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What are some of the biggest mistakes you can make in your career?

The answer to that question is crucial, as a significant error can potentially slow your rise or even force you to scramble for a new job. Business Insider has an interview with Chris Williams, former VP of HR at Microsoft, who suggests that the following mistakes can seriously derail you:

  • Threatening to quit the company
  • Asking for a raise
  • Not making your boss an ally
  • Staying at a company that’s given you a PIP

PIPs (performance improvement plans) give employees a very limited amount of time (30 days in some cases) to start meeting performance goals. While it’s certainly possible to survive a PIP, it may prove so damaging to your reputation that you’re better off finding a new position somewhere else.

The Nuances of Getting a Raise

"Threatening to quit the company" and “Not making your boss an ally” are self-explanatory, but it’s worth digging a bit into “Asking for a raise.” After all, aren’t you supposed to ask for salary increases and other perks? It’s not quite so simple: your manager is more likely to push for your raise with their higher-ups if you can show how much you benefit the company in the long run.

As we broke down earlier this year, it’s critical to follow a series of steps before sitting down with your manager and team for any kind of boost in cash or benefits:

  • Don’t limit yourself; there are few wrong moments to kick off a salary discussion.
  • Use data to analyze the “market rate” for your role, which will give you a better idea of an appropriate raise.
  • Put your request in writing before any meeting; use that document to outline your value to the organization.
  • Don’t start with an extreme amount; always aim for what’s appropriate.
  • Focus on your value and worth to the company, not your personal reasons for a raise.

According to Dice’s Ultimate Guide to a Successful Tech Career, your approach to negotiations will differ depending on whether you’re angling for a raise at your current company or haggling over salary at your new one. Show your value, stay flexible, and remember you can also negotiate for things beyond salary, such as a flexible schedule or increased benefits.