It’s hard not to be envious of men who are established in their careers. They seem to have it all—a coveted position within the company, the respect of their employees and a 401K match to set them up for a cushy retirement.
But if you were to ask these seemingly successful men what their biggest career mistake was, they’d probably laugh and say, “Just one?”
Let’s face it. No successful guy alive has gotten to where he is today without making a career faux pas–or several. And guess what? You’re going to make them, too. Lucky for you, we know of an easy way to reduce your potential career mistake count by at least eight (hint: Read on).
Mistake #1: Being disingenuous in your job interview
If you have a job interview lined up, don’t try to present yourself as something you’re not. It will come across as disingenuous to prospective employers, who will more than likely see right through your charade.
Being misleading in a job interview can also cost you the job. According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, job applicants who present themselves authentically are more likely to receive a job offer compared to those who paint an inaccurate picture of themselves.
Skip the phony act and just be your true self during your job interview. Not only is it much easier to do, it will help set you up for career success from the get-go.
Mistake #2: Not putting any effort into your appearance
Even though you and your coworker have equal skills and intelligence, he gets promotions and you get diddly squat. Why is that?
It’s probably because your coworker wears snazzy ties and has glowing skin, while you’re walking around the office in a wrinkled shirt and have pimples on your nose. If all things are otherwise equal, who wouldn’t want to promote the guy who looks like a million bucks?
If you want to climb the career ladder faster, you need to look the part. Start reading men’s style blogs and get on a skin care system to clear up your distracting blemishes. Your future self will thank you for it.
Mistake #3: Saying yes to everything
Being a team player is admirable. Being a “yes man” at work is not. Saying yes to everything will eventually lead to burnout and frustration.
You need to learn how to say no to your coworkers, otherwise they’ll just keep on giving you more work. Why wouldn’t they? You’ve given them no indication that you can’t handle it.
When saying no to your coworkers, try to be polite yet firm. Though it can be tough to break the habit of being a people-pleaser, it’s absolutely necessary if you don’t want to rage quit your job over something small.
Mistake #4: Putting up with a terrible boss
A lot of guys who are fresh out of college think that dealing with bad bosses is a normal part of any job. While it’s true that bad bosses are all too common, that doesn’t mean you should put up with them.
In fact, a hostile boss could be detrimental to your health. According to a 2009 study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, employees who work with an abusive boss have an increased risk of coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Ask yourself this: Is your boss just difficult on occasion? Or are they creating a hostile work environment that is slowly eroding your mental health? If it’s the latter, start looking for new employment immediately.
Mistake #5: Forgetting to set career goals
Not setting career goals for yourself is like sailing without a compass. Sure, you might end up at your destination eventually, but you certainly won’t get there quickly.
Write down your career goals and make sure they’re achievable. Becoming the CEO of the company within a year is probably not an achievable goal if you’ve only been working there for a few months. Getting promoted to a managerial position within a year is far more doable.
Also, don’t forget to communicate your career goals to your manager. They can’t read your mind! Voice the path you wish to take your career, and there’s a good chance that you’ll end up there much faster.
Mistake #6: Having an office romance
Look, we get that you desperately want a girlfriend straight out of college. But dipping your pen in the company ink is never a good idea.
Dating a coworker, even one from a different department, can potentially set your career back. Employees love to gossip about office romances, and the rumors about you will almost certainly get back to your boss.
If you’re planning to switch jobs anyway, your office fling may not be that big of a deal. But if you want to stay at your company for the foreseeable future, it’s best not to risk it.
Mistake #7: Valuing money above all else
It’s so easy to be lured into taking a job just because of the dollar signs, especially when student loans are a financial albatross hanging around your neck. But don’t be too hasty to accept a job offer without weighing the pros and cons.
Some jobs may offer a lower pay while providing greater stability, while other jobs offer the opposite. Some promotions may come with a fancy new title and pay increase, but also an increased workload.
Figure out what is most important to you before you’re staring down those dollar signs. It will be much easier to make the right career choice when you aren’t mesmerized by a high yet potentially deceiving salary.
Mistake #8: Allowing your fear to hold you back
Switching jobs to maximize income is a common career tactic. Unfortunately, there are a lot of guys who stay with the company they’ve known for years and years—despite being vastly underpaid.
It’s not difficult to figure out why: They fear the unknown. A lot of us do. That’s why many of us tend to choose the devil we know over the devil we don’t.
If this sounds familiar, let this be your reminder to take a calculated risk. Does the company check off all the boxes? Is the salary increase high enough? Are you currently being underpaid?
Then take the leap of faith and don’t look back. Chances are, you’ll be glad you did.
Every high-achieving guy you know has made his fair share of mistakes. Wise men learn from their mistakes and use them to further their careers.
And just like these wise men, you’re also going to make a few missteps in your own career. But with any luck, at least it won’t be any of the mistakes we’ve listed here.