career mistakes

5 Career Mistakes Men Make

I was making lunch when my son turned to me and asked, “Dad, does a career in history make a lot of money?” While I explained that I hadn’t explored all of the careers involved in the subject of history, the only job I could think of was teaching. And unfortunately, teachers don’t make a lot of money. I told him he’d probably have to write a best-selling book to make a good amount of money. He was disappointed and added, “None of the things I’m interested in are money makers.”

That’s when I explained to him that perhaps money isn’t the best determining factor when thinking about a career. It’s definitely a factor to consider, but it’s not the most important. Unfortunately, many people choose a career based on salary only to find out that they’re miserable doing what they chose. Avoiding mistakes like that can lead to a place where our talents and passions align. Here are 5 career mistakes men make.

A person who maintains good relationships will go far in life.

1. They burn bridges.

A person who maintains good relationships will go far in life. Too often, people will be shortsighted and let anger, bitterness, and jealousy control their thoughts and words. These confrontations and outbursts have a lasting impact on our relationships and eventually lead to a reputation. When people are called upon to speak about our character and temperance, what will they say? We must be self-controlled when we are tempted to do or say something that will burn bridges. When we step out of line, we need to work to make it right and as 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, keep loving another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

2. They expect failure instead of success.

Louis Zamperini, whose life story was the subject of the book Unbroken, spent over 40 days in a raft in the Pacific Ocean after being shot down in World War II. In that raft were two other men. One of the men spoke often about dying. It’s what he was expecting and it unfortunately became a self-fulfilling prophecy. He was the only person in the raft who perished. Expecting failure is one of those career mistakes that lowers our energy, drive, and perseverance. Failure isn’t the worst thing in the world. We can learn a lot from it, sometimes even more than from succeeding. But when we search for failure, we find it.

3. They stop.

Enough failure will make a person want to stop trying. Sometimes it takes a long time for us to find our place or we need to learn through struggle and failure. But we can’t give up. We can’t stop going or lose hope. Publishers rejected Dr. Seuss 27 times before accepting his work. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t have a breakthrough role in a movie until he was in his 40s. And if you looked at my resume, you would see a lot of struggle, lack of direction, and failure. The point is you have a lot to offer even if you haven’t found your place yet. Don’t stop moving toward it.

4. They pursue money and prestige over passion.

There is nothing wrong with being wealthy or reaching a level of prestige. Money is important. There are times when, in order to provide, we need to work a job we don’t enjoy. But even in those situations, the driving force is passion for your family and their needs. However, when wealth and prestige become our motivation, we’ll never have enough to be filled. It’ll be a never-ending chase. Proverbs 23:4 says not to “wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”

5. They allow their career to define them.

When we define ourselves based on our careers, then we’re only as good as our jobs. If we’re doing something significant, perhaps being paid a lot of money, then we are significant. But what happens when we leave that job? Does our identity disappear or our value drop? We aren’t defined by what we do—we are defined by who made us. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s handiwork.” That is true no matter what we do in our careers. Remember that.

Sound off: What are some other career mistakes men make?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think you would like to do when you grow up?”