I have always believed the most fundamental career management principle is that as an individual you own your career. Your employer owns the job that you do and whilst you should both be congruent on its responsibilities and outcomes when you start, this will change over time. Consequently to retain your employability you must take responsibility for making the right decisions about your career. This excellent post from Brad Eisenhuth, Co-Founder at The Outperformer looks at 13 decisions that could be hurting your career.

13 Decisions Hurting Your Career

When you consider your career, the things that you think hurt your career typically only create short term pain. That is, you might have made a mistake in your job or upset someone while getting things done. These issues will eventually go away, especially once you have addressed what went wrong in the first place.

However, these are “job” based mistakes. The decisions we make when it comes to a career are different. They have longer term impact, and often don’t hurt us now but are really noticed when we are trying to make key decisions like finding a promotion, moving companies or pivoting our career direction. They compound any pressures we have in our current job, and make it harder to transition or progress to the goals we have.

Here is a list of decisions that really hurt your career;

  1. No direction

While we all know career development is not linear, there is a great deal of value in knowing where you are going and why. Not having a compass on your career can lead to frustration when you find yourself doing something you really don’t enjoy, or when trying to articulate and convince someone of your ambition.

  1. Not learning about yourself

A lack of self-awareness and appreciation of your values is risky when it comes to your career. It often leads to making decisions about jobs based on someone else’s rules, like the job that is paying the most, or the job that has the best title. Knowing who you are leads to better decision making and much better engagement with your colleagues and network. It also helps you avoid making career decisions based on what other people “think” you want.

  1. Confusing hard work with performance

Often a huge mental hurdle. Learning that time is no longer the measurement of performance can be difficult for many. Unfortunately “effort” is typically not a KPI, and while admired and certainly valued, it not a guarantee to promotion and reaching your goals.

  1. No mentors

Deciding to go your career alone without support, and more importantly, perspective can be dangerous. It’s like running through a maze without a map. Learning and bouncing your ideas off others with experience can help you navigate your career much more effectively.

  1. No stretch or value creation

It is concerning when people have career goals but wait for their boss to hand them something new to do. Making the decision to be curious about ways to fix, improve, help, and increase your exposure and skills will move you much close to your career goals than the alternative of waiting for someone to hand it to you.

  1. Limited professional network

It is the power of other people that creates opportunity in your career. Most people say they are too busy to invest into their network, and often leave it until they work out that they are in a position where they need something (like a new job). This becomes risky as your career extends.

  1. Not pitching your ideas well

Unfortunately this becomes a hurdle and can create a great deal of frustration, especially when other people are not getting on board or helping you out. Learning to influence others and formulate a way of conveying is important. It is important to invest time into this skill if your career is important.

  1. Not learning about your business

It is common to see professionals forget to get out of their chair and see how their business is really operating. It is in this that you understand the challenges and real needs of the business. Iscolating yourself to your function can result in a loss of credibility and makes it hard to influence. Equally, understanding the strategic goals of your business will help you find ways to create value. Read More.. 

Source: Paul Lyons

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