We’ve all made a big rookie mistake when starting out as a young professional.
Whether your blunder led you to utter embarrassment or just feeling plain stupid, it’s inevitable that you’re going to make a big mistake (and many little ones) early in your career. But the good news is that after messing up, you will be less likely to do it again.
To convince you you’re not the only one who has made a huge rookie mistake, I found four professionals who were willing to share their biggest mistakes when they were just starting out.
One professional learned the hard way that preparation is the key to a successful presentation. She felt that she could “wing it” when presenting an award during a recognition ceremony, since she knew her organization and the recipient inside out. But she was sorely mistaken.
“I made it about halfway through my introduction when the place where I was to “wing it” I became extremely flustered. I dropped my note cards all over the stage and as I bent over to pick them up (mind you my hands were shaking uncontrollably), I said S#@T into the microphone. After fumbling and picking up my cards, I slowly stood up, absolutely red-faced and mortified to a slightly chuckling, slightly shocked audience. I managed to stammer a few more words and get the recipient on stage.
My boss wasn’t too pleased about this and actually had a long conversation with me about the need to practice public speaking. Needless to say, I am often reminded by those who were there of this episode. Since then, I have never gone into a presentation without fully writing out my speech, standing in front of the mirror reciting it until it is committed to memory, and remembering to breathe!”
Another professional made the mistake of taking everything a little too personally when starting out in sales.
“When doing sales; either in person, over the phone or email, I would take things way too personal, i.e. the buyer would be rude to me [and] I would think, I’m never approaching that person or company again, because they have something against me. [But] sales is sales. It doesn’t define me as a person; and shouldn’t stop me from continuing.
I learned you can’t control people and their emotions. There are many underlying circumstances why people are a certain way. Don’t take it to heart, and stay positive and focused on your job.”
Import Sales Professional
One professional unintentionally crossed the line between personal and professional social media updates.
“I once posted personal tweets onto my companies Twitter handle, not knowing that I wasn’t using my personal account. Good thing I looked at the timeline shortly after that and noticed it wasn’t my account and quickly removed the messages. I was also glad that they were friendly and not something bad!
I learned to make sure to log off my company account while not in use or use another application for posting my company’s updates. Good thing this was in our early stages of our social media campaigns and no one noticed!”
Social Media Marketing Professional
Another professional said that she was a little too literal with deadlines.
“If your manager says they need it by Friday, that really means Wednesday. I learned to allow time for some review, in case they want to incorporate any changes.”
Software Design Professional
Rest assured you’re not the only one who’s made a big rookie mistake. Just like these established pros, you too will get passed it, learn from it, and it will make you an even better professional.
What’s your biggest rookie mistake?