CAREER DEVELOPMENT / SEP. 22, 2015
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Behaviours That Prevent You From Advancing Your Career

Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do. But it’s not as simple as sticking it out in your current position until a promotion arises and you feel you’re next on the list. In fact, if you don’t approach your job each and every day with the right attitude, you might wake up one day to find your former colleagues are now your supervisors, and your former subordinates are now your equals. However, if you put your all into everything you do while on the clock, there’s no telling how far you’ll go. If you want that next promotion, make sure to avoid any of the following behaviors:

See Also: Top 10 Tips to Ace That Interview

1. Not Promoting Yourself Enough

When we were kids, we were promoted once a year (even if we didn’t exactly deserve it!). We went from kindergarten to first grade, on to second, all the way up to our high school graduation. As long as we did the work assigned to us even moderately well, we were passed along to the next level.

The real world isn’t like that. Now, not only do we need to do the work given to us, but we also need to convince our superiors that we’re ready for the next step. And the opportunity doesn’t just “arise” once a year anymore; we need to take advantage of openings whenever they come about. I’m not saying you should boast and brag about every accomplishment under your belt, but unless you make yourself noticeable, your colleague who stands out is going to get that promotion, even if they’re not nearly as talented as you.

2. Taking Criticism to Heart

Your boss is always going to find something about your performance that can be improved. That doesn’t mean he thinks you’re a complete failure (if he did, you’d be out of a job by now). It actually means quite the opposite: he sees potential for you to improve. If you take criticism as a personal attack and get defensive, all your boss will see is you’re reluctant to put in the work necessary to increase your skill set. It might hurt your ego hearing that you’re not perfect, but if you look objectively at your abilities and accomplishments, you’ll be able to see where you have room to improve. Only then can you start taking strides toward strengthening your abilities.

3. Being Disorganized

There’s a difference between being messy and being completely disorganized. A busy worker’s desk might be full of papers that appear to be scattered about, but all that matters is that he knows where everything is. On the other hand, a person with a completely clear desk might not ever take the time to write down assignments or important deadlines, and will be left scrambling at the end of the month to get things done. Being organized puts you one step ahead of everyone else, as you’ll be able to anticipate problems that arise, and be able to deal with them as they do. Those who are disorganized end up focusing all their efforts on trying to recall each task they need to accomplish, and can’t handle when a monkey wrench is thrown into the works.

4. Making Rash Decisions

If your boss sees that you’re constantly waiting till the last minute to make a judgment call, or if you act with your gut rather than your brain, there’s no way he’ll trust you in a higher position. You have to remain cool, calm, and collected at all times, especially when you’re under extreme pressure. Just as you need to remove your emotions from the situation when you’re given constructive criticism, you also have to do so when an important decision is to be made. If your boss sees that you’re able to put the company ahead of your own agenda, he’ll know you’d be able to handle a more strenuous workload.

5. Being Dispassionate

You might not absolutely love your job, but you sure need to act like it while you’re there. I don’t mean you need to act all giddy when your boss hands you a pile of paperwork to complete, but you should approach each assignment optimistically and know that every effort you make is benefiting the company in some way. Make sure your boss knows that you’ll do whatever it takes to make your business thrive. Be the first one to come in and the last one to leave. Take shorter lunch breaks. Show that you’re dedicated to your job, no matter how menial the tasks you’re given may be.

6. Being Dishonest

Man lying
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Lying is one of those actions that has incredibly long-reaching consequences. Even the tiniest stretching of the truth can make it difficult to trust a person ever again, regardless of how honest they had been in the past. If your boss ever catches you in a lie, he’s going to second-guess every word that comes out of your mouth from then on. So, of course when a promotion comes along, and you tell him you think you’d be great for the job, all he’ll hear is you saying “I’ll say anything to get this job, even if I won’t follow through with my promises.” You might be tempted to tell a small fib to get out of hot water here and there, but in the long-run, telling the truth will get you much farther.

7. Being Pessimistic

Of course, if you’re the office Debbie Downer (or Negative Nellie, if you prefer), your boss definitely won’t want to put you in a more influential position. It’s okay to be skeptical; that shows you see things objectively, and anticipate problems before they occur. But if you’re constantly approaching assignments with the attitude that “that’ll never work,” you’re just going to give off the vibe that you’re not a problem solver. It’s okay to think that going about an issue a specific way isn’t going to work, but if you’re going to voice that opinion you better have a much better backup plan.

8. Being Complacent

Almost every job out there in modern society requires some sort of continuing education. If you walked into a job thinking you’ll never have to learn something new ever again, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Society is rapidly changing in all aspects, so if you think that you’ll be doing the same job in twenty years (or even five), you’re wrong. Policies are ever-changing, and technology continues to improve. The person who approaches each day of his life looking to learn something new will go much farther than the person who is content knowing what he knew ten years ago.

When you’re at work, you do your job and you do it well. There are no excuses. Even if you secretly hate every minute you’re in the office, you should never let anyone else see that side of you. You’re paid to do something, and you should approach each task with optimism and passion. Make sure your boss takes notice of how hard you work, but remain humble throughout everything you do. You might not like where you are now, but if you work hard and put your all into succeeding, you might end up with the dream job you’ve always wanted.

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