Are you making the same 10 common career mistakes people usually make?


Being in your 20’s is a crucial period of your life. The choices you make in your twenties will affect how your career pans out over the rest of your life.  Unfortunately, more than half of the teenagers have no idea what they want to become after finishing school or even after college graduation. No wonder, most break out in a cold sweat when asked, ‘What do you want to be?’

Choosing the right career is often a tricky path. The path to your dream career often fraught with challenges and setbacks. To keep the career compass pointing in the right direction you need to avoid the worst career mistakes as listed below.

Following the crowd

A major chunk of students, even in the best of colleges, just opt for a career because some of their friends, relatives or acquaintances are doing or had done so at some point in their lives. They don’t introspect to find out what they want to do and many students do not even know the motive in their lives.

Solution: Never make decisions based on someone else’s thinking. Just because the people you know are fulfilled and contended with their career path, doesn’t mean that it would be the ultimate career path for you as well.

Not pursuing your passion

People purely working for money, not building their dreams seem like a very common theme, the biggest mistake one can make. For most people figuring out their purpose in life and their dream career can be a simple and easier process while for others it may take a lifetime. Setting goals and just believing in them do not always work for everyone, which is why it is important to know who you are and where you want to be in life before deciding on your dream career.

Solution: Passion might be a big word for you at initial stage. So try to shortlist your interests and start exploring as many as you can. When you follow your passion, things automatically become much easier for you. You have to take risks to achieve  success that you desire for a happy and a glorious career.

Taking decision on parent’s choice

Many students are forced to opt for a career of their parents’ choice. Parents need to be understanding instead of ordering, they need to have patience instead of overconfidence, they should not play a decisive role but an active and supportive role. They need to hatch the egg instead of smashing it.

Solution: Don’t choose a job to fulfill your parents’ unfulfilled dream. If you’re being forced to choose a career because someone else is telling you to, you have to take a stand. Look to challenge yourself and build your own dream instead of building someone else’s. 

Money being the deciding factor

This is one mistake majority of us do. People always prefer money over interests and doing something you actually like. Money is very important factor for everyone and hence it might be important to earn some before you actually follow your passion.

Solution: Remember, the career path which doesn’t complement your interest and skill set will never offer sufficient money for survival. Selecting a job on the basis of salary will never satisfy you. Salary should be secondary to passion.

Not investing sufficient time

The first step in developing career goals is to assess your own personal characteristics–your skills and interests, your likes and dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses and match your ‘profile’ to a specific job or career goal. Sometimes we tend to not give us the sufficient time we actually require to make the big decision. You cannot make decisions in haste and without thinking it through.

Solution: Remember, good decisions are always made by taking sufficient time in hand. You should take time and make a selection with peace of mind and by considering the multitude of options available. Make your career planning beforehand and consider your own personal skills, interest, likes and dislikes before coming to a conclusion. Considering all these factors will help you select the best career path.

Not looking for the right institute and academic program

The most important thing to consider when choosing a career is the type of education or training required for the chosen program. Usually, when people start planning for their career, they make a silly mistake and believe that their school life will dictate what exactly they are going to do in the rest of their life, which is completely a wrong concept.

Solution: Your college major can be the starting point while choosing your career path, but you must not completely rely on the decision. If you want to do something passionately, there is always a way to get the financial aid for the course you want to do and from wherever possible.

Failing to network early

Many of us hesitate to network out of fear of being seen as pushy, annoying, or self-serving. Networking plays a major role in the career planning and job hunting process. Networking can provide you with a better understanding of various careers as well as information about numerous companies that you may not find by surfing the web.

Solution: It’s preferable to begin networking before you begin job hunting. If you establish your contacts early, you can better prepare for job searching and interviewing. You can ask your contacts what their job hunting experience was like and what approaches work best for them. It can save you a lot time while avoiding a lot of frustration.

Choosing the easiest option

Selecting a career is not reckoned as one time decision based on its difficulty, instead it is a series of decision that you usually make as you progress through diverse phase of your career, life and experience. There is no shortcut to anywhere worth going. Don’t hastily settle for letting the skills that come easily to you determine your choice of  job. Instead of choosing the job that comes easiest to you, keep it in your pool of options while checking out other careers that are interesting and more challenging. Those might be the ones that result in a more fulfilling experience in the long run.

Solution: Selecting an option on the basis of its ease is not always a good career decision. One needs to analyze whether or not their skill sets match the requirements and most importantly whether the option interests them. Never do anything just because it’s convenient for you. Always look to the future and never for immediate compensation.

Sticking to the wrong  job

Quitting a job can negatively impact your career and disrupt your personal life, but staying in an undesirable situation can be worse. You feel insecure, low esteemed and scared to move on from your current monotonous career or starting over in a new field, no matter how right the time is to do just that. It’s paralyzing.

Solution: Don’t let yourself get stuck. The successful and glorious life you dream of, can only be attained if you take the risk. There will always be fear, do it anyway and don’t let your fears condemn you to mediocrity.

Giving up too quickly

Not understanding the job search process can discourage many teens. There are going to be times when you feel like quitting.

‘Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.’ –Thomas A. Edison

Solution: If you’re trying and failing, perhaps you just haven’t tried the right thing yet. Don’t judge yourself and quit, every time you try and fail, you learn something about yourself, about life, and you gain experience that can help you to do better next time. You never know what is round the corner or what opportunities will arise from new situations. It’s how we handle the worst moments that ultimately determine our success.


Career planning is a lifelong process; it does not begin with 10th board exams and end with highly specialized postgraduate or PhD studies leading to a corporate placement. Career planning helps realize your ambitions. It helps you determine your skills and interests, what career best suits your talents, and what skills and training you need for your chosen career.

‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.’ – Steve Jobs

Every struggle arises for a reason – for experience or a lesson. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to success. Success is never easy or without a journey, and no dose of adversity along the way is ever a waste of time if you learn and grow from it.  The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. It takes time, effort and dedication to flourish a career of your dream; so keep focusing, and keep aiming.


Image Credit: sophie-sticatedmom



Kakoli Mahanta

A post graduate in Economics, Kakoli Partha Mahanta worked for corporate finance sector for about 7 years. Mother of a cute 2 year baby girl, Kakoli is currently located in Bangalore, India, flourishing her writing skill.

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