No matter what type of career you embark upon, there are going to be traps that you can fall into both personally and professionally. Therefore, it is especially important that you avoid these big career mistakes to make sure that you keep moving forward and enjoy the professional success that you are looking for. However, if you read through this list and identify that you have already made some of these mistakes, don’t worry about it too much. As long as you learn from your errors and pledge not to do the same thing again, you can still get back on track.
Not Making Your Own Decisions
To be successful in a career, it needs to be one that you are genuinely passionate about and not a path that someone else has laid out for you. When we are young, it is often our parents who push us down the wrong path and try to live out their dreams through us, or try to make us take a ‘safe’ career option that we might not have any interest in. However, even as you get older, you can find that people try to push you in a specific direction. Ultimately, the decisions that you make regarding your own career should be made by you and nobody else.
Failing to Push Yourself
While it is tempting to become comfortable in a job and not push yourself to the next level, if you have gotten everything out of it that you can, it is time to move onto the next level. Alternatively, you may want to push for that promotion in your current company that you have been too afraid to go for. Stepping outside your comfort zone is one of the best ways of really finding out what you are made of. Even if you are happy in your current job and want to remain in it, there are still ways that you can push yourself. For example, you could try taking on some extra responsibility by training a new starter or embarking on a course that will teach you some new skills. If you push yourself, you also help to make yourself indispensable to the company, which provides a great sense of career security and comfort.
Not Striking a Good Work/Life Balance
Of course, your career is important to you, but you also need to strive for a sense of balance in the other areas of your life. This is one of the best ways of achieving the ultimate life satisfaction you are looking for. Friends, family, mental and physical health are all crucial components of your life that deserve your time and energy. Look after them well, and they are likely to have a positive effect on your career anyway. 2020 has seen a lot more people think about their own work/life balance and whether there are any ways that they can strike a better equilibrium within their own lives.
Thinking That You Are Stuck in Your Current Career
Many people think that once they have embarked upon a particular path in their life, there is no way that they can make a U-turn and advance in another direction. However, if you are unhappy, you shouldn’t feel trapped. It would be best if you did what you can towards moving into another area. The modern age is one in which people no longer feel like they are in jobs for life. Instead, they have multiple options out there, and people are more likely to embark on different career paths. You shouldn’t let age become a barrier in stopping you from doing something you are passionate about.
Sometimes, the people that you meet in your different job roles can be invaluable in opening up other doors for you further down the line. If you fail to network, you are also closing off doors that could otherwise have led you in directions that you would never have imagined before. Thanks to the onset of social media and networking websites, it is easier than ever to keep in touch with people and make new contacts that you would have never met in real life. Ultimately, there are no excuses not to network now that you can do it from the comfort of your own home!
Even if you are not happy in your current job role, this is still not a reason to act unprofessionally. First of all, you may need your current employer as a reference further down the line, so it doesn’t make sense to burn these bridges. This unprofessional behavior could also end up coming back to haunt you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. If you work in a fairly narrow career path, you may find that your colleagues are the same in different organizations, and they remember your behavior from the past, and this causes you problems in the future.
Not Asking for What You Want
Whether it is a raise or a promotion, you cannot expect to be simply handed these things on a silver platter. Instead, you need to be the one who goes out and actively asks for them. Even if you don’t get them straight away, you are stilling throwing your hat in the ring and demonstrating that you want to move forward in your job role. Asking for what you want is also essential when you take on a managerial role. You need to be the one who is proactive in telling your employees what you expect of them. Effective delegating can end up making all the difference in the long run.
Failing to Commit to Lifelong Learning
You will never get to the stage in life in which you know it all. So, this is why lifelong learning is so important. You can learn by taking courses from within the job itself, but you can also take it upon yourself to improve your knowledge and skills in a host of different areas. If you are looking to further your engineering career, click here. The learning that you do doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related to your current job role, but you never know when it could come in handy in the future. For example, you may decide to brush up on your language skills, which will prove invaluable if your company starts working in a country related to that language. Alternatively, you may even get the opportunity to move to that country one day in the future!
Not Seeking Out a Mentor
When you are in a job, there will always be someone senior to you who can act as a mentor. This person can help to guide you through obstacles in your professional development as they may well have made similar mistakes in the past and can help prevent you from making them in the future. The rewards from a mentor/mentee relationship go two-ways, so don’t be afraid to ask that work colleague or manager for more support when developing to the next stage of your career. When you reach a sufficiently senior position, you can then be the one who passes on your skills and knowledge further down the chain.
Not Expressing Your Feelings
There are good and bad ways of expressing your feelings, so you need to make sure that you are very much in the former camp rather than the latter. While you don’t want to stay silent when you are upset, you still should express yourself calmly and reasonably. If you have a problem with a specific person at the organization, go to them directly in a private environment rather than venting your feelings in front of the whole office. In certain situations, someone further up the organization may need to handle conflict resolution, but this should be treated as a last resort. Staying silent can end up being worse as it ends up with simmering resentment that can overspill in other ways.
Staying Unhappy at Work
While there are bound to be days when everyone is a bit dissatisfied with their job role, the main problem lies if you allow this sense of unease turns into unhappiness that goes on for weeks, months, or even years. If you are unhappy in your job role, it is better to act sooner rather than later. It could be that you ask to be transferred to a new department or work on a different project. You may want to leave the job entirely to regain your sense of enjoyment in your professional career in more extreme situations.
While there are plenty of different mistakes you can make in your career, these are just a few of the general themes that run throughout different job roles. Of course, you may have already made some of these, and you may make them again in the future. However, just having them on your radar can end up helping you to sidestep potential pitfalls and keep moving forwards in a positive direction.