How to Avoid Making Common Work Mistakes

Being a great employee involves more than simply doing the job you were hired for. Most people spend more time with their coworkers than they do with their family and friends, so it's important to develop friendly relationships and help cultivate an atmosphere of camaraderie that lets everyone enjoy being in the workplace. No matter how well you do your job, if you bring down morale or cause productivity to suffer, your chances of advancement will be limited and you may even lose your job.


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    Take care not to be too social. While employees are expected to be friendly, and some socializing is necessary for employees to bond, spending hours talking about personal things, gossiping, flirting or "creating drama" is inappropriate. Never ignore your work in order to engage in non-business conversations, especially if you have clients or customers waiting to be served.
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    Stay away from controversial topics. Avoid ranting about politics, religion or anything else that others might hold different views about. People typically present a more bland version of themselves at work; just because they don't talk about controversial topics doesn't mean they don't have any opinions or that their opinions are the same as yours.
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    Remember that your employer isn't your parent. The company offers benefits and perquisites to encourage employee retention, not because it cares about you. A business downturn may force change or cuts; don't expect the company to forgo profit in order to make you happy.
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    Own up on accomplishments as well as mistakes. Part of every employee's job is to let the company know which employees are performing well so they can be rewarded or promoted. This is true even if the employee is you.
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    Keep your opinions about work to yourself. Don't grouse about the company or bad-mouth your coworkers or supervisors. Keep in mind that decisions are made and policy set by company executives, who won't share their reasons with you. Make suggestions if invited or offer to help, but don't simply complain.
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    Be pleasant. The best way to keep your job and advance in the company is to be perceived not only at good at your job, but well-liked and easy to work with. You may have to suppress your natural personality in order to get along.


  • If you observe blatant unethical or illegal behavior, you must speak up for the sake of the company and your coworkers. The livelihoods of everyone at the company can be jeopardized by remaining silent. In some cases you can even be held liable if you knew about wrongdoing but didn't report it.
  • Don't use your office computer to handle personal emails, update your social networking sites, shop or engage in other non-business activities. Many companies monitor computer activity.

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Categories: Job Strategies