10 things you do that you think are helping your career but are actually hurting it
You might be surprised to learn that some of the things you do that you think will help your career are actually holding you back.
Here are 10 behaviours you should be mindful of and that are probably have the opposite effect of what you intended.
Constantly asking for feedback: I hear this is a millennial thing, the need for constant praise and reassurance. Or maybe you just want to make sure you’re doing a good job. But work often works on the “no news is good news” model. If you don’t hear anything you’re doing fine.
Always asking for direction: Yes, you want to please and make sure you’re doing what is expected of you but companies thrive when employees have enough autonomy to take care of themselves. That’s why so many job descriptions ask for “self-starters” and almost never ask for needy babies who don’t know what to do with themselves. Your boss has better things to do than hold your hand.
Being too autonomous: On the other hand, don’t be so eager to showcase your “ability to work independently” that you bypass the proper decision makers and alienate your superiors.
Being too eager: Enthusiasm is one of the most valuable traits in an employee, but make sure you don’t drive people nuts with your questions and attempts to overhaul the system in an attempt to showcase your value, as described in this SFGate blog about dealing with an over-eager employee whose unwelcome system redesigns and offers to take over other people’s tasks rubbed people the wrong way.
Friending all your coworkers online: It’s OK to be Facebook friends with your boss and coworkers. I think the idea that you can’t is dumb and childish. BUT – and this is a big but (that’s why it’s in caps) – don’t forget you’re friends with these people and post anything that might jeopardize your position or working relationships.
Being laser focused on work: It’s great that you work hard and get results but make sure that’s not all you do. If you’re coworkers are going out for lunch or drinks, you might consider joining them from time to time. At the very least, you must show up for team functions. If the right people know and like you, you’re better armored against layoffs, and better positioned when promotions become available. (Note to self: you should take your own advice.)
Being too social: On the other hand, don’t talk people’s ears off and try to force friendships. You don’t want to seem desperate or be annoying.
Being too familiar: Sure you’re buddies with your boss, but you still have to remember that your boss is your superior and not overstep yourself. This can be especially tricky if your boss treats you like an equal and a peer. Starting emails with “Hey, buddy,” for example, might feel natural but sets a tone you might later regret. Worse, getting smashed and oversharing the details of your steamy affair can come back to bite you. Be friends but remember what the original relationship is.
Micromanaging: A common problem with new managers trying to validate a new position. They get promoted and all of a sudden they have to comment on everything, correct imaginary mistakes, and generally become a nuisance to people who were doing their jobs perfectly well before the promotion happened. Let people do what they do or you will quickly become an irritant.
Being too “by the book:” Sometimes people are so bent on following the instructions they’ve been given that they forget to step back and look for new ideas and potential approaches to problems. True growth comes from finding new ways of thinking about things and doing things. Use your ingenuity and creativity.
What did we miss? Are there any things you think people do thinking they will help but that actually hinder?