12 Career Roadblocks That Are All Your Fault
Career roadblocks are something everyone faces as they enter and move through the workforce. It’s just a fact-of-life.
But so long as “you do you,” anything can be overcome. The real problem starts when the obstacles aren’t created by situations but by character flaws.
Students need to be aware of what these character flaws are early on in their lives. They need to know what companies will expect from them beyond their knowledge and training.
In the following article, we’ll be discussing a dozen things that you could be doing to mess up your own career chances. Pay attention to these now so they don’t upend you when it really matters the most. Let’s begin!
1. You gossip too much
Gossiping is something that usually comes to mind when you think of small towns. But what is the workplace if not a small town unto itself?
It’s very tempting to talk about other people or to “listen about” other people. The latter is when you may not engage much in the talk yourself but you live for hearing about it.
Either one can create career roadblocks that keep you in a permanent holding pattern, or backsliding altogether. Allow us to explain.
No matter how you’re engaged in office gossip, you’ll be noticed engaging in office gossip. In other words, your bosses tend to notice the groups you run with and, fair or not, assume you’re the same as the company you keep.
So try to steer clear of it altogether. At least if you want your career to go anywhere rewarding.
2. You suck the air out of every room
So much of the success you will experience in life comes from the relationships you’re able to create along the way. That’s why you hear so much in the marketing world about “relationship marketing.” It’s no different in the workforce.
You can’t really be good at your job — or at least good for your company — if you’re bad at building relationships. Being the type of person who puts others on-edge, doesn’t get along with others, doesn’t find humor or enjoyment in anything — all of this ensures you’ll never represent your organization well.
And if you’re running a company and behaving in such a manner, you’ll always find it difficult getting good workers to represent you. They’ll only be with you until they can find something else. So don’t let poor social skills and attitude win out.
3. You always have an excuse why it won’t work
Have you ever been around someone who was so ready to dismiss your ideas that they had a condescending air about them before you even got the whole concept out of your mouth? For lack of a better word, these people suck.
They always have an excuse why something you suggest won’t work. Normally, they take this approach because they feel threatened by you. They want to make sure their ideas shine through or, at the very least, yours don’t.
They are poison to any organization that is unfortunate enough to have them. And if you’re the one engaging in this type of behavior, then don’t be surprised when everyone hates you and your boss’s dismiss what you have to say. They don’t want someone who’s going to hold back their company.
4. You do too much ‘Me’-oriented sucking up
“Sucking up” isn’t such a bad thing if your “sucking up” consists of doing things that make the company or organization better. Company-first motivations, in all reality, aren’t sucking up at all. They are, quite simply, doing what you’ve been hired to do.
Where it gets dodgy is when the personal motivation is the only thing fueling the outcome. And yes, that means you can do something good for the company in the short term and still be guilty.
This is true because selfishness will eventually win out. It will make its appearance at a time that diminishes the organization in some way. “Me-oriented” is no way to build a long-term career, so don’t let it be what drives your performance.
5. You tear others down
People who build themselves up by tearing others down are fooling themselves. They think they’re elevating themselves in the eyes of their superiors when, in reality, they’re bringing down everyone to their level.
This makes for an inevitable career roadblock because you end up being the captain of a sinking ship. And last we checked in the history books, the captain of the Titanic never went on to sail another vessel.
So know this: you may be able to “get ahead” by tearing down a few of your co-workers. But any success you enjoy in doing so will be fleeting at best. And at the end of the day, you’ll have to live with the knowledge that you were a major reason for the failure.
6. You worry more about what others are doing
Another type of person you may be unfortunate enough to encounter in the workforce is the one who never seems to have any ideas of their own so they constantly want to jump in and micro-manage what you’re doing. Even if they’re not over you!
These people can kill creativity in all of their teammates and simply take the joy out of showing up for work each day. Toxic organizations where people hate their jobs more than anything in the world are filled with these kinds of people.
Business owners try their best to root them out and get rid of them because they know they’re bad for the long haul. Analyze how you work with others and make sure you’re not this type of person if you have any hopes for a successful career.
7. You are overly passive-aggressive
Directness will take you much further in the corporate world than anything else. If you’re the type of person who just goes around stabbing everyone in the back, then it will eventually catch up with you.
Being passive-aggressive puts everyone on notice that they can’t trust you. Word of this will eventually get to the key decision-makers. Before you know it, you’re on the chopping block at the first sign of cutbacks.
If you’re the type of person who has trouble being direct, we suggest you start with something small. Stand up for yourself when you ordinarily wouldn’t. Winning one battle will gradually lead you to bolder victories.
It will also change how you approach problem-solving and relationships. The quality of your results will be far greater than anything you can achieve tiptoeing around people.
8. You take criticism harshly
It’s never fun to hear what you’ve done wrong or what you could be doing better. It highlights a weakness in what you thought was a strength. But there are two types of people: 1) those who retreat inside of themselves and defend their work, or 2) the ones who resolve to learn and grow and get better.
Care to guess which kind goes further in a career field? If you have issues taking criticism and making something useful out of it, then you need to take a step back from the initial sting of it and start pulling out the useful bits that could actually serve you better down the road.
9. You impede change
Companies enjoy embracing change because they know the world of five years from now — whenever now is — will look a lot differently than the one of today. If you’re not learning how to go with the flow, then you stand a pretty certain chance of falling into failure.
Complaining about the new protocols or procedures that come down from up-top does you little good. But being the first to step up and take control of the directives, that will take you far!
Make sure you have a strong relationship with the reality of change. If you haven’t experienced it in life, you will. And it’s best when that happens to be prepared.
10. You will not take ownership
Ownership of mistakes is just as important as ownership of achievements. See, your bosses know no one is perfect. They know this because they’ve lived a lot of years and made many of those mistakes themselves.
When they see someone who runs from responsibility, they see someone who is expendable. You’ll go much further in life stepping up and taking the blame if the blame is yours to receive. Most screw-ups won’t get you fired, but they will put you on notice.
How you deal with those situations will ultimately be the difference between growth and career disaster. So be bold. Own your mistakes as much as you do your accomplishments and vow to grow from them.
11. You seek undue credit
People who take credit for others’ accomplishments are the lowest of the low in the business world. They try to win off someone else’s hard work and effort.
These individuals lack ingenuity and, what’s worse, they get in the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. The ones who are taking chances, making sacrifices, and striving for a greater good.
The answer, if this is your weakness: spend less time worrying about what others are doing and try to pour your innovation and creativity into something original. Find more efficient ways of doing your job. Look for opportunities to make your workplace and the lives of your co-workers better.
12. You are resistant to collaboration
Collaboration leads to opportunity. It builds relationships. It makes you better, and it can make the company better.
Resistance to collaboration is resistance to all of those things. But many people still do it because they fear others will steal their ideas. So they hole up inside of themselves and rely on their own ability to find the next big thing.
If you’re this way, stop it. You’re holding yourself back. Collaborating with others is the surest way to attach your name to more and more accomplishments in your current and future employment.
These Career Roadblocks Are All Within Your Control
The career roadblocks you face in life should never be of your own making. If you are suffering from any of the above, call them out and begin working toward a better you. You’ll be glad you did.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]