Climbing The Finance Career Ladder? 5 Career Mistakes It’s All Too Easy to Make

Navigating your career upwards as a finance professional is not easy. Luck, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time all have an important part to play, but what is most important in moving your career forward in a strategic way is avoiding all to common career manipulation tactics which can temporarily stall, or worse, limit a promising finance career.

To help, we’ve compiled a number of all too common career mistakes and career-limiting situations that you might find yourself in – avoid at all costs!

#1 Being attracted to a ‘greener’ job opportunity

You don’t need me to tell you that the grass isn’t always greener. All career opportunities, or jobs, can be made to sound fabulous, and if you’re not careful in your evaluation, you might leave a perfectly good role, for what is quite frankly, a dud. When looking at opportunities, be clear in what it is you are looking to gain from a move in addition to what you already have, and be sure to research deeply – culture, employee attrition, organisational reputation, ethos and the length of tenure of its management teams. If anything doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

#2 Keeping up with the Joneses

When evaluating your career, it’s very easy to get swayed by the glitter – higher salaries, better benefits, or working in fancy offices for leading brand names. Of course, these factors do, and should, play a part in any career evaluation, but beware of being swayed, or propelled onwards by the stories of other people’s ‘winning’ career moves – taking a job for a higher salary or the feeling of saying you work for a household name, when it’s not right for you, won’t serve you well in the long run.

#3 Staying in a role too long out of loyalty, or blind hope

There’s nothing wrong with loyalty, in fact, it is a marker of some of the best leaders. However, a misplaced sense of loyalty to an employer who isn’t returning the same feeling of commitment to your career, or is unable to, is a common mistake we all need to avoid. Hoping that things will get better on the basis of company performance is one thing, but if you’re staying put on a promise, take a reality check and evaluate the position, objectively.

#4 Getting involved in office politics as a way to rise to the top

Office circles are tempting places. We all have a desire to feel included, and even if at most times we succeed in keeping our professional lives ‘professional’, sometimes the lure of comradery against a perceived unfairness, or creating an alliance in the name of influencing can lead to something more divisive, or manipulative. However, although tactically, partaking in office politics may get results, it isn’t going to do you any favours from a reputation standpoint. Moreover, just as likely as it is to get results, it is more than likely to fail.

#5 Burning bridges in, what is, a very small world

Finally, one of the biggest career mistakes comes from thinking that once you reach a certain point in your career, you don’t need others to back you. Putting yourself before others to gain credit or progression, forgetting who has helped you out over your career (because let’s face it, everyone has behind-the-scenes supporters) or causing conflict with people you may come across again is akin to career suicide. Think carefully about the people you interact with – always operate with respect and integrity in any career move you make. After all, you can’t be a successful leader on your own.

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At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future.
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