In the world we live in today, family, work, and school may only be among the few things that occupy our minds on a daily basis. From the moment we wake up in the morning down to the last second before going to sleep, it’s not uncommon for our actively thinking minds to never catch a break. However, it is very important for us not to lose ourselves despite all the chaos.
On average, we spend about 8 hours a day or more at work–that may be longer than the hours of sleep we get each day! Yet, many of us tend to be so consumed with our day to day responsibilities that we end up giving less importance to the actions that we should be taking for our own good. Unfortunately, many of these actions which we may or may not be taking are putting us in a position that could hurt us in the future. We decided to compile a short, but important list of mistakes that we all should do our best to avoid making at work–for the sake of our own progression!
Not Speaking Up
Speaking up at work may seem like a challenge for many employees. According to research conducted by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson and Penn State professor James Detert, many employees “overestimate rather than underestimate certain types of risks, and believe it’s better (for survival) to ‘flee’ from threats that weren’t really there than to not flee the one time there was a significant risk.”
The thought of speaking up may bring feelings of anxiety and hesitation–but, don’t let your fears supersede your right to speak up. One major factor to keep in mind, however, is that this requires dual effort–this means that it’s also the employers duty to encourage open communication. Edmondson and Detert concluded that “two beliefs are essential preconditions for the free expression of upward voice: first, the belief that one is not putting oneself at significant risk of personal harm (e.g., embarrassment, loss of material resources) and second, the belief that one is not wasting one’s time in speaking up…voice must be seen as both safe and worthwhile.”
Communication is key in any type of relation: friendships, romantic relationships, and in this case–work place relations. And we must always promote the importance of open and honest communication. If you’ve witnessed an unfair labor practice, say something. If you feel you are underappreciated, voice your thoughts. If you have ideas that you would like to share, share them and have your voice heard! However, don’t forget that this cannot be accomplished without the support of the employer.
Settling Somewhere Without a Vision for Your Future
It’s important that you have a vision of which direction you’re headed in the future (emphasis on the word ‘vision’). You don’t want to end up in a scenario where 50 years have passed, and you have yet to accomplish anything on the imaginary ‘goals’ list, which you never actually created.
Do you see yourself in the same role for the rest of your life? Is this the career field you want to be in? Are you interested in advancing or obtaining a managerial role? Do you plan to continue your education? Whatever vision you may have, make the effort to take a small step to plan ahead. Speak to your supervisor about career planning. It’s important to express your goals, whether or not the opportunity is available for you in the organization you are working for. You never know–perhaps your manager would be willing to create a position for you–however, you will never know this unless it’s brought to his or her attention.
Performing Only What is Expected of You
Everyone is motivated differently. However, aim to be self-motivated, and exceed what is expected of you. Strive to continuously expand your knowledge and seek out new challenges. Don’t allow for your efforts at work to be situational–and by this, we mean do not only work toward a particular incentive. Rather, aim to constantly challenge yourself even if it’s for your own personal growth. Don’t get stuck on the thought of doing something solely for the expectation to be rewarded by your employer. Going the extra mile can only benefit you. Not only will you gain experience and knowledge, but it will help you in the next step of your career journey. You don’t want to look back and tell yourself “I didn’t give it my all.” or “I could’ve done better.”
Not Taking a Break
Although it may seem like stating the obvious, this is a major factor contributing to employee burnout worldwide. According to a survey conducted by ComPsych–the world’s largest provider of employee assistant programs–it has been reported that 63% of employees that responded had high levels of stress, with extreme fatigue/feeling out of control. Depending on your field of employment, many of us may not get the opportunity to take full length breaks–or any real break at all for that matter! However, it’s crucial to be mindful of our own health. Make sure to take at least a few minutes to yourself each day. Go out for a walk, socialise among co-workers, reach out to a loved one, watch a portion of your favourite stand up, listen to some music, meditate–whatever it is that takes you to your ‘peaceful’ mind state, make sure you make it a point to take some time in your day to do so.