Common Career Mistakes
Goldsmith lists seven professional mistakes that contribute to career failures in otherwise competent, successful and smart people:
- Waiting for the Facts to Change
- Looking for Logic in All the Wrong Places
- Bashing the Boss
- Refusing to Change Because of “Sunk Costs”
- Confusing the Mode You’re in
- Maintaining Pointless Arguments
a. Let me keep talking.
b. I had it rougher than you.
c. Why did you do that?
d. It’s not fair.
As you examine these potential pitfalls, try to pinpoint the ones to which you’re predisposed.
If you’re good at what you do and like your job, it’s easy to take on new challenges. You’re bursting with mojo. People want you in their meetings and on their teams.
The old adage, “If you want something done, just ask a busy person,” may apply to you. And if you’re ambitious, the last thing you want to admit to your boss or coworkers is that you can’t handle everything.
If you believe you have superpowers, you will box yourself into a corner by taking on too many tasks. At that point, the quality of work and good humor will begin to fail, and you’ll lose your mojo (and possibly much more).
Ironically, the habit of over-committing has an unintended consequence: It makes us appear under-committed — a perception rarely appreciated by customers, colleagues or bosses.
2. Waiting for the Facts to Change
When we experience a setback, it’s not uncommon for us to wait for the facts to change into something more to our liking. Such wishful thinking is the opposite of over-committing, as it leads to under-acting. Instead of doing something, you freeze and do nothing.
When the facts are hard to swallow, ask yourself: “What path would I take if I knew the situation won’t get any better?” Then, get ready to pursue that path.
Doing nothing is akin to moving backward — a behavior you cannot afford in a constantly changing world.
3. Looking for Logic in All the Wrong Places
We devote many professional hours to finding logic in situations where none exists.
Human beings are profoundly illogical. Our minds crave order, fairness and justice, and we’re trained to value logic. But much of life, work and decisions that affect us are unreasonable, unfair or unjust, which sets us up for disappointment and can kill mojo.
We sometimes hope logic will prevail against all odds and that it will prove we’re in the right. If we capriciously stick to our guns until the bitter end, everyone will see how right we are. In the meantime, we seriously damage important relationships.