Will Arrogance Be Your One Career Mistake

Forcing yourself to accept your professional choices out of pride? Feeling stuck? You are. If you don't make a change, you'll end up with a smashed soul. 

Sound harsh? I guess it is, but it’s the truth.

Think about it. You’re unhappy at work. Your career hasn’t taken the path you imagined when you were in your mid to late twenties. You feel disenchanted and trapped, so you suck it up; but why?

Where Did You Slip Off The Track Professionally

Early in your career you made some bone head moves. Professionally speaking, you burned a few bridges, acted inappropriately more than once, and even earned a “label” around the office.

Your dumb choices at work led you to being shelved. You know, the moment when your peers are being promoted, and you’ve been given an awesome “title” but shoved into a meaningless job? Yep, that was the moment you were shelved.

The pile of professional, and at times HR noteworthy,  slip ups you made had gotten the best of you; your fate was sealed. Once you came to terms with the fact that you wasted ten years of your life after college,  you decided it was best to put it all behind you and move on. Time for a new chapter in your career. Wise move; finally.

Do You Recognize The Career Mistake You Made?

Ok, outside of the mistakes you made to earn you a permanent label you couldn’t erase, are you aware of the major career mistake you made in your twenties? If not, let me help.

You wasted ten years of your life at a company waiting for your moment to shine, while never understand how your actions and behavior cast a shadow on you. You continued to see yourself as a star, someone who could do and say what they pleased and never face the music. You imagined yourself sitting at the board table, while everyone around you knew you’d be sitting in a cubicle.
Arrogance was your mistake early in your career. You were so arrogant that it clouded your vision and ultimately changed your professional path forever.

Who cares, right? Well, let’s see what happened next in your career.

Bigger, Better and Stronger. You’ve Landed Your Dream Job

Now for the next chapter. You left corporate america. You left the stuffy culture, the black and white rules and the structure. You’ve been tapped to do something bigger; something that will put you on the map! So, you leap at it. And, if I’m being honest, I don’t blame you.

You made a wise decision. You were given a huge jump up in title and responsibility, albeit at a much smaller company. But who cares. You knew that if you played your cards right, you could leave in a few years and use this a major stepping stone on your professional path!

At the time, you loved your new job. You were happy, enjoyed the challenge and even polished your behavior to match your fancy title. No more visits from HR.

You plugged along and were glad to do so. Then, you hit your five-year anniversary. You again see your friends passing you by. They were being promoted, gaining higher incomes and moving at a faster pace than you. While you recognized this was happening, you stayed put.

At the time you felt that you shouldn’t care that they were being promoted. After all, you grabbed the highest-ranking title at your company when you joined five years ago. Sure, there’s no upward progression, but at this point you were still one of the youngest leaders across your organization. You were ruling the kingdom.

You still loved bragging about your title and tooting your own horn at neighborhood parties. Your HR issues were fewer and farther apart. And, while you weren’t fully happy with your work, at the time you still felt pretty cocky about your position. Well, sort of.

Do You Recognize The Career Mistakes You Made?

This one might not be so clear.

I’ll commend you for leaving your last role and even for moving into a high-risk position. After all, you positioned yourself to be the youngest leader within your company. You brought with you energy, fresh ideas and a vison for growth. You tackled it head on and you succeeded! All of this is awesome; the problem is you overstayed your welcome.

You realized that your company is small. There wasn’t a next step, and when you found yourself bored after 5 years, you stayed put. Why? Complacency, laziness and arrogance, that's why you settled.

At that point you felt unchallenged, but you ignored it because you recognized the fact that leaving to go back to a more challenging role would require a step down in title. If you moved back into corporate america, you would have made more money, but you’d leave behind the “position and title” that you coveted so dearly. After all, you wrapped your identity around this title! Arrogance couldn’t allow that to be taken away. So, you stayed put. Once again, arrogance won the professional race.

Now Where Are You? Where Will Your Career Path Lead You

So, you stayed put. Plugged in another five years, and once again find yourself staying at yet another position for a decade. You’ve had two professional jobs out of college. Interesting, and not entirely a bad thing. Not yet anyway.
You’re doing the same work you were five years ago. Your income hasn’t increased, nor has your responsibility. Your work is monotonous, tedious and boring. You don’t enjoy going into the office and you don’t feel pride in your work. Most days you’re tired, depressed and a bit lost. That title you loved so much, sadly you still love it, but in your heart, you feel like it’s a joke; a mask you wear. As time passes on, the title isn't nearly as impressive as it once was.

What happened to that person who was full of life, big ideas and energy? Where did that confident person go?  I’m not sure, the end of the story is yours to write.

How Will You Write Your Next Chapter

So, what will you write next? I’m not sure, although I have a guess.

While I don’t know for certain what your next career move will be, what I do know is this: You need to find your voice again, get your confidence back and stop letting arrogance rule your life.

Don’t let arrogance take you down. Don’t end your career with the story of fear and arrogance.

Who cares if you step down in title? I'm willing to bet you’ll make more money and be more fulfilled personally and professionally if you leave the job you've become stagnant at. Who cares if the image you’ve created is turned upside down and you’re forced to live a “normal” life with a "normal" title. What does normal mean anyway? For once in your life,  don’t allow arrogance to make you settle, not this time.

Time is ticking and you’re at a professional crossroad. If you stay put, you’ll seal your fate. Landing a new job and proving yourself capable of keeping up with market demands, innovation and complex business cases at a high level will become harder and harder the longer you stay in one place. Companies look for talent with proven success and growth, not someone who has simply “held down the fort”.

It sounds harsh, but this is your wake-up call. This is the point that you leave arrogance behind and do what’s best for you. Find happiness again, it’s out there if you’re not too scared to look for it. If you need help, reach out to us for 1:1 coaching and please leave arrogance at home when you do. – Carter

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About The Author

Carter is our resident coffee junkie and a member of our sales and marketing resume team. Having spent most of his professional career in sales management, Carter leans on his professional expertise to create unique, accomplishment based resumes that speak to the demands of hiring managers and current market trends. If you’d like to simplify your career, follow Carter and the rest of our team on Twitter and LinkedIn to get updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!