Congratulations, You’ve finally earned your degree and embarked on a new career! Getting your foot in the door, especially in highly competitive fields, can lead to a rich, rewarding work life.
However, launching a new career means learning how to adult. Behaviors that raised a few eyebrows when you were still in undergrad can now derail your budding new work life just as it begins.
Try to break these six bad habits even before your first day with the new career so that your time in the workplace will get off to a smooth start.
Nothing destroys workplace morale more than constant negativity. If you’ve gotten into the habit of complaining, start learning to address concerns in a positive manner now.
While we all have bad days, constantly copping a bad attitude brings everybody in your organization down. Plus, your employer didn’t hire you to spend your time whining — they brought you on board because they felt you were a good fit for their team.
Once you establish a reputation for being a Debbie Downer, it becomes difficult to change others’ perceptions of you. No one says you have to arrive at work each morning singing, “Hi-ho, hi-ho,” like one of the seven dwarfs, but at the very least, save the griping for after the workday ends and you’re safely out of earshot of your boss and coworkers.
2. Forgetting to Mind Your (Social) Media
We’ve all heard the adage that the Internet is forever, but that’s because the saying rings true, especially when it comes to employment. Those pictures of you partying with a bottle in your hand and the bong in the background? Yes, delete those if you wish to project a professional image. Plus, in certain industries, like transportation, these types of images can cost you your job.
Taking a mental health day? Ideally, you’d work in a healthy enough company that you can admit to your boss that you need a day off. But if you don’t, by all means, avoid posting pictures of yourself lounging at the beach when you’re supposedly “at home sick.”
3. Temper, Temper!
Even super-achievers like Bill Gates make mistakes now and again, but the way you react when you commit an “oops” can make or break your career.
First of all, admit when you make a mistake. ‘Fessing up and taking responsibility for your error impresses employers far more than excuses ever will. Offer a solution to fixing the mess you accidentally created, and your boss will love your determination to rectify the situation.
When you receive constructive criticism, accept it openly and willingly. After all, we all have areas in which we can improve. Even if you feel that the criticism is unwarranted, avoid reacting with anger, as gaining a reputation as a hothead can prevent you from reaching valuable promotions at best, and at worst, can even lead to termination.
If you feel that you must scream or cry, excuse yourself for a short break and drive around the block while you vent your emotions privately. Then, re-adjust your crown, and get back to work like the career queen you are!
4. Communication Is Key
“What we have here is a failure to communicate,” states Cool Hand Luke. Communicating clearly, positively, and effectively can put you on the road to success.
As tempting as it may be, don’t use text-speak in work-related communications, even casual ones. Some coworkers may not understand certain acronyms, and failing to take the time to spell out “y-o-u” instead of “u” makes you look lazy.
Offices vary when it comes to profanity policies, but if you’ve developed a habit of cursing like a drunken sailor, work on breaking that habit now. Even in laid-back offices, excessive use of profanity makes you appear less intelligent.
5. Ditch Days
Yes, you may have gotten away with perpetually skipping that 8:00 AM class in college, but in the so-called “real world,” perpetual tardiness and excessive absences both destroy careers.
When you show up late or fail to show up at all, your coworkers have to pick up the slack. While everyone accepts occasional absences, considering that life does happen, if calling off becomes your go-to habit, your absence from the workplace can exasperate even the most patient cubicle mates. Unless you can’t avoid calling out, always get to work — and do so on time!
6. Neglecting Self-Care
Did you know that maintaining a healthy diet and good exercise habits boosts both confidence and productivity? Remember to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and try to keep the break room donut an occasional indulgence, not a daily breakfast.
Now that you know which habits to avoid in the workplace, you’re ready to rock your new career. It’s time to wow your new employer with your talents! Go get ’em, tiger!