5 Ways You Can Sabotage Your Own Career

Updated on

Did you get passed over recently for a promotion that you really thought was yours? Did you miss out on a raise that you feel you earned? Maybe you just feel you are not progressing up the corporate ladder as quickly as you thought you would have by now.

5 Ways You Can Sabotage Your Own Career

It’s a competitive workplace out there, for sure, but there is a chance you are sabotaging your career all by yourself without even realizing it. Here is your wake-up call. Look over this list to see if you recognize any of your own habits. It‘s time to change things up a little, don’t you think?

Five Ways Of sabotaging your career

1. You don’t take enough credit for your work.

If you are continually downplaying your own great ideas or passing them off as a group effort, you may be working against yourself. Humility is a good thing, but false modesty will get you nowhere.

There is nothing wrong with taking credit when credit is due. Speak up for yourself and for your achievements. If you don’t, how will the higher-ups know what you have been accomplishing?  “Good work doesn’t speak for itself,” says Selena Frankel, author of the book How Smart Women Ask–and Stand Up–for What They Want. “You need to call attention to what you’re doing.”

Now keep in mind, that there is a fine line between taking credit and bragging about yourself, so be careful not to cross it in this area. And, when you do get help from your team, be sure to acknowledge their efforts – just do it in a way that does not undermine your own contributions.

2. You’re not a team player.

If you fly solo most of the time, look for ways you can connect with your co-workers more often. Try attending more company-related functions – both business and social ones. You’ll get noticed, and you will gain more confidence at work, as a result.

By hanging around with your co-workers more, you will hear more about what is going on with your company. Sometimes success is all about being in the right place at the right time. You can’t hear that so-and-so is moving to L.A. leaving that sweet corner office if you don’t spend time listening to a little bit of office politics.

Once again, be careful of the flip side. Being part of the team does not mean becoming an office gossip. Do not engage in telling tales about other employees or even passing along the ones you hear.

3. You’re sloppy.

Being sloppy is not just about the way you look –although presenting a polished, professional appearance is certainly important – it can also be about your work ethic. You are sloppy when you don’t pay enough attention to details. Here are a few examples of sloppy sabotage:

  • You don’t return messages or phone calls promptly.
  • You don’t say thank you when you need to.
  • Your social media accounts have way too much unflattering information.
  • You don’t proofread you communications and therefore have frequent errors.
  • You come in late or leave early too often.
  • Your desk is disorganized and messy.

Take your reputation seriously and guard it. You may not think what you do or say on Twitter or by the water cooler matters, but when management is looking at qualified candidates for a promotion, everything about you can come into play.

4. You don’t ask enough questions.

The adage “the only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask,” which is often attributed to Albert Einstein, is important to keep in mind in the business world.  Don’t think you are expected to know or understand everything. If you don’t know how to do something, speak up! It’s much better to get your questions resolved at the beginning of a project than to waste valuable time later.

How many times have you silently thanked someone for asking a question you had? Be that person for yourself. When you ask questions, you demonstrate your commitment and involvement to the company. Sometimes asking the right question during a meeting can be the catalyst for more ideas and information to be discussed and exchanged.

 Another way to ask questions is by finding yourself a mentor in the company. Get to know someone who has the position you would like to have in the next five or 10 years. You can benefit from his or her experience by asking the right questions.

5. You don’t say “Yes” enough.

We’re all busy. You’ve probably got a million things on your plate right now between your job, your home and family commitments, your friends and any volunteer responsibilities you might have. It’s easy to think, “Hey, I’m doing my job. I can’t handle anything else.”

However, by saying “no” too much, you can shut yourself off from new career opportunities. Here are a few ways to say “yes.”

  • If there’s a new project that will help you expand your skills, take advantage of it. Often these types of projects can give you high visibility within the organization.
  • Volunteer to help with your company’s charity efforts. Being part of these activities – whether it’s running in a race or coaching a children’s sports team – can be crucial in helping you build a network within your organization.
  • Sign up for that weekend seminar or conference. Getting additional training can improve your over-all knowledge, help you meet new colleagues and get you noticed at the same time.

“Not only are people with positive attitudes more likely to get the job in the first place, they are also the first to be considered for promotions or more interesting positions,” says Shaun Belding in his book Win at Work: Navigate the Nasties, Get Things Done and Get Ahead. “Take two individuals, each with equal education, experience and skill. Whom would you choose to promote? Most employers will tell you that they look for ‘fit’ – for someone who will integrate easily into the team. They look for attitude.”

Once again, you can take this advice to the extreme and burn yourself out. You can’t always be the one to work late or come in on the weekend. It is important to set some boundaries, but overall you’ll be surprised at how saying “yes” more often will open up new doors for your career.

Leave a Comment