Career Advice, Insights

7 Big Career Mistakes Professionals Made (And How they Bounced Back)

Smiling business team standing during meeting

Whatever stage you’re at in your career; whether you’ve been working for a couple of years, are heading up the career ladder or are running your own business, at some time we’ve all made a mistake or two.  At the end of the day, we’re only human!

Glassdoor spoke to seven successful professionals to find out how they bounced back after a big career mistake. 

Failing To Ask Questions

Rebecca Peel, Digital PR Consultant, Hallam 

“I was asked to create an article for a client on the topic of radio frequency. I knew nothing about this subject, but I didn’t want the client to think I didn’t know what I was doing. So instead of asking the client for further information and clarifying what they wanted the article to be about, I did my own research.”

“The result was that the article was pretty poor, and the client wasn’t pleased. They asked for it to be rewritten or binned!”

“I’m a great writer, but this lesson taught me that I’m not an expert on everything and that asking questions and getting clarity on what is needed before starting work is key to producing a good piece.”

Not Moving On From A Company Sooner 

Jonathan Birch, Creative Director, Glass Digital 

“The biggest mistake I made was staying with a company whose values didn’t match my own. While you’re not always going to see eye to eye with your employer, if it gets to the point where you’re consistently working on projects you don’t believe in or you’re fundamentally disagreeing with the way business is being run, it’s probably time to start looking elsewhere.”

Some of my colleagues felt the same way, and we eventually gained the confidence to leave for somewhere that shared our values.”

Saying Yes To Everything

Helen Jackson, Content Strategist, Helen J Marketing 

“When I first started working for myself, I said yes to every opportunity that came my way. I also allowed myself to be haggled down on price. Over seven months, this ended up costing me a lot of wasted time and a heap of money – I’m still owed money from some clients nearly two years on!” 

“I realised that I couldn’t continue working like this. I learned to stick to my pricing and truly believe in the value I deliver.  I also don’t work with or for people I truly don’t enjoy working with and most importantly – have belief in yourself!”

Falling Victim to Cybercrime

Malvika Sheth, Founder & Digital Content Creator, Stylebymalvika 

“I was excited to receive an email about a potential business proposal. The email directed me to an Instagram account. This didn’t seem unusual as given the work I do; my business relies heavily on Instagram. What I didn’t realise was that it was a scam and by clicking the link my own Instagram had been hacked. The hacker was threatening to delete all my work (nearly two years-worth) if I didn’t respond to their requests.” 

“In my thirst for success I overlooked the small details, like the email address didn’t look right and I was asked to enter my login details to access the account.”

“It took a lot of resilience and belief to come back from this. Luckily, someone there was able to assist which meant all my work wasn’t lost.”  

Going For The Cheapest Option

Andrew Dark, Director & Co-Owner, Custom Planet 

“A focus for our business was becoming completely paperless in production. We bought a load of budget tablets for all our production staff. They were used for about a day before our staff reverted back to paper job sheets. This was because the batteries didn’t last a whole day, our Wi-Fi was too slow, the screens were too small, and the tablets didn’t run fast enough. 

“This has taught us to look at the bigger picture and put proper systems in place rather than just going for the cheapest option.” 

Underselling Myself 

Olga Mykhoparkina, Chief Marketing Officer, Chanty 

“When I first started out freelancing, I wanted to get as many jobs as I could, so I lowered my prices.  This initially got me a few jobs, but it did more harm than good. I had a hard time moving up and increasing my rates because my clients were used to paying me lower rates. It took me almost a year to find new clients and pitch them with the prices I really wanted to get for my work.”

“This lesson has taught me to never settle for less and to never work for a rate that you are not happy with.”

Trusting The Word of Others, Combined With a Lack of Research 

Danny Scott, CEO & Co-Founder, CoinCorner 

“In 2009, I was in my last year of university and a lecturer mentioned that whoever solved the Byzantine Generals’ Problem would be incredibly rich. I decided I wanted to know more about this and during my research I came across Bitcoin. Taking the little information I had, I went back to my lecturer, who instantly dismissed Bitcoin as a fake. Believing their word, I paid no further attention to it.”

“Then in around 2011/12, I found out that Bitcoin had solved the Byzantine Generals’ Problem and that it was becoming a revolutionary piece of technology. This piqued my interest and I researched it further which eventually led to me founding my own successful business in 2014.” 

“If I hadn’t just taken the word of my lecturer and I’d looked further into Bitcoin, maybe I would have started my business earlier. This experience has taught me to do my own research and make decisions based on this and not what others tell me.” 

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