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5 Career mistakes to avoid in 2024

BY Dr Helmut Schuster and Dr David Oxley

22nd Feb 2024 Life

3 min read

5 Career mistakes to avoid in 2024
It's important to keep your career plan updated in such a quickly evolving and unstable world. Here are five career mistakes we should all avoid in 2024
The last years have thrown us some extraordinary challenges between pandemic, globally significant wars, climate emergency, and antagonist social climate. If we combine this global context with the accelerating pace of technological disruption, it is understandable to feel conservative about our careers.
However, 2024 is likely to see the relative speed of our lives accelerate further. Consequently, it’s important that we proactively think about how to adjust our careers plans to make sure they remain relevant, practical, and up to speed. If you don’t have a career plan… you should make one. If you have one… update it.
There are four career mega-influences you should consider:
·       Technology disruption will accelerate but there will be more clarity in key aspects affecting your career. The impact of AI is an understandable headline but let us not forget our vulnerabilities to cyber-security, the emergence of green tech (climate friendly tech), and refinements to virtual work simulations.
·       New ways of working will find a more symbiotic equilibrium with a reversion to the mean. Working from home will give way to more widespread hybrid working with an increase in the number of companies encouraging people back to the office for at least three days a week.
·       Ethical considerations and social responsibility will play a much bigger role in corporate governance following the recent scandals.
·       Following COP 28 Sustainability and Climate Action will finally be taken seriously by all corporate players, COP 29 in 2024 hosted by Azerbaijan, another Oil Nation, will cement this new determination.
What does this mean for your career in 2024. Here are our top 5 mistakes to avoid:

1. Don’t fight the inevitable

Organisations, supported by data, have concluded indiscriminate working from home erodes long-term productivity. If your career matters to you, be the first to spend more time in the office. Proximity will be an advantage and allow access to hidden opportunities.
"Proximity will be an advantage and allow access to hidden opportunities"
Tip for bosses: Talk to your teams, explain why working from home is not the optimum way to achieve your shared goals. Give examples. Make sure that people understand there will continue to be flexibility and avoid ultimatums.

2. Don’t choose money over substance 

Man in suit stressed in front of desktop computer
There will be temptations to job-hop for pay raises. However, you should always balance money against fulfilment and purpose. Good organisations may need some time to regain their competitive pay practices. Don’t judge them one dimensionally. If lagging pay is your only compliant be patient and re-evaluate in 2025.
Tips for bosses: Take great care with the 2024 salary review process. Manage expectations in advance and be especially focused on obtaining accurate, up to the date, market data.

3. Don’t stagnate—aggressively renew your skills ahead of predictable disruption 

The labour market won’t be easy in 2024—companies are rationalising head counts, particularly the tech companies. It is critical you don’t sit still and wait for an axe to fall. Invest in adding a technology-related new skill. A great way to combine learning and networking is to volunteer for an NGO or provide mentorship to a start-up.
"It would be wise to invest in adding a technology-related new skill"
Tips for bosses: When you enter career conversations with your team be prepared to listen to your people. Think about how to offer stretch development opportunities to people who have been in any job for more than three years.

4. Don’t burnout—focus on developing coping mechanisms and healthy habits 

Woman feeling stressed at work with two colleagues talking to her and a pile of papers on a desk
We all experience doubts and anxieties. Denying and suppressing these emotions is a mistake. The right level of stress is good for us but too much can be debilitating. It’s critical we can express ourselves and work through what worries us. The antidote is having the right support system and outlets to decompress. Supportive friends, exercise, and healthy diet are the keys.
Tips for bosses: Monitor your team’s well-being and stress level. Some of your top performers might be on the path to burnout. Listen carefully and make sure that you are aware of stress factors outside work. Remember a key leadership role is helping reduce ambiguity.

5. Don’t play the blame game—focus on constructively moving forward 

No one likes working with people who don’t take accountability. Embrace an outlook that focuses on bringing solutions not just pointing to problems. Bosses like good news. They especially appreciate proactive teams that see the issues before they occur, fix problems quietly and keep looking forward.
"Embrace an outlook that focuses on bringing solutions not just pointing to problems"
Tips for bosses: Set a constructive and upbeat tone. Lead by example. Reward pro-active problem solving and make it clear that behaviours matter as much as results.
As you read this you might turn pale, seeing your 2023 reflection in some of the Don’ts. Do not worry. Learn from it but leave the baggage behind.
Focus on 2024. Make things better. As Peter Drucker famously said: "Focus on opportunities not problems." 2024 will offer plenty of those.
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Dr Helmut Schuster and Dr David Oxley are career experts and co-authors of A Career Carol: A Tale of Professional Nightmares and How to Navigate Them published by Austin Macauley Publishers and available on Amazon
Banner photo: Yan Krukau
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