Cruising Pinterest last week I found this list of all the things I did wrong at the Dream Job. Was the LostGenYGirl stalking me? Or did I stuff up my dream career in totally predictable, commonplace ways?
Let me break them down…
- Did I assume I knew everything? Yeah, I did a bit. Even though I had cripplingly low self-esteem, I went in Miley-style, like a wrecking ball and made some powerful enemies in the company.
- Forget about networking! Further to point 1, along with getting the popular art director off-side in the early days, I became the target for the company bully by sticking up for one of the young staff. This guy tormented me for the next two years, even picking up where he’d left off after getting hit by a car. No one went into bat for me. I had to threaten legal action before they stepped in. I ended up being his boss in the end and I won him over. Eventually he saw I only had the best interests of the company at heart which meant he had a job. The boss wanted to close his section down and I revived it.
- I was never unprepared for meetings, but so often I was the bloody tea lady. I often call my meek workplace alter-ego Tamika. Tamika got the coffees for everyone, Tamika jumped up to answer the phone before anyone else could. It was more than likely for my department anyway, but surely I could have let someone else get it for once…
- I constantly baulked at getting a business card and when I did, I didn’t want my actual name on it. wtf?
- I didn’t really engage in office drama but I did criticise those who did, loudly and often.
- Turning up late? This I didn’t do. One woman did this repeatedly. I’d like to refer to this colleague as the Anti-Me. She had no Tamika as far as I could see. I think her alter-ego has more confidence than Kate Moss.
- Satisfied with doing the minimum. No Way!! I always went the extra mile. Even on my last day, as we left to go to my farewell, I emptied the trash and changed the bin bag… sad…
- Failing to learn about your industry? Now this was not one of my failings! I bloody knew my industry inside and out, often educating my colleagues and those in our sister-companies of the latest software and trends. This was rarely acknowledged by anyone other than my direct boss who loved me and valued me. I was very lucky to have her, but she let me down badly at the end.
- LinkedIn? I didn’t even want a biz card. We were setting these up as I left. I had serious problems with being seen. I’m still working on it.
- Oversharing personal stories? Everyone knew everything at my workplace.
- Burning Bridges. Yeah, I did this. It was foolish. I left on a high but salted the earth afterwards unfortunately.
- OMFG. Dressing unprofessionally…look this up in a dictionary and you’ll see me in my paint-spattered clothes, no makeup, hair in the messiest of messy buns. Not great. It was tough because my job was very hands-on and I didn’t want all my nice clothes and shoes ruined. sigh…
- Failing to proofread emails…This wasn’t really a problem. I was a school teacher in my previous life and was more pedantic than anything. My customers loved me. That was nice.
- mmm…not seeing the value in entry level positions…I don’t think this was a problem but I did constantly see people hired to do work I could have done while I unpacked cartons in the warehouse. When those new-recruits crashed and burned because they’d been hired on their looks and not their talents, I would step in and do the job until the next person came along.
- I didn’t learn from my mistakes and failures in point 1 and point 2. I should have read How to Win Friends and Influence People but I could have written how to lose friends and infuriate people!
- Failing to seek out a mentor. I didn’t do this in so many words but my boss did try to mentor me. She was a good egg.
- This. Being a Negative Person. I shudder at the memories. About 2 years ago, hubby and I embraced the Complaint-Free Life and it has completely transformed our lives. I wish I had done this years ago. I could have really made a go of my Dream Job!
- Forgetting to thank people who helped me… I wasn’t too bad at this but I did complain – A LOT – so I am sure there were times I was really ungrateful.
- Not asking for help… I asked for help often and it was rarely forthcoming. BUT – this happened in my previous job – a job I loved where I was surrounded by people who didn’t support me and didn’t do their job properly… I see a pattern forming here… 😉
- And finally, I didn’t often stand up for what I was worth because I didn’t know what I was worth. My New Year’s resolution 18 months before I left was “Go from overlooked to overbooked” and I certainly did that. It was a time of massive transformation for me, not the least of which was the impact of meeting a new colleague who I am not afraid to say made me a better version of myself.
I can look back now and understand that everything happens in it’s season, but I wish I had been more open to learning when I was working there. It was as close to my dream job as I could ever imagine, (except for working as a tour guide in a famous art museum in Europe…) but I didn’t recognise that at the time, Hindsight is 2020 as the saying goes but hopefully dissecting my mistakes might help someone else navigate their career.
And if I am feeling really brave, I will work through this list looking at my writing career…