In the context of careers, how do people get in their own way? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Deepak Shukla, who has worked in consulting, advertising, recruiting, and more, on Quora:

  • They worry. Worrying is a useless expenditure of energy. 'What if I don't get to the meeting in time?' 'I'm not sure if I can get this done?' 'What will Graham think if the Powerpoint doesn't have the number of slides he asked for?' 'What if the photocopier is out of paper?'
  • They rush. In a bid to impress, you run the risk of being sloppy, missing things, and making errors.
  • They are overeager to please. I remember there was a girl at Deloitte who would come in on bank holidays to 'catch up on some work.' She won no brownie points for doing so.
  • They work too hard. If the office is empty by 8pm and you're there until 8:45pm every night -- and you're doing the same job as everyone else -- you're not doing yourself any favors. You just come across as incompetent.
  • They work too slow. See above.
  • They don't see the warning signs/read the signals. If there are errors in your work that keep coming up or specific things you keep struggling with, you best fix them quickly.
  • They complain. 'I don't have enough time,' 'This hasn't been done right for me,' 'The client moved the deadline?'
  • They criticize. Even when justified, it's a dangerous game to play. 'You could have done that differently' vs. 'You should have done that differently' vs. 'Why did you do it differently?'
  • They don't move with the times. If you aren't learning the latest technologies, getting qualifications, or learning new tricks, the ambitious will rush ahead.
  • They're not being proactive. Not got much to do? Go out and find some work in the company -- how can you add value?
  • They just do their jobs and expect a promotion. Unfortunately this is not how the world works anymore -- the people that get more do more.

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