Curious things that will kill your career, another article by Thomas Bradberry for LinkedIn.
There are many things that can kill the careers of good hard-working people. Honest mistakes often carry hard-hitting consequences. We usually only hear about the most egregious examples, as when Yelp employee Talia Jane wrote the internet post blasting her company’s low entry-level pay and blasted their CEO.
Most people don’t go out in a blaze of glory. Instead they kill their careers in more subtle, undramatic ways. But if you’re aware of these little things that can kill your career, you can control them and prevent the damage.
Over-promising and / or under-delivering. The moment you promise something (even though it might be a reach) they expect nothing less. Then when you finish something fast but later than you promised, you disappoint your internal or external customer. Perception matters more than reality, so be realistic in what you promise. Most times that will be more than good enough.
Complacency. Change in inevitable, especially in these days of ever expanding technology. If you’re too busy to learn something new or expand your network you have your priorities mixed up. However if you make continuous growth and development a priority, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way.
Fear of change. Complacency’s evil twin. The dreaded “but we’ve always done it this way.” Change is a constant part of life, and it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not. You don’t have to like it. You just have to learn to stop resisting it and start adapting to it.
Having an inflatable ego. Success is great – until it goes to your head. It won’t last forever. Don’t let it go to your head. That just sets yourself up for failure.
Losing sight of the big picture. It’s easy to keep your head down and work so hard you lose sight of the big picture. Smart people learn how to keep this in check by weighing daily priorities against goals. Life is all about the big picture. When you lose sight of it, everything suffers.
Negativity. Sometimes when you’re feeling down your mood can affect others, when that’s not your intent. You were hired to make your boss’s life and your team’s job easier, not harder. People who spread negativity and complain just complicates things for everyone else.
Low emotional intelligence (EQ). Bradberry’s wheelhouse. What trips up a lot of people is having a poorly developed poker face. If everyone can’t tell if you’re bored or irritated or you think what a college says is stupid, this will catch up to you (I’ve seen this happen). Emotional outbursts, belittling others, shutting co-workers down as they speak, low self-awareness, and just generally being difficult are things that will do great harm to your career (being a bad listener doesn’t seem to matter).
Sucking up to your boss. This has nothing to do with a real relationship based on respect. Instead it’s sneaky and underhanded. Suck-ups try to get ahead by stroking the boss’s ego instead of earning their favor. That doesn’t go over well with colleagues trying to make it on hard work and merit. For a boss-employee relationship to work it must be based on authenticity.
Playing politics. Working hard to build strong work relationships is quite different from instigating conflict, choosing sides, undermining colleagues, spreading rumors. Again, it comes down to authenticity. If you’re sneaking around or embarrassed of some of your behind the scenes manipulations come to light, that’s politics. Stick to strategies you’d be proud to discuss in front of your co-workers and bosses.