Most people are likely to hit a point in their career where they feel they’re stuck in a rut. You may have taken a job thinking of it as a stepping stone, and found yourself still working it five years later. Perhaps you accepted an offer thinking you’d be doing one thing, and were given responsibilities that throw you out of your depth. Here are a few common reasons why people find themselves in career ruts…
Taking a Job for the Money
A job posting with a high salary attached to it can often be a siren’s song. It will lure you in because the salary is simply too high to resist, and then tether you to a role that will make you unhappy. When you’re fresh out of education, your career can seem like everything. However, as time goes on, you’ll start to pay more attention to your overarching life goals. As good as the pay may be, take a moment to think about how your job fits in with the other things you want in life. If a high-paying position is too much of a strain on your quality of life, start working on an exit plan, including a budget and timeline. This will set you up for a change in career that will give you more personal satisfaction.
Letting your Skills Go Out of Date
While a high-paying role isn’t always a good thing, being stuck in a low-paying one can be much worse. If your field has been moving feverishly forward, and your skills have gone out of date, remember that it’s never too late to update your resume. Talk to your boss about any possible opportunities for training and professional development. Alternatively, you can look into flexible, distance-learning options. This is a rapidly growing industry, and you can even find advanced opportunities like online MBA programs with no GMAT. Before you proactively pursue anything like this, however, you should do some research into the career path you want to carve out, and what you need to get there. Set some time aside for drawing up a plan, which will allow you to say in complete certainty: “If I accomplish this, I’ll be able to do that.”
Getting Too Comfortable
One of the biggest challenges about staying in a job for several years is that, when it comes time to look for the next step, employers may look at your resume and think that your career has stalled. Career management and progression are the same as managing any other part of your life. You always need to be learning and developing your existing skills, keeping current and up-to-date on technology, and keeping a finger on the industry’s pulse. A big part of this is knowing how to sell yourself. Have you been required to wear many hats in your current job? Have you seen the company through major challenges and organisational changes? When you’ve been at a job for several years, it’s essential to be clear on your personal brand, and what you bring to the table that others can’t.