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Are you crippling your career without even realising it?

Posted on 27 June 2021

Are you crippling your career without even realising it?

8-miniute read

 

You may be a wide eyes young professional looking to break into your chosen industry, or a hardened seasoned expert with years of experience, regardless of who you are, something we can all agree is that mistakes happen.

 

Career mistakes often fall into two categories: ‘knowing’ and ‘unknown’.

 

The knowing mistakes are ‘actions that you knowingly participate in that could have a detrimental consequence on your career’.

 

We personally categories actions such as: gossiping; blaming others for your mistakes willingly; arriving to work late repeatedly etc. as knowing mistakes. They are actions that you know are wrong, but you may still act on them for any number of reasons from peer pressure through to fear.

 

Knowing mistakes, despite having the opportunity to severely hold you back throughout your career is not the subject of this article. What we want to share with you are the ‘unknown mistakes’, the mistakes that cause you harm without you realising, the mistakes that silently impact everyone in an organisation, including the highest performers out there.

 

Unknown mistakes are ‘actions that you unknowingly participate in that can cripple your career without you realising.

 

We will cover three unknown mistakes that we have seen, some that impacted us directly and others that have impacted the community we support but all have the capabilities to derail even the most well thought through career.

 

Lacking a detailed Career Road Map

A Career Road Map is a map that is designed to take you through a series of steps to help land you your ‘ideal career role’. The final position you want to be doing, be it a CTO, Design Director or Senior Full-Stack Developer, the choice is yours.

 

When implemented correctly it will help you analyse a variety of aspects at each ‘change’ in your career that will help you make the right choice, moving you closer to your ideal. We cover Creating Your Own Road Map in greater detail in our accompanying article, but for the sake of this being an unknown mistake in your career, put simply many of us have a very vague idea of where we want to go, but what we lack is finite detail as to how we can make that become a reality.

Career paths are not linier, they move up, down and sideward. Knowing the end goal and creating a detailed road map as to how you can achieve this, will drastically help you make the right career move for you, at the right time.

 

Does a prospected position bring an advancement in the direction you want to go? If you don’t have a career road map, how will you know? You might spend your career following something that you thought was right (money for example), but in reality, takes you further from your ideal.

 

 

Not developing Soft Skills

The World Economic Forum released their ‘Future of Jobs Report 2022’ that highlights the ‘growing, trending and declining’ skills within the modern workforce. Within this report, they outline top skills and skill groups that employers see as rising importance for the future. What is interesting about this report is that the rising skills by and large are ‘soft-skills’, skills such as: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Self-Management (active learning, stress tolerance etc.).

 

Not purposely focusing on improving soft skills could have a strong negative impact on your career long term. What’s worse is that you are unlikely to know where you can improve on soft skills during an interview process, due to organisations generally shielding this type or negative feedback as they are usually not trained on how to deliver it.

 

We recommend working with an ‘Accountability Partner’ (be it a friend, colleague, your manager or a recruiter) who you trust will give you honest radical feedback on your skills. Someone who has your best interest at heart, that is willing to tell you what you need to improve on, despite it being a tough to say at times. With an accountability partner, you can actively develop soft skills whilst improving hard skills, making you less susceptible to this unknown mistake.

 

 

Job Hopping

It is likely that you have heard of the term ‘job hopping’ but for those that have not, it refers to someone who ‘hops’ from one ‘job’ to another on a frequent basis. Don’t confuse this with what a freelancer does, here we are referencing movement for permanent / fulltime employees.

 

Moving from one job to another frequently (twelve months or less in our opinion) can seriously harm your career without you knowing. Every move you make will be driven by a reason, some of those reasons may have derived from you or from your previous employer but they came from somewhere.

 

A few quick movements can be explained, it is not uncommon for start-ups to fail or team fit not match, but when it is consistent throughout your career, this is where questions may rise. Questions can range from your reliability for long term employment or your ability to work within a certain environment to the skills you portray you have.

 

We certainly are not advocating you stay in a position that is causing you mental and/or physical harm just to keep consistency in your career, what we suggest is going back to point one and really develop a detailed Career Road Map. With a clear map, you will mitigate the chances of job hopping in the future and with that, the unknown mistake you might be making with it.

 

 

Often, we are blind to the unknown mistakes until someone sheds light on them. When we start out our careers, we have all the best intentions but as time goes on and life happens, we sometimes fall victim to short falls and poor decisions. Having a clear road map, developing your soft skills and keeping consistency throughout your career will help make your more employable long term, allowing you to beat the competition for that position that moves you closer to your ‘ideal’.

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