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3 Reasons Why Good Professionals Make Not-So-Good Career Decisions

Topics: Career Advice
There are two types of professionals in the world: those who make mistakes in their careers and learn from them, and those who don't. For the latter, the odds always seem to be against them and life never seems to give them the break they need. Maybe – just maybe – it's not life that's to blame for their misfortunes, but rather the bad decisions these good, capable professionals keep making that are the culprit. Let's take a look at three reasons why good professionals make not-so-good decisions that end up costing them the career success they truly deserve.

There are two types of professionals in the world: those who make mistakes in their careers and learn from them, and those who don’t. For the latter, the odds always seem to be against them and life never seems to give them the break they need. Maybe – just maybe – it’s not life that’s to blame for their misfortunes, but rather the bad decisions these good, capable professionals keep making that are the culprit. Let’s take a look at three reasons why good professionals make not-so-good decisions that end up costing them the career success they truly deserve.

oops i did it again

(Photo Credit: Stephen Harlan/Flickr)

Making a bad decision every now and again is simply human nature – after all, humans aren’t perfect. In fact, mistakes can lead to valuable lessons that make you a wiser individual, as well as prepare you for the challenges you’ll face in your personal and professional life.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Despite your best efforts, it’s inevitable that you will fall victim to the occasional bad decision at some point in your career, leaving you scratching your head in confusion because you simply don’t know what you were thinking. Whether it’s ending up at a dead-end job or missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime, one lapse of judgment can complete derail your career success and set you back to square one.

If this has happened in your career before, then I empathize with you – and so do the millions of other professionals who have slipped up in their careers, too. Acceptance is the first step, right? To help prevent a bad decision from ruining your chances at career success again, here are three reasons why even the best and well-intended professionals make bad decisions along their career paths.

1. Money-Hunger

We’re all guilty of this at some point in our careers. It’s incredibly easy to get tempted by money, but it’s important to remember that money isn’t everything. Yes, sure, you can buy materialistic things that make you happy, but that type of happiness is usually short-lived. Your career should be about following your passion and doing work that is as fulfilling as it is rewarding. In fact, recent research found that millennials prefer freedom and purpose over money in their careers.

2. Impulsivity

There’s nothing wrong with leaving a job to pursue a more promising opportunity elsewhere, but you have to ask yourself if you’re doing it for the right reasons. Is the company culture a good fit? Are you leaving purely because the new employer offered you more? Is there room for growth for you at the new company? These are all questions you should be asking yourself before jumping ship, because no dollar amount is going to make up for bad management or a lousy corporate culture.

Don’t be tempted to act out of impulse in your career; when you do, you set yourself up to regret your decision later on. Remember, just as with life, your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and do it right the first (or maybe second) time around.

3. Quitting Too Easily

This one gets us all at some point or another in our lives. When the going gets tough, it’s tempting to just throw in the towel and give up. If and when this happens in your career, try and remember that “the temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed” (Chinese proverb). Don’t expect success to come easy or to be handed to you on a silver platter, because you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. Keep your end goal in sight so that you don’t lose focus of why you’re busting your you-know-what.

Keep chugging along and know that doing things the right way is much more rewarding than doing things the easy way, especially when it comes to your career. One bad decision in life doesn’t mean that you’re doomed forever, so don’t get too down on yourself when you make mistakes along the way. The important thing to remember is, “fall seven times, stand up eight” (Japanese proverb) – or, in other words, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and use the lesson learned to your advantage. Rinse and repeat.

Tell Us What You Think

What was the most cringe-worthy bad decision you’ve made in your career? (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.) Share your story and what you learned from the experience with our community on Twitter, or leave a comment below. 

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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Sam
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Sam

With the way #1 is described that is common sense and a duh by now, but what I wish people understood is that some people end up taking such jobs with money being the priority to at least pay the bills, have financial freedom and be able to survive without stress. There is a big difference between going for money and buying pmaterial things or extravagant spending and taking money for basic survival, sustaining your family, etc. #1—Even though a job with passion and meaning are great, what good is it if they don’t allow to pay the bills, save… Read more »

John
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John

Hi!

Priscilla
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Priscilla

Jill! The poor young bride who got cancer is such a sad story…you’re not an idiot for leaving, you had invested yourself in the company. I think that for most of us who leave jobs, it is the right decision; maybe the timing is off, maybe the method of quitting could be refined. There are better jobs ahead, though we sometimes run out of time before we get there. And who’s to say how much worse things may have gotten had we stayed? Chins up.

Jerry
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Jerry

I had a good job that I loved and let someone get to me so bad that I said something to him for it got terminated and that was it lost everything but now I have learned from my mistakes and grew up but some employers don’t give people a second chance so take it from me if you have a co worker giving you trouble just shake it off and thank about your career he or she ain’t worth it

Shirley
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Shirley

Oh while I’m at it – working for someone who is related to the boss is ALWAYS a bad idea.

Shirley
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Shirley

Some times you only get one job offer – if you’re lucky – and you take it because the job you’re in no longer full fills you – either financially or professionally. Or your boss is a d*ck. I’ve been guilty of leaving for money BUT I was barely getting by AND being paid below market average. My previously company had an absolutely fantastic team but the company paid like they were poor. Since then they’ve restructured and the best staff are losing their jobs.

Jennifer
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Jennifer

There are very good points in this article, but I think that with this economy, some people were impulsive not because they got a better job offer. Rather, they’ve been out of work for 6 months and they had to take what they could get to pay the bills and put food on the table. As for “quitting too easily” – yes, I’ve seen people make the mistake of leaving as soon as the first bad break happened to them on the job. However, if the environment is toxic, I think it’s more important to get out as quickly as… Read more »

RkR
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RkR

I was a CSR for a large bank through a contractor. I honestly loved the job working in consumer deposits because it was a challenge. I took the job knowing that the training would be extremely valuable. Working in a call center can be very stressful. I actually enjoyed helping customers calling in and dealing with them was much easier that dealing with management & the company metric system. I had decided I wanted to work closer to home. I was also looking for job security. The way they had the metric system set up they could fire you at… Read more »

Jill
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Jill

I was a Supervisor at a fortune 100 company and I loved my job and really liked my direct reports, but …. upper management was constantly changing. I helped train 6 new managers before I applied for the position myself. I lost the position to a fellow Supervisor that totally baffled me. I had been with the company for 17 years in various positions while she had been with the company for less than 2 years. I had always received excellent reviews and my attendance was exemplary while she had planned a wedding her first year on the job and… Read more »

Deadpool's dad
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Deadpool's dad

“busting your you-know-what.” And my experience… Although, something that needed to happen for reasons that I could no longer at the time, afford the blood pressure medication, therapy sessions and constant belittling from my boss, I literally walked out with my middle finger in the air… and never returned. An impulsive decision that no matter how cool would have looked in slow-motion, cost me a lot of time, money, blood and whatever else comes with more depression and anxiety. If you need to leave a company on the spot because you work for a “you-know-what”, It should always be done… Read more »

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