The Biggest Career Mistakes to Avoid

Jenna Gyimesi  October 25, 2023  Insider Today

Chris Williams is the former VP of HR at Microsoft. 

  • He writes about the mistakes people often make in their careers. 

Here are four career mistakes he says to avoid:

Mistake 1: Threatening to quit the company

Out of frustration, many employees issue an ultimatum and threaten to leave the company in an attempt to get a higher salary or a better role.

Williams explains that this rarely goes how the employee hopes. Surprising your manager with the threat may make you seem rash and irrational. If you’ve complained before, you seem to be throwing a long, extended tantrum. A manager may also see it as a resignation in disguise and assume you’re on the way out anyway — no matter what they do.

Williams concludes that once you make the threat, you’ve already lost.

Read more: What actually happens when you threaten to quit over another job offer

Mistake 2: Asking for a raise

If you’re asking for a raise, you’re already starting from a position of weakness.

A raise shouldn’t be a favour. Don’t bring up market value, what other people are paid, or that you have a family to support.

Instead, Williams recommends treating the conversation like a value exchange. Figure out the value you generate for the company, such as the revenue you produce or the savings you create.

Read More: Here are 4 things I would never do as an employee

Mistake 3: Not making your boss your ally

Williams says that your boss is your best ally at work. You want someone on your side who will be in the room when decisions are made about layoffs, promotions, and raises.

You don’t need to be your boss’s best friend to gain their favour. But there are several keys to winning them over. Williams advises employees to speak up about their accomplishments in one-on-one meetings, look for tasks to knock off their boss’ plate, and be supportive of their boss and team.

Read more: Your boss is your most important ally at work. Here’s how to win them over.

Mistake 4: Staying at a company once you’ve been placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

If you get put on a PIP, you should immediately consider leaving your company. The shadow of a PIP will be a weight on your success if you stay at the same company.

Rarely is a PIP actually a plan to help you recover and improve your job performance, Williams writes. It’s best to leave and start with a clean slate somewhere else.

Read more: You should leave a company right away if you get put on a PIP: ‘Surviving it is like a sign on your back’