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5 Ways Your ‘Tude Is Damaging Your Career Potential


We hate to break it to you, but the reason you aren’t moving up in your career might not be because of him, or her, or them – it might be because of your poor attitude. It’s easy to point the finger at others or attribute your dead-end career to incompetent co-workers, however, there comes a time when you have to realize that the culprit is you. Take a look at five of the common career-ruining attitude types below to see if you’re guilty of damaging your own career. Good luck!

Your attitude is ruining your career

(Photo Credit: PictureYouth/Flickr)

1. It’s all or nothing for you.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Does everything in life either go wonderfully right or terribly wrong, never anything in between? If you often exaggerate what you say things like, “I always..” or “I never…”, then you are practicing one of the most common forms of cognitive distortions known as dichotomous reasoning, or black-and-white thinking. This type of thinking is dangerous because you only see one extreme or the other, which means when something falls short, it’s a complete failure. Even when things go right, it’s still not good enough for your perfectionist ways. Therefore, in your head, you will always fall short in your career because you’ll either be an absolute, wild success (if that even exists), or an absolute and total failure.

2. You’re always negative.

Negative thinking is detrimental, period. No one (not even you) likes a “Negative Nancy” who’s always complaining about anything and everything and bringing everyone’s mood down, so ditch the unattractive behavior so that you can start enjoying life … and possibly some success with your new-found attitude. Isn’t it exhausting having to constantly turn everything positive into something negative, anyhow? Not to mention how infectious negativity is for those around you, which is probably why no one wants to be around you anymore (hint hint).

3. You’re too self-conscious.

You don’t want to try new things because you’re scared you’ll mess up or embarrass yourself. You don’t want to ask for a promotion because you don’t feel like you deserve it. You feel stuck in your career, but feel like you deserve it because you should have done something different. If you can relate to this type of thinking, then you are definitely way too self-conscious to ever move up in this dog-eat-dog world. It’s time to banish your fears, roll up your sleeves, and start owning your successes today. Bottom line: If you don’t feel as though you deserve a promotion, then “they” sure won’t.

4. You play the blame game.

“Who, me? Couldn’t be.” Your finger must be really tired from pointing it at everyone else but yourself when something goes wrong. Being a great team member (and leader, for that matter) requires accountability for successes and failures, not one or the other. Professionals who are constantly blaming others are, often, the most incompetent and insecure members of the bunch, so your not taking accountability for blunders speaks volumes about you.

5. You compare yourself to others.

If you’re constantly comparing yourself to your colleagues or other people in your life, then you’re always going to be chasing after an empty dream. Just because one of your peers appears to be doing better off than you, doesn’t mean he is. Comparing yourself to others creates an unhealthy and one-sided competition that is impossible to win because you’re chasing after a false reality that can never been attained. Stop bothering with what is going on in the lives of others and start focusing on your own life – you’ll be much happier by simply switching the focus back to your happiness.

The next time you catch yourself committing any or all of the damaging habits listed above, do yourself a favor and nip those negative thoughts in the bud by taking a break and refocusing. After all, it’s not just the rest of your day you’re salvaging by turning that frown upside down, you’re also saving yourself from ruining your chances at career success now and down the road. If you need some words of encouragement, then take a look at this post for 25 invigorating quotes to help you get back on track right now.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you relate to any or all of these types of damaging thinking? If so, how do you feel it has affected your career and life? Share your experience with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

Heh, thanks, Lisa. That one’s my bad. Fixed now.


Can you get me an editing job? Try reading your last sentence…


I think there was something memorable I heard regarding #5 – and that was this: When you compare yourself to others you’re comparing someone’s very ‘best’ outwards appearance to your ‘behind the scenes’ reveal. It’s not even – and will often result in feeling worse about yourself / your situation than it really is.

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