30 career blunders to avoid – in your 30s

Many things we got away with in our 20s are definitely inexcusable in our 30s. Calling in sick every time you’ve missed a deadline, showing up at work straight from the club, or even borrowing money from colleagues. Here’s a list of those bad habits we think should’ve died with your 20s

  1. Having a bad work ethic: If, in your 20s, you were known as that unreliable rebel who would show up for meetings with last night’s alcohol still lingering on your breath, or generally dishing out attitude every time the big boss asked why your work was not in, then use your 30s to redeem yourself. Ever wondered why some people get ahead even though they’re only half as talented as you are? Work ethic is the answer!
  2. Saying ‘NO’ to extra work: Times are tough, and sadly most companies have had to retrench staff and cut out unnecessary spending. Accepting more work without whining says you’re a team player and are invested in the company’s vision. It’s also a chance to learn.
  3. Showing up in sneakers on a Monday morning: Unless you’re a photographer, a journalist or work in advertising, you really have no business showing up at work looking as though you just came from a picnic. Use your Mondays to make a great impression for the week.
  4. Stop soaking up your colleagues’ complaints: Avoid spending more time than necessary with colleagues who complain about this, that and the other. If you do find yourself in conversation with a colleague who wants to criticise the boss’ latest decision, simply listen and don’t respond. Such people are always looking for someone to affirm their negativity.
  5. Spending time on social media during office hours: In Germany, employees are said to be the most productive, with a stellar work ethic. Do you know why? It’s because they’ve been socialised to treat the office as a place where they go to work, not to hang out in corridors or sit on Facebook all day stalking their partners.
  6. Don’t get into office gossip: There’s no better way of putting this, so here it is: spreading rumours about colleagues and always being the one who has the ‘latest scoop’ may have been cute in your 20s, but in your 30s it screams: “I’m unprofessional beyond repair”.
  7. Avoid office affairs: If he’s married, don’t even entertain the thought. This could leave you with a reputation that will be difficult to shake off. But if you really believe you’ve found ‘The One’, make sure you’ve investigated your company’s policy on the issue.
  8. Stop dwelling on your weaknesses: Obsessing about your weaknesses will only make you more anxious and impact your performance. Don’t dwell, rather do something to improve yourself – take a class, get a mentor, take action.
  9. Freak’em dresses and parading your cleavage are best reserved for your night life: Your wardrobe speaks volumes about your character. The office is probably the one place where you can take on a new persona every morning and leave it at the door on your way out!
  10. Stop shying away from opportunities to shine: Your career should always be about pushing boundaries and acquiring more skills – these are things you will not achieve while cooped up in your comfort zone.
  11. Get off your smartphone: For a few hours each day, keep your phone where you can’t access it easily and see how much you get done. If just thinking about not being able to check Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp gives you palpitations, then clearly this is a habit you need to work hard to kick.
  12. Checking your email constantly: This can be a huge distraction, derailing your train of thought and focus. Rather check your messages periodically when your work is done.
  13. Working longer hours hoping this will lessen the load: Instead, the best thing to do when you’re swamped is to list your tasks in order of priority. You’ll feel much more in control.
  14. Work should never be your life: This is easier to accept in principle, but when it gets down to practice, most people struggle to get that work-life balance right. Never compromise the time you’ve set aside for loved ones, especially if the work can wait!
  15. Don’t ever think your past work experiences and mistakes will determine your future: Some of the world’s most successful people believe that mistakes should inform a person rather than define them. There’s always room to redeem yourself.
  16. Don’t interrupt someone when they speak: This says you’re not listening to what they are saying and are simply waiting to voice your opinion. Remember that successful people are always eager to learn what other people are thinking.
  17. Don’t use parenting as an excuse for missing deadlines: Yes, it’s totally understandable that you can’t put in an extra hour every day because you have parenting duties waiting for you at home. Work, unfortunately, doesn’t stop when we become parents.
  18. Cover up those tattoos: Again, your professional image may not seem like an issue, but it’s these little things that could stand between you and that promotion.
  19. Don’t work a ‘Dead-End’ job: In your 30s you should be working in a field that you’re passionate about or at least be making moves to get into one.
  20. Thinking you have to be mean to get ahead: Being a gentle employee or boss does not make you weak. It simply means you understand that people are human beings first, before they are colleagues or employees.
  21. Not owning your mistakes: Not only is this a sign of maturity, but it also shows that you’re a team player who doesn’t want to pin their mistakes on others
  22. Not having a mentor: When we were kids, having parents or guardians kept us out of trouble, right? Similarly, having a mentor could save you from making the most common career mistakes and also fast track your career in the process.
  23. Overdoing the makeup: When it comes to makeup at work, less is always more.
  24. Underutilising your LinkedIn profile: You know the digital age is in full swing when a recruiter calls you to say they saw your career profile on LinkedIn. Make sure to update yours regularly.
  25. Have inappropriate pics on social media: It’s very common for colleagues to befriend each other on social media. The last thing you want is a colleague going through your pictures and finding one showing you either passed out or making out with a stranger.
  26. Not utilising networking opportunities: Ever heard of the saying: “Deals aren’t made in the boardroom, they are made on the golf course”? Always jump at the opportunity to rub shoulders with new people; you never know what opportunities could come from this.
  27. Put an end to your studies: Working and studying full-time – just thinking about it is nerve-wracking. But nothing boosts a career quite like studying further, even if you only do short courses.
  28. Turn up at meetings unprepared: Not only will you look bad, but it’s also disrespectful to the other people attending the meeting.
  29. Unbuttoning that extra button on your blouse: The same applies to flirting with, sucking up to or charming the boss with a cup of tea every morning.
  30. Not treating everyone with respect: From the MD right down to the cleaning ladies, your colleagues will remember you for being humble and friendly.

SOURCES: Business Insider, Inc.com, Forbes, Huffington, The Guardian