There are so many things that can kill the careers of good, hard-working people. Honest mistakes often carry hard-hitting consequences. Most people kill their careers in subtle, decidedly undramatic ways.
A recent survey found that 83% of people had seen someone make a blunder that had catastrophic results for their career, reputation, or business, and 69% admitted that they themselves had done something that had damaged their careers.
We all make mistakes at work. Most of the time, we are able to bounce back and move on, but in some cases it can cost us our jobs. Here are few mistakes that can ruin your career.
1. Playing politics: Working hard to build strong work relationships is very different from instigating conflict, choosing sides, undermining colleagues, spreading rumors, and all of the other things that fall under the umbrella of “playing politics.” Again, it comes down to authenticity. If you find yourself sneaking around or if you’re embarrassed if some of your behind-the-scenes manipulations come to light, that’s politics.
2. Consistently swiping in late While most of us make lame excuses sometimes, citing reasons every day to be late can be really disastrous. If you drop in late consistently and have stopped caring about what other people say, you are ruining your career. Even if you are talented or very productive, it is important to spend the required number of hours in the office, unless your work profile is a flexible one.
3. Over-promising and under-delivering. It’s tempting to promise the moon to your colleagues and your clients, especially when you’re honest and hardworking and believe that you can do it. The problem is that there’s no point in creating additional pressure that can make you look bad. If you promise to do something ridiculously fast and you miss the deadline by a little bit, you’ll likely think that you did a good job because you still delivered quickly. Don’t deliberately undershoot your goals; just be realistic about the results you can deliver so that you’re certain to create expectations that you will blow out of the water.
4. Fear of change. Fear of change is complacency’s evil twin. It actively works to keep things the same. In one survey, 91% of respondents said that the most successful employees are the ones who can adapt to the changing workplace. Change is a constant part of our lives, both personally and professionally. It doesn’t matter whether you think things should change or whether you prefer the old ways—change just is. You don’t have to learn to love it, but you do have to learn to stop resisting it and to start adapting to it.
5. Having an inflatable ego. Success is great. It definitely boosts your career, and it feels really, really good. The problems start once you let it go to your head. You start thinking that success is going to last forever and that you’re entitled to it. Never, ever be content with resting on your laurels. Once you start thinking that you’re the cat’s meow, you’re setting yourself up for very painful failure. Bringing It All Together A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they can only damage their careers by making one huge misstep, but the reality is that it’s usually not that dramatic.
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