Are you subconsciously sabotaging your career?

May 01, 2018
There are four red flags which, if ignored, could stall your career. In this article, we highlight those red flags and provide an alternative path that will ultimately result in improved performance and career progression.

Every year, you should conduct a career audit – not with a view to finding a new job, but in terms of evaluating where you are in your career vis-à-vis your own personal objectives.

Not only will this help ensure that conversations with your boss at annual review time are well thought through, it’s also critical in guarding against those ruts we all find ourselves in from time to time. Here are some key red flags to watch out for:

#1 Feeling comfortable

Don’t get me wrong, you should enjoy your job and feel like you’re working in a supportive environment. But a level of stress and pressure is important to ensure you’re working at your very best. Without it, most of us stagnate or naturally stop pushing for more. If you feel you can do over 90% of your job without feeling as though you’re out of your comfort zone, it’s time to look either internally or externally for something else.

#2 Resisting innovation and change

Likewise, when you’re out of your comfort zone, you often have to embrace new ways of doing things to ensure you deliver. If you find yourself blocking innovation and change, it may be another sign that you’re getting too comfortable. It may also be a sign that you’re becoming disengaged with your role, which doesn’t necessarily mean you need to leave – it might just require a bit of a re-group to reconnect with your role’s core purpose and mission.

#3 Believing it’s not possible

In a similar fashion, a motivated and fulfilled ‘you’ should never stop questioning. If you find yourself becoming stuck in your ways or inward-looking, it’s definitely time for a shake-up. And beware, in a profession where expertise can be provided on the side of risk-aversion, this can happen quite often so keeping yourself open to new ideas, people and thinking is incredibly important if you want to continue to advance your career.

#4 Putting your books away

Now I’m not saying that you need to have a piece of study on the go all the time. In fact, I’m pretty sure that by the time you complete your FAEs, you might never want to look at another book again! To leap straight into further education is probably unrealistic, but never say never. Don’t just assume that continuing professional development (CPD) is your form of ongoing, post-qualification learning. You need to consider what education you need to do now to position yourself for promotion to the next level. If you want to become a CFO, you may want to look into further qualifications in risk or governance. If you want to move into a more specialist role, perhaps in performance or data analytics, further study will put you ahead of your peers. Likewise, if business management is your goal, considering an MBA is vital.

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll continue to progress in your career. Good luck, and look after your future!

Neil Murphy is an associate with Barden.