A successful career is one of those life goals that is right in line with marriage, a mortgage, kids, and two bright and shiny new cars in the driveway. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. More often than any time in history, well-educated people are stuck in jobs that they’re overqualified for and feel blocked for promotions.
So, why not quit? Well, as much as the workforce has recovered, people find themselves in a precarious position of not wanting to leave one job for fear of not being able to find another.
Dig out the career first – quit later
In short, it’s a terrible time to be unhappy with your current position, but if you are, give these tips a try to see if you can’t just improve your current situation, or find a new one!
1. Learn New Skills
If you’re passed over again and again for promotions, it might be time to start learning new skills in order to make you more valuable to the company. Going back to school or getting professional certifications can go a long way to help you advance with your current company, or look more attractive to another company should you decide to leave.
2. Stop Schmoozing Co-Workers
Being friendly and courteous is important in the office, but being friends with everyone is not. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t attend social events or engage in some water cooler talk from time to time, but remember that your peers may one day be your subordinates. This often leads to workplace hostility. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you have friends outside of work, and that remaining friendly, but not too friendly is the best course of action.
3. Set Personal Career Goals
When it comes time for a promotion or a raise, you’re ultimately going to be judged on what you do to provide additional value to the company. Corporate goals are great, but setting personal goals to push the envelope a bit further gives you great talking points
when you’re met with a review for a raise or promotion.
4. Build A Network
Networking is no longer an option, it’s the norm. Attending these events puts you in contact with people that not only could provide opportunities later, but could also help you at your current job. Need a new HR person? You probably know someone. The IT department is looking for a new lead – great, you can call the guy you met at happy hour. These contacts allow you to not only be on the lookout for future opportunities, but to also be the person in your current position who has the contacts he needs to get things done.
5. Be The Solution
If there’s one thing that bosses hate, it’s the person that brings problems to them to solve. Problems happen, and sometimes you don’t have any other choice but to bring it to your boss, but you’ll be looked at in a far more favorable light if you bring solutions when you present the problems. “This is a potential problem, but I’ve done some research and it appears that this would fix it” – sounds a lot better to your management team than just being the guy who is constantly complaining.
If you can’t seem to get ahead no matter what you try, it might be time to look for new opportunities. There’s no shame in trying something and then moving on to something else when it doesn’t work. It should go without saying though to get that new start before you quit!
No matter what position you’re in, there are always ways to keep moving up the corporate latter. Very rarely is someone truly blocked from reaching the position they desire and if they are then the skills you learned at this job are likely to come in handy when applying for similar jobs in the future. Don’t give up, and remember – keep moving forward.