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Workplace Frights

Survey Reveals Workers Are Most Afraid of Making a Mistake

MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 24, 2012 -- It's not ghosts or goblins or even public speeches that scare workers the most this Halloween: In an Accountemps survey, more than one in four (28 percent) respondents said making a mistake on the job is their biggest workplace fear.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 420 working adults 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

Workers were asked, "Which one of the following is your greatest workplace fear?" Their responses:

Making errors on the job

28%

Dealing with difficult customers or clients

18%

Conflicts with your manager

15%

Speaking in front of a group of people

13%

Conflicts with coworkers

13%

No fears

3%

Other

7%

Don't know/no answer

4%


101%*

* Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.

"Mistakes will happen from time to time, and a healthy concern for avoiding them improves job performance -- as long as that concern doesn't undermine one's confidence," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies® (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Fear of failure holds many people back in their careers, but without smart risks new ideas would never take shape."

Like successful trick-or-treating, navigating frightening workplace situations requires forethought and the right approach. Accountemps offers five tips:

  1. Plan your route. A 20-page to-do list would scare anyone and is a recipe for mistakes on the job. To ease workload-related worries -- and be more efficient -- prioritize your responsibilities, and delegate when possible.
  2. Ask for directions. When facing a challenging project or new responsibilities, make sure you know what is expected of you. If you have concerns, let your manager know, and work with him or her to develop a strategy for overcoming them.
  3. Bring a friend. Don't be afraid to tap a mentor for advice on a particularly devilish challenge. When preparing a critical project or communication, ask a confidant for his or her feedback.
  4. Say "thanks." Whether it's for candy or help with a difficult task, a sincere thank-you can go a long way toward building strong business relationships.
  5. Give out treats. Volunteer to assist overburdened colleagues, and be quick with praise for those who deliver outstanding work. You'll make people -- including yourself -- feel good and foster an environment where colleagues help each other on a regular basis.

About Accountemps
Accountemps has more than 350 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at www.accountemps.com. Follow Accountemps for workplace news at twitter.com/accountemps, and gain insights into the latest accounting and finance hiring and salary trends at www.accountemps.com/salarycenter.

Accountemps has produced a series of videos highlighting Bob from Accountemps, the fast, efficient, go-to accounting professional. Find out why Bob is so popular with his clients and coworkers alike: www.accountemps.com/whoisbob.


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