All of us commit different types of professional mistakes during our work and career path, which sometimes we realize quickly and make up for it, or we give up on that mistake, or we never realize our mistake at all, and when our professional life is destroyed, we only find out. We take it that a place of work is lame and we were not paying attention! These bad behaviours and awkward habits may have been built up over the years and you still don’t realize it’s wreaking havoc on your work life. Stay with us in this article to know these 10 job mistakes that will destroy your professional life and try to correct and improve them if you find them in yourself.
Ten worst career mistakes
1. You do not express your opinion
Whether it’s in meetings or when you pass a CEO in the hallway, you know you need to meet him, say something, and stop regretting the missed opportunities. Practice in low-risk situations—ask a question in your weekly team meeting instead of an important town hall meeting where everyone in the company is present. Introduce yourself to your peers in other parts of the company to clear your voice before reaching the CEO.
2. You don’t respect your boundaries
If a co-worker asks you for help while you’re working, or if your co-worker talks to you when you need to focus, just say no. Be polite but firm. Play the role of a friend who makes straightforward requests – we all know someone who does a great job in a difficult situation, and we can learn from them!
3. You are not punctual
Even if you are not late but feel like you have to rush, you are not punctual. Even if you complete a task by a deadline, but you haven’t left enough time for yourself to control your work, you haven’t done your work on time. Rechecking and correcting work should be part of the process. Set deadlines for projects ahead of time to review your work and apply new ideas. Time your appointments to the time you need to leave, not when the appointment starts, so you have a clear signal that it’s time to go.
4. You don’t get the job done
Review your work. Taking time for editing and new ideas to develop the work. Applying other people’s ideas when it makes sense to reach consensus. Check work with your boss (or whoever is sponsoring the project) to make sure your goals are aligned. These are examples of completing work. Identify where you may have fallen short in your work process to free up more time for upcoming projects.
5. You are not ready for negative reactions
Another part of the thorough work is preparation for common questions and very difficult questions that give negative energy. Know what the data source you are using is. You should be able to describe the basic calculations step by step, not just the final result. Be prepared to explain how you came to this conclusion. Think of alternative outcomes, as well as logical ideas, and be prepared to explain why you did not choose them. Practice being neutral and not defensive.
6. You do not negotiate
Negotiating is a form of negative reaction. All negotiations begin with a disagreement (if you agreed with the other party on all issues, there would be no need to negotiate!). If you’re someone who doesn’t like to disagree, you might as well skip the negotiation—that’s a professional mistake. Negotiation is not just about salary increases or bonuses or other financial negotiations. When you ask for more time on a project, you negotiate the deadline. When you want more team members for a project, you negotiate resources. When you ask your counterpart in another department to prepare a report just for you, you are negotiating information. If your default position is not to negotiate, you may face pressing deadlines, fewer resources, and limited access, making your job harder than usual. Just like giving feedback, practice in low-risk situations—ask for an extra hour or day on a project, even if you don’t think you need it. You can always deliver it early, but you’ll experience how you have to ask for more and the world won’t end!
7. You spend your best hours in vain
Most people perform best at the beginning of the day. By the end of the day, your energy is depleted, and you’re more likely to fall behind due to unexpected interruptions throughout the day. Are you protecting those precious early hours? Leave time on your calendar at regular intervals so you have time when you need to tackle creative, comparative, or more difficult tasks. Set aside this free time at the beginning of the day to complete your most sensitive tasks.
8. You do unnecessary and unimportant things
Of course, when you know what your most sensitive tasks are, they’re easier to accomplish. When was the last time you discussed your key goals and your role in the company with your boss? Business goals change every 3 months, or less likely, every year. Maybe your job has changed a lot since you started, and you’re still operating in automatic mode and focusing on the wrong things. One of my company’s clients went through a performance review process where the manager and the person being reviewed listed 3 key job goals for him – the 3 listed did not match at all! Don’t assume that everything on your to-do list has to remain. Do not assume that you are doing what your boss expects. Ask clearly what are the priorities of the business this year.
9. You don’t give yourself time to rest
When you stop doing things that don’t matter, you’ll find happiness. You can actually have lunch, take a day off, and have a real vacation. Taking time off increases your productivity. Lunchtime boosts your social relationships, as you can socialize with coworkers, meet people outside of your company, or even answer personal calls and emails to catch up on your life outside of work. Even if you don’t want to plan your vacations exactly at the beginning of the year, at least schedule it now for lunch and set an alarm every 3 months for when you want to request time off.
10. You don’t invest in yourself
Time off from work is an investment in re-energizing yourself. Socializing time is an investment in your professional standing. Other investments include: upskilling, updating your marketing (e.g. resume, online résumé), learning something new, and activities outside of work. As you work toward your company’s current priorities (see #8!), you should also establish your career’s current priorities. These priorities should not be the same as your current job priorities. Your job is only one part of your career. You need to invest in yourself and your career outside of your current job.