THE WORST CAREER MISTAKES TO AVOID (or how to stop wandering in the dark and make your dream career a reality)

Successful careers are complicated. It’s a world of unknowns with a huge risk of failure, not to mention that half of the time you don’t even know if it’s worth the fight or if you are making the worst career mistakes.
In fact, you could be making worst career mistakes now without even knowing it. If you keep on without a change, you will join the club of job-ladder travelers with big dreams and good intentions who just couldn’t make the cut. But if you can identify the mess-ups now and pull up – you can be a part of the success stories.
worst career mistakes to avoid
I’ve outlined 6 worst career mistakes you need to kick to the curb, ready? Go!
1. You Don’t Have a Roadmap
I dare you to go from your exact current location to the North Pole. You don’t get a map and you’re not allowed to ask for directions. Can’t do it? Yep. Because how can you be expected to get to your destination blindly?
Your career dream is exactly the same. You might be able to trek along pretty well in the general direction, but without knowing the connections to make, the education to have, the skills to learn, and the positions to use as stepping stones to reach it – if you get to position at all, it won’t be as amazing as you imagined it.
Sure life gets complicated sometimes, and things will not always go as planned. You have to allow some level of flexibility, yet by creating a career roadmap, you have a clear course to follow and a reference point to get you back on track when you get lost.
You create yours by deciding what your end-goal is, and then reverse engineering it bit by bit until you’re back to square one. With this, you’ll have your first actionable step to take towards guaranteeing you achieve your career dreams.
2. You Don’t Have a Vision

Just as important as having a plan (or even more important) is having a vision. Sure, you know where you are now and where you want to be by the end of your plan – but what is the absolute perfect outcome? What is end goal here, and what will motivate you to pursue your dreams? If you don’t have this vision yet, then you might as well give up. What are you striving for without it? What’s the point of trucking along with your roadmap if you don’t get what you really want out of the deal? WHY do you even bother?! And – here’s the important part, ladies – where are you going to find your motivation to keep going when times get tough if you have nothing to look forward to?

Stop and visualize yourself as having achieved your ultimate career dream. I’m not talking about having the C-suite top management position or the amazing business completely aligned with you and your values. I’m talking about the feeling of perfection.

  • Can you picture it clearly?
  • What does it look like?
  • Smell like?
  • Who are the people around you?
  • What projects do you work on?
  • How do you dress and what does your routine looks like?

A vision is allowed to be a little larger than life. What would make you really happy? What would make you get out of bed in the morning? Because if you don’t know where you are going to road will take you there.

Not sure how put your vision and roadmap into practice?
How do you retro-plan and make it happen?
Check out my Ultimate 90-days Passion Planner (a free gift to get you going...;)
3. You Haven’t Decided What Your Real Values Are

Now that you have your perfect dream, it’s time to start condensing, because the thing about dreams is they don’t always make that much sense. You know when you eat something spicy before bed, and suddenly you’re being chased by terrifying giant flip-flops, you’re in Narnia but it looks like home, and Jackie Chan is there for some reason? Try to explain that to your friends; it just dissolves into nonsense. A career dream without defined values is a lot like a flip-flop stress dream – busy, nonsensical, and chocked full of random, unnecessary details. Deciding what your real values are and what’s realistic will turn a stress dream into a real-life, actionable dream capable of becoming reality.

So you need to decide what’s really important to you and what is just fluff.

  • What about this career can fulfill you as a person?
  • What will you be giving back to the world?
  • How will it help you lead the lifestyle you're logging for?
  • What sort of impact/ activity brings you joy and happiness?
  • What will make you feel accomplished personally, rather than living up to what everyone else “thinks” you should want from a dream?

Note that one of the worst career mistakes is not underlying your values and limits. It’s not just about what you want, but also what is the price you are willing to pay for it? What is your “red line” and exist points? What consequences will you not be willing to accept?

4. Your Goals Aren’t Measurable
You’ve narrowed it down, but now comes the realism. A roadmap that says “drive from Paris to Moscow” isn’t a very helpful one. You may run into this same mistake when detailing out your goals, but this is where you stop and narrow down the stepping stones you’re creating even more. If you were to address any step on your roadmap right now, what would it really take? Would you need another prerequisite first? How long would it take, and could you reasonably do it in that amount of time with everything else going on in your life?
Measurable goals are controllable goals. This is the essence of your Roadmap, because detailing how long each step will take, how much effort it will require to reach it, and what can be expected will offer steady productivity and even help you predict future progress. So be specific, break it down address possible setbacks.
5. You Haven’t Prioritized

Life can get hectic and you can quickly find yourself lacking the time (productivity trap anyone?) to handle the really important parts of your roadmap. By prioritizing the steps and resources you need to truck along towards your dream, when it comes time to leave something out, you’ll know where to start. If gaining references and reviews in your chosen field is important to finally starting your own business, then taking on an intern position in the field you need is more important than staying at job that offers you little experience.

Tim Ferris writes in his The 4-Hour Workweek book, “There’s no point being concerned with efficiency, which means getting things done as quickly as possible. Unimportant tasks are still unimportant even when you deal with them efficiently. Your time is better spent on important tasks – on being effective. Focus on only those tasks that will bring you closer to your personal goals and dreams.” See what I did here? Ferris’s poits directs us back to the Vision and Roadmap steps. In order to avoid the worst career mistakes you need to prioritize your life, be clear about it and prioritize your dream!

Priorities and worst career mistakes
6. You’re an Island

Reaching out to other people is hard – as an introvert, I know what I’m talking about. Socializing isn’t my thing, and above all, it’s scary. But to make your career dream a reality you need help (check out my Networking Survival Kit as the first step). You have to reach out to others. These are the people who will make introductions to help you climb that career ladder; who offer the advice and insider tips that help you avoid what made others fail; who will give you the support and encouragement to keep going when you’d rather stop or who will just have a drink with you offering no solid advice but much-needed empathy when things get rough. Your career dream, no matter what it is, will touch and affect other people – so you need these people’s help.

Most people spend their careers (and lives for that matter) in closed networks; networks of people who already know each other. People often stay in the same industry, the same religion, and the same political party. In a closed network, it’s easier to get things done because you’ve built up trust, and you know all the shorthand terms and unspoken rules. It’s comfortable because the group converges on the same ways of seeing the world that confirm your own. But when you move abroad – like it or not – it’s time to reopen your network. It’s time to hone those people skills (or at least social media typing skills) and reach out to others. Catch up. Provide value. Grab a coffee. Make connection… this is the only way you’re going to make progress.

OK, So what's the next step?
Being aware of those mistakes is a major step forward. Don't just go with the flow, rather take the time and effort to craft your career vision and roadmap - be intentional in what you decide to take on board.
Check out the practical resources (the FREE GIFTS) page to help you get started.

A good place to start - take the REINVENT YOURSELF Quiz and get some tailor made recommendations based on your personality traits in under 15 minutes:

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  • I love this! As a new blogger, I’m just beginning to start chasing my dreams. The most important for me is not to be an island. I’ve always been independent and struggle to ask for help from others. When I finally let go and asked for help, everything began to grow and change. I do agree with this article and you can bet I’m downloading the planner when I get back to my computer! Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Rita2G

      Thanks for your comment Ashley, Glad you liked the article!

  • Fantastic ideas will definitely look into the planner x

    • Rita2G

      Thanks Kimberly!

  • Yes! You are so right. I’m also a Career strategist and can’t tell you how many people have no idea what they want to do when they’re applying for jobs. Then they get the job and aren’t fulfilled. I always ask “What do you want to do?” You can even narrow it down by knowing what you don’t want to do.

    • Rita2G

      Thank you Nicole. I guess it’s true what they say: if you don’t know where you’re going, no road will take you there! You really need to focus on what is it that you’re after and then retro-plan your way there

  • This is great advice! I’m going to find ways to apply these tips to my blogging business. Thanks for sharing!

  • I love this post so much. It focuses on really important issue, especially for those “self-employed”, for example bloggers. As a new blogger, this post really, really hit home. Thanks for that. <3


    • Rita2G

      Thanks so much, glad you liked it Aldina 🙂

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