7 Mistakes that can kill your career

Even if you’ve spent many years building up a spotless reputation, just a few wrong moves can have devastating consequences for your career. Whether you’re entering the job market, or have already been working for a while, these are the career-killing mistakes that you should be aware of.

1. Not actually working at work
One of the most common gripes voiced by employers is the tendency of employees to spend their work time watching YouTube videos, surfing the web or browsing social media sites. Doing this equates to abuse of company resources, and results in many hours of lost productivity. Remember that you’re at work to do work, and that your employer is paying you for it. Do your utmost to restrict these activities to your personal time.

2. Committing a crime
Even one seemingly small crime can set you back for the rest of your working life. You’re going to struggle to find a decent job if you have a criminal record – few employers can look past this stain on your reputation. If you commit a crime while in employment (even if it’s not related to work), there are also bound to be severe consequences. A disciplinary hearing is virtually guaranteed, and there is a strong possibility of immediate dismissal. In the workplace itself, employees are being increasingly caught out for the illegal downloading of movies or music, so avoid this temptation at all costs.

3. Displaying a lack of social skills
In the modern workplace, soft skills are regarded as just as important as the technical skills you need to secure a job and to do it effectively. If you can’t gel with your colleagues, clients and other stakeholders, then there’s little chance of climbing the career ladder, even if you’re a hard worker. Make sure that you work on improving your social skills, and steer clear of being rude, arrogant or pessimistic at your workplace.

4. Not adapting to change
The fast pace of change – fueled by technological innovation and increasing levels of competition – is another characteristic of today’s world of work. Employees who can’t adapt to this change are quickly left behind and their skill sets start becoming obsolete. To maintain your relevance, you should ensure that you’re constantly updating your skills, learning new skills and staying up to date with trends. You can expand your skill set by enrolling in short courses or workshops.

5. Making a social media blunder
We’ve probably all seen examples of the massive impact that one inappropriate social media comment can have on a person’s reputation. A person’s name is often linked to the company they work for, so by posting something inappropriate, you’re causing damage to your employer too. If you make the grave mistake of posting a negative comment that lands you in the national news (think Penny Sparrow), you may make yourself extremely undesirable to current or future employers.

6. Being caught in a lie
As with any relationship, good working relationships are built on trust, and nothing can break this trust faster than being caught in a lie. Strive at all times to be honest with your employer and co-workers; not doing so will lose you their respect and possibly your job too.

7. Being late for work
Your boss will probably forgive you if you have a valid reason for being late, but if you make it a habit, your constant excuses are unlikely to be accepted. You have a duty to arrive at work on time and to put in the hours required in your contract. If you’re constantly late, there’s a good chance you’ll get official warnings that could eventually get you sacked.

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