As you go about life and interacting with people, you invariably encounter those whose behavior simply screams “I’ll never be going anywhere in my career.”
OK, harsh, but you know you’ve met those folks and then maybe one of them could be you.
There are some things that will ensure you go nowhere in your career; and unless you’re OK with that, here is what you want to avoid:
- “I don’t know.” We all have things we don’t know; but if you’re staring back in someone’s face and saying that without any intelligent ‘add on’ you are going to be guaranteed a dead-end job. A good ‘add on’ might be: “but I’ll find out.” Be helpful, get an answer.
- “Not my job.” Everyone’s personal favorite. Like finger nails on a black board, if you say this, you show a decided tendency to avoid work and responsibility. Sure it’s not your job, but you can be helpful and find out whose job it is!
- “Not now, I’m talking to my co-worker.” There is nothing finer than standing and staring at a group of employees who are so engrossed in their gossip that they haven’t noticed your hair is on fire. When someone approaches you, you only have about 5 seconds to acknowledge them before they think poorly of you. What you do from there will either confirm or deny the belief that you got the job because you’re working for your dad.
- “So & so did that.” Blame. It’s so fun. You make yourself look so great when you put down someone. Not. You don’t impress anyone when you choose to make someone else look bad. The general belief is that if you’ll do that to this person, you’ll do it to me. Very career limiting.
- “I didn’t have time.” This is clearly an inability to manage your time. If you can’t manage your time, there isn’t too much you can manage. This is a hallmark of a career to nowhere.
- Come in late, leave early, call in sick. This one is guaranteed to not only tick off the boss, but all your co-workers. You will have no one as an ally, because other people are left picking up the work when you are not there to do your job. In fact, your co-workers will gladly hold the door open for you when you get fired.
- Leave it for someone else. There may be something you don’t like doing and always seem to delay long enough that someone else will have to do it. Don’t think that will go unnoticed. We all have to do things we’d rather not do in our job – that’s just how things work. You don’t get to pick and choose the tasks that you will or won’t do. You either do the whole job, or they will find someone who will.
- Need too much instruction. There is certainly a state of grace in any job for you to learn and come up to speed. However, once you do the expectation is that now you know the business, know your job and that you use a few brain cells to THINK about what to do next, or even improve things. You will go nowhere if you have to constantly be given direction and told what to do. It really is easier to do something yourself than to have to do all the thinking and directing of an employee.
- Poor communications. This is more than simply how you speak to a person. It is all forms of communication including speaking, emailing and using the phone. If you’re poor at responding to emails, take too long to return calls and use too much “dude” when you speak with someone, don’t look for a promotion. It’s the little things that matter, because the assumption is that if you can’t handle the small stuff, you certainly can’t handle the big.
If your career is roughly where it was when you left high school or your progress is at a snail’s pace, you may want to review some of your behaviors against this list. It’s really fairly easy to do well on the job and in your career as long as you show up, do your job well and show some initiative.