Everyone wants to believe they’re making professional advancement. You know, who’d love to admit they’ve stagnated for years, or worse, decades? Nobody I know.
The worst part? With employee retention rates at an all-time low, some people may wrongfully think that since they’re job-hopping and getting better pay each time they move, they’re making progress. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth.
So how can you tell when your career is at a standstill or when you’re doing well? There are several ways including but not limited to:
1. You’re at a job you detest
There are several reasons you may detest your job. You may have settled into it due to a lack of options. Your employer, manager—or both—may be jerks who simply do not value the work you do no matter what you do or how you do it. It’s so serious that a global report reveals that 79 percent of people who quit their jobs mention “lack of appreciation” as a reason for leaving.
Sit for a moment and think: do I love what I do at my present job or would I switch jobs or roles in the blink of an eye? The answer to that question may seem insignificant. But when you consider the fact that a 2017 Gallup study shows that 51 percent of the approximately 100 million Americans who are full-time employees feel no connection to their work and so they tend to do the bare minimum, you’ll understand better.
You can’t advance professionally when you’re going to work every other day in an environment, role or the company of people you dislike.
2. You have no career goals
Ask some professionals this question and you’ll find that many are fumbling their way through an answer. For some, their career goal is simply to get paid more for their work without realizing what they need to get there. Or like the first point mentioned, staying in a job you hate may also mean you see no future elsewhere in your current role. Either way, you’re not making any progress.
Recently, I was speaking with an accountant whose goal is to become a CPA. As one who comes from a family of accountants, I know my fair share of their lingo and some processes. I asked him, how’s it going with working under the supervision of an actively licensed CPA so far? He looked surprised, like, what do you mean? He had no idea this was a requirement for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Other times I get people who ask, how is the CPA exam graded, which while it isn’t simplistic, is information readily available on the internet.
The point is, when setting career goals, perform some research to discover the types of goals you can set in your career and what reaching your goals entails. Most information you need is just a Google search away. Research helps you know what your path to achieving your goals will look like, how long it may realistically take you to get there, and how you can work towards achieving them.
An absence of any career goals may mean you’re not actively seeking any form of professional advancement since you’re comfortable in your current position.
3. You loathe self-improvement
Granted, many people do not hold a microphone by a sidewalk screaming “I loathe self-improvement.” But their actions portray this to a great degree. Now think about yourself, when was the last time you read a book or took a course related to your work? Or if you are put in a room with other people who have the same amount of experience you have, and asked to complete a task related to your job, how will you fare?
The internet has made it quite easy to learn about almost anything under the sun. If you’re not constantly seeking ways to improve your knowledge of your job, it’s fair to say your growth has stalled. This is especially important in professions that are constantly evolving due to technology. For example, a digital marketer who’s still stuck with what they learned about digital marketing in say, 2010, would almost be obsolete now in most organizations.
But you know what’s funny and sad? Some digital marketers because of their workplace and their loathing for personal development are still stuck in 2010. To put things in perspective, there have been over 80 confirmed Google algorithm changes in that period. As a digital marketer, how do you survive in 2018 with 2010 best practices? It’s impossible.
Take a look at your current work processes. Are you keeping pace with other professionals in your field? If you haven’t for a long while, you’re not making professional advancement, and you should change that.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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