This is that time of the year when many of us start to review our career; this usually starts with an audit of the past year — we review our goals, what we achieved and what we didn’t, and career highlights from the past year. It is then followed by setting resolutions and career goals for the new year. While there is nothing wrong with setting goals and making career resolutions for the new year, it is important that your career plans for this new year is made with a focus on one thing: mistakes to avoid.
If you want to achieve your career goals this year and have a much successful career than in previous years, you need to avoid these mistakes. Making one or more of them could destroy your career:
1. Ignoring Relationship With Co-Workers and Higher Ups
Most people wrongly assume that their career progression depends on their IQ and academic qualifications. This is very far from the truth. While these could have gotten you a job, you will need much more than that to have a progressive career.
According to Law Settlement Funding, “By far, one of the most important things if you want to move up in your career is to have a good relationship with your co-workers and superiors. In fact, this is often reported to be more important than other factors. If, on the other hand, you are not on good terms with co-workers and superiors and you think ‘it is just enough to do an excellent job,’ don’t be surprised if you are out of a job soon enough.”
2. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Many people sacrifice sleep in the belief that it is required to achieve their career goals and objectives. Not only is this not true, but it can be very dangerous. Besides the fact that lack of sleep has been linked to psychopathic behavior (and remember, not being able to get along well with employees and higher-ups can destroy your career), research actually shows that not getting adequate sleep does not necessarily give people the performance boost they assume they are getting. Instead, getting inadequate sleep (less than six hours daily for an adult) leads to the same effect as being drunk: it diminishes your performance and reduces your cognitive abilities.
So, if sleeping less is part of your plan to achieve your career goals, it could diminish your performance and reduce your cognitive abilities. It could also lead to you making career-damaging mistakes (since you could be operating on the same level as a drunkard).
3. Diversifying Instead of Focusing
While many will advocate “diversifying” as key to success, focus is what really makes a great career. Putting a lot of focused, undivided attention into being the best at what you do will lead to you having a stronger career than diversifying your efforts and energy into a lot of things. In fact, an analysis of the billionaires on the Forbes 400 list found that the majority of these billionaires got to where they are by being focused on one thing and reaching the peak of their career in the area of their focus. If you take a look at people at the top of your industry you will most likely notice the same thing.
“Diversifying” could limit your career trajectory. It could even destroy it. If you’re an accountant, for example, you will stand a better chance career-wise getting your CPA than learning to bake as a “side skill.”
4. Limiting Yourself by Not Networking
If you want to move forward in any industry, networking is the rule of the game: networking allows you to be aware of more opportunities, to connect to more people in your industry and to know about how things work beyond just your workplace.
Don’t make the mistake of limiting yourself by not networking — not only could it limit your growth potential, but it could make you redundant and potentially negatively affect your career prospects. Instead, network by attending industry conferences and events and connecting with people in other organizations similar to yours.
5. Not Being Careful About Your Social Life
Of course, it used to be that (for the most part!) what you do in your private life has little bearing on your career. Not anymore. In the age of social media and super fast information transmission, especially where most information posted online remain there permanently, not minding what you post on social media could not only cost you your current job, but it could also cost you future jobs and prevent you from moving forward in your career.
Being careful about what you post on social media should be paramount on the list of steps you take to advance your career — ignoring this rule could affect you beyond just this year. It can affect your career prospects forever.