You’re Sabotaging Your Own Career If You Do These 4 Things


You could be the best sprinter in the world, but if you box yourself in, refuse to move past your personal boundaries and insist that you’re fine just jogging on the spot, all the training in the world isn’t going to help you cross that finish line.

It’s the same thing with your career.




Without taking a long, honest look at yourself in the mirror and being honest about your limiting beliefs and your counterproductive habits, you’re likely to get stuck in career inertia no matter how many times you switch paths or change jobs.

Time to stop the cycle of self-sabotage: take SSA Academy’s WSQ course on developing personal effectiveness, or get started on your self-reflection with this list.


1. Pretending office politics aren’t a thing

Minding your own business might be a surefire way to stay safe in the workplace, but at what cost?

Like it or not, office politics are an inevitable part of working life.

While navigating it can feel like deliberately putting yourself through torture, it’s a necessary evil. In fact, attempting to completely ignore office politics will penalise you more than you realise.



That’s not a call to start brown-nosing or playing dirty. Rather, the key is to choose your battles wisely.

  • Know when to put yourself forward and when to let others shine.
  • Know when to stand up for yourself and when to let things slide.
  • Know how to build relationships and network, and know when to say no to people.  


2. Being a perfectionist

You probably said it during the job interview: “My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.”

While it might make you look good as a prospective hire, when you’re in the thick of things and drowning under your own work, it’s not such a good thing.

Let’s be clear: always, always, shoot for the stars.



But don’t overburden yourself with colossal expectations: you might waste valuable time trying to get everything perfect and end up still hating the end result because it obviously isn’t (and will never be) perfect, then become too harsh on yourself because you couldn’t live up to your own expectations.

All of this adds up to low self-efficacy: not believing you have what it takes to get the job done.

And if you don’t have confidence in yourself, you’re not going to get ahead.


3. Fear of success & failure

We’re all afraid of not being enough, just in different degrees. Some people know how to hide it better than others. Some of us–the best of us–still fear, but they don’t let it stop them.

Fear of failure often has its roots in low self-esteem. When you think very little of yourself, you respond either by overcompensating and chasing success at all costs–including compromising integrity and sabotaging others—to “prove” you’re worth something, or by holding yourself back.



Fear of success is a little trickier to identify, but it works in much the same way. If you’re afraid of finding out that your dream job won’t be all it’s cracked up to be, you’re likely to pass over opportunities to move forward and get noticed at work, convincing yourself that you’re okay where you are (when you’d actually rather be somewhere else.)




The antidote for both is as simple as it is difficult: just do it.

The only way to overcome your fears is to build self-efficacy, and the only way to build self-efficacy is take the plunge. When you succeed, you learn that you can actually do it. When you fail, you learn how to get better so that you’ll succeed one day. 



4. Working yourself to burnout

You won’t be of any use to anyone if you’re overextending yourself. Worse, coming to work miserable every day because you’re burnt out might rub off on your teammates, which is especially demotivating if you’re in a leadership position.



We might be mired in a culture that glorifies overwork as a sign of commitment and dedication, but the truth is that when you’re burnt out, sooner or later, your productivity takes a tumble, your ability to focus nosedives, and your work will get more and more slipshod.

Did that hit a raw nerve?



Do yourself a favour, and take care of yourself:

  • Don’t spread yourself too thin and guarantee over-promising and under-delivering
  • Learn how to say no
  • Pick up a regular mindfulness practice

Need more suggestions on preventing burnout? Here you go.

Alternatively, save yourself the added stress of working overtime: use these strategies to re-examine your personal productivity.


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