17 Warnings Signs That Your Career Has Stalled
We’ve all experienced that moment in our professional lives when we started our jobs full of enthusiasm and hoped that eventually we would work our way up the ladder to develop new skills, get better opportunities, compensations, and perks, only to realize that nothing has changed.
Some workers don’t mind that and like things to be just the way they are and working with the colleagues and bosses that they’ve known for years. But as human beings, we have unlimited wants and according to the law of diminishing returns, our interest in doing something over and over will gradually decline until there’s nothing left. So in regards to that, you’d naturally want more out of life.
If you’re the kind of employee that puts in all of their hours along with additional contributions hoping for a change and aren’t getting it, then that is a sure sign that your career is at a standstill.
In fact, we’ve made a list of all the warning signs indicating that your growth in the office has been stunted and presented ways how you can prevent them from doing so.
1. YOUR JOB ISN’T CHALLENGING ENOUGH
According to an urban legend, so to speak, employees are only happiest when they’re being bestowed challenges equating to their skill levels. And when the levels to those challenges drop, so do the interest of the employees.
Rona Borre, who is both the founder and CEO of Instant Alliance, which is a Chicago-based staffing agency, says that you’ll know that your career is beginning to wane when the requirements of your job don’t put your skills to the test.
Borre says that the cure to this dilemma is to hunt for opportunities that challenge your abilities. This can either be in the form of attending online classes after office hours, taking up and contributing additional responsibilities or volunteering to work on an external project.
2. YOUR SKILLS ARE TOO STANDARD
Given the age that we live in and how computers are omnipresent in just about any field out there, listing “Microsoft Office” as a skill on your resume is just dipping-into-the cookie-jar-kind of tactic that even a child can pull off. And if you’re applying for a tech company while doing this, you can forget about ever getting on board, much less ask for a promotion.
What you would want to do instead is list only the most advanced and specialized jobs that help you stand out from the generic group of potential candidates. Get busy probing job listings that require particular skills that are in line with yours and list as many of those as you can on your resume.
3. YOUR BOSS IS HOLDING BACK ON THEIR PROMISE
Nothing is more beguiling and damaging to an employee’s morale than knowing that the promotion your employer promised you of after reaching a certain target, was no longer being offered.
If this isn’t a certain sign that you’re being held back – like career coach April Klimkiewicz, owner of Bliss Evolution, says – we don’t know what else is.
April emphasizes that the perfect example of this is when a company tells you that they are watching your amazing performance in an important project and that they have a promotion waiting for you upon its completion.
After completing the project, you are told by many that it was great and that there are numerous positive changes ahead for the company just based on your performance. Everything seems to be going your way just fine and you are excited about your promotion until you are told that no one said anything about a promotion.
After hearing about that, you feel slightly betrayed but still a bit optimistic knowing that it might take time for the organization to arrange your compensation. So you wait a bit longer only to have much more time pass you by.
At this point, your suspicions and doubts about the company taking advantage of you start escalating further, so you set up a time to speak with your employer to get to the bottom of this problem.
If your bosses continue to push the promotion back after contributing more of your services to them or just refused to promote you, it may as well be time for you to look for an alternative company who not only value your skills and services but also deliver their promises right there and then.
4. YOU’RE NO LONGER GROWING
It’s one thing to know that your bosses are dragging your skills along the way without rewarding you for it, but if you’re not growing simply because you’re not making an effort to expand your repertoire with new skills and expertise, then you have no one to blame for that except yourself.
You can’t expect to say that you’re being held back if you’re not making an effort to show your company that you can handle other responsibilities.
So to fix this, make time to look into the skills that are needed in the job that you really want and start learning and practicing them.
Whether it involves reading books, attending conferences, taking up online courses or tutorials, it will be more beneficial for you in the long run, especially if you can persuade your company with your new skills.
5. YOU’RE NO LONGER GETTING HIGH-PROFILE TASKS AS YOU ONCE DID
Remember the time your supervisors used to offer you a cut of the bigger projects and now they don’t?
If you don’t know about it know, you may eventually come to realize that you’re slowly losing the opportunities you were promised and that your colleagues are the ones who are making the cut. And when that happens, you’ll know for a fact that you’re going nowhere in the proverbial corporate ladder.
Laura Small, who operates the Santa Monica-based ad agency RPA, says that your supervisor may assume that you’re already working at a very high level and if you aren’t getting high-profile assignments, it may be because you’re not where you need to be.
So instead, you should start coming up with your own reach projects as Laura suggests. By coming up with something that is of value to the company, you will not only showcase what you can do with your current skill set but also what you capable of accomplishing in the future.
6. YOU’RE DEALING WITH BLOCKERS
There are times when you have to deal with people who are just too stubborn to acknowledge the work you do for them and which you may have little or no control over.
The blocker could be your boss, and if they’re not willing to change, don’t expect any change for yourself either. Sometimes, the blocker can also be the founder or CEO.
Whatever the case may be, the point is to identify these blockers and contemplate whether you wish to stay put and wait for them to be removed (if possible), or just take your ball and look for other places and opportunities where your growth isn’t hitting a plateau.
7. THE INDUSTRY IS THE PROBLEM
In some circumstances, employees have no responsibility or control of their careers being stalled. A common example of this is when an industry is going through a stagnant season, or perhaps, it is experiencing a steep decline.
When it comes to situations such as these, your options are pretty much limited, says Alex Robinson, general manager of Team Building Hero. Robinson elaborates that certain businesses hit their peak when the market is small or that it’s already saturated with competition.
And when this happens, the company is incapable of growing itself, or more specifically, providing employees with growth opportunities.
At this point, you have two options: you can either stay and become the beacon of hope for your company or seek out a faster-growing company, even if it could be in another industry.
8. YOU DO NOT REFLECT THE COMPANY CULTURE
There may be times when you’re career can’t get past the roadblock because you’re incompatible with the culture of the company you’re in. It could be that you’re either too laid back (or not enough) to fit in with a company.
Or maybe you don’t acknowledge the wrong in constructive criticism and the rest are all just nonsensical yes men.
The only obvious course of action with a company like that is to look for another whose culture doesn’t mind your character or traits. It may also be that you don’t fit in at work because you’re just not happy there at all.
9. YOUR TEAM ISN’T WORKING TOGETHER TO MEET THEIR GOALS
John Hillen, co-author of What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself as a Leader Before Your Business Outruns You, says that after a team’s successful accomplishment, they begin to act like freelancers who are only concerned with their own departments and don’t agree on priorities or strategies.
John goes on to say that the single most critical factor in a high-performing team’s success involves having a shared understanding of why they exist, what they’re trying to accomplish and how well they work together.
Hillen suggests that to bump out this problem, you and your teammates must hold frequent meetings or off-sites to produce team-enlightenment. Try to create team ‘rules of engagement’ and have each team member (including you) accountable for those rules. Be sure to be overt about the culture that binds the team together.
10. YOU’RE NOT NETWORKING
Getting ahead in a company involves talking to the right people, which also involves having them know about you.
This involves networking with both the people of your company and those outside of it. Use the extra time other than the one you invest in your daily responsibilities to get to know the people around you.
Learn whatever you can about them and ask if they need any assistance on what they’re doing. Establish relationships with those people along the way so that when the time finally comes for that long-awaited promotion, they will be able to recognize your name when they get ahold of your resume.
11. YOU DON’T WANT TO GET BETTER
This problem could be a mix of more than one factor. If your career is being stalled because you don’t want to take on new challenges for yourself that can help you advance further up the ladder, something much deeper must be involved.
Dr. Andrew Selepak, who is a professor in the Department of Telecommunications at the University of Florida, says that your career stalling is simply a matter of motivation.
He adds that it is always better to look for new ways to do your job better and look for something new to do as well. This usually means learning more and trying to keep up with new things.
Nobody wants to be laid back in what they do and keep themselves from getting better at what they already good at.
12. YOU’RE PASSIVE
Sometimes you can’t get ahead in your career because no one in the company knows that you want to. You did not make an effort to get out of your comfort zone and ask for a promotion, a pay bump or anything else.
Don’t just wait for the promotion or raise to fall into your lap, especially if your company keeps track of more than one employee, task or project.
Being patient and wanting to prove yourself in the beginning stages is one thing, but it’s never a good idea to just sit back and wait for something to happen when things aren’t going anywhere. Don’t hesitate to let your boss know that you want to move up. Many, if not all companies want their employees to better themselves, even if it helps moves the company’s overall level of production up just a bit.
13. YOU HATE YOUR WORK
Yes, there are times when we seriously question “What am I even doing here?” If you’re not at all engaged with what you’re doing or passionate about it, then there is no hope of you getting ahead in your career.
And if that’s the kind of mentality that always comes to mind whenever you go to work, then there’s no other solution but walking of the company or thinking long and hard about a career change.
Or if you feel like it, you could pinpoint the parts of your job that you like and those you loathe. Perhaps there is a related area that is more to your liking. Try seeing if it’s possible to shift your job responsibilities, otherwise, you should think about getting a new line of work.
14. YOU’RE BECOMING IRRELEVANT DUE TO A MERGER
Company buyouts or relocations are unfortunate but that’s only because the company failed to reach their target goals or profits consistently for months. If and when that is the case, then you best be prepared for such an event.
Patrick Holder, a talent acquisition manager at business management consultants Candid Partners, says that you have to be on the lookout for when a company goes through a merger or acquisition, moves its location to another town or state or just goes into a direction that you won’t be a part of.
James Stanger, chief technology evangelist for CompTIA, says that even valued employees end up getting replaced because the dominant company has similar workers. If you’re not satisfied with your current gig, then think of ways that will bring you more happiness.
Try focusing on developing skills that your business needs, even if incorporating them into your current skill set would take some time.
But as long as you set a goal that is in line with your business and take baby steps toward it, you’ll actually be surprised at how fast you can come to a fantastic place.
15. YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO SWITCH COMPANIES
We discussed earlier how you should consider making a career change if and when there is no hope of you advancing upwards. But there are times we get stuck in one company because there are no other alternatives or because we just like the position we have and are not willing to switch companies anytime soon.
Still, if you ever change your mind, just know that there are options especially if the job you’re qualified for has a large market to it.
16. YOUR PERFORMANCE IS DETERIORATING
Not improving at your job is another reason your career is where it is still. It’s just common sense. If your performance hasn’t changed in the last year or so, then why would your employer even bother to promote you? You may choose to keep the status quo if you’re alright with it, but it’s not going to get you ahead in your company.
Look for ways where you can improve the performance of your job. But don’t overcommit to work on a daily basis or keep yourself from taking a vacation. All you have to do, is focus on the areas where you’re already good at and magnify your performance around those.
17. YOU FOCUS TOO MUCH ON YOURSELF
Keep in mind that the most successful executives around the world are team players, so if you also want to acquire that position, then you have to be one yourself.
It’s time to stop focusing on how you can get ahead and leave everyone else out in the dust, when you should be focusing on helping your team reach its goal.
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