Our careers are a significant part of our life. Sometimes they thrive and at other times they can get old or take a downturn. If you’re stagnant, there’s little opportunity for growth. Everything you do feels more like a burden instead of an achievement.
Feeling under-valued at work is dreadful. It’s demoralizing and mentally draining and that feeling can have far-reaching effects. If you’re not happy at work, nobody benefits – including those in your private life. It’s going to manifest in terms of your energy, production, enthusiasm, and happiness.
If you have these feelings, you’re not alone. Many people feel this way at some point in their career. Your challenge is to determine whether you’re in a dead-end job or if it’s a temporary situation that can be corrected.
We all like a paycheck. We like to live and we like to pay our bills. But our career should be more than a paycheck. You should feel like your contributions are making a difference.
So, free your mind for a second and ask yourself this question: If you are still doing the same thing three years from now, will that make you happy? If not, you need to take charge of your career. Here are six signs that something may be out of whack:
You’re Frequently Bored: Has your work become too predictable? Too mechanical? Are you doing the same thing each day with little change in routine? If your position feels stationary and you can’t see a way forward – one where you obtain new responsibilities, you’re stuck. If you don’t view your work as challenging or exciting, your enthusiasm will dull and you’ll risk producing work that is substandard.
You Haven’t Had a Change in Pay, Title, or Responsibilities for a While: Your skills are not being utilized effectively if your responsibilities haven’t changed in a few years. Have you found that your colleagues are getting better opportunities? Were the people hired after you promoted faster than you? If you haven’t had a personal work victory for a while and everything you do feels more like a burden instead of a triumph, something is lopsided.
You Don’t See a Path to Promotion: Does someone have to leave before you get promoted? Look for the signs in the leadership and in their tenure with the organization. If you can only move up if someone else leaves their position, what are the chances this will happen? That doesn’t mean that someone won’t make a quick exit from the company but how long are you willing to wait?
You’re Not Involved as Much as You Used to Be: Are your contributions still valued? Are you still invited to important discussions or meetings like the kind you used to attend? Are people listening to your voice and opinions? If you can no longer get time with the boss to discuss new projects or your boss has minimized the time you spend with each other, the company may not be interested in supporting your career. Out of sight, out of mind is not a good career strategy.
You’re Not Being Compensated Fairly: What’s the market value for your job with your experience level? Are you at least meeting that mark? Not getting paid what you’re worth feels terrible. It makes the workday seem never-ending and when payday comes around, it’s just another reminder that your hard work isn’t recognized.
Your company is not doing well: This doesn’t have anything to do with your personal achievements but company performance impacts your livelihood. Are profits stagnant or down? Do you see any sign of future growth? Pay attention to the signs so you know if it’s worth it to stick around or look for something else. Your goal is to never be blindsided in your career.
You own your career. You won’t always have a boss to keep a watchful eye out for you, so that responsibility falls to you. You must know when to make changes. That doesn’t always mean moving on. It may mean taking the time to speak with your boss about your next career moves. If you don’t see any improvement after that, you may have a decision to make.
Doing work you love and working for a company you enjoy is essential to your ability to thrive at work and thrive as a person. Staying in a job that causes you to be unhappy or suppresses your ability to reach your fullest potential may not be an option you want to accept.
Sometimes it makes more sense to work on improving your current circumstances but the key is that you must take on the responsibility for your job quality and your career success. You can’t blame the company for everything. Do an honest assessment and work where you know you can flourish.
Career ownership is a powerful tool. You are the only one who can make the best decision for the next stage of your career. You have to know if you are in an uphill battle for something that is beyond your span of control. No matter what you decide, if your potential isn’t recognized and the company isn’t willing to help you succeed, it’s time for some serious self-reflection about what comes next.
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]