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Top 10 Career Mistakes People Make


This article contains the top 10 career mistakes people make.

Avoid these career mistakes in 2024

Did you know there may be career mistakes you have been making?

“It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” — Warren Buffet.

People make various career mistakes due to various reasons which tend to have an effect on their career path, making the careers they find themselves in unfulfilling. Here are some of the career mistakes to avoid:

1.  Limiting Your Networking To The Inside Company

“I clearly knew that I had to do something and I failed to do it.” —Larry Page.

Employees can not be bothered to begin networking outside their company. They may be pretty friendly and helpful inside the company, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Just think what would happen if you were not in the loop when a new acquisition was introduced. You are the production manager and because you neglected networking, you were just not on the ball. You failed to explore your contacts outside the company to gain valuable feedback, support and knowledge of market trends and innovation. That is the essence of networking, yet many managers underestimate its importance. A lot of this needs to be done offline because it is the real social contact and human interaction that is necessary. It will give you a chance to seize an opportunity because you have your ear to the ground. Larry Page failed to spot the opportunity of developing a Google social network in time. When they did eventually launch Google Buzz (later Google +), they failed to take off the dominance Facebook has.

2.  Prioritizing Money


Think of the experience rather than the money when trying to make a move. In the long term, this will pay good dividends as the new job will be a challenge for you to achieve new goals. Aim to broaden your skills set, expand your responsibilities and manage teams. Think of the job satisfaction that it will give you and also how impressive it will be on your resume. So, instead of focusing on money; focus on other things that are more fulfilling — learning, experience, doing jobs that you are interested in, adding value to other people’s lives.

Most people may not accept this advice, probably because they can not say no to money. There is only one simple rule to money and freedom: Live beneath your means. And yes, that’s hard.

3.  Being Scared To Fail

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” —Bill Gates.

If you are scared of failure, it is doubtful whether you will be able to learn from mistakes. The successful manager has to factor failure in for every project. One good piece of advice is to view a project before it becomes operational and ask your team to list what could go wrong. This is a great way of identifying possible problems and obstacles and it can help you make adjustments if necessary.

If failure does occur you have to be ready to react without playing the blame game. Wise tactics include getting feedback, listening and analysing what went wrong. Success will not teach you; failure will. This is the bitter lesson that Bill Gates learned when he failed to develop a Microsoft search engine. When he did develop Bing, it was already too late. It had little success and it cost Microsoft more than $2.5 million than it earned in 2011.

4.  Buying a House

Probably you have always wanted to buy a house in your favourite area, near your workplace. The problem about doing this early on in your career is that you are tied in many ways to one location. You are less mobile which may be a factor against you when you want to move up the ladder. Of course, you can always rent it but there are extra hassles which you could do well without. Many companies will be reluctant to pay expensive moving costs.

5.  You Think You Don’t Need Help or assistance

Probably you are too proud. Probably you think people will believe that you are stupid. Maybe you are not raised that way. But if you do not ask for help or assistance you will never get it.

Almost everything in life is a team effort. Even if you work entirely for yourself, you still need people. And they need you.

The “Self-made” success stories are all incorrectand boo. Whenever you are spreading too thin, reach out to others. Reach out to colleagues, partners, friends, family. They will help you, and if they don’t, they’re not your friends.

6.  Avoiding Challenges

Taking the easy way out is a short term policy which will not get you in good stead. It is when you encounter difficulties that you begin to understand how you react to stress. You also realize what your strengths and weaknesses are and you can avoid any situations which are totally negative and sap your energy. Aim for challenges where you feel that you can grow and use your skills and passions to greater effect. It is only when meeting difficulties along the way that you can understand that.

7.  Being Too Self Absorbed

So you do not help coworkers or colleages as you are too concerned about your personal success. This is a huge mistake as research shows that when you help your peers, you are building a broad base of support which will pay off handsomely down the road. Research done by James Citrin and Richard Smith [1] shows that the most successful entrepreneurs were four times more likely to help their peers than those who had not made it to the top.

8.  Scared of Making a Job Change

Another career mistake people make is being scared of changing job, even when it’s visibly toxic. You may feel that your current working environment and position is far too confining and that you are not able to develop your leadership skills efficiently and effectively. There may be other restrictions such as a lack of training to broaden your skills set. Observe carefully how a job

change could put you on ahead on the next step of the ladder. If you wallow in self-pity and boredom you will never have the courage to make a job change which could help your career to take off.

9.  Wanting Too Much, Too Quickly

Even though your career does not have to progress in a linear manner, you can not make giant leaps every single day.

Slow and steady should be your watchword. Make moves on a daily basis, you fall – you rise, you win – you keep striving for more wins. A mansion is never built in a day, plus good things don’t come easily, it takes a lot of patience and hard work.

10.  You Lack Career Goals

Many of us have a job we do, but we lack a greater vision for our career. When we do not have a greater vision of where our career is aimed at, we often find that although we are good at meeting company goals, we feel personally directionless. When this happens, we must step back and take a broader and insightful view of our skills, talents and what is meaningful to us so that we can develop a clear career strategy.


In conclusion, navigating a successful career requires careful consideration and avoidance of common pitfalls. The 10 career mistakes discussed serve as valuable lessons, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning, effective communication, and strategic planning. By steering clear of these mistakes, you can enhance their professional journey, fostering growth, satisfaction, and long-term success in your chosen fields. Remember, learning from mistakes is crucial, but being proactive in avoiding them can significantly contribute to a fulfilling and prosperous career.


[1] Paulinus, O. (2015, May 21). Career mistakes EVERYONE should AVOID. Theinfong. https://theinfong.com/2015/05/career-mistakes-everyone-should-avoid/8/

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