What has been your biggest career mistake? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Chris Herd, operations and architectural manager in the oil and gas industry, on Quora:

1. Trusting the wrong people and aligning yourself with the wrong groups can set your career back years.

2. Not finding a relevant mentor who can advise you on the things you should concentrate on, the things you should do, and the experiences you should seek.

3. Prioritizing salary over learning. The most important thing early in your career is that you are in an environment that exposes you to and involves you in every element of the business, enabling your education to prosper. It is this you will be compensated for later.

4. Specialization too soon. Generalize and give yourself an opportunity to serendipitously discover what you are best at.

5. Expecting opportunities to come to you instead of exploring the self-generation of opportunity through building relationships or research. I was happy to wait in expectation that my knowledge and expertise would gravitate people towards me. It didn't.

6. Not writing sooner. Give yourself every opportunity to establish yourself as a key person of influence in your industry. Write a little every day. Write a lot once a week. Try to write a book.

7. Believing your degree is sufficient qualification to enable a smooth transition to professional life.

8. Thinking you have the skills commerce covets and that you won't have to work to cultivate your personal brand.

9. Thinking you have to work long hours to impress people and failing to recognize the value of your free time.

10. Not trusting yourself to build something of value sooner.

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