Not every workday is full of professional praise and exciting milestones in the business world.
Even in the most rewarding career, there can be moments of boredom, drudgery and even dread. However, while a little bit of dissatisfaction is normal, it’s important to be aware of whether you are stagnating in your current position.
If you have a feeling your career is at a standstill, I’m passing along six tips to get you moving in the right direction.
Stop the trash talk.
Words become reality, and if you are consistently badmouthing your boss, peers or job position, it’s time to do something about it. Write down your concerns and put a plan of action into place ASAP. Start with your attitude. The grass will always be greener if you are constantly planting weeds. If you are frustrated with a situation at work, speak with the person who can make the difference. It may be as simple as a heartfelt conversation with a coworker about the way they interrupt you mid-sentence. They may be blissfully unaware of the nasty habit. Approach the issue with kindness and tact and your concern will likely be well received.
Ask for a raise.
If you are at the same salary several years later, perhaps you haven’t asked the right questions. “What can I do to improve my skills and be considered for a pay increase?” or, “Is there a reason I haven’t had a review in eight months?” Part of the responsibility of landing incremental raises falls squarely in your lap. Proactively working towards advancement is your goal.
Stop building a story and then justifying it.
If your pattern is to be unhappy in each role you have held, the issue may be more about you than the job. Jonathan Fields talks about how we inflate a situation to create a new reality. He says, “We do this, because it makes us feel better about abandoning it and them. We tell ourselves, ‘I hate it, and besides, it’s not giving me what I need anyway,’ when in fact we may be complicit in making it so, often on both accounts.” Before you decide to cut and run, read his article.
Look at the big picture.
If your health is suffering, your physical ailments are often a manifestation of your emotional wellbeing. If you experience a migraine every Monday but never on the weekend, this could be something to evaluate. If the highest praise on your performance review has been “acceptable,” it’s not enough. Few people aspire to be described as “adequate.” A lack of motivation will certainly be reflected in your performance, which can mean your current status needs an overhaul.
Meet with your supervisor and offer to take on additional responsibilities.
Actively seek out new challenges. Suggest ideas for an important project. Your initiative and willingness to stretch creatively and professionally will be appreciated.
Try something different.
Think about an internal career change. Explore alternative opportunities within your company and ask to be considered when the timing is fitting. In the interim, familiarize yourself with what’s required to take on a new assignment as you refine your skill set.
And, as Jonathan Fields suggests, “don’t blow up your life.” Even if in the end you choose to leave, you will do it with a better understanding of what you need in the future.
For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, subscribe to her articles on Huffington Post, read her Inc. contributions, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.