Word-Of-the-Week #1016: Complacent

January 25, 2024 by  

Complacent – satisfied with the current situation and unconcerned with changing it, often to the point of smugness.

Are you currently working in the job of your dreams? How long has it been since you proactively learned a new skill? How easily are you able to adapt to changes?

Travis Bradberry is the co-author of “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” and co-founder of TalentSmart, a San Diego provider of emotional intelligence tests and training. “Career killersEven small mistakes can be costly in the workplace” is this week’s focus. Travis writes,

“There are many things that can kill people’s careers, and even small mistakes often carry serious consequences down the road. We usually only hear about the most egregious examples, but most people don’t go down in a blaze of glory; they kill their careers in subtle, decidedly undramatic ways. A recent survey by VitalSmarts found that 83 percent of respondents had seen someone make a blunder that had catastrophic results for their career, reputation or business, and 69 percent acknowledged they had done something that damaged their careers. Of those:

31 percent said it cost them a promotion, a raise or a job.

27 percent said it damaged a working relationship.

11 percent said it destroyed their reputation.

Little things can add up over time and undermine your career just as much as one huge lapse in judgment. Stay aware of these blunders before they creep up and kill your career:

  • Over-promising and under-delivering – It’s tempting to promise the moon to your colleagues and your clients, especially when you’re hardworking and believe that you can do it. The problem is that there’s no point in creating additional pressure that can make you look bad. If you promise to do something ridiculously fast and you miss the deadline by a little bit, you’ll likely think that you did a good job because you still delivered quickly. But the moment you promise something to someone, they expect exactly that.

You end up looking terrible when you fall short, which is a shame, because you could have done the same quality work in the same amount of time with great results if you’d just set up realistic expectations from the beginning.

  • Complacency – How long has it been since you proactively learned a new skill, reached out to your networking contacts or even polished your resume? If you can’t remember, you might have become a bit complacent, and complacency is a real career killer.

If you’re always too busy to learn something new or to expand your network, you’ve got your priorities mixed up. However, if you make continuous growth and development a priority, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. 

  • Fear of change – Fear of change is complacency’s evil twin. It actively works to keep things the same. I’m sure you’ve seen this one first hand at work when someone uttered the dreaded words, “But we’ve always done it this way.”

Things are changing too fast these days to latch on tightly to the status quo, and the costs of doing so can be huge. Surveys show that managers find that the most successful employees are the ones who can adapt to the changing workplace.”

This week’s focus is to not be complacent. How often do you reach out to your networking contacts? When was the last time you polished your resume? Are you ready to tackle whatever comes your way each day?

Stay tuned – next week will feature 5 more Career Killers!

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