Career mistakes to avoid!
Off late I have really started seriously thinking about my career and where it is taking me! I currently have a total of 12 years of experience, out of which I have spent most of the time at financial institutions and I’ve had rather a fruitful career. Sometimes I do think whether this has been a great career or just a mediocre one! There have been times when I was jobless due to redundancy!
When I started thinking seriously about my career, there have been series of shortcomings which I could think of that have limited my career growth. Here in this article I wish to lay them down, so you take hint from them and not do the similar mistakes. Most of you would relate with these career mistakes or shortcomings, but they surely would make you think again about how you could improve you career growth:
Here are my 7 career mistakes, I wish I had not committed!
1. Choosing a wrong employer/company:
When you think of this, you really are not sure, during the initial part of your career whether to choose the company that offered you a job or not! As a beginner in a competitive job market, it becomes really tough to pick and choose the employer. More often than not, it is employer’s market!
You as an employee would have little choice to choose from various offers unless you are a highly qualified and much sought after talent within your chosen stream of education and work. I thought, I wasted the initial years of my career working for employer who did not give me a right career direction. It is very important at the beginning of your career that you choose your employer or company with utmost care as this will have repercussions throughout your working career. That one employer could make or break your career!
All you want when you are fresh out from your college is a job that would cover your expenses! You don’t want to be a burden on anyone now. And when a company comes along who promises you a great career, take it with a pinch of salt. Evaluate your career goals, set those goals and think whether the company would help you fulfil these career goals and your life goals.
I am stressing again, this is a very important exercise that you will do in the beginning of your career which will have effect forever.
2. Not sticking long enough in a job!
So, now I had gained a little bit of experience in my field of work. I was confident! (Sometimes overconfident…). Then comes the second career mistake that I made. The new trend in the job market is called ‘Job Hopping.’ You gain a year or 2 years’ experience and then look for another job. This is not a trend, but the reality these days!
But take it from me! This will not take your career anywhere. To get a hold in your industry or to be considered as an expert within your industry, you will need to spend time at your job, however challenging it might be! This is how you build your skills and confidence within your area of work. When people within your industry look up to you for advice, it means that you have achieved something unique. This will greatly help your career growth.
When you job hop, you limit the growth of your skills and knowledge. Sure, other companies will be able to hire your talent; but you may not build much of a credibility. Take it from me, your growth prospects will be limited and it will be harder for you to get a foothold within your desired industry.
Having said this, if you think the current employer would not provide your desired career growth, you must decide as soon as possible to leave the employer, rather than sticking around!!
3. Putting money before experience
This point relates to the previous point! Why do you ‘job hop‘? Is is because of the experience you want to gain or is it because the new company is offering you a salary above your current company?
More often than not, it is for a marginal increase in salary that people shift jobs. This same thing happened to me. And I believe this is when I put money before experience! Yes, for a short time, you are happy and the long term effects of this are multifold! So it is better that you stick to your job and gain much experience than shift jobs just because the new company is offering you a higher salary!
Never select a company just because it pays you better salary. Choose it for what you will learn in terms of knowledge and skills. Choose a company for a great work culture. This will perhaps be the best decision that you’d ever make.
4. Not building my skills early on and enhancing my knowledge through courses
Another important aspect that most of us forget! After completing education through college or after obtaining a degree, I never thought I needed any upgrade to my skills and that my skill on the job would help me enough! How wrong was I!
Job market is so dynamic these days that, if you do not upgrade your skills through taking courses, may be online or offline, you are limiting your career growth.
Companies these days look for your additional skills, other than that of your educational qualification. So, when I thought about this seriously, I enrolled for many online courses and upgraded my skills. Not only did it boost my confidence, I learnt new ways of earning income and upgrade my lifestyle.
I found a great site that helps you take online courses to build your skill and it’s called Udemy.
This is a great site if you are planning to add new skills or upgrade your skills. I have taken more than 15 course online on this platform and after each of them, I felt that, I have indeed learn something and upgraded my skills. No one will tell you this….So please take time and subscribe to some course that you think will enhance your skills and knowledge. Through this site, I have upgraded my MS Excel skills, my powerpoint skills, presentation skills and you can too. I have learnt some basic Arabic too! give it a try!
5. Not developing a strong network of colleagues
After you start working, you surely build a network of colleagues who become your friends. I have missed out on these opportunities. Building your network is so important because, it not only gives you your circle of support but also provides you with new avenues to grow your career. You may move along your career path; but it is utmost important that you keep in touch with your ex-colleagues; not because they would help you in the future jobs, but you need a circle of support when you have doubts about various aspects.
As per the recent survey that I conducted by Emirates Diary, it was found that Ex-colleagues stood at one of the top 5 ways when it came to searching for and looking for new jobs. So, I must reiterate that this is one area where you should maximum efforts. Make sure that you develop a good and cordial relationship with your colleagues and maintain it.
6. Working for more than 12 hours a day
Don’t get me wrong here! I do like working and doing quality work. And if I am passionate about something, I will do it for as long as I like it. But there is a limit. In the initial days of my career, I used to spend more than 14 hours in the office. This would make me very tired at the end of the day and realising that I needed get back to work the next day, made me even more tired.
The point here is not to do more work. What I am trying to say is that, you must develop a smarter working style. If something takes you longer to do, ask your colleagues on how they get this done faster! Believe me, there are short cuts and hacks that you do not even know of. Ask your superiors on how they got certain things done faster. They will be more than happy to help you in this.
7. Not asking for promotions and increments during performance appraisals
I am a shy person and an introvert. This meant that when the time came for performance appraisals, I took what was given to me. Seldom did I ask for increments or promotions that I felt I deserved; because I had worked hard.
This mistake would have a great bearing on the income level. I do not compare me to any other person. But after a brief introspection, I felt that I should have asked for what I deserved. If you are shy like me, let your manager/supervisor know this. Once, I changed this attitude, my career has changed. It will be same to you too.
So here are the career mistakes that I thought I have made. Every weekend I take some time out and reflect on the week gone by to check and see what I could have done better. So this article is a result of this.
What career mistakes have you made?? Share with others through comments, so that we all will learn from these mistakes and correct them.