Have you ever met someone who treated a great career like a dead-end job?

We’ve all encountered people like this in our careers. They show up late and leave early; they do the bare minimum just to collect their salary. It leaves you to wonder what they think about their future and if they even have a long-term plan.

This person isn’t you. You are a go-getter and will take every opportunity to advance that you’re given.

You certainly have the right attitude. Now all you need to do is avoid these five career-damaging pitfalls.

1. Fly by the seat of your pants

You can care about your job and want to advance, but if you don’t have a plan to do so, it’s less likely to happen. If you want to achieve greatness, plan for it. It helps to write your plans down, so you can hold yourself accountable. Be as specific as possible.

“Getting a promotion” is a lucrative plan, but it only gives you a general goal. Instead, figure out which position you’d like to be promoted to and when you’d like to be promoted.

For example, a good goal might look like this: “Get promoted to general manager within three years.”

Once you’ve written your goal, everything you do from here on out will be in support of your goal. When you’re having a rough day, think about your goal. When you’re having a great day, think about your goal.

Always try to go the extra mile and take constructive criticisms from management to adjust your behavior as necessary.

Flying by the seat of your pants may work for sometimes for some very lucky people, but most people have to work for what they want.

Successful professionals are fully aware of who they want to be in this world. They know exactly how they’ll be of service, and they have a very clear path to their goals.

Begin to map out your career, and it will quickly fall into place.

2. Ignore your health

Successful people know that health and nutrition are important parts of keeping your mind sharp and your body agile. If you eat a diet rich in junk food, you have the potential to be deficient in vitamins.

Your body uses vitamins and minerals to function. Without the right balance, a host of problems could arise. One of the most concerning problems for someone looking to climb the corporate ladder is brain fog.

Mental clarity is crucial for impressing your boss and cultivating attention from everyone around you. It can also play a major role in productivity, performance, and decision-making.

Pay special attention to getting the following nutrients:

  • B-complex – The vitamins in the B family are important for many reasons, but one is to handle methylation in the body. This plays a large role in supporting the body’s natural detoxification process, which will help rid your body of toxins and keep your mind clear.
  • Vitamin D – This vitamin is involved in too many bodily functions to list, but it is especially important for the brain because it helps support neural connections.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – The brain is mostly made up of fat with omega-3 fatty acids being the main lubricant for synaptic connections. Synaptic connections are how messages are sent within the brain. If there’s an issue here, you may start having trouble remembering things.  
3. Succumb to work pressures

It’s no secret that work can be stressful. Some careers are more intense than others. You may find yourself pulling all-nighters to meet deadlines or losing sleep over losing a client.

Work affects our lives in so many ways, and it can be especially troublesome for someone who is focused on advancement. But most people who are truly successful in their lives and careers have a positive way to deal with stress.

They may meditate, talk to a counselor or hit a punching bag every week. They do not self-medicate because they know how quickly this can lead to a substance abuse problem. Having one beer or glass of wine after a long day of work can be a slippery slope that ends in addiction.

4. Be afraid to talk about your accomplishments

There’s a time and place for everything, but most people who are successful in their careers get there by gently reminding the right people of their accomplishments.

Of course, you want to be careful about boasting or patting yourself too hard on the back. If this feels like uncharted territory for you, simply keep a running tab of your work-related accomplishments throughout the year.

Your list may include things like getting a new client, navigating a tricky customer service issue or saving the company money. It’s always best if you can assign a realistic dollar value to your accomplishments.

When your review rolls around, bring this list with you and remind your boss of all the great things you’ve done for the company. Because of you, they made money, saved money and/or avoided embarrassment.

5. Step on other people

There are exceptions to every rule, but most successful people don’t get to the top by stepping on others along the way. They don’t take credit for things that others have done, and they are always happy to give credit to others on their team.

There’s a reason this works so well in business. People who don’t treat their peers or subordinates kindly are showing a lack of character. They aren’t as likely to advance in their careers as someone who exudes honesty, integrity, and hard work.

Think about it this way: Who would you want representing your company at a high level? Would you choose someone who lies, cheats and steals to get whatever he wants? That guy may lie to or steal from you too.

You may have encountered people in your career who have done all of these things and still become successful. Know that they are the exception and their ride to the top was probably a lot bumpier than yours will be.

Written By
Emily Walters is an experienced content writer. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism. She has written about an array of topics, from business, healthcare, and technology to travel, culinary, education and even fashion & lifestyle. In her free time, Emily enjoys traveling, training for half marathons, and cooking for her family.