Career & Money

4 Career Blunders to Side-Step in 2019

Thankfully, there will always be a way to bounce back, but it’s better to avoid these mistakes altogether

With lessons learned in 2018 still fresh in our minds and the clean slate that is the New Year right here and ahead, there’s never been a more optimal time to give your plans a nice refresh. As far as career and personal growth are concerned anyway, this regular fine-tuning is key: What should be done more? What should be done less? What should be dropped altogether?

Forgivable first-time offenses and sometimes-painful rites of passage at work aside, some things really are better off avoided. If well-being and even health, personal growth and work-life balance are on the line, why take the chance?

One thing’s for sure: 2019, we’d like to think, is the year of working better and smarter. Hey, another year older, another year wiser, right? It’s one that we’d like to keep clear of career-defining moves that won’t do us any good in the workplace. Could you be guilty of these career blunders?

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Working yourself to the bone, but burning through your paycheck.

Ideally, 20% of your monthly salary should be put in the bank (with 50% set aside for necessities and the remaining 30 for various wants). If you find that you rejoice over working overtime because this allows you to spend on the things you enjoy a little more, it’s time to reassess your personal budgeting scheme. The other question now: do you have one at all?

Once that paycheck comes, set 20% aside straight away. Save then plot out how you will spend what’s left. Don’t spend then save whatever’s left like it’s an afterthought. The 20% will be harder to come by in this case.

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Romanticizing poor working conditions because you “just absolutely love what you do.”

Paying your dues and taking abuse are two very different things and there’s nothing value-adding, in the long-run at least, about being taken advantage of. Sure, there’s a lot to learn from being made to function in unideal conditions; you also have to earn your stripes somehow and this allows you to pick up valuable traits like resourcefulness, resilience and presence of mind as you perform in high-pressure situations. In bad work environments, however, you eventually stop learning; even graver, you stop growing. So, should you find yourself in a company or part of the industry that’s this toxic, learn what you will but put a “best before” on your stay—much like produce—before the experience turns you rotten or gets the better of you.

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Selling yourself short when a raise or promotion is put on the table.

To claim and acknowledge all the things about you that made that raise or promotion even possible is the way to go. In 2019, it’s perfectly acceptable to be assertive. You know your worth. You know what you bring to the table. You know you are a valuable asset. These are things that should never be downplayed for the sake of appearing humble. When a milestone such as this presents itself, lead with gratitude instead. There’s no reason to feign modesty.

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Thinking about moving up, but not learning anything new.

The highly motivated and ambitious have tangible and recognizable things like promotions, work upgrades and the like to set their sights on. The good side here is that it allows people to focus on the what and perhaps the why. The how, though, is a different story, because what got you to point A won’t necessarily or solely get you to point B. It’s important to keep learning outside the confines of the mandatory workshop in your office, conference or summit. This year, resolve to take up a new skill or invest in your personal growth.

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There’s no wiggling your way out of certain things already expected of the modern-day professional, so there are those blunders to avoid. At the same time, there are things—expectations­­—that you yourself should be setting for yourself if you’re looking to score big in the career department this year. Which self-imposed career blunder are you making sure you side-step this year?

Words Nicole Blanco Ramos

Art Alex Lara

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