May 31, 2023 – “The only one managing your career is you!” You’ve probably heard those words many times from multiple sources. These well-meaning advisors, however, may have neglected to tell you that managing your career is hard! You spent the formative years of your life and education following a prescribed plan with a mapped-out path to success. But after you accept your first job, there’s no one direction to go. It’s up to you to decide where you want to go in your career and how you want to get there. “As recruiters, we’re happy to help you decide what success looks like for you and how we can help you get there,” said Paula Rutledge, founder and president of Legacy MedSearch, in a report. “Still, we also see many candidates who come to us to try and undo career mistakes they’ve already made. Many of these candidates seem to make the same kinds of severe career blunders that are easily avoidable by simply being aware of them.”
So it is that the search firm compiled some of the most common mistakes its team hears about from candidates so that you can avoid the same traps:
1) Falling asleep on your career
“This is one of the most common mistakes we see and is also why many candidates reach out to us in the first place,” said the Legacy MedSearch report. “You took your job because you needed it out of college, even though it wasn’t what you were passionate about. It was pretty OK, so you stayed long enough to get promoted. Ten years later, it’s still just OK, but you feel like you can’t start over at this stage. Sound familiar? If so, you need to stop coasting and start managing your career now!”
2) Pretending to be something you’re not
Maybe you slightly oversold your abilities on your resume, or perhaps you pretended to enjoy a particular responsibility that you actually hate in order to get the job. “Over time, you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up, or you’ll be stuck doing a task you hate while having to pretend you love it,” said the search firm. “This is relatively easy to fix, but it’s better to just present yourself authentically in the first place.”
3) Burning bridges
This is one of the most, if not the most commonly given, pieces of advice to give, but it is worth repeating because so many people ignore it. Quitting out of anger, throwing a coworker under the bus, or leaving without giving notice are all common mistakes that candidates make, said the report. You’d be surprised how often people come back to play a role in your professional life.
4) Making decisions solely based on money
While money is a key factor when making business-related decisions, it is not the only one to consider. This goes for both your salary and project-related decisions. If money is your only decisional metric, you could lose your dream job because of a pay cut, or accept an offer into a career you aren’t genuinely interested in, or lose an investment for your company by ignoring a gut feeling.
When a person is especially money-oriented, monetary incentives such as sign-on bonuses can make an originally unappealing offer seem like one worth accepting, said Legacy MedSearch. While the extra cash may look nice at first, no amount of money will be able to pay away the burden of being stuck in a position that doesn’t make you happy.
5) Putting your life on the back burner
If you’re putting blood, sweat, and tears into your company at the expense of your friends, family, and personal happiness and well-being, stop and ask yourself if your company would do the same thing for you. You’re not at your best when you’re burnt out and neither is your career.
6) Failing to set boundaries at work
Do you find yourself frequently asked to do things your peers are not, like staying late at work or completing extensive projects? Do you feel like you can’t say no to these requests because you said yes a few times, and now you don’t know how to say no without looking uncooperative? “Especially when you start a new job, it’s vital to be conscious of the professional expectations you invite and that you’re clear about your boundaries,” said the Legacy MedSearch report. “Otherwise, you’ll feel burdened and put upon until one day you snap.”
More people are working remotely today than ever before, and that has created more grey areas in work life and home life boundaries, said the search firm. If you are working from home, try to make sure work doesn’t bleed over into your home time. Having a designated workspace, shut down at appropriate times, and just because you can see your laptop, doesn’t mean you have to check it.
7) Not taking risks
The right thing and the easy thing are not always the same. As you increase your professional standing, the right and easy things to do become less and less similar. “No one wants to make a mistake in their career, but everyone has done it and learned from it,” said Legacy MedSearch. “These learning experiences allow you to grow personally and professionally. Without them, you’re dooming yourself to a life of career boredom, always wondering how things would have turned out if you’d just taken that calculated risk.”
Legacy MedSearch, founded in 2005 was named a Forbes Americas Best Executive Recruiting Firms in 2019 and 2020. With a strong track record of over 30 years in the med-tech industry, the Orlando, FL-based firm prides itself on personalized attention and service of a small business, coupled with the resources of a large firm.
Ms. Rutledge founded Legacy MedSearch in 2005 after a 22-year career as a prominent medical device sales executive within leading medical device companies as Johnson & Johnson, Synthes, Zimmer Spine, and GE Healthcare. Leveraging her firsthand, professional experience selling orthopedic, spine, and imaging/navigation products, she has successfully placed thousands of medical device professionals.
Related: Exploring a New Career Role
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media