Common mistakes to avoid at workChen Wan Lim
It’s easy to lose focus on our surroundings when we are busy executing a project at work. Without realising it, we make repetitive mistakes at work either with our colleagues, superiors or even clients. Some mistakes are trivial and can be easily looked over but some mistakes can have a profound impact on our careers. Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make at work, and why you should avoid them.
1. The water-cooler chat
There’s nothing wrong hanging around the water cooler or in the office pantry chatting with colleagues during breaks. But be careful of what is being discussed. It is okay to talk about what you did during the long weekend and even the projects you are currently working on (provided that it’s not a secret). But be careful not to gossip, to spread false information or to discuss sensitive issues such as politics or religion. Keep the office environment professional. We might think that it’s okay to be discussing inappropriate topics during work but it can reflect badly on ourselves. Before you know it, you could have built a reputation of being a gossipmonger and this could impede your future in the company.
2. Overcommitting and overpromising
Learn to say ‘no’. Sometimes, in our quest to prove ourselves and to push our own boundaries, we tend to overcommit by agreeing to take on every task that is being handed down. But be careful not to bite more than you can chew. The last thing you want happening is that you fail to deliver the promised tasks or the tasks given was not completed up to standard. This can have a negative impact on your reputation in the company and this could affect your climb up the corporate ladder.
3. Poor dressing choices
Depending on the industry that you are working in, you need to be mindful of the way you dress. As a rule of thumb, always make sure that you are presentable, your shirt is wrinkle free, there are no stains on your front pocket and your shoes are still in a presentable condition. Being sloppy can send wrong messages to your colleagues and superiors that you are complacent and not meticulous.
4. Bad social media etiquette
Everyone has their good days and not-to-good days at work. But having a tough day at work is not an excuse to be ranting it out on your Facebook page. Be very careful of what you write on your social media accounts. If you are not careful, you risk badmouthing your employer or exposing company secrets. Another mistake related to social media accounts is ranting about your previous workplace, ex-colleagues and ex-bosses. Apart from being unprofessional, posting unflattering public statements about your previous job can send wrong messages to your current employer and can ruin your career.
5. Refusing to adapt
You might have been a star player in your previous workplace. But bringing over old work habits and trying to change things the way it was in your old place can backfire. Every workplace has its own culture and pre-set ways how things are done. For example, in your old workplace, it’s common to schedule meetings after 6 pm. But at your new workplace, because almost everyone is married and needs to be off the clock at 5 pm, you might want to be mindful and schedule meetings as early as possible. Refusing to adapt to the workplace culture could cause you to be ostracised.