7 Tips on Easy Mistakes that Could Negatively Impact Your Career
Great career advice isn’t always a list of what you should do to advance your career, sometimes it’s what you shouldn’t be doing that could hurt your career more than help it. We’ve pulled together a list of some of the most simple and catastrophic career mistakes professionals make at work and tips on how to remedy them or avoid them.
Don’t Forget You’re Always On
Remember that you’re always representing your company even when you think you’re off-duty. So, if you’re out with co-workers, partners, clients or friends, everything you say and do can impact how you’re viewed at work. Be especially careful when you’re out after work with co-workers, partners and clients. It’s easy to become close friends with colleagues given the amount of time most professionals spend at work and on work activities, but casual comments or an actions made amongst “friends” could be viewed negatively and shared with other co-workers. When you’re around people who have a first or second degree connection to work, be careful what you say and do, and always act professional.
First Impressions Matter
Experts say that a first impression is made within seconds of meeting a person, even before you speak a single word, and can impact how that person views you for the remainder of their personal or professional relationship with you. So, be mindful of how you come across when you first meet a business leader, colleague, partner or client. You might be introduced to someone in the office cafeteria, whom you currently have no working relationship with, but could have a huge impact on your career in the future. So, always be professional, engaging, and curious when meeting new people for the first time. And remember that first impressions include how you look and act.
Don’t be a “Yes” Person
Blindly following your leadership team without questioning whether or not their directions and actions are the only course of action is not being a good employee or team member. It’s okay to question authority and offer some alternative actions that would better benefit your organization and customers. But, how you go about suggesting a potentially new course of action to them is extremely important. If don’t agree with your managers decision on something and feel there is a better alternative, first, ask lots of questions to better understand their decision and, if appropriate, slowly ask questions and offer suggestions that might offer a different action/result and reference other ways to go about the discussed activity. If, after a series of questions and alternative solutions, they still stand firm on their decision, move forward with their decision. Asking constructive questions and offering alternative solutions shows your leadership team that you’re more than just a follower, but they are still the boss and their direction should be followed. One day you will be the boss, and will have a team member offering suggestions on an alternative course of action, you will then have to decide to integrate their suggestions or move forward with your plan.
Negatively Can Kill Your Career
You may not always love your job or might have an occasional bad day due to personal or professional situations, but be careful not to let those bad moments impact how you’re viewed by your colleagues and leadership team. Negativity is the death of career progression and could even get you fired. You don’t want to be known as the negative or grumpy employee at work with a dark cloud around them. Those employees are not viewed positively by co-workers and managers. And, be especially careful not to complain to colleagues about your work or other colleagues. Your complaints will almost always get back to the person you’re complaining about. And the co-workers you’re complaining to will wonder what else (or who else) you complain about behind their back. Always remember that your co-workers deserve your respect and the respect of your colleagues, no matter what your feeling are.
Not Everyone is Management Material
Don’t assume that your career path has to lead to a management position or the executive suite. It’s okay if you don’t have any aspirations of being part of the leadership team. You can still be an impactful, effective leader (yes leader) in your organization without managerial or executive career aspirations. Also, if you’re a manager, don’t assume employees who don’t have the same career aspirations as you aren’t amongst your top employees. Great teams are made-up of members with a plethora of different aspirations and career goals, and they don’t need to be on the road executive status.
Success Takes Time
It can be frustrating and time-consuming for employees to climb the corporate ladder, so it’s natural for aspiring leaders to try to hurry the process. But, always try remind yourself that career progression takes time. Be mindful that career success doesn’t happen overnight and be on the lookout for opportunities that can help you along the way without trying to force the process. Don’t let hurdles and setbacks get you frustrated, instead focus on the solution to those obstacles, it’s a better use of your time and energy, and will prove to be more helpful on your path to success.
All Work and No Play Does Not Make a Great Employee
Working around the clock and never taking time off is not the secret to a successful career. There will be times in your career when the majority of your time needs to be focused on work (early in your career, promotion season, a special project, etc.), but it’s important for all professionals, wherever they are in their career (from beginner to advance), to take time off to recharge and spend time away from the office. All work and no play, might have a positive short-term impact, but if kept up for the long-term will have negative repercussions.
Remember these tips and common mistakes while working your way through your career path. Everyone has a different path to take, but you have the biggest impact on your career path.18