We are all beginners when we start up that career ladder, and most of the time we have to “learn as we go.” Generally, you can’t get very far before making a wrong turn, a bad decision, or a poor judgment. Everyone has negative work experiences, and much of the time, these are minor. We simply self-correct and keep moving forward. Sometimes. however, what seems relatively minor can lead to some fairly major regrets.
Things like even slightly falsifying an expense report or not being honest when asked a direct question by your boss can lead to your termination. Losing your temper at a meeting and resorting to name calling or profanity may be impossible to overcome. Breaking down in tears of frustration or embarrassment during a setback can cause others to lose confidence in you.
Other examples may be a bit harder to identify, prevent, or remedy. Two of these include being too trusting and being too personal. For example, that other employee you thought would be your back-up for your first big proposal ends up siding with the competition. Or, that supervisor you were counting on for a good evaluation surprises you with a lukewarm one and uses a comment you thought you had made in confidence against you.
An important skill for the new professional is learning judicious trust. While you want to form positive relationships, don’t be too quick to assume support will be forthcoming when needed. Keep in mind that most work environments are competitive by nature. Your successes won’t necessarily translate into likeability or elicit positive responses of colleagues.
One other common error is being too forthcoming about professional opinions or personal problems. Negative comments about your boss, your company, or your colleagues frequently come back to haunt you. Asking a co-worker to keep a confidence about a personal issue may not happen, and you can become a topic of office gossip. Perhaps the best advice when starting a new job is to be cautious about trust and keep your private life private.
As you grow into your job, and as your confidence, experience, and level of responsibility increase, you will find that workplace land mines like those above become easier to recognize, navigate, negotiate, and avoid. With continuing vigilance, you can keep your workplace regrets to a minimum .