Mistakes Young People Make That Cost Them Careers

I have spent about half of my working life managing other people. I am liberally minded, engaging and an effective sales person, so owners and key decision makers have had little difficulty trusting me with leadership roles. During this time, I have noticed that young people with a lot of potential tend to do some things that make managing them extremely difficult and often lead to their early departure from solid organizations.

Here are some behaviors that I have noticed in young workers that indicate that they won’t be working with me for very long.

1) Mistaking rules for reality. Rules are just agreements on how something is to be. They describe appropriate behavior from what isn’t. One of the biggest staff complaints that I have had to listen to concerns parking. Regardless of where I have worked, staff is always told to park as far away from the door as possible to make it easier for the members or customers to get access to the building. This always made sense to me because the business depends on the customer spending their money and there is a correlation between time in the building and money spend. The staff are not less than the customers in the worth sense, they just don’t buy as much as the customers so they are asked to walk further to get in the door. Rules are not value judgments, they are just there to make something a particular way so everyone knows how to behave. You don’t need to agree with them, you just need to follow them.

2) Speaking for others. When you speak for others, you are only speaking for them if there is nothing to lose. As soon as there are consequences to what you say, they will deny their feelings and claim, accurately, that they didn’t say anything about it. The best thing you can do is NOT speak for others.

3) Knowing more than everyone else. There’s a chance that you will be asked to do stuff that doesn’t make a lot of practical sense, to you. If it makes sense for the organization then that is how it is going to be. Pointing out how stupid you think it is does only one thing, demonstrate the need to get rid of you.

4) Mistaking unique for only. Each of us have a unique view of the world but each view is only ONE view of the world. If there are 25 people in an organization there are 25 unique views of the world. The chances that any one view is the best and most accurate view in all business situations are pretty slight. If I let one worker go today and hire a new one tomorrow, the organization still has 25 unique views of the world and the chances that I have brought on the one view that is the best and most accurate are pretty low. Your uniqueness will be called upon when it is what is needed to solve a problem or move the business forward. Until it is called upon do the job that you were hired and agreed to do.

5) Thinking people care about why. If you choose not to follow the organizations rules, do not expect anyone to listen to your reasons why. The police don’t care that you were speeding because you believe that you can control your car better than most people, the judge won’t care either. If you make the choice to not follow the rules be smart keep your rational to yourself. The time to explain why is BEFORE you do something and it comes in the form of “here is an alternative solutions, should we change the process?” If the answer is no, follow the rules.

6) Taking things personally. It’s work and you are paid for your behavior, actions and time. Your boss probably hopes that you are happy and that you find your time at work rewarding. But when it gets right down to it, if they have to choose between you doing your job or you being happy, they will select you doing your job every time. Don’t take it personally when they don’t seem to care that you have a hot date, birthday party or tickets for a big game and they make you finish your shift because, lets face it, you don’t make it a personal thing when they pay you for the hours you work.