Not being Zen
So while we’ve identified that ongoing training and developing technical skills is essential to growing your career, there’s a way to take the next step up, and it may seem unexpected.
“A key trait to help your career is not just to put in the sweat equity of being technical and obtaining domain expertise, but also be willing to give up on that knowledge, to give up being the expert,” says Box’s Chapman. “The path forward can only be achieved by the willingness to let go and give up in order to focus on obtaining those next set of experiences.”
Thinking you made it
Some mistakes can hide under career successes, says Jen Doran, program manager at IT staffing firm TEKsystems. She frequently sees people climb the corporate ladder then abruptly stop networking.
“Time and effort was put into placing a particular person in a particular role,” she says, “so it’s important to keep networking at events and on social platforms to continue to grow your network even after you’ve been successfully placed.”
Not asking for stretch assignments
Another ladder-climbing mistake Doran sees occurs when tech workers nail the job they want, but then stop challenging themselves.
“IT professionals should go beyond what’s in their job description and ask for exposure to other assignments,” she says. “We specialize in placing IT candidates and services in areas where their tactical skills are needed, but also where they’ll have the opportunity to begin understanding the business outside of their immediate tasks. This motivates IT professionals to get out of their comfort zones and expose themselves to new ideas and people, as well as critical thinking and problem solving, which are all beneficial to the employee and the team in general.”
Looking too far ahead
When you’re planning ahead, don’t drive yourself crazy looking too far out, says Arti Sungard's Venkatesh. If your road map stretches out beyond two years, she says, you’ve gone too far.
“You will most likely end up adjusting your plans and goals,” Venkatesh says. “I would recommend setting up goals for one year — short term — and beyond one year — long term. You should continually review your career progress and adjust your goals based on your accomplishments, job trends and developing skill sets.”
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