Avoid These Career Limiting Behaviors

As your career mentor, I’m always looking for common sense career advice. I found some in a recent conversation with Chrissy Scivicque, a good friend and a career coach. When we last spoke she mentioned what she sees as the 10 Biggest Career Limiting Habits. Check them out…

  1. Unreliability
  2. It’s not my job.
  3. Procrastination
  4. Resistance to change
  5. Negative attitude
  6. Disrespect
  7. Short-term focus
  8. Selfishness
  9. Passive aggressiveness
  10. Risk aversion

Chrissy is right on here. I agree that all 10 are career limiting habits. But I think that habit number 2 – It’s not my job – may be the most career limiting of the ten. Tweet 100 in my career advice book Success Tweets, says, “Care about what you do. If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer. If you care a lot, you’ll become an outstanding performer.” Outstanding performance is one of my seven keys to life and career success. If you focus on getting things done and not worrying about if it is your job, you will become an outstanding performer and career success.

Harry Truman, 33rd President of the United States, really got it right when he said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” In other words, do you work, and do whatever it takes to make sure the projects you are assigned get done and get done well. Here’s a personal story that illustrates this point…

Many years ago I was assigned a joint project with a deadbeat for a partner. This guy was bad. He was a triple threat – not so bright, a big ego and lazy. As the project wore on and we were nearing a deadline, I thought about going to my boss and complaining that he wasn’t carrying his weight. But I decided against doing that.

I slogged on, got the project done well and on time and submitted it – with his name and mine on the finished product. I was feeling kind of resentful, because I was worried that even though I did all the work, he was getting half of the credit.

A couple weeks later, our boss called me into his office. He said that he wanted to compliment me on the fine job I did on the project. I bit my tongue and said, “Gil and I worked on that project together.” My boss said, “I know Gil’s work, and I know your work. I could tell that you did all of the work on that project.”

I said, “Thanks for noticing.” He said, “I assigned you that joint project as a bit of a test. I wanted to see how well you could work with others. I figured you would get frustrated with Gil because I knew he wasn’t up to doing quality work on this kind of project. I wanted to see what you would do. You did the work, and didn’t rat out Gil. I’m proud of you for that.”

We can debate his leadership style here; I don’t think it’s a good idea to treat the people who work for you as lab rats. But this story makes an interesting point about career success. I cared about this project. I cared enough to get it done – well and on time – even though I had to do all of the work, not just my half. I didn’t worry about what part of the project was and was not my job.

It’s been my experience that people in positions of authority can identify good work when they see it; they can differentiate the work of the people who report to them; and they know who cares about his or her work. If you consistently produce high-quality work and results, you will get your due. The “it’s not my job” excuse is about as lame as it gets.

Take it from your career mentor. Focus on getting the job done – well and on time—and you will get the recognition due you in the long run. And creating life and career success is a long run – a marathon, not a sprint. As the old saying goes, “The cream rises to the top.”

Delivering high-quality work, consistently and in the long run, will get you noticed and help you create the life and career success you want and deserve. Stay focused on your work, get creative with your ideas. Make sure you cross all of your t’s and dot all of your i’s and you’ll succeed. Focus on doing what needs to be done – whether it is your job or not.

The career mentor point here is simple common sense. Successful people deliver high-quality work, consistently and over the long run. They follow the career advice in Tweets 100 and 98 in Success Tweets. “Care about what you do. If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer. If you care a lot, you’ll become an outstanding performer” –Tweet 100. “Don’t worry about getting credit for doing the job. Worry about getting the job done well – accurately and on time” – Tweet 98

Most leaders recognize the output of the people who work for them. That’s why it’s important to focus on doing what needs to be done. Do a good job on every job – no matter how small. You’ll build your brand and portfolio in your leader’s mind. Producing consistently high-quality work that moves things forward is the best way to get the recognition due you and create your life and career success.

That’s my career advice on avoiding the “it’s not my job” career limiting behavior. What do you think? Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, thanks for reading my musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.

Your career mentor,


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download free copies of Success Tweets and Success Tweets Explained. The first is a tweets book. The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career success advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://www.SuccessTweets.com to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes and you’ll get a free basic membership in my career mentor membership site.



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