These Workplace Myths Could Be Harming Your Career

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Do you ever say no to boss? Maybe you should start.

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Remember when some of us actually thought that margarine was a healthier substitute for butter? Or that labouring over the right ‘theme’ for your MySpace account was an acceptable use of your time? Both are proof, should we ever have needed it, that advice often comes with a shelf life.

Much like the time that you realised that your MP3 player probably wasn’t the lifelong investment that you though it would be, when you know better, you can do better. Which is precisely why we’re debunking some seriously out-dated career guidance because despite being as antiquated as your company’s fax machine, it still gets touted about.

Myth #1: it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know
The reality:
Sure, being well-connected is never going to hurt. But unless you have the knowledge, skills and experience to back it up, nepotism will really only get you so far in the long run. Be it cyber or otherwise, we could all benefit from a spot of networking (even if you’re an introvert), so make sure the bulk of your energies are spent where it really matters.

Myth #2: remote employees are less engaged
The reality:
While many employers still believe that their employees are only really engaged while slaving away in the office, studies show that productivity levels among remote workers can be up to 13% higher than their office based counterparts. Studies also show that remote workers are partial to longer working hours than their in-office counterparts: studies suggest there’s a link between remote working and lower pay, longer hours and an unhealthy overlap of work and home life.

Myth #3: we’re not here to make friends
The reality:
Technically, no. But there is a strong link between workplace friendships and overall business success, which is hardly surprising when you consider that employees with a work BFF are up to seven times more engaged in their jobs than employees without.

Myth #4: never say no to your boss
The reality:
It can be a difficult scenario to navigate, but if you’re being asked to take on a higher workload or simply disagree with something your superior is proposing, you’re perfectly entitled to say no to. The trick is to be as diplomatic as possible so instead of explicitly saying N-O, try the phrase ‘Can I propose another idea?’ or ‘OK. Can you help me prioritise my projects?’ Try these expert techniques.

Myth #5: the longer you work, the more productive you are
The reality:
The more hours spent chained to our desks does not equate to more work being done. In fact, a study from Stanford University showed that our productivity levels significantly drop when we put in a 50-hour working week, with levels ceasing completely at 55 hours. So even if you’re working a whopping 70 hours a week, you’re only as productive as your colleague who works fifteen hours less than you. Ouch.

Myth #6: negotiating your salary will make you look greedy
The reality:
If what you’re requesting is the fair market value of what you do, you need to dispel any notions of appearing money hungry. On the contrary: if your negotiations are conducted in the right manner, you’ll likely appear confident in your abilities and your worth as an employee. Need further encouragement? Those who request a pay rise receive an extra $5,000pa on average, so it certainly pays to brush aside any awkwardness you feel about discussing your salary.

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