6 Signs You’re Sabotaging Your Own Career

The ‘Great Resignation' is one thing. But far too many people don't leave their jobs voluntarily, but get terminated for cause. Often, that cause is us. We sabotage ourselves without even realizing it.

Sometimes it’s obvious. Abusing alcohol or purposely hurting ourselves is clear self-sabotage. But with our careers, we often don’t see just how destructive our habits and behaviors are. We risk alienating our coworkers. Our bad habits also prevent us from getting opportunities.

If you want to escalate in your career, you need to avoid self-sabotaging behaviors.

Here are 6 unmistakable signs that you’re hurting your career and don’t know it.

1: You Always Get To Work Late

Coming into work late impacts your career more than you might think. Your boss notices. Your coworkers definitely notice. Even if you try to sneak in, people know. And you’re making it clear that you are not a dependable person.

If you’re constantly late, your coworkers might resent that behavior. And it shows your boss that you don’t care enough about working there to get to work on time. This can negatively affect future raises and promotions.

2: You Constantly Complain

Nobody likes to work with complainers. They are annoying to listen to and bring down the office's overall morale. Complainers never get ahead and complaining induces stress

While it's okay to vent every once in a while, don't vent to the entire office. Instead, be discrete. Take it outside if you can. And if there's a problem that needs to be addressed, open up a line of communication with your manager to discuss the issue instead of letting it fester.

And this is especially true about politics. Talking politics in the office is rarely a good idea. According to a survey by Monster, almost four in 10 workers regularly speak about politics in the workplace. And 37% of survey respondents admitted to changing their opinion of a coworker based on their discussion of politics at work.

Talking politics will not improve your career.

3: You Only Do The Bare Minimum

We’ve all worked with someone who would only do the minimum, haven’t we? By doing the minimum, you’re only doing just enough not to get fired. But, you are sabotaging your career because bare minimum employees don’t get opportunities for promotions.

And once again, even if you think you’re being clever or sneaky, your managers and coworkers notice even if they don’t say anything.

Help your career by going above and beyond the call of duty. Do more than you're asked. Over time, this will add up to more opportunities to escalate inside the company, which often comes with pay raises and career advancement.

4: You Look For Conflict

There are always a couple of people in every office that seek out conflict and pick fights. But nobody likes a troublemaker. Drama rarely works out in your favor, so whenever possible, avoid drama and never have unnecessary conflicts with your coworkers.

Contact your human resources department if you have a problem in the office. That's what they do. Let the HR department go through the process of solving the problem so you can avoid getting caught up in something that will hurt your career or cause office tension.

Looking for conflict will never improve your career.

5: You Say “No” to Opportunities

If you’re constantly saying no to opportunities, you leave a lot of money on the table. We only learn by trying. Even if you don’t feel ready, “no” tells people you aren’t willing to try.

It’s okay to say “no” to opportunities that aren’t the right fit. But, resist saying “no” to everything.

Just got an opportunity to lead a small team, but don’t have management experience? That’s okay. Leading a team of people is how you get experience.

Think you’re getting in over your head with a new project at work? Again, accept the challenge if you can. Good things come to those who try.

6: You Ask For Raises and Promotions Too Often

While it’s good to ask for what you deserve, asking too often can have the opposite effect.

For instance, asking for a raise or a promotion six months after getting hired might be too soon. Also, Or, asking for more money after getting a bad performance review is probably not the best move. Talk to your manager about a raise at a later date.

Time your ask well, and you’ll drastically improve your chances of getting the “yes.”

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.