It is too easy to get trapped in a rut at work. We are often filled with curiosity and powered by the drive to succeed when we are starting a new career chapter. When you are making great strides, your likelihood of being promoted increases. However, as time passes, so does our tendency to be proud of ourselves and that gives us a reason to lower our standards–after all, you have already made it this far. Then, out of nowhere, you have been at it for God knows when, and you do not have a single clue how to get going once more.
If you feel as though you are in a stagnant position and do not know how to take your career to new heights, below are eight ways to help uncomplicate your situation:
1. Ask yourself what you desire.
One of the most common reasons one’s career cannot advance is that the person does not have a clear conscience about what he or she wants. If promotions are no longer motivating you and you begin to downgrade your standards, what you are currently doing is likely not what you desire anymore.
Settle in a peaceful environment and have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself where you want to see yourself in five years and not what you think you should be doing. At the same time, ignore the opinions and expectations others have about you. It is your life – thus, your choice.
Be mindful that just because you have to stick to a career does not mean you are glued to it till you retire for good. Find a job that you genuinely love and are passionate about, and the rest, such as promotions, pay raises and other company benefits, will take care of themselves for you.
2. Come up with a plan.
Once you have identified your career wants, you need to put together a plan to help you obtain them. It is helpful to have a list of both short- and long-term goals on hand. Love yourself by implementing a realistic timeline and then get to work seeking avenues to achieve these goals.
Do not underestimate the value of the feedback you have received in the past. They can pinpoint areas that you have struggled with and need improvement. Make addressing these shortcomings your short-term goal(s).
3. Have a chat with your employer.
Your go-to person when it comes to making a promotion plan is your employer. Whether or not it is time for you to receive an appraisal, ask your employer if you can have a meeting about this matter.
Once you are in that meeting, be sure to take notes of your employer’s points and ask them which areas you have improved and you need to work on further. A self-respecting employer will pinpoint your weaknesses and assist you in turning those weaknesses into strengths, rather than simply informing you that you are not doing well and then ending the meeting abruptly.
4. Keep an eye out for other jobs.
Sometimes, you have to look outside the box to see what opportunities are available out there. There is no harm in exploring the job market.
Perhaps you might come across a job listing from a company that operates in the same sector that aligns with your career goals. You may realise that the job you have right now is the only one you want to hold onto, and that motivates you to be better at it. Alternatively, you might spot something entirely different, and you would not mind giving it a shot.
Total loyalty to the company that employer is a marvellous thing that can take you places. However, if you are not satisfied with your current career position, do not let company loyalty deter you from jumping to the next ship. You only have one shot at life, after all.
5. Smarten up.
When we step foot into new territory, we tend to raise our guard shields and crank the knowledge dial to the max. Over time, however, as we get comfortable with this new territory, we let our guard down and our presentation slide.
Check yourself. Are you dressed professionally? Is your top wrinkle-free and tucked in? Are your leather shoes in tip-top shape? If the answer is negative, address it. Invest in a new set of working attire, and take care of your body and appearance. If you are working in a field that requires you to meet new clients periodically, then you should know that grooming yourself professionally is part of impression management.
You should observe how tidy and clean your work desk is. The way you manage your work desk indeed reflects your character, both professionally and personally. The importance of appearances at work and in life cannot be understated.
6. Returning to school.
When you have been in the corporate environment for some time, you will notice that things have changed so much since leaving grad school. Those lessons you were taught at school years ago are no longer applicable in today’s circumstances, and more and more young graduates are coming out with up-to-date skills and knowledge.
The most logical thing to do about this is to ensure that your education keeps up with today’s changes, either by taking up online courses or returning to formal education.
Even before you secure your first job, it is essential to network with the right people because they can take you to places no formal education can. In addition, networking with people from various fields opens a set of opportunities to tap into, should you ever want to hop from one industry to another. Not only that, networking is the best way to find jobs that are not listed anywhere or find them before they are publicly disclosed.
Also, keeping yourself socially active within the company is an excellent way to make people remember your name. Occasionally, the people that work tirelessly, keep themselves away from the spotlight and social aspects of their jobs are the ones that get ignored when it comes to promotions.
You do not need to be the core of the group to make yourself known. Showing up, having a discussion about work with your colleagues and manager are good enough.
8. Step forward.
What are the odds that your manager is aware that you are looking for a promotion? You may think the odds are high, but it may be the opposite. Many people are satisfied with their job and thus, do not wish to move outside their comfort zone. Do not just assume that management completely understands your needs and wants on day one if you have not informed them.
A good way to demonstrate this is to apply as soon as new job opportunities surface, even if they do not believe that you are suitable for the role you applied for. It is a sign, informing them that you want the job and will stop at nothing to succeed.
Final 2¢: You do not need to make radical changes.
Correcting your career pathway and inching forward does not need to be a miserable ordeal. If it is what you desire, a couple of small, significant changes is all you need to do. But if it is not what you want, always remember that you still have time to do something entirely different. I have mentioned it before in several previous articles, and I will mention it here again: you are on time. Recently, more people than ever are launching a new career in later stages of their lives, and many eventually rise to become incredibly successful.