Five Signs You’re Sabotaging Your Career Success

Sabotaging Career Success

Self-sabotage is probably the biggest career success killer. Bad bosses, low pay, and crappy co-workers are nothing compared to the damage we can do to ourselves.

Every single person develops self-sabotaging habits from time to time. The trick is to catch them before they become detrimental to your career success.

Read on to learn about five signs you’re sabotaging your career success, and more importantly, how to quickly kick them to the curb!

You’re overly negative

We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. I think it’s safe to admit that 2020 has been a disaster of a year. Millions of people are unemployed.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer. Oh wait, I am being a Debbie Downer!!

You don’t want to be that person.

Nobody likes to be reminded constantly of how badly things are going. If you find yourself constantly thinking negatively, try stopping your negative thoughts dead in their tracks. Then reframe them. For example, you might think this meeting is going to be so useless. Try reframing to I am going to try to contribute an interesting idea today.

There’s a lot that we can’t control. However, you have much more control over your thinking than you might realize!

See related: Five Signs That You Shouldn’t Accept a Job Offer

You’re a yes woman (or man)

This one’s a giant career success killer.

As a people-pleaser myself, I have been guilty of this many times in my life. But saying yes to everything has consequences. Ultimately you will not only be a yes person, you will also be a miserable person.

Next time your boss asks for something last minute, or your PTA is seeking a new volunteer, take pause. Think about what you have to give up in order to take on the project. Ask yourself if there’s any benefit for you. For example, if you do this major favor for your boss can you ask to come in later another day?

It’s also okay to say yes with exceptions. For example, say yes to volunteer for the PTA event with the exception that you won’t be in charge. Or say yes to the last minute project from your boss but negotiate an extra few hours or additional help.

See related: How to Take Control During Career Uncertainty

You lack self-esteem

Everyone gets down on themselves from time to time. Are you an over-apologizer at work? Do you constantly beating yourself up over small mistakes? Are you letting your self-doubts stop you from moving forward in your career? It might be time to seek help.

First off, there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. For many years I had low self-esteem. Through therapy and self-care, I have gained more confidence in both my personal and professional life.

There are books, coaches, therapists, and podcasts on self-awareness and confidence building. Start with one medium. Then if it doesn’t work, try something else. Keep in mind that if you go the therapy route, it might take time to find the right therapist.

Similarly, not all books or podcasts will resonate with you. If something isn’t working, stop doing it and try something else.

See related: Considering a Career Change? Ask Yourself These Five Questions First!

Your skills are becoming stale

Whether or not you’re looking for a job in 2021, updating and honing your skills is absolutely essential to achieving career success.

When I was working in higher education, our department was constantly testing and adapting new technologies. Although it intimidated me to a degree, I tried to look at it as a fun new challenge. Several times I volunteered to test out new software and report back to the team.

Looking back, I realize the times I’ve enjoyed my job the most was when I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned a new skill.

Technology is important in today’s online world, but honing soft skills is equally important. Learning how to better communicate, problem-solve, manage conflict, listen, and offer constructive feedback are just a few examples of becoming more emotionally intelligent.

If your skills are becoming stale you’ve got options. Seek out workplace trainings or conferences. Get certified online in a new technology or skillset. Find a mentor in your organization who can work with you and offer constructive feedback.

See related: Top Three Tips for Listing Skills on Your Resume (according to a Google hiring manager)

In conclusion

Recognizing you are sabotaging your own career success is the first step. Next, take action to combat the negative behavior. Sometimes all it takes is reframing a negative thought (although re-training your brain might take time).

The good news is that with recognition and a little action, you can greatly increase your career happiness and success.

  • Lee Cristina Beaser

    MS, CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer)

    Lee brings over two decades of expertise in guiding individuals towards career success. Having helped thousands of professionals in a wide variety of industries, she has a deep understanding of the intricacies of the job market. Lee founded The Career Counter, a platform dedicated to providing busy people, especially moms returning to the workforce, with tools and services tailored to their unique career goals.

    Our Founder has over 20 years of experience helping people like you

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