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5 career mistakes you should avoid
Craig D'Mello
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September 04, 2007

I worked there for 6 months, then for 3 months with this other company, and currently am working for a company called XYZ." If this was what your career sounds like, especially in one year, you'd be well advised to leave the smaller stints out of your resume.

There are various types of careers, and many more categories of people who work, driving forward progress. If your goal is to find a good company, work for them, start to save and stick with that company till something more lucrative creeps up, then you are most likely to take less risks in life and be voted 'Employee of the month'. But for those who are ever on the look out for a better pay package, greater job satisfaction or just a change from the rat race, there are some mistakes you should avoid, or never repeat again.

Choosing a career based on remuneration
Big mistake. If your main aim is just money, it may just be the start of the road downhill. True, the indisputable purpose of working is to earn and that of a good career is a continuous salary, but when you choose your career choose one based on your skill sets and not how much an industry pays. If you have an attitude that blatantly screams, "Show me the money!", the only tangible object you may soon see is the exit.

Maya Choudhary*, a college graduate and a fresher, chose what she felt was the most highly paying career she could find. Of course, it was at a BPO, and what could be simpler than taking calls, right? So for a year she earned more money than she would have normally started out with. Two years into her career, her job lost the initial charm of the overflowing cash bags, and she was reconsidering her decision. Maybe she should have studied some more or looked for a job that needed her to use her skills more, but now, she had lost two years.

Working in too many places for too short a time
Sure, it's great to say you worked for the best companies, but that's only if you hold more than five or 10 years of experience. Organisations do not see any reason to employ drifters. And if you are drifting, my suggestion is to dock that raft and jump on the big boats.

Josh Almeida*, a graphic designer in the publishing industry, made one of the worst career mistakes in the formative years of his career. The first year he worked for three companies, the second for two. This left many unanswered questions for his next prospective employer. It gives the interviewer an impression of indecisiveness, uncertainty and basic lack of maturity -- a bad set of attributes to hold.

Jumping industries
Photography, advertising, HR, sound. It's nice to see variety on any resume, but if an individual has no speciality, the uniqueness of employment is lost. No longer do people need someone who can do everything or knows more than what is needed.

The need of the hour is specialisation, the offering you make that not many can replicate. We are not machines, and our individuality is our USP. Constantly shifting industries only works is the area of expertise traverses industries.

Vera Singh*, a youth counsellor and HR consultant, has noticed a growing trend. No longer does one get a job, get married and work there till their grandkids graduate. Now individuals experiment with industries -- teachers are joining call centers, the older generation is trying to earn from home, and the youth are grabbing their share of promotions. But the problem arises when candidates are not sure of what they want to do; they land up at jobs, for sake of the job, without prior thought and consideration.

This leaves them after a few years with a range of designations, a stack of cash but still no direction. And if you don't know where you're headed, your career is lost.

Punctuality and regularity
Work is not about rebellion, you have to be on time, you have to adhere to the rules. You can bend rules, but breaking them leaves you with career stains that don't easily wash off. All offices demand this dedication, and if you make the mistake, and repeat it, the negative image will stick with you.

Take the case of Prashant Dighe*, a dancer by profession, all he had to do besides dance was be on time to practice, which he somehow could not. So before the next troupe even saw him dance, they had already heard about his antics -- which did not in any way reflect his skill as a dancer but instead his ethics as a professional.

Arrogant, more arrogant, most arrogant!
The biggest, yes biggest mistake is arrogance. You may be good, but if you work for someone you have to learn to compromise. To be part of a team that runs with as few kinks as possible, you have to put aside your ego. It doesn't matter what your career, if you can't take orders, you will never work happily.

Sheila Pinge*, an editor friend, fell prey to her pride. Brilliant as she is, she just could not seem to work with others. Maybe a month goes by without incident, but gradually small suggestions and helpful advice from her colleagues would bring on turmoil both at work and at home. After four years of working she finally recognised that her arrogance was the motivating factor for quitting every job she had. But amends can still be made and change appropriated.

They say to err is human and forgive divine, but sadly, this doesn't apply to the world of the working man or woman. To err is now a financial liability and forgiveness takes up valuable business time, and our fast paced, hypersonic world chooses not to waste any time on trivialities. So as you go about your pursuit of a meaningful career, make sure you don't commit these career mistakes.

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