By Perminus Wainaina
Faith had just started working as an assistant in an engineering firm when she heard about a growing profession – advertising. She quickly decided to get a diploma in animation and advertising, to boost her chances of getting better pay in that field.
After three years, with just a diploma under her belt, she had not gotten a job.
She had been applying for numerous opportunities, but without any experience, she became frustrated.
It has been six years and although she started helping at her brother’s business, she still feels like she ruined her career before it even started.
Do you feel like you have reached a dead-end in your career and are not quite sure which way to turn? Have you sought advice from your friends?
Truth is, some are willing to help. However, if you listen to the wrong people, you could easily find yourself in the wrong direction.
It’s important to differentiate between good advice built on sound logic and other misguided attempts to point you in the right direction.
Here are things to avoid that could easily ruin your career:
1. Taking a job you don’t want
At first glance, a job that comes your way may seem better than opportunities you cannot see.
It is, however, not a good idea to settle for the first job that comes your way. It might get you away from your present employer, but how long will it be until you’re desperate to leave your new job as well? In all likelihood, not very long.
Switching jobs too often will also raise concerns among employers with evident gaps on your CV – they don’t want to choose somebody who will be looking for the exit door in three months. Being identified as a ‘job hopper’ could dissuade employers from taking you on. If you can wait for a job you want to do, this is a much better course of action.
2. Letting ability determine your career
You’re much more likely to have a fulfilling and successful career if you choose a line of work that interests you.
You may have excelled at mathematics and thought a career in accounting would be the best for you. This should not be the case.
You, and only you, can choose your career. Make sure it’s for the right reason – because you have a genuine interest or passion. This will help ensure you look forward to work every morning, rather than dread it.
3. Going for the highest salary
Going for roles that offer the highest salary might backfire. Just because an organization offers attractive salaries, doesn’t mean they are a good employer to work for. Nor does it mean the role will be interesting or rewarding.
If you go for more money, expect to be under pressure from day one and work long hours to get through a demanding workload. This might appeal to some, but it’s not for everyone.
Also, knowing your worth as a professional is important – you don’t want to get stuck in a job on less money than your colleagues.
4. Staying in a job for security and ease
If you stay in a job simply because it offers long-term security and you can do your work in your sleep, the best years of your career might go by. Your lack of ambition could come back to haunt you later on in your career when you’re getting passed over for a promotion and struggling to improve your earnings and workplace status.
Unless you invest in your career by constantly seeking ways to learn and attempt to keep moving forwards, you can easily get stuck in a rut.
If for example, you are seeking to grow into a leadership role, consider taking up a public speaking course to help you be confident in speaking in public.
5. Waiting for a raise
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
If your strategy for increasing your income is to wait for your employer to come to you, you might be waiting a long time.
Take the bull by the horns sometimes and ask for a pay rise or greater responsibility in the workplace. If your employer says no, then at least you know where you stand. Any future career decisions can be made with this knowledge in mind.
6. Working to live
If all you care about is your social life, then it’s likely you’re going to have an unfulfilling career.
Working full-time means that you spend more of your hours in the office, so the last thing you want to do is end up in a job you hate. The way to avoid this scenario – and get more out of life as a whole – is to aim for a career that appeals to you and do something you enjoy.
It could take several attempts to bag a new job or promotion, with plenty of disappointment along the way. You need to brush off the setbacks and keep going, however long it takes. If you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and have put in the necessary groundwork – in terms of having a well-written professional CV – somebody will take a chance on you eventually. You just have to stick at it until the opportunity comes your way.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through career mentorship programs, he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing.N.B: Would you like us to consider you for a job opening? Boost your job search. Upload Your CV Here. It's FREE