Are You Sabotaging Your Career?

Melissa Henderson September 13, 2017

At the end of August and as we were approaching the end of summer, I shared a post regarding The Effects of Job Hopping and suspected that there was a handful of you out there that were likely pondering where your career is headed.  Well, now that summer fun has ended, Labor Day has come and gone, and we are earnestly back into a full work week, I am more certain many of you are thinking about your career.  With all this reflection about what you might not like about your current position or are perhaps aspiring to something bigger and better, perhaps you don’t realize that you are sabotaging your career.  Are you effectively in a career management mode or are you unknowingly sabotaging it?

Too Many Transitions

In my earlier post, The Effects of Job Hopping”, I reinforce that rapidly moving from position to position without forethought is not only an issue that those younger in their career face, but it is also a significant issue for those in the executive suite.  Regardless of whether you are debating if you have been in the current position long enough, if you just can’t take another day, or if something happens out of your control, the visual impact of rapid position moves is always scrutinized.

The current job market continues to be incredibly competitive. Multiple job transitions on a resume certainly does not give you competitive advantage.  Rather, it raises questions.  Hiring executives or executive recruiters do not have the time and will not take the time to understand “your story”.  Therefore, you will likely be thrown aside or to the bottom of the pile.  So, be thoughtful and thorough about that next job change.

Culture Alignment

Company culture is ever more important in today’s business climate. The culture is set by the top and you should be very aware of what that culture is back to your original interview process.  Leadership can change, so you must remain on your toes about new agendas and evolving cultures.  In one of my August posts,Investor Expectations”, I discuss how even the board of directors is getting more involved in understanding the company’s culture, not only in the CSuite but also down into the organization.

What might have worked well for you in your last position or in your last company, might now fare well in a newer, different culture. Many people find this out the hard way. If you are lucky, you might be quietly taken aside, given a chance and perhaps offered the services of an executive coach so that you become better aligned with the corporate culture. Other times, well, nothing will be said at all and you wonder later why you were not promoted or even squeezed out of the company.

Personality & Compensation

In a recent remembrance of a client I pondered and shared his personality. Although you may have incredible intellect, you do not need the massive ego and bravado tagging along. It gets you nowhere other than isolation. A cheerful disposition, deep sense of humor, humility, collaborative and generous style is so rare among the executive ranks – and, in fact, this is what can get you a long way. This client, that I wrote a remembrance of – he had all the right stuff.

Talking about or openly comparing your compensation plan to others in the organization is clear sabotage. Even with those that you think you can trust the most, it does not belong in the work environment. The conversation should be reserved for your executive coach, if you have one, or during review time with whom you report to.  This all sounds simple, but so many people underestimate the compensation dilemma.

At the other end of the spectrum is insecurity. Whether you are an introvert or simply insecure, no matter what do not wear this on your sleeve.  If you do, your colleagues, subordinates or boss will pick up on it and treat you accordingly. Perhaps that executive coach option is a safe way for you to address this challenge and help you up your game.

Be accessible – in the pressure, rush and stress of what we “do” every day, we can find ourselves hunkering down to “get it all done”. Pick up your head, stop the auto reply messages and be accessible.  You will find that you will become more of the go to guy or gal.

Lastly, I know all of this sounds quite basic. But we often and unknowingly fall short in these categories. Then later, we wonder why that promotion or next opportunity did not come our way.  So, it’s time to stop shooting yourself in the foot and it is time to step up your game!

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