7 Career Mistakes to Avoid

You need to have a strategy to manage your career so that you become successful. There are many people as skilled as you or as educated as you and as hardworking as you if not more. So it is important to take the right steps to have a successful career and it is equally important to not make typical career mistakes.

I am not an expert on this topic but giving you food for thought & an opportunity in the comment section to discuss.

ReadYou are your most Valuable ASSET

Career Mistakes to Avoid

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7 career mistakes that you should avoid

1) I am going to do only so much

Sure, your job has a description and there is a set of tasks that you have to do or are responsible for. But if you cannot accept work outside the boundaries of your profile or complain when you have to do extra work, superiors and peers will stop giving you tasks beyond the routine ones. You may miss out on opportunities and will be seen as someone who does not want to work hard. If you only do the minimum that is required from you, you are making a mistake. You have to take up jobs and tasks depending on where you want to be 2 years down the line so that your career is set in the right path.

I am also giving you a totally different view point from what I have mentioned in last few lines – if you will say YES to everything, you may not be able to finish the task which was part of your job profile or people will start taking you for granted.  🙂

ReadImpact of Career Instability on Financial Planning

2) Losing Sight of your career

Sometimes we get so engrossed in our daily job, we lose track of our career. We might be doing tasks for a long time which may not help our career in the long run. In some cases, we shift jobs or take assignments based on salary or location but these might be lucrative now but not in the long run. When we take up projects in our job, we should assess how they will help our career. You can check by asking these questions –

  •        Will it give me a chance to get a promotion next year?
  •        Will it help me to learn skills that I need to get to the higher designation?
  •        Will the opportunity enable me to learn new things or be a stepping stone for my growth?

Read – Midlife Crises & its financial impact

3) I know everything

You might be highly qualified and a smart person. But in the workplace you are a cog in the wheel and you should constantly update yourself, your skills and improve your resume with different types of tasks and responsibilities so that you are one step ahead. You should be prepared professionally and personally to get to a higher rung in the career ladder. If you are unprepared and you get a promotion, you will not do well and this can hurt your career.

4) The company cannot do without me

If you are under the impression that you are the only one who can do your job and the company or project will not be able to deliver without you, you are kidding yourself. The company or project might be under stress if you are not there but you are not irreplaceable. So you have to be professional. You have to be punctual, be a team player and work efficiently.

5) You are unhappy with your job

We all have some complaints with our job. Sometimes there are conditions such that we hate our job. But if you feel miserable going to work everyday and do not look forward to even going to your workplace, you need to take some steps to change this. There could be many issues like the work is boring or your boss makes life extremely tough for you etc. You can speak to your immediate superiors or the higher ranked people or the HR team to get a different project or role or even work in a different branch to make things better. If that does not help, you should change your job or take a break. If you do not enjoy your line of work, you should re skill yourself and try out something different. If you are not happy, you are not going to give your best and this will ultimately affect your salary, promotions and career.

ReadMoney Vs Job Satisfaction

6) Not maintaining professional relationships

Are you someone who thinks you are there just to do your job? Do you think there is no point in maintaining professional relationships? Do you ignore invitations to attend company events or profession based events? It is not the correct line of thought in today’s workplace dynamics. You have to build a professional network. It helps to be in contact with professionals in your area of work. It helps to know current trends and events and build knowledge. Your professional network should consist of people within your current organization and outside of it. You will be known in the right circle which will definitely help you professionally. We need to have a connect with some people at least so that we can get some direction, guidance and honest feedback. Even when you leave a job, leave it on cordial terms. It will not help if you remain isolated.

Must Read – What information to disclose & hide at office

7) Avoiding risks and challenges

If you only do the tasks given to you or avoid taking on new tasks, assignments or roles, you are not doing your career any favour. If you defer decisions to your boss or peers and always take the safe path and do not try out anything new or out of the box, you will not be rated ahead of your peers.  You might have heard the phrase, ‘no risk no reward’. It is applicable in your career path too.

Your career is an important aspect of your life. It affects your personal life and financial life. It is important that you do the right things professionally and avoid making the above mentioned mistakes so that  your career is on the right track. Must share your views, experiences or concerns in the comment section. 


  1. Great thoughts Hemant….Very true…Just wanted to add:
    There is another belief which is gearing up that being smart is just being political and rest will fall in place to ensure your success. It’s actually other way around: if you are too political may be you are not smart enough and very insecure about your skills. People around you including your boss will quickly notice it…and there will be lack of trust and respect for you. You may not get the next best opportunity of handling the challenging assignments and that’s it for you! So the core mantras of Integrity, Honesty and hardwork always pays at the end of the day…Just need to connect the dots!

  2. One more…

    Even if you dislike your current job strongly, do not leave it in hurry before getting a new one !

  3. Hey Hemant, good article. I have a little different opinion on point two i.e. measuring your career growth by the promotion or higher designations. After closely witnessing the way people assess their career progression in different geographies, I am convinced that becoming CEO of a company is not and should not be the aim for everyone. After all it’s about what you like to do as a job and if that’s giving you enough opportunities for personal and professional growth to support your financial needs. I know that especially in the Indian market your designation is an indicator of success but on the flip side, it’s leading to this constant want for instant gratification in the young professionals which is not healthy. I would say that there is no harm in settling down at a certain level in the organizational hierarchy at some time in your career and focus on the breadth of exposure, depth of subject matter expertise that you can gain rather than continuously aspiring for higher level.

  4. Interesting article, Hemant. Let me add my 2 bits — I feel, what we sorely need in today’s world are “Career Coaches” –who will interact with the aspirant and guide her/im — typically, such Career Coaches should interact with the aspirants at (or maybe even before) the significant decision gates/lifestages , such as, 12th exams, after degree, mid-career review etc –this will help the aspirant to choose a calling suitable to her/is aptitude resulting in work satisfaction– today there are several options other than medicine/CA/engineering which pay as much or even better. Of course, I do realise that this is a mindset which will need to change gradually–Unfortunately, the problem is compounded by the lack of genuine “career coaches”–so parents, friends/relations and peers decide on which course/career is best for the aspirant.

  5. Mental health issues are some times disguised as Career Mistakes for the people. For example, Hypo manic Bipolars most of times prone to commit mistakes 2 to 6, where as mistakes # 1 and 7 is generally not a part of them when they are in action..

Comments are closed.