5 Common Corporate Career Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Since entering the workplace as a young person, I’ve made plenty of mistakes. So here are five of them and my lessons learned.

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Thinking you don’t know best

The biggest mistake you can make in the workplace is not trusting yourself. This is in the context of being able to let go of a day’s work, or an important client call, or a huge project—in order to put yourself first, knowing that doing so won’t result in the world ending and you losing your job.

I get that this can take a while to build up however; trust in yourself, confidence in your work and trust in your team—and most importantly self-esteem—is the main thing you need to have here.

Leadership ≠ Knowledge

Seniority does not always equal knowledge. Never be afraid to question either someone senior, or work that someone senior has done, because you assume that they know more than you. By questioning things you learn a lot more and you build confidence and rapport with that person.

Embrace imposter syndrome

A big mistake I think we all do is jump right into trying to resolve imposter syndrome but I think something we should do is sit with this for a little bit. Ask yourself 2 things:

  • Do you have the right to feel like an imposter? Are you new to a team, project and/or firm? If so, your feelings are valid and will go away with time!
  • Sometimes, its not you – it can be your environment. If you consistently feel like an imposter, it can be a symptom of an non-inclusive environment.

Most importantly, a big lesson for me is that imposter syndrome can be a symptom of you challenging yourself. From challenge, comes growth. Try to embrace it!

Networking is magic

Thinking that networking was icky was my biggest mistake. Thinking that you have to heavily research the person you want to speak to, and that you need to leave the conversation with an action item—like getting another contact or finding out about a job interview.

Good networking is simply kind and meaningful relationship building, but in a work context. This means that simply having a conversation where you listen to the other person and valuably contribute is networking

There is only one personal brand

There is no difference between your personal brand outside of work vs inside work, trust me.

I heard Steven Bartlett mention an invisible reputation on his podcast and it made me think; your invisible reputation doesn’t know the difference between inside and outside the office—so why should you?

I’m not saying to bring tone down your personality in the pub, I’m saying to bring your full self to work—audaciously! For me, this has meant allowing myself to be dorky, telling my dad jokes and never having to succumb to having a ‘facade’—we all know how tiring that can be.

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