Tag: jobs


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!

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Increase Your Income With This Simple Task

Increase Your Income

The number one way to increase your income is to provide proof of your work accomplishments. By detailing how you’ve impacted your company’s bottom line, you are more likely to increase your income in one of the following ways:

  • Get hired for a higher-paying job at another company (if you are currently conducting a job search).
  • Be promoted to a higher-paying position within your current company.
  • Receive a pay raise for your current job.
  • Avoid a possible layoff.

Accomplishments Are King

In a recent post on The Daily Positive entitled “What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Job Loss,” I said accomplishments are king in the job search. This is because a resume without accomplishments is guaranteed to end up in the trash. But, accomplishments are king throughout your entire career, not just in the job search, especially if you are trying to achieve one of the above results.

So what do I mean by “accomplishments are king”? Your resume, performance review, and LinkedIn profile should never read like a job description. Instead, these credentials should show what you did that no one before you in that position and no one after you can duplicate. They should include specifically how you made a difference in your job. Examples of accomplishments include:

  • Ways you made the company money and/or increased revenue or profit.
  • Ways you saved the company money or decreased spending.
  • Ways you saved the company time or man hours.
  • Ways you increased efficiency or made a process easier.
  • Ways you increased customer satisfaction or decreased customer complaints.
  • Ways you met deadlines ahead of schedule.
  • Ways you came in under budget.
  • Ways you improved staff morale.
  • Ways you discovered a potential problem no one else saw and corrected it.
  • Other examples you can think of.

Quantify It!

Once you brainstorm a list of your own accomplishments, you want to go back and quantify what you’ve done by including dollar amounts, percentages, etc. It’s okay if you have to approximate the numbers or if you have to go back and ask your supervisor what those numbers might be.

Often times when I advise my clients on doing this, I get some push-back. They’ll say something like:

  • “Well, I really didn’t do anything important.”
  • “I wasn’t trying to get the glory, I just did my job.”
  • “I’m not in sales so I didn’t make the company any money.”
  • “I don’t remember what those numbers are.”/”I have no way of finding out what those numbers are.”

Now is not the time to make excuses, especially if your job or salary is on the line. Everyone is unique and everyone solves problems and does their job uniquely. Therefore, you have accomplishments to show your contribution to the company.

You may have to do a little research and reach out to people from your work history, but it’s well worth it when you can prove why you deserve a job offer, promotion, or pay raise. It can even save your current job from possible downsizing if you can show just how big of a loss it will be to the company if they let you go.

Everyone Can Do This

Obviously, someone with more experience is going to have more examples to list, but even someone with very little experience can do this. For example, when I used to work with college students, a student came to me for help with his resume. The previous summer he was hired to deconstruct an old barn. He said, “Ms. Bumgarner, all I did was tear down a barn. How in the world can I make that sound good on a resume?!” After working with him, here’s what he came up with:

  • Worked alone for long hours in extreme heat to deconstruct large barn, calculating the best way to disassemble it without causing costly damage to adjacent structures.
  • Saved $1,500 by reusing board to create additional shelter.
  • Made a profit of $500 by reselling remaining usable metal to salvage yard.
  • Properly disposed of other materials that might harm the environment.

Display Your Accomplishments

Once you have brainstormed a list of your accomplishments, you want to include select ones on your resume under the appropriate job, several of them in your LinkedIn profile, and all of them on a separate document entitled “Accomplishments & Contributions” or “Competitive Advantages.” This separate document will serve either as an addendum to your resume for a job application, or as a stand-alone document for when you go in for a performance review or to ask for a pay raise. It should be formatted neatly, and it can simply be a bulleted list of all your accomplishments (no need to indicate in which job you performed these accomplishments).

Accomplishments ⇒ Confidence ⇒ Increased Income

When you perform this exercise, something magical will happen:  your confidence will soar! It is such a confidence booster to see on paper all you’ve achieved in your career. This confidence will also be noticeable when you go in to a job interview or a performance review, therefore increasing your likelihood of getting what you want. You’ll be able to tell the details of how you achieved such results, which is what employers want to hear!

Most people need help with brainstorming ideas or with the final wording of their list of accomplishments, and that’s what I’m here for. If you need help with making these necessary updates to your resume or LinkedIn profile, contact me so we can begin working on that. You need to be ready for when that promotion or job opening comes up. Don’t wait until it’s too late!