Catherine's Career Corner
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December 30th, 2011
Want to Destroy Your Career? See 8 Ways

In organisations, every day, executives, managers and employees just like you and I self-destruct. They don’t just shoot themselves in the foot, they they go a step further to destroy their careers. Sometimes, they sabotage their entire career, and they do it in the most unfathomable dramatic fashion. Want to destroy your career? Explore 8 ways to do so.


By Catherine Adenle

Here at Catherine’s Career Corner, we have written several articles on how to build your career. We have also written articles on how to apply for jobs, prepare for an interview and secure a job. However, in the workplace, some people have a high propensity to derail their successful career. For this reason, it is important for us to write few articles focusing on some of the behaviours those kind of people exhibit to end their careers.

In organisations, every day, executives, managers and employees just like you and I self-destruct. They don’t just shoot themselves in the foot, they also destroy their careers. Sometimes, they sabotage their entire career, and they do it in the most unfathomable dramatic fashion.

Stealing at work

Do anything stupid in the workplace these days, and watch as the fire of gossip rage on online via Social Networking sites. With the power of the internet and the popularity of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter everyone can instantly talk about you and share your idiotic behaviour openly. Any future hiring manager can easily get their hands on your career ending shenanigan.


Want to destroy your career, here are 8 quick ways to destroy it:

  1. Stealing: If you want to fast track destroying your career, then, steal anything from your employer. Any type of stealing from your workplace is a no, no. It’s surprising how many bright and successful people steal from their employers and then pay the ultimate price. Using your company’s properties for personal gains or fiddling with accounts is stealing. Helping yourself to the company’s money could be considered embezzlement. This type of stealing is not just career ending; it is punishable by law. Want to destroy your career? Doing jail time is not good for your career. You can’t put that anywhere on your resume nor can you include it in your elevator speech.
  2.  Recklessness:  Want to destroy your career? Destroy your career by not curbing any of your reckless attitudes in your workplace. Employers have the capability of watching and monitoring every employees move carefully. Just as they watch for all their new up and coming talents, they are also on the lookout to protect their business. Avoid any type of discrimination and all other undue negative attitudes like sexual harassment, racism and general lawlessness if you want to rise up the ladder of success at work.
  3. Laziness and insubordination: You can tank your career by being lazy and insubordinate at work. If you are like few workers who are contented with just doing the minimal amount of work, trust me, your boss or colleagues will notice. They can see what you are doing and what you are not doing. They know if more could be accomplished by you or not. Causing unnecessary controversies, acting in a negative manner or acting in an unruly manner is out of the question if you want to further develop your career.
  4. Arrogantly make demands: You can always jack your career in if you ask for a pay rise and insist you get it by all means even if you know that your company is in trouble financially. Also go ahead and make it a habit of asking for a leave when you have to meet an important deadline at work on a project that you are leading. You can be rest assured that you would commit a career suicide that would ensure that you remain in your present job position for ever. Continue to make unnecessary demands and take leave at important times and you might be quietly demoted without you even realising it.
  5. Don’t communicate important information: If you want to spectacularly end your career growth, lack the ability to effectively communicate important information. Your ineffective communication skills will do nothing but lead you on the path of career destruction. For instance, if you are not able to describe your strategy or present effectively in a meeting, this may ensure your downfall. The company always seeks a person higher up the ladder who has proper communication skills so that he is able to communicate his views and thoughts effectively with his team or colleagues.
  6. Look like a bum: Kiss your climb up the career ladder bye by not dressing for the position you want. Perpetual casual wear at your workplace can spell a doom to your career. If you like to dress informally always, then, you might be better off in an office where people wear jeans and T shirts. Your shabby appearance will not impress anyone and you cannot be asked to represent your company if you are seen as the office slob or bum. So, it’s a no brainer that your shabby appearance will make sure that you stay in the same ladder steps for ever.
  7. Be a raging alcoholic or drug addict: Mix drinking and driving with getting a DUI if you hate your career. Make drinking alcohol at work your hobby if you are sick of your career. If you roll up at work daily smelling of alcohol and occasionally with a black eye from your collision with the pavement after last night’s drinking binges, then you are well on your way to losing your job. Addictions of any kind can kill your career if you don’t seek recovery. Unless you are on medication for an ailment, you shouldn’t need to drink alcohol, sniff anything, inject or pop an un-prescribed pill at work before you can deal with your e-mails, manage your workload or function at work. If you can’t help but do any of these things, you may as well forget your career. Sooner or later, you will be found out. Take some time off work and seek help immediately if you want your career intact.
  8. Leak company information: You are taking a ride on a career ending bus if your mouth has no filter when it comes to divulging company’s information.  If you have no problem blabbing inside information to anybody, then, you might as well give your career up now. This includes placing sensitive information in an email that nobody should ever see and engaging your mouth before your brain. If you want to end your career, constantly document your stupidity and carelessness in emails and talk about sensitive issues openly.

Employee stealing

As you can see, you are the only one who can destroy your own career by doing any of the 8 things highlighted above. Unfortunately, we have all seen each of these 8 things happen to real managers in real organisations. Ironically, these points have nothing to do with job skills, capability, experience, business acumen, or how nice you are as a person. That’s what makes it all the more pathetic when highly respected professionals get derailed by any of the above.

So, as career minded individuals, can you add any other behaviour that will let anyone kiss their career goodbye?

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

2 thoughts on “Want to Destroy Your Career? See 8 Ways

  1. Kiss your career goodbye if you always contradict your manager and run your mouth about how you can do his or her job better. Remember that if you were better, you would have being the manager instead of him or her. Catherine, this is a timely article. The beginning of the year is a good time to remind professionals of what is expected of them. Remember people there are thousands of people that would die to have a job right now.

  2. Another way is to constantly lie and take time off for being sick. If you lie about being sick all the time just because you can’t be bothered to show up for work, expect to derail your career. I caught my staff on Facebook twice with photos of the nights before. Let’s just say she had a nice time on both nights so she lied to get off work. She forgot she had me as a friend on FB. I have had to fire her for this reason.

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