A calculated risk can pay off handsomely. For example, if you take on a high-visibility project that you have the skills and the resources to accomplish, it can position you well to another step in your career. In the best case scenario, it could lead to a promotion. But conversely, there are risks that are not worth taking that can derail your career, temporarily or permanently.
Here are some career risks that you should not take:
Tell your co-workers that you are looking for a new job. You may think that you have a good relationship with your co-workers and that they would keep a secret, but you don’t want to find out the hard way that you were mistaken. This risk is not worth taking because if word gets back to your boss that you are looking for another position, your employment could be terminated before you are ready to go.
Flout the rules. Sometimes employees who have been at their companies for some time feel that they have earned the right to ignore the rules, at least some of the time. They may come to work late thinking that if they just produce good results, their tardiness won’t matter. Or they may bend the dress policy thinking that it’s not important. But if your boss thinks these things are important, your boss may not tolerate the fact that you are not complying with company rules.
Move to a new city without a job and without a plan. In some cases it may be necessary to move to a new city without a job (i.e., you are a trailing spouse), but it is definitely not a good idea to move without a plan. You will need to become familiar with the local job market and do some intense networking in order to land a new position within a reasonable time frame if you do not have a job lined up before you move.
Fail to develop a network outside of your current organization. Many people work in demanding positions, and it is easy for work to consume most of your life to the neglect of other things that are also important. If you do not have a network outside of your current company, you could find yourself scrambling if your position is cut. After all, the people within the organization are not likely to be able to help you because when there is a layoff, everyone who is left is concerned with his or her their own job. That is why it makes sense to cultivate relationships with colleagues both within and without your organization so that when you need to make your next career move, you have a network to fall back on.
Let your skills atrophy. Even if you have a job that you love, there is always the possibility that you may have to move on through no fault of your own. That being the case, it is in your best interest to keep your skills marketable. In order for your skills to be marketable, they have to be up to date. Instead of allowing your skills to atrophy, you should stay abreast of what employers are looking for in your field. Then you need to take pains to engage in continuing education so that you can compete in the marketplace if necessary.
Give responsibility of your career to your boss or organization. While it is a great thing if you have a boss who looks out for you and is interested in your career development, you cannot afford to delegate the responsibility of your career to this person. You need to think ahead to what you want your next career step to be and plan for it accordingly.
For professional assistance with managing your career and avoiding other career killers, talk to a certified career coach at 877-743-9521 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.