Stagnating in a career is actually worse than hating your job! At least when you dislike your job, you will do something about it. When your career is stagnant, you may not realize it immediately. Somewhere along that road, it will suddenly dawn on you just how frustrated you are with your job, and that it is not taking you anywhere.
It is often the lack of real engagement that traps you in a role or a career with no real future. If you don’t want to regret it later, it is important to identify the warning signs. You want to be able to change gears and shift career paths. Here are 5 signs your career is stagnant:
Sign 1: Boredom at work
Do you struggle to get out of bed every morning? Has your motivation level dropped to zero? Do you always find yourself counting down to the end of the day? It is normal to have bouts of boredom at work, but if your job does not drive you, if you have no desire to learn anything new, you feel you’ve been doing the same kind of mundane work for too long, and you don’t go beyond your job responsibilities, it might be a sign of stagnation.
What you can do
A skillful and talented professional is always in demand! So, identify the issues you have with your job. Pin down why you’re bored and find ways to overcome them. Constantly update yourself about the trends in the job market, and acquire the skills recruiters are looking for. Find ways to make your job interesting again, and you will never experience the Monday blues ever again!
Continuous learning is essential for progress. However, if your current job does not offer any scope for learning or growth, it is safe to say that your chances of growth are slim. If you find yourself doing the same things you were when you first began working on the job, you might be outdated. This is a trap -you will not be valuable to other organizations without new skills and you may run out of options in your current workplace too.
What you can do
Employers constantly seek employees who are self-driven, and who can learn and grow with the organization. With the job market always so demanding, only skilled professionals who can augment their skills and capabilities through constant self-learning can scale their careers. So, take matters into your own hands. Make sure you’re constantly learning: about market trends, job requirements, skills, and ways to advance in your career.
Have you been in your current position for a couple of years – with no promotion? Are you still earning what you used to a few years ago? Or, have you barely seen an increase in salary over time despite all your hard work and commitment? If so, it’s very likely that no promotion or salary raise will ever come your way. This is a double hit -to your current income and to your chances of demanding a higher salary when a change does come about.
What you can do
Find the root of the problem: Does your company simply lack the cash? Does your manager not value you? Are your skills outdated? If you’ve stayed in the same role for far too long, your company may be keeping you there because no one believes that you can do anymore. Identify why your efforts aren’t drawing credit? Find out the benchmark salaries in similar roles, update your skills and ask to get that raise or promotion that you deserve.
People are hired because they bring a specific skill set to the organization. However, if you realize after a few years that you’ve not actually used any of those skills in your job, it is sure to diminish your drive and create frustration at work. Being in a job for too long, all the while feeling that you’re delivering less value than you could. That, and experiencing no change in how your skills are being put to use, is a clear sign of career stagnation.
What you can do
Understand what your job requires and see how you can use your skills to improve your throughput. See if there’s a different role or a different department that is a better fit for you. Assess if you can change the course of your stagnant career by acquiring new skills. Or, ask for a larger role. Take the initiative and build a project on your own and showcase that as an example of the greater value that you can deliver. Who knows, your self-improvement drive could force your organization to respond positively to your needs, and offer you a chance for career advancement.
Do you feel you have what it takes to do your job well, but still haven’t grown within the organization? Is everybody around you also doing more or less what they were years ago? Does it seem like you’re stuck in a little bit of a time warp? These are all telltale signs of career stagnation. It’s a lonely feeling and often sends you scouting for ways to get your career back on track, without knowing exactly what you’re looking for.
What you can do
If the organization you’re with does not provide opportunities for growth, maybe its time for you to volunteer yourself to take the lead. Look for areas where you can truly make a valuable contribution. Evaluate if acquiring a new skill can do the trick. Build a portfolio and then see if other recruiters in the job market notice your talent? Whatever the option, swim with the tide, look for chances to rise, grab the opportunities as they emerge, and accelerate the rise of your career graph.
Most people start their career with the hope of a bright future. They want to be recognized for the efforts they put in and to climb the career ladder. But if after a few years the view around you is still what it was when you started, know that it is because your career has stagnated. The earlier you come to terms with that, the easier it will be to make a change.
Remember, if you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your current job, or that your career has stalled, just setting out to find a new job is not the answer. It is important to first identify the causes of the stagnation and to find ways to fix them. Continuously developing your skills and embracing opportunities for growth will motivate you at work – and get you the promotion and salary hike you deserve. This will also help you stay relevant and attractive in today’s fast-paced job market. Skills once augmented and polished will help truly shine.