Sunday, October 29, 2017

Career Stagnation Call-in October 25, 2017

James Kelley joins us to have a conversation about career stagnation and when we know that we have to move on from our jobs.

So, what is the magic number for how long to stick with a job.  James suggested that based on a conversation he had coming to the studio 4 years was the magic number.

Click for the podcast.

Here are the show notes.

Dr. James Kelley

The Question!




Career Stagnation

Are you motivated at work?

Everyone gets bored with work sometimes, but boredom shouldn’t be your everyday. If it is, your motivation will start to erode. Cue the career rut. Whether you know it or not, you need motivation to work hard. Without drive, your career growth is DOA.
If your performance has plateaued, you have no desire to learn anything new, and you don’t feel compelled to go beyond what’s strictly necessary to do your job, it’s time to do a little soul-searching to figure out why, says Marilyn Santiesteban, assistant director of career services at The Bush School at Texas A&M.
Maybe you’ve been doing the same tasks for too long; maybe you need to be challenged more. It’s important to figure out why you’re bored before you can tell truthfully whether you’re in a temporary lull or a not-so-temporary rut.

Has it been 4+ years since your last promotion?

If you’ve been in your position for that long with no promotion, then it’s probably not going to come, Johnson says. Management likes you right where you are.
Of course, it’s frustrating to be repeatedly passed over for steps up you feel you’ve earned, so you need to figure out why it’s happening. Perhaps your boss doesn’t know you’re interested in moving ahead, or maybe you need to learn a new skill or two to climb to the next step on the ladder. This calls for a frank conversation with the person above you to find out exactly what it would take to get ahead.
Maybe you’ve reached a ceiling in your organization, or if there’s no space for you to move up, Johnson says. And if so, hearing it may just be the call to action you need to move on.

Are you meeting new people at work?

If your company isn’t bringing in any new people and workplace events are always the “same old, same old,” then it might not just be you that’s stagnating.
Organizations can also plateau, but when they do, the careers of the company’s employees usually do also. So, while you can learn quickly in the right role with such a company, you’ll eventually stall out, as well, Johnson adds.
Check your organization as a whole for signs of stagnation, Santiesteban says. Look for flat sales, retooling of existing products or services rather than creating new ones, executive team members and senior management that have been around forever, or static or slightly shrinking market share.

Are your performance reviews exceptional?

If you’re consistently “meeting expectations,” you’re not “growing in your career.”
“Maybe things are not terrible, they’re just OK; fine,” Lundberg says. “Is that how you want to live your life? Sort of average, things plodding along but with no passion, no excitement, no real feeling of fulfillment?”
When everything you do at work is only average, it may be time to shake things up. Easier said than done: But you’re going to have to go a little above and beyond if you want to break free from the shackles of stagnation. Take on a new project, or at least give your next project your all.

Are you sure you want to stick around?

If you spend your days fantasizing about doing something else, whether it’s a childhood dream or simply changing companies or fields, it’s likely a sign that your career isn’t meeting fundamental needs for you, Lundberg says.
“If you dig into the underlying values behind these fantasies and plans, you may find what’s missing from your current career,” she says. “Is it a sense of freedom and independence, the ability to make your own decisions, an opportunity to learn something new, or is it a question of earning more or working less?”

Continued from page 1
1. When you stay in the same organization, you gradually lose touch with the outside world. Your field of vision constricts and you begin to focus on internal priorities (who's up and who's down politically, your next position, and your current goals) rather than focusing on the larger world outside your company's walls. One of the biggest dangers of staying a job too long is that you fall behind what is happening in your industry and the wide world beyond it.
2. Unless your company is growing very fast -- experiencing thirty percent annual growth or more -- it is difficult or impossible to give yourself the new experiences, new challenges and range of muscle-building activities you will naturally encounter by changing jobs. We have to work much harder to learn as much as fast in a company we are familiar with as we will learn by entering new organizations frequently.
3. It can feel uncomfortable to be incompetent. It is easy to forget that we learn the most when we are least competent. As soon as we know a job, part of our brain goes to sleep. We don't have to stay open and curious. When you change jobs often, you never get out of open-and-curious mode. You'll accumulate new learning (and just as important, a comfort level with "incompetence") much faster by throwing yourself into new-job territory more often.
4. Every time you change jobs, you get to (and have to) re-establish your value. Every time you change jobs you get to redefine yourself on your own terms. If you learned a ton at your last job and were ready to become Manager of Inventory Control but you couldn't do that at your last job because the Manager of Inventory Control was your boss, you can step up to a new altitude by moving to a new company. You can rationalize the decision to stay in your previous role any number of ways, but the truth is that the only thing you will ever have to sell to an employer or client is your expertise, and the only way to grow that is to grab every new learning opportunity you see.
5. The more often you change jobs, the more comfortable you will become interviewing, probing for Business Pain, telling Dragon-Slaying stories and negotiating to get paid what you're worth. You won't grow those muscles by staying put at one job!
6. When you change jobs more frequently, your spidey sense will get stronger. You'll learn to evaluate employers as much as they evaluate you. You won't waste your time working for people who don't have a clue or won't give you latitude to put your stamp on your job. You'll pass them by and work with people who have vision and courage, instead!
7. When you stay put in one job for a long time, you can begin to perform your job mechanically. Your supply of new ideas will begin to diminish and then die out. You need fresh "glasses" to keep a channel open to the collective consciousness or wherever your best ideas come from. If you are asleep in your job, you won't be as creative or energized about trying new things.
8. There are companies that won't hire people who have short-term jobs (even jobs that lasted two or three years) on their resumes. If that includes you, don't panic! If a company like that rejects you, you will have dodged a bullet. There's too much fear in an organization that turns away job-seekers because they don't stay stuck in their jobs for five or ten years. There's no way your brilliance could shine forth in a place like that. Be grateful for the "no thank you" letter those people sent you, and thank Mother Nature for sending you signs and signals to keep you on your path.
9. The more companies you work for, the more your reputation in your business community can grow. The more companies you work for, the more people you will know. The more companies you work for, the more comfortable you will be walking into new business situations and figuring out what's important. Nothing but experience can help you grow those muscles!
10. The longer you stay in one company -- even if you change jobs internally -- the more set and solid your box will become. The more often and more fearlessly you step out of your comfort zone, the more your comfort zone will expand. If you don't actively enlarge your comfort zone all the time, you will become your own worst enemy. You will start to believe that you are your job title. You won't see your own vast possibilities. Changing jobs often will make it easier to see that there are no boxes around you.  You are capable of doing whatever you want to do, regardless of the job titles you've held so far.

  1. Don’t switch only because of things you don’t like.
  2. Do switch if you aren’t learning anything.
  3. If you do switch jobs a lot, don’t burn bridges. Always be able to take a good recommendation with you when you leave.
  4. Look at other parts of the company to see if there is room to fulfill the need to explore and grow.
  5. Reframe your skill sets to reflect an internal growth path, even if you can’t show a “formal” growth path. For example, you were in a band, but you learned money management, event planning and you will never suffer stage fright while giving a presentation.
  6. If you have 20 jobs, don’t put them all on your resume — choose the 5 that you learned something from.
  7. Try not to leave a job before you have another one. Use your job to learn about other opportunities. Talk to everyone, from customers, to clients to co-workers, about what they do and what their path has been.

Of course, today’s job market is not the same as it was 20 years ago but it’s easy today to get lulled into the thinking that switching today is all good. But before you do, give a little thought to what you’ve “got” and what you’ve gotten out of it.

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