Maybe years ago you took your job hoping it would be a “springboard” to other positions. Maybe you hoped working the third shift would be a temporary thing. Whatever the reason, if you’re feeling like your career has stalled and is going nowhere, it’s time to change how you you’re approaching your career. Become a more valued and hireable candidate by advancing your education. An online MBA program resource can get you started, so don’t hesitate to start to learn more. Take the initiative and demand more responsibility, or go somewhere else that will value your skills. Here are three signs that you’re going nowhere fast, and it’s time for a change.
1. You’ve Never Gotten a Raise
If you’ve worked for a year or more at the same company but have never gotten a raise, something’s not right. Most companies hold annual or quarterly employee reviews, and it’s at this time they should recognize your hard work and reward your commitment to the job.
If you haven’t gotten a raise because your employers noticed some issues with your work that they want you to improve, do your part to exceed their expectations and do better at the next review. By your second year at the company, if you’re still not qualified for a raise, it’s probably time to start looking elsewhere.
2. You Don’t Have Any More Responsibilities Than When You Started
Being able to demonstrate that you can exceed employer expectations and handle whatever the employer throws at you is essential to showing that you can tackle a better-paying job with more responsibilities. If your day-to-day tasks haven’t changed — in other words, you haven’t been given more responsibility — after a year or more, speak up and ask for more responsibility, especially if what you’re doing now leaves you with some lulls in the work day. If your employers don’t cooperate, they probably don’t think of you as promotion material.
3. You Don’t Get to Pick Your Shift or Hours
If you work at a place with multiple shift options but after a year or more at the company, you still don’t have high enough priority to get to work the shift or hours you want to work, you probably won’t see the situation changing in the years to come. While it’s unreasonable to expect your ideal hours when you first start a job, an employer looking out for your career will show you some kind of path to earning your way to more consideration.
Start Approaching Your Career Differently
If you’ve noticed any of the signs that your career has stalled, jump into action:
- Get an advanced degree in your spare time. Online programs allow greater flexibility and are perfect for working adults looking to boost their resume.
- Speak with your managers. It’s possible they don’t even know you have an issue, or that they look for initiative when they decide to give out raises and promotions. Maybe they were waiting for you to tell them that you want more responsibility. If you’ve earned your degree or are in the process of doing so, you’ll be able to point to that as another example of your initiative and willingness to juggle more responsibility.
- As a last resort — or an earlier one if you’re sure you’re unhappy where you are and/or there are no avenues for advancement — start looking for employment elsewhere. Don’t quit your job before you’re offered a new one, and don’t let the people you work with know you’re job hunting, in case it doesn’t happen as quickly as you’d like. Take the initiative to turn your going-nowhere job into the stepping stone you originally hoped it would be.
Once you become a more educated and skilled employee, you have the “tools” to back up your request for a higher salary, greater responsibility and more choices. If your employer is still unable to offer you career advancement, it’s time to look elsewhere for employment. It’s possible your value to the company — what you can bring to it as an educated and skilled employee — has grown beyond what the company needs or can afford. Don’t let your growth hold you back; find a place that values what you can bring to the table.
About the Author: Nellie Murphy is a blogger and human resources coordinator at a Fortune 500 company in New York. She made a career change after 10 years as a teacher and credits her career counselor’s suggestion that she approach her career differently for her success.