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15 Experts Share Toxic Career Mistakes People Make

Updated on Apr 01, 2018 11667 views
15 Experts Share Toxic Career Mistakes People Make

What are some of the biggest career mistakes people?

That is what we seek to find out in this expert roundup from top career coaches.

Succeeding in a career is much more of a game plan rather than a game of chances. Some people just tag along in different jobs while forgetting to build a career while others believe that “life happens”.

In order to help you not make the same mistake, MyJobMag, publisher of the latest jobs in Nigeria, reached out to these career experts and ask them to share what they think is the “What is the one single best piece of advice you will give to anyone?” 

Let me tell you, the insights I received from these 15 established coaches were nothing short of amazing.  I’ve listed all of them below.


1. Kirk Baumannn

Kirk Baumannn

Website: Campus-Career

Twitter: @campustocareer

The biggest mistake I see people make is speaking poorly of former (or current) bosses, co-workers and employers on social media and in the interview process. STOP. This gets you nowhere. In fact, it's probably going to cost you the job! Focus on the positives and lessons learned from the experience. And, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all


2. Margaret Buj

Margaret Buj

Website: InterviewCoach

Twitter: MargaretBuj

There are many career mistakes people can make and I don’t think there is one that’s that much worse than others, but the one I see a lot is not asking other people for help. I think a lot of people assume that others won’t care enough to help them but reaching out to someone in your field who’s a few years ahead of you and asking them some questions could help avoid mistakes which could cost you months of wasted time. Most people like to help if you approach them in the right way.

One of the biggest differences between top performers and other people is that top performers invest in themselves, while most people try to figure it out in their own heads. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who only come to me after 6 unsuccessful months of job search. Even if they got the job just 2 months earlier, they’d not have missed out on thousands of pounds/dollars of lost income.


3. Nissar Ahamed

Nissaar Ahmed


Twitter: CareerMetis

The single mistake most people make with their careers is not giving it any thought after securing their first job.

After graduation, most young professionals scramble and work really hard to get that first job. But once they get that job - they then forget about it. 

Or in many cases, they are very reactive. 

The most successful professionals have already thought about their next level or promotion as soon as they have received. 


4. Charlie Judy

Charlie Judy


Twitter: @WorkXO

The career is not an end-all-to-be-all. It is merely a vehicle for exploration. Do that: explore. You will hit dead ends. You will get lost. You will find yourself on the wrong path. You will wish you could just go home. But you will be exploring all along; as long as you pay attention as you go. The biggest mistake you’ll ever make in your career is not taking a detour. Take the detour


5.  Erica Diamond

Erica Diamond

Website: WomenOnTheFence

Twitter: @ericadiamond

I think a big mistake people make in the workplace is to understate their worth. Work hard enough to become so good at your job, that you become invaluable and practically irreplaceable to your employer. Then ask for the raise or promotion when the time is right, and always bet on yourself. My favorite quote is from one of my favorites, Beyonce, 

"I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.


6. Caroline Ceniza-Levine

Caroline Ceniza-Levine

Website: SixFigureStart

Twitter: @sixfigurestart

Toxic is a particularly strong word which I use only to describe people who purposefully alienate or drive others away. The vast majority of professionals are not toxic people. However, a common mistake even smart professionals make that does drive people away is not keeping in touch, except when they happen to need something. We all know people who we only hear from when they have a question or favor to ask. Maybe you can get away with that one or two times, but over time it ruins the relationship. You get a reputation as a taker or opportunist, and eventually, people will stop responding. Don't be that type of networker. Make sure that you keep in touch with people every few months -- annually, you can send a holiday card, which means you have at least one built-in reminder to keep in touch.


7. Todd Rapheal

Todd Rapheal

Website: Ere

Twitter: @ToddRapheal

Thanks. I would say that it's only being friendly and interested and inquisitive to people who they think are important, or who can provide them something. That can come back to bite you in the rear.


8. Linda

Website: MsCareerGirl

Twitter: @mscareergirl

Too often people want the fruit of that promotion, raise, or opportunity and are not willing to put the time in to care for the vineyard.  Have patience and know that if you're truly doing all you can to deserve what you seek, it will come.  The adage "luck is when preparation meets opportunity" aptly applies.


9. Jennifer McClure

Jennifer McClure

Website: JenniferMcClure

Twitter: JenniferMcClure

Answer: Having a scarcity mindset, and thinking that they must succeed at the expense of others. The best way to further your career is by helping others and doing good work. There is enough opportunity out there for us all. 


10. Ogugua Belonwu

Ogugua Belonwu

Website: MyJobMag

Twitter: MyJobMag

One of the biggest career mistake people make is not networking enough. The net worth of an individual in 5 years time can be calculated by the net worth of the individual in their circle. Therefore neglecting networking until when you need it is one of the biggest career mistake people make all the time.


11. Debra Wheatman

Debra Wheatman

Website:  CareersDoneWrite


The career mistake people that is totally toxic is to talk about the bad experience with bosses or companies. The negativity follows these people to their interviews and their networking activities. Sharing all of this negative information can ruin someone's chances for additional interviews and sets a tone whereby others will not want to engage with a person. I understand that things happen - there are situations that impact people's emotional state of well-being. Especially when you are dealing with a boss that is a bully or a colleague that is nasty it is easy to want to "share the wealth" and unburden yourself by telling other people. While you might feel better for a short while, the lasting impression you leave with others will be detrimental to your career prospects. Keep your interactions positive and upbeat. People like engaging and working with others that are happy. If you feel the need to discuss your past experiences, perhaps do so with a mental health professional or close family member who can help you put things in perspective. Dwelling on past situations will not make you happy and might very well hamper your current search efforts.


12. Shea Ki

Shea Ki

Website: UpgradeMyInterview

Twitter: @Shea_Ki

Preparing for an interview while feeling worried or stressed out is one of most toxic mistakes people make. Learning and practicing how to approach the interview process from a place of relaxation and trust is key. The result of doing this inner work unlocks opportunities that fit faster.


13. Thea Westra

Thea Westra.png

Website: ForwardSteps

Twitter: @ForwardSteps

I will assume that this topic relates to career mistakes that are toxic to ourselves and our own life, as opposed to toxic to the ​job or work place. Even though, both will ​meld into the other and impact each other. 
I'd suggest that one single career mistake ​(​still made by many​)​, is to stay ​too long ​in a career for which you can no longer ​generate any passion. 
When you stay beyond that point and then go to search for something else, it can be a ​much ​longer road because you might find that you have burned valuable high level energy (not to mention time), which ​are ​now ​needed to change your career course. 
Develop greater trust in yourself and your abilities, then ​go to work on leaving that work environment in which you are dying a slow death​,​ and head towards a calling that lights your flame.


14. Jessica Sweet

Jessica Sweet

Website: WishingWellCoach

Twitter: @wishingwellgift

I would say the most toxic career mistake hands down is staying in a job you don't like for too long. It starts to poison every part of your life. You feel emotionally and physically unwell, and it increases your stress level. Science supports that. Studies show stress is detrimental to both physical and mental health. It also can impact your relationships at home and at work, and can start to erode your sense of self-confidence. There's no better word for staying in a job you don't like than "toxic," but the remedy isn't to quit, the remedy is to figure out how to segue into something better.


15. Kael Ranschaert

Kael Ranschaert

Website: GrowthGuided

Twitter: @growthguided

Undermining your own self-worth, is the single most toxic thing you can do, especially when it comes to making your career decisions. It enables you to chase after jobs you know you don't really want, but can easily obtain. The sad reality is, you can fail or be fired from that 'safe' job too, something you were probably hoping to avoid by taking that position in the first place. Aim bigger. You just might impress yourself. Always remembering that this lack of belief not only impacts you, but is a highly contagious thought-seed that will bury itself in the subconscious minds of the people around you too. 


16. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, MRW

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Website: CareerTrend

Twitter: @valueintowords

They don't focus in on their target audience and role. They craft a resume that includes everything they’ve ever done and all the various skills and talents they possess, in an attempt to not ‘limit’ themselves. 

This tactic backfires. By trying to be all things to all people when submitting their cover letter and resume to an opportunity, the message becomes muddled and unfocused. Therefore, their stories do not resonate with a specific role. They may have bits and pieces that the hiring decision maker can relate to, but not enough to compel them that this person is a great match. Then, when a competitor resume zooms through their virtual door—someone with all of the right stories that meet their needs--that is the person who will be called in for the interview.

Now over to you. What do you think is the biggest career mistake people make that is toxic?


READ ALSO: Career Advice from Top 40 HR Professionals

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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