Expert Panel

Common job issues and solutions in College Student / Recent Graduate

7 Trust-Killers in Your First Job



By Lea McLeod, M.A. , Founder & CEO, Degrees of Transition

When you start your first job, the people you work with won’t know you. They’ll probably observe you quite a bit in the first weeks and months, however.

And while they are observing you, they’ll be sizing you up; deciding if they’ll like working with you, and whether or not they can trust you.

Yes, even though you put “trustworthy” on your resume, it doesn’t mean others will believe you. It takes time, commitment and consistency to earn their confidence, especially in a first job. And once you earn it, one harrowing lapse can put all your hard work at risk.

Building relationships of trust is essential to being able to move up your career ladder, most companies have it somewhere in their “leadership qualities” compendium. You also need it to get work done more quickly and efficiently.

In follow-up to my earlier post on trust-building, here are some trust-killing behaviors to avoid. They will sabotage your earnest desire to have good relationships at work and earn the trust of others.

1. Lie. Cheat. Steal. I once found a subordinate in a fully documented lie that was made indelibly worse by her insistent denial. If you wander into this territory you might get away with it. But if you are found out – I guarantee you this – your relationship with your manager, and others, will never be the same.

2. Say one thing, do another. You appear inconsistent, and unreliable. So others can’t trust what you tell them.

3. Do whatever you want (show up late, miss deadlines, blow off meetings) without regard for your teammates. This won’t endear you to the group. And they’ll share their humble opinions when it’s time for your performance review, if not before.

4. Indulge in gossip, backstabbing or rumor-mongering. Behavior like this usually means you need to make yourself feel better at other people’s expense. People may love hearing you share the juicy details, but they’ll be wondering when you will need to feel better at THEIR expense. See my previous post about extricating yourself from these messy conversations.

5. Air your dirty laundry to people not involved in the situation. If you have a beef with your boss, a team member or a client, discuss it with everyone else in the office. They may listen with fascination, but they’ll wonder why you can’t solve these kinds of problems. Then they’ll wonder if you’ll dish with others when you have an issue with them. Instead, take your beef to the person who’s directly involved. No one else.

6. Don’t keep a confidence and disclose company confidential information. Have you ever had someone tell a secret of yours? Yes, that’s what it’s like. You probably didn’t share many confidences with them after that, did you?

7. Never admit when you’re wrong. Not admitting you are wrong, being defensive, blaming others or making excuses, means you lack humility and you have no control over your ego. If you can’t take personal responsibility for a mistake as a rookie, what will you do when the stakes are much higher?

Trust-killing behavior will make your co-workers skeptical, even non-supportive, but it’s your career that will really suffer the consequences. Make trust-building a living, breathing part of your career practice, from Day 1!

{#/pub/images/LeaMcLeod.jpg}Written by Lea McLeod, M.A., Founder & CEO, Degrees of Transition 

Lea works extensively with new grads who are tackling the job search for the first time.  She is a guest speaker, as well as facilitator of the “Find a Job Faster” Job Search Program and “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop & Webinar series, bringing over 20 years of director level experience, most recently with Hewlett-Packard, managing, leading and serving worldwide employees. She holds a degree in Marketing from St. Bonaventure University, and a Master of Arts in Organization Development from Seattle University.


Do you have a question for Lea?  Post it here in our College Student/Recent Grad Community, she will be happy to help: Ask An Expert 


Did you find this story informative?  We would like the opportunity to keep you up to date on all of our training articles.  Please Sign Up for our newsletter so we can do just that. 


ManagingAmericans.com is a community of Business Professionals & Expert Consultants sharing knowledge, success tips and solutions to common job issues.  Our objective is to mentor and develop professionals to be better leaders, managers, team players and individual contributors. Ultimately, helping people succeed in their careers.

Ask An Expert

  • No Topics exist for this category yet.
See all


The most common interview question is "So Tell Me About Yourself". Are you prepared to answer?