Five Career Mistakes
Held, guilty of career
stagnation -- of course, no one is ever going to pass that sentence on
you, but by ineffectively managing your career, you could easily find
yourself making the same career mistakes most individuals make.
Randomly pursuing jobs
Apparently, even the greatest of strategists do not have a clear plan
when it comes to their own careers. Most, just accept jobs or
opportunities that come their way, without ever thinking about where
they will lead them. ďLetís just see where this job takes me,Ē is what
most professionals tell me when they accept a new position.
It is very important to define both long term and short term career
goals. If my long term goal is to be the director of a group, what
short term goals should I pursue to get there?
An ineffective -- or worse still, non-existent -- networking strategy
is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why even extremely talented
individuals donít succeed as well as they should. Active
networking should be an integral component of any career
Conferences, professional development events, trade shows, workshops,
networking events (direct and indirect) -- all of these are valuable
avenues for multiplying your network, and thus your growth prospects.
Every individual you meet is a potential contact and how you build and
use the relationship is entirely up to you.
Sacrificing work-life balance
No, I havenít spoken to your spouse, but I am dead serious when I say
that lack of work-life balance could seriously impact your career
progress. Our bodies are not designed to work 25 hours a day. Our
careers form an important part of our lives, but there are other areas
that need our attention as well.
We need to rest and recharge to deliver optimal performance. Working
unreasonably long hours can wear us out and deprive us of the ability
to provide fresh and creative ideas -- and ideas are the fuel on which
the career engine runs.
Allowing the opportunities pipeline to run dry
Ever spoken to a top-producing sales professional? They will never let
the sales pipeline dry even if they have achieved their goals for the
period. Generating new leads is the most critical element of their
function. We, too, could learn some lessons here.
As individuals, we are not just employees; we are CEOs of our own
careers. As such, we must make constant attempts to grow in our
careers. This is applicable not only to job leads but also to internal
opportunities, such as new projects and training initiatives. Donít
ever allow the disease of stagnation to seep into your careers. You
shouldnít go job-hopping by any means, but rather generate as many
opportunities as possible to enrich your experience and profile. Take
investing in professional development
I have always stressed on the fact that we are knowledge workers in
this Information Age. Knowledge is constantly changing and by failing
to stay abreast with what is happening in our professions, we are
certainly losing out on valuable opportunities.
Create a professional development plan that will help you stay
cutting-edge. Even if your employer doesnít sponsor continuing
education, set aside a budget. If you undertake the right training,
this investment will pay for itself many times over.
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Nimish Thakkar is a sought-after certified
career management coach. He has helped thousands of clients, including
professionals at Fortune 500 companies, through cutting-edge career
management tools. Thakkar has authored hundreds of articles and is
regularly invited to speak on a wide range of career-related issues.
Nimish edits and manages a
free career information site,
SaiCareers.com, and is the CEO of a
professional resume writing service,