Ways to Damage Your Career

Job searching is indeed a difficult task. Career lessons are not always learned the easy way. Sometimes, career failures can also provide us a taste of reality.

While most online career article provides advice on how to successfully manage a career, this article will focus on the different lessons we could extract from different career failures that we meet along the way.

1. Do Not Take Your Education Seriously

According to New York City-based executive recruiter and Coach Brian Drum of Drum Associates, if college has only been one big party for you and you end up with a run-of-the-mill 2.5 Grade Point Average, you will be passed over for the best entry-level jobs. Not finishing your master’s degree is another way to hurt your career-development goals, Anne Angerman, career coach with Denver-based career Matter, added.

2. Do Not Plan

With the current economic crisis experienced worldwide, you may have landed a job that you’re not really into. That’s fine for as long as you develop career plans to get where you want to be. “Think of every job you take as a stepping-stone to your next job,” Drum advises.

3. Lie.

You’ll come out as a hypocrite is you say that you have never lied in your entire life. However, excessive lying could quickly lose your credibility — from exaggerating on your resume to getting caught fibbing on social networking sites. “If someone calls in sick to work and then that evening posts a photo on Facebook of their extra day vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, that’s a big problem,” says corporate etiquette specialist Diane Gottsman of the Protocol School of Texas in San Antonio.

4. Ruin Your Reputation on Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites can likewise harm your reputation in other ways. Personal posts and tweets from work – when you are supposed to be doing your job – can tag you as a slacker. “You need to assume that every boss and potential employer knows how to use Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, and post from the standpoint that everyone is watching – even if in reality they’re not,” Gottsman says.

5. Disrespect Professional Boundaries

Socializing at work is fine but sharing too much information about your personal life with colleagues is unprofessional. “Your coworkers don’t want to hear about your fights with your husband,” Angerman says.

6. Gossip, Slander, and Excessively Criticize

Bashing fellow employees, the boss, the board of directors, or even your competitors, could make you look as negative at best and a troublemaker at worst. The consequences can be severe, broad, and long-term, Gottsman says. “Industries are tight,” she says. “You don’t want to be the one who started that rumor about the head of your industry.” As far as bad mouthing competitors – what if your company merges with a competitor, or you want to work for one someday?

7. Carry on an Inappropriate Relationship With Your Boss

Having a romantic relationship with your superior is never a good idea, but an especially bad one if your boss is married. “When you get involved in a drama or in something unethical that can be brought out in the open, you are asking for trouble,” Gottsman says.

8. Satisfy Your Alcohol Intake To Your Heart’s Content

One sure and fast way to destroy your credibility is by getting drunk at the office party or on a business trip. Ditto a romantic indiscretion that your colleagues know about.

9. Job-Hop Just For The Money

Job-hopping – in moderation – may not automatically disqualify you from a position. “But it gets to the point – like if you have seven or eight jobs by the time you are 35 – that employers are not going to want to invest in you,” Drum says. Also if you have leadership aspirations, keep in mind that the top dogs of many large corporations have been with those organizations for long periods, he says. Additionally, many companies have “last in, first out” layoff policies, which could leave you out of a job if you never stick around long enough to build tenure anywhere.

10. Lose Touch With References

You’ll kick yourself later if you leave a job without collecting personal contact information from colleagues who can serve as professional references for you in the future. “If you were forced to leave a job and you can’t ask your boss for a reference, hopefully you’ve built up some rapport with a colleague and can ask them,” Angerman says.

11. Leave A Job On Bad Terms

Don’t become a lame duck when you’ve got one foot out the door, Drum says. “The employer only remembers about the last five minutes you were there,” he says. Give proper notice and don’t leave a mess behind. And by all means, do not make a huge dramatic production of it when you quit, complete with cursing, slandering, and throwing things, Gottsmans advises. “It’s very difficult to get another job when you’ve left destruction in your wake,” she says.

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