Typical Career Mistakes to avoid or to learn from

Our careers fill about 30-35 years of our working life. That is a huge time frame to make big money. Just like every area of our life including personal finance requires planning, so does our career. There has to be a strategy, a vision which can provide the right direction to our professional life. While it is important to take the right steps for a successful career, it is equally important to not make mistakes. We all make a few typical mistakes in our profession. From some mistakes, we can learn so that we do not repeat them in the future. And there are some which we do not notice/realise and can prove costly in the long run affecting our income earning opportunities. Here are a few career mistakes to avoid:

  • Frequent job-hopping: Initially, at the start of a career, it is likely that you will change jobs since you might be figuring out the kind of opportunity and role you want to settle in. But after a certain point of time, if job hopping continues, it will not look good on your CV. If you are thinking the grass looks greener on the other side and always hunting for opportunities every year or a two for a better high paying job, you will lose credibility. So, your change in job has to be strategic and for the right reasons. At some juncture, it is preferable to have some stability in professional life. The longer you stick to an organisation, the better are the opportunities to climb the corporate ladder and the payoffs are huge.
  • Do not lie on your resume: Embellishing your resume a bit like overstating on your qualification, previous job title, skill sets, etc., can land you in trouble. Companies, especially big ones, do a complete background verification check of potential candidates before hiring them. Even if you do not get caught in the beginning but the employer gets suspicious later due to any discrepancy in your performance, he can pop-up a background check and later show you the door even months or years after hiring you. Stretching the truth on your resume is as good as lying. And, it can do permanent damage to your career, your income earning capacity. You might then have to compromise on a job which you may not prefer or settle for lower pay.
  • Becoming complacent: It is good to get settled in a job but not to the extent that you become complacent in your work. It is dangerous to think that your work is indispensable. You may also lose the big picture and take a micro-view of only your work while not accepting new ideas. There is no such job in the world which is indispensable and there will be people who can do your job better than you. So, it is important to stay at the top of the game. With dynamic changes in technology every day, you cannot afford your skills to become out of date. Acquire additional skills for your professional development. By investing in yourself, you will not only make a valuable contribution to your organisation but also enhance your income earning ability.
  • Not taking risks/challenges: There will be occasions when you will have opportunities coming your way which could radically change your career. It could be a new project or transfer to a new location or a start-up prospect with a friend/colleague which can be a game changer in the long run. What may stop you to recognise or grab such opportunities is the attitude to stay in the comfort zone. This could be partially due to your personal situation also. There are always risks and challenges presented but if you tread the safer path and do not try any thing new out of the box, your career is unlikely to move forward or gain a new dimension. Trust your instincts and take calculated risks to make important career decisions.
  • Maintaining the work-life balance: If your work-life balance goes for a toss, it is likely that you carry the office baggage home and personal baggage to office. Not just your health, but your personal finances are also likely to be affected as you do not get sufficient time to manage them. While work is important, devoting sufficient time to your personal life and aspirations is equally important. This means not just spending time with family but also having adequate me-time where you can pursue your hobbies or activities for self-development. Maintaining an equilibrium between work and life will not enable you to be truly happy, healthy and maximise your full career potential.
  • Not having a professional network: In present times, the importance of networking cannot be undermined. Not being part of a network could mean like being a frog in the well. Networking helps to know about the current trends and build up knowledge. Being in the right circle can also present career opportunities. A professional network can thus help to further your career in the long run. There are many professional networking sites online which can help in your profession. Further, you can also attend professional conferences, seminars, etc relevant to your industry to gradually build up your network.

Your career is connected to your personal and financial life. Ensure that you maximise your career potential by avoiding or recognising the mistakes early on and work on them.



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