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Research shows that the average person will go through multiple career changes at as young an age as in the thirties. It has not always been like this but this is how it is in the 21st century. Your career is a big part of your life and therefore needs to be planned and executed well. It will take up a large amount of your time and affect every other area of your life.
In the past when economies were a bit more stable than today most people could afford to be with one company until retirement. That is how most of our grandparents went through their careers and they did pretty well. Now that the world has changed and is constantly changing you need to have a different approach in order to blossom in your career.
I am sure you will know that Mondays for the most part are usually depressing because you do not look forward to yet another work week. That may be a symptom of not enjoying what you do but you feel stuck and do not know what to do to get into a better position.
I am going to point out some of the wrong career choices people often make so that you can identify them and know how to avoid them when you do.
1. Not having a vision
Having a vision gives a picture of where you are going with your life and what you want to accomplish. A vision gives a reason for your existence in this life. One of the worst feelings you can have is that of not having a vision or purpose to live for. It is a miserable place to find yourself in.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ H. Thurman
A vision is closely related to your life purpose. Your life purpose is a combination of the things that you love doing and are good at or are at least willing enough to develop the skills required. A vision gives you a reason to get up each morning to live a meaningful life.
What to do: identify what you are passionate about and the things you are good at. Develop the two and you will see opportunities coming your way.
2. Working just for money
Another common mistake is that of making career choices just because of money. Wanting to get paid is not a bad thing at all; it is good, but it should not be the primary factor. The danger with pursuing a career just for money is that tomorrow that industry may no longer be as well-paying as it used to be.
It will serve you well to know that most jobs around the world are being replaced by robots. Jobs that could be done by a team of people can now be done by a single machine.
I read a story about how robots are taking over jobs in China and it is happening in other parts of the world too. This current trend should be warning enough not to just pursue career opportunities for the money.
As long as you love what you are doing you can find new ways of adding value even when the landscape changes. The same cannot be said if you do not love what you are doing.
What to do: work to learn and as you learn you will add value. Value creation is what you will be paid for.
3. Having a big ego
It is scary how some people coming out of school already think they know everything there is to know about life and business. Even having worked for some time there are times when I made the mistake of thinking I knew everything I needed to know.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” ~ Proverbs 3:34
When you think you already know about something you cannot learn anything and that in itself is dangerous. Career opportunities can be lost by an unwillingness to learn on your part. The talent and potential inside of you will not come out as a result and you will only imagine what might have been.
What to do: swallow your pride and work under someone who can teach you what it takes to achieve your goals.
4. Maintaining the status quo
Years ago Kodak went out of business because they refused to adapt to the new technologies of photography. The previous technology of film photography made the company money for a number of years but that could not happen anymore as the landscape changed.
If you get comfortable doing what you have always done you will eventually suffer by becoming irrelevant to society. The skills that got you where you are today are not the skills that will take you to where you want to be tomorrow.
What to do: constantly find ways of improving on your skills even if it is just by a small margin.
5. Poor relational skills
Your career to a great extent will be affected by how well you can relate with other people. I know people who were not as talented as others but found career opportunities because they were able to relate to others in a good way.
“Success comes not from what you know, but from who you know and how you present yourself to each of those people.” ~ Lee Iacocca
A combination of technical and communication skills will help you to go far in your career. 85% of your success will come from having good relational skills and only 15% will be from your technical skills.
What to do: Treat everyone with respect both those above and below you in authority.