You may be wondering why your career isn’t advancing at the pace you’d expected, despite the fact that you’re doing good work. If so, it’s possible you’re guilty of subconsciously sabotaging yourself in any number of subtle ways. Here are seven of the most common.
Are You Sabotaging Yourself?
We've mentioned before that it's not wise to fly under-the-radar when it comes to your work. No one likes a braggart, but the sad truth is that no one is going to notice your efforts unless you flaunt them a bit. One of the keys to doing this successfully is making sure that you are regularly updated on your own achievements. Keep a running list of things you accomplish both inside and outside of work, whether it's publishing an article on Medium, gaining a certain number of social followers within a month, or landing a new client for your employer. (Incidentally, this inventory will increase your happiness levels, too.) Depending on the type of work you do, it might also be wise to sprinkle career-related posts into your personal social media accounts. That way, your current or future employer can be made aware of your accomplishments without you having to painstakingly download them.
Even if you spend a significant amount of time working when you're not actually at work, there's something about showing up late to the office every day that signifies to your boss that you're not serious about your job. It's an unfortunate reality, given you may work through lunch or late into the evening in order to make up the time, but it's a reality, nonetheless. Aim to be on time whenever humanly possible. (Caveat: On time in L.A. = 20 minutes late. Traffic!)
Ideally, your boss worked his or her way up the ranks in your company, so they know exactly what your position entails. However, this is rarely the case, and ignorance on behalf of your superior can lead to unrealistic expectations for your performance. If you are constantly being weighed down by an unrealistic workload and yet you don't speak up, your boss may simply think you're not trying to succeed. Make sure you're articulating your struggles regularly without whining—open, non-emotional communication will set you up for success.
A recent study showed that employers prefer working with those who seem talented, rather than those who seem to work hard. This may seem unfair, but it's a phenomenon with which to contend, nonetheless. Though we do advocate for alerting others to your achievements, it's important that those efforts look, well, fairly effortless. Try to limit the amount of stress you project in the workplace to make it seem like you're running sh*t without breaking a sweat. It's not wise to work long hours just to look as though you're doing more than everyone else—your boss is likely to instead wonder why it's taking you so long to complete your tasks, and possibly even assume you're not 100% competent.
The key to getting ahead in most careers is to ask for the responsibilities you want. If you want to one day have your boss's job, ask to take over some of his or her duties now. If you've found yourself in a company you love but in a position you hate, look for a more desirable position within the organization, and then ask whoever feels most appropriate (your boss, a co-worker at your level in that department, etc.) if you can start to learn some of the skills associated with the other position (in your free time, of course). The truth is, people are lazy, and they won't look at you outside of the box you're in now unless you ask them to.
We all encounter setbacks at work, whether they're perceived failures, rejection of our ideas or outright scoldings from our superiors. It's hard not to display normal human emotion in these moments, but we suggest you step out in order to do so. Sulking at your desk is an immature act, and one that won't escape your boss's notice. On a particularly bad day, we see nothing wrong with having a mimosa at lunch—just don't tell your employer we said so.
On a similar note, we find it's hard to hide persistent negative feelings about your position or workplace, and your employer will pick up on your disdain eventually. If you hate your job, we suggest you find a new one as soon as you can. Otherwise, it's only a matter of time before your boss starts to wonder if you shouldn't move on, so as not to infect the rest of the team with your negativity.