We all make mistakes. But some are more career limiting than others — and many of those are avoidable.
Career coach Kathy Caprino says in a recent LinkedIn post that throughout her career, she made a number of huge mistakes. “I did some important things right too, but my missteps were legendary (at least in my own mind),” she writes. “When I look back on my 30 years of working, and the careers of the hundreds of folks I train, coach, and teach, five blunders stand out from all the rest as the most negative, damaging, and irreversible in your career and professional life.”
Here are three of them:
1. Speaking, behaving, or quitting out of rage or revenge.
When Caprino was in her early 20s, she lost her job after screaming an obscenity at a boss who she felt was harassing her. “I did it in front of the entire office,” she says. “While it felt fantastic (for one split second) to swear at him, what has stayed with me over time is the shock and shame of how out of control I felt during that time.”
She says because most people spend more hours at work than anywhere else, it’s “normal and expected that we will experience the full gamut of emotions while engaged in our work.” But while it’s important to be authentic, honest, and transparent whenever possible in the office — you need to do so without losing control of you emotions and “acting out rashly and impulsively from rage or despair.”
“If you act impulsively and rashly at work, you will likely lose much more than your self-respect,” she says.
Everyone lies. Most often we do so when we’re attempting to “protect” others, or trying to avoid the consequences of the truth.
But the problem with lying is two-fold, Caprino explains. “One: When you tell yourself you’re not capable of facing reality or dealing with the consequences, you make yourself right — you’ll grow less powerful, capable, bold, respectable, and trustworthy over time,” she says. “And two: The lies you tell must be perpetuated, which is exhausting and drains you from vital energy you need to reach your fullest potential.”
So if you find yourself lying frequently at work, Caprino suggests taking a good look at what you’re afraid of. “And instead of keeping up the front, get in the cage with those fears and begin working through them.”
3. Proclaiming that you’re miserable.
Another thing we all do: complain. But Caprino says you should stop whining at work.
“There are a few specific instances where [making it known that you’re miserable at work] might be the right move, but in general, sharing that you hate your job is not the way to go.”
If it’s the truth (and you’re trying to be honest) there are better ways to express your dissatisfaction. Instead of using words and phrases like, “miserable,” “unhappy,” “fed up,” and “ready to leave,” “talk about what you’re great at and love to do, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re ready for,” she suggests. “Share your work highlights and new directions you’re excited and committed to take your career, and discuss your plans and desires for growth and change.”
There’s a good chance your employer is willing to support your growth and desired changes, “but it won’t happen if you stomp in and say, ‘I’m miserable and it’s your fault,'” Caprino explains.
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