Young woman is in the fear about her futureThere are literally thousands of pages of career research in academic journals and on the Internet for intrepid souls looking to find the best information available for being successful in their careers. But it seems the one thing many people are afraid of in today’s workplace is that very success. Even with access to the most comprehensive and complete career advice in history, there are still those that choose to ignore it out of fear of the results.

Fear is arguably the most powerful motivator known to human beings, and while this article will not attempt to break down the nature and reasoning (or lack thereof) of individual fears, it will seek to point out some of the ways it is used to thwart career advancement. The core of the message here is that while you may desire to be successful in your career, the fact that you remain stuck could be due to your own fear of accomplishment and advancement. If any of the following behaviors define your approach to your job, you could be the victim of career self-sabotage.

1. Even as many work environments have become more flexible when it comes to scheduling and workplace face time, you will still not earn any points for showing up late for work or work-related events. Especially as most businesses are looking closely at ways to cut costs and run more efficiently with fewer resources, being that employee who regularly shows professional disrespect by being tardy may lead to stagnation in career development or even a pink slip. Being late is one of the most obvious ways to ensure you receive frequent negative attention.

2. Procrastination can easily lead to hard feelings between coworkers and negative performance reviews from the higher-ups. When you put things off to the last minute then rush to complete a project at the end of a deadline, you can bet that your colleagues will remember how they had to scramble along with you to meet their obligations. You also probably declined the help offered by your teammates in an effort to keep you on task, not popularity-building move. What’s more, not only does procrastination breed resentment, but it also affects quality of work, which probably doesn’t reflect the end product of which you are truly capable.

3. One of the most blatantly egregious ways to advertise your desire to sabotage your career is unprofessionalism. This trait can be displayed in any number of ways from being a sloppy dresser, making inappropriate comments, and, of course, being late. Regardless of your age or “seniority,” if you are perceived as immature or otherwise unprofessional, your boss will be unlikely to ever place you in a position to represent the company, be it answering the phone, attending conferences, or working with clients.

4. When you stoop to the level of being rude to others, putting them down, or taking advantage of their time and skills, people are going to stay away from you as much as possible, as will success.

Any number of ways exists for you to banish yourself from the land of career success, so even if your self-imposed roadblocks are not listed here, you may need to seek outside help to understand how you are setting yourself up to fail. If you find that you are never meeting your goals, avoiding opportunities to get ahead, or behaving in ways to transform you into a workplace pariah, you may need to take steps to find out why you are out to sabotage your career and make efforts to regain the respect of your employer and coworkers.


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