Updated June 15, 2021. There are all kinds of ways people can hurt their careers. Sometimes it happens as a result of honest mistakes, other times, people make poor choices that hurt a working relationship, cost them a raise or promotion. Worst case scenarios are when someone gets fired or ruins their career. Here are five career mistakes to avoid at all costs.
In most cases, people don’t get the boot or destroy their career from one big mistake or poor decision; it’s more likely to occur little by little with several bad choices or traits. What kinds of mistakes do we need to be aware of and avoid at all costs to not send our careers into a tailspin?
HERE ARE FIVE BIG MISTAKES TO AVOID.
- Having a super ego– Never let your ego damage your career. It’s great to be successful and driven, but remember to always be humble. Think of some of the most successful people you know, or see in professional sports, entertainment, philanthropy, or the business and political arenas; humble people are arguably the most successful. Part of being humble is to remember that success can be fleeting, so do not let your victories go to your head. Your career will be the better for it.
- Work-Life Balance-Taking an extra- long lunch break on a busy workday or leaving the office early instead of staying late to meet an important deadline are obvious mistakes. On the flip side, spending hours and hours of unpaid overtime for a company or boss who does not recognize or reward your hard work is a waste of time. It can be highly detrimental to your career when your work-life balance is off. It is important to know when to save your personal resources for those times when it makes a difference to work 80hour weeks.
- Being a kiss-up– Being a brown noser is one of the worst mistakes anyone can make in their career. Brown-nosing damages relationships with co-workers who will lose respect for you, and your relationship with your boss will not be genuine, but rather based on superficial interactions. A kiss-up can be seen a mile away and removes all confidence in others’ minds about your sincerity when used in the workplace, or anywhere at all. However, giving credit where it is due to co-workers generously and often builds trust and allows one to take credit when they deserve it without any accompanying animosity from other team members. In fact, once a team atmosphere is created where kudos and accomplishments are regularly pointed out, other team members will likely reciprocate, so any earned recognition naturally heads your way without ever needing to toot your own horn.
- Being complacent– Complacency is harmful in any situation. As soon as you feel you’ve arrived and put your career in cruise control so-to-speak you risk becoming complacent, and that can damage your career. It’s important to keep learning, continue improving and expanding your network. Do not let complacency set in and stall your growth. Develop the habit of a lifelong learner in both your profession and specific job duties. The classic case of being replaced by a younger, hungrier, and much cheaper recent graduate is less likely if the delta of experience and knowledge is large enough. Instead of becoming your replacement, they are simply added to your team.
- Promising too much– Everyone wants to impress his or her boss and co-workers, but when you make promises you can’t deliver on you won’t impress anyone. In fact, you will do exactly the opposite and damage your reputation. Be honest and upfront about how long a task will take, or how difficult it may end up being, and when you make a promise, make good on it each and every time. This will build a reputation of integrity and dependability, both big plusses in any career.
It is natural to make a few mistakes in any job or career path, but with a little effort, forethought and planning, it is possible to avoid these truly damaging ones.
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