Medical device and MedTech insights, news, tips and more

7 Career Mistakes To Avoid

June 10, 2022

Career Mistakes MDG Blog

“The only one managing your career is you!”

You’ve probably heard this advice many times from multiple sources. However, these well-meaning advisors may have neglected to tell you that managing your career is hard! You spent the formative years of your life and education following a prescribed plan with a mapped-out path to success. However, as soon as you accept your first job, there’s no one direction to go in. It’s up to you to decide where you want to go in your career and how you want to get there.

As recruiters, we’re happy to help you decide what success looks like for you and how we can help you get there. Still, we also see many candidates who come to us to try and undo career mistakes they’ve already made. Many of these candidates seem to make the same kinds of severe career blunders that are easily avoidable by simply being aware of them. We’ve compiled some of the most common mistakes we hear about from candidates so that you can avoid the same traps.

1) Falling asleep on your career

This is one of the most common mistakes we see and is also why many candidates reach out to us in the first place. You took your job because you needed it out of college, even though it wasn’t what you were passionate about. It was pretty ok, so you stayed long enough to get promoted. Ten years later, it’s still just ok, but you feel like you can’t start over at this stage. Sound familiar? If so, you need to stop coasting and start managing your career now! Giving us a call is a good start…  

2) Pretending to be something you’re not

Maybe you slightly oversold your abilities on your resume, or perhaps you pretended to enjoy a particular responsibility that you actually hate in order to get the job. Over time, you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up, or you’ll be stuck doing a task you hate while having to pretend you love it. This is relatively easy to fix, but it’s better to just present yourself authentically in the first place.  

3) Burning bridges

This is one of the most, if not the most commonly given, pieces of advice to give, but we’re going to repeat it because so many people ignore it! Quitting out of anger, throwing a coworker under the bus, or leaving without giving notice are all common mistakes that candidates make. You’d be surprised how often people come back to play a role in your professional life!  

4) Making decisions solely based on money

While money is a key factor when making business-related decisions, it is not the only one to consider. This goes for both your salary and project-related decisions. If money is your only decisional metric, you could lose your dream job because of a pay cut, or accept an offer into a career you aren’t genuinely interested in, or lose an investment for your company by ignoring a gut feeling,  

As the old anecdote goes, “all that glitters isn’t gold”. That being said, when a person is especially money-oriented, Monetary incentives such as sign-on bonuses can make an originally unappealing offer seem like one worth accepting. While the extra cash may look nice at first, no amount of money will be able to pay away the burden of being stuck in a position that doesn’t make you happy. 

5) Putting your life on the back burner

If you’re putting blood, sweat, and tears into your company at the expense of your friends, family, and personal happiness and well-being, stop and ask yourself if your company would do the same thing for you. You’re not at your best when you’re burnt out and neither is your career. No one ever looks back on their death bed and says, “I wish I’d worked more.”

6) Failing to set boundaries at work

Do you find yourself frequently asked to do things your peers are not, like staying late at work or completing extensive projects? Do you feel like you can’t say no to these requests because you said yes a few times, and now you don’t know how to say no without looking uncooperative? Especially when you start a new job, it’s vital to be conscious of the professional expectations you invite and that you’re clear about your boundaries. Otherwise, you’ll feel burdened and put upon until one day you snap.  

More people are working remotely today than ever before, and that has created more grey areas in work life and home life boundaries. If you are working from home, try to make sure work doesn’t bleed over into your home time. Having a designated workspace, shut down at appropriate times, and just because you can see your laptop, doesn’t mean you have to check it! 

7) Not taking risks

The right thing and the easy thing are not always the same. As you increase your professional standing, the right and easy things to do become less and less similar. No one wants to make a mistake in their career, but everyone has done it and learned from it. These learning experiences allow you to grow personally and professionally. Without them, you’re dooming yourself to a life of career boredom, always wondering how things would have turned out if you’d just taken that calculated risk.

If you can avoid these career mistakes, you’ll already be ahead of much of your competition and well on your way to success. If you could use a little extra coaching, give us a call, and we’ll help you figure out how to optimize your career choices and get your dream job! 


Written by: Paula Rutledge


Legacy MedSearch has more than 35 years of combined experience recruiting in the medical device industry. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and ability to communicate quickly and honestly with all parties in the hiring process. Our clients include both blue-chip companies and innovative startups within the MedTech space. Over the past 17 years, we have built one of the strongest networks of device professionals ranging from sales, marketing, research & , quality & regulatory, project management, field service, and clinical affairs.

We offer a variety of different solutions for hiring managers depending on the scope and scale of each individual search. We craft a personalized solution for each client and position with a focus on attracting the best possible talent in the shortest possible time frame.

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