Do you still identify with your beliefs, i.e. “I am [xyz]?  We all do to a certain extent – our beliefs are also part of our moral compass and our values and a useful guide when we are faced with certain difficult decisions. Identification becomes a problem when those beliefs reinforce self-sabotaging behaviors and rationalize the reasons why we stay stuck where we are.

 

Some of those behaviors are easy to identify –  there are the common surface symptoms that tell you that something is up … and then there are some sneaky ones that make you feel good about yourself but that ain’t that career-friendly… here is a list of a few of them…

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Belief 1: my career is a broken line, I will never be able to get a better job

BS! This is such an outdated belief! It is true that in the past, having frequently hopped companies, had gaps, changed titles up and down would be seen as suspicious.  But in today’s new economy, many companies are looking for innovative talents – read: outside the traditional box.  Hone in the narrative around your career story, be crystal clear about what you learned and what you are bringing to the table, and research the jobs and companies that are aligned with your goals.  

Bottom line: time to let go of that career shame.

 

Belief 2: I am not a native speaker/ I have an accent / I am introverted/ I don’t have a background in, […], I will never be as eloquent as xyz

BS again! Yes, the way you say things matters, but never as much as the message you are looking to convey.  In today’s world, CEOs as chosen from a variety of backgrounds, cultural, industries, etc.  There is no more one-size-fits-all – quite the opposite.  What you perceive as a liability may well be your biggest asset.  If you are a foreigner, this would translate into your ability to be flexible, adapt and understand other cultures, including in-house.  Introverts invite others to pause and listen rather than be distracted by empty pretty words.

Bottom line: be proud of who you are and use it to your advantage.

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Belief 3: I cannot be bragging about myself, it’s so arrogant and salesy…

 

Business wisdom says no sales = no revenues.  Well, it’s the same in the corporate world.  You need to learn how to market yourself so that the people who count (promotion decision-makers, future recruiters) know who you are and what your expertise is.  

Don’t rely on your boss to promote you – they have their own stuff to deal with, and even if they are your biggest supporter, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in that basket. 

Key learning for the longer term: how you drive your career is your responsibility

Find your role models, and understand their communication style and what you admire about them.  Adapt to yours.

Bottom line: your work doesn’t speak for itself, you are its voice.  So be your own best advocate.

Belief 4: My team first, even at my own expense, I want to be known as a nice caring person

 

I pride myself on being the helpful one = that’s great to be a team player, to know how-to and to promote collaboration, it’s certainly a big plus until it works against you.  How many of you stay late to “cover for my boss during the holidays” and “not let down my juniors” while there was never any reciprocity? Cover for your boss and let it be known that therefore you now have proven that you have the capacity to carry that function.  OK to be available to your juniors as needed, but not as an excuse not to focus on your next level up.  Remember that everyone is assumed to be a team player, but reviews and bonuses are individualized.  Stay professional, be the manager you want for yourself, and focus on your career advancement too, 

Bottom line: let go of that misplaced loyalty thingy.

Belief 5: I don’t have time to reconnect with my previous colleagues, alumni, club teams, …

Find the time please! Don’t wait for the time you are looking for a job to start contacting people.  Relationships are built for the longer term.  It doesn’t mean that you need to contact everyone every week! But to be strategic about who is in your network, what kind of exchanges you want with them and how this relationship can be mutually beneficial.  Reconnect with older colleagues, or alumni if you are genuinely interested to learn about where they are now.  Network with industry colleagues as part of your continuous education. Networking doesn’t need to be a chore or a last-minute afterthought. 

Bottom line: make networking part of the job.

Bottom bottom line: extend your job’s description beyond the immediate tasks.  Market yourself, create connections, and master leadership skills as part of what you do every day – make it a habit to PR yourself in everything you do, with pride and integrity.