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Uncovering the Worst HR Advice Ever: From Suits to Sick Days, Here's What NOT to Do in the Workplace


HR, the one office that always is expected to have an answer — whether it's right or not. In a recent survey, I asked individuals what was the worst advice they ever received from HR. Some struggled to provide an answer, but other shared examples so bad it leaves you scratching your head. We've all been there, but here are some of the more memorable and misguided pieces of HR advice shared with me.

  • You should always wear a suit to work, no matter what!"

This one is particularly funny if you work in a creative field that doesn't require formal attire. It's like HR is taking the corporate dress code way too seriously! As someone who regularly wears a suit, even I admit that the workplace dress code has changed since Covid-19.

  • "Just ignore that customer complaint."

Seriously? Ignoring customer complaints isn't exactly the most effective way to handle them.

  • "Employees should never take vacations."

Umm, what? Employees need breaks too. Vacations are important for recharging and keeping morale high. Statistically, the United States is one of the worst countries at using their PTO time.

  • "You should always tell your boss what he/she wants to hear."

No. Just no. Honesty is the best policy — and a much better option than brown-nosing.

  • "It's not what you know, it's who you know."

This piece of advice can be very discouraging to some, and could even lead to a feeling of hopelessness. While networking is important, it's not the only thing that matters. Your work ethic, knowledge, and skill set are just as important.

  • "Don't worry about the small stuff."

Sometimes, it's the small stuff that matters most. Paying attention to details can make or break a project or task.

  • "You don't need a LinkedIn profile. It's not important."

LinkedIn is essential for networking and staying connected with other professionals in your field. Let's be clear, LinkedIn shouldn't be your only networking tool, but not having a profile on the platform could mean you're missing out on job opportunities.

  • "It's OK to call in sick just because you don't feel like working."

Calling in sick should be reserved for when you're actually ill or injured. Calling in sick just because you don't feel like going to work is a surefire way to get on your employer's bad side.

  • "It's OK to be late to work once in a while."

Being late to work is never OK. It's important to be punctual and show up when you're expected. This shows your employer that you take your job seriously.

  • "Just be yourself. That's all you need to do to get the job."

Being yourself is important, but it's not all you need to do to land a job. You need to put in the extra effort to make yourself shine. This means researching the company, networking, and honing your skills.


Recap: At the end of the day, it's important to remember that not all advice from HR is golden. While some of it may seem funny, it's important to remember that following bad advice can have serious consequences for your career. Be sure to use your own judgement, think twice before taking any advice, and make decisions that are best for you.

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