It’s so easy to make mistakes at work. We’ve all done it, especially at a new job! Sometimes it’s easy to think you’re just prone to being clumsy, especially when others seem to be so successful and confident. When you read CGD it might be easy to think we’re experts in the office, but we’ve all made mistakes. Here are the mistakes that the CGD team have made at work, to help you feel better about the times you’ve had an oopsie in the office.
Celina (Founder of CGD)
In my third year of Uni I managed to get an internship at the marketing department of a well-known designer luxury brand. I was really excited about getting the job but a bit terrified as well (I would wish something like Career Girl Daily existed that time). I absolutely didn’t know what to expect and was praying it wouldn’t be like The Devil Wears Prada.
The first weeks were tough and after 1 week I went home crying, because I was doing my job but I didn’t know why I was actually doing these tasks or had any understanding of a corporate ladder. I was so impressed by all these beautiful and successful women who were working for one of the most beautiful luxury brands in the world that it made me really insecure.
Now years later, I look back and think I could have done it differently. I should have communicated more and asked my colleagues more questions about the company. At CGD, we work with interns and because of my experiences, I think it’s so important to make sure our interns know what they’re doing and why. We make sure they understand our mission and vision, because when you understand your role in a company that little task you’re doing on a daily basis makes more sense.
I never see things as huge mistakes. I see life as a beautiful journey and we learn from our ‘mistakes’ to become a better version of ourselves. No one is born perfect after all. I’m not ashamed of the things I did ‘wrong’ but alway think mistakes are necessary to become the best version of yourself. Every day is a lesson.
Lois (Founder of CGD)
I probably made tons of mistakes at work that I can’t even remember, but I also have those mistakes that, even when I think about them now, really make me wish the ground would swallow me up. In the end you learn from all mistakes and failures in your life, so I took the lessons from these mistakes to heart and used them to better myself in my career and as a person.
1. Proposing a disproportionate amount of salary without doing research
This is one of the mistakes that still makes me feel really embarrassed. It was one of my first ‘real’ jobs after the finishing university and I thought all companies were waiting for a girl like me. I got to the second round of the interviews and eventually got the job. Then they emailed me asking how much I would like to earn and I said 3 times as much as what is normal for my age and experience. The Managing Director of the company emailed me back very politely (I bet they laughed really hard) asking if I wanted to rethink my salary proposal because it was a bit disproportioned.
Now, I always make sure I can back up my salary suggestion and do my research before every interview. It was a silly beginners mistake, which the Managing Director probably knew, but at the same time it could have cost me the job.
2. Not attending the after work drinks
You don’t have to attend every single event, but not going at all is not very helpful as well.
It was during my first internship that I was too shy and uncomfortable to attend the after work drinks and dinners, forgetting it is an amazing way to network. I still have amazing contacts from this company, but know I could have gotten more out of my internship and probably also learned more.
Beth (Managing Editor of CGD)
I don’t often think about the mistakes I’ve made, inexperience is a part of life. I’ve always been really motivated by the things I do, I get super organised and go way above and beyond my job description if I’m passionate about my work. But, the mistakes I’ve made just serve as funny anecdotes.
1. An envelope mishap
My first work experience was dreadful, I was a moody teenager who couldn’t really be bothered to get out of bed for anything. One of my tasks was to envelope up some letters, write the addresses on the front and put them in a pile. I had licked about 5 before someone came in and startled me by shouting “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DON’T LICK THEM!” of course, the envelopes had those little bits of tape on. She yelled how unhygienic it was and then made me re-do them. It kind of makes me cringe, but nobody told me what to do with them and kind of left me unattended for long periods of time. I hated it, but I laugh so hard thinking of how embarrassed I was back then. Ha!
2. Working for nothing
I’ve done a lot of unpaid jobs in my life, because I always thought experience was worth much more. I’m lucky that I have a roof over my head and the support of family that has enabled me to do that, but I think a lot of places have taken me for granted in the past. The first time I was ever made to feel indispensable was at CGD, and it made all the difference. When you’re on the bottom of the food chain at a company it’s so easy to be overlooked, it’s awful when people see you as free labour and don’t even talk to you in the lunch hall. I think one of my mistakes was seeing every unpaid experience as invaluable, when a lot of them were dead ends.
We’re all capable of making mistakes, but learning from them is the best thing! Whether you’ve made a silly mistake like spilling coffee on your superior or a more general salary mistake, give yourself time to overcome it and don’t lie awake thinking about how embarrassed you are!