11 'Bad' Things That Won’t Actually Crush Your Career

Whether you’re new to the workforce or you’ve been an employee for many years, you’re probably getting bombarded with bits of career “advice” day after day. While the mentors may mean well, some of the messages they’re spreading just aren’t accurate. In fact, most of what you’ve heard probably doesn’t apply to a modern-day work setting.

But knowing what’s true and what’s not can be difficult. When you don’t want to make the mistake of committing one of the career-crushing sins you’ve been warned about, it may seem better to just listen to all the advice you’ve been given. Unfortunately, when you’re constantly worried about what you may be doing wrong, your work becomes sloppy and distracted.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of eleven things that aren’t actually bad for your career — despite what you’ve been told.


1. Taking a Pay Cut

When you get a new job, you’re typically hoping to also get a pay raise. Unfortunately, making certain career moves may present you with a pay cut, putting you in an awkward position between deciding whether or not you should accept this new position.

It can feel weird to accept a lower salary, but if it advances your career in the right direction, it may be the better move. If this new position is in a better industry, with a better company or just looks like a better personal fit, consider taking the new job — regardless of the pay cut.

2. Addressing Office Problems

No one wants to become the drama queen of the office, but sometimes it’s hard to brush catty behavior under the rug. Unfortunately, drama and high school-level nastiness can appear in the workplace — and it just can’t be ignored.

Appropriately addressing a problem with coworkers isn’t going to undo the work you’ve done to advance your career. Instead of waiting for the problem to go away, take the initiative and find out what needs to be done to get through it. When everyone is back on the same page, you’re able to focus on the work that needs to get done.

3. Disagreeing With Your Boss

It may seem like whatever your boss says, goes. While you don’t want to frequently pick fights or arguments with your boss over the direction the company should be moving in, you also shouldn’t feel like you’ll ruin your career if you disagree politely.

If you feel like something should be done differently, voice your suggestion to your boss. However, you should keep in mind that they don’t need to take your advice, so don’t get defensive if they don’t see the situation from your perspective. Having an appropriate and professional conversation about different options can actually improve your career.

4. Crying or Getting Emotional at Work

Work can become stressful sometimes. When you have a lot on your plate, you had a bad day personally or you’re just feeling overwhelmed, you may want to shed a few tears. While you may think this shows signs of weakness, it can actually help you build a stronger relationship with your boss or coworkers.

Crying allows you to be a bit vulnerable, but it also allows you to get some stress off your chest. This can allow you and your boss to find a better solution to a problem or just allow you to restart the project with a clear mind. While you probably don’t want to start crying very day at work, letting go of some anger through tears can be okay when justified.

5. Making a Lateral Move

Making a lateral move can seem a bit like taking a pay cut. If the end goal is to move up the corporate ladder, taking a similar position to the one you already have can seem counterproductive. But if it’s the right lateral move, it can help your job in the long run.

Sometimes, a lateral move is necessary to get into the department or building that provides you with better opportunities. Don’t feel like you need to make a large jump each and every time you get a new job. If it’s moving you closer to your endgame in any way, it’s a good move.

6. Not Getting a Promotion

When you’re passed over for a promotion, you may be left wondering what you did wrong and if your boss things you’re not worthy of advancement. While not getting a promotion you’d been hoping for can be a blow to the ego, it isn’t remotely career-ending.

Take this as an opportunity to learn and prove you’re capable of new responsibilities. If you really wanted that promotion, show your boss you’re able to advance. Schedule a meeting with your boss or hiring manager to discuss the reasons why you weren’t given the promotion and what changes they’d like to see before you’re given an advance.

7. Taking a Vacation

Americans are notorious for their unwillingness to take vacations. Many companies offer small vacation packages that need to be dispersed throughout the year, including holidays. But even with the few days provided, many Americans aren’t even taking the vacation days given to them — even if they don’t roll over.

Somewhere along the line, many American workers began believing taking too many vacation days is a poor reflection on their work ethic or commitment. However, not taking a vacation can cause you to become overly stressed, hurting your creativity and productivity.

If you’re not giving yourself some personal time to refresh and regroup, your career may suffer.

8. A Poor Performance Review

Getting a poor performance review can be scary. If you’ve done something wrong, it can feel like you’re about to get fired at any moment. While some people do get fired for major mistakes they’ve made, this is pretty rare. However, you do need to take the initiative to prove similar mistakes won’t happen again.

Instead of getting shy and timid because of a bad performance review, take the feedback you were given and apply it to your day-to-day activities. Ask your boss if they’d be willing to schedule another meeting with you to discuss improvements or additional changes you could make.

If you get a bad performance review, you want to show you’re serious about the position and willing to do whatever you can to improve your job standing.

9. Quitting Your Job Without a New Job

If you’re in a miserable job, you may be prepared to walk away even without a new position lined up. While it’s a serious decision to make, quitting your job without having a new job waiting for you won’t be a death sentence for your career.

However, be prepared to explain in interviews why you left. Admitting it wasn’t the right fit is fine, but you don’t want to sink to bad-mouthing your old boss. Be sure you’ve prepared something before going into any new interviews.

10. Changing Jobs Every Few Years

Older generations are used to staying with the same company for years and years. Some even stay with the same company their entire professional lives. But with the ease of changing positions these days and the lack of pension plans available, younger generations don’t have the same temptation to stay with the same business for decades.

Changing your job too frequently can be a sign that you’re difficult to work with, but you don’t need to feel like you can’t change positions every few years. If you’re staying in a position for four or five years before moving to the next, you don’t need to worry about seeming unemployable.

11. Asking for a Raise or Promotion

We all want to be promoted and we all want to get a raise, but asking for it seems out of the question. Instead, most of us sit back and wait for our boss to offer it to us. Unfortunately, this can actually hurt your career more than just asking for what you want.

While asking for a raise or a promotion can be seen as taking the initiative, you don’t want to begin demanding more from your boss. Instead, prepare a statement that explains why you deserve a higher salary or a better position. This will get you closer to getting what you’re after.

As the professional world is changing, so are the “dos” and “don’ts” of being a professional. While your grandmother or great aunt may have had a successful career, chances are good a lot of what they’re telling you just doesn’t apply anymore.

Knowing what’s right for your career can be a real challenge. To help you move forward and make the best decisions for your career, subscribe to Punched Clocks.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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