Career Missteps – The goal of any work is not perfection. Truly speaking perfection over the course of an individual’s career is considered to be impossible. However, some of the decisions made by you pertaining to your job can have effects that are lasing and these may not be the one that you wish to have.
For avoiding the situation where you have to look back and regret regarding the choices you made while you were in office, you need to clearly steer away from the six career missteps which are mentioned below.
#1 – Career Missteps – Burning Bridges
Whenever anything goes wrong in a serious way either with your boss or your colleagues or anything else at work or a project, it might appear to be tempting to cut that and run away. Based on the circumstances, leave might appear as an option, but it better to avoid doing it in a manner that it has an effect on any relationship in future with your present employer.
It has been noted by Carolyn Betts, CEO as well as founder of Betts Recruiting that such a mistake is especially common in case the employees are just in the beginning of their career. The reason for this is that the newcomers have more chances of underestimating the impact in the long term which some of the actions might have on their career or on their business relationships.
The number one way of damaging your career is burning bridges. This is considered to be even worse than not putting up a good performance at your job. Your probability of professional references will be damaged in case you quit in a way that is distasteful, steal the clients, “leave the people high and dry” or reach out towards a competitor. According to Bett, it is usually assumed by the employers that the references that have been supplied by you are biased and hence, the back channel sources are checked by them routinely.
If your last burnt bridge is discovered by your prospective employer, he or she might decide against offering an interview to you. A bridge burnt in the past employment might also result in costing you an offer for a job after a lengthy process of interview when the sources are contacted by the hiring manager.
#2 – Career Missteps – Not being able to recognise when you are being pulled down by your boss
Your career can be made by a boss who is supportive and pushes forward your talent so as to give you the visibility with other people who are the important decision makers. However, it can be easily broken by a boss if he does not have in mind your best interests.
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Lisa Baker-King, a small business expert, coach and author thinks that it is significant for senior as well as junior employees to have knowledge regarding the way of recognising the warning signals that are sent by the bosses who are trying to pull them down. Trouble might take place in case you are not able to notice that your boss is engaged in conversations with other people who may be present around you but has been ignoring you constantly, does not choice you for participating in any special project or is not maintaining eye contact with you whenever a team meeting takes place. Thus, the bottom line is that your boss will not be giving you any time in case he or she is making an attempt to pull you down as he might not view you as an employee who is worth his energy or time.
#3 – Career Missteps – Mismanaging your manager
While you may be managed by your manager technically, it is also essential for you to “manage” your boss in case you have aspirations of succeeding your career and are hoping to avoid any regrets later on. This effectively means that you have to manage yourself and simultaneously you also have to manage the ways that can be employed for interacting with your boss in order to obtain the best possible results.
According to “Associate Director of the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle”, Arron Grow, whenever employees figure out that they are being supervised by a person who is not good at supervising, they might have a temptation to inform such a person the things that are been done wrong by him and the way in which he can change. This might appear to be a good idea at that point of time but it may turn out to be dangerous. In case one is led by an individual who is less confident or a person who happens to be overcautious, they might take any discussion regarding the way they are not doing well as a sort of challenge.
According to Grow, in situations like this, maintaining a relationship with your manager that is good does not guarantee safety of career and even the suggestions which have been made in a diplomatic way and which have the best intentions in mind, can turn out be taken wrongly by the person who is in-charge.
#4 – Career Missteps – Taking a job or leaving it for reasons that are wrong
You will in all probability rue the day when you took up a job, that you know you should not have taken up or if you had left a job without having thought about it. According to a lead “Consultant, mediator and negotiation trainer at Inclined Communication”, Tad Mayer, among the biggest mistake which can be made by you is taking up any job irrespective of the fact that you have true interest in that work or not, then making advancements in that area and coming to know that you are not happy but only staying there because it has become your new career now.
Most of the time, it happens that people are reactive when they get a job early (they apply for any post that they might happen to find). This actually might end up putting them on a track which is very different from the one in which they have true interest. This is particularly true earlier on in the career and at this stage it is vital to do the crucial work for the identification of your professional interests. After doing this, you should meet with a lot of people who are established for figuring out what the role / company / industry / field is actually like so that you can be put on the right track.
Owner as well as President of Babich & Associates, Tony Beshara, says that leaving a job for a reason that is poor particularly when you do not have another job in line, can be a cause of regret later on in your career. Whenever, you leave a job, there needs to be a very good business reason for leaving that job.
#5 – Career Missteps – Being Impatient in your Job Search
Another mistake that people commonly make is focusing only on the aspect of perceived stability of a job offer in the short-term instead of making efforts to find out the correct career fit in the long-term. It has been suggested by the co-founder of Uncubed, Tarek Pertew that the time which is spent on trying to find the right job needs to be treated in a way that is similar to time that is spent by a person on finding the right life partner.
A critical mistake that people often make when looking for happiness in a profession is to show impatience in hunting for a job. The reason for this is usually to maintain a particular lifestyle or reach a new one instantly. It is very important that more time is taken in figuring out the job in which the fit is right and let the lifestyle take a hit. This is better than finding yourself in a job that is wrong which will make you regret your position only after a few months of taking that position.
#6 – Career Missteps – Not applying for another position, or staying for long in a particular position
According to various studies that have been carried out, males usually apply for jobs even when they are able to meet the qualifications of the job only by about 60 percent however, females usually apply for jobs when they are able to meet 100 percent of the qualifications for the job. It is a balance which is very delicate and failure to take action when the opportunity is knocking can turn out to be a regrettable as holding on to a position even after you have outgrown that position or reached a dead end. Putting it in another way, if you have concerns regarding not being qualified completely for the potential job, then it is easier to opt out when you are in the stage of job search rather than opting out later on.
According to the CEO of Lever, Sarah Nahm, most of the people especially females look at all the requirements which they see are mentioned in the job description, as something which they “must-have” and do not apply till they are able to fill all the criteria and have a tick in all the boxes. As per Nahm, this is not a wise decision, in view of the fact that job descriptions are usually not the requirements which are hard and fast. They are mostly just outlines parameters regarding what can be entailed by a job. Even though studies have indicated that jobs are applied for by men when they fulfil just about 60 percent of the job qualifications and they are applied for by women when they fulfil 100 percent of the job qualifications, employers generally hire candidates who possess the correct combination of intelligence, attitude and soft skills over the candidates who on paper appear to be a perfect fit.
It is noted by Angela Copeland, a career coach that on the back end of their career most of the employees fall into the tarp wherein they keep holding on to their current posts even though the writing might be there on the wall for them. In such cases, they try to make assumptions that things at their present organisation will get better in future. They make assumptions with respect to getting a promotion or a raise in the coming time. This way they keep on waiting. However, it has been observed that staying in one organization for a period that is too long can ultimately result in decreasing the person’s the long term professional as well as financial outlook.
Ways to Avoid Career Missteps
The above mentioned career missteps are the mistakes which have the capability of derailing any career if you do not act carefully. Thus, you need to ensure that these career missteps are avoided. The following ways can be used for avoiding them –
Once you get a job, do not quit networking
The success of your career in the long term depends on your ability of continuing to be vigilant regarding networking and building strong connections in business and also nurturing the relationships that exist currently.
Put higher focus on the benefits
When conducting job search, along with weighing options related to base pay, you need to consider other factors like the manager, the role, the benefit programs, the company culture, the programs of health and wellness and the compensation.
Drive your own destiny
You are the driver of your career path, so do not depend upon your boss for it. You need to be proactive in taking responsibilities and assignments and discuss with your boss where you expect you career path within the company to head.
Keep the profiles of the social media professional
You should avoid posting anything that you do not want your prospective employer or your boss to view.
You should keep your skills sharp
It is essential to constantly build on your skill set, regardless of the industry you are in. it is vital to stay sharp and keep yourself updated with the latest trends in the industry in order to be a key player for your organization.
Create a Five Year Plan
People usually start their career having a five year plan in mind. It is very crucial to keep such a plan alive. It needs to be updated every year. You need to re-evaluate what you had wished to achieve the previous year, where you have reached currently and where do you want to reach in the coming five years. A solid plan helps in avoiding career missteps that you might live to regret.