This year has been filled with uncertainties, and even if your career hasn’t been adversely affected by the layoffs or the recession, you’re probably getting a bit anxious about your prospects, how to remain employable and how to move forward. We’ve spoken to lots of senior engineers who have shared with us some of the things they wish they hadn’t done, and have hindered their careers.
Here are some things you should avoid, to ensure that your career progresses the way you want it to, both during times of pandemics and after.
Blaming yourself for things you can’t control.
We’ve talked to lots of engineers who have been laid off, and the thing we find ourselves saying most often?
It’s not your fault
Beating yourself up for circumstances you have no hand isn’t only completely unproductive, but it’s damaging to your mental health, confidence and can even have a negative impact on your career and future jobs. If you’re doubting your abilities to contribute to a team, there’s no way that your future employer is going to have any confidence in you. There was no way for any one of us to have known that things were literally going to hit the fan in 2020, so there’s no point blaming yourself for it.
Even outside of this year, being able to pinpoint what circumstances are within your control and what isn’t is a definite skill, and will help you to identify what you can work towards changing and what would be a complete waste of time.
Blaming others for things you can control.
On the flip side, thinking you do no wrong not only hinders your learning and progression, but also gives you the label of “the least likable person” at work.
We get it, it’s hard to admit that you did something wrong, especially when a lot of work and effort went into your projects. But, the only way to not get the same results over and over is to own your failures and figure out what could have been done differently.
An added benefit? Owning your mistakes makes you more relatable and real. Sharing your mistakes, and lessons you’ve learnt from them will make your conversations a lot more interesting compared to if you were complaining about why it’s everyone else’s fault things didn’t work out.
Not Planning Ahead
Planning ahead is pretty hard at the best of times, but with how uncertain things are now, it may seem counterproductive. But it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t lose sight of your goals, what’s important to you and where you want to end up. To be sure you don’t fall short of where you want to be in 10 years time, and look back on all the time you wasted, intentionally setting goals that push you in the right direction is incredibly important.
All or Nothing Outlook
A fact of life is that you won’t be able to win everything, which is completely fine. Lots of times, we find ourselves comparing us to people we see on social media, or our colleagues who are “smarter”, “more successful” or “happier” than we are. But that doesn’t make you a loser.
There are always going to be people who are able to work harder than you are, are smarter or have better connections. Shifting your expectations to ensure you focus on making progress against yourself instead of comparing your progress to others will be a lot more beneficial to ensure you get to where you want to be in your career.
Following the above point, we’re not saying that you should undersell your capabilities. Be sure you know what your capabilities are and take the time to look at the things you’ve done in your position. How much value have you brought to the company? How many people are using the programs that you’ve created?
If you’re looking for your next position at the moment, mention these things and take ownership of the great work you’ve done in your position. If you’re not sure how to re-write your stories to paint yourself in the best light possible, you can talk to our Talent Advisors as well. We’ve helped lots of engineers re-brand themselves and highlight how talented they really are.
Assuming Doing Great Work Is Enough
Naturally, doing a good job at work is crucial to keeping your job. But lots of people assume that as long as you do good work, you’ll get recognised and promoted. Most of the time though, while terrible work is pretty easy to pick out, good work is hard to see. This is especially true if you were working on a project that went wonderfully according to plan.
Sharing your successes would both be beneficial for your teammates, to understand what works and possibly replicate your methodology in future, as well as to ensure you get the recognition you deserve from your work. You can even share any failures or hardships that you faced along the way, and how you ended up solving these problems.
Not Making Friends
Never underestimate the value of a network. Especially one where you consider each other friends. A strong professional network can give you access to knowledge, experiences and opportunities that may never have come around otherwise. Plus, it’s likely that there’ll always be someone willing or able to help you whether you need a new job, some career advice or you’re looking for your co-founder.
Not Reaching Out To Us
Okay, so maybe this one isn't the most fatal mistake, but pursuing all avenues to push your career ahead is a pretty silly move in our books. This is especially true with hiring, when you're never really sure what the hiring companies are looking for. In our Talent Academy, we'd work with you to ensure your resume paints you in the best light, and get you in front of the people that matter the most.