Stop Sabotaging Your Career

I can’t believe I got passed over for that promotion again.

Why don’t I ever get picked to lead the projects?

I swear, no matter what I do, I can’t get ahead!

Sound familiar?   I recently heard this from a client.  Here was my response.. “I can tell you what’s holding you back but you’re not going to like it,”   “Not going to like it? You’re kidding me. I’m dying to know how I can fix this!”

He felt that despite putting in all his time and effort he was firmly stuck in the same spot career wise. He kept getting new roles at his organization, but after 7 years he hadn’t really moved up. He’d just been moved around. You can imagine the shock when he realized what had been holding him back all this time was not his company or his boss – it was him.

sabotaging your career

I told him “Well, it’s simple really. You need to stop sabotaging your career.”

We are often the biggest obstacle to growing our career.  The good news about that is that YOU are the one thing completely within your control. That means you can work to remove those obstacles.

How to Stop Sabotaging Your Career

1) You Can’t Play The Blame Game To Get Ahead – Lead

When things go wrong at work, it’s really not important who is to blame. In fact, that person won’t be remembered but the person who steered the ship back on track and fixed the problem will be. Rather than assigning blame and finding the villain, your focus should be on being the super hero. You’ll really be noticed if you’re able to get the entire team on board with fixing the problem rather than figuring out who caused it in the first place!  If you are one who brought the team together or saved the project, you will be seen as a leader.

2) You Can’t Do Just Enough – Exceed Expectation

No one says that work should be the center of your world but you’re surely sabotaging your career if you only do what’s required of you. Sure, you can dutifully put in your 40 hours and collect your paycheck but you’ll never get ahead that way. Want to get noticed? Make sure you are clear on what is expected and find a way to bring more to the table. Under promise and over deliver, offer to take on a challenge others shy away from or simply or go out to lunch with the whole crew. This will not only help you get noticed, it will build your value to the organization. To get ahead, people need to know and remember you’re there and that they can count on you.

3) Communicate and Integrate – Clarity and Persuasion

Make sure all of your communication is clear and well-articulated. It can be as simple as proofing your work before sending it for any grammar or typographical areas. Ultimately you will want to ensure you are able to persuade others in a presentation, represent the organization at a conference or have challenging conversations with your team.  Once you have mastered how to communicate well, it’s time to integrate. Use your communication to reach across departments and create connections that span the entire organization. Promotions happen when you work well with people and help them to succeed as well. In fact, make a point to recognize them in your communication. Sally in Accounting will appreciate the shout out for finding the pricing error that was throwing off the budget and she will reciprocate the praise when the time comes!

If you think you may be sabotaging your career, start by focusing on these three initially and see what results they will produce for you. We’ll look at three more way to stop sabotaging your career next month!


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