How to Utterly Ruin Your Chances of Advancement When Starting a New Job

Great, you landed the job. Now that you have it, how to not mess it up.

Guest post by  Victoria Nicks Founder/CEO of the nonprofit corporation Decoded Everything– purveyor of credible, expert authored informational sites on topics ranging from Decoded Arts, Decoded Business,  to Decoded Science- and more- literally, Decoded Everything.

You are a superstar when it comes to the job interview – but can’t seem to keep a job more than a month or two, and it’s starting to look a little funny on your resume. What’s going wrong, and how can you fix it?

It can be tough to get that perfect job in today’s economy – and once you’ve got your foot in the door, equally difficult to keep your position. Don’t make these common mistakes – instead, do your homework on your new position, pay attention, and maintain professionalism.


Where Am I Supposed to Be?

You researched the company and position in order to make a good impression during your job interview, don’t turn off your brain now. Think hard, dress for success, and follow through. Do you remember everything you discussed in the job interview? (You did take notes, right – at least after the fact, when you were sitting on the bus or in your car?) Apply it. Wear clothes appropriate to the dress code, know what time you’re supposed to be at work, and where you’re supposed to go – and then show up early. Be available, ready, willing, and eager to work from the moment you get there.

Lazy Trainees Are Annoying

Show up at work with the understanding that it’s going to take someone’s time to train you. Don’t waste that person’s time by making him or her spoon-feed you.

  • Take notes – you may be smart, but no one remembers everything. Having to tell someone something more than once or twice is a huge pet peeve for many employers.
  • Don’t sit and wait for someone to tell you what to do next.
  • Don’t argue about the best way to accomplish a task. (If you feel really strongly that a process can be improved, suggest the improvement. If your new boss says no, then let it go for a while. If you keep the job, you can work on it as you build rapport. If you don’t keep the job, it’s not your problem.)
  • Don’t start doing things ‘your way’ or a ‘better way’ without talking to your trainer or boss. There may be a very good reason that things are the way they are – and there may not be a good reason. Ask first and you’ll save everyone’s time and effort.


Hey, Dude! So, like, I’m so glad you gave me this job -I was afraid I was going to have to move back with the ‘rents!

No. Just… no. Be professional. Even if you actually know your new boss and co-workers outside of your new job, this isn’t appropriate. You can be friendly without losing your professionalism. I know you want to fit in, but learn your job before you start trying to be best buddies with everyone in the office.

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

A great job can be fun, exciting, and rewarding – but it won’t be a walk on the beach, even if you’re a lifeguard. Educate yourself about your job’s requirements, listen and learn at work, and behave like an adult on the job… Before you know it, you’ll be the one they send to show the next ‘new guy’ around.

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