Our careers are a significant part of our life. Sometimes they thrive and at other times they can take a downturn. If your career is stagnant, everything you do feels more like a burden instead of an achievement.
Feeling undervalued at work is demoralizing and that feeling has far-reaching effects. If you are not happy at work, nobody benefits – including those in your private life. It will be felt in terms of your energy, production, enthusiasm, and happiness.
Many people have felt this way at some point in their career. If this sounds like you, your challenge is to determine whether you are in a dead-end job or if this is a temporary situation that can be corrected.
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. The signs are there. Sometimes we do not give them the proper notice.
Here are eight signs that something may be out of whack in your career.
1. You Are Frequently Bored
Has your work become predictable? Too mechanical? Are you doing the same thing each day with only a slight change in routine? If your position feels stationary and you do not see a way forward – one where you obtain new responsibilities, you are stuck. If your work is not challenging or exciting, your enthusiasm will dull and you will risk producing work that is substandard.
2. You Have Not 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 wrong.
3. People Take You for Granted
If you haven’t seen a change in title or pay for a while, ask yourself if you are being taken for granted. Are you being overlooked when new opportunities come available because your manager doesn’t see how your skills, education, or expertise have evolved? If your boss or coworkers treat you like you’re still in your entry-level role, you may not be getting the respect you have earned.
4. 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?
5. You Are Too Reliable
That sounds like a crazy notion because we want to be reliable. There is a fine line between being reliable and being taken advantage of. Sometimes companies have dead weight – people who don’t contribute as much as they should. When this happens someone else needs to take up the slack. If you’re the one constantly picking up the heavy load, make sure you’re recognized for the value you bring.
6. 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.
7. 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 are worth feels terrible. It makes the workday seem never-ending and when payday comes around, it is another reminder that your hard work isn’t recognized.
8. 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 is worth it to stick around or look for something else. Your goal is to never be blindsided.
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. Be brave enough to know when to make changes. That does not always mean moving on. It may mean taking the time to speak with your boss about your next career move. 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 professionally and personally. 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. 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. Figure out 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.