10 WAYS TO POISON YOUR CAREER
By Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com Editor
It takes anywhere from three to 15 months to find the right job -- yet
just days or weeks to lose it. Here are 10 traits that are career
Kate Lorenz is the article and advice
editor for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search
strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
Possessing Poor People Skills
little likeability can go a long way. Studies by both the Harvard
Business Review and Fast Company magazine show that people
consistently and overwhelmingly prefer to work with likeable,
less-skilled co-workers than with highly competent jerks.
Researchers found that if employees are disliked, it's almost
irrelevant whether they're good at what they do, because other
workers will avoid them.
Being a Team Player
one feels comfortable around a prima dona. And organizations have
ways of dealing with employees who subvert the team. Just ask
Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Terrell Owens, who was suspended
for the 2005 season after repeatedly clashing with and taking public
shots at his teammates and management. Show you're a team player by
making your boss look like a star and demonstrating that you've got
the greater good of the organization at heart.
the deadline is Wednesday, first thing Thursday won't cut it.
Organizations need people they can depend on. Missing deadlines is
not only unprofessional, it can also play havoc with others'
schedules and make your boss look bad. When making commitments, it's
best to under-promise and over-deliver. Then, pull an all-nighter if
you have to. It's that important.
Conducting Personal Business on Company Time
company e-mail and phone systems are for company business. Keep
personal phone calls brief and few -- and never take a call that
will require a box of tissues to get through. Also, never type
anything in an e-mail that you don't want read by your boss; many
systems save deleted messages to a master file. And we can't tell
you how many poor souls have gotten fired for hitting the "Reply
All" button and disseminating off-color jokes -- or worse yet --
rants about their boss for all to see.
Don't isolate yourself. Develop and use relationships with others in
your company and profession. Those who network effectively have an
inside track on resources and information, and can more quickly cut
through organizational politics. Research shows effective networkers
tend to serve on more successful teams, get better performance
reviews, receive more promotions and be more highly compensated.
Starting an Office Romance
Unless you're in separate locations, office romances are a bad idea.
If you become involved with your boss, your accomplishments and
promotions will be suspect; if you date a subordinate, you leave
yourself open to charges of sexual harassment. And if it ends badly,
you're at risk of everyone knowing about it and witnessing the
Fearing Risk or Failure
you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Have a can-do
attitude and take risks. Instead of saying, "I've never done that,"
say, "I'll learn how." Don't be afraid to fail or make mistakes. If
you do mess up, admit it and move on. Above all, find the learning
opportunities in every situation. Remember, over time, risk-aversion
can be more hazardous to your career than error.
Having No Goals
Failure doesn't lie in not reaching your goal, but in not having a
goal to reach. Set objectives and plan your daily activities around
achieving them. Eighty percent of your effectiveness comes from 20
percent of your activities. Manage your priorities and focus on
those tasks that support your goals.
Neglecting Your Image
Fair or not, appearance counts. People draw all kinds of conclusions
from the way you present yourself. So don't come to work poorly
groomed or in inappropriate attire. Be honest, use proper grammar
and avoid slang and expletives. You want to project an image of
competence, character and commitment.
Cubicles, hallways, elevators, bathrooms -- even commuter trains --
are not your private domain. Be careful where you hold conversations
and what you say to whom. Don't tell off-color jokes, reveal company
secrets, gossip about co-workers or espouse your views on race,
religion or the boss' personality. Because while there is such a
thing as free speech, it's not so free if it costs you your job!