Career navigation is a quest. It comprises equal parts art, skill, and knowledge. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics news release from March 2015 those born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 11.7 jobs between the ages of 18 and 48.
We realize this is older data and may not fit your profile. However, anecdotally in today’s short attention span, faster paced career environment one could assume the above number still applies. Or, maybe its too low. Either way, as you wind your way through a career you’ll want to avoid “job hopping” and focus on positive advancements.
With that in mind, we offer a few career killers to avoid. (Note: we are avoiding obvious examples like not walking into your boss’ office and cussing them out, embezzling company funds, or falsifying your resume.)
If you love what you do and love where you are there is nothing wrong with staying in one place for a very long time. However, it is also easy to fall into the trap of complacency. The money’s good, the people are OK, the job is easy – these are traps that can eventually entwine and stagnate you. Worse, it can lead to resentment (on your part) if you just “settle”.
This can be a close friend to complacency. If you don’t work your career, no one will do it for you. Take that developmental course now. Go to this week’s networking function. Be pro-active!
We’re sorry to burst your bubble here but no one owes you anything. You EARN a paycheck. It is not handed to you. Just because you nailed last month’s client presentation does not make you the best that ever lived. Even those at the top of the work food chain are constantly motivated by a fear of failure. OK, you’re good. Now try to be great!
Advancing your career takes research and planning. Don’t just know where you’re going – understand why. Sometimes a sideways move can set you up for a greater leap. Other times a big jump can lead to stagnation. Know yourself and, just as important, know the company you are planning to keep.
Of course, right out of college, you shouldn’t expect to be CEO in three years. Unless you’re running your own start up, moving up the corporate ladder takes time. Don’t be impatient (but don’t wait too long. See “complacency” above).
One of the most obvious hallmarks of “job hopping” is moving just for the money. Don’t get us wrong – a 25% salary increase is a powerful incentive. However, if all you do is chase the cash you will eventually max out.
There are volumes written about this. You know you need to meet people who can offer you new perspectives and exchange ideas. Today’s acquaintance can be tomorrow’s job lead. Networking also applies to how you interact with your co-workers. They ultimately know you as well as anyone and can help (or hinder) your advancement. In short, be a team player.
This is just a small list of potential career killers. We’d love to hear what you think today’s upwardly mobile worker should also avoid. In the meantime, as you plot your future – be smart, be thoughtful, and be ready to adapt.