The Top 10 Career Mistakes People Make (2017 Edition)

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

(From the archives) I’m sure you realize you don’t flawlessly handle your career. Here I lay out the top 10 mistakes that people make when managing their career. This is the 2017 edition.

Admit It. Your Networking Isn’t Working

Hi!  I’m Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter.  Welcome. This is an episode of Job Search Radio which I did as a video. I thought today’s show would be the term 10 career mistakes people make and I will refer to this as the 2017 edition. I see lots of different iterations of these mistakes over the years. I will simply say that I’ve been watching people for a long time, initially as a headhunter and now as a coach. I find that these things show up time and time again. There are a few tweaks in here for this year But let me talk with you about the top 10 mistakes.

Before I go into them, let me simply say that if you like the show, please give it a thumbs up on YouTube, give it a favorable review on Facebook, follow me on LinkedIn at There are tabs on the top to talk about the various services that I offer.  Pick the one that you would like help with; I would like to work with you.

Here we go!


Only networking when you need a job. I will tell you that people do this all the time. They lurched from job search to job search,, putting in little effort between those searches to keep their network up to date. Thus, when they needed a job, no one is there to help them. Since at least 70% of all positions are filled as a result of networking, you need to preserve your network, not just simply during your job search but your network, and help you within your current role. Not maintaining your network is a big thing… And I list it as number 10!

Dwelling on your mistakes. One thing I have learned over the course of time is that I am going to make mistakes. There are times that I beat myself up relentlessly for a mistake that I made that someone brought to my attention. The biggest thing that you can do instead of getting to this notion of shame or self-degradation Is to ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?  What can I do differently? What did I miss in the situation?” View.  It is an educational opportunity, not just something to punish yourself for.

The Redline NOT to Cross When Networking

Not keeping your expertise up to date. This is not something that simply relates to IT or engineering or the sciences. Most professionals have a skill set associated with them that requires periodic updating. Take advantage of any training programs you can get into and keep your expertise up to date. Don’t think in terms of your current employer. Think in terms of The market in general and what the market is going to hire for. The fact of the matter is, there may come a time that you may need to look for something else and your experience with some obscure technology or business function may not serve you well. You need to keep your expertise up to date as pertains to the market in general.

Working for someone who proudly tells you that she or he will be in the trenches with you. When you work with someone like that, frankly, you will wind up working for a micromanager. Micromanagers will drive you nuts. That’s because they know how you should do everything and are very happy to tell you that. So if you want to be turned into a clone, a machine of “mini-me,” then work for someone like that who is in the trenches with you because, frankly, they don’t know how to delegate. Often, they are overworked, overwhelmed and stressed out and direct their frustration at you because you haven’t done something perfectly according to their standards. So, avoid working for someone who proudly tell you that they will be in there with you helping.

Not trusting your gut. There are lots of situations where your emotional instincts can read the room and read the situation better than your mind can. If you repress your gut, You’re going to wind up in messy situations that you could have avoided and pay the price for it. There is no reason not to trust your gut. I am not telling you to always act on your got. Your gut is an alert signal to something you want to check it out with your head. If what your head tells you calms your gut, that is okay. If it tells you to shut up and avoid thinking about it, that is not valid. You have to always trust your gut.

Asking your boss if your job is at risk when you hear rumors. It sounds like a good thing to do. They should know, right? But frankly, most of you work for people who are too far removed and too low on the food chain to know where the decisions are really made and won’t really get any value from what your boss is going to tell you. Often, what happens is they give you a pat on the head and a placebo.  “Oh!  You are doing a great job.  I would go to the mat for you!” However, if it’s a choice between you and them, that map becomes pretty small and they are the ones who are going to occupy it. If you ask your boss if your job is safe at the time when there is a crisis, they just don’t know. You can be at risk with them shrugging their shoulders and going, “G, I tried,” but they didn’t alert you.

Always thinking the grass is greener somewhere else. There are lots of things you can find out BEFORE you join a firm. I will tell you from my time in recruiting, there are firms that people would die to get into and many of those same organizations are firms or places what happened? The problems are, particularly those that will affect you in your new role. Will you be working for someone who’s like that micromanager I pointed to earlier? Is the reason the position is there because the last four people that they’ve hired for the role have left? I wouldn’t be into that and I know a friend of mine who was coaching someone not too long ago turned down an offer and then came back to her a year later and extended the offer to her again. What had happened?  There had been for people in their roles from the time that she interviewed with them the 1st time until they now extended the offer to her again! Had she not asked about it, she would’ve walked into a hellhole. Always do research.  The idea of thinking that every other place is perfect is childish and amateurish. Trust me.  Every place has a problem.

The Meeting With Senior Leadership

Only working for (the money, the opportunity, the noble cause…) And not taking a holistic approach. There are people who take jobs because they are offered an enormous bonus or option and quickly grow to resent it because the work stinks or they are working for an imbecile And nothing ever comes to pass. They have premised some sort of future opportunity if they stay in this role for a year and then their boss leaves and their new one says, “I don’t know anything about that.” Where they take a job working for some noble cause and don’t take their finances into consideration. They take a job For a substandard salary and then can’t afford to do the job that they were hired to do, have 5 roommates, and are going to happy hours in order to eat anything. If you are working for the money or the future opportunity or the noble cause and sacrificing the other, You are making a career mistake.

Forgetting about relationships and people. The way you are going to get things done in advancing your career is not by keeping your head down and working like an animal. The way you are going to get things done and be successful Is in addition to doing good work taking the time to cultivate relationships with people and leaders in your organization so that they know, like, trust, and respect you. If you act like you are going to work like a beast, they will treat you like an animal and then treat you as though you are a person whom they will never move ahead. This will tie in with number 1.

Abdicating responsibility for your career to your employer And not looking out for yourself You see, #1 and #2 really are tied together. When you surrender responsibility for your career to your employer and forget to look after yourself, I am going to tell you all that’s going to happen is that one day your employer is going to decide to let you go and be stuck with the experience that doesn’t really matter to the job market. And when you keep your head down and do what you are told instead of developing the querying techniques, The relationships with people, the relationships with leaders, the ability to think and persuade, you will wind up hurting your career. Let me tell you a quick story for those of you who work in IT and work in New York, You may know that the insurance firm, MetLife, used to have a mainframe Honeywell computer and use a programming language called English which was described as being COBOL-like. That means it was not a dominant language of its time (I told you this was a story from a long time ago). As a result, with MetLife needing to do layoffs, Their IT people had skills that no one else wanted to hire. They trusted their employer because they said, “We have a stable environment.” Which it was . . . Until it wasn’t. When you trust your employer and don’t look out for yourself, When

You don’t keep your expertise up-to-date in ways that are relevant for the job market, You are giving up your power to your employer and trusting them. I will tell you point-blank that your employer cannot be trusted with your and your family’s being and livelihood.. It is a huge mistake.

So that’s today show.  I hope you found it helpful. If you did, I hope you give it 5 stars in iTunes or stitcher AND If you would like me to coach you, I would love to work with you. Let me help you play big in the world.  Let me help you find a purposeful life if that’s what you’re looking for. Let me help you find successful life and work In step further with your leadership.

I hope you have a great day.  Take care!

The Russian Judge


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. He is hired to provide No BS Career Advice globally. That can involve job search, hiring staff, management, leadership, career transition and advice about resolving workplace issues. Schedule a discovery call at my website,

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2500 episodes.

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