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What are the biggest career mistakes to avoid?

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  1. Sleeping with a person in the office if you have a power over that person or vice versa. If it’s too hard for you to resist assume the other person has horrible STD
  2. Don’t be fooled by the presentation of HR when you are trying to learn about the company’s culture. Don’t go for the cliche’s like cooperation, hard work, leadership etc etc. If you really want to learn about the company culture carefully observe the star performers of the company and figure out what value they bring in to the company – they usually give you an accurate picture of what the company is looking for and stands for.
  3. Becoming complacent with where you are at your career. A lot of people get their first promotion within months and thinks they are the bomb. Only after a year or so they realize they are struck. There’s always a ladder to climb. Being complacent with where you are is career suicide
  4. Choosing a little extra money over a good boss. The more you work the more you realize that 90% of your fulfillment from work is dependent on the kind of boss you have. Don’t ditch a very good boss for a 5% increment. The 5% will be NOTHING compared to the mental well being of getting to work with a good boss
  5. Always double checking who all marked before pressing the ‘send’ button on mail. You don’t want a mail with cuss words reach your client or your CEO by mistake. You may lose your job for that stupid shit.
  6. Don’t say yes to each and everyone – even when you are a junior. Take only the work you can realistically do and do it extremely well. That’s the only way you will gain respect. Have a clear work philosophy. Have your do’s and don’ts and express them very clearly to the people you work with. Without a philosophy people will overstep your boundaries, take a dump on you and walk all over you whenever they please. Master the art of saying NO.
  7. Invest time in your juniors growth not just because it’s the right and noble thing to do, but also to move up the corporate ladder. You are not going to get that promotion unless you position a replacement who’s ready to take on your role
  8. Your personal life and professional lives are not separate. If one of them’s screwed, the other is not going to be extraordinary. Or at least you won’t be able to sustain at an extraordinary level.
  9. Never leave any room for confusion after a meeting. To be always on top of all official conversations follow up with your boss, team, clients or agency with a summary e-mail of the discussion. This will ensure no one turns around and goes ‘but we never discussed this’.
  10. Never ever ever link your personal identity with your job. If you identify yourself as X working as Y for Z and if you are fired from Z your life’s going to come at a stand still.
  11. If you don’t invest time to network, your career trajectory will stagnate after a point. Network relentlessly within the organization and the industry you work in. Your network is going to determine how big of a jump you will make from your current job. So invest a lot of time networking.
  12. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever forget that you a replaceable. No one’s bigger than the organization. Not even you. Even if you are a star performer know that you can be replaced. AND VERY EASILY.
  13. Last and most importantly do not think that recognition will come just because you are good. Learn to blow your own trumpet and get noticed. Learn to sell yourself. Know that in the corporate world you are a resource. A product. People buy into products that is sold to them in the most attractive way. Your boss is people, your next hiring manager is people, your team is people. So learn the basic principles of sales and marketing and learn to apply some of it to make yourself visible in the organization (and later as you grow – be visible in the industry) If you are wondering why you haven’t got that promotion even after working 90 hours a week, it’s because people above you don’t see you as an attractive product.

Jim, Indian Millennials Academy

Original: Jim Jacob’s answer to What Are The Biggest Career Mistakes To Avoid?

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