Making a good impression on the job is important. For one, it ensures stability in your current position. Further, it provides a strong foundation to leapfrog you into future, better careers.

When you’re always keeping an eye on your behavior and actions, it’s easy to catch problems before they become major issues.

But what happens if you’re messing up and don’t even realize it?

Sometimes the biggest career killers are silent but deadly, sneaking up on you before you’re aware they exist. By the time you know about them, you’re already pink-slipped and crying into your tub of ice cream.

Or you can’t quite figure out why that coveted promotion remains just out of your reach. Maybe you’re ready to grab the next rung in your career ladder, and you seem stuck.

It could be that you’re making some common career mistakes without even knowing it. The good news is that there is a way to catch these five hazardous moves before they can affect you. 

1.‌ ‌Playing Around with Social Media Wrong

It starts as an innocent pastime — a way to connect with friends and family and share some funny memes. But social media can make or break a career. 

Just ask the many high school students who lost their scholarships because of an ill-timed post. Or the celebs who suddenly saw a massive drop in their followers because of a political comment. 

But running from social media can be just as damaging. 

Potential employers will use your online reputation to decide whether you’re worth a chance. Networking through social media is a necessary component for job growth in today’s society.

You don’t have to be afraid of having a Facebook or Instagram account or even tweeting occasionally. You do, however, need to be mindful of what you post.

The good news?

There is a middle-ground. A balance in keeping your personal and professional life social-media-friendly.

Career experts suggest a few topics you should avoid posting about on any social media outlets, like:

  • Risque pictures such as shots of you drinking or posing provocatively
  • Badmouthing a current or past job, boss, client, or coworker
  • Admitting to unethical behaviors 
  • Political, religious, discriminatory, or other potentially inflammatory topics

Of course, you’re ultimately in charge, and your career might not be this strict. But if you want professional employers to take you seriously and move forward, try to stick to these boundaries.

2. Avoiding Coworker Relationships

Lots of well-intentioned career advice reminds us to avoid making friends with our coworkers.

While this is true, to a degree, it’s also important to remember that our fellow staff are only human. Thus, they have emotions and the need for human connection.

Tunnel vision, where you focus on nothing but your job, can be dangerous. 

Your coworkers don’t have to be your best friend. But if they don’t like you, this can be just as dangerous.

People tend to congregate in groups of like-minded souls. When you don’t fit into their group, that makes you different — and depending on where you work and who you work with — that could be difficult to handle.

If your coworkers don’t like you, it can create a hostile environment at work. But you have that same problem if you become friends and then have an argument.

The best way to prevent either of these scenarios is to keep things friendly but not too friendly. Socialize at work and work-related events, then keep your personal life private.

3. Running Late … and Late … and Late

If you’re always late for a date or social engagement, it could become a running joke. There’s no real harm in it and it’s good for a laugh.

At work, though, the rules are different.

No one is going to call you out for being five minutes late or missing a deadline. But if this happens repetitively, it becomes a part of your reputation.

Some people will move mountains to be on time for a meeting or make sure they meet due dates.

For these people, you quickly become the enemy. If they can be on time, why can’t you?

The psychology connected to perpetual lateness is that of ego. Your inability to get somewhere on time tells others that you are more important than them. You may not be trying to do this, but it’s a subconscious effect that occurs.

Fair warning. This reputation will precede you. It may even be the difference between you getting the promotion and someone less qualified landing it.

4. Wavering in Decision-Making

Staying too long in a job can be a career killer in many ways. You may think it’s giving you stability, but instead, you could be getting taken for granted.

Most careers are seasonal, meaning they teach you something and then guide you to the next step in your job. If you stay too long in that “season,” you may find yourself in a rut, dissatisfied and unhappy.

Even the smallest change can make a difference. You have to decide on the next action step and take it. 

If you’re on the fence about asking for a raise because you’re nervous or intimidated, you’re probably not going to get one. If you are too worried about not finding a “better” job to quit the one you’re at, you never will.

Think about where you’d like to be in the future and decide the steps you need to take to get there. Then, even if they are baby steps, take them.

5. Pretending Everything is Fine

Ignoring problems because you don’t want to deal with them doesn’t make them go away.

Some problems may slide, but many of them are going to turn into huge issues you’ll have to deal with anyway. Now, on a much bigger scale.

One common example is putting off a job that you don’t want to do. You might even convince yourself that you have legitimate reasons for procrastinating on the task.

Eventually, though, it has to get done. Pretending otherwise is going to either add more stress to you later or require someone else to step up to the plate. 

Either way, the consequences of burying your head in the sand can be dangerous to your job.


The fact that you’re reading this article because you want to better yourself in your career speaks volumes! 

Once you step back and analyze your behavior at work, you can watch for these career-killing actions and stop them in their tracks.

Editorial Note!

Caitlin Sinclair is the Business Manager for Harvest at Fiddyment Ranch, a luxury apartments building in Roseville, CA. With over five years of property management experience, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping current and future residents and makes Harvest at Fiddyment Ranch, a place everyone loves to call home.

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