By Noël Rozny
Web Editor & Content Manager
This past weekend I met up with some old coworkers for brunch. I worked with these women right out of college, when I was completely fresh to the job market and just learning the ropes. As we laughed over some of the high and lows of our days together, I recognized a common theme that was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my career. (So far, anyways. I’m sure that over the next 10 years, I’ll have plenty more mistakes to relay to you.)
Back in those early days, I lucked out and ended up in the right place at the right time. After working in an entry-level position for about nine months, the job above me opened up and I found myself suddenly promoted. It was exciting, scary, and above all else, a great learning experience. But especially in the beginning, I made the mistake of constantly second guessing myself.
When we were about to start a new project or initiative, I often had a gut feeling about what direction we should head in. But instead of listening to my own instincts, I would run the plan by other colleagues, co-workers, and managers, seeking their approval. And of course, as a result I got 15 different ideas, suggestions, and recommendations, which I would then try to incorporate into whatever it was we were doing, which only slowed down the process and made me (and others in my department) more stressed and frustrated. I realize now that much of the angst I experienced early in my career was due to a lack of faith in myself, and my desire to get approval and feedback from everyone around me.
My advice to you as you start your own career? Definitely ask for help and input when you need it—especially when it comes to something you’ve never done before, or if it requires senior approval. But when it comes to the little things (or even sometimes big things), trust your gut. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s part of growing and advancing in your career. It will definitely streamline your work flow, and during the process, you may just find out that you know a lot more than you think you do.
What do you feel was your biggest career mistake? How did you overcome it? Let us know in the comments below!