Career Advice

5 Ways You’re Hurting Your Career Without Realizing It

Scolding from female boss

There are certain behaviours that are bound to make you look bad on the job. Showing up late, for example, is a good way to incur your boss’ wrath, as is ditching team meetings or handing assignments in past their deadlines. But there are certain less obvious things you might be doing at work that could damage your career in the long run. Here are five to be aware of.

1. Complaining Too Much to Your Peers

You probably know that constantly moaning in front of your boss isn’t the best career move. But griping too much to your peers could have the same effect. If you gain a reputation as someone who’s perpetually ungrateful and never satisfied, your colleagues won’t want to partner with you on projects for fear that your negativity will impact them. A better bet, therefore, is to keep your complaining to a minimum. It’s OK to grumble when your manager asks you to work late three nights in a row, but don’t whine about every little thing that gets under your skin.

2. Not Shaking Things Up

Once you get used to a certain routine at work, sticking with it can be comforting. It’s also a good practice in stress avoidance. After all, if you know what you’re doing, you’re less likely to make mistakes or face challenges that make you look weak. Here’s the problem, though: If you keep up the same routine for too long, you’ll risk cornering yourself into a dead-end job with limited to no room for growth. Instead, try asking your manager to work on a few new projects here and there so that you’re dabbling in different things. Incidentally, this will help with the boredom factor, which might work wonders for your outlook.

3. Keeping to Yourself

It’s a good thing to have the ability to focus on important assignments and avoid the distractions so many office workers face. But if you err on the side of not being social at work at all, it might impede your ability to build relationships with your peers. Rather than stay put at your desk staring at your laptop all the time, make an effort to meet new people and explore networking opportunities within your company. Knowing the right people might help your career just as much as your solid output.

4. Not Asking Your Boss for Feedback

Many employees would rather sit back and wait for their managers to critique their work rather than ask for feedback. But actually, the more feedback you receive, the more opportunities you’ll get to improve as you go. Rather than avoid asking for feedback for fear of opening up a can of worms, ask your boss for a quarterly sit-down to discuss your performance. This will show your manager that you’re invested in doing well and aren’t too proud to accept criticism.

5. Working Late All the Time

You might think that working late consistently will help your career, since it shows your manager that you’re willing to put in the time to get things done. But if you clock those long hours all the time, you’ll risk burning out and having your performance suffer as a result. Rather than go that route, save your late nights for when the situation really warrants it, but leave the office at a reasonable hour a good amount of the time. That way, you won’t be the person who gets taken advantage of by folks who come to expect a certain commitment you were never obliged to make in the first place.

The last thing you want to do is engage in behaviour that hurts your career instead of helping it. Avoid these mistakes, and with any luck, you’ll excel on the job and keep moving forward.

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This article was originally published on The Motley Fool. It is reprinted with permission.

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