Stop Making Stupid Mistakes that Ruin Your Career Development

 In Personal Finance

Career Development

Sure, Millennials are the future of the US economy, but that doesn’t give you free rein to do as you please in your career development or your pursuit of employment.

Yes, it’s your financial future, but if you continue to make stupid mistakes, you might find that your long-term prospects are bleak indeed.

There’s always room for a few exceptions to any rule, after all. Confused about why you haven’t been promoted yet? Let’s consider a few of the reasons that might be so.
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It’s About More Than the Amount of Time You Work Each Week

In the US, there’s an overwhelming sense that you need to constantly go the extra mile. You need to prove your value to your employer by being at their beck and call. You need to be there to be noticed.

There’s some sense in that, but it’s really the wrong tack to take for your career development. Interestingly, working 60 plus hours per week actually devalues what you do. It shifts the focus from quality to one of quantity.

You essentially become “yes man” or someone who’s willing to work twice as hard for half as much. That’s not a place you want to be.

You Don’t Speak Up

According to a new study by The Hartford, 69% of Millennials want to be in a leadership position within the next five years. However, if you’re not speaking up, you’re going to be overlooked.

This is perhaps the simplest hurdle to overcome, but first ,you need to realize that if you don’t actually mention your desire to move up, your employer will likely consider you content with your position.

You Make Yourself Invisible within the Team

Yes, the value and necessity of teamwork are both well established. Without a functioning team, goals won’t be met and progress won’t be made. However, there can be so much focus on “team”, that the “you” of the equation is lost.

If all the credit for everything goes to the team, then there’s no way for higher ups to notice that you’re worth their time to promote. They can’t promote the entire team, either, so they’ll turn their sights elsewhere and someone else will get that promotion, and you’ll stay stuck in the team.

While there does need to be a balance between “I’” and “we”, you also need to ensure that at least some of the credit goes where it’s due (to you).

You’re Not Asking Questions

“Curiosity killed the cat,” might be a great proverb for keeping yourself out of trouble, but it doesn’t do anything for your career development. Incurious workers, or those who seem to know it all are immediate put offs.

Guy Kawasaki even addresses this in his post on schmoozing. Be curious. Want to learn more. Ask questions. And, once you’ve asked a question, stop talking and actually learn something. Those who show curiosity and a willingness to learn and be engaged are considered engaging and memorable. Stand out from the incurious crowd.

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You’re Not Actually Leadership Material

We all like to think that we have the potential to be leaders in the workplace. Sadly, that’s not the case. Some people just don’t have the chops. That could be you. If that’s the case, then you’re being passed over for promotion for good reason – you’d be a poor choice for the role.

Thankfully, there are things that you can do to change this and improve your career development prospects. Take leadership classes. Keep learning. Learn the traits of actual leaders and then emulate them. Read, and read widely – don’t limit yourself to business thought leaders, either. Branch out.

The most successful leaders have a very broad base of knowledge on which they can draw.

You Don’t Actually Want to Move Up for Your Career Development

One key to advancing to a higher position within a company is an inherent desire to move up. However, if you’re not committed to career development, you’ll stay where you are.

If you’re stuck doing nothing but your job description, and then clocking out at the end of the day, bosses are going to focus on employees who are more interested in building the business up than you are.

While that might seem to run contrary to the first mistake mentioned (working too much), it actually doesn’t. You don’t need to work 80 hours per week to show that you’re a “go-getter”.

You just need to take initiative and stop doing nothing beyond the basics specified in your job description.

You Only Look for Feedback During Annual Reviews

We all go through them – those annual reviews on which our next raise is based. However, if these are the only times you’re getting feedback on your performance, chances are good that your boss doesn’t think you’re a good fit for advancement.

It’s crucial for your career development to get feedback regularly. If your boss or manager doesn’t offer it, then you need to seek it out. Don’t be afraid to ask what you can do better, or where you need to focus and build strength.

It’s your career. Grow it.

You Overdo Looking for Feedback

We mentioned that seeking regular feedback from your manager or supervisor is critical to your career development, but there’s such a thing as too much. If you constantly seek feedback, it looks more like you’re seeking validation or a pat on the back than actual constructive criticism to help you improve your work.

You’re “clingy”, and that doesn’t go over well at all. No one wants to promote someone with a deep-seated need for ongoing validation of their value to a position of leadership.

These are just a few of the mistakes that you might be making that are actually sabotaging your career development. Millennials are the future of the workforce, but that doesn’t mean that all of them will get a pass.

You need to ensure that you’re presenting the best case for you being the person promoted.
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Sergey Sanko
Sergey had started an IncomeClub after years of being an investment advisor for high affluent investors and managing fixed income securities. He is the lead investment advisor representative and holds a Series 65 license. Sergey earned his Executive MBA degree from Antwerp Management School.
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