Might you be committing a silent career killer act at your job?
If you are a hard-working savvy employee and still not getting the advancement that you have rightfully earned, you might be harming your career in silence. Nobody is going to tap you on the shoulder and tell you that but you can prevent these little-known silent career killers and protect your career and reputation.
I don’t know about you but the technology corporation where I worked for some odd 11 years did not offer a Career Survival Guide 101 class to us new employees. If I could make a humble suggestion to them, it would be to tip off the incoming new employees, most of whom have the greatest intention and highest enthusiasm, about the critical career mistakes they can easily avoid!
But corporations don’t teach you that and I respect their choice. In fact, not all employees are receptive to such feedback. I know that as a new fresh employee, I did not like hearing this kind of brutal truth. I wanted to believe what I desperately believed: Work hard, be polite and professional, and you will get ahead. The end.
Now that we realize this Cinderella story is pure fiction, we can move to the good juicy stuff. The truth if you will about the silent career killers that you may just be committing this very moment. Ouch.
We don’t have a lot of time. You’re busy building a career. I’m busy creating a master class and program about cracking the corporate code to get promoted in Corporate America, so let’s just get right to it.
Reminder: Did you know we have a step-by-step course here to teach you everything you need for getting recognized, getting promoted and creating your dream career at your job?
The 7 Silent Career Killers to Avoid at Your Job
These career killers won’t necessarily get you fired. You may keep your job for years on end. This is not about keeping your job so much as it is about advancing in your career. If you are interested in climbing the corporate ladder, and getting promoted and recognized for what you are doing, if you want to become more than just an invisible number in your employer’s directory, then this is what you need to do.
Are you ready for the 7 Never List that can let you leapfrog your way to that promotion even if you don’t work an ounce harder?
1. Never disagree with your boss openly in public.
Yes, your boss may be an idiot and even flat out wrong about something. Under no circumstances should you ever call him out and disagree with him in public. If you don’t know this, you didn’t learn anything from the Godfather. Don Corleone’s most infamous line: “Never to let anyone outside the family know what you think!” Your boss is your family. Got it? You tell him in private if your “correction” is that important. Otherwise, you are one united front when you are in public.
2. Never ever ever engage in gossip.
Gossip is fun. It’s juicy and delicious. It’s a nice break and it can release the tension and help with the stress at the workplace. Too bad! Don’t do it! I mean it. Don’t engage even in a little bit of it if you ever want your promotion. You are fooling yourself to think that it won’t get to the right ears. Someone always betrays. Someone is always jealous of your success and waiting for a chance to taint your image. Why give them the chance? And if there is a gossip going on about you, stop it by bringing it out in the open, and setting the record straight with your own boss as well as confronting the person spreading the gossip to kindly ask them to stop.
3. Never share too much personal information.
Too much is less than you think. Your personal life should stay private. If you are lonely, find other outlets but not your co-workers. Yes friendships can develop but it’s in your highest and best interest to keep the details of your private life, especially anything around your health, completely private. Think about being in the position of a boss who had two equal candidates for the job and he knew one of them has a terminal illness or just a disease of some sort. Which choice would he make, all other things being equal? This is not about fairness. This is about getting promoted, if that’s the career path you want to follow, this is the game you gotta play!
4. Never voice a negative opinion about the company.
Some people confuse the right to free speech with saying anything they want about their company. They won’t stop you. And you can say everything you want, but it does not go over well. Your job is not the place to exercise your freedom of speech, especially on strong bipolar issues and particularly on anything related to the company, that is if you want to be considered as an effective candidate to play with the big boys someday. So never voice anything negative about the company, even at the height of layoffs. Always support the company and be a cheer leader. If you strongly disagree with the way they run things, finding another company may be your best option.
5. Never use phrases such as “I deserve”, “It’s not fair”, “I’ve been here x number of years.”
Of course it’s not fair, until you learn the rules by which the game is played. Never utter words that position you as a self-righteous employee, even if you are the number one most hardworking of all. You can inquire about where you stand. You can insinuate that you are working towards the next level of responsibility. You can find out what happened if you did not get promoted as expected, but strip these phrases and all others like it from your vocabulary.
6. Never call out anyone at the workplace even if you are right and they are wrong.
I didn’t just want to call people out at my old job, I wanted to punch them for being jerks, for stealing my ideas, and for playing practical jokes on me. Was I rightful to do that? Irrelevant! I know that even mildly speaking out against a person cost me too much. So even if your teammate stole your grandest idea, you smile, and say “how interesting!” and save it for a private conversation with your boss.
7. Never lose your temper especially in a crisis.
Keep your cool and your professionalism at all times. When I interviewed managers and directors for Crack the Code to Get Promoted , the most common theme was how they preferred a person who knew how to keep cool and calm and collected in a crisis while working efficiently towards a solution. This person was not always the highest skilled or the most talented or even the hardest working, but this is the person with a quality that the leadership team loves. Be that person. Be the embodiment of what your leadership team wants.
Alright, I know this is a tough list to swallow, especially if you have inadvertently done any of the above. Don’t fret! Going forward, watch your step and you’ll be just fine.
The good news is that this is the easy stuff once you know it. It is all a matter of quick essential knowledge so you don’t ruin a long and wonderful career with a small act, however well-intentioned it may be.
What are some other silent career killers that you have learned or experienced? What would you add as the 8th Silent Career Killer to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.