Do you feel stuck in your career? Is going to work every day a painful experience because you’re frustrated with your job and just can’t seem to get ahead? Well, it might be time to take a good, hard look at what role you’re playing in the situation.
Many people sabotage their own careers without knowing or meaning to. To break the habit of underachievement, you need to recognize the behaviors that are harming your prospects.
7 Ways You’re Self-Sabotaging Your Career
According to the National Career Development Association, there are seven common self-sabotaging patterns that hold people back. Over time, these behaviors limit your advancement opportunities and leave you feeling stuck. Which description fits you best?
1. Hiders: Do you hide in the background to avoid challenging yourself? It’s great to be a team player, but putting your head down and letting others take credit for your achievements gets you nowhere fast.
2. Blamers: Do you blame others for your lack of success? Whether you fault co-workers or the company itself for getting in your way, playing the blame game is just another way of covering up your shortcomings.
3. Procrastinators: You have big plans, but put them off. You tell yourself you’ll take action next year, when your boss retires, after this big deadline…You never actually achieve your goals because you’re always waiting for the “right time” to pursue them.
4. Defeatists: “Why bother? My boss will never go for it. (or) The system is rigged. (or) I don’t ever get the right opportunities. (or) etc.” Your pessimistic attitude stops you before you can even try.
5. Avoiders: Avoiding the issue altogether is an easy way to never fail. If you keep yourself busy with small, unimpressive projects or non-work related distractions, you’ll still be spinning your wheels while others get promoted.
6. Neglectors: Did you push pause on your professional development? You’ll definitely be left behind if you’re not keeping your skills up-to-date or staying abreast of industry trends.
7. Lifers: Staying in a job just because you’re used to it and have been there for years is a sure-fire way to remain unhappy until you retire. Don’t stay at a job when you know you should go.
4 Simple Steps to “Unstick” Your Career
Use these tips as a step-by-step guide to get your career back on track.
1. Reality check: Before you can make any changes, take a step back and see things as they really are. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Acknowledge your self-sabotaging behaviors and how they hold you back. Are you ready to move out of your comfort zone to make things better?
2. Define your goal: Think about where you want to take your career. Select a goal that’s inspiring but realistic. Don’t settle for something less than exciting; you need that passion to pursue your dreams! Write down your goal and refer back to it regularly.
3. Create a plan: Write down small, practical action items that will slowly take you from point A to point B. Find ways to actively break your self-sabotaging behaviors. For example, if you’ve been neglecting your career development, enroll in a training class at your workplace, in your community, or at a college or university. After you do some small steps like that, take the big leap: apply for a promotion or pursue the degree you’ve always wanted.
4. Review your progress: Refer back to your plan and make adjustments to it as needed. Look at your goals from time to time to stay inspired. Keep yourself accountable and you’ll be where you want to be sooner than you expect it!
It might be hard at first, but sticking to your plan and doing things differently will eventually lead to better habits. As you gain confidence, you’ll be more comfortable taking risks and shooting for higher goals. Keep these tools in your arsenal and you’ll never feel “stuck” in your career again.