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5 Missteps New Employees Need to Avoid

Updated on November 26th, 2020

Whether you’re a recent college grad entering your first company or you’re starting at a new company, this article is for you. This article will teach you (or remind you) what to avoid in order to make a good first impression. Some of this stuff sounds unimportant, but often it’s the soft skills that gets you far in the corporate world. Make sure you know them.

1. Assimilate

When you enter a company, you must blend into the company culture. This is true whether you agree with the culture or not. Because if you agree with the culture, you’ll want to be on your best behavior. If you don’t particularly like the culture, you should still obey it. Because it’s best to change things once you’re already ‘in’. Then people won’t dig their heels in so much when you do things differently later on. Because you’re one of them.

Give money to the party planning committee. Chip in so the office can have the “good water” delivered each week. Don’t back your car into its parking spot if no one else does. Don’t wear colorful clothing if everyone else dresses conservatively.

2. Eating Differently

What does everyone in the office do for lunch? Eat out? Eat in? Whatever they do – do the same. Some people will bring their lunch to the office to save money. But if you spend every day eating alone – that money you saved will be a joke compared to the raise you don’t have because you weren’t popular enough to get offered a promotion. So think about that next time you read an article about how saving $5 per day is life-changing.

3. Keeping Different Hours

Let’s say you prefer working in the early hours of the morning. That’s great but if everyone else prefers to stay late – you may be pegged as the lazy guy who cuts out early each day. You don’t want to be that guy. So do your best to sync your schedule with that of your colleagues. It also helps for building camaraderie. There’s something about coming to the office and leaving at the same time as everyone else. It’s also good for going to happy hours together.

4. Cooking Smelly Food

It may be tempting to reheat your leftover Chinese food but this may be an issue. This will likely make the entire office smell like fish. Although you may find the smell pleasant (or not pay attention to it at all) others may not like it. This is especially true if there are any pregnant women in the office place.

This goes for snacks as well. You daily bag of microwave popcorn may go unappreciated as well. Though if you do mess up and cook something smelly, offering some of it to your colleagues may smooth things over. Or at least people will then have more than one person to dislike.

5. Indulging in a Habit

Everyone who has ever worked in an office building has had someone who sits close to them who has a very annoying habit. It can be anything. Here’s what to avoid (I may or may not have worked with people who have done these things):

  • Clipping fingernails at their desk
  • Loudly taking personal calls
  • Using lots of fragrant air fresheners, perfumes, etc. at their desk
  • Listening in on your phone calls and later offering unwelcome advice
  • Eating crunchy snacks
  • Indulging in a tick like foot tapping, throat clearing or saying a certain word far too much

If This Article Makes You Cringe – You May Want to Consider Being Your Own Boss

Many people thrive in the corporate culture. The camaraderie, the friendship, the team building – it can be fantastic. But if find yourself not wanting to blend – it’s time to find another company with a different culture or to become self-employed.

William Lipovsky

William Lipovsky

William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. He began investing when he was 10 years old. His financial works have been published on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and many others.

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