Six mistakes everyone makes at their first proper job

February 14, 2017
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So you’ve got the job you’ve been after and you’re full of enthusiasm, energy and definitely out to impress your boss. But be careful, there are a few common rookie errors that people make in their efforts to stand out in their first proper job – and they don’t do you any favours. Here’s a few to avoid.

Do you really understand everything the first time?

In a way, it’s only natural. We want to look super smart and on the ball so when your boss explains something and follows up with “Is everything clear?” You say: “Yep! Got it” But in reality, not one bit of it sunk in, in fact you spent most of the time wondering if they were actually speaking English and now the nerves are starting to take hold, wondering how you’re going to recover from this mess.

It’s really not worth it so don’t be afraid to ask for clarity. Chances are, your boss probably won’t believe you anyway and they’ll only be more annoyed when you eventually go ahead and fuck everything up. Not to mention the fact that you’ll become really unpopular with your colleagues if they have to keep propping you up.

Trying too hard to impress

Sure, be eager, but don’t be the person that gets in everyone’s face all the time just for the sake of delivering this message: “Hey, I’m here – don’t forget how great and super bubbly I am!” It’s super annoying. Likewise, don’t invent pointless questions at any given opportunity just to demonstrate how smart and interested you are. Yes, you need to stand out in the workplace, but once you get a reputation for being the office wanker, it’ll be impossible to shake off.


So you might not be anything like the personality above, and that’s great, but don’t go too far the other way either. You’re finding your feet in a new job and you’ve got heaps to learn so naturally, you want some breathing space. But don’t let your reluctance to take on new challenges become a habit. At some point, your boss will want to see you raise your hand for a few extra-curricular activities if you’re to be taken seriously as a team player (and someone who’s worth a pay rise).   

Behaving like you’re still at uni

No office should operate like a sweat shop, but remember, once you get to desk, you’re on paid time. That means it’s really not appropriate to be checking all your Facebook updates and responding to every SMS that comes through. It’s not a good look.  

Rushing through tasks

Of course, you want to appear smart, efficient and productive but there is a thing called quality over quantity. Don’t blitz through your workload in order to impress your boss or pip a colleague to the post because you’re guaranteed to slip up. No one will care about how quickly you got the job done, just how well you managed to do it.

Being anti-social

You can’t choose your colleagues like you can choose your uni friends. It’s all part of the growing up process to realise that you actually have to get on with (or at least pretend to get on with) people you don’t actually like. So don’t make a habit of avoiding all the team social events just because the people aren’t “your type”. You’ll only outcast yourself and make yourself look like a bad fit for the organisation.

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