There’s everything right about looking out for yourself and your career. Right now, with more jobs than people to fill them, it’s easier than ever.
One month in mid-2018, job postings exceeded the number of unemployed by an eye-popping 659,000. With this happening, it’s no surprise that 3.6 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs in the first seven months of 2018. This 2.4% quit rate was the highest since April 2001.
No one can miss the message: more vacancies and not enough takers to fill them equals better opportunities and higher pay.
But not so fast. All this may be true in some situations but not everywhere — and not forever. If you believe jobs are “temporary” and the best is yet to be, you can create an easy-to-spot trail of behaviors that can put a cap on your career.
(Related: How to Mess Up a Company’s Sales)
In this environment, here are some of the ways to mess up on the job without even knowing it:
1. Take advantage of your team.
To do this, make it clear from the get-go that you’re a “team player.” This is what everyone wants to hear today, so keep repeating it. Now that you’ve set the stage, make sure everyone knows you have too much on your plate to support the team.
2. Cover up your mistakes.
To make this work, act totally innocent. Rehearse your story so you can act shocked if someone calls you on an error. Never crack; never confess. Once you get it down pat, you’re ready for the next time — and the next.
3. Always agree but don’t perform.
When asked to do something, act interested and even excited, but never get around to it. After you’ve done this several times, the word will get around and you’ll be left alone.
4. Position yourself as the exception.
You’ve figured it out and thought it through. There are good reasons why what applies to everyone in your group doesn’t apply to you. Don’t bother telling others about it. They’ve figured it out on their own.
5. Do only so much and nothing more.
You’re not going to be around long; you’re already looking for your next gig. So, why knock yourself out? Just ignore the pressure to do more. Act busy, but take it easy on yourself.
6. Make it known that you’re meant for better things.
Sure, you do your work, but you also talk about how great it was at your last job or how good your friends have it where they work.
7. Disappear when there’s a crisis.
Coming in early or staying late when it’s needed doesn’t work for you. Always have a reason ready why you can’t alter your regular schedule time or, better yet, even come in late or leave early.
8. Pass the blame around.
The directions were incorrect. Someone gave you inaccurate information, misled you, waited to the last minute to notify you, or had it in for you — on and on it goes. There’s plenty of blame to go around.