June 24, 2018

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Career Killers to Avoid

Top executives sure have strong opinions on how people sabotage their own careers. I conducted a national survey of CEOs and top executives career paths and hiring decisions. From the results, I identified traits, ideals and characteristics that successful leaders seek in developing their workforce.

Here's a brief summary of the more notable mistakes top executives mentioned:

Lack of results.

Leading the list, and cited by every single executive in the survey, was the fact that not producing measurable results on the job is the sure-fire way of ending your career rise.

Not working at a job you're passionate about.

"People float through life as if it were boring, drudgery or a nuisance – often complaining, yet never determining what would fulfill them," noted a nonprofit director. Several CEOs commented that you'll never be happy if you aren't excited, interested, and enjoying what you do. The true key to success is discovering your inner passion and then finding a way to work in that arena.

Not having big enough goals.

"A key career stopper is setting your goals too low or not being willing to put in the time it takes to reach goals," noted CEO Randy Sheparo. "Believing ‘I could never do that.' or, ‘They'll never give me a raise.' means it probably won't happen." Don't pay any attention to those well-meaning naysayers who warn you that you can't do it. Assume anything is possible, and then do it. Take risks, try new things, initiate and learn and grow from your mistakes. "Act and you shall achieve," notes a healthcare CEO. "Then, reevaluate and draw up even loftier goals – that's how you'll do more than you ever thought possible."

Thinking that money is everything.

A great salary doesn't equate to happiness. The CEO of a prominent service company says, "A reality I've observed for most people – executive or staff – is that they realize money means very little if you are truly unhappy." Job satisfaction is the number one reason people elect to find a new job.

Having a bad attitude.

"It kills even the most talented," said one top executive, who has observed many talented people rise and fall. The CEOs surveyed noted that "Nothing moves you ahead faster than the enthusiasm of a great can-do attitude."

Gossiping and playing office politics.

"I hate it when someone sabotages a superior to get ahead – that approach never works for long and really ends careers more than it makes them," one CEO said. "Gossiping is an immediate termination in my company," wrote another CEO, who's headed several large corporations. So many top executives noted that these two activities will undermine, cripple and even destroy your career. Another executive wisely noted, "When you get enmeshed in gossiping or office politics, you forget about the goals, mission and getting the job done. It'll lead to a lack of outcomes – a career killer every time."

-Robin Ryan

© Copyright 2006 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.

Robin Ryan has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show, Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, CNBC and is considered America's top career coach. She is the best-selling author of: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!; Winning Resumés; Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's the creator of the highly acclaimed audio training program Interview Advantage and The DreamMaker. Robin's passion is helping people find better jobs which she successfully does through her career counseling practice where she offers individual career coaching and resumé writing services. A popular national speaker, Robin has spoken to over a thousand audiences on improving their lives and obtaining greater success. To sign up for Robin's FREE monthly e-Newsletter or to purchase her books and audio training programs go to To contact Robin email:

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