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Great Mistakes To Make When Starting Your Career


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by Lewis Robinson

People often have a tendency to assume that all mistakes are bad mistakes. But there is a fine line between what we call a mistake and what we might call “kismet” or “serendipity.” Some of the greatest inventions wouldn’t even be a reality if it weren’t for fortunate mistakes. When it comes to starting your career, there are a number of mistakes that it’s absolutely okay to make and some that might even be wise to make.

One mistake that is not always a bad one is blowing an interview. To start with, building interviewing skills takes a lot of blown interviews. Secondly, blowing an interview sometimes simply means you weren’t right for the job in the first place. If you aren’t right for the job, chances are good won’t be happy doing it. Eventually, you will hopefully reach the point where you can interview with ease and quickly shrug off any mistakes you might have made. Here are some ways to help recover from a blown interview:

Probably the biggest “mistake” people make early on in their career is taking a job they are not suited for because they need the money or because they just need a job. In reality, people thrive in all different kinds of environments and you can’t always find the right one for you until you spend some time in the wrong ones.

Sometimes it’s not just the right career you need to find, but the right circumstances or position. You might take a job as a bookkeeper and find that while you like the work, you don’t like working in an office or the kind of boss that you worked for and might turn to virtual bookkeeping instead.

One thing to keep in mind about your career is that you are looking for something that you are going to be satisfied doing for many years to come. Part of maintaining that satisfaction is ensuring that you find the right environment in which to do the work you love. You may long to be an attorney, but don’t particularly want to spend the rest of your life wearing a three-piece suit or high heels and pantyhose every day of your life.

To that end, dressing all wrong for your first several jobs is not necessarily a bad thing. Eventually, one of two things will change – you will either get a makeover and realize you actually like wearing the kinds of clothes your new career demands (and the respect you are suddenly afforded), or you will find a different way to work within the same field that allows you to dress how you are most comfortable. The old saying “don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want” is true -and not everyone wants to work in an environment where they have to be impeccably dressed every day of their lives. That being said, no matter what your personal style, dressing with a certain level of neatness and attention to detail will always be a part of working in a professional environment.

Last but not least of the mistakes you can make when starting your career is not negotiating a good benefits package or ignoring the benefits available to you. Many times when you are just starting out, you are so eager to have a job that you are afraid to blow it when it comes to paying hard-ball about your salary or benefits.

Conversely, sometimes you might also be afraid to take sick days or vacations because you are afraid you might be too easily replaced. If there is ever a time to make these mistakes, it’s best to make them when you are young/ just starting out in your career, rather than when you have a family, children and/ or a mortgage to think about.

Making mistakes early in your career does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Starting your career should be a time of learning and growth, and it’s rare for people to learn without making a lot of mistakes along the way. Making mistakes is not a problem, failing to learn and grow from them is.


lewis robinson

Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales.  He’s begun multiple corporations and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.