It could be your own doing and you may not know it. During the course of your career you will have peaks of great success and valleys of unimpressive performance. That is not unusual given that you could be in the workforce for anywhere between 15 and 40 years. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have unrelenting success especially in a corporate environment.
A perfect situation can rapidly deteriorate as circumstances change. You get a new boss who is a notorious micro-manager thereby systematically stripping away your cherished autonomy. You are moved into a new role that is not utilizing your skills and expertise to there fullest therefore you feel marginalized and resentful. Your company and industry are going through hard times resulting in financial rewards and incentives that are meager, at best.
When things are going well in your world, your mood is up. When things are not going well, your mood is down. Without a doubt, this is the hardest time to stay on your game. The true test of your fortitude and perseverance is your reaction to adversity. It is reflected in your work, your attitude and your relationships. How do you know if you are sabotaging your career? Here are the telltale signs.
1) You are a habitual procrastinator.
If this is the case, you are waiting until the last minute to complete your work and more than likely it is not your best. You are probably spending more time doing other inconsequential things (surfing the net, texting, complaining).
2) You do not present yourself as a team player.
This often manifests as a partial or total disinterest in helping others or failing to maintain an open mind to the thoughts and suggestions of colleagues. Corporate environments do not take kindly to the outliers. You either play for the team or you may not play at all.
3) You produce the bare minimum job requirement.
You’re doing exactly what is asked and nothing more. You have adopted the punch clocking mentality. You do as your told and no longer add value.
4) You see no need to build or foster office relationships.
In doing so, you may be unwittingly cutting off your flow of information and access to resources. Ironically, this is the time when nurturing relationships is vital in order to stem a stream of behind your back criticisms.
5) A lack of respect for your job is reflected in your choice of attire.
Latent feelings of job frustration or boredom are frequently magnified by a sloppy, unkempt appearance at work. Outward appearances form lasting impressions. This is not the time to look sloppy and disheveled.
In all honesty, a positive outlook is difficult to maintain when you feel discouraged, marginalized or put in a bad spot. But this is the time when you have to make a concerted effort to guard against sabotaging your career. If left unchecked you could be damaging your reputation and your future. You can only leverage your goodwill for so long.
There are three things you should focus on during a “bad” period.
1) Be consistent in your efforts.
Maintain a reputation reflecting integrity and purpose by continuing to put forth a valiant effort to do good work. Enthusiastically integrate within your new team or department – even if this means you have to change in order to make it work.
2) Give a less-than perfect workplace scenario your best effort.
Honestly assess whether you can make your current situation work, at least in the short term, before throwing in the towel. Find the positives in your situation and do your best to overcome the negatives.
3) Give careful thought to making a major job change or career move.
Consider networking with past colleagues within your company to see what they are doing, and to adequately assess the outlook for other opportunities before you decide to look for a job elsewhere.
Remember, a bad situation is never easy and usually not enjoyable but for most it is only temporary.