5 Career Mistakes to Avoid in your 30s

The other day when I was in conversation with a client, this question popped up. Career mistakes. 

Should those be avoided, as you learn more from your mistakes than from your success? But you don’t live a life long enough to make all the mistakes by yourself.

Especially in your 30s, when your career is still at its starting decade, you still need to avoid certain mistakes that can turn out to be a horror for you 5-10 years down the lane.

From my personal experience as well as the people I have talked to, I have made a list of the top 5 career mistakes professionals make in their 30s. Make sure to avoid them at any cost

1) Not investing in experiences 

The biggest career mistake you can make in your 30s is not letting go of the ‘I can do it later’ mindset. 

You will never feel fulfilled chasing after the next great “must have” item and never find the real happiness experiences can bring. What should guide you through life are your passions and your unique purpose.

Even if you can’t answer the question ‘what should I do with my life’ or know what your dream career looks like, you probably still have an idea about what you’re passionate about. You should find any and every experience which lets you explore those passions.

Invest in your passions and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to you. These experiences will help you find your purpose and shape your life.

2) Not focusing on your personal goals

Your 30s are the pinnacle of your career and youth.

It is like a roller coaster ride. You are finally getting a hold of your professional career, and you are way beyond the financial worries of your 20s. Life is finally taking its course. But while you are busy making a name for yourself, have you stopped thinking about your personal career?

Yes, Personal Career.

Personal Career planning is all about continuous building rather than isolated jobs and instances. While you have your career trajectory planned, make sure you’re also focusing on your personal development and working towards your vision. Align your personal goals and vision with your career trajectory. 

After all, a successful and balanced life is not achieved on the basis of professional growth alone.

3) Assuming and not assessing

When you start assuming stuff, you stop growing. It’s as simple as that.

Assuming is easy to do, it is convenient when the truth fits one’s own thinking, it is quick as no time is needed to fact check, it is comfortable as all debate is avoided, and it often happens unconsciously. And because of all that, it is a trap, one that we all fall into way too easily.

That trap can be a deadly one, especially for your career. 

In your 30s, you are at that stage where although you and your career are evolving quite swiftly, there is still a lot that you need to learn and experience, and the habit of assuming will act as a bottleneck to your growth.

Rather, start assessing. Question how you could have handled a situation better or loop in your leader for feedback. It is always better to get a holistic view of a situation. 

4) Not trusting your gut feeling enough 

People say, ‘Intuition isn’t reliable. But neither is logic alone.

Using objective facts to make straightforward decisions often makes sense. But just as often, we choose to ignore gut feelings and intuitive judgments at our peril.

The more sophisticated technology becomes, the need for high emotional intelligence (EQ) grows even more. That ineffable, deeply human blend of traits, including intuition, goes far beyond number-crunching. Data and logic are important, but that does not mean your lived experiences count for nothing.

Start trusting your intuition more. If you think something is worth betting on, then why not go for it? If you make a mistake here – learn from it!

5) Not having your five times why.

Your 30s are a lot more different than your 20s. Now you have a better financial standing and career stability. You also have a great work- and private life balance, but tell me this– do you have your five reasons with you?

While you are working towards establishing yourself and wanting to live a comfortable life, chances are you will easily get blindsided by your duties and responsibilities that you stop questioning. Trust me, I have been there.

Ask yourself, “Is what you’re doing right now aligned with your vision and goals?”

Write down five good reasons why you should continue doing what you’re doing. Is this what you want? Is this what will help you materialize your vision? If you don’t have five good reasons, you should definitely reconsider your situation.


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