5 Mistakes That Could Damage Your Career


A successful career takes thousands of hours and hard work to build. However, the irony is that this could be destroyed with just a few swift blows. The good news is the mistakes that often damage successful careers are largely preventable. If you can identify them ahead of time and avoid their toxicity, you should be just fine. Here are 5 of these mistakes and an explanation for why you should steer clear of them.

  1. Drunk Driving and Legal Offenses

Few things are as damaging to a career as legal troubles. And while most people aren’t going to suddenly snap and commit a violent crime or offense, it is fairly easy to get caught in a compromising situation when it comes to alcohol. Intoxicated or impaired drivers killed over 10,000 people in 2010 alone. Thousands more have died since then, while hundreds of thousands more have been injured.

If you were to cause an accident while intoxicated, it would likely spell the end of your career (or at least set you back 10 or 15 years on the corporate ladder). Any time you’ve been drinking – no matter how much or how little – it’s best to call a cab or have a friend drive you home. There’s no reason to risk your career.

  1. Unprofessional Behavior on Social Media

Social media is a polarizing topic in the business world. In one sense, it can help savvy and ambitious professionals land jobs and enhance their personal brands. In other situations, social media can kill careers.

While sending out a quick tweet on the weekend or posting an article on Facebook may seem innocent enough, you can get in a lot of trouble if you don’t set up certain measures to protect yourself. Any time you think something you’re about to post could be taken in a controversial way, text it to a close friend or your spouse and ask what they think.

  1. Inappropriate Decisions in the Workplace

While you can damage your career due to mistakes that happen in your personal life, most careers are ruined in the workplace. From something as serious as having an inappropriate relationships with a coworker to simply keeping your office messy and disorganized, anything you do in the confines of your company’s office can negatively impact your career. Keep this in mind and, as your parents probably told you when you were younger, always think before you act.

  1. Lying and/or Playing the Blame Game

When something goes wrong, your first response may be to lie or put the blame on someone else. While it may save you in this moment, it can damage your career in the long run. People will eventually find out that you’re a liar and blame shifter – titles that don’t look good on a job resume.

  1. Failing to Draw the Line Between Work and Personal Life

While there’s currently much more overlap in work and personal life than there has been in the past, it’s still important that you draw a line between the two. Some things need to stay at work, while certain things need to remain at home. Combining too many things can put you in compromising situations where you have to choose one or the other.

Be Mindful of Your Actions

As a professional, you have to remember that someone is always watching. This is especially true in the internet age where pictures and videos can surface anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a work setting or hanging out with friends in your personal life. Anything you do, positive or negative, can have an impact on your career. Be mindful of your actions and make sure you avoid the career-damaging mistakes referenced in this article.


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December 2, 2015 5 Mistakes That Could Damage Your Career