Practices that could tank a great career
On average, most employees have been found to stay five years or less in a particular job. Similarly, the average working cycle of an employee is 40 years. So if you want to look back at your work history with a glowing sense of pride instead of bitter disappointment, here are some career decisions you should do your best to avoid:
1. Burning bridges
In most interpersonal situations there will be specific occasions that will make it necessary for you to completely severe ties with a contact, perhaps for your own sanity and well-being. However, in professional cases it is not always advisable to burn bridges.
Each niche has the same players jostling for support and profit in equal measure so you must always operate within neutral grounds. Avoid making potential enemies who could negatively affect your career growth down the line. When leaving one job for another, make sure that you leave in cordial terms with your employer. Try to always leave a positive impression on everyone you meet.
2. Staying stagnant
Not applying to a new position, or staying too long in the same one leads to personal and professional redundancy. Failing to act when you see an opportunity can be just as unfortunate as holding on to a position after you’ve outgrown it or hit a plateau. Most employees hang on to their current jobs even when the writing is on the wall with the hope that things will get better and they’ll eventually get a raise or promotion. But staying at an organisation for too long can significantly decrease your long-term financial and professional outlook.
3. Holding back
People often confuse ambition for arrogance. As such, instead of asking for a promotion you rightfully deserve, you remain silent, hoping to be noticed by upper management. You may be doing that out of the fear of ‘no’. Similarly, you hold back from sharing ideas because of the same fear. But being bold and taking risks can lead you to workplace opportunities you might never have noticed otherwise. Unfortunately, many people don’t have the fight to take things all the way through to the end, resulting in many ‘I wish’ situations in the future.
4. Interpersonal failings
We all know one or two co-workers who have zero interest in becoming a part of the office social circle. They are all about being there for what they are paid to do and nothing else. They keep to themselves and most always have earphones on to avoid chit chat. But for a successful career and in order to build a wider network to fall back on even when you move on you must make an effort to get to know your colleagues. You don’t have to know all their gritty details, attend their family gatherings or obsessively like everything they post on social media, but given the amount of time you spend at work, it would help to build a mutual respectable camaraderie. Knowing people’s personalities and strengths can help make your own work more effective and can help make those tough projects and long days together easier.
5. Neglecting what matters
Give more thought to your work-life balance. This will be easier at some points in your career than others. Remember that starting a new job demands extra time, so try to be settled in what you do earlier. Taking on prominent assignments all the time also takes you away from home. Whether prioritising means leaving the office on time, not answering calls or emails after 7p.m., or just making sure you take a lunch break, it’s important to establish and maintain boundaries. Endless working can lead to stress and burnout. You must get the balance you need to be productive and satisfied throughout your career and life.
6. Compromising on personal values
We have seen great men and women’s careers go down the drain due to corrupt practices. When you receive and give bribes, and use suspect moves to gain favours, then people take note. They will not want to refer you for better opportunities because they know your unethical ways. Your reputation in the industry precedes you. Be known for never taking corners and great standards at work.