"My Boss is an Idiot" (and Other Ways You're Killing Your Career)

Jane Perdue

You’ve been angling for a promotion for nearly a year, but no luck. You’re frustrated. Others are moving up the career ladder and there you are, left behind. Of course there’s the possibility external factors (holding the line on head count, budget concerns, etc.) are limiting the number of promotions in your organization. Yet the biggest single factor in determining promotion readiness is… you.


Might you be sabotaging yourself with one (or more) of these 12 career-limiting behaviors?


1. It’s all about me

You’re smart—brilliant even, and work aggressively to get every special project assignment. You highlight your skills at every opportunity, perpetually reminding your boss of what you—and you alone—have accomplished. You’ve been known (why tactfully, of course) to throw a colleague under the bus when it appeared they might be selected for the plum assignment over you. And occasionally, you do wonder why no one invites you to lunch.


2. Someone’s got to be the squeaky wheel

Your boss counts on you to raise your hand in staff meetings and point out the three reasons why the new sales program won’t work. Everyone in the HR department knows your name, and they regularly tease you about putting the suggestion box right on your desktop. You have the email addresses for the entire executive team and regularly send them messages about their latest screw-ups.


3. Let them listen to me

You’re known for asking someone a question—and then answering it yourself. You always volunteer to be the speaker or facilitator, and if you aren’t selected, you figure out a way to co-opt the agenda so you can share your ideas anyway.


4. Dress codes are for wimps

Hey, if customers and the bigwigs don’t like your piercings, tattoos and boho look, well, that’s their problem.


5. Trust me to learn it later

You’re busy. No time to take classes, volunteer, read books, or work with a mentor. You know you’re a fast learner and will quickly pick up what you need to know once the promotion is yours.


6. Network, schmetwork

All that brown nose stuff isn’t your cup of tea. Going to company functions, trade association meetings and industry conferences is a major waste of time. Plus, your work speaks for itself, why bother to interrupt it?


7. What’s a work ethic  

You do just enough to get by and have missed a deadline or two or three. People know to not get in your way come 5:02 p.m. since you’re always the first out the door. Asking for more responsibilities isn’t something you’ve ever done or intend to do.


8. You deserve it

You’ve put in your time with the organization; three years is ample time for them to recognize your brilliance and reward you. You’re allergic to helping out a colleague and figure the newbies can learn the job on their own since that’s how you did it.


9. Getting to know the company culture is a waste of time

You think culture is one of those HR buzzwords that needs to be buried or burned or blasted into outer space. You’ve got better things to do than determine the ins and outs of office politics or learn the company history.


10. You communicate when it makes sense for you

Everybody knows meetings are a waste of time, so you can’t remember when you attended your last one. Answering emails and returning phones isn’t on your radar screen unless there’s a message of your own to promote.


11. Your boss is a fool

It’s totally unclear to you how your boss got to be your boss. You’re way smarter than he is and have occasionally pointed this out, usually in a public venue. You ignore the feedback she shares in performance reviews. You’re the first to slam his performance around the water cooler. You might have even tweeted or posted on Facebook a real gem about her latest screw up.


12. Building relationships isn’t what you get paid to do

You’re paid to get the job done, not build connections or make nice with your colleagues. All that warm, fuzzy stuff is a waste of time. You’ve never attended an office potluck or birthday party.


Photo credit: Web Search Social