Career Mistakes

Are you unhappy at work but don’t know why? Have you been waiting for a promotion or raise that never materialized? The reason why could be because of errors you didn’t even know you were making! Read on to discover whether you are falling into any of these 10 critical career mistakes.

1. Letting someone else make career decisions for you

Everyone seeks career approval from their family or friends from time to time—it’s only natural! But if you’re letting someone else sway you from critically examining and following your own voice of reason, it’s time to draw the line. Difficult decisions at work provide the opportunity for reflection and growth–and you definitely don’t want to miss out on that! Before turning to a confidant for advice, you need to put your brain to work and trust yourself. After all, you are the one who needs to live with the outcomes of your decisions, not them!

2. Allowing yourself to be unhappy at work

If you find yourself unhappy at work, you’re not alone. Not every job can be an ideal fit, and that’s okay. With the average person spending 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime, or just over one-third of your life, it’s crucial that you do not allow yourself to stay in a position that is causing you stress and anxiety. If you feel this way, it might be time to polish up your LinkedIn profile and begin networking. Never allow yourself to feel trapped in your job. 

3. Putting your career ahead of your life

With one-third of your life spent at work, it’s understandable why work can become your number one priority. Remember that life is all about balance, and that your family, friends, and mental health are all extremely important to your long-term, sustainable health and happiness. Continue to put hard work into your career, but don’t neglect your social life and self-care! 

4. Thinking that once you choose a field, you are stuck with it forever

You might think that it’s impossible to switch career paths after being trained, or gaining a year or more of experience in a particular role. This is false thinking! You can always transition into other fields graduallyit is critically important to continue to learn skills which are marketable and keep keen eyes on opportunities that interest you. You never know where your life will take you!

5. Dressing unprofessionally

Overslept and don’t have time to fix your hair and dress the way you meant to? Up late binge-watching your favorite new show and forgot to do the laundry before work? We all have moments like this, where our dress and appearance aren’t quite up to standard, but don’t let this become your routine. The way you dress is especially crucial with new clients and bosses, and could make or break your chances of getting a promotion.

6. Not Networking

No matter what stage you are at in your career, connections matter! Whether you’re interested in transitioning fields or being competitive for a promotion or collaboration, it is of utmost importance to network. Put yourself out there, and be as open as possible! You will notice the difference that it makes!

7. Burning bridges when leaving a job

When you do finally decide to make the switch to a new job or career, it can sometimes be tempting to cut off all contact and say good riddance. Whether you had a great experience and are simply moving on, or you were spurned by your employer, don’t underestimate the value of networking. Life is all about connections, and you never know when you might need the help or reference of your previous employer. Plus, don’t count out your coworkers, as they could prove to be good friends or connections outside of work!

8. Not Sharing Career Goals with your Boss

Your boss is not the enemy! They can be as significant an asset to your career as you are to theirs! You should foster a relationship with your superior where you feel you can ask for advice. As someone more advanced in their career, they will likely have invaluable guidance or know potential avenues for you to follow. It is important that your boss knows what you want to do in the next steps of your career.

9. Failing to Seek out a Mentor

Your boss may act as a potential mentor, but this should not stop you from seeking connections with people who do what you aspire to do! Mentors can play a variety of roles, from making important introductions to providing support. They are crucial to both personal and professional development!

10. Not Asking for a Raise

You should not be afraid to ask for a raise. Supervisors and other superiors are incredibly busy, and may not notice all of your contributions, or remember when your last raise was. It’s your job to remind them! Most bosses will respect the initiative and confidence it requires to ask for a raise, as long as you come prepared. It is important to research the average salary of your position and talk to your peers about their salaries. You should also prepare to discuss the value you bring to your position, so have examples of your contributions on hand. Know your worth!  



If you have not committed any of these professional sins, kudos! Keep up the good work! If you find yourself an unwitting victim of any of these missteps, take the time to correct your course. Remember that you have the power to change and improve your career, and it’s never too late!

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