A few days ago, Brittany wrote about her worst blogging mistakes, which I thought was brilliant and wanted to piggy back on it, but using my worst career mistakes.
I confess, I’ve made some foolish errors that didn’t seem so foolish at the time… So, do as I say and not as I did.
It’s true that we get wiser with age and I wish I had all these resources available when I’d just graduated. Fortunately for you, it doesn’t have to be first-hand trial and error…
Not negotiating for more.
Employers are intimidating especially when the ball seems to be in their court… How can they not be when they have a pool of candidates to pick from and everything to offer? Stop right there. Remember, the worst that can happen is they tell you NO or they offer a little more. The fact that this potential employer has already selected you for the job means something. Negotiating doesn’t always come in the form of salary – it can be the re-location package, vacation time, or other perks. Don’t be afraid to ask for more if you know you are worth it.
Not keeping in touch with former colleagues or supervisors.
References come in handy no matter what point you are in your career. The Internet makes it so easy to drop a quick “Hello” or “Happy Holidays”. No one knows your work ethic better than your former bosses and you’ll need them to vouch for you at one point or another. Make an effort to keep in touch with those individuals. I admit that this is one I’m still working on…
Getting too comfortable.
I believe it was my second or third year into my first job when I realized I was becoming too comfortable, and it was pretty scary. I was able to pay my bills, save and spend, received overtime pay (as I wanted) even though I was salary, and the benefits package was beyond reproach. I enjoyed working with my team and we had annual bonuses, which I’ve never gotten anywhere else… However, I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. I was merely doing it out of convenience and comfort, which was exactly where things went wrong. I was lucky enough to realize that if something didn’t change, I’d be in that field for the rest of my life. No thanks.
Not looking ahead.
I’ve learned that when I’m comfortable, I think less about where I want to be. However, I’ve made it habitual to constantly look one year ahead… You have to think, if you stay at your current job for another year, what will you be able to gain? If your job isn’t giving you a steady supply of challenges and learning experiences, it’s time to re-evaluate and take some action. You have to set your sights higher than the next raise come year-end.