55 Biggest Career Mistakes of Your Life

Alright guys. I think it’s pretty safe to say that navigating through the working world isn’t super-easy and isn’t really fun all the time.

There are tons of rules and so many different personalities that we have to deal with, so having a super-successful career isn’t something that’s just handed to you.

You have to work at it.

You have to work your butt off, really.

But eventually, and with some help, it’s something that’s totally achievable.

So I sat down and put together a list of big career mistakes that we should try to avoid.

A lot of these come from straight-up personal experience, so I’ve learned a lot of these the hard way.

Learn from these career mistakes and don’t make them yourselves!


55 Biggest Career Mistakes of Your Life:

  1. Assuming that you know everything
  2. Forgetting to network
  3. Not being prepared for meetings
  4. Ignoring the value of business cards
  5. Engaging in office drama
  6. Arriving to meetings late
  7. Not asking for more work when you’re bored
  8. Being satisfied doing the minimum amount of work necessary
  9. Not sharing your career goals with your leader
  10. Not reading up on your industry
  11. Forgetting to make a LinkedIn page
  12. Over-sharing personal stories at work
  13. Burning bridges when leaving a job
  14. Dressing unprofessionally
  15. Not proof-reading your e-mails
  16. Believing that you’re going to be a VP right out of college
  17. Not seeing the value in entry-level positions
  18. Not learning from your mistakes and failures
  19. Failing to seek out a mentor
  20. Thinking that once you choose a job field, you’re stuck with it forever
  21. Not keeping an updated resume at all times
  22. Failing to join associations and groups pertaining to your industry
  23. Being a negative person
  24. Not taking initiative and turning down all new projects
  25. Forgetting to thank people who help you
  26. Not asking for help when you need it
  27. Not speaking up when you’re overwhelmed with your workload
  28. Trying to convince yourself that you love your job when you don’t
  29. Overestimating your abilities and not being honest about them
  30. Turning down training courses
  31. Not keeping track of all your accomplishments
  32. Making career decisions for anyone other than yourself
  33. Not actively looking for a job when you’re not happy with the one you have
  34. Thinking that it’s too late in life to change careers
  35. Making premature judgements of others
  36. Over-promising results, and then failing to deliver
  37. Not having a system for managing e-mails
  38. Failing to understand when and how you’re most productive
  39. Assuming that everyone around you thinks the same way you do
  40. Failing to accept diversity as an asset to your team
  41. Not caring how your actions affect other people
  42. Having an emotional IQ of zero
  43. Not asking questions
  44. Making decisions that impact others without consulting with them first
  45. Believing that you need to be an a-hole to be taken seriously
  46. Taking jobs just for the money
  47. Not sharing your knowledge with others
  48. Letting your ego guide your decisions
  49. Not thinking big-picture
  50. Complaining about problems instead of offering solutions
  51. Failing to embrace change
  52. Letting new technology intimidate you
  53. Not pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone
  54. Failing to give yourself time to re-charge
  55. Not standing up for what you’re worth

Any others?! Feel free to share your thoughts below!

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  1. Alice

    July 13, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Seriously such good tips and advice! thank you for sharing!

  2. Lindsay

    July 13, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Fabulous list, and comprehensive! Being in my professional career for 10 years now, I can see many of your points valid and so important not to make or at least be hyper-aware of.

  3. Aishwarya S

    July 13, 2015 at 8:31 am

    This is a very helpful article. LinkedIn profile is really necessary, that I knew. Thanks for sharing this knowledge. 🙂

  4. Sam

    July 13, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I loved this, just what I needed to read today. The networking one is my #1. It makes such a huge difference.

  5. Kiara Catanzaro

    July 13, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Love this list. I love how you talk about networking. I don’t think we realize how important this is because if you’re not trying to connect with others in the work place and within your career, it’ll be hard to make more connections in your field! Growing your network is how you can make a lasting impression and use your network to your advantage down the road. Thanks so much for this post!

  6. Angie

    July 13, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Great tips! Need to make sure I don’t do any of these… lol

  7. Samara

    July 13, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Good List! I am actually just coming out of a job (3 days left!), and although I have loved it, there were things that I would have liked to be different. However, after reading this list I cringed a couple times and thought “I could have done more of that … ” or “Maybe I should not have done that ….” The learning curve never ends. Really like your blog though, and all of the career advice you have!

  8. Jessica H.

    July 13, 2015 at 10:36 am

    These are great tips and reminders for the working world, in general. I currently write and design at home, so I’m constantly pushing myself outside of my boundaries. I just dealt with fighting for my worth and it paid off in the end. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sarah

    July 13, 2015 at 10:42 am

    This is a great list, and a cute blog! I am working from home now while I finish school and I love it. I can write and do things I love now while working toward a career I know I will enjoy.

  10. Eleanor

    July 13, 2015 at 11:17 am

    This is a great list! I love 47 and 49 sharing is caring and the “big picture” is so big it needs to be looked at often!

  11. Cara

    July 13, 2015 at 11:39 am

    This is a great list!

  12. Clare Speer

    July 13, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Wow – such wonderful tips and advice… I’ve been working for a very, very long time and unfortunately I have learned some of these the hard way! Great post!

  13. Julie

    July 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I think the thing to remember is that having a job is a privilege. Too many people take them for granted. Then they hit middle age, something happens, and they realize they are our of work. Keeping up your resume is very important.

  14. Dayne

    July 13, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Recharging…That may be the most important one for me!

  15. Cynthia @craftoflaughter

    July 13, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    WOW, your list is right on! Every single friggin one!

  16. Brittany Bergman

    July 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! #7 and #15 are my favorites. I’m a copyeditor, so I really need to make sure I’m proofreading my emails!

  17. Mistle

    July 13, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Great tips! I’ve been guilty of a few of these in the past.

  18. Ashlee

    July 13, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    This is filled with great advice! As I just started my full time career a month or so ago, I’m anxious to do everything I can to better my career! Thanks 🙂

  19. Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    July 13, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    If I could “Amen” every single one of these 55 points, I would. Every single one hits home and needs to be ingrained in the minds of every single aspiring careeranista!

    Coming Up Roses

  20. Dina

    July 14, 2015 at 2:52 am

    These are all really great tips. I think each and every one hits home and how to act professionally. Phew those are a lot of big mistakes to make!

  21. Lindsay

    July 14, 2015 at 8:22 am

    What a great, spot-on list! I love the point about proofing your emails. So important.

  22. Elle

    July 14, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Number 2 and 4 immediately caught my eye. Networking and business cards seem old school but they are really valuable. It can be scary or intimidating for an introvert but it’s so worth it.

  23. Jennifer

    July 14, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I’ve Definitely made some of these mistakes! But then again, who hasn’t!! Networking is SO important!

  24. Daria

    July 14, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Wow, I love the list especially #43. We are often scared to ask questions fearing people will think we are done, when that’s not true. Asking questions is a smart thing! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Seni

    July 14, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Just what I was looking for!

  26. Iyanna

    July 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Absolutely love this list! Truthfully, I have been guilty of a few.. I think everyone has at least one object on this list to improve on. People are so used to complaining about the job that they are in instead of really communicating real solutions. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Miranda @ Miranda Writes Blog

    July 14, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    This is a great list. Very comprehensive! I agree that staying out of any drama is always a good idea, no matter what your career looks like. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Debrah Nadler

    July 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Excellent list. I think you covered all the bases!

  29. Sheryl

    July 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Great list! Thanks for sharing. I shared on LinkedIn and Twitter, too.

  30. DT

    July 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Those are great things to keep in mind.. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    —DT | Here I Scribble

  31. Kate

    July 14, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    #55 is the best! You have to make sure you advocate for yourself and know what you are worth!

  32. Deborah

    July 15, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Thanks! Not just pertinent to the younger Generation 🙂 I see some I already do but others have RFI – Room for Improvement.

  33. kenzie negron

    July 15, 2015 at 11:07 am

    wow, such an awesome post! thanks so much :)xx, kenz

  34. Trish

    July 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    These are really good reminders (and I have been guilty of some now and then!). Thank you!

  35. Kevin

    July 15, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    This is such a neat list! Thanks for sharing it – I feel that its really easy to forget many things, both big and small once we enter our careers. With less time for introspection, it becomes difficult to manage a lot of the things that we’re tasked, and so it’s definitely important to take the time to take care of ourselves!

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  37. Emily

    July 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Great advice! Thanks for all the good tips! Many can learn from this!

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  39. Daria

    October 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you very much for the list) I guess everybody could pick everything they believed was the most meaningful to them at a present career step. I started making notes after a quick view thinking I would note down a couple points and ended up with a list of about 15!
    I think the idea of getting help and mentoring when needed will be the most important one for me now – I am going through a stage when I am trying to learn how not to feel over-responsible for all tiny things around and to get valuable advice from the experts I am lucky to have contact with. Now I feel on the right path) Thank you again!

  40. Mama Sow

    April 3, 2016 at 8:05 am

    That is so true! Finding a mentor isn’t easy but it is really valuable. It doesn’t even have to be someone in the same sector. It also has to be someone realistic but not pessimistic 🙂

    my Youtube Channel : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC98HIf08AzG6RaAWr1i1DbQ/
    My blog : http://www.missmamasaw.wordpress.com

  41. Heidi Dee

    January 1, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Love this! I underwent a massive career change this year and I feel like all of these are so relevant!

  42. Zentil semaj ford vanZellas

    February 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Wow that was Beautiful and assorted…
    Aka sincere Carter
    Too never holding out..

  43. Daynna Hartjes

    April 16, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Love this, Kayla! This is all so so true, I can absolutely relate to a ton of these. I’m currently in a transition period where I’m sort of switching careers and a lot of these are so relevant to what I’ve experienced. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  44. aso taro

    May 14, 2017 at 12:13 am

    great tips, i note this on my desktop for make me remember about that. Thanks for sharing

  45. Sheldon Owen

    August 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    It is rare to see a nice blog like this one these days. I was reading your posts while at the gym. You saved me a lot of hassle just now. Extremely helpful website. I truly think this write up needs much more consideration. I will probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

  46. Sofor

    November 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Yeah, I’ve committed some of those.

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