May 18, 2016
You come into work each day and do exactly what’s asked of you. Sometimes you even volunteer to work late so a project can be completed on time. Yet, for some reason, you’re not working your way up the ladder as quickly as you’d hoped.
For a lot of young professionals promotions and raises come slower than they expected. So if you feel like you’re doing a great job but are not seeing the reward, you’re not alone. There are other factors that go into career success besides effort. In fact, you might be hurting your career without realizing it.
Here are three things that can negatively impact your career success even if you are good at your job:
Your sleep habits
Whether it’s because of a screaming newborn or just terrible insomnia, employees don’t get enough sleep.
Being tired affects the quality of your work. There’s no denying that. So even if you’re not making major mistakes, chances are your ideas aren’t as good as you think and you’re slower to solve problems because you’re not getting to bed early enough.
Of course no one purposefully tries to have sleep trouble, but you need to do your best to improve the quality of Zzzz’s you’re getting. Make changes to your schedule so you can either go to sleep earlier or wake up later. Monitor your caffeine intake, take short naps during the day if your workplace allows you to do so, or try out a white noise machine if you’re having trouble falling asleep. Experiment with different things until you find a way to get the rest you need.
Being an office gossip
It’s natural to want to chat with coworkers. It helps you fit in and can build a more unified team. But being an office gossip can get you into a lot of trouble. A 2016 survey by VitalSmarts found that 21 percent of employees had damaged their careers by gossiping.
Even if your best office bud swears they’ll never tell another soul, what you say about someone else when they’re not around often comes out. That can cause conflict and tension that nobody, including your boss, will appreciate.
Also, remember that what you say outside of the office, be it on social media or during happy hour with friends, can follow you to work the next day. So think twice before saying anything that might hurt someone else’s feelings or reflect negatively on you if taken out of context.
Not taking the right type of breaks
You need and deserve to take breaks while you work. Just know that there’s a thin line between something being a break and it being a distraction. For example, a 2015 BambooHR survey found that looking at social media is the number one distraction employees feel hinders their performance. Going to the break room, on the other hand, actually helps employees work better.
The trick to knowing whether a break is good for you lies in your state of mind once you return to work. If you feel more clear-headed after taking a short walk or getting a snack, you’ll perform better when you get back to your desk. But if you feel just as stressed or even guilty after taking a break, it’s time to find another activity.
You can also play around with how long or how often you stop and take a moment. Some people work better with several short breaks throughout the day. Others prefer one long break around lunch time. Try out some different options, as long as you’re not taking more time than your employer allows.
Unfortunately, career success isn’t just about hard work. Everything from the breakfast you choose to eat in the morning to the time you go to bed at night can positively or negatively impact your career. The best way to have control over those factors is to know what they are and how they affect your individual performance.
What other factors could be negatively impacting your career success? Share in the comments below!
Aaron Michel is the co-founder and CEO at PathSource, a career exploration solution helping students and job seekers make better career choices. To navigate your infinite career possibilities, connect with Aaron and the PathSource team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.