What new skills did you learn during the past month at work?
And how are these skills pushing you closer to your career ambitions? If these two questions have left you feeling dumbstruck and speechless, your career may be beginning to stagnate.
Spending too long in the same position could signal a bleak future at your current employer. But what’s worse is that this inhibits learning, stunts personal growth, and stalls your career.
Also note that jobs that only know how to take without giving are much more common than you think and this explains why 67% of employees in the U.S. report to be disengaged at work.
According to a 2018 LinkedIn report, 94% of employees were willing to stay in a company that gave them opportunities to learn.
Moreover, learning at the workplace came out as the number 1 thing that makes employees happy, resulting in as much as 27% quitting owing to a lack of learning opportunities.
Moreover, un-stimulating jobs that do not challenge employees are as likely to lead to burn-out as their frantic, fast-paced counterparts. And why won’t they? If employees pour in at least 40 hours a week into work that doesn’t challenge them, offers little to no learning, or is just plain boring, feelings of disengagement and detachment start taking the hold within.
Despite the statistics, there are some employees that value job stability above everything else. Such individuals do not mind where life takes them so long as they can provide for themselves. If you are similarly unambitious, have a steady pay, and no qualms about your current work, then there’s nothing wrong with continuing to work in the same capacity that you’re used to.
But if you had planned out a career for yourself, found a niche that you enjoyed working in, but have lost that rhythm to the monotony of your role, it is time to put a stop to this.
What are the signs of stagnation?
1) There isn’t enough time for learning at the job:
The LinkedIn report also stated that the number 1 reason employees don’t learn at the job is that they don’t have the time. If you’re constantly swamped with repetitive, mind-numbing tasks, there isn’t going to be enough time to invest in yourself at work.
Being overworked with no reward in sight can be detrimental to both your mental and physical health. Consequently, this slowly kills your will to look forward to work or be passionate about the impact you create.
2) Little to no autonomy in work tasks:
While a lot of people claim that the old-school method of training employees has become obsolete, several managers still set up strict learning objectives, limiting the scope for their subordinates. Companies that allow this behavior could be shooting themselves in the foot since this kills creativity and cripples the workforce from developing new ideas and strategies. If this persists, you might not be able to bring anything new to the table in such an environment.
3) Your manager doesn’t encourage skill development:
Managers have a massive impact on how you feel about work. If you’re stuck with one that doesn’t encourage learning, has no plans for nurturing your expertise, and doesn’t listen to you when you bring it up, it’s too toxic for you to work under them.
4) You’ve become complacent:
In today’s world where job security is on the brink of extinction, you might not mind a humdrum job as long as it pays the bills. Steady income and growing familiarity turn into the quicksand that only makes it harder to quit as time passes by. Soon, you completely stop thinking about whether or not you’re enriching your mind.
5) There isn’t anything left to learn:
In certain industries, spending too long in one position might leave you with little to explore. You’ve enhanced processes, put in contemporary techniques, and have had better results. Eventually, though, you learn that there’s nothing left to try out; you’ve come full circle.
Can you fix this while staying in your current company?
Quitting a position you’ve put in so much time and effort and having to start from scratch at another company is going to be one of the toughest corporate experiences you’ll get. Let’s see if there are things you can do at work before you jump the gun and quit.
Will your manager be happy to suggest online courses if you approached them? They might lend you an ear so bring up your reservations in a candid conversation. Tell them how grateful you are for their guidance and how much it has helped hone your professional skills, but also bring attention to your predicament. Your manager might realign your duties to make time for personal learning in your schedule. Additionally, they could suggest new domains that you can explore.
Your company could also be offering learning programs that you may not be aware of. Bring this up with the HR department or suggest learning programs so your company can chalk out a much-needed employee training program for individuals at all levels.
Another low-risk opportunity lies in making a lateral move within your company and shifting to another department. If there’s a position at work that interests you, request a shift. Better yet, some employees will be willing to trade jobs for a week or so to kill the monotony for a while. Take this chance to see if you like a different line of work in your current industry.
If all of these are a no-go, it’s time to move on from your company
2.3% of the labor force in America quits every year in search of better opportunities and is still able to find work elsewhere.
Take the leap of faith! If you didn’t get enough time for learning at work, sign up for online courses or take workshops that provide professional training in your niche. You can also make use of simple tips and tricks that facilitate learning.
It’s also worthwhile to connect with professionals in your network for advice or leads on building your expertise.
Alternatively, you might’ve realized that the work is interesting, but there’s not much left to explore in your field or it just isn’t your true calling. If you feel like you’re in the wrong line of work, single out duties in your current role that kept you engaged; this could help direct you to a new vertical in a different industry. It’s never too late to change your career!
Being stuck in a rut leads to feelings of inadequacy and unfulfillment, to the point that it can potentially trickle down to all aspects of your life. Trying a new learning curve is a great way to create feelings of excitement and positivity. Your work has a huge impact on your mental and physical well-being so don’t settle for less. Write that letter!