Five Career Blunders and How to Avoid Them
Temujin is back again this week, this time with even more insights from his own career journey. This touching story holds within it some important lessons; take it to heart. You can also read his earlier blog posts on picking your battles, and career stepping stones.
I just got back from lunch, and the sky was pleasantly clear. I was thinking about how I would enjoy the warm summer weekend with my family and friends at Lake George, but then I saw the text from my mom. I placed my right elbow on the table and gripped my hair while staring at the phone.
"I've had to make some very tough decisions"
My shoulders tightened and the rest of these series of memories is a blur. My grandfather was in the hospital, his blood pressure was extremely low, and the doctor didn't know why.
My grandparents took the time to raise me and my brothers while my parents worked so that we could have a respectable quality of life. I wasn't raised with a silver spoon in my mouth. I’m the oldest male in a first generation immigrant family and because of situations like these I've had to make some very tough decisions. There was no question about it: I would help my grandparents by sending them money for any medical treatment that they need.
The day after I found out that my grandfather was hospitalized, I received an unsolicited interview invite. It felt good to know that people respected my work ethic, and that they sought me out. The position seemed interesting enough and would provide me with the means to help my grandparents. I was offered the position and I accepted.
"Sometimes life throws us a storm and the answers are not so black and white."
Weeks later, the doctors found out that my grandfather’s glaucoma eye drops were leaking into his system and causing his blood pressure to become artificially low. The doctors adjusted my grandfather’s medication and it turned out that he was relatively healthy.
Did I make the right career decision? Sometimes I’m not sure. I do regret making the decision under duress, but sometimes life throws us a storm and the answers are not so black and white.
My friends always ask me for career advice so I've taken the time to write the top Five Career Blunders and How to Avoid Them. Here are some tips to help you create a better vision for your career, know your strengths, and ultimately avoid career blunders.
1. Accepting a Position Solely Based on Salary
There is a cliche that says you shouldn't take a position solely for more money. Studies show that once you reach a certain threshold of income and basic needs are met, more money doesn't provide much more satisfaction. A good question to ask yourself is if you feel like you have a mission, sense of purpose, or other non-monetary factor that can increase your quality of life.
2. Accepting a Position Solely Based on a Better Title
Usually a higher position goes hand in hand with a better title and a higher salary. Before taking a new position, ask yourself, "How can I derive purpose and flow from my new role?". What's in a title these days anyway? A Vice President in the banking industry is not the same as a Vice President at a traditional Fortune 500, but I'm sure any Joe Schmoe at some party might not know the difference.
3. Skill Set Incompatibility
Taking a position that requires a skill set that is completely out of your area of expertise can be taken to an extreme. There is reaching just slightly beyond one's comfort zone and then there is reaching to the point where the position is a complete mismatch. For example, a biology major might struggle working in finance unless he or she takes the time to learn on the job. If you feel like the new position is truly a great fit and you are willing to put in the effort to learning the ropes then go for it.
4. Company and Group Culture
Most people see themselves as the person interviewing for a position, but in reality the interviewee should also be interviewing the manager, group, and company that he or she will ultimately work for. Do you prefer retail banking hours or are investment banking hours alright? Does the group go out together for lunch or does everyone pretty much eat lunch at their desk?
5. Thinking You are Stuck
Out of all of these blunders, feeling that you are stuck and will not be able to move to a new position is probably the most detrimental. Does panicking while you are in a tailspin ever help?
While holding your ground in your current job, do some soul searching to figure out what you actually want. Take an inventory of your interests by asking family, friends, and colleagues about your strengths. A great way to explore your interests is to utilize Disqovery to learn more about yourself through the Job Check-Ins and Explore feature’s results.
The Explore results page will show you skill sets that you may like based on the check-ins and will connect you with online and in-person training opportunities that will help you expand your skill set.
Once the results are in, speak with your manager and ask to be put on a project that involves these skills. When the ball starts rolling you can build on the momentum and make a name for yourself, realize your career vision, and ultimately make an impact where your heart leads you.