Hurdles on the Path to Career Success – Part 2

Last week, in Part 1 of this series we looked at a few hurdles that we create around us that prevent us for being as successful as we can otherwise be. Here is a list of few more gotchas to watch out for.

Being an island
The world today is a much smaller place than yesterday. No matter who you work for – be it for a small firm, a large corporation or for yourself, unless you are willing to go out, network and make contacts, you probably will not be able to succeed on a large scale. It does not mean that you need to go out and have drinks with peers and clients every day of the week. But you do need to make an effort to shed your shyness, leave your comfort zone and venture out of your shell to meet people.

How to fix it: Make some key friends. If you are an extrovert and it comes naturally to you to make contacts, you will likely not have this problem. If you are an introvert, find those few extroverts that you are comfortable with and be friends with them. You don’t have to know everyone – just knowing those one or two people who know everyone will get the job done most of the time!

Not marketing yourself
If you are still naïve enough to believe that if you are good, people will notice you, then it is time to wake up! In a world of cut-throat competition, if you cannot market yourself, you could be in for some serious disappointment. It does not matter whether you work in a research lab or a multi-national corporation – you need to learn to sell yourself.

How to fix it: Practice! If you are from a cultural background where boasting is shunned, recognize that and find ways to make your accomplishments noticed. Learn to speak up, and take credit for what you have done. Make sure that your manager knows how much effort you have put in the project and the small successes you have had. Learn to keep your failures to yourself, unless you have been asked about it, in which case learn to share them in a positive light.

Not being able to take criticism
There is positive criticism and there is negative criticism. And chances are, you will come across both at your work place. Getting defensive and not learning from the criticism is and will always remain one of the biggest down fall of most people.

How to fix it: When you receive positive criticism, thank the person and try to implement the changes suggested. These can help you grow both as a person and an employee. On the other hand, if you receive negative criticism, go ahead and make the necessary changes – you can still learn from these. In addition, work with the person to see if you can help them grow as a person and improve their communication skills. If not, just brush it off as some behavior quirk and move on.

Not keeping up with the latest advances
It seems like every day there is a new, easier and “improved” way of doing things. Sometimes it is exciting. At other times, it could be downright annoying, disruptive or scary. But if you hesitate to embrace the change, then you will soon be replaced by someone else who is not so threatened by it.

How to fix it: Network with the younger generation and stay in touch with what is the latest. Read voraciously, and attend trade shows, conferences etc. Do not hesitate to ask someone for help if you find the technology intimidating. If needed register for classes – either at the company’s learning center, or community college, or online!

Being prejudiced
All of us have our quirks. There are some things that we are not quite comfortable with. But in a world where half the office is in the US and the other in India or China, half the work force is male while the other is female, and the skin color takes on all shades of white, black and everything else in between, unless you learn to overcome your prejudice, you will have trouble adjusting to your career.

How to fix it: Look deep into yourself to find out what caused the prejudice. Maybe it was a dinner table discussion between your grand father and your parents that instilled the prejudice in you – do you still think it is valid? May be some experience while growing up caused you to start looking down on a particular race – isn’t it time to grow past it? Again, getting to the roots of your prejudice to free yourself will not only help you in your professional life, but personal life as well!

Nobody is perfect, but we can all try to get rid of some of the limitations around ourselves and aim to be better than we are now. I am sure there are a lot more hurdles out there that prevent us for reaching our full potential for success. I would love to hear your views on this. I will write more on this topic in the future weeks.

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Comments

  1. I think Communication Skills is very important to succeed in our career. We need to develop good relationships with other people – co-workers, customers, clients, managers, etc. It helps us grow and learn new things that are most needed in our career. Having friends or acquaintances also helps us enjoy life and our career as well.

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