Congratulations! You’re in a brand new career. It’s always exciting starting out in a new field; however, it can also be a little scary. The fear of making a mistake can linger, often holding you back.

You will make mistakes. That’s just the way life is. Your new employer understands there’s a learning curve when you’re first starting out, so some mistakes — clicking “reply all” to an email string when you don’t need to or messing up a coworker’s name — are understandable.

There are some mistakes that can – and should – be avoided. These are the big mistakes that can often be detrimental to your career in the long run. Thankfully, these are also mistakes that you can prevent, such as:

 

  1. Not Negotiating Your Salary

Remember this: you are valuable to the company. You’ve been hired for a reason — use this to your advantage. As a rule of thumb, don’t accept the first salary you’re offered. Employers usually offer the bare minimum and are likely to increase the salary very easily.

Know your value to the company and leverage what you can bring to the table, then follow these simple steps to negotiate your salary effectively. You’ll be surprised by the results!

 

  1. Keeping Questions to Yourself

Starting a new job is tough. You want to demonstrate your capability by mastering all your duties right away. But, let’s face it – that’s never easy. In your first couple of months, you’ll likely have many questions. You’ll also be tempted not to ask them in fear of seeming clueless.

This is a big mistake. The truth is, bosses expect you to ask questions. And, as long as they’re well-thought out and specific, it’s good to ask. Not only will it save you time of trying to figure it out on your own, but it will show that you’re driven to be your best.

 

  1. Not Having Pride in Your Work

If you’re just waking up every morning and dragging yourself to work for the sake of the paycheck, you should start looking into a new career path. If you don’t enjoy your job and take pride in what you do, you’re wasting time that could be spent in a job you enjoy. It’s not fair to your boss, since you’re not putting your all into your job — but it’s also not fair to you. You deserve to have a job you enjoy.

 

  1. Being Anti-Social

It’s common to feel shy when you’re starting in a new career, especially if you don’t know anyone in the office. However, if you keep to yourself, you’ll never get to know anyone. Plus, you generally work better when you have friends in the office — it will increase your overall job satisfaction and you can have someone to turn to when things get stressful. Go to events outside of work — happy hours, dinner groups, even karaoke nights – to get to know the people you spend 40 hours a week with.

 

  1. Complaining Constantly

No one likes to be around the person who complains all day. You’re not going to like every aspect of your job, but keep the whining to yourself. In addition to annoying your co-workers, focusing on the negative aspects of your job will just make you enjoy it even less. Rather than complaining, focus on the parts you enjoy.

And, if you have a legitimate complaint, don’t voice it until you can offer up at least one solution.

 

  1. Overspecializing

As you get into your new career path, you’ll be afforded plenty of new opportunities — training sessions, networking opportunities, special projects. The biggest mistake you can make is not taking advantage of them. If you keep doing the same thing each day, you’re not going to impress your boss and you’re not going to progress in your career. Rather than staying stagnant, work to improve yourself so you’re more valuable in your career path.

 

  1. Expecting Your Manager to Advance Your Career

Don’t put your career in other people’s hands. Your boss might assure you there will be openings down the road and if you keep doing what you’re doing, you could be a potential candidate. Instead of relying solely on your own boss, keep your options open. You could very well be a replaceable cog in the machine for your boss. You have control over your career path — so network, do research, and pave your own path instead.

 

  1. Stretching Yourself Too Thin

When you’re first starting your new job, you might feel obligated to take on plenty of responsibilities. It’s good to show your managers you can handle the work, but if you take on too much it may be detrimental to your career. If you take on too much work at once, you’ll just get overwhelmed and you won’t be able to perform to the best of your abilities. Gradually take on more responsibility instead of grabbing it all at once.

Starting a new job is exciting — so relax and make the most of it. You’ve been hired at your new job for a reason. Mistakes will happen as you start your new career. However, you can avoid many of the big ones by being proactive and working to improve yourself for the future.

 

Photo Credit: WETFEET

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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