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Signs of Career Derailment: Tips to Turn it Around


When you start working, you always set your expectations higher. The higher the expectations, the better you perform. As when you start climbing up and get the taste of your success, in comes the fear of slipping from the ladder and falling down. The fear is to start all over again. As the fear creeps in, your confidence goes down, and so does your focus.

Signs of Career Derailment

Top 21 Danger Signs of Derailment in Your Career:

1. Have you defined your goals to reach your destination?

Every aspiring educated person, who strives to be successful, has to have personal goals. Whether those goals match with company or not, should not be ignored. If you are not able to fulfill what you want with the help of what the company wants then you will never reach your destination. You would not be happy with what you are doing and hence, not giving your hundred percent. If you are not helping your company to grow, the company will also not allow you to grow.

2. Are you evolving with upcoming times?

Another aspect that you need to focus on is to see whether you have the capability to evolve with new technology. It is important to have an attitude of a college student who is ready and eager to learn something new. Whether you are student or a professional, with changing times comes new technology and you need to have the thirst for learning it. You should have inbuilt tendencies to learn and implement the new technology in your company. Organizations prefer employees who have the thirst to learn new things and hence keep up-to-date with the market requirements.

3. What do you mean by career derailment?

Career derailment is nothing but deviating from your goal. You are an achiever and have tasted success but for some reason your performance is not up to the mark, and slowly you are losing your focus. Are you receiving lot of negative feedback from your superiors? Has your productivity decreased or your promotion stopped? You are on a path of career derailment.

4. What does leadership career derailment do to the company?

Leader is the captain of the ship who decides the path of the journey. If the leader does not possess leadership characteristics and is not clear on where he wants to go, then the organization too is unclear and on the path of derailment. Your team is your organization, and is looking up to you as a leader to guide them through the sea. If you are unable to focus on what you want then how are you going to focus on what your team wants? There will be an increased number of employee turnovers, causing losses for your organization.

5. Sign 1: Are you having too many disagreements with the Higher Management:

Higher Management drives the company and is the boss. You need to acknowledge their vision of growth rather than being on the wrong side. Are you standing against them? Are you giving them the feeling of – whether he or she is working with us or against us? You can’t go far, if your top management is not happy with you.

6. Sign 2: Are you building teams effectively?

Workplace is all about teamwork and not an individual result-oriented work. You must attend team building activities in your organization with a motive to join hands together and help the company to grow. Are you staying isolated from the team and do not have any interaction? Your success is not only yours, but that of a team. Remind yourself that you need to shine within your team to get noticed and grow within the organization.

7. Sign 3: Are you having issues with commitments?

Your work is based on your commitment. If you are not able to follow up on your work and stick to your commitment then, you are digging a hole for yourself. This will portray that you are not serious about your work and hence, create negative feedback for you. You get results when you are committed. If you are not committed then there will be no result and you would be a weak resource for your company.

8. Sign 4: Are you facing issues in transforming yourself from technical to strategic position?

If you are a technical professional, then you would know what we are talking about. You have reached your prime position in the technical department and there is now no room to grow. Are you able to mould yourself into a strategic position to grow further up in the organization? If you are not able to adapt and change then once you reach a stagnant place in your career then you will have no other place to go. Learn to mould yourself to grow up in the organization.

9. Sign 5: Are you looking for favours and do not trust your hard work?

Are you looking for favours to reach up high in your career? Do you think that this will go on forever? Favours do not go for a long way; if your boss gets replaced then your favours also vanish into thin air. Always remember, you need to depend on your hard work rather than on something else. There is no short cut to success other than hardwork.

10. Sign 6: Do you believe that your word is the FINAL word?

Every meeting you host, your ears are closed. You do not register what your team is saying. Their views are ignored. If they are firm on putting their ideas across, you threaten to make sure that your word is the FINAL word. Threatening starts off with sentences like “If you don’t then…” or “You’d better or…..”

11. Sign 7: In-depth knowledge of the function:

Do you have a complete insight of what you are handling or have you taken up the job “Just like that”? It is important to have an expertise of the job that you have accepted, firming the path of your success. Lack of knowledge will lead to your downfall due to lack of result. Lack of result will lead to negative feedback and hence, a bad name in the organization. One of the signs to get your own career derailed is to accept whatever comes your way without thinking about “How are you going to perform?”

12. There is a need to look for mistakes that lead to Career derailment:

Above are some signs that you can look for to warn yourself of career derailments. But if you are facing such signs that mean that you have committed mistakes that have led to towards career derailment. If it is important to know what the signs of career derailment are then it is equally important to be aware of the mistakes that you can do to take the path.

Let us now discuss on the mistakes that one can commit in workplace to cause issues in your career.

13. Mistake 1: Are you not capable of taking negative feedback?

Are you an over-critique and get upset on every failure of yours? If you are successful in whatever you do then even a small failure will cause a setback for you. Every account that you lose or every idea that is not accepted will put your morale down. Disappointments will lead to less productivity and confidence. Less productivity will lead to lack of commitment and hence the path of career derailment.

14. Mistake 2: Are you having issues in selling yourself?

There is competition in workplace, it is important that you know how to promote yourself. You need to highlight your success, make sure that your seniors know about your good work. Share the good feedback of your clients with your seniors to make sure that your commitment gets noticed. Don’t let your work and success go unnoticed, as there are many in the sea who would grab the opportunity of rising. Self promotion is a knack that you need to master to grow well.

15. Mistake 3: Are you a self-centric person?

Don’t think about ME as in workplace, there is no place for ME but for WE. You need to pay attention to the success of the project that you have undertaken. The project is taken care by the team that you are heading or working with and hence, it is important that you focus on the team success. You need to work for the growth of the company which means growth of your team.

16. Mistake 4: Are you not asking for feedback?

The yearly appraisals that take place in the company are more focussed on the recent events rather than the work that you have done for the whole year. We all are humans and tend to remember the current events better than the past. As an apraisee you need to make sure that your entire work progress is discussed and rated. If required send out a separate communication, defining what you have done and achieved for the year. Access yourself better for your appraiser.

17. Mistake 5: Have you decided on joining or joined a loosely structured Company:

Have you joined a company where there are no processes defined, thinking that you can take advantage of it? Well open your eyes, it will be harder to prove your worth in a company with no or loose structure. You cannot challenge them as there is no company process to define your stand. Your morale will be low, if your work is not recognised and you do not get your share of success. You will go on a path of derailment.

18. Mistake 6: Have you accepted a position with responsibility but no authority?

Suppose the company has promoted you to develop a product based on customer requirements but not given the right to meet the customer, then how do you get your work done? You would need to run around shouting your issues out loud with a fear of not being heard. Your dependency would increase thus impacting your deadlines. You would not be able to fulfil your commitment hence, creating issues for yourself. You are about to get derailed!

19. You need to identify your signs early:

You need to identify the symptoms early to get cured faster before it harms your body. Doctor can only help, if you visit him at the right time for an early check up and diagnosis. Similarly, you need to be aware of the career derailment phenomenon that occurs once your reach the peak of your career. Sense yourself whether you have moved away from your goals, take a break and set yourself on the right path. You can self-coach yourself to get out of this negative situation and be on the path of success again!

20. Align your goals with that of the company:

It is important that you align yourself with the company to help each other grow. You need to have a jovial environment and the job that you want rather than what company wants. Do not demote yourself by accepting anything that comes your way. Make sure that you and your company are working together and helping each other to grow, think about yourself and your goals!

21. Everyone in the company is Dispensable:

Just because, you have been doing well for quite some time, does not give you the right to be arrogant and take the success only in your stride. If you are feeling that only because of you, the organization is doing well then you are on the path that is going to take you down. Are you getting the feeling that you are indispensable for the company? You would be surprised on how many deserving people are out there who would pounce on your job. Everyone and anyone in the company can be replaced anytime.

Career derailment can happen at any time of the career, early or late, there is no timing for it to create crack in your career. It is only you who can identify that your career is getting infected and needs a cure. Early diagnosis of career derailment will help you to retain your job and transform your attitude back to success. It is a common phenomenon with professionals who have tasted success early and at a faster rate. Learn to adapt and transform to make sure that you have knowledge and talent to give to your organization.