Career

4 People Who Are Sneakily Bringing You Down in Your Career

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Joanne Poh

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Everybody wants to meet that mentor who’ll haul them up to the pinnacle of their career. But instead, you often find that the people around you hold you back instead, crushing your dreams when you try to strive for more, stealing credit from you in the workplace and making you feel like you should just settle for what you’ve already got.

Here are four people in your life who could be holding you back in your career.

 

1. Backstabbing colleagues

In an ideal world, you and your colleagues would be the perfect team, working hand-in-hand to ace all your projects, and high-fiving each other at the end of a job well done.

In reality, not everybody is lucky enough to have coworkers like that. Some people even find themselves mired in workplaces where office politics completely destroy productivity.

A 2016 report showed that workplace stress in Singapore was on the rise, with 52% of employees saying their stress levels had increased over the last 6 months. And 40% of the employees surveyed blamed office politics as a big stress source.

Backstabbing colleagues who tattle on you to your boss in order to make themselves look good and you, bad, who do not cooperate when you try to take time off from work, and who try to steal credit from you will only make you miserable and also stop you from doing your best work.

 

2. Bad bosses

There are many kinds of bad bosses in Singapore, but the absolute worst is the kind who is the boss of you, but has someone else who’s the boss of him—and is deathly afraid that he’ll look bad in front of his own boss.

The problem with these types of bosses is that they exist just to raise their own profile in front of their own bosses, which often happens to the detriment of their subordinates.

These are the bosses who will not hesitate to throw their subordinates under the bus for everything that goes wrong, yet claim credit for their successes.

They will promote their subordinates not based on who’s better at the work, but based on who makes them feel less threatened—usually, this means whoever is the best at sucking up.

Working for such bosses can seriously slow your career progress, especially if you’re not being recognised for your strengths. Unless you’re willing to do the necessary sucking up, you’re better off looking for another person to work under.

 

3. The kiasu parent

In their own minds, most Singaporean parents truly want the best for their kids. But problems arise when their ideas of success don’t mesh with those of their kids.

Baby boomers in Singapore grew up in a very different kind of world, and to them, stability and a healthy salary are the most important things in life. Millennials, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional career path, with 3 out of 4 aspiring to become their own boss.

If you are so demotivated it’s impossible for you to thrive in a conventional job, having a kiasu parent on your case will only hold you back from going all out for the kind of job you want.

Not saying there’s anything wrong with entering the kind of career every Singaporean parent wants their child to enter. But when parental expectations hold you back from finding career satisfaction and giving your 100% to a certain career path, that sucks.

 

4. The demotivating friend

Singaporeans love to complain about work, because misery loves company. Your bond with some of your friends is probably built entirely on the backs of stories of your horrible bosses.

Unfortunately, that friend who loves hearing you gripe about your boss might not be so happy for you when you finally get a promotion, find a company you love, make a fantastic career switch or start your own business.

When that happens, he or she might be less supportive than you would have hoped. Spend too much time with this person and you’ll find yourself losing your drive and doubting your abilities.

Do you have one of the above people in your life? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.