It should surprise no one that there’s no such thing as a totally stable job. Things are always changing, and even if you’ve been doing the same thing at the same place for years and years, things could change at any minute. That’s why it’s crucial to read posts like the one career expert Robin Madell has just written for U.S. News & World report.
It’s called “6 Career Mistakes Even Smart People Make,” and it’s brimming with expert advice on how not to shoot yourself in the foot, career-wise. Read on, find out what you might be doing wrong, and get back on track for long-term success.
1. Don’t Stop Networking — Just because you’re secure in your job and have worked for the same company for many years, it doesn’t mean you should stop forging relationships with others in your industry. After all, you might want or need to change jobs unexpectedly, and networking is a crucial part of finding and taking advantage of new opportunities.
2. Don’t Take Recognition for Granted — Sometimes, working hard isn’t enough. In a perfect world, being a talented and hard-working employee would guarantee recognition from the higher-ups, but according to Corrie Shanahan, owner of The Beara Group LLC, it’s common for excellent workers to lose opportunities to less talented colleagues who are better about telling managers about their accomplishments. It’s a problem especially common among women, Shanahan says, but it affects everyone.
3. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Worth — By not asking for raises and making sure you’re paid what you deserve, Madell writes, you can fall into a “vicious cycle of salary depression that carries over from employer to employer.” Studies show that women are less likely to ask for raises, but men also make the mistake.
4. Don’t Stay Invisible — This comes back to that thing about taking recognition for granted. There’s a tendency for many people to keep their heads down, work hard, and then go home at the end of the day. as Madell writes, the smarter play is to get involved with, say, company committees tasked with improving processes and generally doing things to boost your exposure.
5. Don’t Get Buddy-Buddy with the Boss — Even if you and your boss get along really well, and there’s not a huge age difference between you, oversharing details of your personal life is dangerous, Madell writes. If things start going poorly at work, your manager might blame performance issues on things he or she knows about your extracurricular pursuits, and that’s just one of the dangers. Keep it professional.
6. Don’t Be Too Negative — No matter where you work, there are going to be complainers who love to get together and spout off about XYZ. Don’t be one of these people. Sinking into negativity and being “overly harsh and aggressive” can be a “career destroyer,” says Dave Conrad, who works as an associate professor at the Augsburg MBA program in Rochester, Minnesota.