the night before and was tired so I went in a quiet corner, thinking I would only ‘rest my eyes’. Scared visitors –including children- woke me up an hour later, not sure if I was sleeping or had passed out.’
‘A great tweet I wrote, which happened to be retweeted by a celebrity, had a spelling mistake.’
‘I pulled a sickie because I wasn’t ready for a big presentation. That night I was invited to be part of the audience on the TV show Q&A. I was on camera long enough for my colleagues to ask me how the show went the morning after. Oops.’
We assume you already know not to fall asleep at work or to learn the name of your colleagues, so here are some more common mistakes to avoid in your first job:
1 – Thinking you should know everything
The person who hired you probably saw your potential, was impressed by your ideas or liked your personality. Experience is not why you were chosen, so there’s no need to act like you’re on top of everything. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn and ask lots of questions.
2 – Getting involved in office politics
Gossiping may seem like an easy way to bond with your new co-workers, but it’s also the quickest way to get in trouble. Be friendly, but remain professional. You’ve been there for a minute, you’re not in a position to take sides. Take interest in what your colleagues like instead of who they don’t like.
3 – Trying too hard
Wanting to prove yourself and go the extra mile is a really good thing, but it doesn’t mean that you should go overboard. If you work hard, there’s no need to suck up to your manager or stay late every night to impress. Getting burnt out is not a good start.
4 – Not trying hard enough
A first job is rarely a dream job; it’s a stepping stone. Still, you should take it seriously. You think you’re overqualified to do photocopies? You need to prove you can do simple tasks before being trusted to do important ones. Learn as much as you can while you’re there and make sure to leave a good impression.
5 – Ignoring office etiquette
Every office has its own rules, but we can all agree on a few: use headphones for listening to music, lay off the perfume, keep your phone on vibrate and avoid bringing smelly food. It seems basic, but a lot of people still don’t master these after years on the job.
6 – Not being a team player
You’re hungry and you want to succeed – great! You can be ambitious and a team player at the same time. Just like in team sports, work with your team to defeat the adversary, not against it. Give your co-workers a hand when they need it, and thank them when they help you.
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Photo: Courtany CC