10 career mistakes you will regret later
Regrets, I’ve had a few. I’m sure you have too. But it’s always best to keep them to a minimum.
Here are ten career mistakes you will regret in future. Be careful.
Burning bridges: There are many ways to burn a bridge – storming out in a huff and leaving your coworkers to cover your work, telling the boss what you think of him in front of everyone, posting confidential company information online, insulting people on social media – whatever it is, it damages your relationship with the organization. But it is so important to be polite and gracious, no matter how difficult it may be at the time, and never to leave anyone else to clean up your mess. You never know when you’ll come face to face with the same people again.
Not showing up: True story: When I was a baby, my mother was hiring a nanny. She had set up several interviews but that day there was a snowstorm and almost everyone either cancelled or simply didn’t show. The one woman who did show up was hired on the spot. She only worked for us for a few years before going on to other things but she remained a part of our family until the day she died and her daughter is my parents’ godchild. Show up. Keep your appointments and accept invitations. Just be there. You never know what you might miss.
Not networking at company events: This is particularly important in large organizations. When it comes time to let people go, employers might be less likely to part with the person they know and like than the one they’ve never met. Similarly, when considering who to promote, they’re less likely to choose the person of whom they’re only vaguely aware. Also, your coworkers are your allies. Make friends with them.
Not keeping in touch: You suddenly find yourself out of work after ten years of steady employment. What to do? Update the resume, revamp that cover letter, reach out to potential employers, and use your contact list to see who can connect you. But, what’s that? You haven’t actually stayed in contact with your former employers and colleagues, the people who might be able to help you out? Well, that’s a problem. People don’t take kindly to folks coming out of the woodwork after a decade of no contact and asking for favours. Social media makes staying in contact easy. Use it.
Sending an angry email: Conventional wisdom says that if you want to send an angry letter, write it and wait 24 hours. If you still want to hit send, then go ahead. I say never send it. Even if you’re 100% right and the missive’s intended recipient really needs to read what you have to say, wait until you cool off and then write a balanced and polite message explaining your point of view in a well thought out and rational manner. Not only will an angry letter make you look volatile and stupid, it can be kept as evidence. Forever.
Getting drunk at the office party: I love this guy’s story about almost ruining his career by getting drunk at the office party and singing a very inappropriate karaoke song. It’s tempting to get loaded at the office party. You’re surrounded by people with whom you might not normally socialize, they’re in cliques, you’re bored and a little nervous. All of these ills are made better with a few beers or glasses of wine, and a few shots, and maybe a few more shots and some more beer and wine from the open bar. So much better that you forget all about your inhibitions, and decorum in general, until the next day when nobody will talk to you at work and you have no idea why.
Staying in a role for too long: It’s not always easy to know when you’ve been in a role for too long and when it’s time to walk if you’re not getting promoted. Fortunately, we have an article about that. If you stay in one place too long and are continually overlooked for promotion, you risk missing out on better opportunities and your career can suffer as others move past you, leaving you behind.
Not speaking up in meetings: You might be shy or not feel that your input is valuable. But it probably is valuable and if you don’t speak up, people won’t know what you have to contribute and you might wind up being overlooked and underappreciated, which can result in being skipped over for promotions and a stagnating career.
Making emotional decisions: Like the advice to wait 24 hours before sending an email, so should you wait before making any decisions. Never make a career decision when you are upset or angry. Take the time to cool off, assess the situation rationally, and take stock of the options that are open to you and the potential consequences. Can you afford to leave a position in anger? How will telling off your immediate superior affect you ten years in the future?
Gossiping: You’re talking with a coworker and you find yourself in a conversation about another coworker, maybe talking about what an idiot that person is. STOP. Don’t do this. Everything you say has the potential to get back to the person you’re talking about. Never assume you can trust someone who would talk trash about another person. That’s not to say everyone who talks negatively about others is untrustworthy. Some people are jerks and talking about them lets off steam. But you’re still safer to keep your mouth shut, because you never know. And you don’t want someone who knows you’ve been gossiping about them to be in a position to make or break your career.
Be careful out there. And think twice before you do something you’ll regret.