You need to take control of your career,
and make sure you are not getting stuck
on these common career hazards.
#1. YOU ARE TOO BUSY
Working too hard can get you stuck.
If you are consistently working really hard and delivering great results, but consume all of your time doing it, you will not stand out as a top performer. You will be seen as a “workhorse”.
One of the biggest factors in increasing your value is that you are able to get out of “workhorse mode” and show that you can get on top of the workload, lead, think strategically, and take on more.
(and you’ll enjoy your life more too.)
- No one other than YOU has any motivation to make you less busy.
Your boss, your company, your peers, your team, only benefit from your tireless output. Why would they want to help you stop giving them the benefit of your hard work?
- Successful people were not the ones who were less busy along the way – they were the ones who figured out how to deal with it.
You have to find a way to not get fully consumed by the activities of your job, but still deliver results really well, AND make room for more. No one will do this for you, it’s up to you.
#2. THE DECISION MAKERS DON’T KNOW YOU
People often fail to get recognized by the decision makers in their own company. Whey they are ready for a promotion, they feel like the need to go to a new company to get it. When there are layoffs, they feel very exposed because they are invisible to upper management.
There’s a simple reason. At a new company you are given an opportunity to sell yourself to the decision makers. The trick is to create that same opportunity in your current environment.
Building credibility and positive visibility is critical. But it’s not about politics either. That can backfire.
You need to understand who all of your stakeholders and influencers are and create appropriate connections with them.
You need to build a strong Personal Brand through excellent work and consistent behaviors. You need to establish positive, constructive communications and relationships in a non-political and non-annoying way. You need to do your work in a manner that creates positive visibility for yourself and your team.
The more visible you are, and the more credibility you have built, the more valuable you are to your team and your company.
#3 NOT ON “THE LIST”
This is related to #2 but there is more to it.
If you are targeting a top spot there is only one way to get it — You need to be on the short list of people who are considered for the job.
There is always a List. If you’re not on it, no amount of hard work and results are going to get you that opportunity.
You need to find out how this works in your environment, and get yourself on the List of people who are being considered for what you want to go after.
#4. AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
Many people are afraid to ask for help because they think they will be viewed as less competent.
If you are advancing your career, by definition, you will be in over your head from time. All successful people have moments when they don’t know what they are doing. If your career is growing and you feel terrified, you are doing it right! — as long as you get help.
Asking for help can actually signal high competence if you do it in a productive way. The last thing a manager wants is to have you suffer and struggle, and not get the job done.
Asking for help builds trust, and getting the job done well builds value and confidence. Suffering alone and failing breeds disappointment.
I have seen people who’s egos prevent them from getting help when they are struggling. It’s not pretty. It often signals the end of their career growth, and either gets them on the unfortunate, don’t consider-List, or on top tier for the layoff list.
Never fail alone.
Get as many mentors as possible. It makes an enormous difference.
#5. NOT GETTING THE RIGHT EXPERIENCE
Don’t leave this to chance.
It’s very important that you don’t expect your current job to provide all the experience you will need for your next one.
You can burn a lot of time in the same job failing to get new experiences. A friend of mine once put it – make sure you are getting six years of experience in six years, not 3 years of experience twice!
The most common mistake people make is to get experience in all the stuff that your target job manages – this wastes a lot of time and means you are getting experience in everything BUT the job you want. You need to develop opportunities to get experience in the actual job you want before you have it!
This is another reason why it important to make room in your current job, and not be continually overwhelmed by the activity of it. You need to nail your current job, but do it in less time, so that you can spend the extra time building your experience base for your future role.
#6 MISSING THE REAL REQUIREMENTS FOR BIGGER JOBS
Many people make the mistake of thinking that excelling in their current job will qualify them for a bigger one, or that talking about past successes alone will impress people.
It’s important to understand that relying on your current and past success is not enough.
You need to show how you will lead differently in a new role with a bigger scope, which requires a completely different leadership strategy to succeed.
What you value, how you lead, and what you measure, all need to change.
This is why #5 is so important – you need to get experience in the job you want before you go after it, even if you don’t have the title yet. That way you’ll learn all the things that are actually involved in doing the bigger job well, and be ready to talk about it, and win it, when the opportunity comes along.
WANT SOME HELP WITH ALL OF THIS?
If you want to a better job, or to protect the one you have, I invite you to attend one of my Career Building Workshops.
The next ones are in Feb and March, and there is a discount if you register by Feb 1.
You’ll get to spend a day with me, and network with peers from other companies, and most importantly, learn what you need to do to build your own plan for your career success.
I hope you’ll join me.
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