Career Talk 03.01.18

8 seriously bad career habits you need to leave in 2017

You can cultivate bad career habits without even knowing. Well, a new year means new rules. Together we can knock those quirks on the head and have a successful 2018.
Avantika Vaishnav
Avantika Vaishnav

2018! 2018! It’s 2018! Just in case no-one’s knocked on the window of your nuclear bunker to tell you, it’s a New Year. And, depending on your level of cynicism, a new year might require a new you.

The beginning of the new year is a good time for many things, namely putting as much distance between you and your past self as physically possible. It’s a time for reflection and self-improvement, especially career wise.

We’ve made a few suggestions on career-related New Year’s resolutions, but now it’s time to check out the flipside – those bad career habits that are holding you back. Nobody’s perfect, so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been doing these things. It’s just something for you (and us  ?) to aspire to. Here are a few things to leave in 2017:

Skipping breakfast

bad career habits

Eating a well-balanced meal first thing in the morning after you wake up? When you’ve got a million things on your to-do list? Who has the time, amirite?

Well, apparently, you should make the time. I’m sure many of you are well aware that sacking off the most important meal of the day leaves you tired, irritable and unable to focus. Waking up to rock-bottom blood sugar levels after having not eaten for 12 hours is no fun, and it definitely affects your work.

Be sure to make a point of getting something down you before you start. If you like a lie-in like us, pop some cereal in your cupboard in the office and munch it when you get in. Sorted.

Bad communication

Being good at your job is one thing, but you’d be surprised how many people are not good at verbalising how good they are. Get into the habit of actually notifying your manager when you complete a task, especially when you’ve done it well.

Remember to keep them informed of your plans, progress and any problems you run into, as well as anyone else involved. They’ll thank you for keeping things up to date and closing feedback loops.

Not volunteering your ideas

bad career habits

Life’s too short to not speak your mind on things. Just remember, the fact that you have a job in whichever industry makes you a professional, and professionals are entitled to an opinion.

A good office is a safe space for ideas and your colleagues shouldn’t make you feel bad for suggesting things or asking questions. Shying away from getting involved in meetings will do nothing for you. Make 2018 the year you show you have initiative.

Complaining too much

You might think having a good ol’ rant about about how work is going is actually helping you out, but it’s really not. A study showed that people who complained about things that happened during the work day tended to dwell on negatives for longer, and felt worse about things when they woke up the following day than those who didn’t.

There’s plenty of actionable solutions for what’s bothering you at work. Making the effort to improve things – whether by building resilience, improving company culture or placing an emphasis on self-care – will help you more than you imagine.

Giving only negative feedback

bad career habits

Not all of us are blessed with competent, hard-working colleagues, and to those people we say this: your patience is commendable. The world needs more people like you. One day, we’ll all be able to work in a place where nobody gets anything wrong or makes the same mistake twice.

For now though, try to avoid giving only negative feedback to your colleagues or subordinates. Practice the complement sandwich, where you find two positive things about a person’s work and put them on either side of the improvement point in conversation, so as not to discourage them.

Cutting yourself off

Just as the United States of America abandoned an isolationist foreign policy in the early 20th century, so must you leave your isolationism in 2017 (woo! History joke!). In a job market that grows more unpredictable by the day, you can’t afford to not be making meaningful connections with people any more.

That means you should not only build good relationships with your colleagues but people outside the company, too. If you’re fortunate enough to share offices with other companies, make a point to chat to them in 2018.

Frittering your day away on social media

bad career habits

A jar of five magic beans for anyone who can tell us how to avoid wasting time on social media  when your job involves lots of social media.  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram really are swallowers of souls, time and energy, and while everyone needs a break, it’s probably gonna be good for your output to regulate things a bit. There are even a few browser extensions that do just that.

Not being kind to yourself

Some of you might be off to a flying start in 2018 already, others of you might not. Whichever one of these applies to you, understand that your going to make mistakes in 2018. Not everyday is going to productive, you won’t be in the mood to smash it every time, and that’s totally okay.

The most important thing to remember this year is to take care of your mental health and give yourself time to develop.

Think about yourself at the beginning of 2017 compared to now. Different, right? No, better. And that didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen non-stop. It took all year and tons of hard work on your part.

The fact that you here now, whether you just started your job or you’ve been there a while, is entirely down to you. Stay on that path, and you’re sure to build on those successes in 2018

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