We asked 12 Xenium employees about mistakes made early in their career
and the top piece of career advice. Here’s what they had to say:
What was a mistake you made early in your career that helped you grow?
Probably my biggest mistakes, because there have been plenty, have been acting too hastily and not slowing down to look at all the details, collaborate, and make thoughtful decisions. However, you don’t want to move too slow as you may be seen as a barrier which often is what gives HR a bad reputation. It’s a delicate balance to manage the risks, evaluate the impact, and be seen as a partner to the business operator.
Nicole Jones, Sr. HR Business Partner
Early on in my career, there were times in which I avoided or hesitated asking for help, particularly when I first started a new job. This is because I wanted to appear competent and independent and/or because I did not want to inconvenience my supervisors and co-workers.
Over time, I learned to not only be resourceful and take initiative in my own learning but to also understand and accept my limitations in knowledge and experience and to proactively ask for help when appropriate or needed. Throughout my career, I have found that honest communication with supervisors and co-workers has served me well in different areas, such as my working relationships, the efficiency and quality of my work, and my professional and personal growth.
Lilee Karwoski, Onsite HR Administrator
Not clearly following the investigation process.
In short, it was early in my career and I was pressured by the general manager to suspend a mechanic for working on a personal piece of equipment on company time. I followed the GM’s direction and suspended the employee only to later learn that had I thoroughly investigated the situation I would have determined multiple employees were involved in this type of behavior. If I would have followed the process, the outcome may have been different and all employees would have been treated equally.
Margaret Hagan, Sr. HR Business Partner
Early in my career, I was so afraid of making a mistake that I approached HR with a very narrow and rigid mindset. I’d encourage those new to the field to embrace the business side and get comfortable with gray area.
Annie Oxenfeld, HR Business Partner
I can think of several things that I learned early in my career. One of the first lessons was learning to be patient and not interrupt others. Another lesson I learned was to be more concise with communications. I can be detail oriented and would be too long winded – that was not setting me up for success.
Finally, I’ve seen others seem too eager to know everything right away and not allow themselves time to learn – it is a perfect time for humility. Coworkers and managers understand when someone is learning a new job and do not mind extra questions or even occasional mistakes.
Judy Lofurno, HR Business Partner
I didn’t ask “why” or say “no” enough – I didn’t set boundaries. Also, it’s helpful to learn about other departments, what the functions of each are, and which ones are co-dependent.
Shastina Young, Client Development Manager
What advice would you offer to others?
Learn from your mentors. The best support I have gotten is through informal or even formal mentoring from senior leaders. Every situation is a learning opportunity no matter where you are in your career and the best thing is to go into any situation with a learning mentality. It seems that every day I pull from those mentoring opportunities I had throughout my entire career. I still have the mentality today of “what will I learn today,” and it has made me a better person overall.
Karen Erne, Director of Benefits, Payroll & HRIS
Don’t be impatient with yourself and where you are. Practice and acquiring experience are the only ways to get better at something.
Stacy Olivier, Payroll Specialist I
There has to be some level of risk that has to be taken in order to keep advancing. I was working with the same company for five years while finishing my degree. Once I was ready to move and start my professional career I quickly learned that you have to be able to throw yourself out there and be willing to let go of what you have now in order to make it to the next step in your professional career.
Oscar Rico-Cazares, HR Representative
It’s always better to ask questions first instead of getting something incorrect and having to fix it later.
Elizabeth Gallagher, Payroll Specialist I
Perfection isn’t something you should strive for. Learning from your mistakes is healthy and should be encouraged.
Paige Tamlyn, HR Account Representative
Reaching one’s ultimate desired career goal is going to happen fast, it takes time. It’s important to remember this and know that with experience and over time you will get there. You must climb the mountain to get to the summit, it’s not something you can just take a jet plane to overnight.
Eva Maribona, HR Account Representative