Mistakes Are Us

By Robert Goldman

October 17, 2019 5 min read

"Make as many mistakes as you can as quickly as you can."

That's a mantra in the high-tech biz. The idea is that making — and fixing — mistakes early on lets you move on.

But what about mistakes that you can't fix? Mistakes that get you fired, or ruin your career or ruin your life. Even worse, what about mistakes you make that you don't even know you're making?

Natalia Peart, a contributing writer to Forbes, recently reported on these terminal career boo-boos in a post entitled, "The 7 Deadliest Career Mistakes."

"Sometimes ... it's the career mistakes that we don't know about," Peart warns, "and the things that we fail to do that end up having the most significant impact on our career."

Certainly there are things that you have failed to do. You failed to be born to a superrich family that believed being ridiculously rich is a sufficient job in itself. You also failed to be born beautiful enough to become a YouTube influencer and make a jillion or two from videos that show how you choose those stylin' shoelaces.

These are mistakes you never can fix, so let's not make a mistake ignoring Peart's list of avoidable mistakes.

No. 1: "You lack career goals."

You may be good at meeting company goals, but because you don't see the big picture, you "feel personally directionless." To solve this situation, you should come up with a brilliant, overarching goal for yourself — a star to shoot for. Or, if this is too much work, simply accept that being stuck in the mud and the mire is where you are going to stay. Forever.

Remember: Being directionless is not a problem as long as you have nowhere to go.

No. 2: "You are stuck in a career rut."

Your job is "good, but not great." Even if the pay is good, "you just don't feel engaged or have the energy that you once had." The danger here, our author believes, is that you "tarnish your brand."

Fortunately, your brand is only sold at deep-discount, big-box stores, stacked up next to the dented cans and unsuccessful products. (Chef Speedy's Spray Lasagna never took off? Who could have predicted that?)

Your brand can't possibly be tarnished; it's already out of business.

No. 3: "The grass is always greener."

"Workers now change jobs on average every three to five years," Peart writes. While a new job may seem better than your current gig, don't discount what you already have. Your present employers already know they can't expect you to be productive, show up on time or come back after lunch. If they haven't fired you yet, that's worth a lot.

Also, in a new job, you'll have to learn the names of a new bunch of people. Even after you've learned their names — Hello, Anchor! Good morning, Cressida! — you still have to find reasons to hate Anchor, Cressida and everyone else you work with.

You already know why you hate your current co-workers. That's a real timesaver.

No. 4: "You fail to build a supporting team."

You want "people we trust that have walked the path we intend to walk." These peeps can "provide us with candid feedback" and "redirect us when we are going off track."

Is this the team that you want — a bunch of buttinskies always looking over your shoulder or under your desk? Or do you want to work with people who don't give a hoot what you do — or don't do?

I thought so.

No. 5: "You limit your network."

People need people, especially people they can use. Check your list of trusted advisors. Feel free to include me. That makes a list of one, and I've just about had it. Replace me with people who truly care about you — your favorite bartender or budtender, or both!

No. 6: "You stop investing in yourself."

Don't "assume that your past success will automatically carry over to future projects." You need to be "pushing yourself to keep learning and growing professionally." Agree! But don't ignore all your past failures, either. Invest in yourself, and your future failures will be even more spectacular. That's something you can be proud of.

No. 7: "You burn bridges."

Telling your managers exactly what you think of them could be a blot on your career. On the other hand, it sure will feel good. So, blast them! It might not be the best career decision, but it sure will be one mistake you know about.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

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