Most people feel that they haven’t advanced as much as they’d like to in their careers. A lot of this has to do a lot with supposed “outside sources”—bosses, co-workers, the glass ceiling, etc. And oftentimes, it is true that there are underlying factors from third parties that may have caused us to become stagnant within our profession. But there are other times that problem of the lack of advancement lies within. We can be our own biggest determent to our careers.
Simply changing a few things that we do, sometimes without knowing, can do wonders in our professional lives. Getting out of our own way can be a gift, and one that can create a lot of opportunities.
I’ve compiled a list of 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing Now to Advance (in our careers), based on my own experiences, and dealing with others as a Human Resource Manager for many years:
1. Comparing yourself to others
I was guilty of this too, mainly because competition is a part of most professions. When you are working with others, some are praised more. Some accomplish more. Some do more. Some work more. All of this is relative. When you continue to compare yourself to someone else, you are doing a disservice because the comparisons are often not apple to apple ones. There are many underlying factors that you may not know about, and just because a manager or a higher up may do this, you don’t have to fall victim. Be confident about your work and your abilities, and don’t let numbers or comparisons affect you negatively. When you begin to block-out this mindset, your quality of work (as well as your disposition at work) will most likely improve.
2. Being consumed with someone eles’s work life
When I was an HR Manager, I spent a better part of my day in my office speaking to an employee that wanted to discuss another employee. And unless it was a serious matter like sexual harassment or violence in the workplace, it usually wasn’t warranted. While this employee was worrying about what the next one was doing, they lost site of their job and their duties. No one wants to promote a busy body that’s in everyone else’s business—talk about being counterproductive! Focus on you and your career. Worrying about others will do nothing for you.
3. Taking negative criticism personally
I am a sensitive person, so I need work in this area too. There are times that even us “near perfect” employees need to be corrected. But taking it personally instead of objectively won’t do anything for you. Learn to take the negative and turn it into a positive.
4. Thinking the grass is always greener on the other side
This can be a big roadblock to your success. Jumping from company to company thinking the grass will be greener weighs down your resume and makes you look like a job hopper (which certainly will hurt your chances of career advancement). When you are thinking of changing jobs, make sure it’s the right move. Don’t do it because of hearsay or innuendo. Research the move, and most importantly, make sure the move is indeed right for you.
5. Being afraid of what-if’s
If working for someone else is not what you want to do, then don’t. Make a plan to start to segue into working for yourself or starting your own business. Don’t stay at a job for years and years because you are afraid of the unknown. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint of heart, but you also don’t want to look back on your career saying “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve”. Do your research, execute a plan, and then begin to transition yourself accordingly. You can do it!
We all want to be a success in our careers. I hope these 5 tips help you move forward in a positive direction.