Top Five Etiquette Mistakes New Workers Make

The job search can be such a long and strenuous process that it can be difficult to find time to prepare for starting your new job itself. Your first job will be a completely new learning experience, and many find it is quite different from the college experience. There are new expectations, new norms, and most importantly, new etiquette and behavior that will be expected of you.

Don’t fear! We are sharing the top 5 etiquette mistakes people make in their first jobs, and more importantly, what to do instead:

Speaking negatively of past bosses and coworkers. This reflects poorly on how you are perceived in the workplace, and typically equates to a negative attitude. Attitude is everything, especially in a first job. An eager, positive, and engaged attitude draws people to want to work with you. By possessing these characteristics, you will find that you are asked to join in on more meetings, asked to join more team projects, and you will be presented with more work opportunities. Everyone has had a negative experience with a previous boss or coworker. The important thing to focus on is what you learned from that experience, and how you use it to move forward in a positive direction.

Tardiness. While it might have been ok to be late to class, or to skip class altogether, tardiness is in a professional setting is generally not acceptable. Being on time for work and for meetings demonstrates respect for your work, your colleagues, and everyone’s time. Being late to work or meetings might mean that your colleagues must make up for any work that you missed.  

Pretending that you understand something that you do not. It is ok to not know all the answers right away, in fact, it is expected in your first job. But only you know when you do not understand something, so do not be afraid to speak up. Ask a lot of questions! Asking a lot of questions helps to ensure that you complete the work correctly, instead of making a mistake. Asking a lot of questions also helps to demonstrate that you are engaged, and eager to learn!

Working too hard. Try to establish a balance with bringing this new career into your life and speak up when you are overwhelmed. Working too late or working too hard can lead to burn out, stress, mistakes, and poor sleep habits. All of which can negatively impact your performance at work. Use this time to learn about your work/life balance, and then you will be able to ask for help where you need. Time management is a key skill to achieving this balance.  

Undervaluing what appears to be busy work. Undervaluing tasks such as these can reflect poorly on your attitude and your willingness to learn and contribute. All tasks are an opportunity for you to learn about the business, and to make a contribution. In most cases, learning from the “ground up” is the most effective way to gain a full understanding of the business as well as to more easily recognize where you can be most effective. Receiving all tasks that are presented to you as a valued opportunity will in turn lead to greater opportunities over time.

We hope this helps you get started on the right foot!

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