May 21, 2012

stunts that can harm your career

I love the idea that we can be the creators/architects of our careers. Gone are the days when you have to accept the first desk job that comes your way and stay with one company for 30+ years. There are no limits to how creative you can be with your career, and it's never been a better time to be your own boss or juggle multiple projects/roles. I love having a full-time job and combining it with free-lance projects and part-time studies.

But whether you work for yourself or for an actual boss, there are some things that can really harm your career and personal brand if you don't pay attention:

  • A bad attitude: Weather you work in an office full of people or with clients you visit for consultation, people will be people, and if you leave your manners at home it will have a negative impact on whatever you do for a living. A client will often choose a provider they get along with above an arrogant one that does the job equally well.
  • Missing deadlines: We all know the saying "under-promise and over-deliver". Promising your boss or client the world but not delivering on time will reflect very poorly on your sense of professionalism. An employee or consultant who does not keep to agreed timelines will most likely be perceived as unreliable.
  • Not saying sorry: Just like respect and good manners, admitting your mistakes and being open to criticism will show your character and encourage people to trust you more. No one likes to work with someone who is too proud to admit that they are not perfect.
  • Gossip: Even if some colleagues enjoy your gossiping at the office, it ultimately sends the message that you cannot be trusted with sensitive information. Your lunch-buddy who can't wait to get the next scoop from you will most definitely not trust you with his/her confidential information. Clients also need to feel confident that you will act in their best interest.
  • Inconsistency: Any boss and any client will be frustrated if you perform inconsistently. Can they trust you with projects or not? Can you stick to timelines or not? Can you manage your personal life or will it constantly be interfering with your job? You don't want them to be asking these questions, so be sure to maintain some consistency in your performance, regardless of what kind of day you are having.

We are all human and it's impossible to behave perfectly professional every second of every day, but these are things that are within our control to a large extent. Working on these skills are just as important as knowing your job content and improving your performance if you want to be a rock-star employee.

What other stunts can you think of that can really your career?

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