• Career limiting moves are actions that hurt your rep, cred and image
  • Be more self-aware and think things through before taking action
  • Avoiding CLMs will ensure your career progress and opportunities
It’s just another one of many annoying pre-meetings that you’ve got to join. It’s the kind where the meeting is about the upcoming meeting. Your day is filled with more meetings and calls than you’d like. It makes it hard to actually get your important grunt work done.

But this meeting is different. It includes Brash Brad, who is known throughout the company as someone that doesn’t hold back shit and speaks his mind without any filters whatsoever. So, if nothing else, at least this session should be interesting to see what Brash Brad blurts out.

As the meeting progresses, Brad’s manager provides an alternate suggestion and idea to solve the problem. And, this is exactly when all eyes and ears dart to Brash Brad.

Brad responds, “That’s so stupid. It won’t work. Don’t you know anything about this project? You are so clueless.”

His boss looks at him sternly but holds back from any further comment - that’s epic restraint.

It’s at this very moment that you can just feel everybody in the room squirming and grimacing with the thought of “OMG, I can’t believe he just said that in front of everyone and right to his manager’s face.”

Brad has zero self-awareness and this time, he screwed up royally. He just made a huge career limiting move and fucked himself for any possibility of a promotion or bonus. 

What Is A Career Limiting Move (CLM)?

As any office desk slave knows, the world of work has its own share of cubicle etiquette and unspoken dos and don'ts. Some of these informal rules are obvious while others are less so. The key here is to know what they are and live within their boundaries.

When someone breaks these informal and unwritten rules, they are putting themselves at risk of tanking their personal brand and even worse, crushing any future prospects of career advancement and/or promotions.

In other words, these are “career limiting moves” that will in effect keep you stuck at your job at best and demoted or fired at worst. Making a so-called career-limiting move is going to derail your career trajectory and you’ll be preparing for job loss more often than you’d like.

So, you’ve gotta be smart and careful about how you go about saying and doing things at work around your boss, executives and coworkers.

Types Of Career Limiting Moves To Avoid

We’re all human and we all make mistakes - that’s what being human is. We’re not perfect beings and never will be. In fact, sometimes it’s good to make mistakes because that’s how we learn. Through our failures, we gain more skills, wisdom and knowledge.

However, it’s inevitable that some of our mistakes and/or actions could be construed as a CLM, even though we never meant to do it on purpose. So, it’s important to know which ones constitute a career limiting move and make sure not to do them so that you don’t get written up or shit-canned.

There are tons of things that can be categorized as CLMs. We’re not going to list them all here but we will list out some of the more obvious and bigger ones and maybe a few that didn’t cross your mind. 

Insulting Or Offending Your Boss Or Execs

Duh, right? Of course it is, but it’s worth mentioning here. You should never, ever insult or offend your boss under any circumstances, especially if it’s in an environment with others. Even if they are a bitch boss, you gotta hold back.

There are ways to give negative feedback to your boss and be safe. You just gotta be smart by being professional and thoughtful about it. This way, you’re not jeopardizing your reputation and career.

Throwing Your Boss Or Execs Under The Bus

This is another obvious one and it’s one that Brash Brad should know but doesn’t. Nobody likes getting thrown under the bus, whether it’s in person during a meeting or via a group email distribution.

There are better ways to share your feedback with your direct manager and executives. This is like walking on thin ice. You gotta be careful here. When your boss or executive is fucking clueless about something, you should see this as an opportunity to educate them and make yourself look like a savior hero.

Being A Bitch Or Asshole To Coworkers

Every workplace has an office asshole or bitch that nobody likes to work with. These people are known backstabbers that will do anything and everything to get ahead. To them, the end justifies the means. You don’t want to be lumped in with this group of undesirables.

Yes, there will always be moments at work when you’re about to lose your shit and want to punch that unresponsive coworker right in the face. However, you gotta remain calm and professional yet be sterner when it’s warranted.

Not Adapting To Changing Times

Believe it or not, there are still some people that are clinging to the pre-internet days by asking for something to be faxed. Who the fuck uses a fax machine anymore?

Darwin’s theory of evolution not only applies to how organisms evolve over generations but also applies to the business world too. People that can’t adapt to the environment, will suffer and eventually become irrelevant like dedicated telex operators (the precursor to fax machines).

So, improve your skills and be adaptable. Otherwise, you’ll be killing your chances of promotion. And just languish in the same position for years.

Gossiping And Participating In Office Drama

There’s always that one person in the office that loves hopping from one desk to another just gossiping and stirring shit up. To them, the workplace is the reality show that they’re directing. Don’t be like them.

Yes, there will be times when you have to get involved, but you can navigate office politics without all the drama by being more professional about it. And when you do it this way, you’ll be avoiding the gossip trap and not become a victim.

Not Being Visible At Work

For a lot of introverted people, working in isolation can be heavenly. It’s the perfect environment. Nobody bugging you or talking your ear off. You don’t have to socialize with others. You can get in the zone, keep your head down and bang out tons of work.

And, as great as that is, the main problem is that nobody sees the significance of you and your work. You become invisible. And when you’re out of their sight, you’re out of their mind. There are subtle and effective ways for introverts to stand out and get noticed for all their kickass contributions.

Always Being Late To Work, Meetings Or Calls

It’s inevitable that you’ll be late to work, meetings or calls occasionally. But, it shouldn’t be a chronic thing, especially showing up to work late.

Joining stupid meetings and/or boring conference calls late by a few minutes isn’t a big deal, particularly when you’ve got back-to-back sessions. But, when you push the limits and start joining important meetings and calls 10-15 minutes late, that’s when you start looking bad.

Overstepping Your Bounds

It’s important that you know where your responsibilities start and stop. You gotta know where your boundaries are. You don’t want to tell others what to do and how to do it. If you have an asshole boss, you know all too well what that feels like.

So, be self-aware and stay in your own swim lane. And you gotta also protect yourself too by setting solid boundaries at work. Otherwise, you’ll just get trampled on.

Constantly Complaining Or Being Negative

You know who really gets along with Brash Brad? It’s Negative Nancy.

She’s got the reputation of being a constant complainer who’s always pointing out the negative. It could be on any project, task or presentation. She’s like a bullshit seagull manager that flies in, shits on everything and flies off.

Don’t be like her. Take a balanced approach and be sure to point out the positive things too. In fact, pointing out good things and being grateful is a simple little trick to triggering happiness at work and we could all use that.

Getting Bombed At Company Social Events

Spending time with coworkers at social events can be a great way to let out some steam, relax and laugh together. It’s even better if your work BFF joins you.

But, don’t be that guy or gal that gets bombed. There is happy hour etiquette and rules for drinking with your coworkers. This is not your personal circle of close friends. These are your professional peers who all have a network. You don’t want to be known as a closet drunk.

Always Calling In Sick On Mondays And Fridays

There’s nothing better than having a long weekend, especially if it’s just for a solo weekend trip to get away from all the chaos of life. One of the often used tactics to maximize your long weekend is to call in sick for an extra day so that you can turn that 3 day weekend into a 4 day.

But everybody knows what you’re doing here. So, why not be more upfront about it and use your sick days as mental health days instead? Mental health is just as important the physical health.

Never Raising Your Hand To Take The Lead

Most of us already have a full plate at work and are overwhelmed AF. The days of being able to do deep mono-tasking work doesn’t happen often. We all have a shit ton of work to do without enough hours in the day to do it.

However, when there’s an opportunity for you to show some initiative and take charge, raise your hand for it, especially if it’s in your wheelhouse. This way you can get the recognition you fucking deserve for all the work you put in.

If you never raise your hand, you’ll just become invisible again.

Constantly Applying For New Positions

If you’re the type of person that is frequently applying for another internal position at work, it doesn’t look good. It shows your boss, other hiring managers and HR that you don’t have the focus, strength and discipline to keep your momentum when things get fucking hard. You’d rather bail.

You gotta put in the work. Prove your commitment. Produce results. Then and only then does it make sense to pursue more responsibilities for that promotion. This is the way to boost your career.

Talking Shit About Your Boss Or Company on Social Media

We all need to vent about our work, our bosses and/or the company. It’s a great way to unload all the bullshit and get it out of your system.

However, don’t do this on social media. Even though you’ve got your social settings and circles configured in such a way as to avoid coworkers from seeing your posts, there are always leaks. And, in a lot of cases, all of your trash talking posts will end up in the social feeds of somebody from your company. 

Not Owning Up To Your Mistakes

It’s extremely hard to own up to your mistakes, especially when you’ve dropped the ball on an important task or project. Admitting guilt can be seen as a CLM, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite.

When you man up and take responsibility for your mistakes, it shows others that you’ve got the courage to do so and the willingness to get it fixed. That kind of attitude is exactly what many executives look for when promoting people.

If you just cowl into a corner and stay quiet when everyone knows it’s your fault, you don’t look good at all. If you do this enough times, don’t be surprised that you didn’t get that promotion. Instead, admit the mistake then take charge to fix it and you’ll look like a hero.

Avoid CLMs And You’ll Advance Your Career

Most of these things are pretty common sense. But, we’re all infallible human beings and sometimes, we slip and get caught up in the heat of the moment and do something stupid.

Shit happens.

The point here is that you don’t want to become Brash Brad and have that happen all the time. When you have more self-awareness, don’t react immediately and think things through a bit before taking action, you’ll make smart decisions and not fuck up as much or screw yourself over.

It’s not going to be an overnight change. But, the more you adapt and improve, the better you’ll become over the long run.

Feel Better,

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