Career Goals: How to Avoid Promotion Killing CLM

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When you’re thinking about career goals, things like landing a job interview, advancement, a promotion, a dream job, changing jobs, or a substantial raise during your performance review, have you ever considered, CLM?

What’s CLM? CLM stands for career-limiting moves. 

Career limiting moves is a phrase that I have recently heard for the first time. Being in the workforce, for over 25+ years with professional goals for myself, CLM is a concept I am certainly familiar with and have witnessed a few times at the company Christmas party. 

I just never knew there was a catchphrase to sum them up collectively. Career-limiting moves are different from your common mistakes, like replying to all in an e-mail meant for a single co-worker or taking too long to get information together for your boss when they need it right away. Although those examples could have a high impact on your future, they just don’t have the sting like a career-limiting move.

To keep your career goals clear and opportunities wide open, let’s review some of the career-limiting moves to avoid.


These seven CLMs are sure to derail your career and any career goals or personal goals you have set for yourself, and they should be avoided at all costs.

Tardiness – Consistently being late to work, meetings, calls, etc. This just shows you lack of time management, organization skills, and lack of respect for others.

Time off – Calling out sick often, especially on Fridays or Mondays, and extending your weekend or calling out the day before, a vacation. Sure we all do get sick or need a mental health day once in a while, but be aware of the company workload and who else has off in your department. Calling out on the wrong day may have a ripple effect for years to come.

Gossip / Complaining – No one likes the toxic employee, the constant complainer who is never happy, and makes everyone else around them unhappy. The guy or girl who always present problems, and never offers solutions. If your job is so bad, you might want to find another place to work. Be sure to stay away from office gossip about co-workers, managers, etc. This will only get you into trouble and draw the anger of co-workers. Like your mom always said if you don’t have anything nice to say……

Not taking part in Social functions – Here’s your opportunity to rub elbows with your boss and co-workers over a few drinks or appetizers to establish some common ground and get to know them outside of the office. Please, whatever you do, don’t get drunk.

Social Media – Using them at work when you should be completing tasks or using it to post company news or gossip about your co-workers. This will only land you on the unemployment line.

Level of Activity / Engagement –  being a wallflower is not the way to get noticed, don’t be afraid to take on the extra work and show you are capable of bigger and better things.

Inappropriate Use of Company Property – Don’t ever surf the internet for porn, or take office supplies home for personal use. These two will undoubtedly have you looking for a new job, and might even have the authorities called.

I’m sure there are other career-limiting moves to add the list, but these are the common ones I’ve experienced over the years.

Seeking Career Opportunities

As my three children have become old enough to begin looking for part-time career opportunities, we have talked about having career goals and how to avoid these mistakes. 

Often employers will ask you about your short term and long term career goals. Have you ever been asked the interview question where do you see yourself in five years?

As a young adult working in retail, fast food, or fast-casual restaurants, the best thing you can do is show up, be on-time, have communication skills, and be prepared to work.

It doesn’t take a significant skill or having specific goals set to impress a hiring manager in any of these careers — unfortunately, many of these types of employment deal with the wrath of the young adult. 

All three of my children have witnessed their co-workers, not showing up for work without calling in, consistently be late, or just never coming back after their last shift.

I understand for most people, these types of positions will not turn in a life long career, but it’s never a good idea to burn a bridge. You never know when or how you might cross paths with a former supervisor or manager. 

Final Thoughts Career Goals

These are just some of my observations in the workplace over the last 25 years. Ten of which have been in a leadership role. Obviously, social media was not predominant ten years ago, but today it can be a big issue. I’m sure the workplace we evolve further over time as technology continues to advance, and the younger workforce which has grown up on social media enters it.

Consider the gig economy, too, growth of the freelancer, and the remote employee. All will offer new challenges and new career-limiting moves. Good luck out there. If you want a long career, it’s best to avoid career-limiting moves at all costs.

What career-limiting moves do you think are most hurtful a career and your career goals? Have you ever made a career-limiting move, that affected your job? What career advice would you offer to some who committed a CLM?

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6 thoughts on “Career Goals: How to Avoid Promotion Killing CLM”

  1. Great list here! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen co-workers on facebook while they should be working. Also, we just had a manager that wouldn’t stop complaining about her job to fellow managers…demoted! Great post thanks!

  2. Oh yes, most of these will curtail your career progress pretty fast, especially doing just the minimum…it might not get you fired but then it doesn’t make you stand out as well. In managing a career, I think you should do all you can to deliver value, get noticed and create a great reputation as someone who delivers.
    Another thing, one shouldn’t confuse actions and results, you might be doing a lot, but if you aint delivering, your career goose is cooked!

  3. I think it’s funny, in a bad way, how so much of this can creep up on you. I really hate my current job and would say I’m guilty of 75% of these at times. In previous jobs, where I didn’t just want to curl up in a ball and die when I walked through the door, I never would’ve done any of these things.

    So I think another rubric is to be aware that if all the CLM have crept up on you, it’s really time to find a new place to work. :O/

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