You’ve probably thought about what you should do to get ahead in your career. But as it turns out, it’s just as important to consider what you should not do, too. We all make mistakes in the course of our career journey at one point or another. However, repeatedly making the same professional mistakes will decrease your happiness on the job and your quality of life. The good news is that many of these mistakes are easy to dodge in the first place. Here are seven common professional mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. Taking a Job for the Money—Then Feeling Like You Can’t Leave
A lucrative job can sometimes be like a siren song: It pulls you in because the money is too attractive to resist, but then you find yourself in a role that makes you unhappy.
Keep An Open Mind: Create an exit plan, a budget, and a timeline. You may say, ‘I’ll work really hard at this job for the next two years and sock away money so that I can look for a career change that will give me more satisfaction on the personal side.” And while you remain in that job, keep an open mind. Observe other people that you work with and see what type of projects they are on and if any of those might be a better fit for you, there may actually be an opportunity at the same organization that fits you better.
2. Taking a Job Without a Full Understanding of the Role
Searching for a job is a lot and sometimes what you think you see isn’t what you get “If you feel that you’re seeing your job responsibilities change. To avoid being in this position, Do your due diligence, talk to people who’ve worked at the company, and thoroughly research the organization and the culture on sites like Glassdoor before taking that job. At the interview process, really use the opportunity to interview your interviewer and the company as much as they’re interviewing you.
Schedule some time with your direct supervisor, explain this is what you [understood you] were hired for, and these are your skills and how you feel you really fit this type of role. To try to avoid getting into the scenario in the first place, don’t forget that you’re an equal player in the equation when you’re seeking a job.
3. Getting Too Comfortable in a Position
The challenge in staying in the same job for years is that when it’s time to look for a new role, the perception can be that your career has stalled. Career management is crucial. We need to be forever learning and improving our skill set, being current, being flexible, being up on technology, being aware of what’s going on in the industry. A big piece is knowing how to market yourself: Have you played many roles within that job? Have you been with the company through times of change? Be clear about your own personal branding statement—what you bring to the table that no one else does.
You may be comfortable but comfort doesn’t equal contentedness. Your comfort may be the main contributing factor to your feeling of being trapped in your job. If you’ve settled for your job because it provides enough for you, evaluate the reasons behind this choice to settle and seek comfort rather than progress or purpose.
4. Allowing Your Skills to Get Out of Date
It’s never too late to update your skills. In fact, if you feel you’re not growing in your position, take a proactive approach to rectifying that. Talk to your employer and ask about opportunities for further training and professional development—and be prepared to explain how it benefits the company
5. Staying in a Role Too Long Out of Fear
Inertia in a career can happen because of the fear of making a move. Sometimes, the pain of where you are is greater than the pain of the unknown, It’s a common issue that a lot of people deal with—that feeling of being stuck.” If this sounds like you, it’s a good time to start brainstorming with a friend, family member or a trusted colleague about ways to make a change. Take it in steps because it took you a long time to get you to that point of feeling stuck. It may take a few steps to get out of it as well.
6. Fear Of Networking
Career growth and advancement is largely about who you know. So you can’t stop networking! Many professionals give up on networking after a while in the field, figuring it doesn’t matter anymore. Without connections, there are fewer people to think of you when opportunities arise. Eventually, the opportunities will dry up. No matter how far along in your career you are, continue seeking out and maintaining professional relationships with peers, colleagues, and ideally a mentor, too. You never know where they could lead!
7. Not Asking/Demanding Enough Pay For Your Worth
I get it. It’s hard to speak up and ask for what you’re worth. Plenty of people lowball themselves when making compensation demands, thinking it will make them seem more competitive.
However, you’re doing yourself a big disservice by not asking for enough money. If you’re underpaid, you’ll only be able to keep it up for so long before you begin to get discouraged by how much energy you’re expending and how little you’re receiving in return. Don’t just blurt out a number. Do some quality research on appropriate compensation for salaries or fees within your field before making a request. You deserve appropriate compensation!
Parts of this article was culled from www.themuse.com, entrepreneur.com