You did it! You landed your dream job. You’re making great money with incredible benefits AND you feel challenged on a daily basis. Life is but a dream!
Fast-forward two years and that once comfortable sense of home has been replaced by a stagnant sense of complacency. Once we finally realize we’re stuck in dead-end jobs that no longer push us to grow and challenge us, a creeping feeling of hopelessness can set in. If you are currently stuck in such a situation, here are some helpful tips for restarting a stalled career.
1. Keep learning
Very often, we think that learning stops after graduation and all-nighters in the library. As we get older, instead of making learning a priority, we get stuck circling familiar patterns that stop us from expanding our knowledge base and skill set. Additionally, the blinders we wear at work stop us from recognizing and leveraging the many learning tools we can access on a daily basis.
Taking advantage of these opportunities at your current workplace is as easy as reaching out to your HR department or asking individuals for guidance to refine your search. Whether it’s increasing your knowledge of a certain industry through a client, or picking your manager’s brain, learning is the key to discovering where new passions exist the can restart your stalled career.
2. Acquire new skills
In a fast-paced job market, the ability to absorb key skills can be the biggest difference between those who advance their careers and those who remain stagnant. Make it a point to continue mastering new skills throughout your career and no day in the workplace will be wasted.
Whether it’s receiving a certification, learning a new computer program or acquiring an industry-related ability, the more you can offer an employer, the more likely you are to find consistent career advancement. Additionally, new skills will increase your value if it’s time to look for a new career all together.
Keep stagnation and complacency at bay by constantly challenging yourself to do more. Raise your hand when an opportunity presents itself, even if at first it sounds daunting. Many of us don’t grow in our careers because we fail to take a chance that could pay enormous dividends for our personal growth as individuals, as well as employees.
4. Ask for opportunities
Fact: No one is going to take control of your career for you. You are the master of your destiny and need to take the reigns instead of waiting for great opportunity to present itself from above your paygrade. Advancing in your career means being confident when you are ready for a change, willing to ask for the opportunity and capable of meeting the challenge.
Feeling stuck in your position day after day means it may be time to ask for some kind of advancement. This may mean asking for a raise, a promotion or a rotation from your supervisor in a private meeting.
5. Assess your current situation periodically
Recognizing stagnation in your career requires periodic assessment of where you stand professionally and where you would like to see yourself in the future. When was the last time you got a promotion or raise? Have you been at the same job for more than two years? Have your responsibilities changed in any way, or are you doing the exact same work?
Take the time to regularly assess your professional standing. Check in with yourself to see if you feel fulfilled in your work or if you’re just going through the motions.
6. Make a lateral move
A lateral move can do wonders for your career engagement without committing you to a major risk. Consider positions that may be equivalent to yours, but allow you to grow and advance. Next, reach out to coworkers in this desired department to find out what a day in the life looks like, and decide if the move makes sense.
7. Know when to leave
Restarting a stalled career may mean you need to leave where you are. This is a hard pill to swallow, but in most cases the “hurry up and wait” runaround from HR departments quickly loses its novelty. Whether there aren’t opportunities to get promoted at your current company or you’ve reached the ceiling in a specific department, sometimes leaving is the only solution to advance your career.
These decisions do not (and should not) come lightly to any employee contemplating a major career change, but sometimes restarting a stalled career is necessary to reach the next level of self-evolution.
What would you add to the list?
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