Too many of us navigate our careers like we’re paddling across a lake, not sailing across an ocean. We are short-sighted when making decisions. We focus on completing the task at hand, fighting for the next promotion, outperforming a colleague. But there are many seemingly minor actions that can have a major impact on your career’s trajectory. Ignore them and you risk arriving on a shore you didn’t choose, or worse, capsizing on an unexpected reef! Here are 5 career mistakes that can negatively impact your career down the road:
1. Network only within your company. Most people are aware of the value of networking. Not traditional “gladhanding”, attending events just to pass out your business card, but real relationship building. Expanding your horizon with other people’s perspectives. Opening yourself up to new ideas. Building relationships that will make your day-to-day work easier and more successful. But too many people limit their networking activities to within their own company. Cultures can be quite different, as those who have worked in several companies know. Exposing yourself to truly new ideas and perspectives requires getting outside of your culture and the circle of colleagues you find most convenient to interact with. Sail more than one sea! Many of the most influential professional relationships you will have will be with those outside of your company – especially when times get tough. It may not be easy, but investing in these external relationships will pay off.