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Top 7 Stupid Ways to Sabotage Your Career
By Jill Frank
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We've all done something we regret in our career. You get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach every time you think about it.
Here are some of the obvious and not so obvious ways you can sabotage your career along with examples I have personally observed during my HR career. Names have been omitted to protect the not-so-innocent from embarassment.
- Deceptive and dishonest practices.
Youíre going to get caught. Maybe not the first time, but eventually someone is going to catch on. When they do, fess up. Donít act like the three year old who lies to his mother, naively thinking that she doesnít know you ate the last cookie even though you have chocolate all over your face.
- Illegal practices.
Iím not referring to taking home a company pen. Iím thinking more along the lines of taking home a laptop, check kiting between company accounts and your own, or stealing privileged information for a friend who works for the competition. Don't worry about losing your job, focus on finding an attorney to keep you out of jail.
- MIA during business hours.
Everyone takes a long lunch or cuts out early for happy hour every once in a while. Taking it to the extreme is acting as if youíve been on a business trip (that you expensed) when you were actually on a mini-vacation. This example can also fall under the two previous points. Another example is hanging a sign on your office door indicating that you are in a three-hour meeting when you shopping for a new car.
- Sex and work.
They just donít mix. Whether you are having a quickie in an empty office (or a company planeÖthere IS a pilot on board, YOU ARE NOT ALONE) or youíre having an affair with your (married or single) boss, it will affect your career. Unless youíre looking for a severance package or a reputation you donít want to get back to your family, I donít recommend it.
- Unprofessional image and attire.
Corporate America has relaxed the dress code over the last several years, however, the following are never acceptable. Leather or pleather, in any form other than shoes. That means skirts, blouses, vests, or pants. Visible belly rings, thongs, or cleavage. Drowning yourself in perfume or cologne. Dirty and wrinkled clothes. In my first HR Generalist position, I told new employees to check their attire before leaving each morning and if they hesitated even slightly, change.
- Becoming the company "suck-up".
Thereís one in every company. You know the type; they have their lips perpetually planted on managementís backside. Typically, this path is taken because the person has very little to offer. They become the undeserved, go-to person at the expense of their coworkers and all levels of management between themselves and their new best friend. If Iím describing you, itís time to make a complete career change to a company where your reputation canít follow. Youíll never be able to change the opinions that have been formed by your existing coworkers. Choose a career where you can add value so you donít fall back on old habits.
- Making a fool of yourself at company-sponsored functions.
All executives will have to attend company-sponsored functions, with or without clients. I donít recommend drinking heavily, acting like the office romeo, or doing "The Elaine". Even if youíre not in the office, youíre still at work Ė act like it.
Jill Frank is an Executive Career Coach & Consultant specializing in launching careers up the corporate ladder. For FREE tips and more information, visit her website at http://www.leverageyourtalent.com and blog at http://executiveladder.com
Article Submitted On: April 23, 2006