I think everyone would have at least one event in their lives wherein when they look back at it and say, "that was such a bad idea". Everyone has made mistakes in their life because it's impossible to never do something wrong - especially when it comes to career.
Your career life will be the ultimate testing ground to see what you're made of and it is throughout your career that you'll probably make the most mistakes because you'll be handling tough decisions that can't be solved in an instant. Let me share some of the worst mistakes I've made in my career and how you can avoid them.
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Passing on a great opportunity
I think everyone is familiar with this kind of situation. Have you ever passed on a great opportunity because you thought that you couldn't push for it so you just eventually gave up? Don't worry, it does happen to all of us.
When I was working for a pharmaceutical company, I was assigned as a team leader for one of the sales teams in the company I worked for. As we were planning the budget for our sales campaign, we saw that the team lacked the funds to completely push through with the campaign. As I believed it was a really good campaign, I asked the management to grant our team a bigger budget. Inevitably, I got a "no" from them which is why we had to change the campaign to a less dynamic but more affordable one.
After a few days, we found out that another team was granted a bigger budget. How come our team couldn't get that budget raise? It was simply because I took "no" for an answer. I realised that if I pushed for the budget and give a compelling reason, then I probably would have gotten a "yes". It was an opportunity lost and a big learning lesson.
Not asking for promotion
Another big mistake I've made when I was working in that same company was that I didn't ask for a promotion. Now most people would think that a promotion should never be asked for-- it's just given! Well, the truth of that fact is that promotions are given to those who push for it and who are daring enough to ask for it. Many of my co-workers told me that I was fit to be a sales manager already and to be honest, the opportunity presented itself many times. I just wasn't bold enough to get it! Unfortunately, someone else who was bold enough to ask for it took it away from me.
Once again, this is another big learning lesson for those who are working. If you think you are deserving, then ask for a promotion. Of course, you do have to convince your boss what you can contribute to the company if you do have that promotion.
Waiting for blessings to fall upon me
This was probably one of my biggest mistakes in my career that lead to a lot of lost opportunities. When I was growing up, I was always under the impression that I was the "cream of the crop". I attended a good school, got good grades, and participated in many school organizations. Because of that, I had this idea that a good job would just fall on my lap after I graduate. How wrong I was! I learned that looking for a job is already a job in itself. If you want something, you have to go out and get it. It won't fall on your lap like magic.
Mistakes in your career are inevitable and are pretty painful. However, don't be afraid to make mistakes because that's how you learn. As long as you learn and move on, you'll continue to grow and become a more competent employee.
Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change group. Her works have been featured on Yahoo! , Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and London. You may connect with her on Twitter.