Unfortunately, at one time or another, everyone makes a career mistake. In fact, in many cases there is no way to avoid them. Career mistakes occur when there is dissonance between your expectations and the organisations. It’s a myth that successful people never make career blunders. As most CEO’s will tell you, it’s tough to get to the top without hitting some speed bumps along the way. Instead of letting blunders slow them down, high achievers analyse their setbacks and learn how to avoid them in the future.
FIVE COMMON CAREER MISTAKES
1 Feeling Indispensable: We’d all like to think that no one else can do the job as well as us, but no matter how skilled you are, no company wants to feel its fortunes ride on a single person. To advance your career, you need to identify and mentor your own successor. Locate them and take the time to teach them what you know. Your manager will likely be more willing to promote you if she feels you have a second in- command who can take your place.
2. Taking the Wrong Job: Accepting a position without considering your overall career path can delay your goals. Too often, people are so eager to get a “foot in the door” that they take any job available, particularly if they’ve been unemployed for some time. In the short term, you’ll have a pay slip, but it’s important to make your goals clear when you’re hired so you’re not pigeonholed into a certain area.
3 Staying in a Job You Dislike: You’ve likely been around people who are unhappy at work—they’re often negative and have few positive things to say about the company and the position. If you’re miserable where you are, it soon shows up in your attitude and your work. It’s better to find a new job you’ll enjoy than to potentially receive bad evaluations and few recommendations for future positions.
4 Resenting Your Boss: More than any other factor, how well you work with your manager impacts your ability to be effective in your job—and how much satisfaction you derive from it. What do you contribute to your relationship with your boss and what can you change? For example, if communication seems to be an issue, ask your boss how he prefers to interact. One manager may prefer e-mail updates and another, informal drop-ins. Some bosses prefer weekly project reports, and others only need one every other week. If your attempts to improve the relationship are unsuccessful and you still think the situation is intolerable, speak to a superior or your human resources department.
5 Displaying Irresponsible Behaviour: Dependability is a foundation of career success and your reputation in general. You may be the hardest worker in the company, but if other people believe that they can’t rely on you, your opportunities for advancement are limited. Punctuality and regular attendance are indicators of a responsible employee.
Putting It All Together
An occasional career setback is to be expected. At some point, everyone makes mistakes. If you can learn from the experience, you’re ahead of the game.
Tips to help you move on despite your career blunders are:
Evaluate the mistake: Acknowledge that a mistake has occurred.
Stay calm and realistically assess the damage.
Own the mistake: Accept responsibility for the error.
Handle the mistake: Implement a plan to correct the mistake,
and mitigate any repercussions.
Document the mistake: Record all of the details of the incident – how, when why and actions taken.
Learn from the mistake: Experience is a great teacher.
The mistakes you handle on your own will increase your knowledge, maturity and confidence.