Top 10 New Employee Mistakes

Written by: Lindsay Shugerman

August 29, 2011
Filed Under Business, Careers, Job Search 


Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Top 10 Guru

You finally landed that job. Congratulations!

But you’re not home free yet. In fact, these first few weeks and months on the job can make or break your career. Make sure you avoid these common new employee mistakes, and get your career off to a great start.

10. Coming in late, leaving early

This is one of the most common mistakes new employees make. After all the work it took to get that new job, make sure you are at work on time, and that you leave on time.

9. Attire

Another common mistake new employees make is in what they wear. After dressing well for the interviews, they show up in clothing more appropriate for the beach, a club or a puttering around at day home. Even if your workplace is casual, make sure your clothing is neat, clean and most of all, appropriate for work.

8. Language

Yes, four letter words have crept into TV shows and music. But in the workplace, dropping the f-bomb could have your career bombing as well. You could even find yourself charged with sexual harassment or creating a hostile workplace. Better to keep it clean at work.

7.TMI (Too Much Information)

It could be all about complaining about your previous job. Or whispering about some of your new colleagues to others. Or maybe making sure everyone knows your views on current politics, or exactly why you have to take off for a doctor’s appointment. As new employee mistakes go, this one is one of the most common – and the most annoying.

6. Bad choices in personal decor

Most companies allow employees some leeway in how they decorate their offices or workspaces. But a common new employee mistake is to choose potentially offensive décor, or to bring in too many things. Keep your office accessories tasteful – and under control.

5. Looking down on support staff

Underestimating the support staff is a new employee mistake that could spell the end of your job almost as soon as it starts. That clerical staff or kitchen staff or maintenance crew is the key to getting things done. Alienate them, and your career will suffer.

4. Loner

The opposite of Number 7 on our list, new employees who talk to almost no one at work are making a mistake that could stall their career indefinitely. Why? Because the silent new employee misses that “I’m new here” opportunity to make friends, build bonds and become a part of the team.

3. Advice too soon

Picture this: it’s a new employee’s first week on the job, and as the meeting gets started, he or she starts offering their take on how the meeting should be run. And how project requests should be processed. Later, they add advice on how testing should be done or which items should be added to the menu.

Unless you were hired as a consultant, spend the early days on your new job listening and learning. Save the advice for after your credibility is established.

2. Ignoring protocol/procedure

All companies have processes, even if they’re informal. One of the most common new employee mistakes is to ignore those processes. Make sure you know how, when and why things are done at your new workplace before you try to change them.

1. That’s not my job

The number one new employee mistake is to refuse assignments or projects because they are perceived as below the level of the job. Big mistake.

Unless the request involves something offensive, or crosses into personal time (like being asked to take someone’s car for an oil change), consider everything your job.


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