Yes, there are more than 7 easy ways to kill your career, but we thought we’d bring your attention to the ones that sneak up on even the best of us. Rarely do we set out to shoot ourselves in the profession, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for these mistakes. If we know what they are, we can avoid doing them or possibly even recover from one if we catch it early enough.
- Have you learned anything new lately? If you have been quietly coasting along, just doing the same old job the same old way, you may be in trouble. It’s never wise to be noticed for what you aren’t doing. Keep an eye out for ways you can add value to both your performance and your resume. Learn a new skill, earn a degree, take on a new responsibility, offer to mentor a new associate.
- Unrealistic expectations. This is a cumulative effect, where you set a deadline even Superman couldn’t meet, then do it again and again. If you run afoul of deadlines once or twice, it is worth noting that you need to begin building in a safety margin every time. Don’t get a reputation for failure.
- You’ve heard the old saw about the squeaky wheel getting the grease? In business, the point of most resistance often gets a pink slip, instead. Are you being asked to learn new methods of doing things? Make the effort to learn and meet the new challenges. If your department is being consolidated with another, if you are asked to make a sideways move within the organization, it’s certain that someone will notice if you’re digging in your heels. Millennials and Boomers alike need to watch for this career mistake, no matter your age, the engines of progress will run right over you if you attempt to stand still.
- Game of thrones. Networking and building relationships are vital to a healthy career, playing political games and gossiping can end it. No one trusts or appreciates someone who feeds a negative culture in an organization. Any activities or choices that you feel the urge to hide can probably get you fired. Stay positive and stay above the office politics to avoid the consequences.
- Call it social skills, Emotional Quotient, or just plain manners, this career killer often boils down to the inability to put aside contempt or frustration and work well with others. Meltdowns, put-downs, and openly showing or expressing contempt for people and situations are fatal to your ambitions. Patience, understanding, and a willingness to compromise to get the job done are important life and work skills. If you find yourself becoming irritable, find a way to vent your feelings outside of work or channel it into productivity.
- Success is good. Self-esteem is important. If you allow your successes and your good feelings about them to create a sense of entitlement, you’re in trouble. Bragging, demanding recognition, and the assumption that your success makes you irreplaceable can be a killing blow to an otherwise remarkable career. Keep your ego in check, and make sure you keep striving for success today, don’t just rest on your laurels.
- If you are experiencing ongoing depression and can’t find a silver lining no matter how hard you try, it’s time to seek help. Depression doesn’t just affect your state of mind and your relationships, it can hurt your career. Often, those experiencing depression share their negative mindset at work, causing problems and discomfort within the organization. Many times, decision-makers don’t see illness and decide to proffer a pink slip to remove the source of “negativity”. Depression is a common illness, effectively treated with medication, talk therapy, or both. Get healthy and regain that positive mindset that breeds success.