In the Office Advice: 5 Work “Blunders” to Avoid|
It’s like that horrible dream where you end up naked in public, except worse. This time the embarrassment is real. Except for the naked part, the feeling of utter horror is all the same.
Nobody likes screwing up at work, obviously, but there are some minor missteps that seem so easy to avoid yet are so terrible when you don’t. As many of you begin your first jobs in the real world, learn from the workplace blunders we’ve all made. Hopefully, giving you this heads up now will keep you from unnecessary embarrassment in the workplace. And we promise the ‘ole CC gaffe won’t be mentioned anywhere in this list.
Refrain from these 5 Workplace Blunders (tested true by yours truly)
1. Never Assume Gender
It’s really easy to email back and forth with Jamie for weeks and think she is a woman. But heed warning, you might jump on the phone with her only to be greeted by him and then be so frazzled on the phone you make it terribly awkward and uncomfortable as you try and recall if he knows that you thought he was a she. Did you refer to him as a her in email? Ahhh the torture. Never, ever assume gender based on androgynous names. Trust us, it hurts.
2. Minimize Yo’ Windows
So these days many of us take our own computers to and from work and meetings. Whether issued as professional laptops or not, we can all agree that there is a little bit of Facebooking and twittering going on here or there. Just make sure that before you go to meet a client with your laptop (centered in the middle of the table for the group to see so you can showoff your proposed deck) that when you bring wake your computer up…the browser isn’t teed up to the Facebook album of your best friend pole dancing in Ireland.
3. Make Sure You Have Those Cards
Business cards are made to be given out, but somehow that super cute leather card pouch you bought to carry them in always gets left in the other purse or workbag used yesterday. This fact makes it pretty awkward when a meeting is started by distributing business cards around the table like a scene from 21. You’re sitting there motionless and embarrassed because you don’t have your card to exchange. Minimize the risk of forgetting that cute card case by stuffing extra cards in your laptop case, each purse, and with the notepad you take everywhere, your wallet and maybe your bra. Ok, obviously totally kidding on the bra, but you get the point.
4. Don’t Let Your Alma Mater Get the Best of You
Most of us are proud to be a graduate of “fill in the blank” university. We spent four years of our life there and we’ll talk about how great our school is to anyone who will listen, especially in those first few years out. Many times, as an expression of how much we LOVE our school, it’s easy to talk about how much we HATE our rivals, how their academics are barely mediocre and how their sports totally suck. Just make sure that when you’re talking terribly about a rival school, you’re not doing it to someone of importance who happened to graduate from that rival school you hate so much. But of course he doesn’t tell you until you’re finished on your verbal assault of his alma mater. Insert foot in mouth here.
5. Manage Your Verbal Habits
Whether you say “LOVE” before hanging up the phone or greet your galpals with “hey girlfriend,” the way you speak may not always be work appropriate. Obviously meetings aren’t the place for profanity, but what about when you accidently respond to something exciting your boss says with “Shut.UP.” It’s embarrassing, even if it isn’t that big of a deal. So is telling your mentor you love her before getting off the phone, just because you’re used to signing off like that. The verbal gaffes are kind of funny in retrospect but truly horrifying in the moment. Think before you speak.
As much as we want your first job to go without a bump, the fact of the matter is — a few years from now you’ll have your own list of five embarrassing mistakes to avoid. We all go through it and even our bosses and mentors have a truly embarrassing story to tell. Rather than letting our ego get the best of us, share your most embarrassing moments in the comments so that all our members starting their first jobs know exactly what not to do.
Photo courtesy of Mortgage Market Talk