As We Start a New Year, Are There Rules That Are Okay to Break?

John Krautzel
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As the new year kicks off, you may be thinking about your New Year's resolutions, and one of those might be to follow the rules and stay out of trouble. While this is usually good advice, there are some rules you shouldn't always heed. When it comes to breaking the rules, don't be afraid to ignore these.

1. Never Work With Family

While it should be acknowledged that some organizations have policies against family members working together, there's more flexibility when you own your own business, and in that case, you can consider breaking the rule. When you're looking to hire new employees, you're often looking for candidates who share your passion, who are dependable and trustworthy, who are loyal to you and your company, and who feel comfortable enough to communicate honestly with you. This often describes family perfectly, because family members want to see you succeed, so don't be afraid to hire and work with relatives.

2. Keep Climbing the Career Ladder

Many professionals and advisers stress the importance of climbing the corporate ladder, but it's not always easy to keep moving up within your organization. Whether you're maxed out on promotions and have nowhere to go or you're feeling burnt out by your career, don't be afraid to break the rule. Consider making a lateral move to gain a new perspective, or make a career change to an industry that more closely suits your interests.

3. Make Work Your First Priority

The rule that states your career should be at the top of your list is outdated. Gone are the days when employees want to come in early and stay late at the office just to show off their dedication and drive. Instead, employees strive to create a work-life balance that works for them. Spouses, children, health and hobbies move up on the priority list. Employers realize that employees who focus 100 percent of their attention to the job burn out quickly; promoting a focus on personal needs can actually help employees be more productive when they are in the office.

4. Stay Humble

While humility is typically an asset, it can sometimes hurt you if you're too humble in the workplace. When you're interviewing for a job, it's important to brag about your accomplishments, tout your experience and sell yourself to the hiring manager to outshine the competition. If you're a young professional who's currently employed, it's important that you create a personal brand and continue to promote yourself to stay in the running for future promotions and compete with other workers in your organization.

You're likely to hear a lot of advice throughout your career, and much of it is undoubtedly helpful, but there are some clich├ęs that you can forget. Heed the good, but don't be afraid to break the rules when they just don't make sense for you.

Photo courtesy of suphakit73 at


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