12 career missteps—and the important lessons they hold

You’ve probably committed one of these mistakes.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

1. Get stuck in a rut

Falling into a workplace rut can happen so slowly it’s more like oozing. Getting your groove back takes work, self-awareness, and discipline. But after you’re back on track, you’ll know you can do it again, and you’ll be able to recognize the signs of its presence.

2. Lose your job

I lost my job three times before I was 30 through “downsizings” in totally different sectors: the federal government, the publishing industry, and then financial services. Getting laid off made me much more resilient and able to see the signs that so typically foreshadow workplace restructures.

3. Lose out when a finalist for a job

This humbling experience can ignite self-reflection. Pros see it as an opportunity to professionally and politely ask for feedback.

4. Take a career detour that doesn’t work

This is risk-taking, and there is plenty of growth in that. If you don’t take the opportunity, you won’t know. (No lingering doubts for me: I’m just not cut out for selling bonds at an investment bank.)

5. Trust a colleague who burns you

Instead of getting bitter about this one, use it to become better at assessing who has your back and who will stab you in it.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.