Category: Career Growth & Advancement


How to Avoid Common Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Career

There are many wrong moves you can make in your career. We’ve all fallen on our faces a few times, especially during the learning curve of a new job. But some mistakes are worse than others.

Today I’m focusing on some of the common mistakes that can ruin your career and how you can avoid them. I won’t include the obvious ones like doing something illegal. Everyone should already know not to do anything illegal!

6 Common Mistakes That Can Cause Career Ruin

1. Agreeing to a superior’s order to do something unethical.

It’s obvious to most people not to do anything illegal in their career. But it may not be so obvious to others they shouldn’t do anything unethical. Even if it’s an order from your supervisor.

If your supervisor has no problem making such a request, he or she probably has no problem throwing you under the bus when the unethical act is discovered. And it will eventually be discovered. Everything comes to light sooner or later.

If ever faced with an order to do something unethical, explain your discomfort and document the conversation. If your boss tries to push the matter or threatens to fire you, start looking for a new job ASAP! You do not want to continue working for someone like this.

If you get fired for refusing the order, you should be able to collect unemployment until you find something new. And depending on the circumstances, you may have a legal case worth pursuing.

2. Relying on just one source of income.

Since anything can happen in your career where a scenario like the one described above could leave you suddenly without a job, you should never rely on just one source of income.

As I’ve written before, there’s no such thing as job security in any company. So start NOW pursuing a side hustle or passion project for a little extra money or start making smart investments. This will help tide you over if you find yourself between jobs or decide to start your own business.

3. Accepting a counter-offer from your current employer.

One of my co-workers at a university where I used to do career advising started looking for a new job at a different university. When he had a potential offer from another place, he casually mentioned to me he might tell our supervisor to see if she’d counter-offer with more money to get him to stay.

I looked him dead in the eyes and told him “Do NOT do it!” He looked a little confused when he asked me “Why not?”

I told him taking a counter-offer can be career suicide. My answer is the same to you if you’re considering accepting a counter-offer.

There’s a reason (or reasons, plural) why you went looking for work elsewhere in the first place. It’s likely those reasons won’t change if you stay for more money. And while the additional money may seem great at first, it won’t outweigh the distrust and resentment which will grow between you and your supervisor or co-workers after cutting this type of deal.

When you do finally leave your employer (and you will), word will get around to other potential employers how you manipulated the situation. This will make you the kind of candidate they won’t want to hire.

4. Overstaying at an unhealthy job.

If your job is affecting your mental or even your physical health, it’s time to go. No job is worth your sanity or your health.

If you overstay at a job like this, you could become so unhealthy you run the risk of not being able to work at all, and therefore losing your income anyway.

Do what it takes to find something new using the resources available on this blog and on paNASH’s on-demand video courses.

5. Agreeing to take on extra work without extra pay for an indefinite amount of time.

There may be times when your company is short-staffed and you have to pick up the slack. When it’s necessary to take on extra work for the best interest of the entire company, you should do so.

However, this should only be temporary. And before agreeing to this, ask what the set end date will be for the extra workload. If you’re told, “until things settle down,” don’t accept this as an answer.

Instead, indicate the length of time you’re willing to do the extra work and schedule a meeting as soon as possible to discuss how you’ll be compensated for any extra work done beyond the specified date.

For instance, you’d say, “I’m happy to cover Sallly’s projects until the end of May. You and I can meet next week to decide how to move forward in June.”

Whatever agreement you come to, get it in writing.

If you’re still doing Sally’s work in June, you need a title change and pay adjustment, or at least a bonus.

6. Promising your employer you won’t job hunt.

Unless there’s a formal agreement in place or you’re receiving tuition reimbursement, never promise not to job hunt or to stay with your company for any specific length of time.

If your boss begs you to stay in a time of high turn-over or a rough patch, ask her for an employment agreement giving you the same assurance she’s asking of you. If she won’t or can’t, don’t allow better opportunities to pass you by.

These are just a handful of mistakes that can ruin your career, but equipped with the knowledge above you’ll be able to maneuver these landmines so you can move successfully through your chosen career path unscathed. Consider it career self-defense!

Click here for more career advice.

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career ruin

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

In several blog posts I’ve talked about the importance of personal branding. Your brand is key to success in every area of your life. It requires consistency and self respect.

But sometimes you can put your personal brand at risk without realizing it. Especially during any vulnerable point in your career. This can include a downsize or layoff, a slow start to a new business venture, or any other unanticipated time when there’s financial instability.

There is the temptation to take just any job or client that comes along. During the slow times of the year I personally face the temptation of taking on projects or clients I know are against my better judgment. Luckily with practice I’ve gotten better at resisting such temptation.

Other examples of putting your brand at risk include:  saying “yes” to every opportunity, giving away your skills and talent for “exposure,” and taking jobs you’re overqualified for in the hopes of just getting a foot in the door with a certain company or industry.

However, you must keep in mind your career choices, just like your personal choices, reflect on you as a person. (And your business if you’re a business owner.)

Don’t Give Away Your Name

Well-known personal development and entrepreneurship blogger Tim Denning explains this in his post entitled “Don’t Put Your Name On Anything That Makes You Look Cheap“.

He shares examples of how easy it is to make this mistake, such as accepting a job or project that goes against everything you believe in. He refers to this as “giving your name away”. I’ve seen this happen with people who take a job just for the money or out of fear.

If you do any of the above (i.e. agree to do a project for free or cheap, settle for a less than ideal job, etc.), then people expect you to continue doing so. Therefore, it becomes harder down the road to ask for what you’re really worth. This includes not just money, but also time and respect.

The point Denning drives home is this:

“Stop saying yes to everything!”

This doesn’t mean you say no to everything, but just to the things putting your personal brand at risk.

How to Say “No”

Saying “no” may sound very difficult to do, especially for people-pleasers.

However there is a way to stop saying yes to everything and to learn how and when to say no. It all starts with a mission. Your mission is the foundational piece to your personal brand.

What is your mission you want to accomplish in life and why? It’s necessary to have a deep knowledge of your mission if your goal is to take responsibility for and ownership of your life’s purpose.

A personal mission statement of how you want to use your talents to accomplish your vision and goals serves as a filter in making important decisions. You use it to filter out the opportunities that don’t support your mission statement. As a result, you know which opportunities to say “no” to.

The opportunities that support your mission statement or get you one step closer to your vision are the ones you can say “yes” to.

How to Write Your Own Mission Statement

Since your mission statement helps you better discern opportunities, it’s important to put some thought into it. Writing one is more of a process than just jotting down some pithy statement in two minutes.

You should take into account all your strengths, limitations, unique differentiators, potential audience, and more. Think about the following things:

  • Who are your various audiences? I use the plural form of audience here because you’ll have more than one audience for each endeavor.
  • What is your audiences’ biggest challenge or problem they face?
  • How do your unique strengths and skills solve your audiences’ problem?
  • What are the additional benefits of your skills for your various audiences?

Protect Your Personal Brand

Having a mission statement is just one piece of your personal brand. In order to protect your personal brand from bad choices, you must have a clear understanding of what your brand is.

What do others think of when they think of you and your work ethic? Are those the things you want people to think about you? Or is there another message you want to convey through your goals and mission?

To gain control of your brand and to build one that’s strong and will take you where you want to go, check out my on-demand course on personal branding. It will give you all the tools you need to attract the opportunities you’ll want to say “YES!” to.

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Are You Where You Wanted to Be At the End of 2018?

Can you believe 2018 is coming to an end? I can’t. This year has gone by so fast!

paNASH and many of paNASH’s clients have had so many great moments in 2018.

I worked hard this year to create more community among my clients by hosting a client-mixer in May, conducting monthly group coaching calls, and establishing a private Slack channel for my clients to serve as a resource for each other.

Also, paNASH was once again named one of the top 10 best coaches in Nashville by Expertise.com for the second year in a row.

Client Successes for 2018

Several paNASH clients are ending 2018 very differently from how they started it. They’ve experienced some major wins and successes.

These wins include leaving old jobs and landing new jobs, furthering their education, starting side hustles, and some even starting their own businesses.

For example:

New Jobs

One client left her previous job where there were no growth opportunities so she could attend coding school. A week before her graduation she landed a position with a well-respected company. She’d previously interviewed with this same company several years ago prior to receiving coaching but didn’t get an offer. Once she made a career change, the doors at this company opened up for her.

Another client who has a passion for politics landed a job with the Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and said goodbye to her old job that was causing her extreme burnout.

Just last week, a client accepted an offer for his dream job. During his coaching sessions he repeatedly said, “I REALLY want this!” And he got it!

Side Hustles

You’ve already read this year about my client Robert who came to a crossroads of having to choose between a well-paying job that made him miserable and an opportunity that would grow his side hustle in animation and possibly turn into a full-time thing with one of Disney’s former top animators. (Click here for that amazing story!)

Speaking of side hustles, another paNASH client discovered a side hustle through our coaching sessions she’d never considered before: voice-over work. She’s started taking voice-over lessons and has already landed a few paying gigs. This allows her to make extra money and provides a creative outlet her current full-time job doesn’t provide.

Business Start-Ups and Creative Outlets

And speaking of finding creative outlets, another client who used to sing gained from her coaching experience the confidence to get back on stage, this time in a lead vocal role of a production of Little Shop of Horrors. She says:

Last year when I started on a new journey, I was apprehensive, and pretty freaked out. When I first met with Lori, she asked a lot of questions that I wasn’t totally sure of the answers. I went home after the first meeting and really pondered on these questions, and came to the conclusion that I needed help.

The first few sessions felt like I was going around in circles. As our time progressed, I began to feel like I was moving forward.

This past year I have really begun to open myself up to the possibilities in my life. I’m in the process of starting my own business. And I was presented with the opportunity to join the cast of Little Shop of Horrors.

I began to really think about when was the last time I’d taken a risk, and I was shocked. It had been ten years since my last risk which was moving to Nashville not knowing anyone.

So, I took a deep breath and said yes to the role in the musical which would allow me to pursue my passion for singing that I had lost after graduating from Belmont’s music program.

paNASH’s coaching has helped me rediscover my former passions and discover new ones. But most of all it’s given me the confidence to pursue them. This year has proven to be astounding.

A few months after the stage production, my client took another risk by adopting a 13-year-old girl with her husband!

Then there’s the client who got married and started a business with her new husband that’s growing so fast they can barely keep up with the demand. The business not only lines up with both of their experience and passions, but also has a strong market.

I always get excited when I see my clients successfully pursue their passions by using the skills and courage gained from their coaching sessions.

What about you?

As we close out 2018, can you look back on the past year and see that you’ve made some major inroads toward your own goals?

Are you where you wanted to be at the end of 2018?

If not, why? Is it simply because you’re still working toward those goals?

Or is it because you haven’t started yet? If you haven’t started, why not?

Do you really want to find yourself in the same place again this time next year?

The Good News

The good news is, come January 1st you get a clean slate of 365 days to work with. Start by trying to answer these three questions:

  • What’s one new experience you want to have in 2019?
  • What’s one way you can step out of your comfort zone in the new year?
  • What goals do you want to achieve in 2019?

Don’t let another year pass you by. Learn how to achieve all of the above with a complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan by subscribing to the paNASH newsletter.

If you’re already a subscriber, then perhaps your next step is to try some coaching sessions. To learn more, complete the paNASH intake form. There are no obligations to filling out the form, so you have nothing to lose!

Happy new year!

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2018

The Most Popular paNASH Blog Posts of 2018

I’m so grateful to all you readers who loyally follow the paNASH blog from week to week. I love hearing your stories of how a particular blog post gave you the courage to pursue your passions. Your support and feedback means so much to me.

As a thank you, here’s a collection of the most popular paNASH blog posts of 2018.

Top Ten paNASH Blog Posts of 2018

  1. Should You Share Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?
  2. How to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable (Until You Can Leave)
  3. What You Need to Know to Ensure a Successful Career
  4. Why “Can I Pick Your Brain?” Is the Wrong Approach
  5. How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk Like an Olympian
  6. “Follow Your Heart” is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice! (Re-post)
  7. Quiz: Do You Really Need to Spend Money on a Career Coach?
  8. The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech
  9. Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is the Best Career Advice
  10. Never Say Never: How to Know When You Should Let a Bridge Burn

Please Share!

Please feel free to share any of the above posts or other paNASH blog posts on your social media platforms and with your friends so others can also benefit from them. Thank you!

Check out additional posts on Medium.com.

paNASH blog

5 Common Fears (and Myths) of Quitting a Job You Hate (Re-post)

You hate your job, but because of it you don’t have the time or energy to start the overwhelming process of finding something new.

And you think you can’t quit it until you find another job.

But is that really a true statement, or just a common myth?

Let’s look at some of the common fears most people have about quitting a job with nothing else lined up.

Let’s challenge the assumptions that breed those fears.


Common Fear/Myth #1

I won’t be able to afford my bills. Is this a true statement?

Do you have a little extra money stashed away you can get by on for a little while?

Are there some unnecessary expenses you can cut to help you pay your necessary bills?

For example, could you sell your car and take the bus for a while? Or just park your car and cancel your insurance for a few months while taking the bus instead?

Do you really need cable or a Netfilx subscription right now? Do you need numerous music subscriptions? Or can you just listen to good old fashioned radio?

Are there some things you no longer need you could sell? What about that treadmill the only gets used as a place to throw your clothes when you don’t feel like hanging them up (you know who you are!).

What about the stack of books you’ve already read (or know you’re never going to read)?

If you live alone, do you really need a TV in more than one room?

Are there some other ways you can earn cash like picking up some temporary side jobs or a part-time job?

In addition, can you get a roommate and charge rent to help with some of your housing costs?

Do you own something else others might want to rent on a short-term basis?

Do you have a skill people will pay you to perform because of their lack of that skill?

Click here to see how this paNASH client has been able to affordably quit his job and pursue his passion in art and illustration.


Common Fear/Myth #2

I’ll lose my health insurance and retirement accounts. Not necessarily.

If you leave your job you can always transfer your retirement over to an IRA where it can still earn some money and you can still contribute to it yourself a little at a time until you get your next full-time opportunity.

The only thing you’ll be missing out on in the short-term is your company’s matching contribution.

When it comes to health insurance, you can easily find temporary health insurance, alternatives to Obamacare, and more.

If you happen to do a little freelancing on the side after leaving your job, you may qualify for very affordable insurance through the Freelancers Union at freelancersunion.org (also, it’s free to join the union!). I get my dental and long-term disability insurance through them at very little cost per month.


Common Fear/Myth #3

It’ll look bad on my resume. Sure, if all you do is become a couch potato after quitting, it will look bad!

However, if you use your time to improve your skillset, take some affordable online classes, do some side or freelance projects, volunteer with a local non-profit, raise money to travel on a mission trip, pursue a passion project, or work a fun part-time job, it’s not going to look bad at all.

Whatever you do, do something you find interesting.

I’m sure if it’s something interesting to you, it could be interesting to the people who’ll eventually be interviewing you.

Show on your resume what you’ve done and the skills and lessons learned from those interesting experiences. This will make your resume stand out.

Tim Ferris, author of the bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek suggests answering the interview question, “Why did you leave your previous job?” with,

“I had an once-in-a-lifetime chance to do [interesting experience] and couldn’t turn it down.”

He says because most interviewers are bored in their own jobs, they’ll spend much of the interview asking how you made it happen.

You can then respond with how your skills and resourcefulness you used to make it happen will make you the person they should hire.

When I started phasing out my image consulting business due to burnout to decide if I wanted to return to full-time career coaching or not, I worked a few weekends teaching beginner stand up paddling at my local SUP shop.

If I’d had to go through a job interview following that experience, I can guarantee you I would pique the interviewer’s interest if I said,

“I taught people the closest thing to walking on water.”

Then, I would tell them about how I used my teaching and training skills to do so.


Common Fear/Myth #4

I need to have a “real job” instead of trying to freelance. Freelancing IS a real job! And it’s one of the fastest growing jobs in the country.

Don’t believe me? Just check out this infograph courtesy of Upwork.com and Freelancersunion.org:

 

Even if you have no plans to become a freelancer, you still need the skills of an entrepreneur to be successful in your next job. (Click here for a list of those skills.)


Common Fear/Myth #5

If I don’t quit now, I’ll never find a way out and will be stuck in my job forever! Not true!

You may feel like you have to quit your job right away despite the fears listed above, but you don’t have to quit YET!

You can start creating an exit strategy now and implement it later when the timing makes more sense.

Yes, eventually you’ll have to rip off the band-aid and quit, but there are ways to be smart about it. I outline ways to wisely plan your escape route in my previous posts When Is the Right Time to Leave Your Job? and How to Make the Risk of Starting Your Own Business Doable.


How to Challenge Your Assumptions and Common Fears

Whatever your fears are about quitting a job you hate, I encourage you to challenge those fears and assumptions. Here are a few ways to do so:

Challenge #1

Learn how to deal with limiting beliefs (the lies your annoying inner critic tells you).

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is this limiting belief keeping me from?
  • What would be the worst-case scenario if I keep believing this?
  • How can I turn this belief around to a more positive statement?
  • How can I benefit from believing the more positive statement?
  • What would be the best-case scenario if I start believing the positive statement?

Challenge #2

Talk to others who currently work in a job or career field you think you might enjoy. Find out from them the career path they followed to get there.

You’ll likely find most people didn’t had a single direct career path that led them there. This will encourage and inspire you.

Also, they may provide you some tips for making the transfer to that industry.


Challenge #3

Take a weekday off from your job and spend the day doing job search activities just to get a feel for what that might be like.

Update your resume. (Click here to read why you should update your resume every six months.)

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with LinkedIn.

Can’t take a day off work to do this? Use one of your non-workdays.


Challenge #4

Put your resume out there and see what happens. Post your resume with no expectations.

You’ll be able to see what kind of opportunities your current resume is attracting so you can figure out how to tweak it with the right keywords to attract better opportunities.


Challenge #5

Write your resignation letter, but don’t send it.

Just write it to help you get used to the idea of what may need to happen in the near future.


Challenge #6

Dip your toe in the freelance water by offering your unique skills or expertise to a few friends or on sites like Fiverr.com or Upwork.com.

Determine from these small assignments if you like working for yourself or not.


Make Time to Experiment

Feel free to find other ways to experiment with the idea of making a job or career change.

Short-term experiments don’t have to financially break you and don’t require a huge commitment.

In fact, these little experiments might be just the thing to provide a little breath of fresh air to your current dreadful situation.

They can either help you hang on a little longer until you’re able to quit your job, or give you the courage now to go ahead and rip off the band-aid.

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common fears