6 mistakes that can hold back your career

Defining your career path and putting yourself on the roadmap of success is one of the most important aspects of your life. So when you find your colleagues and classmates from grad and post-grad growing leaps and bounds in their professional lives, but your own career growth remains stagnant, you wonder where you’re going wrong.

In several instances, there are external factors that are responsible for holding you back in your career. For example:

  • A bad boss
  • Office politics
  • Lack of opportunities
  • Lack of career guidance

However, if you’re determined, willing to improve, and eager to go the extra mile, the above factors can only hinder for you so long.

It’s a fact that most of the obstacles in your career are manmade. Some can be attributed to a lack of initiative and decision-making, confusion around the field you should follow (many can’t decide whether finance is good for them or marketing/HR), and some to just sheer laziness. Depending on the actions you take – or not take – your career advancement could become stagnant or witness a smooth rise.

It’s time to introspect and reflect on what you could possibly be doing wrong.

After interviewing numerous students and ex-Pep Talkers, these are the 7 most common mistakes that people tend to make in their professional careers.

Not upskilling

Companies want people who are eager to learn and grow. You should always look for opportunities to diversify your skillset beyond your current domain. While most companies have a learning and development program in place, some small-to-midsized ones might not. The onus is upon you to upskill yourself by pursuing industry certifications and online courses from LinkedIn, Coursera, edX, Udemy and others. It is strongly recommended to let your company know that you have enrolled for so and so course and they might partially or fully sponsor it.

Being reactive, rather than proactive          

You need to be proactive in your job role and ask for more responsibilities. If you have a passive, reactive approach in which your higher-ups end up telling you what all stuff you need to do every time, then this indicates a lack of initiative on your part. Be a self-starter, take ownership of projects and increase your visibility in the company.

Getting flustered by criticism

We all love to be praised. Compliments encourage us to strive for higher goals and give our best. However, there are some who cannot digest any sort of criticism – you shouldn’t be one of them. If you as well your colleagues feel that you’re being unfairly targeted, then it could be a different case. However, many times, we tend to react in a very extreme manner to criticism, even the genuine ones. Your ego feels hurt and you’re simply not willing to work to improve yourself. Some of you even get so offended that you decide to leave your job. Discard this mentality asap!

Not being a team player

Performance doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You always work together, collaborate with your team members and execute brilliant results. For this, you need to gel well as a cohesive unit and work in sync with your teammates. If you don’t get along with them or prefer to work in isolation, you will end up being alienated and your peers won’t speak favorably of you during office discussions with higher-ups.

Avoiding asking for a raise or promotion

If you’ve done well over a consistent period and feel that you’re ready to move to the next level, then make sure you ask what you deserve – whether it’s a promotion or a raise. There are many companies that won’t pay attention to you if you don’t set their expectations. You need to speak up!

Avoiding networking

This is probably the biggest mistake you can make in your professional career. Even if you’re not talented enough, not intelligent enough but have a robust network of relevant connections, you will increase your sphere of influence, open a world of opportunities and discover new ways to grow and learn. If you ask most MBA grads what’s the most important mantra they were taught in B-school, most of them will reply “Expand your network.”

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