5 Workplace Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Mistake #1: Showing Up Underdressed

Having never been to a conference, I showed up in a white blouse and slacks. What I realized once I arrived was that almost everyone else was in a suit, and I felt more like a clueless intern than a serious professional.

Get it Right: Buy yourself at least one nice suit. This way you’ll always have one when you need it and you’ll look professional.

Mistake #2: Relying on Others to Find Things for You

I’ve sent many e-mails to busy colleagues asking for help finding something, only to find it shortly after.

Get it Right: Look before you ask. If you can’t find a document or contact immediately, keep looking because chances are you’ll probably find it. Save them the disruption and reserve e-mails to them for things that you really their help with.

 Mistake #3: Staying Quiet During Meetings

If you stay quiet and don’t contribute to the conversation in meetings, your colleagues might either forget you’re there, think you don’t have an opinion, or that you have no idea what’s going on.

 Get it Right: Let yourself be heard. Have something to say, even if it’s small. It shows that you’re assertive and desire to contribute.

Mistake #4: Not Being in the Loop Due to Technology

If you’re not mobile, you’re missing out. Having access to mobile e-mail keeps you in the loop and allows you to address urgent items when you’re outside the office. There were many instances where I wished I could have responded to someone sooner.

Get it Right: Get mobile with a smartphone to be efficient and stay connected with your colleagues and boss.

Mistake #5: Thinking What You Learned is Consistent Everywhere

In college, I learned how to write a press release, incorporating all the right elements, and I thought that’s how they were written everywhere. Turns out, every company writes them differently, which was a little frustrating at first. But I decided to be more open- minded and now embrace the chance to tackle a new press release style.

Get it Right: Have an open mind. Even though you’ve been taught a specific format or way of doing something, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way. Embrace the different ways of doing things and offer your insights if you think it’s a good methodology.

 What’s been one of your biggest mistakes on the job?


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