Shiny Shoes and Other Things You Think Are Important But Aren’t

If you have been around for a while, you might remember reading a post I wrote about how I got fired from a bakery for my lack of customer service skills aged 15. You may also remember reading how I had read every book about what to do to make a good impression at work but even this didn’t save me. The thing was I thought a whole bunch of stuff was really important to making a good impression with the boss and it wasn’t important at all.

For example I was obsessed with the fact that my shoes must be shined and polished at all times. Every single day before I started my shift I shined and polished my shoes. I specifically remember the one day I ran out of polish and couldn’t get more in time for my shift. I was in total panic mode and spent the whole shift thinking the manager was going to notice that my shoes hadn’t been polished. Ridiculous right? I’m betting that manager never even noticed what colour my shoes were let alone whether they had been polished or not.

The thing is there is a whole bunch of stuff we are taught that is vital to making a good impression on the job but most of it is bullsh*t. The truth is that the ability to get along with others will go a hell of a lot further than your shiny shoes in any industry. So let’s take a look at some of the things we often think are super important, but aren’t really.

The Right Lingo – When you first start a new job there will be key phrases everyone in the office seems to use but which don’t just roll of your tongue………yet. You may believe that you need to start speaking exactly the same lingo straight up but this is crap. If you start using ‘their’ words before it becomes natural you will sound stilted and unnatural so stop trying to parrot the rest of the team and be yourself.

Knowledge – Yes, your knowledge is important but you don’t have to know absolutely everything. If you are not sure of something it’s perfectly OK to ask for help. In fact asking for help makes the person you ask feel special so it’s the perfect way to build those productive working relationships. Just don’t go to the same person each time.

Perfectionism – Take this one too far and it not only becomes unimportant but can seriously alienate your coworkers and your boss. You work doesn’t have to be perfect. It has to be quality and it has to meet deadline. Missing a deadline because it isn’t perfect will get you in trouble fast. And do you want to know how to seriously piss off your co-workers? Critique their work without being asked. They don’t have to be perfect either and it’s not your job to manage them (unless you actually happen to be their Manager).

That’s the top three areas that I see clients struggle with when it comes to making a good impression on the job. Please try to remember that your ability to get along with and build rapport with your coworkers and management trumps all of these. So try to focus on building those relationships early.

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