Seven Ways to Torpedo Your Career


By Samuel Greengard

Some professionals find all sorts of creative ways to ruin their careers. Here's how not to succeed in your job without really trying.

Resist change. The working world is full of dinosaurs that harken back to the "good old days." Actually, the good old days weren't all that good, and these same individuals were probably rebelling against the previous generation of managers that harkened back to their good old days. Embrace change. It's here to stay.

Have a bad attitude. The world—and the workplace—is filled with too many obnoxious, arrogant and difficult people. Even if they're brilliant, no one can stand to be around them. Join this group and you will eventually wind up in the unemployment line. Instead, look for ways to build relationships and respect others … all the time.

Become too specialized. With technologies and IT strategies changing constantly, it's essential to have broad knowledge to adjust to changing events in midstream. Flexibility and agility aren't essential only for IT departments and the business; they're qualities that every person must adopt.

Be positively negative. We've all encountered people who find something wrong with everything. While it's wise to approach IT challenges with a critical eye, you will get a lot further in your career looking for ways to make things work, rather than grasping for reasons why they can't work. While you're at it, stop moaning about everything that's wrong at the company. If it's that bad, update your résumé and move on.

Go workaholic. Demanding bosses, endless glitches and ongoing deadlines create an always-on IT atmosphere. Within this environment, straddling the line between what's demanded and what's healthy for any given person is a huge challenge. But one thing is perfectly clear: At some point, too many hours equals total burnout. When this occurs, you'll find yourself looking for a new career.

Protect your fiefdom. Turf battles undermine productivity and, usually, credibility. Even if you win, you lose. IT is particularly prone to turf battles as technology gets lumped into discreet systems and silos -- with groups focusing on these projects. However, in today's digital enterprise, everything overlaps. Think about the bigger enterprise picture.

Succumb to sabotage. Dirty politics are an inescapable part of the workplace, but don't get caught in the tractor beam by slinging mud, cursing and gossiping. Instead, try to rise above the fray. If you find yourself in the crosshairs, protect yourself with documentation that substantiates your ethical behavior and reputation as a team player.