5 pieces of ‘good’ career advice to disregard

Sure, working late and volunteering for additional projects will help you get ahead, but the toll they take on your personal life isn’t worth it.

Most of us want to get ahead in our careers.

Whether you’re hoping for a promotion or actively seeking new opportunities outside your organization, you probably don’t want to be stuck in your entry-level or middle-management job forever.

How can you increase your chances of moving up?

You might think that taking on tons of extra assignments or being the first one in and the last one out of the office every day will catch the attention of the right people. It might at first, but don’t let these practices burn you out or, worse, diminish your professional reputation.

If you want to get ahead, think twice before you form these five seemingly helpful career habits, which could hurt you in the long run.

1. Volunteering for every project

Most career experts (and common sense) will tell you that if you want a promotion, you should volunteer to help your boss with a big project or offer to do something outside your normal duties.

Though going above and beyond might highlight your potential and prove your work ethic, raising your hand for every additional project will only bog you down. Your boss and team members will come to rely on you to pick up the slack, and the job you were hired to do will suffer.

2. Logging more hours than everyone else

Do you get to the office before your co-workers and leave long after they call it a day? Are you notorious for answering emails at 2 a.m.? If you’re trying to win your boss’s favor by working all the time, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

Spending all your waking hours in the office (or connected to it on your smartphone) sets the expectation that you’re always working. Once people realize you’re always available, they’ll never let you take a break.

3. Kissing up to the boss

In school there were always students labeled as teachers’ pets. In the workplace, those same types of individuals cling to the boss and aim to be her right-hand team member. And why not? It makes sense to stay in the good graces of the person who signs your paycheck and directly determines your future at the organization.

Going out of your way to help your boss and quickly responding to her emails will certainly earn you brownie points, but be careful not to cross the line into “kiss-up” territory. Unless you were hired as a personal assistant, there’s no reason to be at your boss’s beck and call 24/7.

4. Pointing out “weak links” on your team

You notice that one of your colleagues has been missing deadlines, and it’s affecting the rest of the team. What do you do?

You might tell your boss so she can deal with it. You might even believe you’re doing your boss a service by alerting her to the issue. No one likes a tattletale, though, and you don’t want that reputation.

If you want to demonstrate leadership, calmly and respectfully address the problem with your colleague. Though it may be difficult to confront him, he’ll appreciate that you didn’t rat him out to the boss, and your boss will probably notice your conflict resolution skills.

5. Putting your life on hold for work

Technology has blurred the lines between work and personal time. Sometimes-maybe more often than not-you have to answer work emails on weekends and holidays or bail out on a friend’s party for an important conference. However, continually skipping family get-togethers, your kids’ soccer games or even vacations in favor of work will take its toll on you and your loved ones.

Your bosses might be pleased that you’re such a committed employee, but is that worth damaging your personal relationships?

Remember, working smarter is about balancing what’s right for your organization and you. Not putting in enough effort at work could cost you a promotion, but sacrificing your health and personal life for a promotion might cost you your happiness.

Nicole Fallon Taylor is the assistant editor of Business News Daily, a resource for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. Follow her on Twitter @nicolefallon90. A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.


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