Career mistakes

5th April 2013 at 01:00

All about me

With a handful of years' teaching under my belt I took a new job in a big school alongside about six newly qualified teachers. I hastened to distance myself from them, making sure that nobody on the very large staff could mistake me for a wet-behind-the-ears probationer. As a result I came across as a self-centred, tiresome know-it-all, a reputation that took some time to live down.

Apparently it's a common phenomenon. There is evidence from the business world that many ambitious young people are too keen to project confidence and ability, reluctant to take advice and dismissive of the wisdom of more experienced colleagues.

What is the right thing to do?

It's a fine balance. Good schools welcome energetic self-starters who bring good and creative ideas and get on with things. On the other hand, longer-serving staff members appreciate being asked for advice. Seeking help can help to defuse resentment and build bridges.

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