5 Career Risks You Should Never Take

They say if you want big returns, you have to be ready to take big risks as well. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should take risks just for the sake of it. Taking chances may be essential, but it’s not an excuse to throw caution to the wind. Your career is mostly in your hands. That means you have to ensure you make smart choices.

It’s perfectly fine to want to grow and advance your career. And to do that, some risks do need to be undertaken. They just need to be the right ones. This entails learning to take carefully measured risks on purpose. It also means you have to be prepared to fail.

When considering your next career move, keep the following in mind. These are 5 career risks that you should never take.

1. Lying to Get a Raise

Dreaming of better pay? Who isn’t really? Maybe you’ve wondered about seeking or taking up another job, one with better wages. Or you may have just been thinking about it and hoping your boss will hear of it and offer to raise your salary so you won’t leave. Be honest. You’ve thought about it.

This tactic doesn’t always work, though. In fact, it actually has a higher chance of backfiring on you.

It’s not uncommon to hear of employees being fired because they tried to negotiate a raise by telling the boss of his supposed offer from a competitor. These negotiations are usually accompanied by a “threat” that the employee will jump ship unless the offer is matched or beat by his current employer. In many of these instances, the “offer” is mostly made up. It’s a way to force the employer’s hand to get what the employee wants.

Unfortunately, the truth is easily found out with a quick and simple phone call to the competitor. And when the truth comes out, you can bet that you will likely be following it. You’d end up not getting a raise at best, and fired at worst. It’s definitely not a risk worth taking.

2. Rushing to get out

Sometimes, your boss is so horrible and your job is terrible and it’s all you can do to stop yourself from bolting out of there. But career coaches would tell you to slow down and take a moment, even if you hate your job so much.

Walking out of your current job to start applying for something better may sound very appealing. But without a plan, you may find it a bit more difficult to land the job that you want that actually fits your skill set. Instead, take some time to look at what you liked about your current job. Evaluate what aspects of your career you enjoy and use the information to focus your job search efforts.

3. Putting your reputation on the line

Faced with a choice in your career? It’s time to reassess what you’re risking. Not every opportunity is equal. Some will let you take bigger risks with relationships, for example, while others can affect your job title. What you must never do, however, is risk your integrity and reputation over something that could potentially damage your career permanently.

Here’s a perfect example: office affairs. A married manager having an affair with his administrative assistant who wants to end the relationship. Things like this usually end up with one or both parties fired and a sexual harassment suit filed.

4. Taking chances too close to retirement

When it comes to taking career risks, it’s better to do it while you’re younger or just starting out. Things like working abroad, launching a start up or changing careers are big risk items. If they don’t turn out as well as you’d hoped, you might end up saying good bye to the comfortable retirement you have envisioned for yourself.

5. Worrying about success

It’s normal for people to worry about successes and failures. However, too much worrying may actually keep people from seeing their career paths. When a person is stuck with the belief that he has failed, he may feel ashamed and defeated. And when he can’t get past it, he doesn’t learn anything from the experience. On the flip side, believing too much in your success could result to having the constant need to prove yourself to everyone around you.

A person’s career, much like life in general, comes with many opportunities. These opportunities can be celebrated or taken as something to learn from. The key to continued growth is to stay curious and challenged.