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5 Ways that Negativity Can Harm Your Career

By Debra Wheatman

Career building extends beyond training, resume writing, and performing your job. Your attitude has a tremendous impact on how you are perceived by others. If you have a pattern of negativity, this can harm your career. They also make job search more difficult and stressful.

The following are five examples of how negativity may be a barrier to your career success.

1. Negative Thoughts

Negative, self-defeating thoughts can tear down your confidence. These thoughts can be barriers to your success whether you are in a meeting at work, a networking meeting, a job interview, or polishing your LinkedIn Profile.

Examples of self-defeating thoughts are:

  • "There are stronger candidates than me…"
  • "Nobody wants to hear my ideas…"
  • "I don’t have what it takes…"
  • "Nobody will hire me at this age..."

If you cared about a family member or friend, would you frequently tell them that they are destined to fail? Not likely.

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A caring person reminds a friend of their strengths and encourages the friend to reach new heights.

Stop being your own worst enemy.

Instead, treat yourself as a good friend. Nurture that friendship with supportive thoughts and dismiss internal self-defeating messages.

Read Boomer Job Search Affirmations to change those negative thoughts into more positive ones that will give you a better mindset and help you to succeed.

2. Constant Comparison with Others

No matter where you go in your professional or personal life, there will always be someone more skilled than you at a particular activity or more knowledgeable than you on a particular subject.

It is good to hold someone as a role model and aspire to emulate them. However, constantly telling yourself that you are inferior can lead to stress and jealousy.

A more positive approach is to learn from others’ successes as a way to increase your skills and knowledge. Also, take time to recognize your strengths and be open to sharing your knowledge to mentor others who may be seeking to expand their knowledge.

3. Focusing on a Past Failure

Improving skills and performance sometimes come from learning from past mistakes. However, dwelling on mistakes is harmful to future success. When you are focused on a past failure, you may fail to see bright new opportunities ahead.

You can’t change the past. Learn from your mistake and move ahead to do better in the future. Consider what you would do next time. If you are lack skills, spend your time building those skills rather than wallowing in self-pity.

4. Forming Negative Assumptions

Jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst in a situation can lead to poor decision-making. Making negative assumptions can be habit forming to the point where the negative assumption is automatic.

If your outward perception is pervasively negative, that is how others will perceive you. This can harm your relationships and your career.

5. Behaving Like a Victim

If we continuously blame setbacks on another, we are not fully examining the situation and taking responsibility.

Everyone experiences things that can be challenging: bad luck, disadvantages, physical issues, family issues, and the list goes on. The difference is that a negative person can’t move ahead to success and happiness, if they choose to remain a victim of their perceived circumstances.

Taking the role of victim can reduce one’s power to succeed at work and in personal relationships.

The Bottom Line

You have the choice of how to behave and react in each moment. Choose to be positive, self-affirming, and responsible. This will support success in your career as well as your personal life.

More Information About Winning a Tough Job Search:


About the author...

Debra Wheatman is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). She is globally recognized as an expert in advanced career search techniques with more than 18 years' corporate human resource experience. Debra has been featured on Fox Business News, WNYW with Brian Lehrer, and quoted in leading publications, including Forbes.com, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. Debra may be reached at debra@careersdonewrite.com, or you may visit her website at CareersDoneWrite.com. You can also circle her on Google+.