We all make mistakes in all areas of our life, not just our careers. As a matter of fact, mistakes are proof that you are trying. However, it is sensible to learn from the mistakes of others. Like Groucho Marx rightly said- You can never live long enough to make all mistakes yourself and learn from them.
Let me list 4 major mistakes that should be avoided in a corporate career:
1)Not asserting your worth
Do not underestimate your worth. If you don’t value yourself why will someone else do? We have been taught that we shouldn’t blow our own trumpets. Many of us incorrectly interpret Sri Krishna’s teaching in Bhagvat Geeta. We believe that doing our duty diligently will automatically manifest results. In the cacophonic corporate world, too much humility many not be a very good marketing tool. My earlier boss used to maintain that even a mother doesn’t feed the child until it starts crying. Be smart in taking up relevant important projects and talking about the results of your hard work. Be assertive in asking for promotion or raise or bonus based on these results you have achieved by burning the midnight oil and working weekends to achieve.
You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.
2) Treating your career as linear rather than lateral
Have clear career goals. Remember that 90% business organizations’ sole objective is to satisfy the shareholders, instead of tending to the interests of all stakeholders. Not only your manager but your HR might be working to please the top management. Do not let your boss take decisions on your career progression unless these options resonate with your core values.
Keep sharpening the saw. Invest in yourself. Almost 30% of the jobs we have today shall become redundant in the next 10 years. Learn, unlearn and relearn should be the mantra. An incremental raise in the current job should not be the sole basis to continue in that job. Quality of life, compatibility with the superior, office environment, future prospects should be considered. Instead of a straight ladder, explore a career lattice, which is a career progression pathway that allows for vertical, horizontal or diagonal movement. If your department isn’t allowing the all-round growth you seek, you need not stay in the same department throughout your life. Take charge of your career.
When employees quit, they generally want to leave their managers and may not necessarily want to exit the organization. It is tempting to get emotional and vent out on the boss while bidding goodbye. It is imperative to be mindful and deal with the situation in a mature manner. We live in a very small world where everything is interconnected. If you do not change your domain there is a very high probability that you might come across your boss in the next assignment. It also helps to reckon that the person who supposedly hurt you might have a change in heart in the future. Move on from the organization, if that is the best way forward, but do not burn bridges.
4)Killing yourself for your organization that would replace you within a week if you dropped dead
No one is indispensable. A corporate is much bigger than a person. It moves on irrespective- whether it is a CEO who exits, or a manager or a labourer.
Corporates carefully calculate the dopamine rush that hit the employees when they are given a task and rewarded for that task. This repeats over and over again till employees are so high on the dopamine kick that they neglect their health and their families in pursuit of ‘goals’ that the company sets for them. In the post Covid WFH era, employees are so apprehensive about being handed over a pink slip, that they are working much more than before sitting in front of their systems from morning to night. This has caused spike of mental health related issues in the last few months. Draw a line and express so to your superior. Doing so will not only restore your work life balance but your manager will start respecting you more.