3 Career Mistakes You Will Definitely Regret 10 Years From Now

Jeff Cuellar



In Singapore, there are many paths to career success. A “silver tongue” can get you pretty far. So can a knack for political intrigue and skill at backstabbing – what I like to call the “Machiavellian” approach to advancement.

No, you don’t have to rely on deceit and manipulation or to get far in your career. Good old-fashioned hard work will pay off too – it just won’t pay off immediately of course. That’s why it takes a level of patience to succeed if you plan on advancing the “right” way.

Regardless of what path you take towards reaching career success, there are still several career mistakes that everyone will end up regretting down the road.

Here are 3 career decisions you’ll end up regretting 5 – 10 years from now:


#1 Choosing Salary over Career Growth

All of us want to reach the $10,000 a month mark as soon as possible. That’s the reality of living in ridiculously expensive country that has us running an ultra-competitive “rat race” for the sake of national productivity.

But if you want to hit that $10,000 a month mark you need to have the skills, experience, patience and a wide network of industry contacts to get there. That’s not to say you can’t get ahead by performing reasonably well and jumping from one high-paying job to the next – you can.

Unfortunately, the higher you rise, the more your lack of any of the above career requirements become increasingly apparent.

The reality is that rising too high, too fast can be detrimental to your career. That’s because you haven’t had the time to build career-enhancing relationships (mentors, industry leaders, etc.) or experience (experiencing failure is an especially effective growth accelerator).

If you choose salary over career growth, especially during your first 10 years as a professional, you might end up with a better paying job that’s just too much to handle with your current skill-set.

In such cases, you’ll either end up quitting because you just can’t handle the stress and responsibilities the job requires or you get let go – both of which will end up setting back your career.


#2 Not Building Your Network

It doesn’t matter whether you work at a Multinational Corporation (MNC) that has hundreds of employees or a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) with only 10 employees – networking is a necessity for career growth.

Think about this – how did you get your job? Did you land your job because you applied for the position the old-fashioned way or did someone you know vouch for you and get you an interview? If your buddy helped get you that job, that means your “network” played a big part in getting it.

You might think that “networking” only involves saying hello and talking about the weather with co-workers from other departments or exchanging your name card with people at company events or networking nights at your favourite bar.

But it isn’t – networking is about building relationships (and friendships) and opening your mind to new ways of thinking and working that’ll benefit your career down the road.

If you’re not sure how to expand your network, here are several ways to do it:

  • LinkedIn: Connect with other industry professionals and participate in industry-related group conversations to build your network and expertise.
  • Networking Event Sites: There are plenty of sites such as or that allow you to choose some fun events where you can meet professionals from a variety of industries.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering at a charity or non-for-profit organisation is a great way to build relationships with professionals in a variety of industries (and companies).
  • Join a Hobby/Interest Group: Do you like hiking, cooking or reading? Chances are you’ll probably find a group of people who share the same passions you do. You can try or even your own Community Centre (CC) to find a group you can join.

Who knows? You might even get your next career break from someone in your network when his/her company suddenly needs someone with your skills and expertise.


#3 Not Helping Your Co-Workers

I know – in Singapore, it’s too damn easy to get caught up in workplace politics, especially when some offices have a Game of Thrones “you win or you die” approach to getting raises and promotions.

In these workplaces, it’s too tempting to focus on your own success. But the reality is that your future success can just as easily be determined by the success of others as well – especially those co-workers you help.

Yes, you probably won’t receive any immediate gratitude or recognition from your boss or even the co-worker you helped. But that’s not the point – the point of helping your co-workers is to gain their support, which you’ll need as your career progresses.

So you see, whether your intention to help out your boss or co-workers is genuine or self-serving doesn’t matter. What does matter is that your decision to spend your time and energy to help them is all about making a career investment that’ll pay off down the road.

That career investment will eventually provide returns in the form of popular support from co-workers/supervisors, better evaluations and even more opportunities for training and advancement.


What are some other career mistakes you should definitely avoid? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!


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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.