6 mistakes that kill your career




Errors are natural; they are part of being human – until they negatively impact your career. Some mistakes can actually kill your career.

According to a survey by VitalSmarts, 83 percent of respondents have observed someone make a mistake with terrible implications for their career, reputation, or company, while 69 percent have done something to ruin their careers:

31% said it lost them a promotion, a raise, or even their job; 27% said it damaged a professional relationship; and 11% said it destroyed their reputation.

Crucial Learning, formerly VitalSmarts, L.C.

Imagine yourself as one of them. Some errors that appear minor at first can be disasters waiting to happen.

You probably have heard this a great deal: “You can only advance in your career by making mistakes.” That’s correct. In the end, there are certain things that can only be learned by making mistakes, but you don’t live long enough to learn them all on your own.

As well as (or even more than) a major error in judgment, a series of minor errors can have a cumulative effect on a person’s career. The good news is that if you remain vigilant, these are all things that you can handle before they destroy your career.

Here are 6 mistakes that you should beware of if you want to grow in your career:


1) Being Complacent to Change

Do you think you’ve seen it all? I doubt.

The bottleneck that leads one’s career to a stagnation point is complacency to change. People often misinterpret falling into the same monotonous routine as having a sorted professional life. This mistake can kill your career brutally. 

Change is the only constant in a working environment. If you have become so accustomed to your job that the mere idea of a change frightens you, you are experiencing Career Complacency. Remember that while job satisfaction is beneficial to some extent, it might derail your career and prevent you from pursuing more chances.

What should you do then? Start by recognizing your obstacles. Are you uncomfortable working with a larger group? Are you hesitant to engage in non-process-driven endeavors? You will discover the answer through careful reflection.


2) Losing Sight of the Bigger Picture

Do you focus so intently on minute particulars that you lose sight of the big picture?

It’s easy to let the distractions of life get in the way of your progress toward your goals. If you feel like your life is becoming routine and you’re always racing to get there, it’s time to slow down and look at the broader picture.

Let’s imagine you’re contemplating a complete shift in your professional focus, but right before you start looking for a job in a completely new industry, a promising new opening presents itself in your existing field. However, if you have determined that you no longer wish to work in your current sector, you should be firm in your resolve and make the appropriate changes. Keeping your sights set on the prize ahead will serve you well at this juncture.


3) Being uni-dimensional

Having dedication and enthusiasm for your profession is great, but making it your life’s story is something else entirely. Which camp do you represent?

The clock strikes five o’clock, but the workday doesn’t end there. There are many of little things that might add up to make you into a one-dimensional person, including checking your email when you should be relaxing, wanting to take on all the work, or talking about work all the time (even when you’re with your friends).

Are you becoming overly dogmatic in pursuit of your ideals? To begin, ask yourself:

  • How can you improve your work ethic in the coming weeks?
  • Can you identify any thoughts or feelings that might be at the root of this behaviour?
  • How can you better incorporate your individual aspirations into your regular activities? How do you make sure they align with your career objectives?

Make the most of this challenge by pursuing both your career and personal goals in tandem.


4) Not knowing that you’re always in a people’s business

Every position is a managerial position, and this holds true across all businesses and professions.

But what happens after attaining the “executive” title? Is this the conclusion? What is subsequent?

It appears that the first major error leaders, particularly new leaders, make is forgetting about the people. Most leaders talk a good game when it comes to their people, but only a select handful actually provide an authentic experience for their people.

This occurs when leaders are self-absorbed and fall into the “me first” leadership trap. To avoid this, you must first determine your particular mission. The capacity to generate accountability around your goal can prevent you from falling into the “me first” leadership trap after your purpose is determined. This is a mistake that can kill your career if not taken care of.


5) Not evaluating your heaven and hell

Everyone has their own personal and professional heaven and hell.

What does this imply? The highs and milestones you’ve achieved at work can be compared to the time you had to figure out how to escape a severe catastrophe.

Consider your normal responses – how did you overcome your crises and make the most of your successes? What worked and what did not work for you? Look for patterns. Consider what you may modify to become more resilient and prepare yourself for future life crises.

It is essential to evaluate such experiences in order to determine the qualities necessary to develop the best version of oneself. Let go of all obstacles preventing your personal or professional development.


6) Not prioritising according to your professional and personal goals

I understand that you have a lot on your plate, but does that justification allows you to neglect your personal and professional objectives?

It’s hard to find space for learning around a daily commute, our everyday work, and, of course, precious time with friends and family. But, when you ignore your personal and professional development, you risk getting left behind.

At various times of your life, your priorities may vary, but you should always make decisions that are consistent with your long-term professional and personal objectives.

Keep in mind that even if you make these errors unintentionally now (which is very likely, believe me), doing so could cost you your job in 5–10 years.

However, that does not make it inevitable. Zoom out and begin concentrating on how you may address these issues in the context of a bigger picture. A personalized business plan is the best course of action once your goal, vision, and priorities have been established.


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