Smart people make mistakes. We are human after all so what are some ways that we can mitigate mistakes? See my five tips below both from personal experience as well as from my observations of others in the workplace.

1. Not actively reflecting on goals and experiences. I know this can be a daunting task for many but by not doing so, you may end up choosing a field that does not match your personality, goals, natural insights or ways of working. Smart employees are focused employees who make a transition and seek opportunities for advancement based on what will truly make them happy both personally and professionally.

2. Not asking. Considering that the worst answer to most questions that advocate for what you want professional is “No,” I consistently advise on how to prepare for the ask, whatever it may be. Women especially fall victim to not asking because of the fearing of asking for what they want. Practice speaking up and clearly write down your reasons for making the ask so you can establish a solid foundation for speaking up. Finally, practice your pitch, considering all options and possible responses to increase your confidence. Confident employees are smart employees.

3. Not being able to identify and curtail demonstrating passive aggressive behaviors. Fellow professionals are able to see right through your fake kindness and collaborative persona. The last thing you want is to spoil your reputation with your most first degree network, resulting in ill feelings towards working with you. Smart employees pause first to consider the implications of what you write in your emails, opt whenever possible to have face-to-face conversations with coworkers instead and step away from a situation for a moment to neutralize your emotions and be productive and rationale in your response perhaps a few hours or day later when you have had the chance to cool down.

4. Not developing patience in times of transition. It is not fun waiting for the sun to shine but digging in and trudging through can really demonstrate commitment, dedication and your willingness to be uncomfortable with uncertainty. Knowing how to transcend uncertainty and still thrive in your own career and development will provide you with a great deal of content for future interviews and will build resilience—a skill every smart employee needs.

5. Neglecting to build community. It is important to be present and to access the resources that will keep you fresh and engaged with the people who care about the same things, personally and professionally, that you do. Your network is your greatest asset and your personal growth is just as important as your professional growth. Why not be smart and do it at the same time! Join the company softball team, organize meet and greets on your campus, volunteer for a local organization such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters or the local humane society.


Meghan is a career consultant, advocate and speaker for women’s professional success in addition to the Associate Director for Alumnae and Community Engagement at Mount Holyoke College. For more tips and advice, subscribe to Meghan’s monthly email newsletter at Follow her on Twitter at @MeghanGodorov.


Copyright © 2015 Meghan Godorov

Like this article? Share it!