- Wikimedia Commons
In your career there will be times when you realize you’ve made the wrong choice after it’s too late.
Sometimes, if you can learn something from your mistake, you wind up better off than before.
But other choices are best to get right the first time around.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” recently spoke with Business Insider about some professional decisions that we’re all better off avoiding.
Here are five career decisions that could seriously mess up your professional progress:
1. You try too hard to strike out on your own
We’ve all met a lone wolf. In the workplace, they strive to receive acclaim independently, foregoing teamwork in favor of flying solo. Taylor calls this phenomenon “hero syndrome” and says it usually ends up backfiring.
“When you fly solo, you may get initial recognition or glory from management, but it will be fleeting – and you’ll soon lose the very team support you need to succeed,” she says.
2. You ignore your gut and chase money and prestige
- Thomas Leuthard/Flickr
Glory and cash are great and all, but things probably won’t work out if you have a feeling that you won’t get along with the folks at your new company.
“It’s a well-known fact that people leave managers, not companies, yet many are willing to put aside ‘that little voice’ at the start, for the sake of what seems so alluring on paper,” Taylor says.
“That’s a short-sighted decision if you end up miserable or leaving prematurely,” she continues. “Better to weigh all aspects of your existing and alternate jobs where the fit feels right, taking into consideration the human factor.”
3. You quit a job without exploring your options
It’s rarely a good idea to quit on the spot. You’re better off approaching your manager first to attempt to leverage.
“Managers are usually shocked to hear that their best talent is walking … and often it’s too late for them to do anything about it,” Taylor says.
Managers are not always in tune with the individual aspirations of their team, so Taylor says the onus is on you to diplomatically be the squeaky wheel and ask for what you want.
“Very often your aspirations can benefit the company; you may have untapped skills, for instance,” she says.
4. You never speak your mind
- Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters
Taylor says that early in her career, she often preferred to keep her head down.
“I soon learned that I couldn’t be myself if I didn’t tell it like it is, despite any potential fallout,” Taylor says. “I was happy to learn that most managers don’t want ‘yes people.’ At least the good managers! Good bosses know that some resistance adds value and depth.”
A good boss knows when employees are just agreeing with them for the sake of kissing up.
5. You avoid taking any risks at work
Don’t be afraid to take a well-thought-out chance every once and a while.
“It’s easy to take the safe route in how you do your job and the positions you choose,” Taylor says. “It may be as simple as speaking up in a meeting, suggesting a new system, or thinking outside the proverbial box to solve a client problem.”